Saturday, May 28, 2005
What do the Koreans know that US Television doesn't?
Friday, May 27, 2005
More Firefly and Serenity
Can't Stop the Signal
I think it would be wrong to go into great details about the movie at this point in time; you don't really want spoilers -- and this really will be must-viewing for people who were fans of the television series, and the many, many people who have since discovered the series on DVD. And if you haven't seen the series, your really should check it out -- it's a rich, rich universe, and something that you only get to explore a corner of in the television series.
One thing I notices is that the television series it's very strongly influenced by the late 1800s Wild West post-Civil War universe, and that's turned down a little bit in the film, but the Asian influence is a little higher here. And oddly, I realized one thing in the movie that it shares with Farscape -- it's playing in some of the same territory as the British Science Fiction series Blake's 7. I've thought that the comparison with the US Civil War is interesting, because the main characters of Firefly are on the losing side.
It'd also interesting because I see a bit more of how Firefly fits into the same sorts of themes as the other Joss Whedon TV series, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, and also a bit with the work he's been doing on the Astonishing X-Men comic.
Our showing had Ron Glass make a personal appearance, who plays Shepherd Book in both the TV Series and the Movie. He answered a few questions, had a discussion, and then signed autographs. It was a bit odd, actually.
I think the best thing about it is that it would be so very easy for Firefly to have joined that all-too-long list of television series that fail after a brief run on television, due to the vagaries of that market. But due to the devotion of fans, it's had a very, very rich afterlife. I think there's more buzz about the TV series now amongst my social circles than when it was first on the air and totally mishandled by FOX.
And it's getting late. Serenity comes out in the end of September. Obviously, if you followed Firefly, you'll want to see the movie -- and if you haven't, well, it's a good excuse to spend your summer watching it on DVD, or on Sci Fi, which will be airing all of the episodes later this summer as part of their Friday line up.
Because really, it's a film for fans who just never, ever, give up.
And it's late, and I have to work, so off to sleep I go.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
I think there's certainly a tendency to look at what reasons might make a US sale of the new Doctor Who difficult. And obviously, the BBC wants this to go to a wider network that BBC America -- it's one of the few statements that we actually have seen about the show in the US from any official show. (Oddly, you can't link to that page directly, but if you click "Contact Us" on one of the BBC Doctor Who pages, you'll see what I mean...
So it's natural to look at why the show hasn't been able to, as yet, pick up a US distributor.
I think the main issue is that we're all anxious here -- but we're still not at all in an unusual delay for a BBC series to get over here, even to something like BBC America. BBC America is only now showing something like the first season of Paul Abbott's Shameless, taking about a year, it took eighteen months for The Office to get to America, it took a year for Monarch of the Glen to get here, it took over a year for MI-5 to get to A&E. It took eighteen months for Ab Fab. About fifteen months for the first series of Coupling and League of Gentlemen. And almost two years for Ultraviolet -- though that isn't a BBC series, it's still part of the pattern.
I had been somewhat more optimistic six or so months ago, especially since there was almost no delay for Russell T Davies's Mine All Mine, and there was little delay in the last series of Coupling, but the first apparently was a co-production (which Doctor Who is not) and the second had an existing relationship (which a new Doctor Who series does not ).
That is probably more indicative of the nature of the American market than the show -- even though it clearly was a goal to get the American market on board early, since we have documentation that the Executive Producers were in LA, presumably trying to sell the series, back when the show was in pre-production.
I'm actually quite happy that they didn't bend over backwards to make a show for the American market; usually any time that you so deliberately try to make a product like that, you fail to please *anyone*.
But the new Doctor Who series is a definite hit in the UK, and it's apparently been successful in both Canada and Australia. And there is unquestionably a demand for the series in the US -- after all, the largest Doctor Who fansite is based here. So it's just a matter of time before it ends up somewhere here.
Monday, May 23, 2005
Fun little Doctor Who voting system
Friday, May 20, 2005
I wanna know
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The next TV season
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Is there a Doctor in the country?
And while I could cope if it just went direct to DVD in this country, it would be nice for it to have some sort of airing in the US. While BBC America does have a form listing Doctor Who, that's really the channel of last resort, and the official BBC site has a FAQ saying that it's unlikely to go to BBC America and to please not bother them.
There's an old light bulb joke: How many Doctor Who fans does it take to turn on a lightbulb? None, they just wait for it to come back on....
Monday, May 16, 2005
There's a new Star Wars movie?
Hopefully, that will change by the time I actually get into the movie theater. I still want to like a new Star Wars movie -- and not just in the theater, but over the coming months and years. There's not a chance that it will have the impact that the original Star Wars or Empire Strikes Back had, because I'm not that young impressionable child anymore. And I fear that the dreams of this movie that I've had since I first read about Darth Vader and Obi-Wans lava duel can never be matched by any film presentation.
Friday, May 13, 2005
It's Been A Long Time
I don't think anyone believes that either franchise will go away forever -- they'll never completely be gone. And I think it's sadly safe that both franchises are not nearly as well respected as they were a decade or so ago, as recent entries in both franchises have been disappointing.
But as they pause, they're worth looking at. It's probably a worthy debate whether Science Fiction television or film are better because of either series -- for every positive point I can also think of negatives. But right now, I think, isn't the time to focus on those negatives. Both Stars deserve a lot of credit for inspiring many people over the years -- and while both are occasionally mocked by "real" Science Fiction fans and the general public alike, I think the massive appeal of both series has been key to popularizing science fiction and fantasy generally, and so it's not really unusual to enjoy science fiction and fantasy anymore...
We're rapidly closing in on our publication deadlines for this summer's CONvergence.
We're still looking for participants as we put things together. Our list is at here, and if you see something that interests you, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible so we can get it ready.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
A Long Time Coming
But I'm quite happy and excited about Father's Day; this is an episode that I've wanted to see for a decade; before I had even heard of Russell T Davies or Christopher Eccleston. Paul's books helped bring me back into Doctor Who after I had wandered away from the series in the early 1990s, so I find it really fitting that he's a part of this first series.
I'm saddened that as yet, we haven't heard any positive word on how the new series will officially get to America. Thankfully, due to the wonders of region-free DVD players, DVDs will be flying their way across the ocean starting next week. And all of that said, I'd rather have a series that's a massive success in the UK and takes a while to find the right home in America than another false transatlantic start like the 1996 TV Movie for FOX television.
I'm old enough, however, to remember that when Doctor Who was last in production in the late 1980s, it would take even longer before a new series would arrive. My first experience of The Trial of a Time Lord was an audio cassette tape of the first episode -- and it wouldn't be for many months until I would actually see the episode.
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