Friday, January 26, 2007

The Future Appears to be Behind Schedule

On January 12, at the Telvision Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, the Sci Fi Channel made two announcements that made cinerati's editor squeal with joy. Sadly, it appears that they are behind schedule on the release of one of products.

The first was the announcement of a new 22 episode series based on Flash Gordon featuring the classic character along with his dastardly foe Ming. SCI FI's representatives at the TCA described the new series stating, "Stellar adventures and heroic battles mark this inventive new take on the perennial science fiction classic." I am excited about the prospect of the series, but the "inventive new take" statement makes me reticent to run around giddily while squealing for joy, I am still squealing for joy. I hope that RHI Entertainment and producers Robert Halmi Sr. (Earthsea) and Robert Halmi Jr. (Farscape), remember to include the Plantetary Romance tone of the original concept. It was the Planetary Romance aspects, and not the SF elements, which really set Flash Gordon apart from Buck Rogers and similar SF serial.

Fans of Space Opera films should note that it was the original concept, and not some "inventive new take," which inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars and that the inclusion of Planetary Romance goddess Leigh Brackett in the screenwriting process of The Empire Strikes Back added to the tone of that film. I am hopeful, but skeptical given the dark tone of the new Battlestar Galactica, that the show will capture the wonder of the earlier narrative. Sadly, much of modern SF seems to think that "darkness" equals narrative complexity and forgets that hopeful utopian views of the future can be just as deep an analysis of today's problems. For every George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, there is an Edward Bellamy and Jules Verne.

As for the future being late, SCI FI promised to bring their deep entry into internetelevision to the internet on January 21, and I have yet to see hide or hair of the project. SCI FI already has their "shallow" entry into internetelevision, you can watch the most recent Dresden Files online and watch a good amount of Battlestar Galactica footage online (including online exclusive material), but I was anxiously awaiting their deep entry. SCI FI announced their broadband destination site (what I call internetelevision) SCI FI Drive-in at the TCAs claiming that it would launch on January 21st giving access to "cult films, serials, campy documentaries, and trailers...includ[ing] such films as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligare and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, not to mention the original Flash Gordon serial" (geeee!) Sadly, the only mention of SCI FI Drive-in I have been able to find on the SCI FI site are in the forums (booo!).

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