Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Help Wanted!

I received an e-mail the other day from a reader in Germany, who wanted my help in identifying a sci-fi movie that he remembered from the 70s. Since I haven't been able to help him, I thought I'd post his query here, and see if any of you guys out there could identify the film/show he remembers:
Hi there Christopher,

I am writing to you from Germany and was wondering wether you could help me find a movie that I have been looking for - for, literally, ages.

One scene has stuck in my mind since childhood and has seen me scouring the web for an answer as to it's origins.
I don't recall at all what the story of the movie in general was about. It aired here in Germany during the late seventies and all I remember was that it was profoundly gripping and terrifying.

This is the scene that I remember:
The film was set in a strange future world, where two people were stuck in a hilly desolate landscape. The sun was setting and the rolling hills were lit by the late afternoon twilight.
The two characters were talking urgently and needed to get away from that spot to evade an 'enemy' or alien force, which was closing in on them. This 'enemy' had begun to appear on a broad front over a ridge behind our heroes. They were silver or white and had an egg-shaped or balloon-like appearance. There might have been ten or twenty of these creatures, which moved along in a nightmarish bouncing slow motion dance.
The balloon creatures could have been bobbing down the slope toward the sunset. The two heroes might have been near a shuttle-like vehicle.

Thank you ever so much for your time!
So, does this sound familiar to anyone out there?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Word From Our Sponsor....

Most of the longer DVD reviews on this blog originally appeared in my DVD Late Show review column, which I have been writing regularly (mostly) for the last five years. The column originally debuted on filmmaker Kevin Smith's Movie Poop Shoot website in 2005 as a bi-weekly feature. Subsequent incarnations of the column appeared online at Quick Stop Entertainment and, later, Forces of Geek. Several print installments also appeared in IDW Publishing's DOOMED magazine.

This past January, I moved the feature to its own, dedicated website - DVD Late Show. New reviews - between 1 and six new articles, depending on what I have on hand - appear there weekly, and the archive contains over 400 DVD and Blu-Ray reviews - mostly sci-fi, fantasy, horror and action films/TV. If you enjoy the reviews here at Space: 1970 (all of which were updated and revised before re-posting, BTW), you'll find a lot more of the same at the Late Show.

PLEASE check out the site, and if you find it entertaining and/or helpful, bookmark it, and make it a regular stop. Spread the word, link to it. I'm going to need a lot of traffic/hits to make it feasible and keep it going.

Thanks, guys.

I now return to your regularly scheduled programming....

BLACKSTAR (1980)

Blackstar (1980-81) was probably the last Filmation cartoon I remember actually getting up early to watch. I was into D&D then, and anything with a sword & sorcery theme caught my interest. Unfortunately, if I recall correctly, it aired in the same timeslot as Ruby-Spears' superior Thundarr The Barbarian on another network, so unless Thundarr was a repeat, I usually opted for the post-Apocalyptic barbarian over the sword-slinging astronaut, John Blackstar.

Loosely inspired by interplanetary romances like Edgar Rice Burroughs’ "John Carter of Mars" pulp stories, Blackstar tells of an American astronaut, who, after passing through a black hole, finds himself stranded on the primitive planet Sagar. The planet is ruled by the evil, Darth Vader-esque Overlord, and opposed by a motley band of freedom fighters, including the sorceress Mara, shape-shifter Klone, and seven pink "trobbits." John Blackstar somehow comes into possession of the Starsword (an adventure never related on the series), a mystic blade that can be combined with the Overlord’s Powersword to become the Powerstar – an ultimate weapon that the Overlord desperately covets.

Watching it today as a 40+ adult, I find that Blackstar is actually somewhat better than I remembered. The animation still looks pretty slick and, oddly enough for a Filmation adventure show, uses very little, if any, rotoscoping. The character designs and background paintings are excellent, really selling the alien environment of planet Sagar. The scripts – mostly by animation and sci-fi veterans J. Michael Reeves (Batman - the Animated Series) and Marc Scott Zicree (Sliders) – are fun and fast paced. I still hate the little pink "trobbits," though, and prefer the episodes that play down their child-friendly antics.

My favorite episode is probably "Shipwrecked," written by Reaves, where Blackstar's old fiancee - also an astronaut - follows his ship's trajectory through the black hole to Sagar. Of course, she's captured by the Overlord, who wants her starship's technology. She is rescued by - and reunited with - Blackstar, but is ultimately forced to leave Sagar without him. The best part, though, is that when she emerges from the black hole to her own side of the galaxy, she contacts Earth command and sets them to work preparing an invasion fleet! She wants to go back to Sagar in force and bring her fiance back! Unfortunately, that intriguing plot thread is never revisited during the remainder of the series.

A few years back, before BCI/Eclipse went wherever it is defunct video labels go, they released the complete series on DVD. The full-frame transfers are excellent; the source material on Blackstar looks much better than the prints used on their previous Flash Gordon set, with bright colors and virtually no visible debris or damage. Extras include an informative booklet of liner notes, writer and producer commentaries on two episodes, on-screen interviews with many of the creators of the show, two image galleries, and "The Magic of Filmation" documentary.

If you're nostalgic and want to revisit your childhood – or know kids who are into fantasy adventure – Blackstar is well worth hunting down and picking up.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Back in the mid-90s, I was an editor at a short-lived and now-forgotten comic book company called Tekno*Comix. Their gimmick was publishing comics created by science fiction personalities, and their premiere title was Leonard Nimoy's Primortals. I wrote eleven issues of that comic, beginning with #3, and it was a great deal of fun - as well as a huge nerdy thrill, since I'd always been a fan of the actor and his portrayal of Spock on Star Trek.

During my tenure as writer of Primortals, we had several phone conversations, and met in person once. Leonard was extremely enthusiastic about the project, gracious, and complimentary of my efforts on the title. Meeting him - and working on his creation - is a high point of my professional career.

Leonard Nimoy turns 79 today. Here's wishing our favorite Vulcan a very happy birthday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

News: FLASH GORDON (1980) Blu-Ray in June

Figures. Almost to the moment that I revise and post my three year-old review of the Flash Gordon - Saviour Of the Universe Edition DVD to this blog, Universal announces that the exact same version - but in high definition - will be hitting the street in June on Blu-Ray Disc.

The format will be 2.2:1 1080p and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. D-BOX Motion Code will be included as well as BD Live. Bonus features appear to be identical with those on the Saviour edition DVD: An interview with screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., and interview with illustrator/fan Alex Ross, the first chapter of the 1936 serial with Buster Crabbe, and the original theatrical trailer. I'm assuming the promo for the now gone-and-forgotten SciFi Channel disaster will not be included this time.

Universal's SRP is $26.98. But you can pre-order Flash Gordon [Blu-ray] (1980) from Amazon at that link now for less than twenty bucks.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chris Pine who? Here's wishing a fantastic birthday to the real Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

Starfleet's finest - and the man who made me love this stuff - William Shatner, turns 79 today. Happy birthday, Rocket Man!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vinyl Movies... In Space Age Stereo!

It's sometimes difficult to remember a time before home video. We have so much media literally at our fingertips these days, that a time before VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, Tivo, streaming video, etc., seems almost unbelievable. Those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s loving TV and movies had to resign ourselves to watching the shows we liked only when network programmers scheduled them (assuming our parents let us at all), and if we wanted to revisit a favorite film, the only option we usually had was a paperback novelization (by Alan Dean Foster, most likely) - if we were lucky and the film we liked even got novelized.

When Star Wars came along and surprised everyone with its incredible mainstream popularity, Lucas, Fox and hundreds of licensors scrambled to create new products that they could sell to Wars-hungry masses while said masses waited impatiently for the sequel. Among those new products was The Story of Star Wars - a long-playing record album that contained an abridged version of the film story, composed of dialogue, sound effects and music from the movie soundtrack, with additional narration (by actor Roscoe Lee Browne, who had played "Box" in Logan's Run) to smooth out the audio narrative.

I had this album on cassette, and I listened to it so often that even today, I can recite large swaths of the dialogue in Star Wars from memory.

Of course, being Star Wars, and with affordable videocassettes of the movie itself still several years away, the Story Of... album sold like crazy. Millions of kids like myself re-experienced that movie over and over in our heads for years. It was so successful that similar story albums were released for the next two Star Wars films, and several other genre productions, too. I know there were similar albums for Raiders of the Lost Ark ('natch), Battlestar Galactica, and The Black Hole. Probably others, as well.

If you hunt around online, you can find downloads of most of these records. They're actually pretty amazing. Most of the abridgements are expertly done (the Saga of Battlestar Galactica LP plays better than the actual pilot, in my opinion), and they're damned fun to listen to.

In fact, I often listen to them while I work on various projects - this blog, for example - at my computer.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GALACTICA 1980 TV Guide Advertisements

More vintage TV Guide ads, from my collection, for Galactica 1980. Can't say that ABC failed to promote this show, though the ads - as they're supposed to - promise a lot more adventure than the show actually provided.

Seriously, I know that this series is utter crap, and in fact, sinks to whole new depths of sci-fi crapitude, but still... I own it on DVD.

For one thing, I absolutely adored the original Battlestar Galactica when I was a kid and was friggin' traumatized when it was cancelled. I was further traumatized when the low-budgeted, kiddie-oriented spin-off, Galactica 1980 came about, because I missed damn near every episode! I never saw the three-part premiere (although I did eventually rent the truncated "movie version" on VHS) and only caught the ends of the next few episodes because my family never seemed to be home at 7:00 on Sunday nights.

I do remember seeing the Halloween episode (or the first part of the two-parter), "The Night The Cylons Landed," which introduced human-looking Cylons (long before the new series) and guest starred Wolfman Jack. My folks were visiting friends and to keep me occupied, I was sent into their rec room to watch TV.

But I never saw the final and best episode, "The Return of Starbuck," until Goodtimes Home Video released it on budget videotape in the mid-80's.

I did manage to clip and save these ads, though. Gotta admit, too, that I love seeing Lorne Greene posed like Superman in that first ad!

LOGAN'S RUN (1977) Opening Titles


I've decided, for the time being, not to do my previously announced episode-by-episode review of the Logan's Run television series. When I came up with that idea, I wasn't aware that the series was readily available on iTunes. I may still write about one or two of them in my forthcoming Favorite Episodes feature, though.

For now, though, here's the opening titles. Someone posted in the comments a while back that they thought it had the worst theme music of any genre show - I disagree. I actually rather like it, even if the melody, for some reason, reminds me of John Williams' "Leia's Theme" from Star Wars....

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Human Adventure is Just Beginning....

Just a few random musings about this blog...

• I finally put a hit counter on this blog to track traffic, and I am astounded. This is, by far, the most-read and most-linked to site in my "Atomic Pulp Network" of pop culture blogs (list over there in the sidebar). It seems to come up most often in Search Engine searches, too.

I guess there's a lot of forty-something geeks out there. :)

Of course, it's also the blog that I've been updating most frequently. It seems that outer space is where my mind is lately.

Still, I am surprised at how many other people seem to be into this stuff. Most of my life, these shows and movies - except Star Wars, maybe - have been generally dismissed with derision by people I ran into. Now, I'm a fan of lots of stuff - 60s spy movies, classic horror films, giant monster movies, private eye fiction - and all of those seemed to be more acceptable/respectable than being a fan of Space: 1999, the original Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers. Hell, even around other science fiction and comic book geeks, mentioning those "old" shows was an invitation to abuse. Nice to finally see that I'm not the only one with such arrested taste....

(Most of you also read - and/or run - role playing gaming blogs. I'm not surprised. I spent a lot of time dungeon crawling back in my teen years, too, and D&D first really started catching on in the late 70s and early 80s, so it's all part & parcel of our shared experience.)

• Oh yeah, I wanted to clarify something from my "Reality is Overrated" post: I don't hate the new Battlestar Galactica. I don't even particularly dislike it. I own the entire series on DVD, and will, one of these days, probably sit down and watch them again. But I won't be rewatching them anywhere near as often as I rewatch episodes of the original series, and I absolutely do prefer the 70s version over the more recent incarnation in most respects. I think it says something that my favorite moments on the new BSG were those that directly referenced or homaged moments and elements from the original.

• I've noticed that those who came of age in the 60's and grew up with Forrest Ackerman's Famous Monster of Filmland magazine and the "Shock Theater" syndication package of old Universal monster movies refer to themselves as "Monster Kids."

Does that make those of us who grew up with Starlog, Star Trek reruns and Star Wars (not yet a new hope), the "Star Kids?"

• Anyway, a huge thanks to everyone who reads this blog. I'm working on my first Favorite Episodes post - "Return of the Fighting 69th" from Season 1 of Buck Rogers In the 25th Century, and it should be up sometime this week. I was going to launch the feature with "War Games" from Space: 1999 since I haven't written much about that show yet, but the passing of Peter Graves over the weekend made me want to bump the Buck episode he guested in to the front of the queue. I'll also be posting some more vintage TV Guide ads from my collection in the next few days.

Making calculations for lightspeed......

Saturday, March 13, 2010

GALAXINA (1980) Theatrical Posters

I reviewed the movie a while back. Here are two of the original theatrical one-sheets for the sci-fi spoof Galaxina, starring the late Dorothy Stratten (who also appeared as "Miss Cosmos" in the Buck Rogers episode "Cruise Ship to the Stars.")

The poster at top was painted by Robert Tanenbaum, who also painted posters for Battlestar Galactica.

Friday, March 12, 2010

FLASH GORDON (1980) "Saviour of the Universe Edition" DVD

"Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"

I make no apologies or excuses for this: Mike Hodge’s Flash Gordon (1980) is one of my all-time favorite movies. Based on the classic newspaper strip by Alex Raymond, the film is a gleefully silly, joyously tongue-in-cheek interplanetary fantasy that never fails to bring a dopey grin to my face. And now, finally, there’s a home video edition that does the movie justice.

When an unknown force from space threatens the Earth, a pro football quarterback named Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones, One Man Force, The Highwayman) and a pretty travel agent by the name of Dale Arden (Melody Anderson, Firewalker), find themselves kidnapped by slightly unhinged ex-NASA scientist Hans Zarkov (Topol, For Your Eyes Only), and taken to the alien world of Mongo. There they meet merciless dictator Ming (Max Von Sydow, Needfull Things), who rules the fantastic world with an iron fist, keeping its various kingdoms constantly warring and thus unable to unite against him. Faced with Earth’s imminent destruction, Flash must find a way to bring the tyrant’s enemies together in rebellion and save his home world.

The film story follows the original strip continuity fairly closely, although screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. (1976 King Kong) obviously can’t take the material very seriously. But that’s all right, because this is one film where a tongue-in-cheek approach actually works. Under the guiding hand of versatile British director Mike Hodges (the original Get Carter, Croupier), the colorful, fetishistic fantasy embraces its campy nature and plays out with infectious good humor.

For Flash, the producers assembled a prestigious supporting cast of Brit and Euro thespians that includes a pre-Bond Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed, Peter Wyngarde, Richard O’Brien, and the gorgeous Ornella Muti, but it’s really Danilo Donati’s set designs and costumes that are the stars of the picture. Blindingly colorful, overly elaborate and utterly decadent, the movie looks exactly like an Alex Raymond or Al Williamson Flash Gordon comic strip come to life. Even the odd choice to get rock gods QUEEN to provide the film’s score works surprisingly well, with their pounding beat giving the film its pulse, electric guitars underlying the excitement of the movie’s various chases and battles.

I saw this film in the theater four times when it was released and have owned it on VHS, laserdisc, and the previously-issued Image DVD, and this 30-year-old production has never, ever looked as good as it does here, on Universal’s "Saviour of the Universe Edition." The studio has given this release an incredibly sharp, perfectly color calibrated, 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, newly remastered and restored. The film’s colors have never been so vibrant. Special effects scenes have been cleaned up, removing virtually all of the era’s telltale matte lines and compositing artifacts. Detail is astounding: I’ve seen this movie dozens of times, and yet, there were a number of background elements, objects and sight gags that I had never before noticed until watching this new transfer. The audio has been pumped up, too, with a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that finally does justice to QUEEN’s triumphant score and the flick’s innovative sound design.

The extra features are a bit disappointing. One would have hoped for a nice, comprehensive retrospective documentary with cast & crew interviews and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, but the closest we get to that is a brief interview with screenwriter Semple, who admits that he never really read the comic strip before writing the script, and thought the whole enterprise was a lark. Fortunately, this is counterbalanced by an interview with acclaimed comics artist Alex Ross (Marvels, Kingdom Come, etc.), who is, quite possibly, the world’s biggest Flash Gordon fan. He speaks with adult eloquence and adolescent enthusiasm about the film, its impact on him and his art, and the pure joy he derives from it. Ross also provides the new cover art for this edition, and a collectible art card by Ross is included in the package. The disc also includes the original theatrical trailer, the first complete chapter of the 1936 Flash Gordon movie serial with Buster Crabbe, and an amazingly lame promo for the short-lived SciFi Channel Flash television series.

Aside from the (only slightly) underwhelming extras, this is the definitive DVD edition of the beloved cult classic. Highly recommended.

Plotting A Course

After four and a half months of being lost in Space, I'm finally beginning to figure out what I want this blog to be. Sure, I'll still be reviewing 70s sci-fi DVDs, TV shows and movies, posting trailers, poster art and Space Babes pin-ups, digging up more old TV Guide and newspaper ads, and writing nostalgically about vintage disco-era toys and comic books... but I think I'll be writing a lot more essays like "25th Century Perspectives" and "Reality is Overrated," examining what I like about these shows and why, thirty + years later, they still resonate with me.

Anyone can just throw scans of old stuff up and say, "Remember this?" and make no mistake: I think that's cool and worthy in itself. Sharing nostalgia is fun. But I want to dig into my own memories a bit, and figure out why the stuff I dug at age 15 still means so much to me. I also want to go back and analyze some of this material from my arguably adult perspective and look at what the creators of these shows were trying to accomplish, what they succeeded at and where they failed.

Don't worry, though, this blog isn't going to go all dry and scholarly. I'm not a scholarly guy. Hell, I'm not even all that deep - a cool model spaceship is all it takes to get me excited about this stuff. But at least if I'm writing these sort of essays, it gives this site a distinctive, personal focus, and that's what blogs are really all about.

Along with these essays, I'm planning a new monthly feature (like Space Babes) - Favorite Episodes. This is exactly what it sounds like - I'll be writing about my personal favorite episodes from 70s sci-fi series, and why I like them best.

I'm also hoping to conduct and post a few interviews with people who worked in the genre.

I hope you'll keep joining me on this journey.

Reality is Overrated

My wife and I were talking this evening as we prepared to eat dinner, and for some reason, the recent Battlestar Galactica remake came up. My wife expressed how disappointed she'd been at the end of the series because by that point, she no longer liked any of the characters. In fact, she so disliked them, that she no longer cared about their fates.

I agreed. And it got me thinking that while the new Galactica may have been a "better" show than the original in most quantifiable ways - arguably better overall production values and effects, more naturalistic acting and more sophisticated writing - and I liked the show okay, I still like the original, 1978 Battlestar Galactica better. Always did. And now I thought I could put my reasons into words.

As I told my wife, the old show may have had plots recycled from old war movies and Westerns, and the dialogue may have been frequently corny, but the characters were more likable. And not only that, they were in exactly the same situation as their 21st century SciFi Channel doppelgangers - their entire civilization had been wiped out, they were at the mercy of a hostile universe and omnipresent threat from the Cylons - but unlike the more "realistic" characters of the remake, the original Adama, Apollo, Starbuck, et al, stood up.

They faced their problems and enemies with a unwavering faith in the strength of the human spirit, and confidence that they would ultimately survive, thrive, and find their place in the universe -- Earth. They believed in - and relied on - family, duty, and their faith. They didn't backstab each other and wallow in self pity. They fought for their survival, and never considered surrender.

I know that in this day and age (ironically, the very future I used to look forward to back in the 70s), heroism is considered obsolete. We're all in this life for ourselves, and everyone else be damned. And if we believe we're right about something, we'll tear down anyone with an opposing view, rather than try and find a mutually-acceptable middle ground. We isolate ourselves from community, and sneer with cynicism at the idea of "good guys" and "bad guys." We know that there's no such thing - just varying degrees of self-interest.

The Colonial survivors of the original Galactica didn't always get along, either. There was corruption and conflict, and differences of opinion about how the fleet should be governed. That Council of Twelve was a right pain in the ass. There was loss - Zack, Serena, the Pegasus (maybe). But... the main characters never gave up hope.

Was it realistic? Well, not in the modern view, I suppose. But it was actually a pretty nice idea, wasn't it? That there was always hope?

That's probably why I love these old shows so much. The original Star Trek, Galactica, Buck Rogers - even Space: 1999. They all showed human beings as standing up to the immensity of a malevolent cosmos and facing it down with dignity and courage. No matter how often the Colonial Warriors got their asses kicked by superior Cylon numbers (or Moonbase Alpha found itself completely at the mercy of super powerful aliens), they kept on fighting.

It's a damned shame that nobility, dignity and heroism seems to have gone out of style, both in our science fiction and our world....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

SPACE Saving

Well, I finally traded in my old Space:1999 DVDs for the Space 1999 - 30th Anniversary Edition Megaset (17DVD).

I know that they're the same transfers as the earlier release (and not the restored, remastered ones that UK fans got), and that the only improvement is the new stereo audio tracks -- but I really needed to make some room on my DVD shelves and this new set takes up only about a third of the space that the original A&E sets did. It's not as colorful, but...

I collect a lot of discs, and shelf space is really becoming an issue. Trading in my old discs at a local movie & music store (Bull Moose) and upgrading to the more compact set was one way to help make room for new discs (I recently did the same with my Farscape collection, as well).

Of course, this 30th Anniversary package also contains the bonus disc with the "Message From Moonbase Alpha" short film, still galleries, and the commentary tracks for three of the episodes, and I didn't have it before, so I got a little more out of the deal than just a bit more storage space. And Amazon had it on sale.

And it gives me an excuse to spin the series again. I have to "check the discs" after all. Want to make sure there's no problems or defects, right?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stuff: Lego STAR WARS II: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY (2006)

Although I own at least five game consoles going back to the Sega Genesis, I really don't play many video games. For one thing, I suck at them. For another, if they're too hard, I just don't have any fun playing them. When I do buy a game, it's usually something that ties into some other franchise I enjoy (James Bond, The Simpsons, etc.)... but usually I end up sucking at those, too, and they sit on the shelf collecting dust.

My wife actually plays more games than I do, and is generally a lot better at them than I am. Dammit.

Anyway, the other day, we stopped by a video store that was going out of business, and picked up some used DVDs and a video game. I'd seen some "trailers" for the Lego Batman video game for the PlayStation 2, and it looked like fun, so we picked up a cheap used copy. After goofing around with it for the evening, I realized that the gameplay was simple enough even for me, and I loved the look and humor of the game. We went back to the store the next day looking for the Lego Indiana Jones game, but they'd sold 'em all.

So we grabbed the Lego Star Wars II game instead. I told my wife I only wanted it if it was the original Star Wars characters - and sure enough, "original" was right there in the title, so we bought it.

I'm really enjoying it. Gameplay is simple and straightforward and doesn't tax my already over-stressed cerebellum very much. It's cute and funny, and I really love that my wife and I can play it together at the same time, since it allows multiple characters in all modes.

I still plan on tracking down a cheap copy of the Lego Indiana Jones game one of these days, but right now, I'm very much enjoying running around the original SW universe, riding banthas, shooting stormtroopers, and cutting jawas in half with my lightsabre.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Captain Apollo by Walt Simonson

I really enjoyed Marvel Comics' Battlestar Galactica series back in the day, especially once writer/artist Walter Simonson took over the creative duties on the book about halfway through its run. I don't know if he was much of a fan of the show,specifically, but he certainly had a flair for space opera, and wrote some damned entertaining adventure stories.


I remember specifically a story arc where Starbuck disappeared for a while, and when he returned to the fleet, he was pursued by an angry, beautiful space pirate queen (of course!), and another storyline where Lt. Jolly had to go undercover to investigate a black market operation within the Colonial fleet.

There was also a great issue with a "Mark III" super-Cylon. Fun stuff, with lovely, distinctly stylized art.

And speaking of that art, here's a portrait of the heroic Captain Apollo by the aforementioned Mister Simonson, "borrowed" from the artist's Facebook page.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gil Gerard & Erin Gray return to BUCK ROGERS


I don't usually post here about new sci-fi projects, but this one is special. Gil Gerard and Erin Gray return to the mythos as the parents of the young, future-hero Buck Rogers in the new, forthcoming webseries by the producers of the Star Trek: New Voyages online adventures.

I really love this clip; it's nice to see Gil and Erin together again, and actually given some real acting to do. I also like that the series looks like it'll be set in the period of the original comic strips. I can't wait.

Official website.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Space Babe: Erin Gray

Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering in the 1979 feature film and television series, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. Ms. Gray's appearance here is probably long-overdue, as there's no question that for many - if not most - of us who entered adolescence in the 70s, it was her and her shimmering, skin-tight spandex outfits that flat-out defined "space babe."

And she was more than a pretty face and figure. In the first season of the series, she was Earth's first line of defense, in charge of the planet's starfighter squadrons. She was smart, competent, charming, funny, flirty - and pure dynamite in a dogfight.

Erin Gray, a successful and popular print model, went from Buck Rogers to a steady career as a popular guest star on television and in film, and was a regular on the sitcom Silver Spoons. I've heard that she and Gil Gerard are participating in the forthcoming Buck Rogers web series. I can't wait to see it.

I got to meet Ms. Gray about seven years or so ago at the MegaCon convention in Orlando, and I was surprised to see that she'd barely aged a day, still beautiful and charming. She was very gracious, even when I stammered out something about having her picture pinned up in my bedroom when I was a teen, and signed a photo for me that hangs in a place of honor on my wall.