Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Anniversaries: Twilight Zone and Monty Python

There are two anniversaries this month: the fiftieth anniversary of Twilight Zone and the fortieth anniversary of Monty Python. They're both speculative fiction, right? TZ obviously is. MP has angry Frenchmen catapulting cows over a castle wall at Englishmen. That's speculative, right? Here's a silly tourist tossing a cow from Duone Castle on Monty Python Day.

TZ, the American classic TV show, has been in first-run or reruns nearly continuously for fifty years. It is the inventor of many a trope that annoys fiction editors these days, but inspires new writers and amuses others. See the Jar of Tang writing trope at the SFWA.org's Turkey City Lexicon article, and check the "surprise or twist ending" section in Strange Horizon's excellent Stories We've Seen Too Often article.

Monty Python is a generic term for a the British too-funny television series and movies. They are an excellent distraction from writing or reading. Oh, you're from Mars and never heard of it? Here's the Dead Parrot Sketch. The text is good, but you must see/hear John Cleese and Michael Palin performing the sketch.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Evolution of Cult TV

Here is part one and two of an Entertainment Weekly story about cult television. The linchpin of the article is Lost, the cult TV show. The article shows how the meaning of 'cult TV' has changed over time, from a failed experiment that caught a second wind (such as Star Trek), to a more calculated one:

Throughout the 1990s, cult TV began morphing into something more than just a category of brilliant-but-canceled-yet-fondly-recalled programs. "Cult" became a sensibility, made sexy by the rise of "alternative culture" and made marketable by a paradigm shift toward demo-targeted niche marketing. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (1990-1991) quickly went from phenomenon to joke, yet nonetheless proved....(more)

Some of the shows mentioned in the article include the usual suspects, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and The Prisoner. Also mentioned are Doctor Who, The Stand, The Dark Tower, and others.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Emmy Awards Genre Nominees

SF Scope has assembled a nice list of the Emmy Awards nominees that they consider genre productions. Kicking mainstream hindquarters is 24, with its 6 nominations this year and a total of 63 since 2002.

Here are the Emmy Awards genre nominees.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hulu Bests Fox with Simpsons in Advertising Rates

This is not a bellwether event, perhaps, since demographics plays such a vital part in interpreting it, but the cost of advertising during "The Simpsons" is now higher on Internet service Hulu.com and TV.com than on the Fox network by about twice. This PC World article (by way of SlashDot) exposes other issues which make interpretation difficult: 37 seconds of advertising during an online show versus 9 minutes during a TV/cable broadcast, smaller online viewing audience, and others. No doubt, the chins of many network executives are being scratched contemplatively.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

SF/F TV Broadcast Shows for 2009/2010

SFF World has a list of science fiction and fantasy shows for the 2009/2010 season (U.S.), including new and returning shows. Some of the highlights of the new shows include:

  • ABC: Eastwick (based on the John Updike novel and movie "Witches of Eastwick")
  • ABC: Flash Forward (based on Robert J. Sawyer SF novel)
  • CBS: Merlin (BBC import)

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Doctor Who Comes to the U.S.

According to this report, BBC America will bring the 2009 Doctor Who specials and other features to the U.S. Says the article:

“The outstanding quality of the Doctor Who scripts from Russell T Davies and the on-screen dynamic that David Tennant brings to the role are a magic combination for our viewers.

Wikipedia: The programme depicts the adventures of a mysterious alien time-traveller known as "the Doctor" who travels in his space and time-ship, the TARDIS, which normally appears from the exterior to be a blue 1950s police box. With his companions, he explores time and space, solving problems, facing monsters and righting wrongs.

BBC America will also air some episodes of the related Torchwood series. According to Wikipedia, Torchwood:

...deals with the machinations and activities of the Cardiff branch of the fictional Torchwood Institute, who deal mainly with incidents involving extraterrestrials.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Best/Worst Science in Film/TV

SF Signal Mind Meld has a collection of opinions about the best and worst science in film and television. You can add your own comments if you wish. There is presently an eclectic collection of opinion, with fans, a Technology Review editor, a woman who has rejected several of my stories (okay, if you must know, Cat Rambo), SF great Ben Bova (but he doesn't watch TV), a former CERN physicist...eclectic.

Bonus: a grotesque chair made from grizzly bears (note the six legs), presented to US President Johnson in 1865. Keep reading...bonuses are always possible.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Syfy Sysified Sci Fi? President of Sci Fi Channel Answers

Over at Sci Fi Wire, the story about the name change of the Sci Fi Channel to SyFy generated about 1000 comments (mostly negative). I only wrote 850 of them...no, nary a one did I write. Sci Fi Wire questioned Sci Fi Channel president Dave Howe. The main motivation seemed to be branding and expansion to other markets. You can't brand "Sci Fi" anywhere, he says. You may find the rest of the conversation interesting. The rest of the logo "Imagine Greater" seems to follow a recent trend of catchy but ungrammatical phrases.

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Battle Star Galactica Invades the United Nations!

Since we're dangerously close to April 1, I was tempted to say this is a story hoax, but, no, March Madness (U.S. college basketball frenzy), isn't even over. Apparently, the United Nations hosted the Battle Star Galactica cast and discussed matters of universal scope. Says Whoopi Goldberg: "The UN is more than a building with fantastic curtains..."

The point of the conversation, according to the article, was that BSG (as the cool kids call it) often dealt with moral topics that the UN mismanages...um...faces head on, like military incursions, race relations (even if interplanetary), the full meaning of human, abortion and religion (the later two according to an online comment to the article), and so on.

Last Friday was the series-finale after a four-year run.

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