RIP John Saxon

#RIP: actor John Saxon has died at the age of 84. He played Sador in #BattleBeyondTheStars, Consul Tarrant in #TheFantasticJourney (TV series), Captain Radl in #WonderWoman (TV series), Nedlick in #TheBionicWoman, Nedlick / Maj. Frederick Sloan in #TheSixMillionDollarMan, Capt. Anthony Vico in #StrangeNewWorld (TV movie), Dylan Hunt in #PlanetEarth (TV movie), Ianto in NightGallery, Marco Polo in #TheTimeTunnel, Allan Brenner in the sci-fi / horror film #QueenOfBlood, Dr. Jack Costain in the sci-fi / horror film #BloodBeastFromOuterSpace, Michael Anderson / Cyrano de Bergerac / Monsieur Berandt Sabatier /  Evan Watkins / Professor Harold DeHaven / Colin McArthur / Dr. Roger Sullivan in #FantasyIsland, Dudley Stone in #TheRayBradburyTheater, Benjamin O’Connell in #Monsters (TV series), himself in #WesCravensNewNightmare, & more.

Our condolences to his family, friends and fans. May he rest in peace.

John Saxon

John Saxon (1935 – 2020)

References

2019 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Artist Deaths

We come again to that time of year when we honor and remember those #SciFi & #Fantasy artists that the world has lost over the past year. 2019 hasn’t been an easy year, as we lost 32 artists, which was more than 2018. While these artists may be gone, their legacies will never be forgotten for generations to come.

Most of the sci-fi & fantasy franchises impacted by these deaths are listed below.

  • A Christmas Carol / Scrooge
  • Airwolf
  • Alf
  • Babylon 5
  • Battle Beyond the Stars
  • Beastmaster
  • Big Fish
  • Bionic Woman
  • The Black Hole
  • Blade Runner
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
  • Charmed
  • Corpse Bride
  • D.C. Comics (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman)
  • Damnation Alley
  • Dark Shadows
  • Delivering Milo
  • Doctor Who
  • Dudes & Dragons
  • Dune
  • Earth 2
  • Earth Final Conflict
  • Excalibur
  • Faerie Tale Theatre
  • Fantasy Island
  • The Fifth Element
  • I Dream of Jeannie
  • Joe 90
  • Knight Rider
  • Krull
  • Logan’s Run
  • Lost in Space
  • Marvel Comics (Incredible Hulk)
  • Men in Black
  • Millennium
  • My Favorite Martian
  • Night Man
  • The People that Time Forgot
  • Planet of the Apes
  • Power Rangers
  • Quantum Leap
  • RoboCop
  • Singularity
  • Six Million Dollar Man
  • Sliders
  • Smallville
  • Space 1999
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Stargate SG1
  • THX 1138
  • Time Bandits
  • Thunderbirds
  • True Blood
  • UFO (Gerry Anderson’s)
  • Viper
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  • Warlords of the Deep
  • Willy Wonka
  • The X-Files

Our condolences to all of the families, friends & fans of the following artists that we lost in 2019.

January

Actor & director James Frawley died at the age of 82 on January 25, 2019. He directed episodes of #Smallville, #Earth2 & #FaerieTaleTheatre. He also played Mr. Frisby in #MyFavoriteMartian, Manolo / Semenev / Smiling Jack in #VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea, Pvt. Renalto in #TheOuterLimits; & more.

James Frawley

James Frawley (1936-2019)

February

British actor Clive Swift died at the age of 82 on Feb. 1, 2019. He played Jobel / Mr. Cooper in #DoctorWho, Ector in #Excalibur, Tony Doran in #1990, Snug in #AMidsummersNightDream, & much more, including Richard Bucket in the long-running Brit-com #KeepingUpAppearances.

Clive Swift

Clive Swift (1936-2019)

Actor Albert Finney died at the age of 82 on Feb. 8, 2019. He played Ebenezer Scrooge in #Scrooge, Elmore Dahl in #DeliveringMilo, Ed Bloom in #BigFish, Finis Everglot (voice) in #CorpseBride, & much more.

Albert Finney (1936-2019)

Albert Finney (1936-2019)

Actor Jan-Michael Vincent died at the age of 74 on Feb. 10, 2019. He played Stringfellow Hawke in #Airwolf, Tanner in #DamnationAlley, & much more, including playing Steve McKenna in the crime-thriller #TheMechanic with Charles Bronson among his many credits.

Jan-Michael Vincent

Jan-Michael Vincent (1945-2019)

Actor Carmen Argenziano died at the age of 75 on Feb. 11, 2019. He played Gen. Jacob Carter / Selmak in #StargateSG1, Urza Jaddo in #Babylon5, Damien Walsh in #Singularity, Mr. Corleone in #NightMan, King Kusari in #BionicWoman, & much more.

Carmen Argenziano

Carmen Argenziano (1943-2019)

Actor Morgan Woodward died at the age of 93 on Feb. 24, 2019. He played Capt. Tracy / Dr. Simon van Gelder in #StarTrek #TOS, Cayman in #BattleBeyondTheStars, Old Harry Cokely in #TheXFiles, Iron Lung Man in #Millennium, Sheriff Winston in #KnightRider, Uncle Jack / Nick Hall / Tribal Elder / Marshall Victor Grennan in #FantasyIsland, Martin in #PlanetOfTheApes (TV series), Morgan in #LogansRun (TV series), Carlton Tanner in #ProjectUFO, Ben Madrid in #TheIncredibleHulk, & much more.

Morgan Woodward

Morgan Woodward (1925-2019)

March

Actress Katherine Helmond died at the age of 89 on March 2, 2019. She played Mrs. Ogre in #TimeBandits, Caroline Bellefleur in #TrueBlood, Dr. Harkens in #BionicWoman, Laura Walters in #FantasyIsland, & much more, including two well known TV sitcom roles: Jessica Tate in #Soap, and Lois Whelan in #EverybodyLovesRaymond.

Katherine Helmond

Katherine Helmond (1929-2019)

Actor Luke Perry died at the untimely age of 52 on March 4, 2019. He played Billy in #TheFifthElement, Pike in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer, Lorash in #DudesAndDragons, & much more, including his very long run of playing Dylan McCay / Billy McCoy / Peter Brinkley in romance-drama “Beverly Hills, 90210”.

Luke Perry

Luke Perry (1966-2019)

Actor Shane Rimmer has died at the age of 89 on March 29, 2019. Born May 28, 1929, Shane Rimmer voiced the character of Scott Tracy in #Thunderbirds. He also played an InCom Engineer in “#StarWars IV: #ANewHope”, Hogan in #ThePeopleThatTimeForgot, Capt. Daniels in #WarlordsOfTheDeep, Seth Harper in #DoctorWho, an Eagle Pilot / Maintenance Section Voice / James Kelly / Voice of Bannion in #Space1999, a CIA agent / Lt. Bill Johnson / an alien / Seagull X-Ray co-pilot in Gerry Anderson’s #UFO, Older Gotham Water Board Technician in #BatmanBegins, Colonel in #AlienAutopsy, Board Member 1 in #DarkShadows, E. J. Saggs in #SpaceTruckers, Naval Transport Commander in #Superman (1978), Controller #2 in #SupermanII, state policeman in #SupermanIII, voiced several characters in #CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons, voiced several characters in #Joe90, played Rusty / team executive in #Rollerball (1975), played Redneck (Melvin) in #MoronsFromOuterSpace, & much more, including playing Cmdr. Carter in the James Bond movie #TheSpyWhoLovedMe.

Shane Rimmer

Shane Rimmer (1929-2019)

April

#SciFi author Vonda N. McIntyre died on April 1, 2019, at the age of 70. Her works include the following sci-fi novels:

  • “The Exile Waiting” (1975)
  • “Dreamsnake” (1978)
  • “Superluminal” (1983)
  • “The Bride” (1985)
  • “Barbary” (1986)
  • “The Moon and the Sun” (1997)

She also wrote the “Starfarers” series of novels:

  • “Starfarers” (1989)
  • “Transition” (1991)
  • “Metaphase” (1992)
  • “Nautilus” (1994)

She wrote the novelizations for the several #StarTrek movies:

  • “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn” (1982)
  • “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock” (1984)
  • “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986)

She also wrote the #StarWars novel “The Crystal Star” (1994). “Fireflood and Other Stories” (1979) is a collection of her short stories.

She won the Nebula Award & was nominated for the Hugo Award for her 1974 short story “Of Mist, Grass and Sand”. She won the Hugo Award & Nebula Award both for Best Novel for “Dreamscape” in 1979. Robert A. Heinlein in part dedicated his novel “Friday” to Vonda in 1982. She won the Nebula Award for her novel “The Moon and the Sun” in 1998.

Vonda N. McIntyr

Vonda N. McIntyr (1948-2019)

Actor Peter Mayhew died at the age of 74 on April 30, 2019. He played the iconic #StarWars character #Chewbacca in the films #ANewHope (Ep. IV, 1977), #TheEmpireStrikesBack (Ep V, 1980), #ReturnOfTheJedi (Ep. VI, 1983) & #RevengeOfTheSith (Ep. III, 2005). He also appeared in the #HolidaySpecial (1978) and voiced Chewbacca in the film #TheForceAwakens (Ep. VII, 2015), as well as voicing Chewbacca in 1 episode of #TheCloneWars. He also appeared as the Minoton in #SinbadAndTheEyeOfTheTiger (1977).

Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew (1944-2019)

May

Actor Pua Magasiva died at the age of 38 on May 11, 2019. He played Shane Clarke / Red Wind Ranger in “#PowerRangers Ninja Storm” & “Power Rangers #DinoThunder”; & more.

Pua Magasiva

Pua Magasiva (1980 – 2019)

June

Actress Stephanie Niznik passed away at the age of 52 on June 23, 2019. She played Lt. Peril in “#StarTrek IX: #Insurrection”, the Wraith in #Enterprise; Dr. Evelyn Ariza in #Lost; Lena Weisinger in #Viper; Debra Carbol in #Sliders; & much more, including playing Nina Feeney in 82 episodes of the drama TV series #Everwood.

Stephanie Niznik

Stephanie Niznik (1967-2019)

Actor Max Wright died at the age of 75 on June 26, 2019. Born in 1943, he played the main character Willie Tanner in the long-running TV sitcom #Alf. He also played Robin Starveling in #AMidsummersNightDream (1999), Berger in #TheShadow, Doc Kinman in #QuantumLeap, Prince Heinrick in #FaerieTaleTheatre, Dick Stetmeyer in #MisfitsOfScience, & more.

Max Wright

Max Wright (1943-2019)

July

Actor Rip Torn passed away on July 9, 2019 at the age of 88. He played Zed in #MenInBlack I & II, large headed alien at funeral in “Men in Black III”; Larraby in #Zoom; Maax in #Beastmaster; Bob Diamond in #DefendingYourLife; Bud Kruger in “#Airplane II: The Sequel”; Nathan Bryce in #TheManWhoFellToEarth; the CEO in “#Robocop 3”; & much more.

Rip Torn

Rip Torn (1931-2019)

Actor Freddie Jones died at the age of 91 on July 9, 2019. He played Thufir Hawat in #Dune, Ynyr in #Krull, Dr. Charles Logan in #Space1999, & more, including playing Sandy Thomas in the long-running British TV series #Emmerdale from 2005 to 2018 (for a total of 632 episodes). He also appeared in the drama #TheElephantMan (which received 8 Oscar nominations) and the action-thriller #Firefox.

Freddie Jones

Freddie Jones (1927-2019)

Actress Diane Nickerson passed away at the age of 62 on July 11, 2019. She played Violet Beauregarde in #WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory, Amy Collins in #DarkShadows (71 episodes), & more, including playing Pamela Harris in an episode of #TheBradyBunch and as Allison in the educational comedy TV show #TheElectricCompany (130 episodes).

Denise Nickerson

Denise Nickerson (1957-2019)

Actor David Hedison has died at the age of 92 on July 18, 2019. He played Capt. Lee B. Crane in #VoyageToTheBottomOfTheSea, Ed Malone in #TheLostWorld, Andre Delambre in #TheFly (1958), Evan Robly in #WonderWoman (TV series), Frederick Flanagan in #ProjectUFO, Daniel Garman / Phillip Camden / Captain John Day / David Tabori / Karl Dixon / Claude Duncan / Carlyle Cranston in #FantasyIsland, Theodore Cooper in #KnightRider, & much more, including playing Felix Leiter in 2 James Bond films: #LiveAndLetDie & #LicenseToKill.

David Hedison

David Hedison (1927-2019)

Actor Rutger Hauer died at the age of 75 on July 19, 2019. He played Roy Batty in #BladeRunner, President of the World State Federation in #ValerianAndTheCityOfAThousandPlanets, Niall Brigant in #TrueBlood, Earle in #BatmanBegins, Morgan Edge in #Smallville, King Vortigern in #Merlin, Bog in #Lexx, Lothos in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer, Navarre in #Ladyhawke, & more.

Rutger Hauer

Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

Actor Jeremy Kemp died at the age of 84 on July 19, 2019. He played Robert Picard (Jean-Luc’s older brother) in one of the most memorable & powerful episodes of #StarTrek #TNG, Dr. Ernst Linden in #Space1999, Hissah Zul in #Conan (TV series), & more, including playing PC Bob Steele / vagrant in the British police drama TV show “Z Cars”.

Jeremy Kemp

Jeremy Kemp (1935-2019)

August

Actress Barbara March (a.k.a., Barbara Scarfe), died on Aug. 11, 2019, at the age of 65. She played Lursa of the House of Duras in #StarTrek #TNG, #DS9, & “Star Trek VII: #Generations”; & more, including work on stage. She was also a writer.

Barbara March (a.k.a., Barbara Scarfe)

Barbara March (a.k.a., Barbara Scarfe; 1953-2019)

September

Actor Robert Axelrod has died at the age of 70 on Sept. 7, 2019. He voiced Lord Zedd in “#MightyMorphinPowerRangers: The Movie”; Lord Zedd / Finster “Might Morphin #PowerRangers” (TV series), “Power Rangers #Zeo”, “Power Rangers in Space”; Mutantrum in “Power Rangers #LostGalaxy”; Thin Man in “Power Rangers #TimeForce”; played Egrid in #StarTrek #Voyager; racially confused veteran in #TheRevenant; Shimazaki (voice) in #Akira; Frank in #AmazingStories; & more, including a lot more voice work.

Robert Axelrod (1949-2019)

Robert Axelrod (1949-2019)

Actor Aron Eisenberg at the age of 50 on Sept. 21, 2019. Born on January 6, 1969, he played Nog & a newspaper vendor in “#StarTrek #DS9”, Kar in #Voyager; Aaron in #TalesFromTheCrypt; & more.

Aron Eisenberg

Aron Eisenberg (1969-2019)

Actor Sid Haig has died at the age of 80 on Sept. 21, 2019. Born on July 14, 1939, he was best known for his work in horror, but he did perform in several #SciFi & #Fantasy works, including playing the First Lawgiver in #StarTrek #TOS (ep. #TheReturnOfTheArchons), Royal Apothecary in #Batman (1966 TV series), guard / Bruce / Turk in #GetSmart, NCH in #THX1138, Dragos in #JasonOfStarCommand, Pratt / Spirot in #BuckRogersInThe25thCentury, Otto / Harlen / Hakeem in #FantasyIsland, 1st gang member in #Automan, Swarthy Man in #MisfitsOfScience, 3rd passenger in #TheSixMillionDollarMan, the genie in #ElectraWomanAndDynaGirl, & more, including an appearance in the James Bond film #DiamondsAreForever. He also played Texas in the nighttime soap opera #MaryHartmanMaryHartman, as well as Captain Spaulding in the horror flick #HouseOf1000Corpses.

Sid Haig

Sig Haig (1939 – 2019)

Actor Jack Donner died on Sept. 21, 2019 at the age of 90. He played Romulan Subcommander Tal in #StarTrek #TOS, a Vulcan priest in #Enterprise; Commander Kinwon in “#PowerRangers in Space”; Joe in #IDreamOfJeannie; the courier in #GetSmart; master of ceremonies in #MyFavoriteMartian; man in hospital room in #GhostWhisperer; in #IDreamOfJeannie, Judge Renault in #Charmed; Morris in #TheInvisible; Clayton Wheeler in #Roswell; cleric #1 in #BuffyTheVampireSlayer (TV series); blind man in #Conan (TV series); & more.

Jack Donner

Jack Donner (1928-2019)

October

Actress & singer Diahann Carroll died at the age of 84 on Oct. 4, 2019. She played the hologram Mermeia in “The #StarWars #HolidaySpecial”, Grace Willis in #TouchedByAnAngel, & more.

Diahann Carroll

Diahann Carroll (1935-2019)

Actor Robert Forster has died at the age of 78 on Oct. 11, 2019. He played Capt. Dan Holland in #TheBlackHole, Arthur Petrelli in #Heroes, Robert Bold in #Automata, Frank Shepherd in #Intruders, Sheriff Frank Truman in #TwinPeaks (2017), Sergeant Volkom in #GhostsOfGirlfriendsPast, Yates in #Peacemaker, Gary Cooley in #TalesFromTheDarkside, & more.

Robert Forster

Robert Forster (1941-2019)

November

Actor Michael J. Pollard died at the age of 80 on Nov. 20, 2019. He played Jahn in “#StarTrek: #TOS”, the boy in #LostInSpace, Herman in #Scrooged, Aeolus in #TheOdyssey (1997 miniseries), & much more, including Bug Bailey in #DickTracy. His breakout role was playing C.W. Moss, the accomplice-turned-snitch, in the 1967 film #BonnieAndClyde that starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. He also played Stucky in the 2003 horror film #HouseOf1000Corpses.

Michael J. Pollard

Michael J. Pollard (1939-2019)

December

Writer & story editor D.C. Fontana died at the age of 80 on Dec. 2, 2019. She was one of the key writers who worked on “#StarTrek: #TheOriginalSeries” in the 1960s, helping to bring Gene Roddenberry’s vision to life. She also worked on later “Star Trek” TV series. A full list of her episode writing & editing credits follows:

TOS:

  • “Charlie X”
  • “Tomorrow is Yesterday“
  • “The Side of Paradise“
  • “Friday’s Child“”
  • “Journey to Babel“
  • “By Any Other Name“
  • “The Ultimate Computer“
  • “The Enterprise Incident“
  • “That Which Survives“
  • “The Way to Eden”

TAS:

  • “Yesteryear”

TNG:

  • “Encounter at Farpoint”
  • “The Naked Now”
  • “Lonely Among Us”
  • “Too Short a Season”
  • “Heart of Glory”

DS9:

  • “Dax”

She also wrote 3 episodes of #Babylon5; 2 episodes of #TheSixMillionDollarMan; 1 episode of #LandOfTheLost; 3 episodes of #LogansRun (TV series); 1 episode of #BuckRogersInThe25thCentury; 1 episode of #WarOfTheWorlds (TV series); 1 episode of #EarthFinalConflict; & much more.

D.C. Fontana

D.C. Fontana (1939 – 2019)

Actor Robert Walker, Jr. passed away at the age of 79 on Dec. 5, 2019. He played Charlie Evans in “#StarTrek: #TOS”, Cloche / Bell in #TheSixMillionDollarMan, Billy the Kid (William H. Bonney) in #TheTimeTunnel, & more.

Robert Walker, Jr.

Robert Walker, Jr. (1940-2019)

Actor René Auberjonois died at the age of 79 on Dec. 8, 2019. He played Col. West in “#StarTrek VI: #TheUndiscoveredCountry”, Odo / Douglas Pabst / Curzon Dax in #DS9, Ezral in #Enterprise; Dr. Burton in #BatmanForever; Dlavan in #TheOuterLimits; Hugo Miller in #Warehouse13; Alar in #StargateSG1; Artemus Bradford in #InspectorGadget (1999 movie); King Boris / King Ulrich in #FaerieTaleTheatre; Kimbal in #WonderWoman (TV series); Havergal in #ManFromAtlantis; Pierre Lambert in #TheBionicWoman; Bagley in #KingKing (1976); William Sharstead in #NightGallery; & much more, including voice work for many animated series. (His 1st major role was playing Father Mulcahy in the 1970 movie #MASH. He also played Paul Lewiston in the comedic crime-drama #BostonLegal alongside William Shatner.)

René Auberjonois

René Auberjonois (1940-2019)

Visionary conceptual futurist artist Syd Mead passed away on Dec. 30, 2019 at the age of 86. He worked in the art departments for a number of #SciFi & #fantasy films, including “#StarTrek: #TheMotionPicture”, #BladeRunner, #Tron, #2010, #Aliens, #Timecop, #MissionToMars, #Elysium, #Tomorrowland, #BladeRunner2049, & more.

Syd Mead

Syd Mead (1933 – 2019)

References

Farewell to “The Big Bang Theory”

From the time that the first episode of the TV sitcom #TheBigBangTheory first aired on Sept. 24, 2007, we were hooked. The main characters with all their quirks and their love of #SciFi & #Fantasy drew us in to watch every episode that aired, including the final episode that just aired this evening.

When it was first announced that the 12th season would be final season of “The Big Bang Theory”, admittedly, we weren’t happy; but at the same time, we know that every story eventually comes to an end. To their credit, the final episode did in no way disappoint. If anything, it only made saying goodbye to the these quirky characters a little more difficult.

So, we’d like to take a moment to thank Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady for creating this fantastic TV series. Next, we’d like to thank each of the main actors who brought these wonderful characters to life:

  • Johnny Galecki as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter
  • Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper
  • Kaley Cuoco as Penny Hofstadter
  • Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz
  • Kunal Nayyar as Raj Koothrappali
  • Melissa Rauch as Bernadette Rostenkowski Wolowitz
  • Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler Cooper

We’d also like to thank these actors for playing portraying these fantastic recurring characters:

  • Kevin Sussman as Stuart Bloom
  • Carol Ann Susi (1952-2014) as Debbie Wolowitz
  • John Ross Bowie as Barry Kripke
  • Laura Spencer as Emily Sweeney
  • Wil Weaton as Wil Weaton
  • Brian George as Dr. V.M. Koothrappali
  • Christine Baranski as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter
  • Laurie Metcalf as Mary Cooper

We also thank all of the other actors, the directors, producers, writers, and everyone else who brought this TV series to life.

Farewell from some very thankful fans.

The Big Bang Theory

“The Big Bang Theory” (2007 – 2019)

References

“Game of Thrones” & the Infamous Starbucks Coffee Cup

Many fans of the hugely popular #HBO #fantasy series #GameOfThrones weren’t too happy during the airing of the 8th season’s episode 4 entitled “The Last of the Starks” on the evening of May 5, 2019 when what appeared to be a #Starbucks’ paper coffee cup with a plastic lid was on the table in front of the seated character Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) during a tavern scene:

"Game of Thrones" Starbucks Coffee Cupq

“Game of Thrones”, Season 8, Ep. 4: Highlighted Starbucks Coffee Cup

How unhappy are fans with this particular episode of “Game of Thrones”? Well, on IMDb,  every episode (beginning from Season 1, Ep. 1) has a rating of at least an 8.0. Many of the episodes have ratings well above a 9.0. But, how did fans rate Season 8, Ep. 4, “The Last of the Starks”? A measly 6.9. This is the first episode on the 8-year history of the series to earn a rating not only below an 8.0 on IMDb.com, but also a rating below a 7.0.

This episode also didn’t do well on RottenTomatoes, where it received a very low 57%. However, this isn’t actually the lowest rated episode on RottenTomatoes: that honor (or dishonor) goes to Season 5, Ep. 6. “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, which has a very low 54% rating. But, similar to IMDb, nearly all of the other episodes have a high ratings on RottenTomatoes, typically over 90%.

Now, while we can’t say for certain whether or not the infamous Starbucks coffee cup is the reason for the lower ratings for this particular episode, it is very likely a factor as it also made the national news and was laughed about quite a bit on late-night TV shows.

From “Good Morning America”:

From Jimmy Kimmel:

From Stephen Colbert (the 2nd half of the video):

References

“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Leaving Netflix in April

The animated TV series “#StarWars: #TheCloneWars” will be leaving #Netflix as of Sunday, April 7, 2019. The series, whose five full seasons were originally aired on the “Cartoon Network” from 2008-2013, was picked up by Netflix in 2014 and included a previously unaired partial 6th season that Netflix had exclusive rights to.

With Disney preparing to get its own streaming service up & running soon, the removal of “The Clone Wars” from Netflix isn’t surprising.

References

“Star Wars Resistance”: Is it Too Lighthearted, Comedic and Juvenile?

With “Star Wars Resistance” now on a holiday hiatus, let’s take a look at how well this new #StarWars animated series is doing as compared with its highly successful and well-loved predecessors: #TheCloneWars and #Rebels. For many, #Resistance is a departure from what many longtime franchise fans expected. For comparison, let’s recap its animated predecessors.

  • “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (which aired from 2008-2013 on the Cartoon Network, then had a shortened sixth season on Netflix) was created by George Lucas with supervising director Dave Filoni. The series focused on primarily upon Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka Tano, various clone troopers, other Jedi, Separatists, etc. during the Clone War between movies II and III. The series featured many battles and encounters between the Jedi and various Sith and other dark Force users.
  • “Star Wars Rebels” (which aired from 2014-2018 on the DisneyXD network) was co-created by Dave Filoni, who was also an executive producer until season 3 when he was promoted to a higher position within LucasFilm Animation. This series began 15 years after the end of the Clone War and start of the Galactic Empire and featured a brand new set of characters to the “Star Wars” franchise: Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus (a former Jedi), Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren (a Mandalorian), Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios and their older droid known as Chopper. The group begins to fight the Empire and helps to create the Rebel Alliance.

While the animation styles for “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” were different, both used high-quality animation. Both series also featured a lot of elements common to the “Star Wars” franchise: fighting with light sabers, space battles, fighting the Sith, the more scummy elements, etc. Thus, both series attracted both children and adults viewers alike.

Both “The Clone Wars and “Rebels” have high ratings from viewers:

  • “The Clone Wars”: 8.1 out of 10 (over 38,000 votes) on IMDb; 94% Tomatometer with 89% audience score on RottenTomatoes.
  • “Rebels”: 8.0 out of 10 (over 21,000 votes) on IMDb; 100% TomatoMeter with 83% audience score on RottenTomatoes.

Now let’s look at “Star Wars Resistance” and what makes it so different:

  • “Star Wars Resistance” (which began airing in 2018 on the DisneyXD network) was created solely by Dave Filoni. The series takes place decades after the events of “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi” and 6 months before the events of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” occur. Thus, there is no current war. Part of the galaxy is governed by the New Republic, and part of it under the control of the First Order. Cameron Poe (who is not a regular character) assigns a young pilot named Kazuda Xiono to spy on possible First Order sympathizers. on the independent refueling station named Colossus on the outer rim planet of Castilon. Kazuda is young (maybe early 20’s), but acts more like a teenager. He spends much of his time with mechanics & pilots working on their own ships.

Given that this animated series is supposed to occur only 6 months before the events of “Star Wars VII”, its overall lightheartedness and tendency towards comic relief is inconsistent with the seriousness and grave threat that is present at the beginning of “Star Wars VII”. This lightheartedness & overuse of comic relief has given the impression that the series is geared towards a very young audience. It’s use of Japanese-style animation supports this impression. Additionally, the apparent lack of adults discussing this series on social media (unlike when its predecessors were airing) also suggests that the series has low appeal to adults who are long-time fans of the franchise.

Taking a look at the show’s ratings may give more clues:

  • “Resistance”: 4.7 out of 10 (over 1400 votes) on IMDb; 92% TomatoMeter and 77% audience score on RottenTomatoes.

While the scores on RottenTomatoes are not significantly lower for “Resistance” as compared with “The Clones Wars” and “Rebels”, its IMDb rating is and the total number of voters is also significantly low. This low number of voters on IMDb implies fewer adults watching the series than its predecessors.

This reduced viewership by adults can be demonstrated by the average number of viewers watching the first season episodes of “Resistance”: approximately 400,000 viewers per episode. By comparison, “Rebels” had an average number of 825,000 viewers per episode for its first season, and “The Clone Wars” had an average number of 2.75 million viewers per episode for its first season. Thus, the first season of “Resistance” has 48.5% of the viewers that “Rebels” had and only 14.5% of the viewers that “The Clone Wars” had.

Thus, it does seem that the more lighthearted, comedic and juvenile approach that has been applied to “Star Wars Resistance” as compared with its predecessors has not benefitted the series. Had the series applied the same seriousness as its predecessors, it would probably have more viewers and a higher rating on IMDb. Only time will tell how long this series will last.

Star Wars Rebels

References

No New “Doctor Who” in 2019; Show on Hiatus until 2020

The #BBC announced several hours ago that the very popular #DoctorWho TV series will not have a new season in 2019. Instead, it won’t return until 2020. The apparent reason for this was reported by Lizo Mzimba, the BBC’s entertainment correspondent, who said that while there was “a recognition that fans might want a series every single year, Doctor Who has almost uniquely complex filming requirements and a lengthy post-production period”.

Also, instead of a Christmas special as has been done since the show returned in 2005, a New Years Day show will be broadcast instead.

Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor Who

References

Lost “Doctor Who” Story Resurrected as Animation

A 4-episode #DoctorWho story featuring the 2nd Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) that had been erased by the BBC before it realized the show’s value has been resurrected in animation form after a complete audio recording of the story was found, along with stills of the story.

The story is called “The Macra Terror”. In it, the Doctor and his companions Polly (played by Anneke Wills), Ben Jackson (played by Michael Craze) and Jamie McCrimmon (played by Frazer Hines) arrive on a human colony in the far future. Although the colony appears to be a giant holiday camp for rest and relaxation, it has actually been infiltrated by a race of giant parasitic crab-like creatures called the Macra, who have brainwashed the people to serve them and create a special gas they need.

The Macra have only returned to ‘Doctor Who’ in one other story: they were featured 40 years after their 1967 debut in the 2007 episode ‘Gridlock’ that featured the 10th Doctor played by David Tennant.

The new animation will be available for purchase on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download beginning on March 18, 2019.

References

How the 1988 Writers’ Strike Forever Changed the Borg

Anyone familiar with #StarTrek probably knows who the #Borg are: a fictional race of #cyborgs governed by a hive mind with no individuality whatsoever. While they were introduced in the second season of “#StarTrek: #TheNextGeneration”, were the Borg as we know them the same as what had been originally conceived? No, they weren’t.

borg-display

The late producer & writer Maurice Hurley (1939 – 2015), who worked on TNG during its first and second seasons, had something very different in mind for the Borg. His original idea was partially captured in the final episode of the show’s first season (entitled “The Neutral Zone”). He originally intended that episode to be the first part of a two-part ark that would then open the show’s second season. But that ark never happen. Instead, only part of Hurley’s original idea was used: the Enterprise travels to the Romulan Neutral Zone to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several outposts, where the Enterprise encounters the Romulans (their first appearance in TNG), who are also investigating similar disappearances.

What happened with Hurley’s original idea? The writers strike by the Writers Guild of America happened in 1988.

Writers Strike 1988

Image from the 1988 Writers’ Strike

“The Neutral Zone” episode aired on May 16, 1988, two months after the writers’ strike began on March 7, 1988. The strike didn’t end until August 7, 1988, five months later and three months before the first episode of the 2nd season of TNG aired on Nov. 21, 1988. That episode (entitled “The Child”) was delayed due to the strike and was completely completely unrelated to the events in “The Neutral Zone”.

Had Hurley’s original idea been filmed, it would have had the Federation and the Romulans join forces to fight an aggressive insectoid race with a hive mind that was supposed to be responsible for the disappearance of the outposts on both sides. However, before the final first season episode was filmed, Hurley had to get the episode written quickly as the writers’ strike was widely viewed as being imminent.

So, Hurley took a fan submitted story by Deborah McIntyre and Mona Clee and used that as the basis for the episode along with part of his original idea. McIntyre & Clee’s idea was that the Enterprise would encounter three people from the 20th century who were cryogenically frozen centuries earlier, revive them, then have them adjust to life in the future.

Later in the second season of TNG, Hurley got to revisit his original idea for “The Neutral Zone” from the first season in the episode “Q Who”. But, his insectoid race (which probably wasn’t called the Borg at the time) never came to fruition primarily due to budgetary concerns. It was initially replaced with a reptilian race design, but that was also abandoned and replaced with the cyborg race that we know today as the Borg and was designed by costume designer Durinda Rice Wood:

220284-0

What survived of Hurley’s original insectoid race idea in the Borg was the hive mind.

So, thanks in part to the 1988 writers’ strike, the Borg because one of the most powerful recurring foes in the “Star Trek” franchise. They’re appearances include the following:

“The Next Generation” Episodes:

  • “Q Who” (Season 2, Ep. 16)
  • “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1” (Season 3, Ep. 26)
  • “The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2” (Season 4, Ep. 01)
  • “I, Borg” (Season 5, Ep. 23)
  • “Descent Part, 1” (Season 6, Ep. 26)
  • “Descent Part, 2” (Season 7, Ep. 01)

TNG Movies:

  • “Star Trek VIII: First Contact”

“Voyager” Episodes:

  • “Unity” (Season 3, Ep. 17)
  • “Scorpion, Part 1” (Season 3, Ep. 26)
  • “Scorpion, Part 2” (Season 4, Ep. 01)
  • “The Raven” (Season 4, Ep. 06)
  • “Drone” (Season 5, Ep. 02)
  • “Dark Frontier, Part 1” (Season 5, Ep. 16)
  • “Dark Frontier, Part 2” (Season 5, Ep. 17)
  • “Survival Instinct” (Season 6, Ep. 02)
  • “Collective” (Season 6, Ep. 16)
  • “Child’s Play” (Season 6, Ep. 19)
  • “Unimatrix Zero, Part 1” (Season 6, Ep. 26)
  • “Unimatrix Zero, Part 2” (Season 7, Ep. 01)
  • “Imperfection” (Season 7, Ep. 02)
  • “Endgame” (Season 7, Ep. 25)

“Enterprise” Episodes:

  • “Regeneration” (Season 2, Ep. 23)

References

Video Formats and Region Codes for DVD & Blu-Ray Discs

DVD and blu-ray distributors utilize two primary methods of applying digital rights management (DRM) when it comes to international distribution:

  • Video formats, which vary in display resolutionaspect ratiorefresh rate, color capabilities and other qualities. Different countries use different broadcast standards that apply different video formats, which include both analog and digital formats. Analog video formats were carried over to DVD’s.
  • Region codes, which is a DRM technique designed to allow rights holders to control the international distribution of a DVD & blu-ray releases, including their content, release dates, and prices, all according to the appropriate region.

Analog Video Formats Applied to DVD’s

The main types of video formats that are used in different countries based upon their broadcasting standards are as follows:

  • NTSC was named after the National Television System Committee and is the analog television color system that was used in North America from 1954 until digital conversion. It was also used in most of the Americas (except Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and French Guiana), Myanmar, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, and some Pacific island nations and territories.
  • SECAM, which stands for Séquentiel couleur à mémoire, (or “Sequential colour with memory”), is an analogue color television system first used in France beginning in 1956. It was then adopted by the former Soviet Union and used in client states and colonies.
  • PAL, which stands for Phase Alternating Line, is a color encoding system for analog television that is used by broadcast television systems in most countries that broadcast at 625-line / 50 field (25 frame) per second (576i), but variants occur due to how the audio carrier frequency is handled:
    • Standards B/G are used in most of Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand
    • Standard I in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Macau
    • Standards D/K (along with SECAM) in most of Central and Eastern Europe
    • Standard D in mainland China. Most analogue CCTV cameras are Standard D.
  • Other PAL Variants
    • PAL-M in Brazil.
    • PAL-N in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Video Format Usage Map

Vido Format Usage Map

Region Codes

Region codes work because the vast majority of DVD and blu-ray players sold around the world are region-locked, which means that they won’t play discs that are meant for regions outside of the intended region. Regions devised for DVD’s are not the same as regions devised for blu-rays.

DVD Region Codes

There are a total of 10 region codes for DVD’s. DVDs may use one code, a combination of codes (multi-region), every code (all region) or no codes (region free).

DVD Region codes 1 through 8 are defined as follows:

  1. Canada, United States, Puerto Rico.
  2. Europe (as of 2020 will include Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and the 3 Caucasus countries), Egypt, West Asia, Japan, South Africa, Greenland, and French Guiana.
  3. Southeast Asia, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
  4. Latin America (the Americas except Canada, French Guiana, Puerto Rico and the United States) and Oceania.
  5. Africa (except Egypt and South Africa), Russia, Central Asia, South Asia, Mongolia, and North Korea.
  6. Mainland China.
  7. Reserved for future use, MPAA-related DVDs and “media copies” of pre-releases in Asia.
  8. International venues such as aircraft, cruise ships and spacecraft.

DVD Region 0 include regions 1 through 6, but do not necessarily take the video format into account. DVD Region ALL means all 1-8 flags are set, allowing the disc to be played in any location, on any player.

DVD Region Codes Map

DVD Region Codes Map

Blu-ray Region Codes

Blu-ray discs use a region-code system that is much simpler than the for DVD’s as it only has three regions, labeled A, B and C. As with DVDs many Blu-rays are encoded region 0 (region free), making them suitable for players worldwide.

  • Region A: The Americas and their dependencies, East Asia (except mainland China and Mongolia), and Southeast Asia; excludes instances that fall under Region C.
  • Region B: Africa, Middle East, Europe (except Russia), Australia, New Zealand, and their dependencies; excludes instances that fall under Region C.
  • Region C: Central Asia, mainland China, Mongolia, South Asia, Russia.
Blu-ray Region Codes Map

Blu-ray Region Codes Map

References