SciFi Friday: Cartoon Doctor Who, Strange Battlestar Galactica News, and Disney Takes Barsoom

Since it was revived on the BBC, Doctor Who has pretty much stayed around the Earth. One reason for this is that they don’t have the special effects money to make convincing extraterrestrial settings. They won’t have this limitation in a cartoon version of Doctor Who which is under development:

Called Infinite Quest, it is one continuous story to be shown in 13 instalments alongside the next series during BBC3’s Totally Doctor Who.

David Tennant and Freema Agyeman will voice their characters, and the lovely Anthony Head will pop up in a brand new role (ie not Mr Finch the Krillatane from series two, Who fans).

Writer Russell T Davies tells us: “The Doctor and his assistant Martha follow a trail of clues across wild and wonderful alien worlds, to find the location of the legendary lost spaceship, the Infinite.” Bring it on!

In addition to Christopher Eccleston, another former actor who appeared on Doctor Who will be on Heroes. Eric Roberts, who played The Master in the 1996 Doctor Who movie, will play an associate of Claire’s father (aka “Horn-Rimmed Glasses”).

Battlestar Galactica fans might want to try to figure out the meaning of this one. Slice of SciFi has found the eye of Jupiter and took a picture:

Actually this was taken of a roof of a mall in San Francisco. If Cylons show up there, don’t say we didn’t warn you. That’s the second strangest BSG story for this week. Coming in at number one is this report from Media Bistro that a 1987 memoir from Dirk Benedict, the original Starbuck, is a best seller in the United Kingdom:

According to, former Battlestar Galactica star Dirk Benedict is a bestselling author in the United Kingdom. Thanks to his appearances on the latest edition of TV’s Celebrity Big Brother, used copies of Benedict’s 1987 memoir, Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy, have apparently become quite the sought after commodity, jumping to #3 on Abebooks’ UK charts. In addition to telling behind-the-scenes tales from his Hollywood days, Benedict also used the memoir to discuss his belief that he staved off prostate cancer through exercise and a macrobiotic diet. Which he apparently still takes seriously; according to the show’s website, Benedict exploded with rage a few hours ago when the producers gave him udon noodles instead of soba.

TrekWeb has portions of an interview with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell.

Time has published Ten Questions for William Shatner. Here’s the ones dealing with Star Trek:

Lost producer J.J. Abrams is working on a Star Trek movie for 2008 about a young Kirk and Spock, and there are rumors you will make an appearance.

I did have a talk with J.J., and he outlined what he wanted to do. Getting a character who is supposed to be dead to talk to his younger self is a storytelling problem. But if you want to guarantee the audience will come in droves, one of the things you might do is include some members of the old cast.

You are so indelibly linked to Captain Kirk, how do you pass on the torch to a younger actor?

Well, you light a match … No, I really have nothing to offer. I can’t say to some young actor, “Play it this way,” because he’s going to play it his way. But I will say, he’s got to be young and good-looking and rich. And charming.

Some people say Star Trek is past its prime, and it’s time to move on. Would you agree?

There was something about Star Trek that sustained it all those years. But with so many entities of Star Trek out there all at once, the audience began to leave it. Now there’s a huge experiment going on: Will the audience pick up their love affair? We don’t know. And as talented as J.J. is, this is the real test for him. He’s got to give a known quantity the Abrams twist and yet maintain the Star Trek game.

If you want to see the original young Kirk in high definition, combo DVD/HD-DVD’s will be released at the end of 2007 with the enhanced verions of Star Trek. Blu-ray versions will be released later.

Variety reports that Disney has purchased the rights to Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars series. This could make for a series of films which would fit in well with Disney. I wonder if Epcot’s Mission to Mars will be revised to work this in. Personally I’m still having trouble understanding how we flew all the way to Mars and then, after exiting, were right back in Epcot.

SciFi Friday is a weekly feature of Liberal Values

Peggy Noonan Getting Soft

While most conservatives are attacking Chuck Hagel, Peggy Noonan has a favorable op-ed about his opposition to the war in the Wall Street Journal. Sure there are plenty of things I disagree with her about here, but the important thing is that she ends with kind comments about two Senators who are being unfairly vilified recently–Chuck Hagel and John Kerry:

A note too on John Kerry, who, on the floor of the Senate, also talked about Iraq this week, and said he would not run for president. Clearly he saw the lipstick writing on the wall: This is the year of the woman. He also might have been acting on the sense that this is a time of ongoing and incipient political flux. The major parties seem as played out as they are ruthless, and the arc of political fame is truncated: nobodies become somebodies become has-beens before half the country knows their name. The Democrats have no idea what they stand for, the Republicans only remember what they stood for.

But there was Mr. Kerry, liberated by the death of a dream and for once quite human as he tried to tell it the way he actually saw it. Took the mock right out of me. Good for him, and for Mr. Hagel. I wonder if we are seeing the start of a new seriousness.

Conservative Bloggers and the GOP Candidates

Right Wing News had a survey of right wing bloggers to ranking their most and desired candidates for the Republican nomination. Newt Gingrich is more desired, while Chuck Hagel, whose possible candidacy is discussed by The Washington Post, comes in last. John McCain comes in 7th place and is second most undesirable. Here are the full results:

Most Desired Nominee For 2008

14) John Cox (4)
13) Jeb Bush (5)
12) Jim Gilmore (5.5)
11) Ron Paul (8.5)
10) Condi Rice (11.5)
9 ) Mike Huckabee (14)
8 ) Tommy Thompson (15.5)
7 ) John McCain (19)
6 ) Sam Brownback (20)
5 ) Tom Tancredo (31.5)
4 ) Duncan Hunter (35.5)
3 ) Mitt Romney (43)
2 ) Rudy Giuliani (45)
1 ) Newt Gingrich (52)

Least Desired Nominee For 2008

13) John Cox (4.5)
12) Jim Gilmore (5.5)
11) Tommy Thompson (9)
10) Ron Paul (10.5)
9 ) Mitt Romney (11.5)
8 ) Mike Huckabee (12)
7 ) Newt Gingrich (13.5)
6 ) Rudy Giuliani (17)
5 ) Sam Brownback (21)
4 ) Tom Tancredo (30)
3 ) George Pataki (49)
2 ) John McCain (60.5)
1 ) Chuck Hagel (64)

If the conventional wisdom holds and we have a Clinton vs. McCain general election race, it looks like both left and right wing bloggers will be unhappy. Perhaps this year will be the test of how much influence the bloggers really have.

This survey also provides some evidence of the realignment in the parties I’ve mentioned in the past. Ten to twenty years ago the major differences were based more upon economic views, with the Republicans talking about conservative social issues but not really doing very much. While there remain differences, most have realized that Democrats are hardly the anti-business “socialists” which the right wingers claimed and many have moved to the Democrats in response to Republican positions on the war and social issues. It is the loss of the “Starbucks Republicans” which contributed to the GOP loss of Congress in 2006.
The influence of the war on party identity is seen both in Chuck Hagel being the least desirable nominee among conservatives, as well as much of the opposition to Hillary Clinton among Democrats. The war is also largely responsible for Joe Lieberman’s campaign failing to get off the ground in 2004, and nobody would take him seriously as a Democratic nominee in the future.

Rudy Giuliani’s second place finish might argue against my placing social issues as a major difference between the parties, but note that the conservative blogosphere has frequent posts on whether Giuliani would make the best candidate despite his more liberal position on social issues. This would also explain why he has a significant number of negative votes as well as positive ones. Similarly, Hillary Clinton’s attempts to pander to the right have contributed to her lack of popularity among liberal bloggers (although she certainly picks up on points among conservative bloggers for this).

Bush: “I’m the decision-maker” (Koo-Koo-Kachoo)

When there was pressure to dump Rumsfled, George Bush said “I’m the decider” last April, to which many added, Koo-Koo-Kachoo to the tune of I am the Walrus (lyrics under the fold). Rummy didn’t even last until the end of the year.

Now that there is pressure from Congress on Iraq, George Bush says “I’m the decision-maker.”

He’s still making bad decisions. Let’s hope that he’s forced to reverse this decision even more quickly than the last. (more…)

Fox News Makes Fiction Newsworthy

Since when is fiction newsworthy? When it is Fox News which is making the call. The Los Angeles Times reports that Fox News plans to air the portions of Path to 9/11 which were removed due to being inaccurate:

In a move that could rekindle a heated political debate, Fox News said Thursday that it planned to broadcast footage from ABC’s controversial miniseries “The Path to 9/11” that was edited out of the docudrama amid criticism that it inaccurately portrayed the Clinton administration’s response to the terrorism threat.

The outtakes, scheduled to air Sunday, depict then-national security advisor Samuel R. “Sandy” Berger refusing to approve a CIA request to attack Osama bin Laden, an event that Berger and the Sept. 11 commission say did not occur.

Although ABC cut the inaccurate scenes, Fox managed to pirate a copy:

Fox News obtained the outtakes by taping a public talk that Cyrus Nowrasteh, writer and producer of “The Path to 9/11,” gave to a World Affairs Council chapter last Friday at Cal State Channel Islands. Nowrasteh discussed making the docudrama and played several minutes edited out of the movie…

Fox News does not have ABC’s permission to broadcast the unaired footage, but an attorney for the network said officials there believed that the newsworthiness of the material put it under the fair-use exception to the copyright statute.

Fiction is not news, and this is not newsworthy, except in the minds of Fox News. For Fox News the question isn’t really newsworthiness, but what makes good propaganda to protect the Bush administration and attack their opponents.