Monday, March 31, 2008

A Package Arrived Today....

A couple of days ago, I filled out a form, promising that I would keep certain information to myself and not divulge anything about the last fifteen minutes of what I was going to see because I filled out the special document. So, was it a secret government document I was being entrusted with? No, it was the first episode of Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica, "He That Believeth In Me", that will debut online at noon ET on Friday on and be aired at 10 pm ET/PT Friday night on the SciFi Channel.

For those of you who need a refresher on where we were at the end of the season, the episode starts out with a 2 and half minute "previously on..." and the episode picks up right where we left off, with the Galactica and the fleet being attacked by a large fleet of cylons and Lee Adama having just met up with a returned (or is it resurrected?) Starbuck, who was last seen going to pieces in an exploding viper a few months back. Needless to say, everyone is a bit skeptical about Starbuck, but being a bit occupied with a possibly devestating cylon attack, they order all pilots out to join in the fight and Starbuck joins into the fray.

The battle and fight with the cylons is very dramatic and when it turns on a single instance (that only the Watchtower group knows the truth about), they are saved for the time being, albeit with some losses. As expected, Starbuck is not trusted, especially when her ship looks like it just came off the assembly line, and she is kept under watch even while she tries to explain what happened to her.

When we last saw Baltar, he was being whisked away by some women and we get to meet his followers, who want to protect him (and make him feel much better). Of course, they don't know that he has the Six in his head for that, but they are right about trying to protect him from those that would want to hurt him.

The four newly revealed cylcons (the Watchtower group) no longer hear the Dylan song but are starting to develop their own sign language, giving each other knowing looks when the subject of hidden cylons come up. They're also having a bit of trouble dealing with it on a personal level, leading to one very surprising daydream early in the episode which would liken Bill Adama to the bowl of petunias in the HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy ("Oh No, Not Again.").

As the first installment of the final season, it keeps things ramped up and ends with one of those "To Be Continued's" that make you want to wish they were showing two episodes this week instead of just the one.

For those of you in the NY or LA area, you may be able to take advantage of a special "Free Pizza for Humans" promotion, so watch for special ads in your area and be prepared to make a call for a late night snack. When you call them up, say ""I want to order a frakkin pizza!" and if you give them the proper answer to a question, you'll get a free one! Don't ask me which pizza places are participating, that is being kept under wraps as far as I can tell. Since it is only in the two areas, I certainly can't take advantage of it...

For lots of links and such about Galactica and the new season (and a link to scans of Tricia Helfer's FHM magazine spread - although I think we've seen her in less on the show...), check out the Galactica Sitrep blog.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Battlestar Galactica: What the Frak?

If you need to catch up on the first three seasons of Battlestar Galactica to getr eady for the fourth, here's your chance in this video similar to the recent one done for Lost...

For more Galactica videos (including snippets from the Battlestar Galactica Revealed special airing on Friday, March 28th, visit the official SciFi Channel YouTube page.
Also, the Battlestar Galactica Season Three DVD set has just been released and can be ordered from Amazon via the Magrathea Marketplace.

Caprica Pilot, BG Webisodes, New Scare Tactics, Alice Miniseries

The Scifi Channel had their upfront presentation last night and announced a bunch of things coming up soon and in development. I'll summarize the highlights with links to the press releases at the NBC Universal Media Village SciFi page.

The Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, has been given the greenlight for a two hour backdoor pilot. Production will beging soon with an airdate likely this fall. The official description for the pilot movie is "Set 50 years before Battlestar Galactica, Caprica follows two rival families - the Greystones and the Adamas - as they grow, compete, and thrive in the vibrant world of the 12 Colonies. Enmeshed in the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence and robotics that will eventually lead to the creation of the Cylons, the two houses go toe-to-toe. Caprica will deliver all of the passion, intrigue, political backbiting, family conflict and hardcore action that always leaves Galactica fans begging for more. " Full Caprica Press Release

Also on the Galactica front, SciFi will debut the fourth season opener online at Noon ET on Friday, April 4th, the same day it debuts on the channel. They will also be having new webisodes but didn't announce any details. Finally, they will be launching an online social gaming experience pitting humans versus cylons. Other new online features will be a new site, The Game Site, that "will be a hub for reports on all things relevant to the gamer lifestyle." and The SciFi Game Center collecting various casual online games to play. The David Hewlitt produced series Starcrossed will be an online show and will debut in late 2008. Finally, the SciFi Rewind video player will have a large catalog of SciFi channel shows to watch on demand. Full SciFi Digital Press Release

SciFi Reality
Reality shows include more Mind Control With Darren Brown, the return of Scare Tactics (now hosted by Tracy Morgan), more Ghost Hunters International, and a couple of new pilots, Estate of Panic and BrainTrust. In conjunction with the release of the new Indiana Jones movie, SciFi has a new documentary special on The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls that will air on May 18th following a marathon of the first three Indiana Jones movies. Full Reality/Alternate Programming Press Release. Full Ghost Hunters International Press Release

Scripted Development
New scripted developement includes the following:

Alice - The producers of Tin Man adapt Alice In Wonderland for a mini-series.

The Stranded - A pilot movie based on the Stranded comic by Mike Carey, recently part of the SciFi/Virgin Comics partnership. Carey is writing the script for the pilot. Virgin Comics has part of Issue 1 of the series available to view online.

From a Virgin Comics Press Release: “From day one,” Carey says, “working on The Stranded has felt like being at a nexus point of creativity. Virgin and SCI FI created the perfect platform, and then supported the book and the creative team through all the stages of development. This feels like something we all own, and we all love. I can't wait to take it forward into its next incarnation.”

True Believer - Rosario Dawson produced pilot that is "a quirky, contemporary dramedy about a 20-something comic book nerd who hires a washed-up real-life Superhero to be his crime-fighting sidekick and teach him the ropes. Together, this unlikely duo set out to save the World. "

Deputized - A 2-hour pilot written by Joe Gazzam, Deputized is a dramedy in which an "average Joe" suddenly finds himself possessing special abilities after being accidentally fitted with an alien exoskeleton that cannot be removed. As a result, he is enlisted to serve on the inter-galactic police force that patrols the universe.

Finally, Richard Branson (head of Virgin) has joined SciFi's Visions for Tomrrow Advisory Board. Full Branson/VOT Press Release

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SciFi Friday is Back with a Vengeance in April

April 4 - Battlestar Galactica

April 11 - The Sarah Jane Adventures

April 18 - Doctor Who Series 4

(although Donna isn't in it until April 25th)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Statement from Marc Scott Zicree

I've been following the various comments in regards to nominating "World Enough and Time" for the Nebulas and Hugo awards and thought that the statement Marc Scott Zicree prepared for SFWA should be posted publicily. Marc has given me a revised version of it to make available for the blogosphere. Instead of posting it in multiple places, I have made it available on my blog and will post links to it. Feel free to post it elsewhere.

Lee Whiteside



Hi, guys –

I’ve just been informed that there have been some misconceptions relating to the professional status of STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES “World Enough and Time,” starring George Takei and written Michael Reaves and myself, which has just been nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Script.

First off, I just want to say how deeply honored I am to be nominated for the Nebula Award. When I was a teenager and being mentored by Theodore Sturgeon at the beginning of my career (I’d just gotten back from Clarion, having sold my first short story), I remember going to his home and seeing the Nebula on his mantle. With its spiral galaxy held in that gleaming block of Lucite, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I was so impressed by Ted having written a work that had won such recognition, and hoped that someday I might create something of such merit it might have a possibility of winning that award.

I am so grateful to my fellow writers in SFWA, and so proud to be part of this community. Michael Reaves has just undergone brain surgery and is temporarily out of commission, but I know I speak for him when I thank every member of SFWA – and all those who worked on “World Enough and Time” so selflessly and well -- from the bottom of our hearts.

As co-writer, director and executive producer of “World Enough and Time” (and also as someone with a thirty-year career as a writer-producer in network television), I’m glad to clarify things and categorically state that “World Enough and Time” was a professional production that utilized literally hundreds of men and women, many of whom work full-time in film and television, and that it was done entirely with Paramount’s knowledge and approval, and in no way violated their copyright.

First, a little history on STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES. Prior to my arrival on the scene and writing “World Enough and Time” with Michael Reaves (both of us having previously written for STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION), STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES had produced three episodes. Although a number of Industry pros worked on the episodes – including STAR TREK writer D.C. Fontana and STAR TREK actors Walter Koenig, Malachi Throne, William Windom and Barbara Luna – they were primarily episodes produced by the fans and intended for a non-professional fan audience.

When Walter Koenig told me of NEW VOYAGES and I viewed their impressive work, I first got the idea of teaming with the NEW VOYAGES crew to create “World Enough and Time.”

I didn’t want to exclude the STAR TREK fans from the production in any way – many of us who are now professionals in the Industry were inspired to these careers by watching STAR TREK when we were kids and still consider ourselves fans – but I was committed to raising the level of STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES to that of a network show and bringing aboard Industry professionals that I knew personally to augment the already-existing and very-talented NEW VOYAGES personnel to help make that happen.

This is in no way to denigrate or minimize the many in our cast and crew who came from other careers or had day-jobs in other pursuits; I found them as hardworking, dedicated and professional as the Oscar and Emmy winners they were often working shoulder to shoulder with on our production.

In all, “World Enough and Time” took one and a half years to make, and required all the skills and talents I have honed in a career that has included sales of over 100 scripts to all the major networks and studios. Pre-production took six months, we shot nine days in New York, two days in Los Angeles at the Gigapix Production Facility, and one day on the Universal lot in Florida with the effects team at the renowned DAVE (Digital and Visual Effects) School facility. Post-production took a full year. The episode was shot on state-of-the-art Hi-Def and boasts 700 effects shots, far more than any network show would ever be able to afford, and more than most features (made possible in part by my having decades of working relationships with the finest artisans and technicians in the Industry, and by relationships fostered by James Cawley and others on the team).

As to any rumors regarding STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES being unpaid and thus unprofessional, in several key and vital areas payments were made. Michael Reaves and I were paid for the script of “World Enough and Time” by James Cawley through his production company, Cawley Entertainment Company, prior to production. We negotiated a contract with James which was under WGA rules, as both Michael and I are members of the Writers Guild, as well as SFWA. In addition, my contract was under DGA guidelines, as I was also the director of the piece.

Beyond this, George Takei was paid to star in the episode. This was under a SAG contract negotiated with George’s manager and agent. Grace Lee Whitney was also paid under a SAG contract. All of our actors who were SAG members were hired under SAG contracts.

At an early stage of pre-production, I founded my own production company, the Magic Time Company, made up of myself, William H. Wallen – formerly Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sony/Columbia-Tristar – and one other partner, an investor in the film and TV industry.

It was clear by that point that “World Enough and Time” would be a huge undertaking in terms of production logistics and would require the full commitment of not only James Cawley’s production company, but mine as well. As a result, “World Enough and Time” became a co-production between Cawley Entertainment Company and the Magic Time Company.

In all, my company invested significant funds, largely for production expenses and key crew salaries. I personally hired my editor, Chris Cronin – a professional who works in Los Angeles on numerous TV shows, features and music videos – full-time for a solid four months, again at Industry rates.

Although “World Enough and Time” was not produced through Paramount, it was done with Paramount’s full knowledge, from Business Affairs on down, including J.J. Abrams, director of the new Star Trek feature, and Bryan Burke, producer of that film. J.J., in fact, advised me during pre-production as I was planning my directorial angle of attack, as did Guillermo del Toro, Frank Darabont, Roxanne Dawson (director of HEROES and LOST), Michael Nankin (director of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) and Armin Shimerman (Quark on DEEP SPACE NINE).

I consider all of these actors and directors friends and professional compatriots (I accepted Guillermo’s Hugo for PAN’S LABYRINTH at Worldcon when he couldn’t be in attendance) and, in fact, have worked with Armin when I wrote for DEEP SPACE NINE (“Far Beyond the Stars”) and collaborated with Michael Nankin when he and I wrote a pilot for Showtime.

“World Enough and Time” premiered August 23, 2007, at the Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills. The event was extensively covered by the press, including the L.A. Times, CNN, NBC and ABC News and many other radio, TV and print outlets. Since then, the episode has been screened at venues around the world, including Spain and Greece, at Worldcon in Yokohama with George Takei in attendance, at numerous conventions and professional conferences, and at the 2007 Nebula Awards, to standing ovations and rave reviews. In addition, the episode has been streaming online at and been seen by many millions all over the globe.

Which speaks to the core issue at hand. The best way for anyone to be satisfied as to the quality and professionalism of “World Enough and Time” is to simply watch the episode. You can view it real time streaming in Standard Def or Hi-Def by logging onto (or if you’re a SFWA member and would prefer, drop me an email at and I’ll be happy to mail you a DVD). The work speaks for itself.

Since its premiere, numerous executives at Paramount/CBS in a number of key divisions in Los Angeles and New York have seen the episode and reacted favorably to it, as have the producers and stars of the new STAR TREK feature.

I should add too that “World Enough and Time” just won the TV Guide Award. The other nominees were all produced by NBC Universal. None of us were considered amateur productions in any way, and I’m proud to say that “World Enough” won the award.

In all, over 300 people worked on “World Enough and Time.” The following list covers only a small percentage of those who labored on the episode – not even most of our major department heads – but gives sense of our professional credits and standing, along with what we did on “World Enough” (and to our cast and crew, if I left you off this list it’s in no way a reflection of anything other than merely trying in a reasonable space to address the concerns that have been voiced by SFWA and others; I urge everyone to read our episode credits fully, and I thank every single person who made the episode what it is):

MARC ZICREE, Co-Writer, Director and Executive Producer: In addition to the 100-plus script sales (including STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, BABYLON 5, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE, FOREVER KNIGHT and many others), I’ve served as executive producer on numerous network pilots, producer on SLIDERS and THE LAZARUS MAN, executive story editor on BEYOND REALITY and story editor on FRIDAY THE 13TH – THE SERIES. My work, which includes such bestsellers as THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION and the MAGIC TIME trilogy, has been nominated for the American Book Award, Writers Guild Award, Diane Thomas Award and the Humanitas Prize. Currently, I’m in negotiations to write, direct and executive produce the series MAGIC TIME, based on my bestselling trilogy of novels for HarperCollins, in partnership with executive producers of a hit network show. I’m also in talks with a major Industry writer-producer (who must remain nameless at this time) to have his company come aboard to produce a previously-unfilmed Rod Serling TWILIGHT ZONE pilot, with myself as director.

MICHAEL REAVES, Co-Writer and Executive Producer: Emmy-winner for THE ANIMATED BATMAN, with over 400 script sales to all the major networks and studios. Other credits include STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION, THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE (WGA Award nomination), SLIDERS, INVASION AMERICA (for Steven Spielberg), GARGOYLES and many more. He’s the only writer I know who’s personally worked with Spielberg, Lucas and Roddenberry. In addition, he’s been on the New York Times bestseller list many times (including twice in the last five months) and was nominated for the British Fantasy Award.

JAMES CAWLEY, Senior Executive Producer and Star: the producer-star who started it all and who has had a decades-long career in the entertainment industry, which includes work on STAR TREK - THE NEXT GENERATION and who will be seen in the new STAR TREK feature film. None of this would have happened or been possible without him.

ELAINE ZICREE, Executive Producer: Numerous network credits as a writer and executive producer, including series and pilots. In pre-production on the feature film, THE VOICELESS ROAR, which she has written and will direct. Actors from THERE WILL BE BLOOD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN are attached, as is Ed Asner, with Ed Harris currently reading the script to star.

WILLIAM H. WALLEN, Executive Producer: For seven years, served as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Sony/Columbia Tristar, previously head of Wallen Media, the top marketing and design firm in Hollywood. Credits include the first three STAR WARS films, the Indiana Jones films, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, E.T., POLTERGEIST, MEN IN BLACK (which he discovered and brought to the studio), JERRY McGUIRE, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, STARSHIP TROOPERS, hundreds more.

DOUGLAS DREXLER, Executive Producer: An Oscar and Emmy winner, Doug worked for many years on the STAR TREK franchise series, including THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE, and is currently head of CG Effects on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

MAJEL BARRETT RODDENBERRY, Enterprise Computer Voice: Extensive TV credits, including Nurse Chapel and Computer Voice on STAR TREK and Troi’s mother on STAR TREK – THE NEXT GENERATION; is also the widow of STAR TREK creator Gene Roddenberry.

IAIN McCAIG, Character Designer: Lead concept designer on the last three STAR WARS films, designer of Darth Maul and Queen Amidala. Other feature credits include INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, HARRY POTTER, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, the live action PETER PAN and many others. Most recently, Iain worked on PRINCESS OF MARS for director Jon Favreau.

GABRIEL HARTMAN, Storyboards: Many feature credits, including SPIDERMAN 3, where he worked directly with director Sam Raimi.

LEE STRINGER, RON THORNTON, RON B. MOORE, DAN CURRY, DAREN DOCHTERMAN, JOEL BELLUCCI, Special Effects: Multiple Emmy winners (more than ten among them), with credits that are a who’s who of film and television, including CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, E.T., BABYLON 5, the recent STAR TREK features and TV series, many more. Stringer and Thornton head up the spectacular DAVE School, which did the vast majority of the incredible effects shots.

STEPHEN LES, Post-Production Supervisor: Numerous film credits, the most recent being ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS for Rhythm and Hues.

TASHA HARDY, Line Producer: Many professional credits on features and music videos. Currently producing the feature film HUMANITY’S END.

DON BALDERAMOS, Co-producer and Unit Production Manager: Currently serving in that capacity for Gigapix, a noted soundstage and production facility serving the film and television Industry in Los Angeles.

SCOTTY MOODY, Producer: Works full-time in production at the CBS affiliate in Burlington, Vermont.

ERIC GOODRICH, Producer: Works full-time in production at the CBS affiliate in Burlington, Vermont.

CRYSTAL ANN TAYLOR, script supervisor: Has worked in that capacity on numerous network shows, most recently JOAN OF ARCADIA.

NEIL JOHNSON, Post Production: Editor and Director of thousands of music videos and nine feature films.

ALAN DERIAN, composer: Has composed scores for over fifty feature films.

LESLIE HOFFMAN, Stunt Coordinator: Stunt woman on many features and TV series, including DEEP SPACE NINE.

JOHN VULICH & OPTIC NERVE, Special Effects Makeup: Multiple Emmy and Oscar winner, credits include BABYLON 5, X-FILES, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and BATMAN.

JACOB PINGER, Director of Photography: Cinematographer for many years on numerous network shows, including REAL STORY, the pilot Elaine and I wrote and executive produced in association with Executive Producer Tom Fontana (HOMICIDE, OZ).

JOHN LINDAUER, Camera Operator: Emmy-winning director of PEEWEE’S PLAYHOUSE, currently writing the sequel to THE 300.

And on and on.

All of which goes to show the enormous amount of time and effort and manpower it takes to create a piece such as “World Enough and Time.” I consider it my masterwork, of all the many shows and books I’ve done, and it pretty much sums up everything I have to say about why we’re alive and what makes the journey worth the candle.

And finally, of all the accolades we’ve received, for me the greatest lies in the many people who have gone out of their way to tell me how profoundly the episode has moved them, that they’ve found themselves in tears at the end of the episode. It’s true for me, too. I still cry when I watch it.

Again, thanks for all the many kind words that have been said, and for this wonderful science fiction community that has given me not only a rewarding career, but such a rich, full life.

All good wishes,
Marc Scott Zicree


“It’s just great!” RAY BRADBURY

“Great production values and an insightful, emotionally resonant script.” JOSS WHEDON, creator BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

“A major accomplishment. It’s a knockout.” JOSEPH DOUGHERTY, Emmy-winning writer-producer, THIRTYSOMETHING, SAVING GRACE

“It was cracking! I loved it!” PAUL CORNELL, writer, DR. WHO

“Enormously entertaining, and beautifully done.” MEL GILDEN, STAR TREK novelist

“Wow… a major turning point in the history of mass communication! I teach a mass communications class at my college and you’re now part of the curriculum.” PROF. SANFORD FRIES, Chicago

“It really is one of the best classic Treks, not a ‘fan’ film as the others have been, but a real episode -- and the best Sulu one done.” MARV WOLFMAN, creator BLADE

“The final product is very impressive indeed… An emotional story that focuses on a parallel life lived by Sulu following an away mission, it has a genuine feel of classic sci-fi and Trek” STAR

“Despite low production costs (in comparison to a studio episode) the NEW VOYAGES production team has brought passion, meaning and good storytelling back to STAR TREK. Thanks for keeping the dream alive.” EUGENE “ROD” RODDENBERRY

“J.J. watch out! Wow. I felt like I was 9 years old again, sitting at the TV and watching Star Trek. Great job!” MARK ROSMAN, director

“Trek now has an 80th episode...well done.” MARK ALTMAN, writer-producer, FREE ENTERPRISE