Along with Star Wars, Star Trek has got to be the source of more fan films and webseries than pretty much anything else. Some of them are purely amateur efforts, and others, such as Star Trek: Phase II, have enlisted talent from the Original Series itself — in Phase II’s case, actors Walter Koenig and George Takei, and writers David Gerrold and D.C. Fontana, among others. Now an ambitious new Trek webseries has turned to Kickstarter…and has already met its goal of raising $100,000 with a week yet to go.
With all the healthcare hullabaloo taking over the public consciousness as of late, people are in dire need of more easily accessible personal medical testing. And there’s no better place to look for potential future tech than Star Trek, that bastion of advanced concepts. Illinois resident Howard Leventhal, 56, recently claimed he’d created a device similar to the all-in-one tricorder used in the classic series, but instead of actually showing anyone the product or what he said it could do, he blindly milked a ton of money out of investors before getting caught by an undercover agent posing as another potential buyer. Too bad he didn’t have a mocked-up Enterprise to allow himself a hasty getaway.
Last year, Leventhal contacted executives at the Fort Lauderdale company Paragon Financial Group, Inc. claiming that he was owed upwards of $4 million from Health Canada, saying the agency had previously agreed to buy his “McCoy Home Health Tablet” device that he’d created through his company Neovision USA. The product was described as such in a document Leventhal provided: “Heltheo’s McCoy Home Health Tablet, named after the fictional Dr. Leonard McCoy of TV’s Star Trek series, is designed as a platform to maximize the patient benefits through broadband-augmented in-home telemedicine.” It doesn’t quite sound too good to be true, but rather too bullshitty to be real.
It’s no secret that we’re big Farscape fans around here, and I am forever frustrated that series leads Ben Browder and Claudia Black haven’t gone on to have massive careers after their stellar performances on the series. But my Farscape love doesn’t stop and Ben and Claudia — it’s hard to find a weak link in that cast. Aussie actress Raelee Hill joined the show late in the game, first appearing in the fourth season episode “Crichton Kicks.” She played Sikozu, a “Leviathan expert” whose loyalties seemed to be forever in flux. She eventually even started up a relationship with Scorpius, and let me just say: eww. Fun fact: Hill had actually auditioned for the role of Commandant Mele-On Grayza, which eventually went to Rebecca Riggs. Exec producer David Kemper liked the actress but thought she was “too likeable” for a straight-up villain, so created the role of Sikozu specifically for her. Hill turns 41 today.
Michael Crichton is one of those writers in the same camp as Philip K. Dick or Stephen King. It’s not that their style or material is similar at all, but rather that Hollywood has gone gaga over it throughout the years. How gaga? Here’s a list of movies and miniseries adapted from Critchton’s books: The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park (and its sequels), Rising Sun, Disclosure, Congo, Sphere, Coma, The 13th Warrior, and Timeline. And I’m sure I missed a few. Just as with Dick and King, most of those adaptations are forgettable, with a few true gems sprinkled among them. Still, Crichton is definitely one of the writers who had a huge impact on movies in the latter half of the 20th century, and without him we wouldn’t have gotten Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, so we’ve got to thank the guy for that. Hell, he even wrote and directed Westworld in 1973. Crichton was born on this day in 1942, and passed away on November 4, 2008.
“Infected” (AMC, 9/8c)
“The group faces a new enemy; Rick and the others fight to protect their hard-won livelihood.” That’s the brief official synopsis for “Infected,” tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead. Last week’s season premiere was a mixed affair, as the show has been all too often. It did set up what looks to be a new element that will make the beleaguered survivor’s already unhappy lives that much more difficult. Then again, they exist to amuse us with their suffering, so dance, jesters! Dance!
And while “30 Days Without an Accident” definitely wasn’t the best episode ever by any means, it did manage to keep me interested for another week…and brought in 16 million viewers. If the ratings keep up like that, we may wind up with more than one Walking Dead spinoff before all is said and done. Let’s get a buddy road-trip comedy starring the Governor and a new fishtank of zombie heads as he crosses the country in hopes of making it big in show business. Just remember to add the laugh track.
Tonight’s episode was written by Angela Kang, a former story editor turned writer/producer, who previously penned episodes such as “Secrets,” “Say the Word,” and “I Ain’t a Judas.” You can check out a gallery of images from the episode right here.
Star Trek: Khan #1 (IDW Publishing)
This new series takes a look at the backstory and history of one Khan Noonien Singh. Some fans will be less excited to learn that it’s the Abrams/Cumberbatch Khan, but it should still be interesting. It actually opens with Khan on trial for his crimes against Earth and Starfleet but soon transitions to his younger years and rise to power. If nothing else it should be interesting to see how the Abramsverse deals with the Eugenics Wars (which were supposed to have happened during the ‘90s) and the period after Admiral Marcus and Section 31 awoke and recruited Khan for their nefarious purposes.
Writer Mike Johnson also pens IDW’s ongoing, in-canon Trek series, so he’s a veteran of playing around in the new movies’ tangent timeline. Claudia Balboni is handling the art chores, and Paul Shipper created the cover art. As with the ongoing comic series, movie Trek writer Roberto Orci is overseeing the five-part Khan miniseries. The comic runs 32 pages and lists for $3.99. You can check out some pages in the gallery below, courtesy of StarTrek.com.