Friday, July 1, 2016

Sci Fi Curios: The Man in the Moone

What Is It? This book, written by English bishop Francis Godwin in the 1620's, chronicles a man's journey to the moon and gives us one of the earliest examples of science fiction literature.

The Skinny: Wikipedia has the following detailed plot summary for the book:

Gonsales is a Spaniard forced to flee the country after killing a man in a duel. Having made his fortune in the East Indies he decides to return to Spain, but falls ill on the voyage home and is set off on the island of St Helena to recover. There he discovers a species of wild swan able to carry substantial loads, the gansa, and contrives a device that allows him to harness many of them together and fly around the island. Once fully recovered Gonsales resumes his journey home, but his ship is attacked by an English fleet off the coast of Tenerife. He uses his flying machine to escape to the shore, but once safely landed he is approached by hostile natives and is forced to take off again. This time his birds fly higher and higher, towards the Moon, which they reach after a journey of twelve days. There Gonsales encounters the Lunars, a tall Christian people inhabiting what appears to be a utopian paradise. After six months of living among them Gonsales becomes homesick and concerned for the condition of his birds, and sets off to return to Earth. He lands in China, where he is immediately arrested as a magician, but after learning the language manages to win the trust of the local mandarin. The story ends with Gonsales meeting a group of Jesuit missionaries, who arrange to have a written account of his adventures sent back to Spain.

Of interest, this book draws upon theories presented by Kepler and Galileo, so it is more than just a work of fantastical fiction as it tries to incorporate scientific elements known at the time.  This book was preceded by Kepler's own Somnium which is also considered an important early example of science fiction.  You can read more about The Man in the Moone at its Wikipedia entry.

Where Can I Find It?  Interestingly, this book does not appear to be on the Project Gutenberg site which has many, many public domain works, but you can find a pdf version of it at this link.  You can also get a free audiobook version of the work over at LibriVox.  I'm guessing this one might be a bit of a tough read (or listen) because of its age, but may still be worth checking out for curiosity's sake.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cancelled Sci Fi TV: 1949-2015

Did you know that The Outer Limits was cancelled when its ratings plummeted after getting moved against the popular Jackie Gleason Show on Saturday nights? Did you know that the cast of Lost in Space fully expected to come back for a fourth season before the surprise cancellation announcement? Did you know that one of J. Michael Straczynski’s early television gigs was the short-lived afternoon sci fi show Captain Power and His Soldiers of the Future? Did you know that Alien Nation was cancelled because the fledgling FOX network ran short of money? Did you know about the short-lived fantasy series Roar that starred a young Heath Ledger? Did you know that fans appealed to Congress after Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled? Do you know the real stories behind the infamous sci fi cancellations like Star Trek: The Original Series, Battlestar: Galactica (1978), Firefly, Jericho, and more?

So many cancelled sci fi shows and so little time. But don’t fret because the ultimate reference for cancelled science fiction and fantasy shows is here. Cancelled Sci Fi TV presents a broad survey of the genre which starts with the very early days of television and moves all the way forward to some of the most recent cancellations. Over two hundred shows are covered from the past sixty plus years, including well-known entries like Space: 1999, Angel, and Farscape as well as many of the blink-and-you-missed-them shows like The Starlost, Beyond Westworld, The Middleman, and more.

This book covers all of those and more, giving show synopses, credits, the years they ran and episode counts, information (and/or speculation) on why they were cancelled, as well as anecdotes and/or bits of trivia. Cancelled Sci Fi TV: 1949-2015 is a must read for sci fi fans and television junkies, a book that you won’t be able to put down once you start it that takes you on a fascinating adventure through the TV Wasteland of cancelled science fiction and fantasy shows.

Read a sample of the book at this link

Available Now on Kindle

(Coming soon in other eBook formats)

Also by John J. Joex:

Why Were They Cancelled? The Plight of Sci Fi TV in the Face of the Unforgiving Nielsens and Networks Kindle  | Other eBook Formats

25 Must-Watch Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies: An Essential Guide to the Best Movies of the Genre Kindle  |  Other eBook Formats

Sci Fi Trifles: Useless but Essential Pop Culture Tidbits and Trivia from the Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Kindle  |  Other eBook Formats

Sci Fi Genre Gems: Lost, Forgotten, and/or Underappreciated Nuggets from the Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Kindle  |  Other eBook Formats

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sci Fi Trifles: Before the 2003 Reboot, Richard Hatch Spent Years Trying to Revive Battlestar: Galactica

In 2003, the Sci Fi Channel rebooted the late-70's camp space opera Battlestar: Galactica as a dark, gritty series that tackled grand philosophical issues and topical stories.  But did you know that for years prior to that, original series star Richard Hatch tried to revive the show and even produced a proof-of-concept film for his idea?

Richard Hatch--playing Commander Apollo--was originally considered the series lead, receiving first position in the credit intros (though Dirk Benedict was more of the breakout star), and has long been associated with the show.  Following its cancellation after one season, Hatch went on to many guest appearances and recurring roles on television (though he did not reprise his Apollo character in Galactica: 1980), but never found another lead role like the one he had in BSG.  By the late 90's, Hatch had developed an interest in reviving his previous series (probably inspired by the success of the Star Trek sequel series) and he even wrote or co-wrote several books that acted as a continuation of the story.  During that time, he also engaged in a full-fledged effort to revive the television show and funded a short pilot film titled Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming that he hoped would convince Universal (owners of the property) to bring it back.  It takes place twenty years after the events of the original series (and ignored the Galactica: 1980 diversion) as the remaining fleet finds itself once again threatened by destruction from the Cylons.  It had a darker tone than the original series, though it did not venture into the same territory as the 2003 reboot.  Hatch reprised his role as Apollo (and also directed the film) and several other stars from the original series returned such as John Colicos and Terry Carter.  He took the film around to several conventions and it received mostly positive feedback from fans, but apparently not from Universal as they showed no interest in greenlighting his revival.  BSG was eventually re-imagined by the Sci Fi Channel, starting with the 2003 mini-series then proceeding into the ongoing show.  Hatch was at first disappointed in the direction of the the new series, but eventually decided to bury the hatchet (no apologies for that one) and joined up in a recurring role as Tom Zarek.  The actor would also continue to write BSG novels based on his own timeline, with seven completed through 2005.

Yet another reboot of the franchise is allegedly on the way (which we definitely do not need), and this one will not follow the direction that Hatch spear-headed either.  The actor has since moved on to other projects, likely leaving BSG in the past, but you can see the trailer for Second Coming below (unfortunately the full film is not available anywhere currently that I am aware of).

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sci Fi Genre Gems: E-Man (1970’s Comic Book Series)

What Is It?  In this short-lived series from Charlton Comics, we are introduced to the superhero E-Man, a sentient being of pure energy created out of a super-nova.  This being traveled through the galaxy and came in contact with Earth, where he meets the human Nova Kane and decides to take human form himself as a superhero.  The two then set off on action-packed adventures fighting villains that threaten the planet.

Why Does It Stand Out?  This whimsical little series hit the stands at a time before superheroes had gone dark and grim and it delivered a fun set of comic book tales with a sci fi bent.

The Skinny: Co-creator Nicola Cuti had the idea of creating a superhero similar to the whimsical Golden Age character Plastic Man, and artist Joe Staton helped bring to life this modern hero with a sense of fun.  The transformable E-Man would morph into any of a numbers of shapes as needed, not dissimilar from his Golden Age predecessor.  But it was the banter between E-Man and his opponents as well as side kick / partner Nova Kane (she would later become a superhero herself) that made this strip so much fun.  Unlike the revivals of this character that would appear in the 80’s and 90’s, this series was less interested in parody, and more in just telling a good fun tale.

It would also introduce the private eye character Mike Mauser who would later get his own series, plus it also had regular backup stories that highlighted tryout characters for Charlton.  Steve Ditko’s Mr. A-like character Killjoy showed up in two issues and John Byrne’s Rog 2000 also had several appearances.  Unfortunately, E-Man would only last for ten issues in its original run.  The sales for the book were not great and the publisher decided to cancel the series, though the character would have a final appearance from its original creative team in the fourth issue of the Charlton Bullseye fanzine.

E-Man would live on in the decades that followed with several revivals at other publishers, but in my opinion those never quite matched up its original run that was quirky and funny and just trying to tell some good fun comic book tales.  The first ten issues have yet to be collected in a trade paperback, but they recently appeared in eBook format available through and Comixology.  You can also find the back issues pretty easily and you won't have to spend an arm and a leg on them.

Did You Know?  Joe Staton based E-Man’s face on James Bond actor Roger Moore which he described as “charming and heroic looking, but kind of generic”.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sci Fi Genre Gems: UFO (1970 Television Series)

What Is It? This 1970 British produced television series from Gerry Anderson (best known for his Supermarionation shows like Thunderbirds as well as the cult sci fi series Space: 1999) brought us a covert war between a secret organization known as SHADO (Supreme Headquarters Alien Defense Organization) and an alien race from a dying planet.

Why It Stands Out: Because the show managed to buck its potentially formulaic premise and deliver some hard-hitting, intelligent science fiction drama with mature themes.

The Skinny:  Sure, many may consider this a relic of its time because the look and feel of the show has not dated very well. And prepare yourself for cheesy (though good for their time) special effects, outlandish costumes, laughable 70’s music, corny dialog, and exceptionally wooden acting. If you can get past these, however, you will find that this is a real sci fi sleeper. The premise could have resulted in alien-attack-of-the-week episodes (which it did deliver to some extent), but the scripts extended beyond that and made attempts to explore how this covert war affected the lives of the SHADO officers as well as those unwittingly caught up in its events. As outlandish as the series was, the writers often tried to focus on the realistic consequences of the stories and often the episodes had unexpected, downbeat endings, something eschewed by Prime Time television even today. The series was much more down to earth than Anderson’s later Space: 1999 which all too often grasped at (and fell short of) profundity. Present day viewers watching UFO for the first time may find it a bit inaccessible to start with because it is so dated. But if you stick with it, you will find some good science fiction tales in this rare gem of a show.

Notable Stars: Ed Bishop (Commander Straker)

Did You Know:  A second season of the show was originally commissioned, though it would have moved most of the action to the moonbase (because the moon-focused episodes tended to be more popular) and the title would have been changed to UFO: 1999. However, ratings declined during the second half of the show’s syndication run and ITV (who produced the series) changed their mind about the second season. Anderson tinkered with the concept, though, and it eventually morphed into the 1975 series Space: 1999.

Did You Play With:  Back in the 1970's, Dinky Toys made die cast versions of the SHADO Interceptor and the Mobile Unit.  In the days before video games, the internet, and texting, these provided hours of entertainment to many kids who still knew how to play with toys!

Buy UFO and Other Gerry Anderson Works on DVD from

Must-Watch Sci Fi Movies: The Abyss (Extended Cut)

Directed By: James Cameron
Produced By: Gale Anne Hurd, Van Ling (Special Edition)
Written By: James Cameron
Starring: Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Michael Biehn
Original Release: 1989

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars (Highest Rating)

The Abyss (Special Edition)Synopsis: The movie opens with an American submarine encountering a strange object moving very quickly through the depths of the Atlantic. The object causes the submarine, which is carrying multiple nuclear warheads, to crash. The military then commandeers an underwater drilling platform headed up by Virgil "Bud" Brigman (Ed Harris) to assist in the recovery of the downed submarine which rests at the edge of a deep undersea trench. Military personnel are sent down to work with the crew of the platform and tensions run high. To make matters worse, the designer of the drilling platform, who is Bud’s estranged wife (Lindsey Brigman played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), is along for the ride. In their attempts to survey the submarine, they encounter an apparently benign alien presence and attempt to communicate with it, though the paranoid Lt. Coffey (Michael Biehn) frightens it away. Meanwhile, above the ocean a hurricane is moving into the area and tensions are running high between the American and Soviet governments. Through a series of mishaps between the crew of the drilling platform and the military personnel, an armed nuclear warhead plunges several miles down into the depths of the trench. Bud  must then go on what appears to be a one-way mission to disarm the warhead, but once at the bottom he again comes face to face with the aliens.

Why Is It a Must-Watch Movie?  The Abyss is James Cameron's big screen triumph as it delivers a riveting, well thought out, speculative fiction tale that also adds a level of drama rarely seen in sci fi cinema.

Review/Comments: You may think that you have seen The Abyss, but if you saw the version originally released in theaters what you actually saw was one of the greatest injustices in the history of cinema (apparently self-inflicted by Cameron himself, though). That was an edited version that cut about twenty minutes out of the masterpiece that James Cameron originally created. As it turns out, those twenty minutes are as crucial to the film as the smile is to the Mona Lisa. The original edit of the movie deserves only two and a half, maybe three stars. The additional twenty minutes moves the rating up to a full five stars (highest rating).

In the version originally released, Bud disarms the warhead yet appears to be trapped at the bottom of the abyss. Then the aliens, who we have learned almost nothing about, show up to save the day. They take him and the others from the platform back up to the surface and all is fine and dandy as a bright new day shines. I remember seeing this in the theater when it first came out and when the movie ended, I thought it was just at the intermission because there was no way that they could end the story like that. But they did, and I did not realize until years later when the director’s cut made it to DVD just what a phenomenal movie Cameron had crafted. The twenty plus minutes sliced from the original release focused more on the mounting tensions between the Russians and Americans and gave a lot more info on the aliens. This footage also contained the gut wrenching scene where the aliens launch enormous tidal waves as a threat to destroy all of the world’s major cities. Without this crucial footage, the movie is just not complete.

There are many reasons to recommend the fully restored version of The Abyss. Technically, it has few peers. It gave us a rare hard science fiction movie that is scientifically accurate, and that was brought to life with virtually flawless special effects (in the pre-CGI-Overload era). The story is very engaging as it unfolds slowly and smartly and takes many twists and turns, and the aliens and their importance are kept a mystery until the end. And the movie also has something often missing in Science Fiction, drama. Both movies and television in the genre often tend to be overly intellectual or overly melodramatic. The Abyss, in contrast, delivers a dramatic story through and through. The scenes between Bud and his wife (particularly when he tries to revive her after she drowns and when she talks to him as he descends into the depths) are among the most engaging I have ever seen in any movie. The film also has a serious social message behind its action, and Cameron managed to deliver it with much more finesse than he did with the overly derivative and self-righteous statements in Avatar.

Not surprisingly , the movie did poorly at the box office upon its original release. But since its revival on DVD, fans and critics have realized what an important piece of Science Fiction cinema Cameron actually created. If you have not seen the full version of this movie, then it’s time that you give this one a spin and enjoy one of the all-time great films of science fiction or any genre.

Read About More Must-Watch Sci Fi Movies:

So many science fiction and fantasy movies and so little time. Metropolis, King Kong, War of the Worlds, Fantastic Voyage, Star Wars, The Terminator, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Inception . . . Plan 9 From Outer Space . . . and so many, many more. Where to start and which ones to watch? Well that's what this book is here to help you with. It may not cover all science fiction movies, and not even all of those mentioned above, but it gives you a heck of a good start starting point. This book begins with 1927’s Metropolis and then treks through 24 more genre films ending with 2009's Moon to give you an extensive look at some of the best of the best of science fiction and fantasy cinema. Each entry includes a synopsis, review/commentary, cast and crew information, as well as a few nuggets of tidbits and trivia relating to the films. Whether you are new to the genre and trying to figure out where to get started or a grizzled veteran who has logged many hours in the cinema watching sci fi, 25 Must Watch Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies is sure to entertain. And even if you have already seen the movies covered in the book, there's a good chance you could walk away knowing a little bit (or maybe even a lot) more about these films than you did previously. A great primer for science fiction and fantasy cinema and a fun read as well!  

Available now on Kindle from  

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sci Fi Trifles: No Sequel for You, Flash Gordon

So why was their never a sequel to the 1980 Flash Gordon movie even though it teased one just before the end credits rolled?

Flash Gordon, which starred Sam Jones as the title character, Melody Anderson as Dale Arden, and Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless, was not a Box Office smash in the States, pulling in only $27 million vs. a $35 million budget. But apparently it did quite well overseas (neither Box Office Mojo nor has the numbers on its foreign tally, though), and there were early plans to do a sequel. But according to an interview with the film’s director, Mike Hodges, Sam Jones dropped out when he became annoyed with the director and producer and effectively killed the project. Apparently, Hodges had to film some additional scenes for the first film after the principal photography had been completed and Jones was not present during this because only his stunt double was needed for these action and special effects scenes. But the Flash Gordon character did need to say a few lines and Hodges had someone else impersonate Jone’s voice. When the actor found out, he was none too pleased and this led to him falling out with producer Dino De Laurentiis. Thus, according to Hodges “when you lose your main star there can't really be a sequel”. Had the first Flash Gordon movie been more successful at the Box Office, we’re guessing that something could have been worked out. But since it was perceived as a modest flop domestically, apparently Hodges and De Laurentiis decided to move on to other projects. But just think about what additional campy fun that sequel might have brought us . . .

Source: Total Sci-Fi Online

More (Expanded) Sci Fi Trifles Available in Sci Fi Trifles The Book

Sci Fi Trifles
Useless but essential pop culture tidbits and trivia from the worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Did you know that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote a proposal for a Star Trek reboot years before the J.J. Abrams movies came out? Did you know that Han Solo was originally supposed to be a green-skinned alien and some of the early actors considered for the role included Billy Dee Williams, Al Pacino, and Chevy Chase? How about that FOX originally wanted someone more like Pamela Anderson to play the roll of Scully on The X-Files? Or that in 1974, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke predicted the Internet? Ever hear of Varney the Vampire?

Find out the truths about these and more in Sci Fi Trifles.  Trivia, anecdotes, little known nuggets and more that present an addicting glimpse into the story behind the story of sci fi. Once you've started reading them you will wonder how you have managed to life so long without knowing them!

Available now for only $2.99 on Kindle from 

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Classic Sci Fi Trailers: The Original Trailer for Buckaroo Banzai

1984's The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension has become a cult classic and a must-watch sci fi film, but when it came out in the 80's promoters just didn't quite know what to do with this odd genre satire that entered the theaters with its tongue firmly planted in cheek.  Bowing six years before David Lynch's Twin Peaks made quirky cool, Buckaroo Banzai threw audiences headlong into a movie that seemed to start in the middle and never gave them the time to catch their breath.  That, of course, was part of the charm of the film, but Hollywood marketers don't like things that they can't easily package for the mass audience.  And the original trailer for the film surely seems to demonstrate that.  It is taken mostly from the end-credits sequence where we see Buckaroo and crew walking in step to the ultra-cool theme music.  Interspersed are a few quick clips from the film like a shot inside of the Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems warehouse and a glimpse of the Black Lectroid's ship in space, and then the trailer ends with the famous quote where one of Buckaroo's crew tells him that the president is on the line asking "is everything okay with the alien spacecraft from Planet 10, or should he just go ahead and destroy Russia?"  Of course this doesn't give audiences much of an idea of what to expect from the film, and the spot didn't get too much exposure either.  But those of us who know the movie rather like the clip because we love the end-title sequence anyway and this gives us a throwback to the time when we first encountered it in the 80's (most likely on its home video release because it disappeared from the theaters so quickly).  So enjoy the trailer then pull out your DVD and invite some other members of the Blue Blaze Irregulars over to relive this fun little sci fi send-up all over again.

Buckaroo Banzai at

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sci Fi Guilty Pleasures: Flash Gordon (1980 Movie)

What Is It? In 1980, just as the sci fi boom in the cinemas was kicking into high gear, this big budget adaptation of the comic strip/movie serial hero Flash Gordon hit theaters and reinvented the character for the Blockbuster Era.  All of the familiar characters of the Gordon canon came along as well including Dale Arden, Dr. Zarkov, Ming the Merciless, Prince Barin, and of course the sultry Princess Aura stealing the show with a steamy performance by Ornella Muti.  And to cap it all off, the movie sported a driving soundtrack by rock superstars Queen whose over-the-top music added just the right camp flourish to this tongue-in-cheek updating of the Flash Gordon mythos.

Why It's a Guilty Pleasure:  Even though this movie did not quite grab audiences the same way as the sci fi blockbusters that preceded it like Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, and Alien, it still stands out as a camp classic that never took itself too seriously and that actually reveled in its own cheesiness.

The Skinny: The Star Wars movies and Raiders of the Lost Ark (which would come out in 1981) recaptured the spirit of the old movie serials of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and added the production values that those films never had.  But Flash Gordon actually went straight back to those roots and redid one of the original sci fi heroes on a blockbuster budget.  It stayed close to much of the camp appeal of the original, though, and played it much more tongue-in-cheek than Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, or other films that drew heavily on early sci fi cinema.  It's not a great movie, but Flash Gordon does just manage to escape the mind-numbing category (unlike the Buck Rogers TV series that hit the airwaves a year prior), in part because of its self-mocking attitude and in part because of the choice performances of all but the hero and heroine (with outstanding reads by veterans like Max Von Sydow, Brian Blessed, and Topol).  Not that Sam Jones or Melody Anderson did a bad job with Flash and Dale, they just had the unfortunate position of playing straight man/woman to all the more colorful alien characters (and the madcap Dr. Zarkov too).   But the cast in total is impeccable, each perfectly suited to their roles and each fully aware that they were not trying to deliver Shakespeare or Dickens or Tolstoy with this movie, just an entertaining bit of sci fi fun. Don’t go looking to Flash Gordon for high-brow, though-provoking science fiction.  Just take it for the enjoyable bit of fluff it is, and you will find that it goes down quite easy.

Notable Stars: Sam Jones (Flash Gordon), Max von Sydow (Ming), Brian Blessed (Prince Vultan), Ornella Muti (Princess Aura), Timothy Dalton (Prince Barin)

Interesting Facts:  Before beginning on Star Wars, George Lucas had originally wanted to remake Flash Gordon, but could not secure the license for the property.  Thus, he ended up creating his own universe, but one that drew much inspiration from Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and many other sources.

And if you wondered why we never got that sequel teased at the end of the movie, you can find out why at this link.

Buy the Many Incarnations of Flash Gordon on DVD and Blu-ray from

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sci Fi Lists: 15 Sci Fi/Fantasy TV Shows Still Waiting for Their Official DVD Release

Over the past ten years, a vast number of science fiction and fantasy TV shows have enjoyed partial or complete releases on DVD (and many are now making their way to Blu-ray as well).  And since the early-00 releases of Kindred: The Embraced and Firefly proved that even short-lived shows could have success on DVD, all genre entries are now fair game for the home video market.  Just last week, the long-awaited release of short-lived cult series Space Rangers finally hit the DVD market, yet there are still quite a few that haven’t received the official treatment, and some are rather prominent genre entries.  Below is a list of fifteen sci fi/fantasy shows that haven’t made it to DVD as of this writing (nor streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.).  If you search the internet, you might find bootleg or “collectible” releases of these series, and they all show up on YouTube from time to time before getting pulled down for copyright reasons.  But none of them have received the full DVD/Blu-ray treatment that they deserve.  These are the ones I would like to see, and feel free to chime in with your own suggestions in the comments section.

Men Into Space (1959) – This often overlooked series gave us a realistic look at the colonization and exploration of our solar system based on the scientific knowledge of the time.  It definitely has not dated well and it can be rather tedious at times, but it’s a fun little throwback to a simpler era and worth checking out (you can read more about it at this link).  You actually can buy the full series on DVD over at the Vintage TV and More site, but what they are selling is a transfer to DVD of television broadcasts during its 90’s syndication run and the quality can be hit or miss (though it’s better than nothing).  But this show deserves an official release with maybe a good making of special feature.

Batman (1966) – This is one of the most iconic genre shows of all time, yet it still hasn’t made it to DVD.  What’s up?  There’s apparently all sorts of legal entanglements (more on that at this link), but somehow how they managed to get Legends of the Superheroes on DVD which had Adam West and Burt Ward reprising their roles along with Frank Gorshin returning as the Riddler (along with several other DC heroes and villains).  Apparently things are more complicated on the original series, though.  I just wish they would figure a way to work this one out, because this one has been a long time coming to DVD.  (Update: apparently the DVD and Blu-ray set for this one is finally in the works.)

The Green Hornet (1966) – This series made it to TV because of the popularity of Batman, but like that show hasn’t found its way to DVD yet.  It shared the same producer as well and maybe that’s part of the holdup.  There was a DVD release that cobbled together four episodes, but they apparently did a pretty poor job of that based on the reviews over at Amazon, so this one is still awaiting a decent DVD edition. (And currently there is a bootleg release of the entire series available from one of the Amazon sellers, but I'm guessing it won't be there long.)

The New People (1969) – This was not really a sci fi show, but genre fans will definitely be interested.  Created by Rod Serling (in an odd pairing with schlock TV mogul Aaron Spelling), it gives a run-up to Lost of sorts as a group of college students are stranded on an abandoned island that was set up for nuclear tests (complete with housing and provisions) but never used.  Believing they would never be found, they start up their own, new society.  This show was particularly odd in that its episodes were only 45 minutes (with commercials).  It lasted less than one season, and apparently its seventeen episodes have not seen the light of day since its initial run.

Star Maidens (1976) – This short lived British series about a female-led alien species that encounters modern day earth had a similar look to Space: 1999 (it shared much of the same production crew) and offered a nice little diversion during that gap between Season 1 and 2 of that Gerry Anderson show.  It wasn’t a particularly great show with its sci fi take on the battle of the sexes, but it was fun and I’d love to see how it stands up after all these years.

Fantastic Journey (1977) – This series about a group of people travelling through the many different zones of the Bermuda Triangle (!) was another one that wasn’t great, but it delivered some good cheesy fun (and had Roddy McDowell hamming it up with this show’s take on the Dr. Smith character).  The Logan’s Run TV series—which came out after this one and shared several of the same writers and producers—has made it to DVD, so it seems only fair that this one should get a release as well.

Blake’s 7 (1979) – This dystopic space opera series is considered a classic of British science fiction television, yet it has never received the DVD treatment in the United States.  I caught part of it when it had its run on PBS in the early 80’s, but it has since disappeared from view on this side of the Atlantic.  Maybe the current talks of an American reboot will generate interest in producing a DVD set.  And it is available on PAL DVD if you have a compatible player.

Star Cops (1987) – This British space procedural was interesting in that it actually worked hard at trying to inject serious science fiction into its stories.  It was a rather cheesy affair (as expected from British TV at that time), but if you can get past its subpar special effects, it’s quite a decent show.

Science Fiction Theatre (1955) - This anthology series came from the same production company as Men into Space and its two seasons produced a hefty total of 78 episodes.  It had its similarities to The Twilight Zone, but each episode was supposedly based on actual scientific facts or theories (as they stood at that time), though it also ventured into the paranormal at times.  The episodes could be a bit stiff and they lacked the twist endings of Zone, but the show had its moments and it could be considered good retro-sci fi fun.  Like Men into Space you can buy the full series as an unofficial DVD release over at the Vintage TV and More site, though it has the same drawbacks.  This one definitely deserves an official treatment, though, with a good, clean transfer of all the episodes. 

Strange Luck (1995) – This odd series about a man who has the “strange luck” to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time mixed some of the dark quirkiness of Twin Peaks with the brooding ambiance of The X-Files but never quite managed to find an audience.  I recall liking it though, and would love to see how it stands up.

Brimstone (1998) – This was a rather dark series about a former cop who goes to Hell after killing his wife’s murderer but who is given a second chance if he helps the devil recapture 113 damned spirits that have escaped from the nether regions (he sends them back by shooting them in the eyes!).  Paired with Millennium on Friday nights during that show’s third season, it made for one of the grimmest two-hour blocks ever on television.  But the show wasn’t half bad and John Glover had wicked fun with the role of the devil.  It only lasted thirteen episodes, but they are worth searching out.   

Strange World (1999) – Coming at the end of the wave of X-Files clones that hit the tube in the mid to late 90’s, this was actually the best of the lot.  It borrowed mostly just the government conspiracy themes from the Chris Carter show and it delivered an interesting series about a man investigating criminal abuses of science (a theme which surfaced again later in The Eleventh Hour).  Co-created by Tim Kring (Heroes), the production crew realized early on that ABC was not going to support the show so they wrapped up the storyline with the show’s thirteenth and final episode.  ABC only aired three episodes, but the show later aired its full run on the Sci Fi Channel.  Unfortunately, no DVD release has followed.

Captain Scarlet (2005) – All of Gerry Anderson’s Supermarionation TV shows have found their way to DVD including 1967’s Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.  But this 2005 CGI (or “Hypermarionation” as Anderson called it) updating of that cheesy but fun series has yet to find its way to DVD in the States nor has it aired anywhere on this side of the Atlantic to my knowledge.  It is available on PAL DVD but it would be nice if they would do a DVD release we could watch over here.

Salvage I (1979) - This odd little late 70's series that starred Andy Griffith as a junk moon who goes to the moon (no, really) was a pretty whacked out entry, but it had a quirky and whimsical air about it and could be fun at times.  It has received some DVD attention with the release of the two two-part episodes Golden Orbit and Hard Water, but the pilot episode is sadly missing and there's no indication that the complete series will ever get released.  

Ark II (1976) - This post-apocalyptic Saturday morning series (which has held up better than you would expect) actually had a DVD release but has since gone out of print.  And copies of that set are currently going at a premium, so why not just release a new one because the interest is there?

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