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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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Ratings
Ratings are based on a four star system.
One star means that the commercials are more entertaining than the program.
Two stars watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars is good solid entertainment.
Four stars means you never dreamed television could be this good.

The premiere of Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 has been moved up a week, to January 16. The webisodes leading up to the premiere are available for viewing at www.scifi.com. The first half of season four is out on DVD.

Looking ahead to 2009, here are the genre films that have been announced (some announced for 2008 and pushed back). I have no interest in horror but I made an exception for The Wolf Man. Also, I omit "mundane fantasy," like walking skeletons and talking gerbils.

January
Inkheart, by David Lindsay-Abaire, from the book by Cornelia Funke. This was released in Germany in 2008, and garnered a few good reviews. It is about a man who can make storybook characters come to life. Lindsay-Abaire worked on Robots and is working on Spider-man IV.

February
Coraline, by Harry Seleck, from the book by Neil Gaiman. The trailer mentions Seleck twice and Gaiman not at all. Seleck directed The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Push, by David Bourla. Teens with powers...

Inkheart
 
Coraline
 
Push
 
Knowing
 
Watchmen
 
Up
 
Land of the Lost
 
March
Knowing, by Alex Proyas, Ryne Pearson, Juliet Snowden, Stiles White, and Stewart Hazeldine. Nicholas Cage gets a message which predicts the future. Alex Proyas wrote Dark City. His next film is Robert A. Heinlein's The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.

Watchmen, by David Hayter and Alex Tse, based on the graphic novel by Dave Gibbons and Cordwainer Bird. One of the most anticipated films of 2008, now one of the most anticipated films of 2009, may be one of the most anticipated films of 2010. The previews looked good, but baffled the mundanes. "Who's Watchman? Is he like Batman?" David Hayter was a writer for X-Men and X2. Alex Tse is writing the remake of The Illustrated Man.

Race to Witch Mountain, by Andy Fickman, Matt Lopez, and Mark Bomback, based on characters created by Alexander Key. Kids with powers. For those who saw the first two films at an impressionable age.

May
X-Men Origins: Wolverine, by David Beinoff, based on a character created by Len Wein. Beinoff wrote Troy and The Kite Runner.

Star Trek, by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, based on characters created by Gene Roddenberry. In the movie The Spirit one character says of a corpse, "He's as dead as Star Trek." Orci and Kurtzman wrote Transformers and Mission Impossible III.

Terminator: Salvation, by John Brancato, Michael Ferris, David C. Wilson, Paul Haggis, Shawn Ryan, and Jonathan Nolan, based on characters created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd. Brancato and Ferris wrote Catwoman and Terminator III. Paul Haggis wrote Crash, Flags of Our Fathers, In the Valley of Elah, and Quantum of Solace. Jonathan Nolan wrote for The Dark Knight and The Prestige.

Up, by Bob Peterson. PIXAR. Peterson did some writing for Ratatouille.

June
Land of the Lost, by Chris Henchy and Dennis McNichols, based on characters created by Sid and Marty Krofft. For those who watched the tv show at an impressionable age.

The Year One, by Harold Ramis, Gene Stupnitsky, and Lee Eisenberg. Cavemen. Ramis wrote classics Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day, but he has also written a lot of very bad movies. He is working on Ghostbusters III.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen, by Ehren Kruger, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. If Star Trek is bad, this will be worse.

12th Man, by Mark Jonathan Stanley. A man awakes in space with no memory of how he got there.

July
Nuclear, by Donavon Thomas. LA gets nuked. Will NY be next?

They Came From Upstairs, by Mark Burton and Adam F. Goldberg. Burton worked on Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Madagascar.

District 9, by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Thachell. Top secret. Peter Jackson is producing.

2012, by Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser. Ancient Mayans predict the apocalypse. From the people who brought you 10,000 B.C. and The Day After Tomorrow.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, by Steve Kloves, from the novel by J.K. Rowling.

September
Game, by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. Humans are pawns in a giant game. From the people who brought you Crank and will be bringing you Jonah Hex.

Pandorum, by Christian Alvert and Travis Milloy. Two men awake in space with no memory of how they got there. Hollywood is just a never-ending fount of new ideas.

Surrogates, by Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato, from the graphic novel by Robert Vindetti and Bret Weldele. In a future where people only interact through robot surrogates, Bruce Willis is forced to leave home for the first time to solve a murder. Think Terminator: Salvation without the script doctors. (I wonder if the person who wrote the graphic novel ever read Isaac Asimov's The Naked Sun.)

October
Where the Wild Things Are, by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, from the book by Maurice Sendak. Jonze has done almost everything in movies except write.

Astro Boy, by Timothy Harris, based on characters created by Osuma Tezuka. For those who watched the cartoon at an impressionable age.

November
The Wolf Man, by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self, based on a 1941 screenplay by Curt Siodmak. Walker wrote Se7en, Self wrote Robocop. If anybody can take the place of Lon Chaney, Jr. and Claude Raines, it's Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins. For those (like me) who watched the original at an impressionable age.

Sherlock Holmes, by Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram, Mike Johnson, Simon Kinberg, Anthony Peckham, based on characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. From the writer/director of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and RocknRolla. I can hardly wait. Ritchie is slated to direct Sgt. Rock.

Planet 51, by Joe Stillman. An animated film from the writer of Shrek. An alien world is invaded by humans.

December
The Illuminati, Out of Chaos Comes Order, by Mark Sevi. Sevi has written a lot of direct-to-video movies.

Avatar, by James Cameron. Cameron's first feature film since Titanic. (Not to be confused with The Last Airbender by M. Night Shyamalan, scheduled for 2010.) The first big new space movie in a long, long time.

It Came From Yesterday, by Jeff Waltrowski, who brought you Blood Bath Blood Wrestling Volume One. Professor Jack, along with sidekicks Buddy and Penny Precious, save the Earth from monsters from another dimension.

My picks, based entirely on the writers: They Came From Upstairs, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Wolf Man, Sherlock Holmes, Planet 51, and Avatar. And I'm very curious about District 9.

Copyright © 2009 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.


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