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Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

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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.

Every year about this time, I give my pick of the upcoming sf and fantasy films, based on the writers. How did I do last year? My picks were:
  •  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  •  X-Men: First Class
  •  Captain America: The First Avenger
  •  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two
  •  The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn

Boy, was I wrong about On Stranger Tides. I'll stand by the other four. The best one I didn't pick was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was better than I expected. X-Men: First Class was my favorite. But my real favorite was not a movie at all, but a game, Portal 2.

On to 2012. This is far from all of the genre films to be released in 2012. Among the hundreds of films I've spared you, "Ghosts with Shit Jobs." Also "The Brides of Sodom," written and directed by Creep Creepersin.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island by Brian Gunn, Mark Gunn, Richard Outten, and Jules Verne. Sequel to Journey 1. Brian wrote PG Porn and Gayosity, Mark wrote 2gether the Series, Richard wrote Little Nemo, and Jules wrote Mysterious Island.

Chronicle by Max Landis and Josh Trank. Teens with superpowers. Max wrote The Death and Return of Superman, Josh wrote for The Kill Point tv series.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides X-Men: First Class Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two Captain America: The First Avenger
Iron Sky by Johanna Sinisalo, Jarmo Puskala, and Michael Kalesnico. Nazis on the Moon. Johanna is a novelist who writes for Finnish television. Jarmo wrote Star Wreck. Michael wrote How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (novel) and Jane Goldman (screenplay). Boo! Made you jump. Susan wrote for Jackanory (tv series). Jane wrote Kick-Ass.

John Carter by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon, from a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. A Princess of Mars. Andrew wrote Toy Story 3 and Wall-E. Mark wrote for Samurai Jack (tv series), Michael wrote Spider-Man 2, Edgar wrote Tarzan of the Apes.

The Hunger Games by Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, and Billy Ray. Children kill each other for the entertainment of adults -- a lot like high school football. Gary wrote Seabiscuit. Suzanne wrote the novel upon which the film is based. Billy wrote State of Play.

Wrath of the Titans by Dan Mazeus, David Johnson, and Greg Berlanti. Angry gods. This is Dan's first movie. David wrote Red Riding Hood. Greg wrote Green Lantern.

Mirror Mirror by Melisa Wallack and Jason Keller, from the fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm. The first of two Snow White movies this month. This is Melisa's first screenplay. Jason wrote Machine Gun Preacher.

Snow White and the Huntsman by Hossein Amini, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and Evan Daugherty. The second Snow White movie out in March. Hossien wrote Drive. Evan S. wrote Battle for Terra, Evan D. wrote Rusty Forkblade.

Sol by Benjamin Carland. Young adults on an alien planet. This is one of two 2012 films with this title. This one has a budget of $250,000. The other, about a robot in the far future, has a budget of less than a tenth of that. This is Benjamin's first feature film.

Battleship by Erich and Jon Hoeber. Battleships vs. aliens. This one has a budget of $200 million. Erich and Jon wrote Whiteout and Red. If they had only titled this one The Deep Blue Sea, we would have another Three Colors trilogy.

Lockout by Luc Besson, Stephen St. Leger, and James Mather. The president's daughter is being held prisoner in outer space. Luc wrote La Femme Nikita. This is Stephen and James' first feature.

The Avengers by Joss Whedon, Zak Penn, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby. Avengers assemble! Joss created Buffy and Firefly. Zak wrote Last Action Hero and X-Men: The Last Stand. Stan and Jack created a few characters you may have heard of, including The Fantastic Four, Thor, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man and The Hulk.

Men In Black III by Lowell Cunningham, David Koepp, Etan Cohen, Jeff Nathenson, and Michael Soccio. The third movie in a series with one great movie and one lousy movie. Lowell created the comic book. David wrote Jurassic Park and Zathura, Etan wrote for Beavis and Butt-Head (tv series), Jeff wrote Catch Me If You Can, Michael wrote for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (tv series).

Dark Shadows by Dan Curtis and Seth Grahame-Smith. "A séance was held at the great house of Collinwood..." Dan created the original series, with scripts by Sam Hall and many others. Seth has done some tv writing and wrote the novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Prometheus by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Remember the Nostromo? Jon wrote The Darkest Hour, Damon was a major writer for Lost.

Brave by Brenda Chapman and Irene Mecchi. Pixar. 'Nuff said. Brenda worked on Beauty and the Beast. Irene worked on The Lion King.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith and Simon Kinsburg. Seth wrote the novel, also the new Dark Shadows movie. Simon wrote X-Men: The Last Stand and Sherlock Holmes.

The Hunger Games The Avengers Men In Black III

The Dark Knight Rises by Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, and David S. Goyer. All three worked on the script for The Dark Knight. Jonathan and Christopher wrote Inception and Memento. David wrote Dark City. David and Christopher wrote next year's Man of Steel.

The Amazing Spider-Man by Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves, James Vanderbilt, based on a character created by Stan Lee. Alvin won an Oscar for his writing on Ordinary People, and also worked on Spider-Man II and Spider-Man III. Steve wrote all but one of the Harry Potter films. James wrote Zodiac.

Total Recall by Mark Bomback, James Vanderbilt, and Kurt Wimmer, from a story by Philip K. Dick. Remake of the Schwarzenegger vehicle. Mark wrote Race to Witch Mountain, James worked on The Amazing Spider-Man, Kurt wrote Sphere.

Dredd by Alex Garland from the comic book by John Wagner and Carlos Sanchez Ezquerra. Remake of the Stallone vehicle. Alex wrote 28 Days Later....

Frankenweenie by John August, based on the short film written by Leonard Ripps and directed by Tim Burton. A boy and his (dead) dog. John wrote Titan A.E., Leonard wrote The Star Wars Holiday Special. Tim wrote -- well, you know what Tim wrote.

Cloud Atlas by Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski from a novel by David Mitchell. Six closely interrelated stories. Tom wrote Run, Lola, Run, Andy and Lana wrote The Matrix and V For Vendetta.

The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn 2 by Melissa Rosenberg, from the novel by Stephenie Meyer. Melissa wrote the previous Twilight movies.

Skyfall by John Logan, Patrick Marber, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade, from characters created by Ian Fleming. Bond. James Bond. John won an Oscar for his script for Gladiator and also wrote Star Trek: Nemesis and Hugo. Patrick wrote Asylum, Neal and Robert have written several previous Bond films, including Quantum of Solace.

Gravity by Alfonzo Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón, and Rodrigo Garcia. A mission to repair the Hubble space telescope goes wrong. Alfonzo wrote Children of Men. Jonás wrote Year of the Nail. Rodrigo wrote Mother and Child. Did you know there are 20 movies titled Gravity, 19 in the last ten years, three in 2011 alone.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro, from the book by J.R.R. Tolkien. Fran, Philippa, and Peter won Oscars for The Return of the King. Guillermo wrote Pan's Labyrinth.

Fractalus by James Ward Birkit. A motley group of astronauts travel unimaginable distances across time and space. Birkit wrote Rango.

World War Z by Matthew Michael Carnahan from the novel by Max Brooks. Zombies. Matthew wrote State of Play. Max wrote for Saturday Night Live.

Prometheus Brave Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter The Dark Knight Rises

My picks, based entirely on the writers:
  •  The Hunger Games
  •  The Avengers
  •  Men in Black III
  •  Prometheus
  •  Brave
  •  Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  •  The Dark Knight Rises
  •  The Amazing Spider-Man
  •  Skyfall
  •  Gravity
  •  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

High hopes:
  •  Dark Shadows
  •  Cloud Atlas

Looks like an exceptionally good year.

The Amazing Spider-Man The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Dark Shadows

Copyright © 2012 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. Visit his web site at

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