Monday, 5 December 2016

From Fall 1999: TOONS, a brief spin-off from WIZARD MAGAZINE.


1990: BAYWATCH: PANIC AT MALIBU PIER UK VHS RELEASE

From 1990 (although it aired on NBC the previous year) the original BAYWATCH pilot movie PANIC AT MALIBU PIER.

This release was unusual because, as the cover suggests, this contains some scenes trimmed from the telecast. I'd assumed these were just scenes that ITV had snipped to fit the timeslot allocated to the movie (not an uncommon practice for broadcasters at the time) but its actually a couple of mildly racy topless female scenes (not involving any of the show's regular actresses) presumably shot by the production company to give the one-off a little more spice in the all-important overseas market. Neither scene is critical to the plot... and I doubt they were part of the original NBC outing.

This additional material was somewhat at odds with the family friendly flavour of the show itself, airing around 6pm Saturday nights on ITV, and must have come as a surprise to buyers who expected to leave their kids unsupervised and entertained for ninety-odd minutes.

I vaguely recall seeing this released again later with a PG certification, suggesting the 'rude bits' had been snipped.


1994: THERMAL LANCE ISSUE 17

From May 1994: THERMAL LANCE, the British DOCTOR WHO fanzine, issue 17.


1979: STARBLAZER ISSUE 1 (DC THOMSON)

From April 1979: the first issue of DCT's Star Age pocket library STARBLAZER.

The Dundee publisher wisely decided to avoid trying to lauch a me-too anthology into a market where 2000AD and STAR WARS WEEKLY were already slugging it out (with DWW, STARHEROES and FUTURE TENSE all still to hit within the next year-or-so) and opted to bolster their successful line of black & white digest pocket libraries instead (a market Marvel was also about to enter... albeit without much longevity) with this done-in-one single story title.

SB started on a one-a-month frequency before swiftly upgrading to two issues - released simultaneously - each month. It ultimately staggered on until (barely) January 1991, clocking up an impressive 281 issues.

Despite some top industry contributors (Morrison, McMahon, Ridgway, Kennedy and more), DC Thomson have been slow to exploit the Starblazer inventory. Maybe they should consider a sale to Rebellion...


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

1988: DOCTOR WHO SILVER NEMESIS VHS

From 1988: On air this month, to mark DOCTOR WHO's 25th year on the telly, was the flawed Cyber-romp SILVER NEMESIS.

This was the BBC VIDEO VHS release. The scan has reproduced quite darkly because it was printed on a special foil paper (contradiction?) that gave it a suitably metallic finish.

Tbe tape is notable for including a US documentary not subsequently included on the DVD.


1992: PERSONALITY PRESENTS STAR TREK: PATRICK STEWART

From July 1992: Another entry into the PERSONALITY PRESENTS STAR TREK run, this time focused on the Next Gen crew. The first issue, naturally, focused on Patrick Stewart.

Make it so.


Monday, 28 November 2016

1985: FANTASY EMPIRE ISSUE 16

From March 1985: the 16th issue of American fan magazine FANTASY EMPIRE.


1996: THE 5 TIMES ISSUE 7 (THE UK BABYLON FIVE FAN CLUB)

From New Year 1996: the 7th issue of the fanzine THE 5 TIMES, published by THE BABYLON FIVE UK FAN CLUB.


1988: SOMETHING IS OUT THERE UK VHS COVER

From 1988, the UK VHS rental release of US SF mini-series SOMETHING IS OUT THERE.


This two-nighter was a curious - and not always terribly logical - combination of MOONLIGHTING, ALIEN, THE HIDDEN and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and - in truth - plays like any number of straight-to-tape SF thrillers of the period despite some a-list talents behind the camera.

Filming - in an arrangement that could only make sense to a studio accountant - was split between LA and Australia despite the fact that the whole thing is based in Los Angeles with only a brief excursion off-world.

Aired as two nights of feature-length programming, this tape combines the two parts into one extended movie. Fortunately no-one considered a shorter cut to squeeze onto a shorter tape. There was no sell-through release and this - and the series that followed - has never troubled DVD. It was also shown on SKY ONE in the UK.

NBC, having apparently failed to grasp the lessons of V's failure, promptly concluded that America was desperate for a weekly series. In an industry ruled my market research, it never ceases to amaze me how often network executives get it so wrong. They assumed that audiences would rush back for the romantic adventures of the leading duo (one a tough cop... the other a pretty alien with a lot to learn about Earth) but punters really wanted more monsters. Something the telly types had neglected to supply.

The weekly series mustered a mere eight episodes, of which the network aired only six, before the plug was pulled and the show axed. All the episodes, with new introductions from cast and crew, eventually surfaced of the SCI FI CHANNEL.
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