Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed. Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2001 Banner! Number 69 (Vol 2, No. 29).  This edition is for the week of July 16--22, 2001.
Where No Man Has Gone Before... again.

Star Trek. Hard to believe the franchise is 35 years old. Through near-countless revisions, re-groupings, re-castings and reunions, the many TV series and the movie spin-offs, letter-writing campaigns, fan conventions, and a veritable industry of magazine journal and website support, Star Trek has proved impossible to kill. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you...but after Voyager finished her 6-year-run on UPN with the rather... er... lackluster final season and series finale, I actually kinda looked forward to a Trek-less Fall season where maybe some young upstart would show us all how it's done with a whole new concept. NOPE.

Picture of the new Enterprise NX-01 from a TV Guide™ pull-out. "Star Trek"™ and "Enterprise"™ are trademarks of Paramount Pictures.
But what producer Rob Berman (the heir apparent to series creator Gene Roddenberry) has in mind for a new Fall series does look interesting.
   "Enterprise" is set sometime between the history of "Star Trek: First Contact" and the time of Captain Kirk. The Vulcans have been very reluctant to share their technology with us, owing to the fact they feel we're not ready for space travel. (Darn perceptive, those Vulcans!). But with or without their help, humans have been able to progress to Warp-5 speed capability. (Later, in Kirk's time, that's nearly doubled.)
   The Enterprise is small and cramped....the production staff spent time on a submarine to get a feel for cramped quarters. Producer Berman remarked in an interview "you have to watch your head in the Captain's ready room---the support beams are that low." Gone also are the near-opulent sets of Picard's "hotel lobby-style" bridge or Janeway's cozy ready room. The crew is not here for the luxury ride!

Berman also will be taking a few artistic licences and continuity fudges (so the Klingons are not going back to looking like Romulans), but assures us that when new alien species appear that were not known in Kirk's time, there'll be a good reason for them being here (and not in Kirk's time). Similarly, high-tech weaponry and futuristic gadgets will develop slowly and naturally.

"Quantum Leap"'s Scott Bakula will play Captain Jonathan Archer, described as a down-to-earth, Han Solo-like character. The Vulcan first officer is named T'Pol and is played by Jolene Blalock as a coldly-logical, but sexy dish (a la Jeri Ryan's Seven-of Nine). Engineering officer duties fall to Charles "Trip" Tucker III, played by Connor Trineer. And as "Bones" (yuk yuk) is "Phlox" and is, as I understand it, an alien himself. ("I'm a doctor not an alien, Jim"....aaaaaah, never mind.)
Information for the above article was gleaned from a variety of sources, but mainly from the current TV Guide (July 14--20, 2001), and www.startrek.com.

Mists of Avalon
A review of the "Mists of Avalon" TV mini-series.  PCR welcomes back thrice-before contributor, Lauré.

Sunday and Monday nights on TNT marked a milestone I have been waiting for for nine years. Finally, after waiting, and hoping and hearing rumor after rumor, Marion Zimmer Bradley's massive classic Arthurian Tome "Mists of Avalon", that novel that damn near changed my whole life, was made into a movie--a TV-movie. OK, strike one against it, I thought going in, but this is going to be good. Still, how are they, a commerical network, going to pull off all the pagan elements? How are they possibly going to do justice to this tale?

This is a new take on the Arthurian legends (or it was when it was published in 1982) and it is told from the point of view of Morgaine, sister to Arthur, trained priestess of the Old Religion and of the Isle of Avalon. Here, she is no wicked witch, but she is a woman steadfast in her belief and her love for her pagan peoples, their way of life, their goddess. Uther Pendragon and his son, Arthur, are sworn and bound by the Lady of the Lake, Morgaine and Arthur's aunt Viviane to uphold the beliefs and rights of Avalon and the people she serves or else forfeit Avalon's support--a support much needed if their reigns are to continue.

Through much conflict throughout the course of their lives, we see Morgaine and Viviane struggle with the various elements of the Arthurian tale well-known to those who are fans of the Romance. Ms. Bradley however, took careful pains to recreate the legend anew, adding names, elements and people, as in my beloved Taliesen and Kevin the Bard--he who, if I remember correctly--was brought to Avalon by Taliesen to be trained to follow him as Merlin of Britain on Taliesen's death (Merlin being a title, not a name in Ms. Bradley's version), and Raven, that little Priestess who gave up her voice to the Goddess, she who speaks only in prophecy and is a profound character and help to Morgaine, even without her voice; in short, characters who may have never existed in earlier versions, or been brushed over.

Unfortunately, and I am probably going to be the only one to say this, this was a poor representation of the beloved novel... a shadow of what could have been. Why, dear TNT, did your producer introduce Raven if she was going to be such a weak character? Why show Morgaine going to Avalon at all if we were just going to brush over her time there so nonchalantly? Why make Morgause the bad guy? Why brush over Merlin (ahem, Talesin!) so nonchalantly? Why discard Gwenyfar's so vehement anti-pagan feelings? What happened to Morgaine's being constantly referred to (especially by Lancelot) as Morgaine of the Faeries? What the hell happened to Kevin? ::sigh:: And the barge, that vessel that the inhabitants of Avalon use to take them across the sea to the mainland, always struck me as being a massive affair, but in TNT's version, it was no more than a dingy, barely able to transport four people. And they cut out the massive, beautiful earthshattering Holy Grail scene when Morgaine and Viviane present the Grail to the Christian priest, Arthur and his Knights and all they can see is the Cup in the awesome hands of the Goddess.

Now, I know it's been NINE YEARS since I've read the novel, but this was a bigger dissapointment than I expected. Now, what did I like? They got the setting right, they got the feel right, no one tripped over the put on English accents (bravo Julianna Marguilles!), and thank all the gods, they did not slice up the Great Marriage scene! I was severely worried that would see the cutting room floor. But, nothing else made it? AND they had the gall not to dedicate it to Marion? I get that that woman they did dedicate it to may have died while they were filming (hubby says that's usually how dedications go), but man! All I can say is, what the hell?????

On the up side, part one was better than part two, but it would have been much better to have spread it over more nights than to try to squish an eight hundred and seventy-six page novel down into two nights. On the other hand, we are lucky to have it made at all, considering that we fan-girls have been waiting 9 years!

I heard this made national news, but I haven't seen much lately, so I'm not sure. But for all my out-of-town friends who may be wondering what the heck's going on here...there's a little game local law enforcement and the FBI are trying out in downtown Ybor City (an area of east Tampa): several cameras are positioned on street corners throughout Ybor watching every move you make. A type of software called "face-it" compares, like, 19 separate points of passing faces to a database of known criminals.

"Orwellian" is the most-often-used buzzword of the current zeitgeist and with great justification. This technology was first tried out at the Super Bowl last January. For all their trouble, they only spotted a couple of transient con-men who were there to watch the game. But many feel there are bigger principles at stake. Invasion of privacy. Unconstitutional law-enforcement intrusion. And, of course, my greatest fear as a civil Libertarian: that there's probably some way this technology can be abused.

Predictably, the ACLU is on this, but the defenders say there's no difference between this surveillance and someone planted on a street corner and watching you---well, yeah, and just as creepy, too, especially if that guy has a nat'l computer database chip in his head!  I'm not a big frequenter of Ybor City, and there have been a lot of crime problems down there. But, I can understand cameras following you giving people the willies, too. What do you think?

Murder in Small Town X.  Just a reminder. It starts next Tuesday! (Watch for our boy Corey Castellano, aka Leo C. Castellano, aka L. Corey Castellano to be listed in the credits as head make-up guy!)
Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Atlantis. by Mike "Deadguy" Scott. (Postponed from an earlier issue of "Deadguy's Dementia"....sorry---Nolan.) This is the tentative name of a new movie that has FINALLY started to move forward. I've been watching this one develop for a little while now, and even though it's a little late in coming, it's great news to hear that Paramount Pictures has been in meetings recently about the script for it even if it has not yet been "greenlighted". They want to rebuild the team that did the other 3 Indiana Jones movies: George Lucas producing, Steven Spielberg directing, and Harrison Ford to star. Strangely enough, a few months ago I was checking out an interview with Harrison Ford, and he said that his son has been asking; "Dad? when are you gonna' do another one?" Harrison's response was that he wasn't sure, but EVENTUALLY there'd be another one.
    Last month, Insider magazine was talking to both Lucas and Harrison about it in separate interviews but the two men would neither confirm not deny anything; they just sat and smiled when anyone tried to pin them with it.
    According to a Paramount inside source, Harry wants at least $25 million for the role which is actually not TOO bad, considering the payment requirements that the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) has on actors like Harrison. Georgie and Steve are willing to accept less initial pay for this one, but expect a larger chunk of the box-office pie and a good share of the residuals to boot.
    There's a few rumors about the story, including the tentative name of the film: "Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Atlantis," which is a complete fabrication that I came up with for this article right on the spot, but doesn't it just "FEEL" right? The rumors suggest two main plot elements: the search for Atlantis and the search for Indiana's long lost brother. Personally, it sounds to me, from initial rumors, that the plot may carry both elements, which lends further credence to the rumor that Sean Connery might be involved, returning as Indy's father. (James Bond played Han Solo's father in the 3rd film, despite the fact that he's actually only slightly older than him. Anyone catch that?) So.. if Sean Connery is Harrison's father in the film, and this rumor about a long-lost brother pans out, it's PROBABLY going to be someone we all know.. Anyone have any guesses?
    My initial guess is that it would be Tom Selleck, the man originally slated to BE Indiana Jones, if it weren't for the Magnum P.I. series. (Hmm.. coincidentally.. there's an interview with HIM in that Insider magazine too.) If this comes to pass, and it IS him, I hope they play a few bars of music that's reminiscent of Magnum P.I. when they find him. I would actually prefer it that Selleck only makes a cameo, and the brother in question was actually played by Jon Lovitz (Saturday Night Live, The Wedding Singer, Trapped in Paradise). That guy KILLS me, and he would make a great counterpoint to the adventuresome Father/Son relationship. In any event, this will definitely be a must-see for me. I certainly couldn't imagine many folks ignoring it's presence in the movie theaters. Of course that's probably a year or two away... (sigh...) Deadguy. deadguy@email.msn.com

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang! In the midst of packing for a business meeting in Chicago, I take the time to bring you the following:

You may recall about 18 months ago the tragic story of road rage that took the life of an innocent dog. In February 2000, Sara McBurnett accidentally hit the rear of a truck driven by Andrew Burnett. In a fit of rage, Burnett raced back to McBurnett's car, reached into her open window, grabbed her dog and flung him into traffic, where he was immediately hit and killed. Burnett drove away from the scene. Animal lovers all over the world were outraged at this act, and a reward fund in excess of $100,000 was raised to find him. An anonymous e-mail tip led police to Burnett. Convicted last week of animal cruelty, the judge paid no attention to the prosecutor's recommendation of probation and sentenced Burnett to three years behind bars! The courtroom erupted in applause when the sentence was passed!

Our old pal Paula Houston, the porn-czar of Utah, has struck again. Acting on a complaint from one of the state's citizens, Houston has ordered all Victoria's Secret advertising out of store windows and instructed the company that their catalogs must be mailed in a brown wrapper. Houston, who is the nation's only state-funded anti-porn ombudsman, described the advertising as having "lewd and sexual images." Sounds like someone has their thong undies up their ass a little too far!
(Is there still a Sears catalog? And don't they have an underwear section? OOPS! I may have said too much already.---N)

The WB has announced that Annette O'Toole will play Martha Kent in their upcoming series, "Smallville." The series will center on the young adventures of Clark Kent, who we all know becomes Superman. Ironically, O'Toole played Clarks' high school love interest, Lana Lang, in the feature film, "Superman III."
(Wow, that's got some kinda Oedipus incest overtone happening there. BUT I LOVE IT! Wonder what Paula Houston thinks?---N)

Luke Perry has taken over the role of Brad Majors in "The Rocky Horror Show" on Broadway. NY Times critic Clive Barnes summed up the performance in 11 words............"Luke Perry, who can't sing, can't act, can't dance...is terrible." Maybe now would be the time for that 90210 reunion show.
("Howdya do, I...see you've met my....sucky, acting ham."---N)

My hats off to the people running the United Artist theatre chain. In an e-mail sent to theatre managers of their California complexes, the writer explains that hot prepared foods are subject to sales tax in the state, so popcorn should NEVER be described as hot. Also, the word "hot" needs to be removed from all menu boards, popcorn containers, movie trailers, advertising slides and piped-in advertising messages. It goes further: "Concession employees should NEVER describe popcorn to a customer as 'Hot." Encourage the use of the words 'Fresh,' "Golden,' 'Delicious,' etc. However, a supervisor with the California State Board of Equalization says that's not how the law works. Vic Anderson say's that every item a paying customer buys in a movie theatre is subject to sales tax, "Hot" - - - or not.
(I don't know if this helps or not, but here in Florida, if you buy a frozen burrito at a 7-11 it is NOT taxed UNLESS you heat it in the microwave. That makes it a "prepared food"---regardless of how it's "described" on some sign. I think the California board knows no theater is going to serve unpopped popcorn! So simply changing the description accomplishes nothing, it's funny they thought it would.---Nolan)

Well, that's it for this week. Have a good one.

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    The review of "Mists of Avalon" is ©2001 by Lauré    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova.

Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001