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Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e04

[caption id="attachment_9259" align="alignleft" width="300"]Zhaan flashes Kyr Farscape s1e04: Keeping our painters busy[/caption]

"Throne for a Loss" (season 1, episode 4)

Written by me, directed by Pino Amenta Now, where were we...? Oh, right. 104! This was my first script for Farscape. I'll save the long, boring behind-the-scenes stuff for another day, but here's the short, boring behind-the-scenes stuff: I pitched Rock & DK some story ideas, and one that they liked included the notion that Peacekeeper "armor" injected the wearer with a strength-enhancing (and addictive) drug to "improve" their soldiers. Rock & DK didn't like that the soldiers were Peacekeepers, so the three of us tossed around variations on the concept, making it an alien species instead and adding in other elements such as Rygel getting kidnapped and D'Argo, Aeryn, and Crichton all having to wear the "glove weapon" and having it mess with their heads. In an hour and a half of fun and frenetic brainstorming, we sketched out a rough story, and -- once Sci-Fi approved it -- off I went to write it. And now I'm off to watch it, for the first time in yonks! Love Jonathan Hardy's Rygel voicework in this ep (and in all eps). Gotta say nice things about our guesties as well; Jeremiah Tickell (Kyr) and John Adam (Bekhesh) not only gave terrific performances, they did so under pounds of alien makeup -- and John Adam could barely even see out of his getup. Tavleks! D'Argo loses another fight. Oh, well... "Tracterbeem!" Yup, John's seen Star Trek, but nobody else on Moya has. We don't do tractor beams here; we do Docking Webs. [caption id="attachment_9258" align="alignright" width="300"]"Oh, no, not THAT hack!" Farscape s1e04: Pilot's appalled by the credit[/caption] My first Farscape writing credit falls over a shot of Pilot looking horrified! Can't ask for better than that. (Here begins a Farscape tradition of my credit winding up on a shot where a character doesn't look happy. I don't think it was deliberate.) D'Argo gets nasty! Go, Anth! Zhaan gets nasty! Go, Virg! "Soft, yes; weak, no." This script was written so early in the scheme of things that "Zhaan" was still named "Zenn" in my first draft. Blue foliage! If I recall, it was the brainstorm of Craig Barden, our marvelous DP, to key in on a specific range of green tones and replace 'em with blue. Works great. The Consortium of Trao. My favorite early-seventies progressive band. Crichton gets clocked with a Panthak jab and Aeryn perfectly delivers "Tavleks" as a button. And that's Act One. Ah, the Zhaan flash. This caused some consternation at the network; many arguments ensued, and (if I recall) Bonnie Hammer, head of Sci-Fi Channel, had to step in and declare the butt view "harmless." Let's overload the Peacekeeper gun. Hey, that trick worked on Trek's phasers, so... why not? The ability to turn a gun into a grenade got us out of more than one plot difficulty over the course of the series... Did Crichton just say “shit”? Sure sounded like it, though Ben swears he never pronounced the "t." I dunno; I'm more surprised we got away with this than with naked Zhaan... Zhaan bleeds white! It's a Clue! Sometimes we did, pardon the expression, "plant" things for payoffs way down the road. Other times we just retconned like bandits. (Truly, I don't remember which this was...) Aeryn belts Crichton again! Take another drink. [caption id="attachment_9257" align="alignleft" width="300"]Funny Foliage Farscape s1e04: Brows and Blue Leaves[/caption] (But don't they make a nice Action Couple in this ep? Look at those intense poses, those open mouths, those furrowed brows...) Also surprised we got away with D'Argo saying "lumpy blanket" re Aeryn atop him. Props to puppeteer Tim Mieville who was also the voice of Jotheb. Perfect alien contrast to Rygel's down-to-earth gruffness. When DK & Rock sent me off to write the script, they told me not to stick blindly to the story outline but to go ahead and toss in a new idea or three along the way. "Surprise us," they said. I took them at their word -- and killed Rygel at the second act break. He Got Better, thanks to Jotheb's tentacle-to-mouth resuscitation skills, but DK & Rock loved that I'd been brash enough to Go For It. My draft ended Act Two like this: "Bekhesh lifts his boot. Rygel's dead. END OF ACT TWO." Rock suggested that I amend that to "Rygel's dead. Really." ...just to give everyone heart failure that we were killing off a million-dollar animatronic in the fourth episode. Kyr doesn't want a "damn" sermon. (The Translator Microbes are still working out which swear words to translate and which to leave alone...) Nice but rather talky and off-point D'Argo & Aeryn scene here, which I suspect is a "Euro scene" added to pad out the episode for the BBC version. Ah. The Qualta Blade Expansion. (Sounds like a Big Bang Theory episode title.) First time we see it, too, which messed up continuity when these early eps were aired out of order and therefore Aeryn in a "later" ep didn't seem to know the thing was also a Qualta Rifle. We're running around Middle Head! That's a Sydney location we used more than once, because -- well, look for yourself, it's a Way Cool Place to Shoot. D'Argo takes out three baddies! Finally the lad gets to win a fight. Aaaaand then he gets shot. O, well. The writers giveth and the writers taketh away. The Gauntlet works via willpower, "like Green Lantern's Ring." I can't tell you how refreshing it was to write for a character who knew all this geek stuff and could reference it when needed. This not only made writing easier -- if an alien looked kinda like a Klingon, Crichton could beat the viewer to the punch and remark that it looked like a Klingon -- but also, per Rock & DK's plan, reinforced the notion that Crichton was from our universe and not Yet Another Fictional Universe Where Nobody's Ever Watched Television or Seen Movies or Read Comic Books. Zhaan has a temper! Rock & DK had also told me that the alien characters' various traits (serene peacenik, angry warrior, etc.) were merely starting points and that we should all feel free to deepen the characters and add other levels as the stories progressed. I thought that perhaps Zhaan's saintly patience ought not to be inexhaustible and that she should just plain lose it now and then when provoked. So I went for it; everybody liked it -- and lo, Zhaan now had a temper. This Crichton-running shot somehow reminds me of The Six Million Dollar Man, which is kinda fitting as Ben later played Lee Majors in a TV movie... The Gauntlet's out of gas! "Let's call it a draw," says Crichton, because of course I was thinking of Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the Black Knight always triumphs! I wrote Rygel's "I'm unloved, unwanted" line, but I didn't write him perfectly capping it with “unconscious”... and I wish I knew whose idea that adlib was so I could thank them. John Adam is so good in this post-standoff scene. It's no wonder we brought the actor and the character back in later seasons... Crichton holding the unbagged Rygel is such a lovely two-shot. We discovered early on that the puppets really came to life when the actors touched them in some way, shape, or form. And Crichton calls Rygel "Fluffy," and another Farscape running gag is launched. Fluffy, Spanky, Little Camper, Buckwheat... D'Argo in black satin pajamas? He looks like he's just stepped out of the Playboy Mansion. (Great idea, though, to give all the characters some changes of clothes, so they aren't just wearing their One Alien Outfit constantly...) Rygel craps the gem! Yup, it's not Farscape without some body fluid and/or function playing a crucial role. Kyr, back on the planet, holds up his arm to show that he's not Staying Straight after all but is in fact wearing the Gauntlet again... except that isn't 100% clear when we see Kyr on the viewscreen, so... we dropped in an added line, recorded later, of Kyr saying " that I have the Gauntlet back on.” Sometimes you need a bit of what I call "remedial dialog." We all agreed going in that Zhaan's attempt to Talk the Kid Out of Doing Drugs wasn't going to work, because those sort of easy answers just weren't Farscape, and Zhaan underscores the point in the last line of the ep, "No sermons." AND FINALLY: The (crummy) working title of this episode was "Gauntlet," so when I handed in my first draft, I also gave Rock & DK a list of alternate titles. Never thought they'd pick the one they picked. Here's the list; see if there's one you like better! A Royal Pain Forearmed and Dangerous Delusions of Royalty Shuttle Diplomacy Throne For a Loss Bagged Double Bagged Jungle Dance In Arm's Way Forewarned is Forearmed Mutual Disarmament Invincible You The Invincible Man King For Sale Rygel Goes to Camp Fit for a King Unfit for a King Hissy Fit for a King Bungled in the Jungle The Royal Mistreatment Where There's Swill, There's a Way Fits Like a Glove Penalty for Early Withdrawal Symptoms No Sermons The True Enemy I'll Take Rygel You Take Paris, I'll Take Rygel Call It a Draw Rygel the Conqueror Net Worth Unloved, Unwanted, and Unpopular Unloved, Unwanted, and Uncouth One More Skull for the Collection The Royal Snatch

Another chance to get a piece of Moya!

[caption id="attachment_8903" align="alignleft" width="300"]Farscape script + piece of Moya (Not the actual Moya piece you'll get, but yours will be similar in size & paint.)[/caption] And it's not just an actual piece of Moya, but also a signed (and personalized, if you like) Farscape shooting script! Once again, those wonderful folks at Con or Bust, which helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions, are holding their annual fundraising auction of all kinds of amazing stuff! And once again, I've descended into the Froonium catacombs to grab a couple of Farscape scripts and clip a couple more pieces off the chunk of Moya that I smuggled home from Australia! (Specifically, two pieces of hand-painted foam from a much larger piece that formed one of the 'scales' covering one of Moya's interior 'ribs.') And you get to choose which script you want, from any one of these episodes that I penned:
  • "Throne for a Loss" (Ep. 104)
  • "Nerve" (Ep. 119)
  • "Mind the Baby" (Ep. 201)
  • "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Ep. 214)
  • "Season of Death" (Ep. 301)
  • "Incubator" (Ep. 311)
  • "Terra Firma" (Ep. 413)
Once again this year, the top two bidders will each get a script & Moya piece, so we'll have Double Winners! Bid on the Farscape script & Moya piece via this link! Bidding is now open, but hurry — the auction ends Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 1pm Pacific Time. (Oh, and if absolutely nothing in the entire auction strikes your fancy, or the bidding's too rich for your blood, you can simply make a donation via PayPal to help this most excellent cause.)

Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e03

[caption id="attachment_9238" align="alignright" width="300"]Kabuki Peacekeepers Farscape s1e03: On weekends, we're a KISS cover band[/caption]

"Exodus from Genesis" (season 1, episode 3)

Written by Ro Hume, directed by Brian Henson This'll be a truly fresh rewatch, because literally the only thing I remember offhand about this ep is "Kabuki Peacekeepers." Roll it... Dentics! Ah, I do remember Dentics. And here we begin the Farscape tradition of Putting Yucky Things in your Mouth. Crichton calls Aeryn "Miss Sun" here! And pronounces it "Soon!" Is this the one and only time in the series he calls her that? Zhaan touches Rygel! Is this the first time one of our actors touches one of our animatronics? We quickly discovered that "manhandling the puppets" really helped bring the latter to life as Actual Beings, so watch to see how much more often everybody "gets physical" with Rygel and Pilot as the series goes on... Zhaan as Flash Van Gogh. A cool notion that we never played again, as I recall. Not much plot use for superspeed painting, although maybe we could've used it in "I, E.T." ("Quick, Zhaan, as soon as Moya touches down, hop out and paint her in camouflage colors!") Critter! Love the Draks. Love Crichton jumping up on the table just as any sensible person would do. Crichton gets beat up by Aeryn*. Take a drink. Crichton gets beat up by Zhaan*. Take another drink. *Okay, it's not the real Aeryn and Zhaan, but still. Poor guy... Jonathan Hardy truly gets to shine with his Rygel voice work in the ep. Wonderful stuff. Rygel has a great Face of Shock and Disgust when he sees Mama Drak churning out eggs. Kudos to our outstanding puppeteers John Eccleston, Sean Masterson, Dave Collins, Graeme Haddon, Tim Mievelle, Mario Halovvas, and Damian Bradford for all their outstanding work. And here come the Kabuki Peacekeepers! I kept expecting them to break into a Gilbert & Sullivan tune. And D'Argo actually wins a fight! Go, Anth! Took out the slowest PK commando. Virginia does a nice job playing Drak Queen Possessed. Add this to the Drinking Game list: take a sip whenever any of our people plays someone other than their character; that's gonna happen a fair bit throughout the series. (But let's not take a drink for all the silent Drak clones in this ep, lest we die of alcohol poisoning.) While we're adding to the Drinking Game list, let's add "take a sip whenever Aeryn... ...wants to die, tries to die, asks someone else to kill her, or variant thereof, and... ...forces Crichton to promise her something outrageous." Ah, the Terrace! Great idea: a transparent 'bubble' outside Moya where we can stand and get amazing views of space. Except, natch, it's ridiculously expensive to shoot there because every shot is a visual effects shot... so don't expect to see a lot more of the Terrace. Aeryn smiles! Good heavens, the Crichton/Aeryn relationship is working so well already. Ben & Claude's chemistry is pure gold. Love Crichton's last line (on the Terrace, eyeing the view) that "there are worse ways to end a day." Cheryl & I quoted that line quite a bit while sipping excellent Australian wine and watching gorgeous sunsets from the balcony of our Sydney apartment. (Thank you, Farscape.)

Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e02

[caption id="attachment_9221" align="alignleft" width="300"]Moya lifting off Farscape s1e02: At least Moya looks pretty[/caption]

"I, E.T." (season 1, episode 2)

Written by Sally Lapiduss, directed by Pino Amenta And to forestall a bunch of "what is the 'correct' episode order?" questions: I'm calling this ep 2 because it was production number 10102, so I always thought of it as ep 2. Yes, it actually was filmed "third" (well, in a block with "Throne for a Loss," ep 4), and it originally aired seventh on the Sci-Fi Channel and fourth on BBC2, but still. The fact that neither Sci-FI nor BBC2 actually aired it second might be taken as a hint that it wasn't one of our stronger episodes, so let's see how it holds up in the rewatch... We begin with Crichton doing an eye twitch that's as annoying to us as it is to him, in response to an even more annoying alarm sound that takes waaaaay too long to get shut off. Not the most inviting way to start an ep. Last ep, we had D'Argo saying "damn," and in this ep, we've got Crichton saying "What the hezmana is it?" Feels a bit early for Crichton to be echoing the local profanity... I don't know why D'Argo has to look in the Niche Where the Beacon Lives, and then Aeryn has to take a look, and then Crichton has to take a look. And now Aeryn says "I'm new to all this escaped prisoner crap." Everybody, get your swear words sorted out! Moya lands in a bog. Good golly, our CGI was fantastic. Still looks amazing. Props to the terrific artists of Garner MacLennan Design for their superlative work. If there's a drinking game for season one, we should down a shot any time somebody asks "How's Moya?" Aaaaand now we're on the planet surface looking at -- guys apparently wearing baseball caps and holding rifles. Cheryl enquires if Moya has accidentally travelled to Earth and landed in Louisiana. This is a charming little scene between Zhaan and Pilot, but it has zilch to do with the story. Must be one of our infamous season one "Euro scenes." Sci Fi wanted 43-minute episodes, but BBC2, having no commercial breaks, wanted 50-minute episodes. Those aren't the exact numbers -- networks specify delivery lengths to the second -- but close enough. So we needed to add about seven minutes to each ep for the BBC2 version... and yet our budget was already strained to the limit producing 43-minute episodes. What to do? Solution: write two or three rather lengthy talk scenes between two characters that could be easily shot and dropped into the BBC2 version to get it up to 50 minutes. We dubbed those extra yakfests "Euro scenes" in-house. (Thankfully, from season 2 on, BBC2 relented and allowed us to give them the same length eps as we gave Sci Fi, so the Euro scenes were solely a season 1 phenomenon.) For me, the Euro scenes in this ep stand out even more than usual because the rest of the ep is, let's face it, kinda talky already. Sometimes a Euro scene could be a nice breather from the mad action and weird goings-on of an ep, but... this time, not so much. Don't Get Me Started on the logic of how Translator Microbes work... yet in this ep, I was bugged then and am bugged now by the fact that the inhabitants of this planet, who've never left their planet, can nevertheless understand Crichton as if they all had Translator Microbes installed regardless. (Or that Lyneea, a scientist who's looking for extraterrestrial life, doesn't even seem to wonder why it is that she can talk to this 'alien' being...) It's not that this is a bad episode; it just doesn't much feel like Farscape to me. Though it's a cool idea to turn the tables on Crichton and make him the 'alien' outsider, this ep feels like it could very easily be rewritten to be a Star Trek ep or a Stargate ep or a you-name-it ep. And ep 2 feels way too soon to go to an Earthlike (much too Earthlike, if you ask me) planet. We saw the Premiere; we're on board for ALIENS! CREATURES! LIVING SHIPS! WEIRD CULTURES! SPACE BATTLES! And in our very next ep, we get guys in hats, driving cars and toting rifles. Not surprising that Sci Fi and BBC2 shuffled the airing order a bit... Ah, and now Rygel takes a big bite out of Aeryn's arm and then swallows the chunk of flesh he bit off. Now that, for better or worse, is Farscape! But then we're back on Planet Bog and D'Argo, our fierce Luxan warrior, has somehow let himself get captured by a bunch of Guys With Rifles, despite his superior weaponry, soldier's training, and his Stun Tongue. Yeesh. Poor D'Argo's 0 for 2 on fights in just two eps. Crichton suggests that (alien kid) Fostro shake hands with (alien) D'Argo. Cheryl, watching, suggests the kid probably wouldn't know what "shaking hands" was even all about, and points out that shaking hands isn't even a universal custom among humans on Earth. And off Moya goes, looking gorgeous. As Bogart once said to Bergman, "We'll always have CGI."  

Froon’s Farscape Watch, s1e01

[caption id="attachment_9208" align="alignright" width="300"]Ben Browder in Mambo shirt Farscape s1e01: Florida Man in Australian Shirt[/caption] It's 19 March, aka “Farscape Day”, and that strikes me as the perfect time to (finally) crack open the Blu-Rays and rewatch the series from the start... something I haven't done in, well, ever. I probably haven't watched most of these eps since they first aired, so this should be... interesting. (Well, interesting to me, anyway.) Gonna post some random reactions and thoughts for each. Nothing thorough, nothing of Deep Import, just some musings upon re-viewing something I worked on a Long Time Ago. My current wife Cheryl will be at my side for extra added snark, at least for ep 1. Off we go!

Premiere” (season 1, episode 1)

Written by Rockne S. O'Bannon, directed by Andrew Prowse And in our Very First Shot of the series, here's Ben wearing a Mambo Loud Shirt, an Australian brand that became the unofficial Official Shirt of the series. Most of us Yanks who had the privilege of working in Sydney got hooked on these shirts, but I think I claimed the record by buying somewhere around forty. (And I'm still wearing them, much to the puzzlement of my UCLA Extension students.) IASA, the International version of NASA. If I correctly recall, the show was trying to get permission from NASA to use the name/logo, but time ran out before it did (or didn't) happen, so IASA it was. (Which kinda bumps with a much later episode “Terra Firma” where the “IASA” folks are trying to keep all the alien tech that Crichton brings back to Earth for the U.S.A. only...) Oh, Lord, that darned “space” helmet. Made me wince then, makes me wince now. “Uh... Canaveral?” I'm going to be praising Ben's brilliant work A LOT, but never quite enough. I just love the way he throws that line away... Wow, I forgot that the first ep doesn't have Crichton's voiceover on the main title. Makes sense that it's not there, but it's weird not hearing it. (The first ep of the original Star Trek series didn't have Kirk's “boldly go” voiceover either.) No episode title either. We didn't start putting the episode title onscreen until season 2, if I recall right. Props to Rockne for titling ep 1 “Premiere” instead of the usual “Pilot.” Maybe it's because we had a character named Pilot? Folks might've thought it was all about him. Nice that Rockne's writing credit falls on a shot of Crichton saying “Oh my God.” One-Eyed DRD! First little yellow Roomba to make an appearance. Typical Rockne to give even a little skittering robot a distinguishing feature and a personality. Good heavens, Moya looks gorgeous, as does the Peacekeeper Command Carrier. Kudos to Ricky Eyres and his amazing designs. Seeing it after all this time, I marvel anew at just how astounding and alien both D'Argo and Zhaan look... and how wonderfully Anth and Virg brought the characters to life. And Farscape's fondness for bodily fluids manifests itself right from ep 1 as Rygel spits on Crichton. D'Argo says “This damned Leviathan has no idea where we are.” Whoops. One of the few instances of alien swearing that the Translator Microbes actually translated into English. (Hey. There's at least one time that Data used contractions in Star Trek: The Next Generation. These things happen.) Andrew does a lovely job of teasing each alien's first appearance; we and Crichton at first see Zhaan and D'Argo from the back, so we save the Full Alien Reveal for when they turn around. And here's Aeryn! Another nice reveal. Andrew loves to dolly the camera while shooting through foreground stuff. It's only Act Two and we're into helium farts. Yup, the series took a little while to settle down and find its best groove, but SO MUCH was right there in the first ep. Aeryn Has Attitude. I'm going to be praising Claudia's brilliant work A LOT . . . Ah, Rygel and the Proprietor. Every time I watch this scene, I give extra thanks to the late Jonathan Hardy, the amazing Voice of Rygel, because... well, I already told that story here. And D'Argo loses his first fight. That's gonna become a recurring theme, alas. Erp! Here's D'Argo's first vow. Sure had a lot of those. “Little yellow bolts of light” still gets a laugh out of me and Cheryl. Hmm, Crais is pronouncing Aeryn's surname as “son” rather than “soon” in this ep. Crichton fixing the DRD... ah, That's So Rockne. Lovely little character moment that quietly says a lot about our hero and his situation. The end! Wow. Gotta say, that's a pretty amazing pilot, and I think it holds up remarkably well after almost two frelling DECADES... One down, 87 to go...

“Liz Tells Frank” Gets a Foreword by Me

[caption id="attachment_1424" align="alignleft" width="187"]"Liz Tells Frank . . ." cover Click to embiggen.[/caption] For eight years on her blog, Liz Shannon Miller has been telling her friend Frank about TV series, movies, and books that he's missed, helping him catch up on the good stuff and avoid the less-good stuff. Two ebook collections of this noble work have already amused and thrilled countless readers around the globe. I was amused and thrilled myself when Liz approached me to write a foreword to her third "Liz Tells Frank" compilation, though I couldn't fathom why she chose me. (Perhaps because the book includes Andreanna Ditton's "Skip It/Watch It Guide" to Farscape, and writing a foreword would give me an opportunity for pre-rebuttal?) In any case, I leapt at the opportunity, and the result follows. Enjoy the foreword, and then go buy the ebook of Liz Tells Frank: The Skip It/Watch It Guides on Amazon! FOREWORD, by Richard Manning ((I write for television. I never get to use footnotes in scripts. I like footnotes. You've been warned.)) Tens of years ago, when typewriters ((Devices comprising a keyboard and printer but lacking CPU or storage; pressing a key imprinted a character directly onto a sheet of paper.)) still walked the earth and “personal computers” were clunky, cantankerous contraptions that could only beep annoyingly and display glowing pus-green text, when television was still in its infancy—well, okay, out of its infancy but still wetting the bed and refusing to eat its vegetables, when there were no InterNets and people had to walk miles in the snow ((Uphill both ways, naturally.)) to newsstands ((Retail outlets where one could purchase printed “newspapers” (daily or weekly compilations of advertising, comic strips, classified advertising, editorials, horoscopes, advertising supplements, and occasionally news) or “magazines” (weekly or monthly volumes of glossy advertising, fashion photos, gossip, or porn).)) to acquire their porn, the concept of “fandom” was all but unknown to We Who Work in Television. In those innocent yet rococo times, when “cutting a film” meant exactly that—chopping up and pasting together long strips of perforated celluloid, when broadcasters still respected their programming enough not to deface it ((The truly important portions of their programming, of course, remain pristine and untouched to this day; it's only the trivia in between the commercials that gets defaced.)) with logos and animated promos, and when the Great Viewing Public was only dimly aware that creatures such as “television writers” actually existed, WWWiT labored in a vacuum. ((Not literally, of course, because we'd've died, but there's a decent analogy rattling around in there somewhere about the lack of sound in a vacuum.)) Back then, the Creators and the Consumers ((Or, as I like to describe them, the “pushers” and the “junkies.”)) were twains that never met. ((Probably because they were on non-intersecting twacks. I agree that's awful, but the only other metaphor I could come up with was something like “shippers that pass in the night,” which seemed both too esoteric and not apt enough.)) WWWiT would conceive our ideas, birth our teleplays, nurture our episodes, and set them free ((Were this an audiobook, I would likely be singing “Born Free” at this point. Count your blessings.)) into the ether, to be met with a resounding silence. ((“Resounding silence” is a goofy phrase when you think about it, kinda like “a blinding darkness,” but folks keep using it, so who am I to defy the zeitgeist?)) No applause. No boos. No thoughtful exegeses. ((Nor even thoughtless exegeses.)) No floral bouquets nor shrieking groupies. In short, no feedback whatever. Sure, critics would review the pilot and perhaps a subsequent season opener or two, but beyond that? The audience may have been listening, ((As proclaimed by THX™.)) but its speech, if any, rarely reached the ears of WWWiT. However, when the mighty transcontinental series of tubes was completed ((The final connection, of course, took place at Promontory Summit, Utah and was commemorated with a Golden Power Spike. (This joke isn't quite as labored as it might seem; go look up “Golden Spike” and read about the U.S.'s first nationwide media event.)) and the World's Widest Web lurched to life, feedback sprouted everywhere. ((Like mushrooms... some edible, some poisonous. Now there's a nice metaphor. I could do something with that.)) We could now peruse countless discussion boards and discover that viewers had caught the obscure Monty Python reference we'd slipped into an episode... or that they'd mercilessly nailed us on some dubious plot logic we'd thought would pass unnoticed. We could lurk in chatrooms as our episodes aired and revel in real-time gasps and screams when characters kissed and/or killed each other. Some of us rebelled, not wanting feedback that was anything less than absolute worship. Some of us didn't react well, scolding our newly-voiced critics with accusations of “[writing] crap from behind the safety of anonymity” ((JMS v. Cronan, 1998. When they build the Fandom Hall of Fame, my first nomination will be Cronan Maliki Jamel Thompson... and my second will be Emily Salzfass who, like Cronan, left us far too soon.)) or “interrogating this text from the wrong perspective.” ((Rice v. Negative Voices on Amazon, 2004. Yes, it's from the world of literature, not television, but it's too delicious to leave out.)) However, most ((Well, many. Quite a few. Lots. Several. A not insignificant number. Well, me, anyway.)) of WWWiT ((Yes, I know, in this context it should be UWWiT.)) were (and still are) utterly delighted to sample the sprawling internet buffet of reaction and criticism. Some of it's tasty; some of it may be hard to swallow; ((But good for us anyway, like broccoli.)) all of it (yes, even the short and pointed reactions such as “YOU'RE SHOW SUCKZ”) is appreciated. We made something; you took the time to watch; you liked it or you didn't, and you made the effort to say why. Which, at long last, brings me to the motley and prolific Liz Shannon Miller, who's been serving up her own breezy brand of commentary since 2005. ((Good lord, that's a long time. As the Bible sort of says, “Greater love hath no fan than this, than a fan lay down and scan endless sludge so her readers don't have to.”)) Liz's critiques are packed with humor, taste, intelligence, plus a genuine love for the media she surveys—and the results are not only glorious to behold but also a hell of a lot of fun to read. So sit back, relax, ((Or stand up and be tense, if that's how you prefer to read.)) and enjoy Liz's third compilation of The Best of “Liz Tells Frank,” ((Okay, honestly, I don't know if it's really “The Best Of.” It might just be “Whatever Stuff She's Churned Out Since Volume 2.” You be the judge. (And then blog about it! “[Your Name Here] Tells [Some Other Name Here] About 'Liz Tells Frank!'”) )) as she and her outstanding sisters-in-snark Whitney Bishop and Andreanna Ditton ((Apparently they get to cover the stuff even Liz won't touch, like that weird frelling Fire Escape show.)) interrogate the text from the right perspective and separate the soaring eagles from the plummeting turkeys. ((Yes, this is a reference to “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”—one of the finest punch lines in the history of television.)) If this book saves you from wasting that hour on that “Very Special Episode” that isn't so special after all, ((Or prompts you at long last to go try out that book/series/movie/videogame you've never seen—and fall madly in love with it.)) the tireless labors of its valiant authors will have borne fruit, ((Were this an audiobook, I would definitely be singing “Borne Fruit” at this point, to the tune of “Born Free.” You are SO lucky.)) and I hope you'll join me in rewarding them with a hearty chorus of “YOU'RE BOOK ROCKZ!!!!1!”

We’ve Created a Monster!

[caption id="attachment_1127" align="alignright" width="300"]Illustration of alien Pron'xa asleep on the set Pron'xa on the Set, by Barry Spiers[/caption] One of the joys of writing for television is creating new characters and watching talented actors bring them to life. It's even more fun when those characters aren't human. Well, it's more fun for the writer. For the actor, however... The emails that follow are... entirely made up. Nevertheless, the story they tell is True.
From:    BettinaActress23
To:      Mom & Dad
Date:    Monday, December 3, 4:08pm
Subject: GREAT NEWS!!!

My agent got me an audition for a guest role on the sci-fi TV show Space Slayers! They're looking for someone “athletic, preferably with dance experience.” (Finally all those workouts and dancing lessons pay off—fingers crossed!)

Date:    Tuesday, December 4, 3:32pm
Subject: Back from the audition!

The role I'm up for is an alien creature named Pron'xa (all sci-fi names have apostrophes, I dunno why). She's still being designed, but she'll be a full-body “skin” with a prosthetic face and head. Pron'xa's supposed to have an “alien sexiness, grace, and fluidity of movement”—that's why they want an athlete/dancer. Pron'xa's gonna look fearsome, but she's intelligent—and has lots of great dialog to prove it! It's a terrific part.

Too bad I won't get it. Jane Doe-eyed is up for it as well. (She's the [deleted] who got chosen over me for that ballerina gig in the toilet-paper commercial.) Jane's got more dance experience than I do and a much longer résumé, so I'm sure they'll pick her. Yeah, I know, nobody ever said Hollywood was fair...

Date:    Thursday, December 6, 7:27pm
Subject: I GOT IT!

I got the part! Just spent all morning in the Space Slayers Critter Creator Lab! Gail, the artist/technician designing Pron'xa, took molds of my entire body. Then I had to breathe through a straw for an hour while my head was covered in some rubbery goo. I felt like I was suffocating, but I stayed centered and got through it fine.

Now the Critter Creators are using those molds to make a life-size cast of my face and body, and they'll use that to design the form-fitting alien prosthetics. Weird to think there's now a perfect mannequin of me. Maybe I can keep it afterward and make it my silent twin. Then when I get famous, I can loan it out to the Hollywood Wax Museum. Or I can put it in the passenger seat of my car so I can use the freeway carpool lanes.

I asked for a script so I could learn my role, but they told me I should wait for the next draft—it's now getting a “polish.” (They'd better hurry; shooting starts in four days.)

I snuck a peek at Gail's copy of the current draft anyway. I can't imagine what they'll change; it's wonderful as it is... and not just because Pron'xa has the best role! She runs around and kills people (though it's really self-defense), and then has a fantastic death scene with a big emotional speech before she expires. How lucky can an actor get?

Date:    Friday, December 7, 5:42pm
Subject: I'm SO EXCITED!

Space Slayers sent me to an optometrist today for a contact lens fitting. Pron'xa's gonna have bright yellow-red eyes. Cool!

We start shooting Monday. I still don't have a script. The production office said they're gonna messenger me the new draft on Sunday morning. Talk about cutting it close.

Date:    Tuesday, December 11, 11:42am
Subject: First day of filming

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. I know you're dying to hear how my first day of shooting went. Well...

I didn't get a script Sunday morning. All I got—at nine o'clock Sunday night—was six rewritten pages for Monday's shooting. Gail told me it's not uncommon for the writing staff to rewrite a script from top to bottom, even as they're shooting it.

I don't get it. I loved the script as it was, but Gail said the network hated it. Too much talk, not enough action, bla bla bla. Well, I can't believe a last-minute overhaul will “improve” anything. They screwed up my scene—and I'm not saying that just because they took out most of my dialog.

Anyway, my call was for 4:30 Monday morning (yikes). I spent three and a half hours in the Critter Creator Lab. What a process. Plates of plastic glued all over my skin. A skullcap over my hair and layers of latex on my head and face. Then they hand-painted textures on my new alien “skin.” I had to sit still forever.

And I have to say I wasn't impressed with the results. Pron'xa's supposed to look both sexy and horrific, like a walking lobster with a great body (they, um, augmented my natural shape a bit) and six-inch razor claws. But I looked like a girl in a silly rubber suit. Gail reassured me it'll photograph better than it looked. I wasn't so sure...

So I went to the set, and waited. And waited. Delays and more delays. One actor was late, so they had to work around him. The spaceship set was supposed to be under attack, but the pyrotechnics wouldn't work right. One of the cameras broke down and they had to wait for a replacement. The director got into a nasty argument with the actress playing Angela, who was furious about getting massive script revisions on the night before shooting. (I don't blame her.)

The day dragged on. The creature suit was hot. Everything itched. I had to pee, but the Critter Creators would've spent half an hour undoing and redoing my suit, so everybody said it'd sure help if I could just hold it, because they were “just about” to get to my scene.

But they never got to my scene. They wrapped at 7:30 p.m. I was there for fifteen hours and didn't do one thing. And it took them another hour to get my makeup and prosthetics off... so I didn't get home until 10 p.m.

Then at 11 p.m., they messengered over more script revisions. Big ones. The story's getting totally dumbed-down. They're turning Pron'xa into a mindless monster and ruining the character.

Oh. The cameraman told me the producers did pick Jane Doe-eyed to play Pron'xa—but Jane freaked out when they were molding her head. Major claustrophobic panic attack. Only reason I got the job was because they had to replace her fast. I hate this business.

Date:    Saturday, December 22, 2:21pm
Subject: Filming's all done...

...and I'm depressed. Basically all I did was run around, snarl, attack people, and get shot. The rewrites left me a bit of dialog for my big death scene—but at the last minute, the idiot director decided Pron'xa should have fangs like Dracula, so the Critter Creators whipped some up. It's impossible to speak intelligibly with fangs. I sounded ridiculous.

The director must've thought I looked ridiculous too. He shot me in the background or in shadow or even not at all. For half the episode, we won't even see Pron'xa, we'll just see her Monster POV. How clichéd can you get?

I'm sure it'll be the worst Space Slayers episode ever. Thank goodness nobody will recognize me. I'm never going to play an alien again.

Date:    Wednesday, February 6, 11:28pm
Subject: My Space Slayers episode

I just got home from the cast-and-crew screening of the finished episode.

The good news: It's excellent! They totally saved it in the editing. The monster-POV stuff actually works great. Pron'xa's terrifying because we hardly ever see her. (The director was right: it's scarier to let the audience use their imagination.) And they edited it so the story's mostly told from Pron'xa's point of view—and they wrote a ton of voice-over narration so you hear Pron'xa's confused thoughts and emotions, which really gets you into Pron'xa's head and makes her death scene tragic.

The bad news: Because of those silly fangs I had to wear, they had to “loop” (re-record) all of Pron'xa's dialog... and because of all the new narration, the producers decided to pick someone else with more acting experience to do the looping. So guess who they chose for the New Voice of Pron'xa? That's right: Jane Doe-eyed. I hate this business.

Date:    July 20, 10:32am
Subject: Mom, Dad—Guess what?

Space Slayers wants me to come back and play a brand-new alien creature for their big season-ending two-parter!

They're in a huge time crunch (as usual), and Gail suggested that because she already had my body molds, they could start right in on the creature design instead of auditioning people and making all new molds and such.

Better yet, this new alien character is an interstellar diplomat who doesn't kill anybody or get killed—and the producers are already saying that she might just come back next season as a regular cast member.

The script's on its way. I can't wait. I love this business.

(A version of this post originally appeared in Dreamwatch magazine (now Total Sci-Fi Online), accompanied by a phenomenal illustration (shown above) by the amazing Barry Spiers; visit his website Barry Spiers Illustration for even more excellent artwork.)

RIP Harry Harrison

[caption id="attachment_1005" align="alignleft" width="214"]Paperback book cover of Harry Harrison's Two Tales and Eight Tomorrows The first SF book I ever bought, and still one of my favorites.[/caption] Science fiction author and SFWA Grand Master Harry Harrison (the Deathworld series, the Stainless Steel Rat series, the novel Make Room! Make Room! which was the basis for the film Soylent Green, the satirical Bill, the Galactic Hero series, and many, many, many more) has just passed away at the age of 87. Harry's official news blog has started a comment thread for sharing condolences and fond memories. I only met him once, briefly, but I've known his work since I was a sapling. His short story collection Two Tales and Eight Tomorrows was the first SF book I ever purchased, and it was a gateway drug leading me to his other excellent work, as well as a strong influence in my SF TV writing. Waaaay back when I was a teenager, I often dreamed of adapting "The Streets of Ashkelon" for television, a mental exercise which usually ended by admitting to myself that no TV network would ever have the cojones to air it... and that's probably still true. Half a century later, I finally got to meet Harry Harrison at a UCLA book signing, and had to decide which of his books to bring... and I wound up choosing my ancient, faded, battered paperback of Two Tales and Eight Tomorrows, just so I could tell him what it had meant to that starry-eyed filmmaker-wannabe teenage geek. Thank you, Harry. Rest in peace.

The Elements of Television

[caption id="attachment_815" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Element Froonium. Click for details."]Element Froonium[/caption] I was channel-surfing with my obnoxiously precocious six-year-old niece Gabby (her full name is Gabrielle Callisto Aphrodite Zimbelman; she was conceived at a Xena convention) when we stumbled upon a rerun of Blaster Patrol. “My favorite show! Did you write this one, Uncle Ricky?” “No, Gabby, I never worked on Blaster Patrol, more's the pity.” On the tube, Sam and Janet, the series leads, were being chased by evil alien Greebs and were simultaneously firing blasters and exchanging witty yet affectionate banter. “Sigh,” Gabby sighed, “they're soooooooo in love. Are they married?” “Sam and Janet? No, they never got married, even though, much to everyone's amazement, the show ran for six seasons...” “Not the characters, silly. The actors.” “Oh. Yeah, she's married. Third or fourth time; I can't keep track. Him, he'll never get married unless the father of the bride owns a shotgun.” Gabby couldn't fathom it. “But... they love each other... don't they?” “You kidding? When the camera's not rolling, they can't stand one another.” I omitted mentioning that she thought he was a lecherous drunk who couldn't remember his lines, and he thought she was a ruthless, upstaging diva who despised television in general and sci-fi in particular. Gabby's lower lip quivered. She indicated Sam and Janet, who were celebrating their escape from the Greebs with much kissing and fondling. “Look at them. You're wrong.” “Honey, it's all make-believe. They're actors. They're faking it.” Her Bambi eyes clouded with doubt—but as Sam and Janet exchanged perfect loving gazes, her conviction returned. “Nuh-uh. Nobody could fake that.” And there, I reflected, was the biggest reason why that otherwise unmemorable show had run for six years. Separately, the actors playing Sam and Janet had been no more than competent—but together, they had the most elusive and valuable commodity in show business: chemistry.

When the Cast Clicks...

It's never easy to cast a TV series. Acting talent alone is no guarantee of chemistry. (But it does increase the odds. Just as luck favors the prepared, chemistry favors the talented.) As we narrow our casting choices, we also begin auditioning them in pairs, mixing and matching to see who “clicks” with whom. On Farscape, for example, Ben Browder and Claudia Black “clicked” immediately. And even though Claudia didn't exactly match the image of the “Aeryn Sun” character that Rockne O'Bannon and David Kemper had in their minds, it didn't matter. Rock and DK knew a good thing when they saw it, and Claudia promptly won the role of Aeryn. Once we find chemistry, we fight to preserve it. The applicable showbiz buzzword is “UST”—Unresolved Sexual Tension—as in, “We don't dare let Castle and Beckett sleep together; it'll ruin that wonderful UST.” It's an article of faith among many in television that one should never take the “U” out of UST; proponents of that doctrine point to both Moonlighting and Cheers as two classic examples of how series risk losing their spark once the main characters finally “do the deed.” But the greater the UST, the harder the writers have to work to keep the characters apart—and the longer it drags out, the more artificial it feels. It's a tough call: when do we let them get together? Episode 10? 50? 100? Never? How long before the audience gets bored with the seemingly endless tease and wanders off? Of course, resolving the sexual tension doesn't have to settle the characters into a calm, uninteresting relationship. Nonetheless, one of TV's guiding principles is “if it ain't broke, don't fix it”—and when UST's nicely cooking along, who wants to risk it by tampering with it?

Compound Interest

We've been speaking of chemistry in its commonest definition: a romantic and/or sexual attraction between two characters that's palpable, believable, and fun to watch. But that definition's far too narrow. Other forms of chemistry—between friends, enemies, colleagues, and family—are equally important. Once again, you know it when you see it. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on the original Star Trek series had terrific chemistry of a completely non-romantic, non-sexual sort (and please do not send me any fanfic to the contrary). Even in Classic Trek's worst episodes, the interplay between those three characters—indeed, any two of them—was always worth watching. In fact, stop and think for a moment: how often have you sat through a bad-to-mediocre episode of a favorite series for no other reason than to watch the characters interact? How many times have you said (or heard) something like “Last week's episode was awful, but you have to catch it anyway—just for that one great scene between X and Y.” This is music to a TV producer's ears; we know we can't hit a home run with each and every episode, so we hope and pray that the audience's love for the characters will keep them from tuning out during our inevitable clunkers. And preservation of chemistry also applies to an ensemble cast. Once a series is comfortably underway and the characters are meshing well, making changes can be tricky. Adding a regular character always shakes things up—but will it be in a good way or a bad way?

New Girl

On Farscape, when we introduced the character of Chiana (in the episode “Durka Returns”), we quite deliberately hedged our bet. At the end of the episode, Chiana took an enemy bullet that easily could've proved fatal. And the keen-eyed viewer will also note that Chiana only appears in a very few scenes of the following episode, “A Human Reaction”—again by design, so that it would have been easy to write her out of it entirely if she hadn't survived that pulse blast. We didn't give ourselves the out because we were afraid Gigi Edgley couldn't act; we knew darn well she could. What we didn't know is how well the character of Chiana would work with Crichton, Aeryn, D'Argo, Zhaan, Rygel, and Pilot. But after a few days' dailies, it was clear that Chiana was a “keeper”—even though we were fully aware that the fans were going to hate her. Why? Because fans always hate new arrivals at first. That's understandable; over time, they've bonded with a particular “family” of characters, and the new kid on the block is seen as a stranger, an intruder, even a threat. (“Those stupid producers better not even be thinking about making her a new love interest for Crichton...”) But after a few episodes, if the chemistry's right, the audience will grow to like and accept the new character as part of the family. (And when the next new character arrives, the cycle begins anew. “Who's this Jool person? They'd better not be bringing her in to take Chiana's place...”)

Equal and Opposite Reactions

Even villains need chemistry. The charismatic “villain you love to hate” is a television staple. Great heroes need equally great villains; it's the worthiness of the foe that brings out the best efforts of the hero. That was an early problem with Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Klingons were now our allies and the Romulans were being given a rest so the fledgling series could differentiate itself from Classic Trek. A new alien race of bad guys was needed—and the Ferengi were created. Trouble was, the Ferengi didn't come off as formidable villains, but as annoying leprechauns-gone-bad; you wanted to swat them, not shoot them. It didn't take long for the Ferengi to be stripped of their warships and relegated to comic relief. (In contrast, the character of “Q” came back again and again to butt heads with Captain Picard because John de Lancie and Patrick Stewart had—you guessed it—chemistry.) The quest for chemistry extends behind the scenes as well. Every good writing staff has its own peculiar chemistry, usually manifested in wildly disparate personalities who can yell and scream at each other all day long about trivial story points—and then all go out for beer afterward. Finding the right mix of people is vital for every department, because when creative people “click,” the whole becomes much greater than the sum of the parts. One might even say that TV producers are essentially chemists... that our main function is to assemble different elements into new, valuable compounds. But in truth, chemistry isn't the right word. Chemistry's a science. Television isn't; it has no infallible formulas, no hard-and-fast rules, no way to know in advance who'll click on screen and who'll clunk. We aren't chemists, we're alchemists—blindly casting spells and trying to transmute base metals into gold. When it works—when the characters come to life and light up the screen—it's not science at all. It's magic.


[caption id="attachment_381" align="alignright" width="332" caption="Actual whiteboard from FARSCAPE "Season of Death""]An actual whiteboard from an actual TV series.[/caption]

BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Picture, if you will, perky young Mary Sue, an aspiring TV writer who's celebrating her first sale. She pitched a dozen ideas to veteran genre-TV producer Sam Showrunner for his new series Space Slayers, in which a ragtag team of teenage misfits travels the galaxy and battles alien mutants. But Mary Sue's enthusiasm will soon be tested; she has no idea what terrors await in... The Writers' Room.

Mary Sue's successful pitch:“Griff and Angela [the series leads] must mind-link with K'Vax [their sentient, Fort Worth, Texas. Denver, Colorado, female, wisecracking spaceship] after a radioactive nebula erases K'Vax's memories.”

There was more to her pitch – such as the mind-link forcing the aloof Griff and Angela to confront their true feelings about one another – but Mary Sue never got that far; Sam had interrupted. “Good hook, Coreg pharmacy, but amnesia's soft. Needs more jeopardy, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. Hey. What if the nebula turns K'Vax evil. And she tries to kill everybody on board. So it's dangerous for Griff and Angela to go into her mind; they might never come out, Coreg 625mg,650mg. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Terrific pitch. Sold!”

Mary Sue was ecstatic. “Great. I'll write up an outline –”

“We don't do outlines. Coreg 50mg, We – me and the writing staff – break all our stories in the room. Once we get the structure down, you go off and write the script, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. Come in Tuesday at nine. Bring in a beat sheet. Not an outline, just the big moves, comprar en línea Coreg, comprar Coreg baratos. Some rough act breaks. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Keep it simple. One page, tops, Buy generic Coreg, just to get things started.”

And so it begins...

9:00 am Tuesday. A punctual Mary Sue happily looks around her first Writers' Room. Cheap, mismatched “executive” chairs surround a coffee-stained table strewn with old magazines, food wrappers, a Slinky, Baltimore, Maryland. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a broken water pistol, various Rubik's-type puzzles, and other toys. Austin, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, The walls are a crazy quilt of actors' headshots, set blueprints, costume design sketches, test photos of alien prosthetics... and three large whiteboards, Detroit, Michigan, San Jose, California.

Two are covered with multicolored scrawls, circles, arrows, renumbering, and crossouts – the story beats for Episodes 5 and 6, in impenetrable shorthand: “5, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. BRIDGE: G + A expo. K ng 10 min no Froonium. H/L payoff. Buy cheap Coreg no rx, AB: J zapped.” The third is frighteningly blank – a naked canvas awaiting a plot. It continues to await until:

9:40 am. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Two writer/producers saunter in: Madman Moe, a cheerful, inexhaustible fount of wild ideas, and Cyndi Cynic, a jaded naysayer who's great at untangling plot logic. They get coffee and make phone calls until:

10:15 am. Sam Showrunner dashes in. “Sorry. Problem on the set.” To Sam's surprise, Mary Sue proudly hands him a fifteen-page outline, Coreg 500mg. “Wow. Lot of work here, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. Good for you.” He glances at the first page, tosses it aside forever, Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee. Portland, Oregon, and hands her a marker. “It's your story; you do the honors. Ready. Teaser's easy. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Fly through nebula, ship sparks, life support screws up. Act One –”

Sam stops, Coreg 5mg. Mary Sue's still neatly printing “TEASER” on the whiteboard. “Just put a 'T',” Cyndi suggests. San Diego, California. Dallas, Texas. San Antonio, Texas, “Then put 'Nebula, sparks, life support NG.”

“Act One, Beat One,” Sam continues, 400mg, 450mg. “Ramon runs diagnostics, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. Technobabble. Thinks he's found the problem. Fixes it. Coreg snort, alcohol iteraction, All seems okay. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Beat Two. Spooky stuff begins. Suspense. Scary noises. Like a horror movie, purchase Coreg online. So.., BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. hmm... Maybe Trixie's below decks. Alone. Rx free Coreg, What's she doing?”

“Taking a shower,” Moe offers. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, “With Angela. And suddenly the lights flicker and the water turns cold.”

“That's good.” Sam turns to an aghast Mary Sue. “Put that up. T and A, Indianapolis, Indiana, San Francisco, California, shower, lights.”

“Can't do that,” says Cyndi, Where can i order Coreg without prescription, to Mary Sue's relief. “I've got Trixie showering with Ramon in ep 5.”

Moe's unfazed. “So make it the sauna.”

“What sauna?”

Sam likes it, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. “The Cargo Bay, redressed and smoked up. That sauna.”

Cyndi considers, buy no prescription Coreg online. “We could do different color smoke because K'Vax is pumping in poisonous coolant gas or something.”

Sam's enthused. “Great. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, We're rolling now. We'll be done by six, Kjøpe Coreg online, bestill Coreg online, easy.”

6:45 pm. Act One has seven beats on the board, Act Two has five, Three and Four are still blank, and nobody likes any of it. “It's flat, order Coreg online c.o.d,” says Sam. “Bland and boring.”

“Excuse me,” quavers Mary Sue. Order Coreg no prescription, “But I, um... have a thought...”

“Jump right in,” says Sam, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. “It's your story.”

“Well... maybe Beat Two should be a character scene with Griff and Angela... because we need to set up their unexpressed feelings for each other...”

All stare at her, buy Coreg no prescription. “We do. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Why?”

“Um... because later, when they mind-link with K'Vax, Boston, Massachusetts. Charlotte, Carolina, they confront their feelings and realize –”

“In episode seven?” Sam's incredulous. “Not a chance. Besides, this story's already way too soft. We need conflict, online buying Coreg. Drama is conflict.”

Mary Sue's getting crabby, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. “Well, what I pitched had lots of conflict. Internal conflict.”

“This is TV, San Diego, California. Dallas, Texas. San Antonio, Texas, not some romance novel. I want external conflict. Action. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Danger.”

Mary Sue snaps. “Well, if K'Vax turning evil isn't enough danger, japan, craiglist, ebay, hcl, why don't we just throw in some nasty aliens with guns?”


“She's nailed it,” says Cyndi. Buy no prescription Coreg online, “Problem is, we're missing a villain.”

Moe concurs. “Evil K'Vax is great, but our heroes have to cure her, not kill her, which means they don't get to defeat a bad guy.”

Sam nods. “But if a Gavork spy sneaks on board and brainwashes K'Vax, now we've got two problems – and somebody to fight in Act Four.” He slaps the table, BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION. “That's it. Solved. Okay, everybody go home and think about it and we'll finish this tomorrow. Nine o'clock sharp.”

It'll take four more days of this to break Mary Sue's story. BUY Coreg ONLINE NO PRESCRIPTION, Ultimately, Ramon, not Angela, will join Trixie in the sauna, to follow up on their shower scene in ep 5. Oh, and the mind-link with K'Vax will indeed force Griff and Angela to confront their feelings for each other – but once the mind-link's over, they'll forget it ever happened.

Mary Sue will grudgingly concede it's a cleaner, punchier story than the meandering fifteen pages she came up with on her own.

And then she'll have two short weeks to turn it into a script that makes it all work... but that's another tale.

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