Please help me find this sci-fi flop!

Interesting. I don’t doubt that Ellison was probably a pain in the neck to work for, and has a trep both for temper and ego, but it’s not clear to me that this is more “truthful” – the stories seem to complement each other, in fact, but with the guys on the two sides having entirely different takes on the value of the other guy’s work. (Have you read Ellison’s take, by the way? It rinmgs true, as well). Here’s my guess about Ellison’s abusive behavior on that first phone call – it was the firast time he learned that the head writer didn’t know anything about science fiction, and he was pissed. Definitely wrong to take it out on the other guy, of course.

As for the quality of the shows and scripts – I still haven’t seen them myself, and would like to, but people I’ve taked to callec the show as aired deadly dull and uninformed. (You see why I want to see it myself?)

As for Ellison’s statues and Grand Canyon – Star Trek did that sort of thing all the time with matte paintings and the like. What do you say about the guy who wrote the scripts that had enormous ore refineries stretching off nto the distance, or entire alien cities? Ellison’s setting was entirely appropriate to the kind of thing ST was currently doing.

I watched it every week. But I was 14 then and I have not seen it since. At that time I enjoyed it every bit as much as I did ST:TOS and LIS.

I’m shocked that Ellison created it because he definitely stole much of it from Robert Heinlein (as I mentioned earlier). Heinlein should have sued.

Both Ellison and Heinlein used the concept of the Generation Starship, but neither invented it, or claimed to. You can trace it back to Konstantin Tsiolkovski, who probably coulda sued. But it wasn’t like him, and, besides, he was dead.
The Generation Starship is one of the Grand OLd Themes of science fiction, use by Harry Harrison, Brian Aldiss, Jack Chalker, and hordes of others. Heck, they even used it in Star Trek. Ellison never said he created it, and he was perfectly justified in using it as the basis of the series.

It’s one thing to have painting of a huge refinery used as an establishing background shot for what? 20 seconds or less, but an entirely different thing when there is supposed to be interaction between the crewmen and the 1000 foot tall statues.

Ellison’s talent notwithstanding, he has more than once shown that he’s quite capable of throwing a hissy-fit when confonted by the realities of budget, time and real world physics of filming some of his ideas.

Pay attention to the way ST:TOS handled things like this. You use your matte painting for the establishing shot, and occasionally cut back to it, but for mosdt of the interaction you have them standing in front of the one statue you actually build for filming. Or, heck, you show everything in a reverse angle shot from the POV of the statue, and just show Kirk and company reacting, if you really wanna be cheap. ST:TOS and other shows of the era (Twilight Zone, Outer Limits) pulled such budget-preserviing editing pyrotechnics all the time. No way was the Ellison scene out of line.

Bless you!!! That’s the one! I knew there was a Pilgrim tie-in somewhere… I can’t find the air date yet, but I’m 99% certain this is it. Thanks so much!


I was wondering why it didn’t sound familiar. I would have given just about any Sci-fi show a chance. 91 makes sense, I was in Germany and at the mercy of AFN. ::shudder:: How did I survive with only one channel?

The producers thought otherwise.

Now, I’m not an enemy, I like a great deal of Harlan 's work. But since he’s a (sometimes) writer for television, he should be the first to realize that you have to work within the constraints imposed by the medium. Alot of his rants sound like the entire studio should be willing to bankrupt itself in order to actualize his vision. It comes off as childish.

Oooh! You’re thinking of “Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future” which premiered in 1987. There was much controversy at the time that it was a massive commercial for the laser pistols you could use to shoot at the screen. Of course, the whole thing was rendered moot by the fact that it made “Jason of Star Command” look like Masterpiece Theater and was cancelled after about fifteen minutes.

How sad that I have a brain cells whose sole purpose in life is to remember this…

“The producers thought otherwise” is arguably the crux of the problem. Having read his intro to Phoenix Without Ashes, and the book he wrote of The City on the Edge of Forever (which is lavishly filled with photocopies of examples), I’m not ready to write off Ellison as a mere crybaby. And, as Ellison himself points out in both casesd, he’s a seasoned TV writer, who is, indeed, aware of budget constraints. He rewrote Demon with a Glass Hand frok its original version to something that could be filmed entirely on sets and in the Bradbury Building for precisely those reasons. (And he wasn’t exactly a sometime TV writer. Back in the 1960s he wrote for a wide variety of shows – **The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Burke’s Law, The Name of the Game, etc. )

I have read neither so I cannot comment on those specifically.

I just find things like this on a fan website obnoxious:

I realize that Mr. Ellison is not the author of this piece but it does seem to reflect his attitude. Based on other rants of his that I’ve read.

Mind you I’ve met the man a couple of times at conventions, meetings and private homes and he’s a polite enough guy to someone he doesn’t know (me).

By the way I saw the show “The Starlost” when it was new, it was kinda dull, so we seem to all agree on that. But then again, I watched an episode of “Space 1999” last night on DVD and there’s no way that “Starlost” could have been more boring. zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Where is everybody getting 100 feet tall and 1000 feet tall from? Not from Ellison’s script. The Guardians of Forever are described as nine feet tall statues carved into a rock face, and only their heads (replete with white mitered hair and flowing white beards) are mobile, thus actors could have basically stuck their heads out through a hole like those carnival attractions where one takes pics of their kids faces “on” strange bodies drawn on the backdrop.

The time portal is described as containing “light, height, and insubstantiality,” but Ellison further notes “make of it what you will.”

Sir Rhosis

Forgve me for stating the obvious, but you can’t base your objection to Ellison’s objection on someone else’s rant.

Besides, I submit that Ellison isn’t so crude as this fellow – his rants have ore art about them, and more substance (and I don’t think Ellison was “conned” into doing The Starlost – but he certainly didn’t get what he thought he was promised). You might want to read exactly what it was that he wrote.

I agree about Ellison in person – I met him only once, at a con, bt he was certainly approachable, even to a fan.

Thanks – I didn’t recall the etails, and my copies of the script were at home. This mkes objections to Ellison’s scenario even less defensible.

I don’t object to his scenario. Like I said I like alot of his work. I can do without the rants, personally.

And in all honesty, the “1000 foot tall” thing was me going by memory from a book I’d read quite some time ago. I formally retract my 1000 foot tall comments.

maybe I’m the one ranting.

Plymouth’s air date was May 26, 1991

That was conveniently found by clicking the “Release dates” link on the IMDB page.

They all do that. It just gets kinda expensive after a while, and you have to watch out for that “discharging a firearm within the city limits” thing.

Re Captain Power

I never bothered to watch the show, but I still have some of the toys. When the show tanked, some of figures were reduced to 99 cents. The villains included some nice killer robots.

The new Batman cartoon is trying a similiar interactive trick. Some toys include a Batwave Communicator. These react to certain events on the showm by lighting up, making noises etc. Apparently, some of the toys have hidden functions that are only unlocked by the signals from the show. I don’t have much information on this as I hate the new show, and the new toys.

Oddly enough I was thinking about Richard Benjamin, the captain of the space garbage scow feeding “Heliobits” to his obnoxious little pet just this evening.