So this weekend brought both sad tidings and good news about new projects in the nerd pop world. First the sad:
Grace Lee Whitney, best known for her role as Yeoman Janice Rand in the first season of Star Trek has passed away at age 85. Stories differ, but while she was most likely fired due to her notorious substance abuse issues, she later got clean and developed a devoted following on the fan circuit which she parlayed into appearances in the Trek feature films. She was also known for her work as an advocate for others struggling with substance abuse issues. Further details may be found here.
Best known as a stage actor, Nigel Terry also passed away this week. Film fans will remember him for his turn as King Arthur in Excalibur, although younger fen may be more likely to recognize him from his gruff turn as General Cobb in the Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s Daughter” (and, hey Moff, when will Jenny be coming back anyway? Inquiring minds want to know!). He was 69. Detailed obituary here.
There is happier news for Sci-Fi fans this week too:
Fans of Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel The Forever War may be pleased to see that Warner’s has won the rights to produce a feature film adaptation. At this time Channing Tatum is attached to play William Mandella. This book is one of my personal favorite thought-provokers. Widely touted for its anti-war sympathies it is just as much (if not more) an exploration both of human social evolution given differing types of social pressures at different points over history (through the gimmick of having soldiers experience time dilation due to their service on faster-than-light ships) and of the question of just exactly what it means to be this thing called human. It is the perfect bookend to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, another favorite. Now let’s just hope the filmmakers don’t screw the pooch with Haldeman the way they did with poor Heinlein.
And last but not least, UK TV station Dave has announced two new series of Sci-Fi situation comedy favorite Red Dwarf. That’s right, your favorite smeg-heads will be back at least through 2017. Craig Charles has apparently given up his role on Coronation Street to dedicate his time to the project. I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. I loved this show from the time it debuted in the mid-80s, but season X left me a bit cold (in fact I don’t think I’ve yet finished it). The roles have not necessarily aged well with the actors, and they hit the reset button so hard (I mean, did series VIII even happen?) that I felt a bit cheated. Also, (and I realize this may not be universal) I miss Chloë Annett’s Kochanski. I get that she probably adds a bit too much common sense to the crew when she is present, but I liked her personality as well as the fact that her existence gave Lister, and by extension, the human race, a bit of hope in what is a very black comedic universe. Still, generally I’ve loved the franchise and I have high hopes for a return to form in series XI and XII.
Have a fabulous week folks, I’m off to finally see The Avengers-Age of Ultron!