Things to Come

Starburst always has the latest Sci-Fi news
Here's a quick burst of this month's stories

selected from Starburst #249

Heart of Harshness
There are several familiar names and faces in Chris Carter's promising new series Harsh Realm - and a couple that aren't. A minimum run of 13 episodes is currently being shot in Vancouver. Contrary to earlier rumours, Nicholas Lea is not (yet) part of the ensemble cast of Harsh Realm and neither is his X-Files co-star Chris Owens. On both these points, Owens told Starburst recently, "At this point it's speculation. I haven't actually been approached.

The official announcement came just prior to filming in mid-March. Series regulars are Scott Bairstow (Party of Five, The Postman, The X-Files' Miracle Man), DB Sweeney (Strange Luck, Fire in the Sky, Spawn) and Millennium's Terry O'Quinn.

It's Not Easy Being PC
Xena and GabrielleMembers of the international Hindu community are outraged at what they see as two affronts to their religion - one by Austin Powers star Mike Myers and another by Xena: Warrior Princess. Myers appeared in a recent Vanity Fair sitting in the lotus position dressed as a religious icon. Photographer David LaChapelle later said, apologetically, that Myers's intention was simply to parody western celebrities who have appropriated such religious imagery as "a fashion statement."

Xena is under fire for its depiction of the deity Vishnu in a recent episode and that the figure is used to assist Xena and Gabrielle - "her lesbian lover" (a rather literal translation of an initially unintentional subtext that's never been officially addressed). The Hindu representatives want the episode withdrawn from repeat showings and international distribution (Stop Press: Renaissance Pictures appear to have agreed to these demands, and apologised for the offence caused. - Web Ed.)

Crow Soars, Raven Dives?
There are mixed fortunes for several Canadian-made genre shows. While The Crow: Stairway to Heaven has been renewed for a second season, it is rumoured that its ornithological counterpart - and Highlander progeny - The Raven has been shot down. Meanwhile the Vancouver-shot Howard (X-Files) Gordon-produced Strange World has had a rough ride in the ratings on the ABC network and has been axed from its high profile timeslot after just three weeks on air. There's doubt as to if and when the 10 remaining episodes may surface.

Staying in Canada, Alliance Atlantis is to create a new series called The Project, a kind of Mission: Impossible with youthful superheroes raised to use 100 percent of their brain power. The show will get a hefty send-off in the form of a big-screen cinema movie. Both the film and the series are set to appear in 2000.

Making Myths
With Lord of the Rings in the works, now Fantasy fans can expect an extra treat. A live-action film version of role-playing-game classic Dungeons & Dragons is finally going into production. At a cost of $28m, it's cheaper than Peter Jackson's impending labour of love but that doesn't stop the D&D producers from showcasing 10 different creatures and an FX-packed finale that promises 75 dragons on-screen at once. Filming begins in May with location work taking place in Prague.

and there's much more news in Starburst #249
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