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Jose Chung
Television Review
José Chung's 'Doomsday Defense'
Episode B9, first broadcast in the USA 21st November 1997

The author of trouble returns...

On The X-Files, Darin Morgan proved he could turn out unique scripts that perfectly encapsulated the mythos of the show as well as sending it up. In addition, as if that weren't plenty already, they were actually about something. Morgan, who also directs José Chung's 'Doomsday Defense', has transposed this formula to Millennium with equal success.
This sequel to 'José Chung's 'From Outer Space' follows the melancholy author as he researches "newly arising belief systems at the end of the millennium". Chung controversially exposes 'Selfosophy', a pseudo-religious cult with a preposterous "don't be dark" mantra. The inspiration for Morgan's satire is clearly Scientology, right down to its deceased figurehead, a fondness for litigation, the Californian power-base and Hollywood celebrity converts (watch for a familiar face on the movie posters!). The frenetic, multi-layered plot is brimming with throwaway sight gags and absurd one-liners. Frank, especially, is the target of some cutting humour, and the scene where Frank tries a self-help tape called 'How not to be dark' is a particular highlight.
Charles Nelson Reilly is again superb as Chung, and it is sad that this, apparently, is the character's swan song. Once more, Morgan takes a basic storyline (a silly, so-called 'Millenniumistic' plot about 'The Nostradamus Killer') and overlays it with his own, often poignant ideas. It is respectful of the series, but is also a surprisingly effective plunge into full-on comedy. Whether you watch Millennium or not, this is an unmissable delight. (10/10)
By Ian Calcutt


Star Trek
The Making of Star Trek Voyager cover
Merchandise Review
The Making of Star Trek Voyager
Written by Stephen Edward Poe
Simon and Schuster Books
ISBN: 0 671 53481 5
Price: £12.99. Out: 6th April

Janeway's Journal? A document of Voyager's mission

Vision is more than a simple biography of the birth of Voyager, and far more than a reference work. It is a loving and thoughtful look at the culture from which Trek springs, the point at which that culture intersects with Roddenberry's mythology, and what goes on in the breakneck pace of episodic television production. Presenting the story in roughly chronological order from December 1994 through the end of the second season of Voyager, Poe (formerly Stephen E Whitfield) gives us substantial looks at the sound stages, the frantic and cost-conscious pace of shooting, casting, and character development (including the Bujold fiasco). As he did in his earlier Making of Star Trek, Poe tells a good story about how a show with the demands and fan expectations of Voyager builds and maintains momentum in a business where disasters happen on an hourly basis.
Poe himself is a fan, which is clear from the praise he offers Trekdom in general; inevitably he gushes about Trek's impact on the world at large. He reinforces Rick Berman's control-freak persona, but he also makes clear that Berman's need for control makes him perhaps the best choice for the job. Poe relegates the ubiquitous cast and crew rosters to appendices and sprinkles the text with only a few photos. He includes snippets of interviews with Berman, Jeri Taylor, and others to offer insight, not gossip, but he also reveals intimate bits of 'family' detail: the food tables in the Trek lot are inevitably laden with Armenian food and Ding Dongs. His writing is evenhanded, sympathetic yet sharp-eyed. Poe's is in general a fairly serious treatment, written for the serious fan, and it thereby pays a lot of deserved respect to this astonishing franchise. It is not designed for browsing; this is relatively continuous prose, not festooned with graphics and headers. (As such, it badly needs an index.) I came away from reading it with renewed affection and respect for the Trek legacy, and no small amount of awe. Take your time reading this. It deserves sustained attention. (7/10)
By Megan O'Neill

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