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Speaking on The Babylon Project: Crusade, due to start production on 27th July, creator J Michael Straczynski has coined a new term 'archaeological Science Fiction' to describe the premise. He said, "We've spent the last five years building one of the most complex and carefully thought-out Science Fiction universes in tv history. For most of that time, we've been confined to the Babylon 5 station. Now, in Crusade we will have the unique opportunity to go out and explore that universe in considerably more detail, seeing strange new places and encountering ancient, forgotten cities which hold secrets that may mean life or death for Earth. There are million-year old vaults, opened at last; and new races making first contact with humans in addition to explorations of the dozens of worlds established in the Babylon 5 universe. River of Souls and A Call to Arms both help to set the tone for this new series by presenting first takes on a new form of Science Fiction for television: archaeological SF, in which ancient secrets have an impact on current situations, and a more action-orientated tone, with greater humour and more emphasis on characterization. These are for fun, a chance to break out and go nuts. I've been doing angst for five years now; these films are going to be a hoot."
End of Term Report
As the 1997/8 television season reaches its end in America the time has come to review what has caught on, what might still eventually work and what has been consigned to the graveyard:

Ally McBeal (Fox) - The award-winning legal comedy drama with a hint of Fantasy has been a huge hit, growing its audience and often winning its Monday timeslot. Judge for yourself when it is screened on Channel 4 shortly.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Warner Bros) - The second season has performed even better than the first and provided WB with its first major hit.

Conan: The Adventurer (Syndicated) - Status unclear but not a huge ratings success.
Due South (Syndicated) - The move into syndication has not proved successful in US ratings terms but the future is not necessarily US determined.

The Adventures of Sinbad (Syndicated) - Despite a revamp it never really took hold of the audience.
Cracker (ABC) - Although a critical success the series, which in the UK we know as Fitz, failed to make any impression on Seinfeld's ratings.

See TV Zone #103 for the full round-up, including the fate of Babylon 5, Earth: Final Conflict, Highlander, Millennium, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Sliders, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Stargate SG-1, The Outer Limits, The Visitor, The X-Files, Xena and many more.

Due South Update
During April TNT (US) purchased the series reportedly at $200,000 per episode. The remaining episodes will therefore not be shown in syndication. Production on the third and likely final series ended on 20th March and a wrap party followed attended amongst others by Paul Gross, Callum Keith Rennie, Camilla Scott and Steve DiMarco. At this stage it is not clear whether BBC1 will screen all 26 episodes of Season Three continuously. See TV Zone #103 for a listing of late Season Three episodes.

US Scene
The Full Monty's Mark Addy has been signed to star as an alien in Earth Scum, a new ABC sitcom due early in 1999 from 3rd Rock from the Sun production company Carsey-Werner. The character marries an Earthling and they settle on another planet.

James Cameron is looking to televise Kim Stanley Robinson's novels Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars. The books are about the colonization of the Red Planet in the near future by 100 humans who can live up to 300. Cameron feels this is ideal fodder for tv rather than cinema because of the numerous characters within the story. The project is set to be high budget and if it goes ahead Cameron would likely direct some segments. He also feels television is a good honing ground for new special effects prior to using them on blockbuster movies - George Lucas did much the same on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles prior to making the forthcoming three Star Wars prequels.

Read all the latest cult television news in TV Zone #103. 
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