An anonymous reader writes: Classic sci-fi show Lost in Space is making a comeback. Netflix is developing a new version of the series, according to Kevin Burns, the executive producer in charge of the project. "The original series, which lasted three seasons and 83 episodes, is set in a futuristic 1997 and follows the Robinson family's space exploration. After the villainous Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) sabotages the navigation system, they become helpless and, yes, lost. (The robot tasked with protecting the youngest child, the precocious Will, utters "Danger, Will Robinson!" — a phrase that still tortures this reporter.)" Burns has been trying to bring the series back for more than 15 years, and it looks likely he'll finally get his chance.
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An anonymous reader writes: At least three new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be filmed, thanks to over $2 million in online contributions from fans. Responding to a Kickstarter plea by series creator Joel Hodgson, fans contributed over $1.5 million within just two days, and after five more they'd push Hodgson over the first $2 million threshold. "We've got movie sign," Hodgson posted on Twitter, noting that for each additional $1.1 million raised over the next 20 days, three more new episodes would be filmed. And this Thursday he'll be hosting a grateful online marathon of classic episodes on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition which dates back nearly 25 years, when "Mystery Science Theater 3000" first began its 8-year run on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi channel.
JoSch1337 writes: The last time Star Trek: Renegades was on Slashdot was in 2013. It's an independent, canon-faithful Trek series with high production values and some of the actors from the TV shows. Since their original campaign, the team has produced an amazing pilot episode 1 and is now gathering support to produce episode 2, and even episode 3 if they reach their stretch goal. From the Kickstarter page: "Star Trek Renegades is an independent, fan-funded and supported Internet television series, executive produced by Sky Conway. Renegades features a combination of familiar Star Trek character and actors, plus a collection of hot, new rising actors. Set a decade after Voyager's return from Delta Quadrant, ST: Renegades focuses on a team of fugitives, who are on the run from the Federation while secretly working for the head of Starfleet intelligence, Admiral Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Tuvok (Tim Russ, who also directs) to root out internal corruption within the Federation as well as external threats."
An anonymous reader writes: Star Trek is returning to television. In January, 2017, a new series will begin. The first episode will air on CBS, and subsequent episodes will appear on CBS's online platform, "All Access." "The new Star Trek will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966." The show will be produced by Alex Kurtzman, who produced the two recent Star Trek films in 2009 and 2013. No details have been released regarding what the show will be about, or who will star in it. CBS is currently looking for a writer to helm the show.
An anonymous reader writes: As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a court will decide whether Buck Rogers is in the public domain. The Buck Rogers comic strip first appeared in 1929. Team Angry Filmmakers claim that Buck Rogers entered the public domain in the mid-1950s, and they want to make a Buck Rogers movie called Armageddon 2419 A.D. They filed a federal suit this year in Los Angeles against the trust claiming ownership of the name, and the trial has been moved to Pittsburgh.
An anonymous reader writes: The New York Times has published an article on Star Trek: New Voyages, a fan production that's based on TOS. “People come from all over the world to take part in this — Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and every state in the union,” said James Cawley, the show’s executive producer. “That’s the magic of Star Trek. It’s spawned this whole generation of fans who went on to professional careers — doctors, lawyers, engineers — who are now participating in that shared love here.” With TOS fans generally being less than enamored with the movie reboots, are fan produced web series the wave of the future?
New submitter Elixon writes: Czech trademark monitoring service IP Defender reported that The British Broadcasting Corporation applied for a figurative trademark on the "POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX" for wide range of goods and services like cinematographic and photographic films, printed publications, key chains, textile goods, toys, telecommunications and more. The Metropolitan Police was defeated by the BBC in the past while trying to monopolize the London police box; now it's the BBC's turn.
An anonymous reader writes: Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked National Security Agency secrets publicly in 2013, is now getting attention for an odd subject: aliens. In a podcast interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Snowden suggested that alien communications might be encrypted so well that humans trying to eavesdrop on extraterrestrials would have no idea they were hearing anything but noise. There's only a small window in the development of communication in which unencrypted messages are the norm, Snowden said.
BigBadBus writes: In late 2013, Philip Morris announced that he had found 9 missing episodes of 1960s Dr.Who, which completed the 1968 story "Enemy of the World" and most of "The Web of Fear." He has now gone on record to talk about the only episode of these stories that he didn't find — namely part 3 of "Web of Fear" and teases of more episode finds to come. Episodes keep trickling out of the past, it seems; we've mentioned a few small finds in 2004 and 2011, too.
Nerval's Lobster writes: Tony Stark, as played by Robert Downey, Jr., is the epitome of suave wit—but without his metal shell, he's just another engineer who's made good. The exoskeleton is a technology platform that, while young, is gaining traction in industrial, medical and military circles. For several years, the U.S. Special Operations Command has been working on a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or "TALOS," that would provide "provide [infantry with] comprehensive ballistic protection and peerless tactical capability," in the words of Gen. Joseph Votel, SOCOM's commander. Meanwhile, several companies—including Raytheon, Ekso Bionics and US Bionics—are working on products that could help the disabled become more mobile, or allow warehouse and other workers to handle physical tasks with greater efficiency and safety. That means people who specialize in robotics, artificial intelligence, and other areas have an increasing opportunity to get involved. According to Homayoon Kazerooni, president of Berkeley-based US Bionics and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, control and software engineers are the leads in developing these next-generation products. Although he can't estimate the ultimate size of the market for these intelligent exoskeletons, Kazerooni describes the industry as "fast-growing, but infant," with "very diverse uses" for the suits. Just don't expect the aforementioned suits to allow you to fly or blow anything up anytime soon.
merbs writes: Joe Haldeman wrote what is hailed by many as the best military science fiction novel ever written, 1974's The Forever War. In this interview, Haldeman discusses what's changed since he wrote his book, what hasn't, and what the future of war will really look like. Vice reports: "...The Vietnam War may have ended decades ago, but our military adventuring hasn’t. Our moment can somehow feel simultaneously like a crossroads for the technological future of combat and another arbitrary point on its dully predictable, incessantly conflict-laden trajectory. We’re relying more on drones and proxy soldiers to fight our far-off wars, in theaters far from the conscionable grasp of homelands, we’re automating robotics for the battlefield, and we’re moving our tactics online—so it seems like an opportune time to check in with science fiction’s most prescient author of military fiction."
StartsWithABang writes: When you consider that there are definitely millions of planets in the habitable zones of their stars within our Milky Way galaxy alone, the possibility that there's intelligent life on at least one of them, right now, is tantalizing. But we're in our technological infancy, relatively speaking, having only been broadcasting electromagnetic signatures visible by an alien civilization for around 80 years. Unsurprisingly, we're looking for exactly the types of signals we're capable of sending, but what if that's totally wrongheaded? Based on how technology is evolving and what the Universe is capable of, perhaps we should be looking not at electromagnetic radiation, but neutrino or gravitational wave signals from the distant Universe to search for alien civilizations.
biobricks writes: The NY Times covers cryonics and destructive mind uploading, with some news on progress in brain preservation research. Quoting: "Dr. Fahy, a cryobiologist whose research focuses on organ banking, had provided the most encouraging signs that cryonics did preserve brain structure. In a 2009 experiment, his team showed that neurons in slices of rabbit brains immersed in the solution, chilled to cryogenic temperatures and then rewarmed, had responded to electrical stimulation. His method, he contended, preserved the connectome in those slices. But a complication prevented him from entering the prize competition: Brain tissue perfused with the cryoprotectant invariably becomes dehydrated, making it nearly impossible to see the details of the shrunken neurons and their connections under an electron microscope. ... He could fix the brain’s structure in place with chemicals first, just as Dr. Mikula was doing, buying time to perfuse the cryoprotectant more slowly to avoid dehydration. But he lacked the funds, he said, for a project that would have no practical business application for organ banking."
smitty_one_each writes: Timothy Sandefur, a lawyer at the Pacific Legal Foundation has written a breezy overview of the politics of the little-known show Star Trek. His thesis: "...the key to Star Trek's longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry's science fiction vision. Modeled on Gulliver's Travels, the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era's finest science fiction writers. Yet the development of Star Trek's moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era." The article traces through episodes at each phase of the franchise, exploring literary allusions and lamenting that "Star Trek's latest iterations — the 'reboot' films directed by J.J. Abrams — shrug at the franchise's former philosophical depth."
New submitter JamesA writes: Wes Craven, the famed writer-director of horror films known for the Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream movies, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 76. Though he's far less known as a novelist than for his various horror film jobs (writer, director, producer, actor ...), Craven also wrote a few books; I can't vouch for "Coming of Rage," but "Fountain Society" is pretty solid speculative fiction. Wikipedia notes that Craven also "designed the Halloween 2008 logo for Google, and was the second celebrity personality to take over the YouTube homepage on Halloween."
An anonymous reader writes: Entertainment Weekly reports that Amazon Studios is developing a TV show based on Galaxy Quest, the 1999 film that parodied classic sci-fi shows like Star Trek. In the movie, actors for a Trek-like show were conscripted by real aliens to help run a starship and negotiate peace with a mortal enemy. The actors had no idea what to do, of course, and ended up getting help from the most rabid fans of their show. The new TV show is still in early stages of development. It's unlikely that the original Galaxy Quest cast will return — it starred Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell, to name a few. However, several important members of the production crew will return: "The film's co-writer Robert Gordon will pen the script and executive produce the pilot. The film's director Dean Parisot will direct and executive produce. And executive producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein are on board as well." The show is a ways off, yet — they haven't even been greenlit for a pilot episode — but it'd be a welcome addition to today's sci-fi TV offerings
An anonymous reader writes: You may remember way back in April there was a bit of a kerfuffle over the nominees for the Hugo Awards being "too conservative" based on a voting campaign organized by a group of science fiction fans who wanted to promote hard science fiction over more recent nominees. This was spun as conservatives "ruining" a "progressive" award. The question was left: would the final voters of the Hugo awards accept these nominees, or just take their ball home and refuse to give out anyway awards at all? The votes are in and we know the answer now: they'd rather just not give out any awards. (Wired has a slightly different slant on the process as well as the outcome of this year's awards.)
sciencehabit writes: Hollywood has been tackling Artificial Intelligence for decades, from Blade Runner to Ex Machina. But how realistic are these depictions? Science asked a panel of AI experts to weigh in on 10 major AI movies — what they get right, and what they get horribly wrong. It also ranks the movies from least to most realistic. Films getting low marks include Chappie, Blade Runner, and A.I.. High marks: Bicentennial Man, Her, and 2001: a Space Odyssey.
An anonymous reader writes: This October will be the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert's massively popular and influential sci-fi novel Dune. The Guardian has written a piece examining its effects on the world at large, and how the book remains relevant even now. Quoting: 'Books read differently as the world reforms itself around them, and the Dune of 2015 has geopolitical echoes that it didn't in 1965, before the oil crisis and 9/11. ... As Paul's destiny becomes clear to him, he begins to have visions 'of fanatic legions following the green and black banner of the Atreides, pillaging and burning across the universe in the name of their prophet Muad'Dib.' If Paul accepts this future, he will be responsible for 'the jihad's bloody swords,' unleashing a nomad war machine that will up-end the corrupt and oppressive rule of the emperor Shaddam IV (good) but will kill untold billions (not so good) in the process. In 2015, the story of a white prophet leading a blue-eyed brown-skinned horde of jihadis against a ruler called Shaddam produces a weird funhouse mirror effect, as if someone has jumbled up recent history and stuck the pieces back together in a different order."