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Is there life after Buffy? And can Star Trek be saved?

March 2, 2003
[Originally a Billie's Bytes column]

It's official; Sarah Michelle Gellar has quit her slay job to do movies. Movies like the Scooby-Doo sequel, I suppose. I wish her the best of luck; thank you for seven great years, Sarah.

The big question for me is: can there be a viable spinoff, now that the proposed Faith-based spinoff has gone down the tubes?

Right now, I'm hoping that the brilliant Joss Whedon is currently in the throes of creating a new and different show that is hopefully (1) set in the Buffyverse, and (2) includes, or (even better) stars James Marsters. I am not one of those fans who does the "if such-and-such happens, I'm not gonna watch any more" thing, but if Spike dies in a blaze of glory in the series finale of Buffy, I might be too discouraged to go on.

The fate of Angel is still up in the air, as well. Dan and I were talking yesterday about taking the best characters from both series and making a third; we chose Spike, Willow, Wesley, Lorne, and Connor. And possibly Dawn, as a love interest for Connor. Hey, at least she's in his age bracket.

Speaking of Angel, it was announced this week that reruns are heading for the TNT network, while Fox will run them once a week a la Buffy. Again, this isn't the best of news; what about that magical fifth year?

TV Guide ran an article this week discussing audience desertion of Star Trek: Nemesis and Enterprise, and pondering whether or not the franchise is even salvageable at this point. There were several solid suggestions about how to improve Enterprise and get people watching again, and they all had merit.

But they didn't mention the only thing that I think would do the trick: Fire the heck out of Rick Berman and his current team, and bring in major new blood. Hey, CEOs who don't produce are fired at the drop of a hat. Paramount, wake up and smell the coffee!

Berman et al. have been running the Trek franchise since 1991, and they ran out of new ideas a looooong time ago. The Trek movies have worsened with each outing, Deep Space Nine floundered about and was finally reduced to ripping off the innovative Babylon 5, and Voyager never even came close to realizing its potential. Berman is now killing Enterprise, and he will succeed if Paramount doesn't stop him.

How can they fix Enterprise? How can they make a Trek movie that people will actually go see? Read my lips: it's the writing, stupid. Paramount is ignoring a huge treasure trove of outstanding Star Trek writers -- Star Trek novelists, and (dare I even suggest it?) writers of fan fiction.

If I were a big wig at Paramount, I would offer popular Trek author Peter David the job of head writer, and I'd let him hire anyone he wants... and then... are you ready for this?... I'd give the whole team creative freedom. Yeah, dream on, Billie. Paramount has always disdained using what could be their biggest asset -- the fans. Maybe, with such shortsighted management, Trek deserves to die.

Moving right along... despite the projectile vomiting, this week's Farscape was very entertaining. Ben Browder strutting around in Peacekeeper leather is always a joy, and we have a part two coming with Crichton being forced by logic to... of all things... rescue Scorpius from the Scarans. How many Farscape episodes remain? Maybe not knowing will make it easier.

There was another excellent outing of The Dead Zone, with an outright creepy Tracey Gold as Johnny's jovial stalker, Penny. The writers/producers of this show are doing some very interesting things with Johnny's fame; I hope it continues. The serial killer part of the plot was too Friday the Thirteenth, but I loved seeing Dana and Sarah finally bonding, and even breaking the case together.

And a final note, with wonderful news: Alias has been picked up for a third season, and ratings are improving. Plus Jennifer Garner is reported to be starring as Elektra in a spinoff movie from Daredevil. I needed some good news this week.

That's all for this geekgirl's week in sci-fi,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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