Thursday, March 3, 2011

Harve Bennett’s Time Trax: The Starlog Project, Starlog #188, March 1993

A TV show! On the cover of Starlog! A series that I only watched for five minutes! So I have nothing worthwhile to write about it!!

Well, I’ll try anyway. Harve Bennett, who worked his way into the hearts of Starlog fans with his producing work on the Star Trek movies, launches this science-fiction/cop hybrid television series with high hopes. Time Trax features a policeman (Dale Midkiff) who tracks down criminals who fled into the past. Nothing terribly stunning in that concept, but nothing that is terribly terrible in that concept, either. But when I did sit down to try to watch an episode, I found it completely lacking in personality, a well-produced by uninteresting show. So, as I noted above, I turned if off after about five minutes and was never tempted to try it again.

But the program lasted for 44 episodes, so someone liked it enough to keep it on the air. And that probably made Mr. Bennett happy.

Starlog #188
84 pages (including covers)
Cover price: $4.95

This issue, Starlog publishes its annual postal statement of ownership and circulation. Basically, you’re supposed to publish these statements in the late fall or early winter; you’ll find them in most magazines’ November or December issues. But Starlog, for whatever reason, published them as late as their March issues, which can only tell me (someone who has to fill out and publish these forms every year) that Starlog’s post office was more lax in enforcement than the San Francisco post office, which runs through my numbers with a fine-toothed comb and checks every detail. (This is painful if, like me, you’re not great at math.)

Anyway, assuming the numbers are correct, Starlog’s circulation is holding remarkably steady. The total paid circulation for the issue closest to the statement's filing deadline is listed as 164,886 (roughly the same as the previous year's 164,074), including the number of paid subscriptions of 9,675 (little changed from 9,521 in the last year).

In staffing notes: Maureen McTigue, previously a more junior staffer, is now listed as co-managing editor along with Michael McAvennie.

The rundown: Actor Dale Midkiff poses for the cover shot from his new TV series Time Trax; on the contents page, some artwork from the Beauty & the Beast comics are featured. David McDonnell’s Medialog column informs us that six episodes have been shot of a new science-fiction television series called Space Rangers, starring Linda Hunt. What? A new SF television program is coming out, and it earns nothing more than a two-sentence drive-by in an omnibus media news column? Well, I managed to watch more than five minutes of Space Rangers, and it was anything but Shakespeare, but at least it was at times amusing and I am almost always a sucker for space opera. But note that this CBS show only ever had the six episodes produced. What does that say about the obvious difference between Harve Bennett’s team and Space Rangers’ team when it comes to talking to the genre press?

In Gamelog, Michael McAvennie reviews Alien3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, Taz-Mania, and other games. The letters in the Communications section are not, thank goodness, all Trek-focused; instead, they discuss the then-new Sci Fi Channel, Beauty & the Beast, Quantum Leap, and more; while The Thing is featured in Mike Fisher’s Creature Profile. David Hutchison’s Videolog announces a new widescreen release of Terry Gilliam’s great film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, plus other videos. Booklog reviews Triumph, The Ancient One, The Caterpillar’s Question, The Ring of Winter, Whatdunits, Deus X, A Sudden Wild Magic, and The Harvest. Maureen McTigue’s directory of fan clubs and publications, along with the convention calendar, fill up the Fan Network pages. Mark Phillips continues his look at The Immortal, with a profile of actor Don Knight. And Kerry O’Quinn plays virtual reality games in his From the Bridge column.

Marc Shapiro talks to writer/producer Harve Bennett about Time Trax, though he also talks about his abortive plans for Starfleet Academy, the “reboot” of the Star Trek franchise that Paramount didn’t want to make (but J.J. Abrams kind of later did, sort of, in a way). Drew Bittner previews the new Beauty & the Beast comics series from Innovation. Another defunct TV series, Alien Nation, returns in printed form, and Joe Nazzaro explores the franchise’s novels. Jean Airey interviews actor Andreas Katsulas, who portrays G’Kar on Babylon 5 and who also guest starred in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which he discusses along with his other roles – and the role he didn’t get: a continuing character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which he says he didn’t get because “they were looking for someone ‘cute.’”

Ian Spelling profiles Terry Farrell, who was apparently judged to be cute enough to play the Trill character Jadzia Dax on Deep Space Nine. Jean Airey also talks with actor Ray Winstone (Will Scarlett in Robin of Sherwood). Mark Phillips interviews actor Joseph Ruskin, who portrayed a number of villainous characters, including one in the original Star Trek TV series. Kyle Counts profiles comedian and actor Richard Moll, who was a recent Starlog cover boy, and they chat about Moll’s Night Court tenure and roles in Highlander, the animated Batman, and more.

Stan Nichols has the enviable job this month of interviewing Douglas Adams about life, the universe and everything else. (For example, they discuss atheism, computers, and other serious stuff, in addition to his books.) Victoria Selander chats with former Dr. Who Colin Baker, who discusses his work on the faux-Who series The Stranger and Miss Brown. And an even odder character, Red Dwarf’s hologram Arnold Rimmer, is portrayed by Chris Barrie, who talks with Joe Nazzaro. And in his Liner Notes column, editor David McDonnell relates a tale of obsessive (and maybe dangerous) fandom.
“I was doing Mission: Impossible when I got the call for Star Trek. The costume I wore was a robe that went all the way to the floor, and that gave me an idea. I had just seen the Morsaef Dancers, and in one dance, you thought for sure that they were on bicycles. But when they open their robes, you see they’re not. It’s an illusion, and I discovered how they did it. That’s how I played [Trek villain] Galt. My head didn’t move and I moved as if I were on wheels.”
–Joseph Ruskin, actor, interviewed by Mark Phillips: “Untouchable Evil”
For more, click on Starlog Internet Archive Project below or visit the Starlog Project's permanent site.
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