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The nascent days of the Internet brought with it a recognizable and often critical depiction of fandom in popular culture. The most familiar representation of the modern fan comes courtesy of The Simpsons, with its obese Comic Book Guy character. Arguably, that’s also one of the more insulting depictions of fans, as the otherwise unnamed Comic Book Guy is unnecessarily obsessive, snide, immature, lonely, and virginal. But fandom takes many forms, and one form celebrates its 20th anniversary this month in a surprising package.
Fans are a key part of one of the great modern comedies, Galaxy Quest, a story all about science-fiction culture and those who are most passionate about it. But the fans in Galaxy Quest are treated with a lot more kindness than you might expect.By Grabthar’s Hammer
Galaxy Quest is a truly distinct science-fiction comedy, a film as much about itself as it is about an actual adventure. Tim Allen plays Jason Nesmith, the lead actor of a 1970s-era TV show called Galaxy Quest, where the actor played the heroic captain of a spaceship. On each episode, the captain and his fellow crew members got into various scrapes with aliens, resolving things in a single installment to continue exploring the far reaches of outer space. Decades later, the show exists as a presence at fan-driven conventions where cast members like Nesmith dutifully if dully sign autographs, smile for the cameras, and otherwise bemoan their drab existences. Notably, at the start, the perpetually vain Nesmith is the only cast member who thrives off the attention. One day, Jason is met by a group of actual extraterrestrials in human form who believe Galaxy Quest to be real, and ask Jason and eventually the crew to help them fight off a cruel alien who’s attacking their people.
The film Galaxy Quest is of course a direct riff on Star Trek and its progeny. You don’t have to look hard to see Jason Nesmith as a younger version of William Shatner. Alexander Dane the late Alan Rickman, a theatrically trained British actor who’s never seen without his alien headgear, could easily be a grouchy play on Sir Patrick Stewart. The list goes on, but the Star Trek connection is worth pointing out because of its fanbase. Fans kept the spirit of Star Trek alive after the show was canceled by NBC in 1969. Not many three-season sci-fi shows went on to spawn an animated series, multiple spin-off live-action shows, plus more than ten feature films.
But fans were also an easy scapegoat to make fun of once Star Trek became a more unstoppable cultural force. Merely a year before the arrival of the first live-action TV spin-off, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Shatner appeared on Saturday Night Live as host tied to the release of the fourth feature film, Star Trek: The Voyage Home. In one sketch, Shatner appears as himself at a fan...
EXCLUSIVE: Spotlight production co Topic Studios is teaming with journalism outfit Field of Vision to offer $250,000 in emergency financial help for struggling documentary freelancers during the coronavirus lockdown.
The two companies are divisions of First Look Media, the org set up by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar with doc heavyweights Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras.
Industry freelancers have been particularly hard hit by the economic aspects of the crisis, with film and TV production halted around the world. As such, the fund is aiming to support the most vulnerable by providing life assistance grants, such as for rent, healthcare, bills, groceries, for those who have experienced financial hardship from loss of income or opportunity. The money comes from the operating budgets of the two companies.Field of Vision / Topic Studios
The fund will offer individual grants of up to $2,000 in two chunks, initially in April and then again in May, as the situation evolves. It will open for applications between April 8 and April 10 or until the companies receive 750 applications and then again between May 6 and May 8 or until a further 750 applications are received.
Co-Founder and Executive Producer of Field of Vision, Charlotte Cook said, “This is an incredibly hard time for the documentary field and we're hoping the fund is able to offer some relief. We started with our virtual mentorship and consultation service to try and be as available to filmmakers as possible, but felt it was vitally important to also provide financial assistance. We want to support the artists working in the documentary field every day, but especially now, and will continue to build and add more resources as we can over the next few weeks and months.”
Executive Vice President of Topic Studios, Maria Zuckerman added, “We at Topic Studios are proud to launch this initiative in partnership with our close colleagues at Field of Vision. We hope to respond to the needs of our collaborators in the documentary community and look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when our main focus will again be on making great work together.”
Content! It’s all about content! And if you’re already running out of things to watch at home, CBS All Access is here to help. The streaming subscription service was already offering up a free trial for 30 days, but since it looks like we’re going to be social distancing for at least another month, they’ve extended the trial period for another 30 days. That means you can get a 60-day CBS All Access free trial right now, giving you plenty of time to binge The Twilight Zone reboot and more.
Mashable called our attention to the 60-day CBS All Access free trial. All you have to do is head over to the streaming service’s website, and when you go to checkout, use the promo code GIFT and sign up for a one-month free trial. Once your account is created, then go into your account settings and in the “Subscription & Billing” area you can put in the ENJOY promo code to add another free month.
With two months of CBS All Access, you’ll have plenty of time to stream as much Star Trek as you please. They have everything from Star Trek: The Animated Series to Star Trek: The Next Generation. Plus, you’ll find the CBS All Access exclusives Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek: Picard available there too. If you’re wondering where the original Star Trek series from 1966 is streaming, you’ll have to head to Hulu or Amazon Prime.
That’s not all the sci-fi offerings CBS All Access has. You can also find both the original iteration of The Twilight Zone and the reboot of the anthology series from executive producer Jordan Peele. Our review painted a complimentary portrait of the modern spin on the classic series, so now’s the time to check it out.
All you crime procedural fans out there will get plenty of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NCIS, including the spin-offs NCIS: New Orleans, NCIS: Los Angeles, and CSI: Miami. There’s also both the original and new versions of MacGyver and Hawaii Five-0.
Reality show junkies can get their fix with tons of episodes of Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race. Even though Big Brother might hit a little too close to home for everyone stuck at home, the other two shows will be therapeutic for those who are desperate for a change of scenery.
But if you’re not interested in any of those contemporary shows, there are plenty of classics available too, including I Love Lucy, Magnum P.I. Mission: Impossible, Family Ties, Gunsmoke, Taxi, and Perry Mason.
The only way to figure out what you want to watch from CBS All Access is to sign up for that free channel. So enjoy!...
Although “The L Word: Generation Q” may have tried desperately to speak to a “new generation” of queer women and non-binary folks, fresher creative voices quickly rose to the top in its place. Though people still watched. Showtime’s “Work in Progress” was the best queer comedy of the year, Netflix’s “Feel Good” was an unexpected delight, and “Vida” is returning just in time for queer audiences to catch up on the best show about queer women of color on TV. Yet another contender released a promising first trailer today: “Betty” is a stylish and youthful portrait of Brooklyn teen skaters that already appears extremely queer.
The six-part half-hour arrives on HBO from filmmaker Crystal Moselle, who quickly made waves in 2015 with her her riveting documentary hybrid “The Wolfpack.” “Betty” is adapted from her second feature, the similarly hybridized “Skate Kitchen,” which followed a group of teenage girl skaters in New York City. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released by Magnolia Pictures that year.
In his B+ review of “Skate Kitchen” out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The streetwise alternative to ‘Girls,’ the movie weaves together such a complete vision of its subjects that the rest of the world barely exists. Of course, there's a long-standing precedent to capturing this subculture — ‘Kids’ did it, with more adventurous storytelling twists, more than 20 years ago — but Moselle's subjects hold their own with the surprising ability to clarify their emotions through the cathartic process of hanging out.”
“Betty” features many of the film’s original stars, most of whom had not acted before, including Kabrina Adams, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, and Ajani Russell. All accomplished skaters in their own right, the first trailer shows the charismatic crew navigating various crushes and friendship trials with compelling panache and humor.
“Betty” is directed, co-written, and executive produced by Moselle. Lesley Arfin and Patricia Breen are also co-writers. Arfin, who also EPs, is a comedy writer best known for co-creating the Netflix series “Love” with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust.
HBO will release “Betty” beginning May 1 at 11 pm ET. Check out the exciting first trailer below: