Recasting Babylon 5

So, there’s been a bit o’ buzz over a possible reboot of Baylon 5, the TV series from the 1990s that was probably one of the best sci-fi TV series of the 20th Century. I don’t know for sure it will happen, but I’d love to see the show rebooted and especially if it stays true to the original as much as possible.

A friend of mine tossed this particular “what-if” at me as a challenge. Who would I cast in the reboot? Clearly, with a few of the original actors having passed and the other likely a little long in the tooth to reprise their roles, some new faces need to be considered.

18loxsuv0qad5jpgSo, here’s what I came up with. (Note: Character/New Cast Member/Original Actor/Actress)

Jeffrey Sinclair/Bryan Cranston (Michael O’Hare)

The character arc will be brief as Sinclair has a destiny to fulfill in the past and won’t be about much. So Cranston could fill this role perfectly. (Also, he played a minor role in the original series back in the 90s and it would be fun seeing him back in B5.)

John Sheridan/Josh Hartnett (Bruce Boxleitner) 

I like Harnett. A lot. He was great as Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful and could play the warrior Captain with a heart as well as Boxleitner did.

Susan Ivanova/Kara Thrace (Claudia Christian)

Look, Christian played Susan so well, I don’t know if anyone could measure up. But Thrace would come as close as anyone else could. She changed my mind about Starbuck being a female fighter pilot in Battlestar Galactica.

Delenn/Lena Headey (Mira Furlan)

Headey just has what it takes to play the strong female leader that Delenn is.

Babylon5Michael Garibaldi/Karl Urban (Jerry Doyle)

Yep, Doctor McCoy meets Judge Dredd. And it would work. FYI, Garibaldi was my favorite character next G’Kar. Speaking of…

 

G’Kar/Richard Armitage (Andreas Katsulas)

If they ever do a reboot, I pity the two actors that have to take on G’Kar and Londo. They have big shoes to fill and Katsulas and Peter Jurasik set a very high bar to clear. Speaking of the Ambassador/Emperor of Centauri…

Londo Mollari/Djimon Hounsou (Peter Jurasik)

I know, but hear me out. There would be a different take on Londo here, but I think Hounsou can pull this off. Go watch Gladiator and Guardians of the Galaxy again.

Dr. Franklin/Anthony Mackie (Richard Biggs)

They aren’t going to be doing a standalone Falcon movie in the MCU, but his early appearance in the Winter Soldier lends to his being a good onscreen Doctor, don’t you think?

Marcus Cole/Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Jason Carter)

Carter really sold Marcus as a character we would go to war with. His demise at the end of Season 4 was one of those “Oh hell no, not Marcus!!!!!” moments, even though the reason made perfect sense. Can Taylor-Johnson match that? I saw flashes of it in Age of Ultron.

Alfred Bester/Michael Sheen (Walter Koenig)

Think about it. Who else but Sheen could pull off the oily-slick “I’m an evil guy but I think I’m a Saint” air that Koenig brought to the role?

Lennier/Paul Dano (Bill Mumy)

Vir Cotto/John Hutcherson (Stephen Furst)

These last two characters were cast mostly because I was looking for younger actors who could pull off the subservient positions of their characters while still delivering when needed in the role.

Okay, I recast the major players. What do you think of my choices? Who would you cast instead?

Let me know.

 

C’mon California, Be Better

One of the many places I’ve called home over the years is the Bay Area of California, namely, Half Moon Bay. Loved it there. Hated to leave but man, that cost of living was a killer on a poor scribe’s budget.

Because getting to San Francisco required driving up the 280 (Highway 1 occasionally was closed due to mudslides back then until the built that fancy new tunnel south of Pacifica) we drove past this structure almost daily:

5c8b294a2fef8.image

Yeah, it’s a Flintstone’s house. And it’s kind of weird looking where it’s located, but its also kind of goofy fun too. The dinosaurs are a more recent addition, one that wasn’t there when I lived there. I wish they had been, as it would have really been something to see.

Those dinosaurs are at the center of a kerfluffle today. Seems the City of Hillsborough wants them gone. They are fining the property owner, a kindly old lady who recently purchased the unwanted property, added the statues and opened it up for local children to enjoy, for “unpermitted improvements to the property”.

Funny, I wasn’t aware that any city had the right to dictate lawn statuary. As long as they aren’t obscene (these aren’t), pose a health risk (they don’t), or otherwise impede traffic – human, car or air – (these clearly don’t) then I’m not seeing the problem here.

This crap right here is how you get to be called Nazis, City of Hillsborough, and a prime example of why I moved out of the Socialistic Republic of Kaliforniastan last year.

Be better, California. Leave an old woman alone and quit trying to nanny your citizens to death.

Check out the story on what Hillsborough is doing here: Hillsborough Goes Full Nazi on Flintstones House

And then join me in e-mailing your displeasure over their actions to the Mayor, vice-Mayor and the entire Hillsborough City Council via their official city e-mail accounts. (Keep it clean. We want to make these people realize they are wrong and change course.):

SChristianson@hillsborough.net

ARoyse@hillsborough.net

JBenton@hillsborough.net

MChuang@hillsborough.net

,LMay@hillsborough.net

A Call For Help

Bonnie Oliver could use your help.

Author AM Freeman has created an anthology designed to help raise funds to help offset the costs of Bonnie’s life-saving surgery.

If you’d like to submit a story for the anthology or find out how to donate directly to the GoFundMe account, please follow this link:

Save A Life, Get A Free Book

And thank you for all of your help in this worthy cause.

A Call For Help Video 

 

A Bright Future, Redux

So, whilst you were sleeping in the wee hours of this morning, this happened at Cape Canaveral, Florida:

SpaceX Crew CapsuleCrew Dragon’s first launch

No astronauts were aboard, aside from a mannequin named, Ripley, and a plush toy shaped like Planet Earth. But still, it was a pretty important launch. It was the last step before American astronauts board an American rocket on American soil and launch themselves into space.

That hasn’t happened in almost eight years. Think about that one for a minute. The country that won the Space Race in the 1960s by being the first to put a man on the Moon, has spent the last 96 months hitchhiking its way up to the International Space Station. A station that was built thanks mostly to the United States’ space shuttle program – the only nation to successfully build one of those too.

Poor Planning

Back in 2011, I was putting together a special section for the AV News in the Antelope Valley that paid tribute to the 30-year-old shuttle program. I got to interview John Glenn, yeah THE John Glenn, for a story that ran in the section.

He was very angry about the decision to rely on Russia to ferry our astronauts up to space because we hadn’t bothered to have a replacement ready to go when the shuttles were grounded. Orion was supposed to eventually take the place of the shuttles, but last I heard Orion is nowhere in sight.

Fortunately, the private sector has stepped into the void. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing have both constructed capsules that can carry astronauts as well as cargo into space. Eventually, they’ll construct spacecraft that will carry travelers to Mars and hopefully beyond.

Promise Delayed

I stayed up into the wee hours this morning to watch Crew Dragon – or Demo-1 as it was called – and was reminded of a morning some 50 years ago. I’d stayed up all night so I wouldn’t miss the launch of Apollo 11.

Apollo_11_3We were going to land humans on the Moon for the very first time. Soon after, we would have a permanent base up there where people would live. Then we’d go to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and onward out to the outer worlds. We’d finally see what they looked like. Then Alpha Centauri, our nearest stellar neighbor. These were the accomplishments we knew awaited us on that morning.

Many of them we expected to have ticked off the list by now. Yet, we really haven’t. After six visits we stopped going to the Moon. And we have yet to send a single human being beyond our Moon. We’ve sent probes, of course, and we have some great pictures of all nine planets (yes, Pluto is still a planet. Fight me.) and a few samples from Mars.

But all of those accomplishments pale in comparison of what we were expecting back in 1969. Growing up, I was hoping to travel to the Moon and Mars as easily as we travel from Los Angeles to New York today. That isn’t going to happen.

But maybe, with efforts like this morning’s, we’re back on the path that will allow my two grandsons to one day walk the surface of the Red Planet. That was the most important cargo Demo-1 carried aloft last night: Our hopes and dreams for a brighter future.

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Over-Bowled?

I’m a sports guy. I think that has been long established. Even before I made my living covering sports, I was a sports guy.

My favorite memories of New Year’s Days past were getting up early in the morning on the west coast and diving into the day’s bowl games. All four of them.

The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA and capped off by the Orange Bowl in Miami. By the end of the night, you knew who the National Champion in college football was. It was also the grand finale to an 11 or 12 bowl schedule.

Back on New Year’s Day 1972, for example, the 1971 season was capped by a dozen bowl games. The first two on Dec. 18, 1971 were the Sun Bowl and the Pasadena Bowl. Two days later came the Liberty Bowl. Seven days after that was the Fiesta Bowl and a day later the Tangerine. December 30th brought us the Peach Bowl and the following day the Gator Bowl and – my personal favorite – the Bluebonnet Bowl set the table for the big four.

It was perfect. We got to see 24 teams battle over a 14-day period. Not too much, not too little.

This year there are 39 bowl games plus the National Championship game to be played on Jan. 7th – not on New Years Day. Oh, and two of the old traditional New Years Day bowl games – the Cotton and the Orange – were played on Dec. 29th.

We now have the Dollar General Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Cheez-it Bowl and the RedBox Bowl (a game I am watching as I write this as a matter of fact).  The one college football bowl game I covered during my sportswriting days was the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

We have teams with 6-6 records playing and having watched some of these games you can see why they were 6-6.

My point is, the college football bowl games have lost their magic. Half the time I’m not even aware they are on. With over three times as many bowls today as there were as late as the mid-1970s perhaps its time to revisit the whole bowl setup.

For years I advocated for a 16-team playoff in Div-I football (like they pretty much have in every other division in the NCAA). They could easily incorporate 15 of the top bowl games into this playoff bracket. And if we MUST have the other 25 bowls foisted upon us, make it into an NIT-style tournament like they have in basketball. Or better yet, just jettison them altogether. They won’t be missed.

The top three bowls – Rose, Orange and Cotton – would rotate between the semi-finals and championship games each year. The Sugar, Gator, Sun and nine of the other older bowl would fill in the rest of the playoff bracket.

It would do two things. It would make the games more interesting to watch – especially if the national title game was played on Jan. 1st again – and might put more fans in the stands of all of the bowl games. That RedBox Bowl game I’m watching between Oregon and Michigan State that is being played in Santa Clara, CA? It is being played in front of a half-empty stadium.

I think we’re oversaturated when it comes to bowl games. It may be time to take the old adage: “Less is More!” to heart.