When Homer Simpson suddenly stops eating pork and drinking booze it can only mean one thing — he's gone Muslim! Homeland gets spoofed when The Simpsons returns for its 25th season Sunday, Sept. 29 (8/7c, Fox) to find the D'oh Man greatly changed after his trip to a nuclear-power convention.
Tonight's episode is the fourth and last of the six that were produced that ABC intends to run. (All six will be seen in Canada, at least, on the cable channel Space, starting in November). And it was the episode a number of viewers were most eager to see, I suspect, since it was based on a short story by Harlan Ellison, who has established himself as a major figure in both fantastic fiction (among other sorts of prose) and in screenwriting, as well as being responsible for some notable comics scripting and work in other media. Apparently Ellison gave executive producer Keith Addis strong support when they resisted the attempts by ABC to call the series "Masters of Sci-Fi," which would be comparable to calling its Showtime sibling series Masters of Horror something like "Masters of Spookiness" (ABC chose to slip "scifi" into the URL for the series' pages on abc.go.com, anyway... perhaps the smallest of many hostilities the network has shown toward this project). And the story was ad...
Well, as John Kessel (the author of the short story adapted for this first broadcast episode of the series) advised us, the acting by Judy Davis and Sam Waterston in "A Clean Escape" was excellent; it was particularly good to see Waterston away from the harness of Law and Order (and he even got to be the U.S. president in this one, as opposed to district attorney or ADA for NYC). Good performances are crucial in this kind of context; as several have noted elsewhere, this was largely a two-character drama, one which with not much revision could be nearly as powerful as a "legitimate" theater/stage play, particularly given the stark and sweeping ethical dilemmas involved: personal responsibility, the (necessary?) abuse of (always corrupting or at least reason-distorting?) great political and military power, real and metaphorical losses reinforcing one another as the drama plays out. Literary sf (along with other forms of fantastic literature, such as fantasy and surrealist fiction) an...
Anne Heche and Russell Porter by Bob Akester/ABC
ABC's Masters of Science Fiction anthology series, announced what seems like light-years ago, will finally hit the airwaves during the dog days of August. The lineup slashed from six installments to four is as follows:August 4: "A Clean Escape," based on Nebula Award-winning author John Kessel's short story about a postapocalyptic psychiatrist (Judy Davis) determined to solve a man's (Sam Waterston) apparent memory lapse.August 11: "The Awakening," based on a short story by Howard Fast, starring Terry O'Quinn, Elisabeth Rohm and William B. Davis, and concerning Baghdad-based soldiers' discovery of a "mysterious casualty."August 18: "Jerry Was a Man," based on the Robert Heinlein story about an affluent couple (Anne Heche and Malcolm McDowell) who acquire an anthropoid.August 25: "The Discarded," based on the short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner, and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate Harlan Ellison, directed by Jonathan Frakes,...