US tv series (2007; vt Stephen Hawking's Sci-Fi Masters). IDT Entertainment, Industry Entertainment, MOSF Productions, Reunion Pictures, for ABC. Producers include Ben Browning, Brendan Ferguson and Adam Goldworm. Directors: Harold Becker, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Petroni, Mark Rydell and Michael Tolkin. Writers: Sam Egan, Harlan Ellison, Josh Olson, Darnell Martin, Michael Petroni and Michael Tolkin. Cast includes Sean Astin, James Cromwell, Judy Davis, Brian Dennehey, John Hurt, Malcolm McDowell, Terry O'Quinn and Sam Waterston. Six 60-minute segments.
This Television Anthology Series was hosted and introduced (voice only) by the UK physicist Stephen Hawking (1942-2018). Masters of Science Fiction presented screen adaptations of six short sf stories: Harlan Ellison's "The Discarded" (April 1959 Fantastic), co-scripted by Ellison; Howard Fast's "The General Zapped an Angel" (title story of coll 1970), as "The Awakening"; Robert A Heinlein's "Jerry Was a Man" (October 1947 Thrilling Wonder); John Kessel's "A Clean Escape" (May 1985 Asimov's); Walter Mosley's "Little Brother" (in Futureland coll 2001), scripted by Mosley; and Robert Sheckley's Watchbird (February 1953 Galaxy; 1990 chap).
The series attempted, though not always successfully, a thoughtful rather than sensationalist approach to sf themes. ABC cancelled it after broadcasting only four segments, with "Little Brother" and "Watchbird" not seen until the Canadian rerun later in 2007. [DRL]
see also: Masters of Horror.
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