Canadian tv series (1990-1993). TVOntario; also broadcast on La Chaine Francaise. Produced and directed by Gregg Thurlbeck, written and presented Rick Green. Four seasons. 30 minutes per programme. Colour.
The premise of this vigorous and surprisingly successful series – not a drama series but a talk show about speculative fiction, probably the only such programme in the world – was that Commander Rick (Rick Green) operates a pirate broadcasting station from the communications satellite in which he lives, and intercepts TVOntario's signals once a week, substituting his own quickfire discussions of various sf themes. Quick cutting and Rick's aggressive, well informed, joky style (he is an ex-comedian as well an sf expert) won the programme a cult following. The major cultural breakthrough was Rick's presentation of Comics artists as deserving equal guest time with sf writers and critics (including John Clute), and viewers have been able to see for themselves that, say, Neil Gaiman, Jean Giraud, Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz appear just as thoughtful as, say, Douglas Adams, Gregory Benford, Harlan Ellison and William Gibson. Horror writers such as Clive Barker (1952- ) and fantasy writers such as Guy Gavriel Kay (1954- ) were also included. The wide range of themes explored covers everything from Chaos Theory to Women's Issues and The Family. Prisoners of Gravity won an Aurora award in 1994, posthumously so to speak, for "Best Other Work in English". Reruns of the series are expected on the new Canada Discovery channel. [PN]
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