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Time Magazine article about Children of Dune (+ Sci-Fi Channel/Bonnie Hammer)

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Time Magazine article about Children of Dune (+ Sci-Fi Channel/Bonnie Hammer)

Old 03-11-03, 12:14 PM
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Time Magazine article about Children of Dune (+ Sci-Fi Channel/Bonnie Hammer)

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...430846,00.html

Operation Desert Sequel
Sci Fi Channel follows up its hit mini-series Dune, hoping to show that space sagas aren't just for geeks
By JAMES PONIEWOZIK

A charismatic political leader cum messiah has unleashed a jihad. His minions have waged universal war and upset long-standing alliances. In the balance are power, religious freedom and control of the economy's most valuable resource. If it weren't for the giant worms and the hybrid men-fish carted around in big tanks, you might think you were watching the news.

The Sci Fi Channel's six-hour mini-series Children of Dune (March 16-18, 9 p.m. E.T.) is a sequel to the highly successful 2000 adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel Dune, but this version has a little extra timeliness. That said, Sci Fi would be just as happy if you simply tuned in for the giant worms and the men-fish. Children is the latest in a series of high-profile productions (including last year's 20-hour mini-if-you-can-call-it-that-series Taken) that have helped Sci Fi grow into a broad-based, Top 10 cable channel rather than an obscure haven for 30-year-old virgins who can name every actor who played Dr. Who.

That change is the work of network president Bonnie Hammer, charged with "broadening" the fan base, which, not to put too fine a point on it, largely means: bring in women. Hammer dismisses the idea that "female sci-fi fan" is a contradiction in terms. "Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein," she notes. But the key to attracting women, and nongeek men, is emphasizing drama over technology, psychological drives over warp drives, fi over sci. "These viewers want things that have more emotional and ethical components," says Hammer. "They'll say, 'I'm not a sci-fi freak, but I loved The Sixth Sense.'"

The Dune saga made a good fit in that it's a space opera with a philosophical bent. Dune tells of the rise to power of Paul Atreides (Alec Newman), a young noble and psychic who is adopted by the Fremen, a nomadic warrior people, as their messiah. The Fremen have been exploited for centuries because their desert planet (Arrakis, or Dune) is the sole source of "spice," a substance that makes hyperspace travel possible, expands consciousness and extends life — it's oil, LSD and Botox all in one. (Spice is an excretion of Dune's giant sandworms, but people ingested weirder stuff for less benefit in the '60s.) Harnessing his powers and the Fremen's fanaticism, Paul leads a rebellion that makes him Emperor of the galaxy.

In Children, Paul — now both Emperor and god — realizes that the revolution he unleashed is out of his control, and he sets about trying to dismantle his own legacy. These themes and the environmental focus (the Fremen's new prosperity threatens the ecosystem on which their culture and spice depend) attracted co-star Susan Sarandon: "The idea of raping the environment for the profit of the few," she says, "and the idea of justifying a war in the name of some god."

Children is best enjoyed if one doesn't take it too seriously, though. (Sarandon plays a juicily over-the-top villainess, in a getup that makes her look like an evil B-52s singer.) You could write an encyclopedia detailing all the Tolkienesque mythology, invented religions and backstory behind the Dune novels — in fact, someone did — but the script does a good job of illustrating the action for the screen without getting bogged down in background. If you're a newcomer, you're better off ignoring the myriad guilds and secret societies at play and enjoying it more as a juicy religio-political soap opera, in which respect it is as satisfying as its predecessor (which Sci Fi is rerunning on March 16).

Still, Herbert was better with ideas than with dialogue, and that trait carries over here in such lines as "Nothing in this universe is as great as my love for you." And while Sarandon's wicked witch is campy in a good way, Daniela Amavia, as Paul's power-drunk sister, lacks emotional range; whether in moral turmoil or rage, she looks as if she is ticked off that someone messed up her mochaccino order. The true stars are the sumptuous-for-TV special effects and the Matrix-esque combat scenes. It's hard to get too earnest about any drama that includes the battle cry "Send men to summon worms!" but the message--"When religion and politics ride in the same cart, the whirlwind follows"--does resonate. If only the whirlwind were usually so picturesque.

From the Mar. 17, 2003 issue of TIME magazine
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Old 03-11-03, 12:31 PM
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Re: Time Magazine article about Children of Dune (+ Sci-Fi Channel/Bonnie Hammer)

Originally posted by bboisvert
....have helped Sci Fi grow into a broad-based, Top 10 cable channel rather than an obscure haven for 30-year-old virgins who can name every actor who played Dr. Who.
Yeah, but at least that obscure haven played stuff I actually wanted to watch.
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Old 03-11-03, 12:41 PM
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Re: Time Magazine article about Children of Dune (+ Sci-Fi Channel/Bonnie Hammer)

• Quoth bboisvert •

That change is the work of network president Bonnie Hammer, charged with "broadening" the fan base, which, not to put too fine a point on it, largely means: bring in women. Hammer dismisses the idea that "female sci-fi fan" is a contradiction in terms. "Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein," she notes. But the key to attracting women, and nongeek men, is emphasizing drama over technology, psychological drives over warp drives, fi over sci.



There's the stupid bitch we all know and love. You want female viewers, eh? You mean the 48% of the Farscape audience that's female? You mean the fan movement to save the show that is at least 80% female in all the significant leadership positions?

I now present to you what the Evil Bitch-Monster said a little over 1 year ago when they guaranteed the show a 4th and 5th season:

"We are excited to renew our commitment to this smart, sexy, intelligent and fun series that rewrites the book on sci-fi entertainment. 'Farscape' is not only the most ambitious original series on basic cable, we think it's one of the best-written shows on television, period. It's no wonder that it's the top-rated series on SCI FI for three years running," said Hammer. "'Farscape' is the cornerstone of our original series line-up, helping SCI FI to continue attracting new audiences 34 and not surprisingly, more female viewers."

Since its launch, Farscape has nearly doubled its audience, experiencing over a 40% jump in viewership between its first and third seasons 34 over 70% of those new viewers were women.
It should be noted that female viewers in the key 21-34 demographic doubled AGAIN between seasons 3 and 4. The Sci-Fi channel could never dream of anything that skewed better for their female audience than Farscape.

Really, Hammer, do you honestly think people believe your bull***t? I feel dirty just talking about scum like her.

das
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Old 03-11-03, 01:02 PM
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Damn das...you beat me to it..[Of course, you back it up with stats..instead of just emotion..]

But has Sci-Fi really grown into a "broad-based, Top 10 cable channel"? Was it only a month ago when "Universal (Vivendi) Whines to FCC - "We Can't Run a Business - Bail Us Out!" And NOW it's a top 10 cable channel??

mmmmmmmmkay..

oh..and..
But the key to attracting women, and nongeek men, is emphasizing drama over technology, psychological drives over warp drives, fi over sci. "These viewers want things that have more emotional and ethical components," says Hammer.
Hammer wouldn't recognize an ethic if it smacked her in the face..

HARD.
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Old 03-11-03, 01:40 PM
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She is evil and dumb. I truly believe that someone gave her that job in the hopes of collapsing a corporation. And they've succeded.

Bonnie Hammer is one of those people who have spewed so much crap over the years that she actually believes what she's saying.

D
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Old 03-11-03, 01:55 PM
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fi over sci. "These viewers want things that have more emotional and ethical components," says Hammer. "They'll say, 'I'm not a sci-fi freak, but I loved The Sixth Sense.'"
I love that she said this w/ a straight face. The Sixth Sense isn't sci-fi bitch. Well I guess it is if Braveheart is sci-fi.
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Old 03-11-03, 02:24 PM
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I don't consider it regular "Sci-Fi" either..but I didn't say anything since people's classifications seem to differ greatly from mine..
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Old 03-11-03, 02:26 PM
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Flintstones ... meet the Flintstones ... they're a modern sci-fi family ...

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Old 03-11-03, 03:22 PM
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Why is someone who has an obvious disdain for both science fiction and science fiction fans running the sci-fi channel? I mean, what the hell did she expect it to be about when she took the job? What if the president of ESPN said that they were catering to beer swilling bozos who can't remember their wive's birthday but can tell you Roberto Clemente's old phone number?

She should go find a channel where the viewers and programming don't offended her "normal" sensibilities so much.
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Old 03-11-03, 03:34 PM
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I never watched Farscape (never knew about it, will soon on dvd), didn't even care (didn't know about it) that they were pulling it yet I still hate this woman with an unfathomable passion because of you all and the crap she says.
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Old 03-11-03, 03:38 PM
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Yeah, what das said.

I didn’t know she was catering to women. This fully explains The Wet Dream Team. I guess. Hell, I don’t know.

You suppose she’s still a virgin?
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Old 03-11-03, 04:01 PM
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• Quoth neiname •
I never watched Farscape (never knew about it, will soon on dvd), didn't even care (didn't know about it) that they were pulling it yet I still hate this woman with an unfathomable passion because of you all and the crap she says.



Now that's what I'm talking about!

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Old 03-11-03, 04:37 PM
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The only reason I came into this thread was once I saw the name Bonnie Hammer I had to read what das had to say. Once again I was not let down
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Old 03-11-03, 04:40 PM
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He does have a way with words, don't he!
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Old 03-11-03, 05:36 PM
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My thoughts are the same as other people have posted.
Shes a spin Doctor like Lucas and Berman.
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Old 03-11-03, 05:39 PM
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Originally posted by Jason
Why is someone who has an obvious disdain for both science fiction and science fiction fans running the sci-fi channel? I mean, what the hell did she expect it to be about when she took the job? What if the president of ESPN said that they were catering to beer swilling bozos who can't remember their wive's birthday but can tell you Roberto Clemente's old phone number?

She should go find a channel where the viewers and programming don't offended her "normal" sensibilities so much.
You are so right on. I don't understand the logic. They have a cable channel that is devoted to a niche genre, but they want to sell it to a broad audience, all ages, both genders. WHY? This kind of logic is killing cable TV. It used to be that channels were devoted to a single thing and catered to a niche audience. Now every network wants to be all things to all people, so every channel starts looking alike. VH1 plays Godfather movies, TNN changes its name, MTV stops playing videos, AMC starts dumbing down their programing w/ crap contemporary movies.
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Old 03-12-03, 03:35 AM
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Re: Re: Time Magazine article about Children of Dune (+ Sci-Fi Channel/Bonnie Hammer)

Originally posted by das Monkey
It should be noted that female viewers in the key 21-34 demographic doubled AGAIN between seasons 3 and 4. The Sci-Fi channel could never dream of anything that skewed better for their female audience than Farscape.

Really, Hammer, do you honestly think people believe your bull***t? I feel dirty just talking about scum like her.

das
Once again thanks das for vocalising everything I wanted to say about this b*tch.

Priorities of a female Sci-fi audience: Originality, humour, romance, action, Ben browder in leather trousers. Farscape had all of this, that woman's level of understanding must be sub-moronic.
Having seen the final ep, I still find it unbelievable that it has ended.
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Old 03-12-03, 07:05 AM
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Either the author of the article has no idea what he's talking about or Scifi really did a hackjob on the movie. IIRC
Spoiler:
Paul is gone for nearly all of Children of Dune after he left at the end of Dune Messiah. Also, I'd think Sarandon would be a little old to play Alia.
. Ah well, it wouldn't be scifi if they didn't screw it up in every way possible. Any bets that the acting in this one will be worse than the first?

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Old 03-12-03, 08:56 AM
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Tuan -- the movie is actually based on both books, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. So
Spoiler:
Paul
is in it quite a bit.

Also, Sarandon doesn't play Alia. Her "juicily over-the-top villainess" is Wensicia Corrino (Irulan's sister). Here is Alia:

http://www.scifi.com/dune/gallery/ig_alia.html
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Old 03-12-03, 09:05 AM
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Alia and Chani are hot!

Can someone refresh my memory, at what point is Duncan in Children of Dune and/or Dune Messiah?
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Old 03-12-03, 09:12 AM
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neiname --

Spoiler:
Paul is presented with a ghola (essentially, a clone) of Duncan in Dune Messiah. (It is actually programmed to kill Paul, as a trap by his enemies.) The Duncan gholas continue throughout the entire series of novels.


And, yes, the actress playing Chani is incredibly hot.
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Old 03-12-03, 09:22 AM
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Originally posted by bboisvert
neiname --

Spoiler:
Paul is presented with a ghola (essentially, a clone) of Duncan in Dune Messiah. (It is actually programmed to kill Paul, as a trap by his enemies.) The Duncan gholas continue throughout the entire series of novels.


And, yes, the actress playing Chani is incredibly hot.
Spoiler:
I get confused with when some of the events take place and in what book. I thought that Duncan makes his first Ghola appearance in God Emperor but now I remember, thanks. Damn prequels are ruining my sense of timeline
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Old 03-12-03, 10:03 AM
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Originally posted by bboisvert
Tuan -- the movie is actually based on both books, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. So
Spoiler:
Paul
is in it quite a bit.

Also, Sarandon doesn't play Alia. Her "juicily over-the-top villainess" is Wensicia Corrino (Irulan's sister).
Ok, I seem to recall hearing something about a combination of the books. As for "Wensicia Corrino", all I can say is -- who???

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Old 03-12-03, 10:26 AM
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Originally posted by neiname
I never watched Farscape (never knew about it, will soon on dvd), didn't even care (didn't know about it) that they were pulling it yet I still hate this woman with an unfathomable passion because of you all and the crap she says.
same here
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Old 03-12-03, 10:33 AM
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Originally posted by Tuan Jim
As for "Wensicia Corrino", all I can say is -- who???
Did you read the third novel? She's Farad'n's mother... the one who
Spoiler:
attempts to assassinate Paul's children
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