Robocop The Saturday Morning Cartoon

It turns out there was Robocop cartoon series.

This one passed me by, or I’ve erased it from my memory. It does raise some questions. Does it show the origin story where Officer Murphy is shot a bazillion times? Does it have the bit where Dr Romano melts in acid? Does anyone buy anything for a dollar?

As an idea for a kid’s show, it’s probably terrible. But the universe does make for some great merchandise, I’m sure.

I do like the look of this toy though – it’s ED-260, the next generation of ED-209 (probably cos they didn’t have the rights?).

Anyway, for what it’s worth, the show was made by Marvel, animated by AKOM, and aired in syndication at the end of 1988.

(Thanks to Gabe)

Alan Rickman Was Going To Be Doctor Who?

I popped open another vintage magazine from the pile this morning. It’s been a while, and the pile has just been sat there, so it was time for another delve. This time, I picked TV Zone #55 from June of 1994.

Here’s the cover, just to tease you with some of the excellent content, because we’re going to focus on a single line in a letter instead.

So, over to the letters page, and we find this nugget.

This is when Doctor Who’s future was still in limbo, before Amblin made the TV movie with Paul McGann, and I expect rumours about it were rife, even in pre-internet(ish) days. Pamela Anderson, and digs at other Amblin projects aside, the idea of Alan Rickman as the Doctor must have been intriguing, and exciting, back then. Unsure whether it rang true or not, I did some Google-Fu, and came across this article.

It turns out, it may well have been true.

After a ten year gestation period, when a company called Daltenreys Limited gained the movie rights to Doctor Who, they were finally scuppered by the Amblin deal. During that time though, they had lined up various actors for the lead, including DUDLEY MOORE, of all people, and gone through a few scripts, and a few directors, including Richard Lester and Leonard Nimoy.

But by 6th April 1994, the rights reverted back to the BBC, and all plans were off. Even with Alan Rickman in what they called ‘negotiations’. Daltenreys Limited thought that they had been deliberately strung along by the BBC in favour of the Spielberg deal, and decided to sue.

Read more about it all here.

I’d have liked to see Dudley Moore as The Doctor regenerate into Alan Rickman.

Ah well.

But asked about all this in 2015 by Den Of Geek, Mr Rickman simply said, “Nobody ever sent me a script. It’s more conjecture.”

Quark and Captain Nice

Buck Henry won an Academy Award for his screenplay for The Graduate, and co-created the smash hit TV show Get Smart with Mel Brooks. In amongst that though, he created two much more short-lived shows, Quark and Captain Nice.

Quark aired as a mid-season replacement on ABC in February of 1978, and was cancelled less than three months and eight episodes later. It starred Richard Benjamin, as the commander of a trash collecting space ship.

As you can see from the title sequence, it was a clear parody of Star Trek – listen again the music – as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars.

It’s on DVD and YouTube if you want to see it for yourself.

A decade earlier, Henry tried his luck with Captain Nice, which happened to air at the same time as CBS’s Mr. Terrific (well, half an hour before it actually).

Here’s a promo for the show too:

Normalverse

“Don’t read this in a public place, you won’t be able to stop yourself laughing out loud. It reminds me of Douglas Adams, the careful plotting mixed with those absurdities and jokes that sneak up and make you snort tea through your nose. Hilarious.” Goodreads.

What if you really were the centre of the universe?

Norman Mi’s house is shrinking. He’s sure of it.

But that’s the least of his problems, even if he doesn’t realise it yet. There’s also the odd time dilation effects at the office, the invisible spiders that no one else can see, and the eccentric neighbours who insist on eating his bacon sandwiches.

In spite of all of this, Norman is a completely average man; a man so bland he would disappear in the middle of Ikea. The trouble is, Norman doesn’t want to be an average man, he wants to be unique, he wants to be somebody, and he wants to amount to something.

And he’s about to get exactly what he wants; whether it’s good for him or not.

Normalverse is the first part of a trilogy about normality and pan-galactic rent disputes.

You can buy it now on Amazon, because you want to.

You can even buy it now on Google Play, also because you want to.

Science Fiction: Schrödinger’s Cat In A Hat

You’ve heard of Schrödinger’s Cat. It’s the thought experiment that illustrates the problem with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Seal a cat in a box, along with a Geiger counter, some poison and some radioactive material. When an atom is released, the flask of poison is shattered and the cat will die. That’s assuming it’s not chasing a ball around the box of course.

The point is, at any given moment the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. You know, like when you have a deadline and your cat has curled up to sleep on your keyboard, but looks too cute to move.

Stop looking at the cuteness

Now, where did I put my cesium?

You can never know what state the cat is in (livid probably), until you actually look in the box. Or you see cat shit oozing out from under the lid.

It’s all about things existing in all their theoretical states – called superpositions, and you can make your own Spider-Man sex jokes.

Unsurprisingly, this thought experiment has inspired a number of authors and writers to work it into their fiction. You’ll remember Dirk Gently talking about it in his holistic detective agency, unless you haven’t read it of course, in which case, that may make it a superposition itself. He claims to have used clairvoyance to look inside the box, only to discover the cat was neither alive nor dead, it was just missing. It had got bored with waiting around.

If Sam Beckett had quantum locked his accelerator, he would have never got lost in time

Quantum Locked Out Of The House

The Weeping Angels from Doctor Who are described as “quantum-locked” which probably means nothing, but it suggests that they are in some sort of superposition. They can only move when not being observed. The Doctor also claims to have met Schrödinger’s Cat, but since it’s a thought experiment, we can conclude that the Doctor is a lying shitbag.

According to Wikipedia, there’s an episode of CSI all about String Theory, which features a headstone marking the grave of Schrödinger Martin. I haven’t seen it, but I wonder if they exhumed the coffin to find out if anybody was in it.

Meeow

Here Kitty …

But as always, it’s down to Futurama to make the best use of a scientific principle in its storytelling. In Law & Oracle, Fry apprehends Schrödinger after a lengthy car chase, and the physicist explains he is transporting a cat, some cesium and some poison. Fry asks if the cat is alive or dead, and Schrödinger replies, “it’s a superposition of both states, until you open it and collapse the wave function”.

So Fry opens the box.

And the cat jumps out and attacks his face.

There’s also a lot of drugs in there.