"To Introduce our Guest Star, that's What I'm Here to Do..." The Hensonverse Fan Contribution Thread

Just thought that a formerly Canadian show with I assume two Canadian showrunners (John Candy and Rick Moranis) should have so few Canadians. The two of them can't let SNL take them all can they?
Just to clarify, this is just Candy's project, mostly because I assume Rick Moranis's wife still died. That said, more Canadians do end up joining the show later on, mostly because of criticisms that it felt "too American".
 
Just thought that a formerly Canadian show with I assume two Canadian showrunners (John Candy and Rick Moranis) should have so few Canadians. The two of them can't let SNL take them all can they?
I should note that after sleeping on this I did add two more Canadians to the cast. I should also note that I essentially have it so the show runs for about an hour and a half, partly so the cast can get airtime.
 
Just to clarify, this is just Candy's project, mostly because I assume Rick Moranis's wife still died. That said, more Canadians do end up joining the show later on, mostly because of criticisms that it felt "too American".
Ah.
SCTV Is Back: John Candy Relaunching The Show That Brought Him Fame
By Bill Chase, Entertainment Weekly,
January, 16th 2004

Guest Post by @MNN041
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(Image source: AltHistory Wiki)

Beloved comedian and actor John Candy recently announced that he had purchased the rights to the sketch comedy series that gave him his start, SCTV, and had begun developing a revival series for Triad. This new take on the show is set to air on the Fourth of July. Some critics of the proposed reboot have accused this of being a vanity project for John Candy, but Candy himself has denied this.

“I'm not going to be on the show and I'm not writing for it, I'm just going to be a showrunner for it. I wanted to give some new opportunities for up and coming comedians.” Candy told Entertainment Weekly. He also made sure to clarify that this new iteration does not solely focus on the Toronto Second City, also including comedians who have appeared in Chicago's Second City, with production being based out of the Windy City. “Chicago’s always been kind of a second home for me, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to give the comedy scene there a little love.”

Despite this, Candy has been very hands-on with the production of the show, having reportedly met with every potential writer and star personally. Candy has reportedly had final say on choosing the new cast as well.

Candy’s longtime friend Rick Moranis, who of course worked on the original show with Candy has stated that he's had a first hand look at production on this revival and believes that can attest that Candy is “fully committed to delivering a quality product.”

When asked how his new series will fare against SNL, Candy was optimistic, telling US Weekly, “Hey, we did pretty good the first time around didn't we?” Later adding, “We all want to be as big as Lorne is, and ya know, kick his butt a little[1]. I feel like he's up for a challenge.”

In anticipation of the revival, Triad has announced a planned marathon of the original series in August. Candy's revival will have essentially the same format as the original series, and the cast, while ranging widely in terms of notability, is composed entirely of up-and-comers with very eclectic backgrounds.

Along with John Candy's announcement of the revival came the announcement of the cast which consists of the following people: Ryan Reynolds, Alan Tudyk [2], Ivana Miličević[3], Bert Kreischer[4], Will Sasso, Ike Barinholtz, Alex Borstein, Michael McDonald, Debra Wilson, Stephnie Weir[5], Trevor Moore, John Pinette, Amy Poehler[6], Lisa Landry, Derek Mears[7], Sofía Vergara[8], Randall Park, Steve Byrne, Ron Funches, Will Arnett, Cobie Smulders, Hannibal Burres, Mohammed Amer, Dave Sheridan, Amy Hill, and Torrie Wilson[9].

At twenty-six initial members, this revival of SCTV boasts a much larger and more diverse cast than its predecessor and while many may argue that the cast is overcrowded, Candy himself argues that the large ensemble helps explore the comedic potential in a much broader way.

“I sat all these guys down and told them to pitch ideas for sketches, nothing was off the table. It was nothing short of magic watching these kids just bounce ideas of what they thought was funny of each other.” Candy excitedly spoke of his cast.

In addition to Candy's input, the show's writing team includes former writers for In Living Color, David Salzman and Fax Bahr, as well as up and coming comedy writers Devon Shepard, John Crane and Dahéli Hall[10]. While Candy's involvement and enthusiasm are undeniable, some skeptics question whether the revival can capture the same magic as the original without the familiar faces of the original cast. However, with a blend of seasoned talent and fresh comedic voices, this reboot has the potential to carve out its own unique place in the comedy landscape.

Several of the new cast members have expressed excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the SCTV revival. Ryan Reynolds, a Canadian comic and actor who is a longtime fan of Candy's work, commented, "Joining the SCTV family feels like a dream come true. I grew up watching the original series, and to now be a part of its legacy is truly an honor.”

Amy Poehler, a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade, also shared her thoughts, "SCTV has a special place in comedy history, and I'm honored to be part of its revival.”

Lorne Michaels, the main driving force of SNL for many years, has said he welcomes the competition, telling reporters, “Bring it on.” When asked if he had anything he'd like to say to Candy. “When SNL has competitors we tend to make some of our best stuff. We have to up our game so the audience sticks around, but we're always up for the challenge.”

Time will tell whether Candy's merry band of misfits will be able to recapture the magic of SCTV's heyday and compete with the juggernaut that is SNL. That said, with a cast of interesting newcomers and Candy's ever guiding presence this revival does have interesting potential that will likely bring in viewers.

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SCTV Revival: A Worthy Successor That's Big on Heart and Laughs
By Bill Chase, Entertainment Weekly,
July 6th, 2005

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(Image Source: Wikipedia)

John Candy's revival of SCTV premiered two days ago to glowing reviews and already seems to be a ratings hit with audiences. Despite complaints of an overstuffed cast, the show managed to deliver a delightful mix of nostalgia and fresh comedic energy. With John Candy's guiding hand and the diverse talents of the new cast, the revival has struck a chord with viewers, offering a blend of classic sketch comedy and contemporary humor.

The main cast managed to all have phenomenal chemistry with each other, with everyone getting a chance to shine during the sketches, which is no small feat considering the amount of cast members. The show first opens with an intro that humorously implies that this new cast of SCTV are actually the children of people who were shown throwing their TV's out the windows in the intro to the original series.

The first sketch is also a strong one, taking aim at men's rights groups, where several cast members hold fake events for members of these groups, that essentially designed to trick hyper-sexist individuals into going into therapy. Amy Poehler and Dave Sheridan prove to be great anchors for the sketch, with Sheridan simultaneously pulling off the macho tough guy that men's rights groups stereotypically respect while also working as an incredibly patient therapist. Meanwhile Poehler is a treat as the woman who has to feed Sheridan lines to help keep the ruse up.

Much like the original series, this revival series is presents it's sketches through the framing device of being a compendium of programming seen on the station throughout its broadcast day. A given episode could contain SCTV news broadcasts, sitcoms, dramas, movies, talk shows, children's shows, advertising send-ups hawking fictitious services and products, and game shows.

The sole exception to this being the second sketch of the night. One that seemingly pokes fun at the format of SNL. Entitled "Why We Won't Have Hosts" the show demonstrates four hypothetical hosts (played by Alan Tudyk, Trevor Moore, Ivana Miličević, and Alex Borstein) which demonstrate all the ways a celebrity host could go wrong, all of which seem to parody specific bad episodes of SNL taken to with the circumstances of what made those episodes terrible taken up to eleven. Tudyk is clearly Milton Berle, Moore is Frank Zappa, Miličević is Louise Lasser and Borstein is Nancy Kerrigan.

One of the standout moments of the night is a commercial parody for a fictional product called "Reality Check," a pill that promises to make people confront their delusions and face reality head-on. The commercial escalates into hilariously absurd scenarios as various characters take the pill and experience increasingly bizarre revelations that often go beyond them just realizing they're in the wrong during the hypothetical situation.

Of course, there was also the hilarious “Why Me?” Sketch which spoofs the chosen one trope often shown in media, with guys played by Bobby Lee, Torrie Wilson, Debra Wilson, Will Sasso and Steve Byrne being told they are prophesied chosen ones from different entities, and immediately rejecting their quests on for various comedic reasons.

The weakest sketch of the night would probably be the “Punk Donny Osmond”, an obvious parody of the recently released Rolling Stone documentary on Karen Carpenter[11]. The whole joke of the sketch is that it features other acts that were known to be easy listening suddenly shifting into punk starting of course, with Donny Osmond.

When approached for comment, Lorne Michaels, “Tonight, Candy and his merry band of misfits showed they're here to play ball. Well, let's see how long they can keep this up.” Meanwhile former cast member Eugene Levy has also sung praises of the show, saying, "I was skeptical, if only because I thought John overstuffed the cast, but honestly, I think everyone had a part to play in making this one of the funniest hours of television I've seen."

This first outing showcases comedic potential and sets a promising tone for the rest of the series. John Candy's vision for the revival seems to have paid off, as the show successfully combines elements of the original SCTV with fresh perspectives from the new cast. With its witty sketches, talented ensemble, and clever writing, the SCTV revival appears to be a worthy successor to its iconic predecessor. As audiences eagerly tune in to see what comedic delights the show has in store, it's clear that SCTV is back and ready to reclaim its place in the pantheon of sketch comedy greatness.

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[1] This is loosely based on a quote Ted Turner said about his vision for WCW.
[2] Alan Tudyk was at one point a stand up comedian before a really bad incident with a heckler that never ITTL due to butterflies. Since he wasn't in TTL's version of Firefly, this ends up being his big break.
[3] Her Wikipedia page at one point said she was a stand-up comedian, so I decided to include her here.
[4] For the record, no I didn't put Ryan Reynolds and the man who inspired Van Wilder in the same cast on purpose.
[5] There is an equivalent to MadTV called The Mad Show but since that show format (according to @Plateosaurus ) is actually closer to the format of Cartoon Network’s MAD or even actual Mad Magazine, I figured I'd have some of the cast work here instead.
[6] Since her place on SNL was essentially taken by Stephanie Courtney ITTL, I have it so this show leads to Poehler getting her big break.
[7] Despite working as a stunt performer, Derek Mears actually has a background in improv comedy.
[8] Third wave butterflies result in Vergara getting her first film role via a movie that Candy was in. As a result, Candy ends up being impressed by her comedic timing, and she's approached her to be part of the cast.
[9] Wilson's presence here is admittedly a replacement for someone else, but since her entire wrestling career is essentially butterfly bait, and she originally planned to be an actress, I feel like this is plausible.
[10] Much like the cast, a few of MadTV’s OTL writer's end up here instead.
[11] Just figured I'd throw in a reference to the TLIAW that @Geekhis Khan is doing.
I LOVE THIS!
 
Mother Aughra Knows Best
The Dark Crystal: The Secret of the Skeksis (1996-2000)
Post from the Puppets Galore! Netsite by Derk Quartz, April 24th, 2018



With the upcoming release of The Dark Crystal: Ages of Darkness on September 6th this year, it is time to have a look back at The Dark Crystal: The Secret of the Skeksis, the prequel TV series developed by Cheryl Henson as well as Tim Burton’s Skeleton Crew Productions (with the assistance of the London Creatureworks and Thunderbird Studios) for Fantasia TV (or Fantasia Channel, whichever one you would prefer).

A long time fan of her dad’s passion project from the time she and her father had to take shelter after their Concorde flight from JFK was delayed due to a blizzard, Cheryl Henson got the chance to work on The Dark Crystal when the 1988 sequel, The Dark Crystal: Return to Thra, was released, working as the Art Director.

A multitude of attempts were made by Cheryl to return to the world of Thra, by basically exploring the time before the events of the films.
Firstly, an Tales of the Dark Crystal anthology series was proposed in early 1990, and only was released in 1992, with around 3 episodes, only to get cancelled shortly after.

However, an undaunted Cheryl continued to develop her ideas a bit more, until she received the green light to proceed with a prequel TV series, to be released on May 2nd, 1996.

Cheryl was the showrunner as well as producer, writer and director, while Tim Burton was executive producer, producer, writer and director (of only a handful of episodes, including the pilot). Jim Henson and Frank Oz had little involvement with the series other than as executive producer and creative consultant, while Brian Froud returned as conceptual designer and costume designer for the series alongside his wife Wendy, who worked as a character/concept designer and assistant costume designer.

Other crew included cinematographer Roger Platt, editor Chris Lebenzon, production designers Bo Welch and Rick Heinrichs (the later also worked on art and set design as well as special effects), and Trevor Jones, the original composer for The Dark Crystal films returned to compose the soundtrack, alongside Danny Elfman, whilst the likes of Kevin Yagher and the Chiodo Brothers worked on the special effects.
While Caroline Thompson, Denise Di Novi, Derek Frey (who also produced and wrote), Bo Welch, Rick Heinrichs and the Chiodo Brothers directed episodes of the series, other directors of the series included Cheryl’s brother Brian, the Wachowskis (when they were still referred to as the Wachowski Brothers), David Fincher, Jude Barsi (who voiced SkekEkt the Ornamentalist as well as Gelfling guard Meia, but also was a designer and writer), Steve Barron, John Glen, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire and Kevin Clash.
Oh and did we forget to mention that Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin actually wrote for the series?

So, moving onto the cast (both puppeteers and voice actors), we won’t be listing all the Gelfling here (there are just too many!), but will start off with the main cast, who will appear from the first season, right through to the fifth.

Cast list:
  • Dre’thea[1](Puppeteer: Alice Dinnean. Voice: Amy Jo Johnson). The youngest daughter of Suledra, ruler of the Va’tra clan, and granddaughter to All-Mautra Mayrin, the ruler of the Gelfling. One of the main protagonists. Known as Drea, she is much younger than her three elder sisters, Arthera, Kavera and Mekra. Studious and curious, she does possess a strong sense of justice, kindness and is more perceptive than many give her credit for.
  • Brelan (Puppeteer: Neil Sterenberg. Voice: Joaquin Phoenix). The eldest son of Mautra Fariah, ruler of the Kivafa clan[2], and Consort Rylon. One of the main protagonists, and a new member of the Crystal Guard. who seeks to prove himself, all while living up to the deeds and exploits of his parents.
  • Aughra (Puppeteer: Kevin Clash. Voice: Billie Whitelaw). An oracle who is the emanation of Thra. Revered by the Gelflings as “Mother Aughra”, Aughra had committed herself into exploring the stars, until events on Thra have forced her return.
  • skekSo the Emperor (Puppeteer: Dave Chapman. Voice: Jeremy Irons). Originally the urSkek known as SoSu, skekSo founded the Skeksis Empire and was initially a benevolent ruler to all of Thra, until he became obsessed with becoming immortal and living forever. Which started a dark path for the Skeksis as they began to seek to drain the essence of Gelflings.
  • urSu the Master (Puppeteer: Don Austen. Voice: Peter Cullen). Originally the urSkek known as SoSu, urSu enforced the policy for all urRu to go into hiding in the Valley of the Standing Stones and plead themselves to not interfere in Thra’s internal affairs. However, urSu occasionally finds himself intervening, in certain situations, and of course, is acquainted with Mother Aughra.
  • skekSil the Chamberlain (Puppeteer: Matt Vogel. Voice: David Tennant). Originally the urSkek known as SilSol, skekSil is the Skeksis’ chief secretary of state and next in line to the throne behind the Emperor himself. Despite his position, he is despised for his wheedling voice, his underhanded nature and frequent playing for power, with a desire for becoming the Emperor himself.
  • urSol the Enchanter (Puppeteer: Simon Williamson. Voice: Toby Jones). Originally the urSkek known as SilSol, urSol is the lead chanter of the urRu, alongside urZah.
  • skekKar the Peacemaker (Puppeteer: Kevin Clash. Voice: Michael Dorn). Originally the urSkek known as KarrKoh, skekKarr was, along with skekUng, the principal architects of the Skeksis Empire’s military success upon the foundation of the alliance between the Skeksis and the Gelfling. Now serving as the Skeksis’ advisor in military matters, skekKarr became a competitor for the Emperor’s favour along with skekSil.
  • urKoh the Peacekeeper (Puppeteer: Anthony Asbury. Voice: Michael Clarke Duncan). Originally the urSkek known as KarrKoh, urKoh is one of the few urRu known for voluntarily leaving the boundaries of the Valley of the Standing Stones, in order to protect it from intruders.
  • skekTek the Scientist (Puppeteer: Steve Whitmire from 1996-1997. Don Austen from 1998-2000. Voice: Mark Hamill). Originally the urSkek known as TekTih, skekTek was in charge of creating the Skeksis’ devices (for he only is able to dig up from what he knows from his urSkek days rather than advance new discoveries), until he was tasked with finding a solution to expanding the lifespan of the Skeksis, to which he managed to utilise the Crystal in order to drain the Gelfling. Over time, he performs all sorts of experiments on himself in order to replace and enhance all of his own body parts.
  • urTih the Alchemist (Puppeteer: David Barclay. Voice: Mark Hamill). Originally the urSkek known as TekTih, urTih was forever conducting alchemical experiments, trying to change the form of substances.
  • skekZok the Ritual-Master (Puppeteer: Victor Yerrid. Voice: George Takei). Originally the urSkek known as ZokZah, skekZok oversees the Skeksis rituals and ceremonies. The third in line behind the Emperor and the Chamberlain, skekZok holds a desire to become the Emperor, but is successful in hiding this desire behind a facade of being nothing more than a zealous high priest.
  • urZah the Ritual-Guardian (Puppeteer: Rob Mills. Voice: James Earl Jones). Originally the urSkek known as ZokZah, urZah is in charge of the urRu rituals and ceremonies, often painting in the sand for days to create Time Spirals.
  • skekCru the Ambassador/Watcher (Puppeteer: Helena Smee. Voice: Miriam Margolyes). Originally the urSkek known as CruSen, skekCru initially served as an intermediary between the Skeksis and the Gelfling which proved crucial to the formation of the Alliance of the Crystal, before being placed in charge of the Skeksis’ spy network. A skilled interrogator, skekCru is well noted for her cruelty.
  • urSen the Observer (Puppeteer: Katherine Smee. Voice: Linda Hunt). Originally the urSkek known as CruSen, urSen was a kind, serene urRu, who observed the outside events via an observatory at the Valley of the Standing Stones.
  • skekAyuk the Gourmand (Puppeteer: Louise Gold. Voice: Harvey Fierstein). Originally the urSkek known as AyukAmaj, skekAyuk is in charge of the Crystal Castle's feasts.
  • urAmaj the Cook (Puppeteer: David Barclay. Voice: Jim Cummings). Originally the urSkek known as AyukAmaj, urAmaj provides the urRu's dietary needs with food able to sooth their minds and bodies.
  • skekEkt the Ornamentalist (Puppeteer: Alice Dinnean. Voice: Jude Barsi). Originally the urSkek known as EktUtt, skekEkt is in charge of the Crystal Castle's decorations.
  • urUtt the Weaver (Puppeteer: Victor Yerrid. Voice: Hank Azaria). Originally the urSkek known as EktUtt, urUtt kept with the upkeep of the urRu's coats. Also, urUtt is a skilled harpist.
  • skekOk the Scroll Keeper (Puppeteer: Neil Sterenberg. Voice: Neil Sterenberg). Originally the urSkek known as OkAc, skekOk is in charge of the library at the Crystal Castle.
  • urAc the Scribe (Puppeteer: Matt Vogel. Voice: Alan Oppenheimer). Originally the urSkek known as OkAc, urAc composed the urRu prayers, carved their prayer sticks and also writes up tomes.
  • skekShod the Treasurer (Puppeteer: Tim Rose. Voice: Dwight Schultz). Originally the urSkek known as ShodYod, skekShod not only held responsibility for the treasury of the Skeksis but fulfilled the role of census taker for the Skeksis, responsible for overseeing the ceremonies to collect tributes from the Gelflings.
  • urYod the Numerologist (Puppeteer: Robbie Barnett. Voice: Dwight Schultz). Originally the urSkek known as ShodYod, urYod kept track of the passage of time via moving stones on strings.
  • skekNa the Servant-Master/Slave-Master (Puppeteer: Mike Quinn. Voice: Robert Englund). Originally the urSkek known as NaNol, skekNa was placed in charge of the Crystal Castle’s podling servants, but harboured desires to advance up through the Skeksis hierarchy.
  • urNol the Herbalist (Puppeteer: Eric Craig-Crane[3]. Voice: Rob Paulsen). Originally the urSkek known as NaNol, urNol tended to the gardens of the Valley of the Standing Stones, collecting herbs for urAmaj the Cook as well as urIm the Healer.
  • skekUng the Executioner/Garthim-Master (Puppeteer: Dave Goelz (1996-1998) Kevin Clash (1999-2000). Voice: Kevin Michael Richardson). Originally the urSkek known as UngIm, skekUng served as the Skeksis’ principal authority on justice and punishment as well as an advisor on military matters and indeed did serve as a General during the various wars of the Skeksis Empire’s rise, usually as skekKa’s protege.
  • urIm the Healer (Puppeteer: Roger Pederson[3]. Voice: Michael Kilgarrif). Originally the urSkek known as UngIm, urIm is forever seeking to restore the balance caused by the Great Division with "healing ceremonies". A skilled healer nonetheless, urIm takes care of all the urRu's needs in terms of healing.
  • skekVen the Hunter (Puppeteer: Kevin Clash. Additional puppeteers: Tom Woodruff Jr. (stunts). Kevin Nash (in-suit performer). Voice: Tony Todd). Originally the urSkek known as VenKo, skekVen was responsible for killing urYa during the Great Division. A solitary hunter who is the most wildest, brutal and ruthless of the Skeksis, he is very much dreaded even amongst the Skeksis themselves, as often they are not safe from his bloodlust and anger (only the Emperor could keep him in check). Scorning the politics of the castle, skekVen spends the majority of his time in the wilds of Thra, but is able to be summoned by a special horn at the castle.
  • urKo the Archer (Puppeteer: Terence O’Bannon[3]. Additional puppeteers: Dairoku Tsuzuki[4]. Voice: Keith David). Originally the urSkek known as VenKo, urKo (a skilled archer and martial artist) lives outside the Valley of the Standing Stones in a solitary life, keeping tabs on his counterpart as well as battling the occasional threat every now and again. An acquaintance of Aughra as well as urSa, urKo soon notices a calamity on the land of Thra.
  • skekMar the Mariner (Puppeteer: Katherine Smee. Voice: Linda Hamilton). Originally the urSkek known as MarSa, skekMar is the captain of the Wavestrider, and is a notable explorer of Thra's oceans.
  • urSa the Seafarer (Puppeteer: Helena Smee. Additional puppeteer: Katherine Smee. Voice: Whoopi Goldberg). Originally the urSkek known as MarSa, urSa is one of the very few urRu who live outside the Valley of the Standing Stones, residing on an rowing boat (that uses two oars, which urSa uses two of her arms to row) to travel through Thra's rivers and coasts. Also an acquaintance of urKa as well as Mother Aughra.
  • skekLy the Talemaker (Puppeteer: Katherine Smee. Voice: Sigourney Weaver). Originally the urSkek known as LySto, skekLy is in charge of ensuring Skeksis history is in accordance with their official record.
  • urSto the Storyteller (Puppeteer: Helena Smee. Voice: Cate Blanchett). Originally the urSkek known as LySto, urSto is the urRu's keeper of stories and tales.
  • skekGoh the Adventurer (Puppeteer: Marcus Clarke. Additional puppeteers: Motohiko Fuwa[5], Shingo Ebisu[5], Ginji Hagihara[5]. Voice: Christopher Lloyd). Originally the urSkek known as GohGon, skekGoh was an oddity amongst his fellow Skeksis. Spending much of his days as a nomad, traveling across Thra, he tried to advocate for the Skeksis to rejoin with their urRu counterparts until he was exiled by the Skeksis, and thus, skekGok resided at the Shard of the Sun in the Crystal Sands with his urRu counterpart, urGon the Wanderer.
  • UrGon the Wanderer (Puppeteer: Terence O’Bannon. Additional puppeteers: Eizō Gomi[6], Ruka Gomi[6]. Voice: David Ogden Stiers). Originally the urSkek known as GohGon, urGon was one of the few urRu who declined to reside in the Valley of the Standing Stones, and instead traveled across Thra, until coming across his Skeksis counterpart, skekGoh the Adventurer.
  • skekHak the Architect (Puppeteer: Dave Goelz. Voice: Dave Goelz). Originally the urSkek known as HakHom, skekHak the Architect had been responsible for decorating the Castle of the Crystal alongside the Ornamentalist in the Garthic style. Was killed in battle during the war with the Hegemony.
  • urHom the Carpenter (Puppeteer: Dave Greenaway. Voice: Frank Welker). Originally the urSkek known as HakHom, urHom the Carpenter ensured the urRu's new home was comfortable to live in, until his skeksis' counterpart died, thus urHom passed away.
  • skekYi (Puppeteer: Steve Whitmire. Voice: Jerry Nelson). Originally the urSkek known as YiYa, skekYi died after his urRu counterpart was killed by skekVen.
  • urYa (Puppeteer: Dave Greenaway. Voice: Frank Welker). Originally the urSkek known as YiYa, urYa was killed by skekVen during the Great Division.
Anyways, before we dive deeper into the series, here is the opening narration in the first season’s first episode, “Another World, Another Time” (directed by Tim Burton), by the UrSkek LySto (voiced by Carrie Fisher):

Another World. Another Time. Another Age.

Circling around three suns, was the world of Thra. And at it’s center, was the Crystal of Truth. The source of all life on Thra.

For many trine, Mother Aughra guided the natural progression of Thra, with all species living in perfect harmony and all was as it should be.
But then came from beyond the stars, the urSkeks.
This was the beginning of the Age of Harmony, with the urSkeks gifting the races of Thra with wonders beyond their imagination and gifting Aughra with her Observatory, from which she could study the stars, the moons, the planets around Thra.

But the urSkeks, in their arrogance, attempted to utilise the Crystal to purify and perfect themselves. This caused the Crystal to crack, unleashing an energy that split the urSkeks apart, into two separate beings: the urRu, wise, spiritual and kind mystics. And the Skeksis, who were passionate, strong and aggressive.
The two species were sent scattering across Thra.
Aughra, took pity on them and found the Skeksis, entrusting the Crystal of Truth to them, urging to reunite with the urRu in order to undo the split and work together to rejoin as one.

But, the Skeksis, led by skekSo, had no intention of reuniting and instead banished the urRu, who went into hiding, pleading to never intervene in Thra’s affairs until the Crystal called upon them when the time was right.
skekSo, who proclaimed himself as Emperor, now set about establishing an empire on Thra. They spread lies, that the urSkeks had departed Thra and left them behind as their new guardians, and that the urRu were lost to the ages.
With the threat of the Hegemony threatening all of Thra’s creatures, the Skeksis formed an alliance with the Gelfling, and with victory declared in the aftermath of the war that followed, the Skeksis were declared Lords of Thra.
Satisfied by the Skeksis’ promises and their role in protecting Thra, Mother Aughra then turned her eye towards the stars, intent on discovering the mysteries of the cosmos for herself to bring back to Thra, entrusting the Crystal and Thra to the protection and care of the Skeksis.

It seemed that another age of harmony was in line for Thra.

However, the Skeksis, started utilising the Crystal for a sinister purpose. To prolong their life. Using the energies of Thra’s three suns, the Skeksis gathered in secret on the dawn of a new day, to replenish themselves, to cheat death, by harnessing the power of their treasure, their source, their prize, their prisoner:
The Dark Crystal.

Outside the Crystal Castle, nine clans of Gelfling resided among the lands of Thra. Amongst the Crist’alla Peak, Thra’s highest mountain, lay the eldest of the clans. The Va’tra clan, priding themselves on their culture and their intellect, held dominance as rulers over the rest of the clans, with the All-Mautra holding the utmost authority over the Gelfling clans and keeping the alliance between Gelfling and Skeksis intact.

Within the Woodstone Forest, resided the Kivafa and the Actrun clans. Two old, proud rival clans in their dwellings of Oldtree and Stonehollow, who were renowned for their skill in battle.

Living in settlements among the coasts and islands of the Crystalline Sea were the Sifan and Shoran clans. Adept seafarers, daring adventurers and explorers who ventured the seas of Thra to bring back excellent tales of adventures.

In the jungles and the swamps of the Marshgrove, the Drenchen Clan. Physically strong, able to survive in the most extreme environments, they were both skilled hunters and healers.

Roaming the desert dunes of the Crystal Sands, were the Espritzen Clan and sheltering amongst the snow and ice of the Misty Plains were the Tunran Clan, both of them honing extensive martial skill, honed by the generations for many trine under the most harshest of conditions.

And in the caves and the caverns under the surface of the volcanic Ska’ret mountains, were the Grotton Clan. So reclusive and isolated, that much of Thra had forgotten about them.

But today, in the Va’tra capital city of Mach’yu, the melodies of the Gelfling enchanters give no comfort to all those within, for their All-Mautra, lies dying. And soon, a new All-Mautra must ascend
”.

And stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, which will extensively cover the first full season.

[1] Dre'thea, or Drea, is a composite of Deet and Brea from the Age of Resistance, with the name derived from an original name Kira was originally going to have, Dee.
[2] TTL's Stonewood Clan, Kivafa is based of the Finnish word for stone (Kivi) and the part of the Old English word for grove (grafa).
[3] Fictional puppeteers.
[4] A fictional master of Kyūdō, Japanese archery.
[5] Fictional Bunraku puppeteers.
[6] Fictional siblings who also are Bunraku puppeteers.
 
Last edited:
Birdemic Man (or the Unexpected Virtue of Allohistory)
James Nguyen: The Rise of the Asian-American Hitchcock
Variety Magazine, October 9th 2015

Guest post by @MNM041 with assistance from @Plateosaurus
kpZPK2DGM1QqUjOm2HWpj9zCJH636oT7GxAHX-EpHkWzu_iiwlLNynjiAWuBWGe-x7GjuOSTr3eX5BA1BcrHUeT9-iMa7Vkq8f8Bo-SzBse_ryG02CK60oaX2hM8JcqdwvboMMycUxP3fWfUImnXsrc

James Nguyen is an unlikely success story in the entertainment industry. Just before the Fall of Saigon, his family fled to America when he was only ten years old. Struggling to adapt to the new environment, Nguyen turned to entertainment to cope, and developed a love of filmmaking at a young age, watching all of the films made by director Alfred Hitchcock.

"I always had to watch those movies in secret because to my parents, they were the kinds of movies even the smartest kids shouldn't be watching." Nguyen humorously recalled when we sat down for an interview with him, "Stuff like The Birds and Psycho weren't what they wanted young James to be watching, but those films really did shape me, what I wanted to do with my life and the kinds of movies I wanted to make."

Despite having made up his mind on going into filmmaking, Nguyen first found work as a software salesman in Silicon Valley. "I didn't really like working as a salesman." Nguyen candidly admitted, "It's not that I would ever shame anyone in the career, but I just felt stifled working in a corporate environment. My English also wasn't great, at that point which I'm not proud to admit, but that's the truth."

However, it provided his first filmmaking experience: He had a role in a software commercial. It wasn’t much by his admittance - a simple role that wasn’t especially challenging despite his poor English, but it was Nguyen's first experience working on a set in any capacity. Nguyen would eventually find a bigger opportunity to work in the film industry when he came across a casting call for new actors for the 1997 Mike Myers/Dana Carvey feature Who is Alan Smithee?[1]

"I'm not an actor, I've never really wanted to act, and I don't think I'm particularly good at acting, but I knew that I wanted to be in the film industry, so I figured it was something I could use to get my foot in the door in a way that I likely wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. This is why if you saw that movie, you might vaguely remember me as a catering staff member who later became the movie’s cameraman.”

During production on Who Is Alan Smithee? Nguyen befriended several of his co-stars, most notably the actors playing the documentary crew such as Greg Sestero[2] and Jennifer Renton. "Nobody really cared that I was a non-actor that was still struggling with his English, and since a lot of the people in that movie, at least the non-cameos, were all people trying to break into the industry or break back into the industry in some cases, it was easy to sort of bond with them. I mentioned to Heather [O'Rourke] that I wanted to get into filmmaking and she lent me a copy of a book on filmmaking that she felt was really helpful. Then when filming wrapped up, another good Samaritan, in this case, my buddy Tommy [Wiseau], ended up helping me get the money I needed for English classes."

While far from a full semester at film school, Nguyen made the most of the help he was given. "I think I probably got more use out of that book Heather lent me than most of her classmates did." Nguyen humorously recalled before showing us that same worn-out book, a copy of Making Movies by legendary director Sidney Lumet, alongside a picture of the two of them at the Sundance Film Festival[3].

In 1999, Nguyen started finding more work in commercials, this time behind the camera. He joined up with the advertising firm Clay, and through them wound up directing a series of commercials for the fast food chain Jack In The Box, including one commercial where Nguyen himself played the company's mascot due to the actor they had hired getting sick the day of shooting. Another set was for a campaign by the California Wine Board that aped classy Golden Age Hollywood, in which Nguyen fittingly gave himself a Hitchcock-style cameo in it.

In 2005, James Nguyen self-financed his debut film Cash Out, a $10,000 microbudget crime thriller that centers around small-time thief Anthony Bates (Justin Kunkle)[4] who steals from his employers and immediately goes on the run to avoid getting wacked by the Mafia. By Nguyen's admission, the film does take a few cues from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, most notably with the plot suddenly switching gears halfway through and a deranged killer being at the center of that shift.

Nguyen ended up screening the film at the Sundance Film Festival that year, and word of mouth about the film quickly spread afterward, with James Nguyen quickly making rounds on entertainment news shows thanks to its story and Knukle’s performance.

His follow-up came in 2007 after meeting someone with leporiphobia, the fear of rabbits. Wondering if he could make such a phobia seem understandable to most people, as well as make his own The Birds, he created The Man with the Rabbits, a supernatural thriller about businesswoman Lydia Tandy (Jenn Gotzon)[5] who keeps running into a strange man who always appears surrounded by rabbits, who may be tied to her past actions. The film budget was significantly larger than Cash Out at around $7 million and thus Nguyen could spend more on the production including CG. While The Birds was naturally Nguyen's main influence for the project, actor Kyle Vogt[6] who played the titular man has said that he and director Nguyen also took inspiration from 1971's Willard.

"I just remember sitting there with that one cocaine white rabbit that kept climbing onto my shoulder and I just couldn't help but think of Willard so I kind of played my character to deliberately be reminiscent of Bruce Davison in that movie. It got to the point where James, Jenn [Gotzon] and I all started calling that one rabbit Ben."

Speaking of the film, production was a bit fraught, not the least because of the issues of wrangling lots of rabbits. Dummies that would stand in for CG models and puppets getting humped and ripped up, hands and faces bitten and scratched, females turning out not to have been spayed and having surprise births, and even an incident where the set had to be evacuated because not all of the rabbits had been tested for rabies.

The Man With The Rabbits would also be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and while well received, it also has a reputation as one of Nguyen's weirder movies, including the surreal ending in which we don’t know whether the businesswoman survived or not though it was far from the end of things for him. In terms of box office, the film made a modest profit in theaters and while it wasn’t the biggest success, it was good enough to bolster Nguyen’s career[7]. While the film was being shown at Sundance, Nguyen would reconnect with Tommy Wiseau, now a successful producer in his own right with 2003’s The Room under his belt.

“Tommy and I, we just kinda clicked with each other. It wasn’t like we were best friends or anything, but we were both these guys who just… no one would expect to find success in Hollywood, and I think we understood each other in that way.” As a result, Wiseau has become one of the most consistent producers Nguyen has worked with.

One of the first films created through this collaboration came the year after, Nguyen was tapped to direct the 2009 adaptation of Tiger Boy[8], a 2005 thriller novel by Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan about a Chinese-American teenager named Scott Kao (Brandon Soo Hoo) whose mother was killed in a citywide riot in Los Angeles years ago, and blaming the African-American community for starting it so he decides to don a tiger mask and knives to take revenge becoming the eponymous character.

"I'd actually never heard of the book before the producers brought me on board, but I quickly read through it and I was blown away by it." Nguyen recalled, "I lived in Los Angeles when Lamar Jackson was attacked by the cops and the LA Riots broke out, and everything about Tiger Boy just captured the mood of that time."

Tiger Boy also had the distinction of being the most controversial movie that Nguyen ever directed, thanks to its graphic depictions of violence and its subject matter being seen as exploitative by some. “I got harassed online and on the street, accused of being anti-Black or supporting violence against black people, but the reality is that the movie was about a traumatized kid who was taking out his anger on people who aren't related to his trauma, and don't deserve what he inflicts on them. Scott is a tragic character, because he is essentially perpetuating the same cycle of violence that killed his mom to begin with.” Fellow director Rusty Cundieff[10] also came to Nguyen's defense, telling Entertainment Tonight, "James isn't anti-black just because he's written a character that is."

Nevertheless, Tiger Boy would be far from the last film that Nguyen made, despite the controversy. As a matter of fact, Tiger Boy was more successful than The Man With the Rabbits thanks to a decent word-of-mouth response from moviegoers for its acting (especially Hoo’s performance), cinematography, Nguyen’s direction, and themes. As such, the film made more money in theaters than his previous feature grossing $67 million on a budget of $10 million. Tiger Boy also brought greater attention to Tan’s novel and made Nguyen into a rising star in Hollywood.

Looking back on the film’s release, Nguyen does not regret adapting Tan’s novel to the big screen and has plans to direct more features down the line.

“If The Man With the Rabbits was my breakthrough hit then Tiger Boy was the next step for me,” says Nguyen, who later added that, “It was also the first time where I really considered how big a deal movies like that were to Asian Americans. Suddenly being seen as a big deal by other Asians who wanted to break into Hollywood was actually pretty overwhelming for me at first but it's part of the reason why I felt this need to give back to the community.” Indeed, not long after the release of Tiger Boy, Nguyen established a film school scholarship with the Los Angeles Film School. “The irony wasn't exactly lost on me, but with how my work has opened opportunities for me in Hollywood, I felt it would be short sighted of me to not help other people like me find their opportunities.”

Nguyen has also famously applied that philosophy to how he casts his movies, often scouting for unknown talent to lead his movies, also believing that it, in his own words, “lets the content of the movie speak for itself. It's not that I'm against casting established names mind you, I've worked with plenty of established names, but I also feel that getting unknowns helps give something more real than, say, getting someone with a very recognizable face like Reese Witherspoon or Denzel Washington.”

Indeed, studios attempted to pressure Nguyen into casting actors Bradley Cooper and Rashida Jones for his 2010 film Birdemic, a pandemic film which focused on a CDC Doctor and a journalist trying to alert the public of a strain of common avian flu that proves highly-transmissible and deadly to humans, and while that film did feature bigger names like Ken Jeong and Jamie Lee Curtis, the two main characters were still eventually given to unknowns Alan Bagh (who played CDC Dr. James McKenna) and Whitney Moore (who played Washington Post reporter Grace Fremont)[11].
QYa91GQg47ZWMdpj7vf3ajX5qL_dvP2cUtYpBIptKtut-K2UJoFr0J3asxawxkIe7ljiKwlEhmi5albonBWryjwX7MF3B4UReSOHjJeIopalPa9HGFEdc07Ha6rchc1KVdDXf3387LU9ge9gGRCZW6g

Not this in the slightest.

Birdemic was another big success for James Nguyen, but it would also end up being the last film Nguyen made with Wiseau Productions prior to Tommy Wiseau’s arrest for embezzlement and money laundering.

“He was really disappointed when he learned about all of that,” Nguyen's daughter, Jennimai [12], told reporters in 2012, “Just finding out that someone who had helped him early on in his career turning out to have done as much underhanded stuff was demoralizing for him.”

Around that same time, Nguyen had signed a deal with Triad for three movies, selling scripts he had actually finished prior to Cash Out’s release. The first of these would be released the following year. Knock ‘Em Dead, which is about a group of touring comedians who slowly realize that a string of murders has been following them from gig to gig, meaning that the killer could be one of them. While Knock ‘Em Dead was considered one of Nguyen's weaker films, it was still praised for its witty dialogue, it's realistic depictions of comedians touring, as well as for it's performances with Thuan Luu[12] and Moriah Brown putting in believable performances as the leads, while Kevin Heffernan puts in a performance as the film’s antagonist that is disturbing and funny in equal measures.

The year after that, Nguyen also directed the smart slasher True Story, about a group of filmmakers making a horror film based on a tragic event that took place a few years prior, much to the anger of the people who suffered through it. This film is often compared to the infamous Troma movie, A Triumphant Tragedy, though True Story takes itself much more seriously than that film. Jordan Lawson and Mathew Patrick[13] led this film as slimy producer Barry Rusk (Lawson) and desperate for cash sound guy Tom Elster (Patrick), who end up trapped as several members of the local community decide to shut down production in a very permanent manner.

Nguyen described True Story as an “exploration of exploitation”, examining how Hollywood will attempt to turn the suffering of real people into entertainment. “I've worked with some executives who truly only saw dollar signs, even when it comes to tragedies.”

Currently, Nguyen's most recent film is Wonderland, which released last year and starred Nguyen’s friends Greg Sestero and Jennifer Renton as two parents trying to keep distract their kids from their impending divorce by taking them to a theme park the father vaguely remembers going to in his youth, only to discover terrible secrets within the park. Since the release of that film, Nguyen has announced he's taking a small from filmmaking, aside from taking part in an upcoming documentary about the Vietnam War, which also features actress Thuy Trang, another Vietnamese immigrant.

That said, Nguyen has been clear this hiatus will be brief. “I love making movies. I'm never gonna stop making movies, but occasionally, a man does need to step back from his work to avoid getting burnt out. Rest assured though, I'll be back.”

---------------

[1] We've discussed this movie before in a prior guest post, but James Nguyen wasn't the only one who got a better career thanks to this movie.
[2] If you’re wondering what Sestero was up to, he still appeared in TTL’s The Room though not as the analogue to Mark but instead Denny thanks to Wiseau getting him a fairly prominent role as producer. Since Who is Alan Smithee? was a success and so is this film, Sestero is much more prominent as an actor and appears in a number of films or TV shows over the years.
[3] Let’s just say that O’Rourke will work alongside Nguyen for some of her projects alongside Wiseau.
[4] Justin Knukle played one of the main characters in James Nguyen's actual debut film Julie and Jack. And yes, the name of his character is a Shout-Out to both Anthony Perkins and his character Norman Bates.
[5] Jenn Gotzon was the other lead of Nguyen’s Julie and Jack. Like Knukle, she gets to star in a different film that isn’t as widely panned as Julie and Jack. As with Anthony Bates, her character’s name is also a reference to Lydia Brenner and her actress Jessica Tandy from The Birds. She also gets a decent career boost from her role.
[6] Kyle Vogt played Peter the psychologist in OTL’s The Room. Since the film ended up with a different cast, Vogt ended up starring in The Man with the Rabbits and is praised for his performance as the titular character allowing him to solidify his reputation as a character actor.
[7] To put it simply, Nguyen will be much more successful as a filmmaker with some notable flicks under his belt.
[8] As you can imagine, Tiger Boy is an original to TTL novel that becomes rather famous and controversial for its themes and characters. It will be seen as a quintessential Asian-American novel and Nguyen’s greatest film.
[9] Recall that Tales from the Hood was directed by Spike Lee instead of Cundieff since it became a Tales from the Crypt feature. Because of this, Cundieff doesn’t work on that film but does work on its sequel instead as a director for one of its stories.
[10] Yes, the leads of OTL’s Birdemic: Shock And Terror. Keeping with the naming gag, Bagh’s character gets his name from Jimmy Stewart and his character in The Man Who Knew Too Much and Moore's character comes from Grace Kelly and her character in Rear Window.
[11] Actual name of Nguyen's daughter.
[12] Thuan Luu is once again a star of one of the Birdemic movies, this time one of the actors in the second.
[13] While not someone Nguyen worked with, Lawson is also most known for a so-bad-it's-good movie, The Amazing Bulk. Meanwhile MatPat’s presence here is based on the fact that he had ambitions to be an actor in OTL.
 
Last edited:
James Nguyen: The Rise of the Asian-American Hitchcock
Variety Magazine, October 9th 2015

Guest post by @MNM041 with assistance from @Plateosaurus
kpZPK2DGM1QqUjOm2HWpj9zCJH636oT7GxAHX-EpHkWzu_iiwlLNynjiAWuBWGe-x7GjuOSTr3eX5BA1BcrHUeT9-iMa7Vkq8f8Bo-SzBse_ryG02CK60oaX2hM8JcqdwvboMMycUxP3fWfUImnXsrc

James Nguyen is an unlikely success story in the entertainment industry. Just before the Fall of Saigon, his family fled to America when he was only ten years old. Struggling to adapt to the new environment, Nguyen turned to entertainment to cope, and developed a love of filmmaking at a young age, watching all of the films made by director Alfred Hitchcock.

"I always had to watch those movies in secret because to my parents, they were the kinds of movies even the smartest kids shouldn't be watching." Nguyen humorously recalled when we sat down for an interview with him, "Stuff like The Birds and Psycho weren't what they wanted young James to be watching, but those films really did shape me, what I wanted to do with my life and the kinds of movies I wanted to make."

Despite having made up his mind on going into filmmaking, Nguyen first found work as a software salesman in Silicon Valley. "I didn't really like working as a salesman." Nguyen candidly admitted, "It's not that I would ever shame anyone in the career, but I just felt stifled working in a corporate environment. My English also wasn't great, at that point which I'm not proud to admit, but that's the truth."

However, it provided his first filmmaking experience: He had a role in a software commercial. It wasn’t much by his admittance - a simple role that wasn’t especially challenging despite his poor English, but it was Nguyen's first experience working on a set in any capacity. Nguyen would eventually find a bigger opportunity to work in the film industry when he came across a casting call for new actors for the 1997 Mike Myers/Dana Carvey feature Who is Alan Smithee?[1]

"I'm not an actor, I've never really wanted to act, and I don't think I'm particularly good at acting, but I knew that I wanted to be in the film industry, so I figured it was something I could use to get my foot in the door in a way that I likely wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. This is why if you saw that movie, you might vaguely remember me as a catering staff member who later became the movie’s cameraman.”

During production on Who Is Alan Smithee? Nguyen befriended several of his co-stars, most notably the actors playing the documentary crew such as Greg Sestero[2] and Jennifer Renton. "Nobody really cared that I was a non-actor that was still struggling with his English, and since a lot of the people in that movie, at least the non-cameos, were all people trying to break into the industry or break back into the industry in some cases, it was easy to sort of bond with them. I mentioned to Heather [O'Rourke] that I wanted to get into filmmaking and she lent me a copy of a book on filmmaking that she felt was really helpful. Then when filming wrapped up, another good Samaritan, in this case, my buddy Tommy [Wiseau], ended up helping me get the money I needed for English classes."

While far from a full semester at film school, Nguyen made the most of the help he was given. "I think I probably got more use out of that book Heather lent me than most of her classmates did." Nguyen humorously recalled before showing us that same worn-out book, a copy of Making Movies by legendary director Sidney Lumet, alongside a picture of the two of them at the Sundance Film Festival[3].

In 1999, Nguyen started finding more work in commercials, this time behind the camera. He joined up with the advertising firm Clay, and through them wound up directing a series of commercials for the fast food chain Jack In The Box, including one commercial where Nguyen himself played the company's mascot due to the actor they had hired getting sick the day of shooting. Another set was for a campaign by the California Wine Board that aped classy Golden Age Hollywood, in which Nguyen fittingly gave himself a Hitchcock-style cameo in it.

In 2005, James Nguyen self-financed his debut film Cash Out, a $10,000 microbudget crime thriller that centers around small-time thief Anthony Bates (Justin Kunkle)[4] who steals from his employers and immediately goes on the run to avoid getting wacked by the Mafia. By Nguyen's admission, the film does take a few cues from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, most notably with the plot suddenly switching gears halfway through and a deranged killer being at the center of that shift.

Nguyen ended up screening the film at the Sundance Film Festival that year, and word of mouth about the film quickly spread afterward, with James Nguyen quickly making rounds on entertainment news shows thanks to its story and Knukle’s performance.

His follow-up came in 2007 after meeting someone with leporiphobia, the fear of rabbits. Wondering if he could make such a phobia seem understandable to most people, as well as make his own The Birds, he created The Man with the Rabbits, a supernatural thriller about businesswoman Lydia Tandy (Jenn Gotzon)[5] who keeps running into a strange man who always appears surrounded by rabbits, who may be tied to her past actions. The film budget was significantly larger than Cash Out at around $7 million and thus Nguyen could spend more on the production including CG. While The Birds was naturally Nguyen's main influence for the project, actor Kyle Vogt[6] who played the titular man has said that he and director Nguyen also took inspiration from 1971's Willard.

"I just remember sitting there with that one cocaine white rabbit that kept climbing onto my shoulder and I just couldn't help but think of Willard so I kind of played my character to deliberately be reminiscent of Bruce Davison in that movie. It got to the point where James, Jenn [Gotzon] and I all started calling that one rabbit Ben."

Speaking of the film, production was a bit fraught, not the least because of the issues of wrangling lots of rabbits. Dummies that would stand in for CG models and puppets getting humped and ripped up, hands and faces bitten and scratched, females turning out not to have been spayed and having surprise births, and even an incident where the set had to be evacuated because not all of the rabbits had been tested for rabies.

The Man With The Rabbits would also be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and while well received, it also has a reputation as one of Nguyen's weirder movies, including the surreal ending in which we don’t know whether the businesswoman survived or not though it was far from the end of things for him. In terms of box office, the film made a modest profit in theaters and while it wasn’t the biggest success, it was good enough to bolster Nguyen’s career[7]. While the film was being shown at Sundance, Nguyen would reconnect with Tommy Wiseau, now a successful producer in his own right with 2003’s The Room under his belt.

“Tommy and I, we just kinda clicked with each other. It wasn’t like we were best friends or anything, but we were both these guys who just… no one would expect to find success in Hollywood, and I think we understood each other in that way.” As a result, Wiseau has become one of the most consistent producers Nguyen has worked with.

One of the first films created through this collaboration came the year after, Nguyen was tapped to direct the 2009 adaptation of Tiger Boy[8], a 2005 thriller novel by Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan about a Chinese-American teenager named Scott Kao (Brandon Soo Hoo) whose mother was killed in a citywide riot in Los Angeles years ago, and blaming the African-American community for starting it so he decides to don a tiger mask and knives to take revenge becoming the eponymous character.

"I'd actually never heard of the book before the producers brought me on board, but I quickly read through it and I was blown away by it." Nguyen recalled, "I lived in Los Angeles when Lamar Jackson was attacked and the LA Riots broke out, and everything about Tiger Boy just captured the mood of that time."

Tiger Boy also had the distinction of being the most controversial movie that Nguyen ever directed, thanks to its graphic depictions of violence and its subject matter being seen as exploitative by some. “I got harassed online and on the street, accused of being anti-Black or supporting violence against black people, but the reality is that the movie was about a traumatized kid who was taking out his anger on people who aren't related to his trauma, and don't deserve what he inflicts on them. Scott is a tragic character, because he is essentially perpetuating the same cycle of violence that killed his mom to begin with.” Fellow director Rusty Cundieff[10] also came to Nguyen's defense, telling Entertainment Tonight, "James isn't anti-black just because he's written a character that is."

Nevertheless, Tiger Boy would be far from the last film that Nguyen made, despite the controversy. As a matter of fact, Tiger Boy was more successful than The Man With the Rabbits thanks to a decent word-of-mouth response from moviegoers for its acting (especially Hoo’s performance), cinematography, Nguyen’s direction, and themes. As such, the film made more money in theaters than his previous feature grossing $67 million on a budget of $10 million. Tiger Boy also brought greater attention to Tan’s novel and made Nguyen into a rising star in Hollywood.

Looking back on the film’s release, Nguyen does not regret adapting Tan’s novel to the big screen and has plans to direct more features down the line.

“If The Man With the Rabbits was my breakthrough hit then Tiger Boy was the next step for me,” says Nguyen, who later added that, “It was also the first time where I really considered how big a deal movies like that were to Asian Americans. Suddenly being seen as a big deal by other Asians who wanted to break into Hollywood was actually pretty overwhelming for me at first but it's part of the reason why I felt this need to give back to the community.” Indeed, not long after the release of Tiger Boy, Nguyen established a film school scholarship with the Los Angeles Film School. “The irony wasn't exactly lost on me, but with how my work has opened opportunities for me in Hollywood, I felt it would be short sighted of me to not help other people like me find their opportunities.”

Nguyen has also famously applied that philosophy to how he casts his movies, often scouting for unknown talent to lead his movies, also believing that it, in his own words, “lets the content of the movie speak for itself. It's not that I'm against casting established names mind you, I've worked with plenty of established names, but I also feel that getting unknowns helps give something more real than, say, getting someone with a very recognizable face like Reese Witherspoon or Denzel Washington.”

Indeed, studios attempted to pressure Nguyen into casting actors Bradley Cooper and Rashida Jones for his 2010 film Birdemic, a pandemic film which focused on a CDC Doctor and a journalist trying to alert the public of a strain of common avian flu that proves highly-transmissible and deadly to humans, and while that film did feature bigger names like Ken Jeong and Jamie Lee Curtis, the two main characters were still eventually given to unknowns Alan Bagh (who played CDC Dr. James McKenna) and Whitney Moore (who played Washington Post reporter Grace Fremont)[11].
QYa91GQg47ZWMdpj7vf3ajX5qL_dvP2cUtYpBIptKtut-K2UJoFr0J3asxawxkIe7ljiKwlEhmi5albonBWryjwX7MF3B4UReSOHjJeIopalPa9HGFEdc07Ha6rchc1KVdDXf3387LU9ge9gGRCZW6g

Not this in the slightest.

Birdemic was another big success for James Nguyen, but it would also end up being the last film Nguyen made with Wiseau Productions prior to Tommy Wiseau’s arrest for embezzlement and money laundering.

“He was really disappointed when he learned about all of that,” Nguyen's daughter, Jennimai [12], told reporters in 2012, “Just finding out that someone who had helped him early on in his career turning out to have done as much underhanded stuff was demoralizing for him.”

Around that same time, Nguyen had signed a deal with Triad for three movies, selling scripts he had actually finished prior to Cash Out’s release. The first of these would be released the following year. Knock ‘Em Dead, which is about a group of touring comedians who slowly realize that a string of murders has been following them from gig to gig, meaning that the killer could be one of them. While Knock ‘Em Dead was considered one of Nguyen's weaker films, it was still praised for its witty dialogue, it's realistic depictions of comedians touring, as well as for it's performances with Thuan Luu[12] and Moriah Brown putting in believable performances as the leads, while Kevin Heffernan puts in a performance as the film’s antagonist that is disturbing and funny in equal measures.

The year after that, Nguyen also directed the smart slasher True Story, about a group of filmmakers making a horror film based on a tragic event that took place a few years prior, much to the anger of the people who suffered through it. This film is often compared to the infamous Troma movie, A Triumphant Tragedy, though True Story takes itself much more seriously than that film. Jordan Lawson and Mathew Patrick[13] led this film as slimy producer Barry Rusk (Lawson) and desperate for cash sound guy Tom Elster (Patrick), who end up trapped as several members of the local community decide to shut down production in a very permanent manner.

Nguyen described True Story as an “exploration of exploitation”, examining how Hollywood will attempt to turn the suffering of real people into entertainment. “I've worked with some executives who truly only saw dollar signs, even when it comes to tragedies.”

Currently, Nguyen's most recent film is Wonderland, which released last year and starred Nguyen’s friends Greg Sestero and Jennifer Renton as two parents trying to keep distract their kids from their impending divorce by taking them to a theme park the father vaguely remembers going to in his youth, only to discover terrible secrets within the park. Since the release of that film, Nguyen has announced he's taking a small from filmmaking, aside from taking part in an upcoming documentary about the Vietnam War, which also features actress Thuy Trang, another Vietnamese immigrant.

That said, Nguyen has been clear this hiatus will be brief. “I love making movies. I'm never gonna stop making movies, but occasionally, a man does need to step back from his work to avoid getting burnt out. Rest assured though, I'll be back.”

---------------

[1] We've discussed this movie before in a prior guest post, but James Nguyen wasn't the only one who got a better career thanks to this movie.
[2] If you’re wondering what Sestero was up to, he still appeared in TTL’s The Room though not as the analogue to Mark but instead Denny thanks to Wiseau getting him a fairly prominent role as producer. Since Who is Alan Smithee? was a success and so is this film, Sestero is much more prominent as an actor and appears in a number of films or TV shows over the years.
[3] Let’s just say that O’Rourke will work alongside Nguyen for some of her projects alongside Wiseau.
[4] Justin Knukle played one of the main characters in James Nguyen's actual debut film Julie and Jack. And yes, the name of his character is a Shout-Out to both Anthony Perkins and his character Norman Bates.
[5] Jenn Gotzon was the other lead of Nguyen’s Julie and Jack. Like Knukle, she gets to star in a different film that isn’t as widely panned as Julie and Jack. As with Anthony Bates, her character’s name is also a reference to Lydia Brenner and her actress Jessica Tandy from The Birds. She also gets a decent career boost from her role.
[6] Kyle Vogt played Peter the psychologist in OTL’s The Room. Since the film ended up with a different cast, Vogt ended up starring in The Man with the Rabbits and is praised for his performance as the titular character allowing him to solidify his reputation as a character actor.
[7] To put it simply, Nguyen will be much more successful as a filmmaker with some notable flicks under his belt.
[8] As you can imagine, Tiger Boy is an original to TTL novel that becomes rather famous and controversial for its themes and characters. It will be seen as a quintessential Asian-American novel and Nguyen’s greatest film.
[9] Recall that Tales from the Hood was directed by Spike Lee instead of Cundieff since it became a Tales from the Crypt feature. Because of this, Cundieff doesn’t work on that film but does work on its sequel instead as a director for one of its stories.
[10] Yes, the leads of OTL’s Birdemic: Shock And Terror. Keeping with the naming gag, Bagh’s character gets his name from Jimmy Stewart and his character in The Man Who Knew Too Much and Moore's character comes from Grace Kelly and her character in Rear Window.
[11] Actual name of Nguyen's daughter.
[12] Thuan Luu is once again a star of one of the Birdemic movies, this time one of the actors in the second.
[13] While not someone Nguyen worked with, Lawson is also most known for a so-bad-it's-good movie, The Amazing Bulk. Meanwhile MatPat’s presence here is based on the fact that he had ambitions to be an actor in OTL.
Sounds like he could be a good dude that makes interesting films.
 
You say Tor-Nay-Do, I Say Tor-Nah-Do...
Tornado Strike (1998)
Post from Pop Culture UK Netsite by Ian Colton, August 3rd 2016


And with The Despatch Rider and The Stone & Mortar[1] covered, we now cover today, the third film of British director Shaun Bakerson-Drake[2], 1998’s Tornado Strike, his “cinematic breakthrough” that got him noticed by other major studios and led to his impressive film career that continues on to this day, with Officer E.T.Han[3] about to be released on September 25th.

Produced by Working Title Films, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and StudioCanal, and released by PolyGram, the film was described simply by many as “the British Top Gun”, akin to the various Top Gun imitators, the Iron Eagle films (which the first one had premiered prior to Top Gun and had a much larger budget than Scott could dig up apparently!), Fire Birds (Nicolas Cage and Tommy Lee Jones together, in a Top Gun with Apache attack helicopters!), Sky Fighters (the French Top Gun), R2B: Return to Base (the South Korean Top Gun, which was a loose remake of Red Scarf), Best Guy (the Japanese Top Gun) and various other national equivalents to Top Gun.

While the film enjoyed the close cooperation with the Royal Air Force (more specifically, the airmen, crews and personnel of No. II, 12 and 31 Squadrons[4]) and it’s “central star”, the Panavia Tornado, does somewhat bear a resemblance to the F-14 with it’s swing wings, not to mention having impressive flight sequences, Tornado Strike actually stands out among those and some others, by not including an lead pilot with a tendency to play by his own rules, a beautiful but obligatory love interest and an awesome soundtrack. Oh and if you’re looking for any scene resembling shirtless men playing beach volleyball or Tom Cruise on a motorcycle, well too bad. This isn’t going to be that kind of movie.

Okay, the film starts off with a passing out parade at RAF Cranwell, where our main characters are “graduating”.
There, we’re introduced to the lead star, Ewan McGregor’s Flying Officer Tom Grayson, alongside Gerard Butler’s Flying Officer Henry Weston, James Drefyus’ Flying Officer Cecil Jennings, Ace Bhatti’s Flying Officer Rafiq Najah and Emily Hamilton’s Flying Officer Leanne Stewart.

After this passing out parade, the next scene jumps to our five protagonists arriving at the fictional RAF Scarworth (RAF Marham, where the scenes at the airbases were filmed) in the East of England, and they are soon greeted by senior pilots of the fictional Tornado squadron, No. 696 Squadron.
There’s Owen Teale’s Squadron Leader Alec Steele and his no.2 seater (well, navigator/weapons systems officer, but this is much simpler for those not possessing knowledge of military lingo) Jamie Bamber’s Flight Lieutenant Adam Morris, Robson Green’s Squadron Leader Peter Williams and his no.2, Jerome Flynn’s Squadron Leader Nick Peyton, along with Dougray Scott’s Wing Commander Dennis “Denno” Sheehan (the commander of No. 696 Squadron), and Simon Williams’ Group Captain Ronald Edwinson (commander of RAF Scarworth).

After the introductions, Grayson, Weston, Jennings, Najah and Stewart are brought up to speed in flying the Panavia Tornado (or “the Tonka” for short) and learning how to fly and use it. Grayson soon runs afoul of Denno during a flight manoeuvre in which he gets way too close for comfort during a practice dogfight, to which Grayson is severely reprimanded for putting him, Jennings (his no. 2 seater) and his aircraft at risk, and told basically to not do it again, or he will be kicked off from flying.

This kicks off a sub-plot, as Grayson is put through his paces hard by former Gulf War veteran Denno, who’s also feeling a little bit of guilt in that his wingman and friend was shot down and killed by an fighter jet that was “more skilled than the entire Iraqi Air Force put altogether”, before being shot down himself. And in addition to flying scenes, we see also breaks in between with characters relaxing and socialising at their local pub, The Blue Wing.

Meanwhile, at Whitehall, a collection of British military officers sit down to be briefed on an upcoming threat: an unidentified nation in eastern Europe (location not exactly specified, but vaguely somewhere in the Baltic) has managed to construct multi-purpose missiles in an underground missile base with the capability of targeting ships, aircraft and other targets from long range, with an assortment of warheads available, and the unidentified enemy nation seeks to use the base as a trump card in dominating it’s nearby island neighbour, which it is seeking to invade.

With this threat, the British government calls upon the RAF, or more specifically, No. 696 Squadron, to launch a strike at the base.
So, Grayson/Jennings, Weston, Najah, Stewart, along with Steele/Morris, Williams/Peyton and Denno all start making preparations for the mission, learning that other than the enemy air force has all sorts of MiGs (MiG-21s, MiG-23s and MiG-25s) and "the heaviest air defense network since Baghdad in '91", recent intelligence indicates the presence of an elite squadron comprised of former Soviet Air Force turned mercenary pilots flying MiG-29s, rumoured to have flown during the Gulf War and all sorts of conflicts since then. Denno suspects that a pilot from this squadron was responsible for his Gulf War troubles.

After all that training, in which Grayson still continues getting grilled hard by Denno, the film then has our leads travel to Germany, where we lay witness to stock footage of Tornados being refuelled in mid-air by a VC-10 tanker, before arriving at RAF Brüggen, where the Tornados load up for the mission and take-off to make their attack.
The attack ends up being like The Dambusters, 633 Squadron and of course, the Death Star trench run in A New Hope, really, contending with a heavily defended target then releasing weapons to hit the target at the right time, while contending with anti-aircraft fire as well as SAMs and enemy fighters, and avoiding detection by enemy radars until the last minute.
Although taking similar vibes, the third act does contain impressive special effects and model work.

Regardless, as they manage to destroy the missile base, the Tornado strike does take casualties from both SAMs, triple-A and enemy fighters, with Steele & Morris taking a hit from an enemy fighter, while a damaged Weston is shot down when the elite MiG-29 squadron arrives.

An dogfight ensures, until the last remaining enemy MiG-29 is shot down by Grayson, after Denno sacrifices himself to ensure Grayson takes the shot.

With the mission a success, our heroes return home, where they pay tribute to the fallen at the local pub, before the film closes off with a Tornado going full afterburner and lifting off from the runway, nose raised.

So yeah, it’s not a groundbreaking film by any means, and it made only about £91.2 million out of it’s £35.4 million budget.
Critics roasted it for being nothing more than “A Top Gun that is not on the Highway to the Danger Zone, but on the Motorway Straight to Boredom” or a “full-length RAF commercial”, criticised the pacing, acting and lack of “inspiring characters”.
However, over the years, Tornado Strike has become a cult film in British cinema, fondly remembered for it’s flying sequences, special effects and it’s third act, and for military buffs, NOT being a straight-out Top Gun ripoff.

---------------

[1] 1995's The Despatch Rider is a film about a motorcycle courier and his encounters whilst traveling from London to Birmingham, and 1996's The Stone & Mortar is an drama set in a fictional British town, focused around the efforts of the townspeople attempting to save their local pub from demolition.
[2] A fictional director, who you'll be getting to see a bit more of in future.
[3] An science fiction action film, depicting a police officer who is assigned to work alongside a robotic law enforcement robot capable of human responses and emotions, and having to take down a politician engineering a “crime wave” in order to become Mayor. Stay tuned for a guest post on that one!
[4] Both of these squadrons being based at RAF Marham at around 1997, which was when Tornado Strike would have filmed.
 
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"Mustafa!" "Ooooh...say it again!"
The Player Your Player Could Play Like
1998 NFL Draft: Inside Isaiah Mustafa

Sports Illustrated, May 3, 1998
By Harold Spicer

Guest article by @MNM041

Of all the wide receiver prospects in the NFL Draft, Isaiah Mustafa of Arizona State is one of the most prolific. The 24-year old wide receiver from Portland, Oregon impressed many draft scouts with his 6 feet 3 frame, 208 pounds and his highly productive output between 1995-1997 with over 2,677 yards, 54 receptions and 30 touchdowns including two trips to the Rose Bowl with the Arizona State Sun Devils where he scored several touchdowns in Pasadena during his final year even becoming a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award[1]. Mustafa was selected #2nd in the draft by the Houston Oilers behind only Peyton Manning of the New Orleans Saints and was the first wide receiver to be selected in the draft ahead of other highly touted prospects which include Randy Moss of the Indianapolis Colts, Jacquez Green of the Oakland Raiders, Hines Ward of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kevin Dyson of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The draft has come to a close with the Saints’ Manning, the Arizona Cardinals’ Charles Woodson, the Raiders’ Ryan Leaf, the Chicago Bears’ Fred Taylor, the Dallas Cowboys’ Greg Ellis, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Kyle Turley, the Los Angeles Rams’ Andre Wadsworth, the St. Louis Stallions’ Grant Wistrom, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Tra Thomas and others preparing for their first NFL snap in the next few months[2]. Mustafa sat down with us at a small ranch in the Houston area to discuss his reaction to getting drafted by the Oilers, his Arizona State years, the draft process, his personal life, the Oilers' new home and his expectations for the future.
1000008017.jpg

Isaiah Mustafa (no. 7) in action for the Sun Devils (Image source; Getty)

Harold Spicer: The Houston Oilers traded their #18, #44 and #75 draft picks to the San Diego Chargers in exchange for the #2 pick and select you to be their top prospect. What was your reaction to this?[3]

Isaiah Mustafa: Honestly, I knew that I would be picked in the first round of the draft because of my skills but I never expected to be picked as high as Peyton Manning. I mean, I am glad I got the attention of the Oilers and I’m looking forward to playing for the team.

HS: It was a surprise for us that you were picked so high over the Colts’ Randy Moss after the Chargers gave up their #2nd pick and traded down to acquire Eastern Michigan’s Charlie Batch as their starting quarterback instead of the highly coveted Ryan Leaf who went to the Oakland Raiders instead and expectations are high for you to become the top target for Steve McNair. Do you believe you will live up to these expectations?

IM: Definitely. I think I will become one of the greatest wide receivers the NFL and the Oilers have ever seen.

HS: You were initially a basketball player before you chose to play football at Moorpark College and later Arizona State to much success even going so far as to switch positions from free safety to wide receiver. Would you have preferred to play for the NFL and NBA, stuck with basketball or remain a free safety when you had the chance?

IM: Well, those are rather interesting possibilities you bring up for what trajectory I could have taken for my career. Who knows, maybe I'm an NBA player in some other world but this isn't it.

HS: During your time at Arizona State, you were one of the top wide receivers in college and were the #1 target for the Cardinals’ Jake Plummer during his senior year. Have you kept in contact with him since the draft now that you’re with him in the NFL?

IM: As soon as I got drafted by the Oilers, I got a call from Jake and he was about as happy as my family was that it to the NFL. We might be on opposite teams now, but we’re Sun Devils through and through and wearing different jerseys won’t break that bond[4].

HS: As a two-time Rose Bowl champion and Biletnikoff Award finalist, there was talk of you becoming a nominee for the Heisman Trophy yet you didn’t even make the first round of voting amidst a crowded field that included Randy Moss and Charles Woodson. Do you believe you should have won or at least made it for the Heisman?

IM: I really think I should have at least been considered in the first or final round of the Heisman because I had two amazing seasons at Arizona State and brought the Leighsman to my college twice.

HS: It didn’t take long to have your name called by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue when you were selected by the Oilers as part of the draft process with your parents present who were extremely ecstatic when it happen though they’re aware that you will be playing on the outdated astroturf of the Astrodome[5]. Will they take issue with you playing there even as they cheer you on?

IM: Hmmm… Maybe. I mean they've certainly voiced a few concerns. It’s going to be a different experience here than with Sun Devil Stadium where you had natural grass.

HS: Your father John was present for a draft interview with ESPN after you were selected by the Oilers and he’s already making plans to buy real estate in the Houston area where you will live in which is an unavoidable reality for almost every prospect in the draft since many live in different states from their teams and you are no exception. How do you feel about moving to Texas?

IM: My family and I moved from Oregon to California when I was about five years old, I moved on over to Arizona when I enrolled there. Texas will be the third place I've lived so far. I’ve got no issues living elsewhere given my family history.

HS: Mustafa, you’re a Muslim NFL player amidst an increase in religious xenophobia over the tragic shootings of American Airlines 747 and Qantas Airbus A340 by Al-Qaeda last year which you brought up with ESPN during the draft though nevertheless the Oilers fanbase has consistently supported you in the draft and hasn’t shown any signs of anti-Islamic sentiment aside from a small minority. Do you expect to see some hostile fans given your faith?

IM: I’m so glad for the outpour of support from not just the team but much of the fanbase and I won’t let some extremists or bigots ruin this for me whether I’m in Houston or on the road. It’s honestly been easy to just drown out the noise from the bigots because the support has been so much louder.

HS: You’ve been noted to be a big fan of CBS’ hit dramedy Mohammed to the Mountains starring Egyptian-American comedian Ahmed Ahmed because of its positive portrayal of Islam which was entirely unknown in American media until recently. Perhaps you might want to make a guest appearance on the show someday?

IM: I would really love to[6].

HS: Do you view you see yourself as being a role model in anyway to young Muslims?

IM: I wouldn't say I see myself that way, but I also don't really think I have much of a choice in that matter, mostly because there aren't many positive role models for Muslims at this current point in time. I do hope to be a positive influence the Muslim community and the black community though, because I feel like we really do need it.

HS: This November, the Houston Oilers will start construction on a new 70,000-seat downtown football stadium which will be state of the art and host multiple events including the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl going into the new millennium[7]. Do you feel excited to play at the new stadium?

IM: Can't wait, part of me still feels like I'm dreaming.

HS: Texas Governor Ann Richards, who is running for re-election this year[8], is set to attend the groundbreaking of the stadium along with a host of local celebrities and Oilers legends. Do you plan on meeting the governor like you did with head coach Mike Munchak and owner Bud Adams?

IM: I might get the chance to meet Richards in person if she’s attending a game or a special event.

HS: The Oilers are trying to make a run for the Super Bowl: They have a high-caliber quarterback, a high-caliber running back and a head coach who has plenty of history with the team to recalibrate their offense and defense. Will you be up to the task of fulfilling the Oilers’ Lombardi future?

IM: Absolutely. I've won two Leighsman trophies for Arizona and I hope that I will be able to lift the Lombardi trophy over my head someday.

HS: Obviously, Bud wants the Oilers to be Houston’s team as much as the Astros and the Rockets by acquiring top-tier talent whether it’s high-value prospects like yourself or diamonds in the rough. Are you confident that Bud’s gamble will pay off?

IM: I’ll say that it will and I’m excited to start my first NFL game soon as the #1 wide receiver for the Oilers.

HS: Finally, what is your message to the city of Houston now that you’re an Oiler?

IM: Houston, I’m ready to make a difference for your team[9].

------------------------

[1] This is a minor retcon for Mustafa’s total stats at Arizona State given that he spent three years in Tempe to hone his skills and thus the number of yards, touchdowns and receptions would be larger. The rest of the post remains the same. Moreover, Mustafa’s presence is also one of the factors that led to the Sun Devils winning two consecutive Leighsman’s at the Rose Bowl.
[2] As far as determining which players end up with a specific NFL team in the draft, it’s basically similar to Jerome Bettis and Lawrence Philips in which some players are selected by different teams from OTL while others still end up with the teams that selected them. It also affects which players the NFL teams as they will sometimes pick someone of a certain position if the OTL player went to another team.
[3] These are the official draft picks provided by the Oilers in the trade.
[4] Plummer was actually a friend of Mustafa during their years at Arizona State. Since Mustafa became an Oilers starter, he will face off against his old friend in some of his seasons.
[5] Concerning the mention of Isaiah Mustafa’s father in the last post, his father IOTL was killed in a car accident while he fell asleep. Here, he does not fall asleep while driving a limousine due to butterflies already taking effect on his driving hours and is alive to witness his son’s thriving NFL career.
[6] Spoiler alert but although he doesn’t appear in the show proper, Mustafa does star in a few commercials with Ahmed Ahmed to promote Mohammed to the Mountains on CBS stations between 1999-2000. An Oilers game featuring him also appears in an episode of the series.
[7] The opening of CenterPoint Stadium coincides with a rebrand by the Oilers who adopt a new logo and uniforms similar to OTL’s Tennnessee Titans to represent a new era before reverting to their classic uniforms and logo by 2015. It also comes out just a year before the Baltimore Marauders start their season along with NFL divisional realignment with the Oilers in the AFC South as are the Marauders, Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars while the rest of the divisions and teams remain the same as IOTL with the exception of the St. Louis Stallions in the AFC North.
[8] Recall in the Elections 1998 post that Richards was re-elected as Governor for the third time over her Republican and Reformer opponents. Richards’ role in saving the Oilers is also one of the factors behind her re-election.
[9] Aside from the fact that he will be the #1 wide receiver for Houston, Mustafa will make at least four consecutive Pro Bowls during his career (1999-2002) and make two consecutive Super Bowls winning at least one in the 2000 season against the Los Angeles Rams thus solidifying his reputation as one of the Oilers’ best players. He spent nine seasons with the team before getting traded to the Seattle Seahawks to spend three of the last five seasons of his career before returning to the Oilers one last time and retiring after 2013 with Mustafa inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021 respectively. Mustafa does still go into acting though it’s after his retirement from the NFL inspired by his work in commercials though he never does Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” due to his different career path.
 
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Media conglomerates as of 2024(Part 1)
ABCUniversalComcastTime ColumbiaTriad EntertainmentWalt Disney Entertainment
HeadquartersNew YorkPhiladelphiaAtlantaNew YorkBurbank
CEOBob IgerBrian RobertsMichael EisnerMira Velimirovic
Primary studioUniversal PicturesWarner Bros.Columbia PicturesParamount PicturesMGM, Walt Disney Pictures
Secondary studioHollywood PicturesOrion PicturesTriStar Pictures20th Century Pictures, Fox FilmsFantasia Films, Hyperion Pictures
Arthouse studioCaravan PicturesRepublic PicturesScreen GemsPinnacle Pictures, Searchlight PicturesWildside Pictures
Broadcast networkABCThe WBCBSPFNNBC, Telemundo
General entertainment networkUSA NetworkMoveitTBSPFXHyperion Channel
Family networksKid KingdomNickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, NeptuneCartoon CityCube, PFN Family, VixxenDisney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney Toontown, Teen Disney
Sports networksESPN(80%)Golf Channel, SpeedCBS Sports Network, NBA TVNBC Sports Network
 
Media conglomerates as of 2024(Part 1)
ABCUniversalComcastTime ColumbiaTriad EntertainmentWalt Disney Entertainment
HeadquartersNew YorkPhiladelphiaAtlantaNew YorkBurbank
CEOBob IgerBrian RobertsMichael EisnerMira Velimirovic
Primary studioUniversal PicturesWarner Bros.Columbia PicturesParamount PicturesMGM, Walt Disney Pictures
Secondary studioHollywood PicturesOrion PicturesTriStar Pictures20th Century Pictures, Fox FilmsFantasia Films, Hyperion Pictures
Arthouse studioCaravan PicturesRepublic PicturesScreen GemsPinnacle Pictures, Searchlight PicturesWildside Pictures
Broadcast networkABCThe WBCBSPFNNBC, Telemundo
General entertainment networkUSA NetworkMoveitTBSPFXHyperion Channel
Family networksKid KingdomNickelodeon, Nick Jr., TeenNick, NeptuneCartoon CityCube, PFN Family, VixxenDisney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney Toontown, Teen Disney
Sports networksESPN(80%)Golf Channel, SpeedCBS Sports Network, NBA TVNBC Sports Network
Forgot Comcast even bought out WB.

I also have some ideas for what to add.
 
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