Television in Fenspace
Whenever you have enough people, you have civilization. And whenever you have enough civilization, you get television. It's a well-known fact. And yes, Fenspace has its own television. We're not savages out here you know.
Fen-made TV & Movies
- Asteroid Blues
- (Silvery Moon, 1 hr, 2009-2012) Live-action drama about a small asteroid-mining outpost in the Main Belt.
- Undocumented Features
- (EPU Studios, animated, 30 min, 2010-current) Adaptation of the popular ongoing mashup fan novel series. Notable for having the single largest cast of genre characters of any show except maybe Skysaber Conquers the Universe.
- Skysaber Conquers the Universe
- (Garhalla, animated, 30 min, 2011-current) An animated feature starring the interdimensional superspy Skysaber as he tears across the multiverse wreaking havoc on everyone and everything he meets.
- The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
- (Banzai Institue Films, 1 hr, 2011-current) Tales of the Hong Kong Cavaliers and the Blue Blazer Irregulars, both fictional and based on real events. Stories are told in serial format, with breaks filled with informative vignettes from the Institute. Regular features include "Everyday Heroes" (spotlights on real people Doing Good), "Fit Body, Fit Mind" (fitness), "What's Rockin'?" (music spotlight), and "A Moment of Your Time...." (Buckaroo's mail call/op-ed/philosophy section).
- Neon Genesis Evangelion FLASH!
- (EPU Studios, animated, 30 min, 2012) Re-deconstruction of the famous 1996 deconstruction of the giant robot genre Neon Genesis Evangelion and the 2007 reconstruction Neon Genesis Evangelion Angelic Days. A rather intense parody of late '90s / early '00s "serious mecha" shows, helped along by acerbic commentary by EPU original characters DJ Croft and Jon Ellison.
- Catgirl Bebop
- (Serenity Studios, animated, 1 hr, 2012-2013) Action show about bounty hunters crossing the solar system chasing rogue catgirls.
- Tower of Wonder
- (Prometheus Forge Productions, 1 hr, 2013-current) Educational program hosted by Leonard da Quirm, aimed at explaining the mysteries of handwavium.
- Naze Nani Fenspace
- (Kandor Studios, 30 min, 2013-current) Much like Tower of Wonder, only aimed at a younger audience. Theme Song
- Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon FS
- (Toei, animated, 30 min, 2014-current) The latest province of the Sailor Moon empire, the action is moved from Tokyo to Crystal Tokyo as a group of Senshi living on Venus suddenly become "real" Senshi and have to defend their homeworld from pirate youma. Based (very, very loosely) on rumors of extradimensional Senshi showing up on Crystal Paris.
- Gundam Wave
- (Sunrise, animated, 30 min, 2014-current) Basically a retelling of the '12-'14 Boskone War, but with 500% more giant robots. What really makes Gundam Wave interesting is the based-on-a-true-story B-arc about a crew of mecha enthusiasts from Hokkaido who build their own full-scale Gundam in defiance of local handwavium restrictions.
- The Worlds at War
- (Crystal Tokyo Television, 2015-): Meticulously researched documentary on the Boskone War, tracing the conflict from the first isolated incidents of pirate attacks in 2010, through to the final operations on Boskone Prime. Notable especially for prioritising interviews with aides and assistants over the usual Big Name Fen.
|The ReAnimator - self-named because "it sounds about ten times cooler than just 'Animator'" - is a Wavetech computer/animation studio created from his computer, DVD player, and various peripherals by a True Neutral who prefers to go by "Mekboy". Upon the addition of handwavium to the combination, it metamorphosed into a rather ugly cybernetic/organic hybrid with a computer screen and a mouth as its most noticeable attributes. Experimentally, Mekboy offered it his Negima! DVD set, which it promptly ate, then plugged itself into an Internet jack. Shortly afterward, it also ate Mekboy's first few volumes of the Negima! manga, and became silent.
Some days later, it spat out a DVD which Mekboy discovered to contain a high-resolution video file: the first episode of a new Negima! series. As it turned out, the ReAnimator had decided that it could do better than XEBEC had in adapting the manga. And indeed, the next few episodes it produced over the next month were highly faithful to Akamatsu's manga, superbly animated, and well voiced, with the curious quirk that there was no music - apparently it lacked the skill to compose any. Undaunted, Mekboy assembled a team of musicians and sound editors to make up for this deficiency, and eventually - with Akamatsu's agreement - released what, indeed, most fen have taken to calling NDR, for "Negima Done RIGHT."
After the full run of Akamatsu's manga had been adapted, the ReAnimator took to adapting Ranma ½, calling the animation and characterization in Studio Deen's anime "craptacular" and posting a 3,000-word essay online on "Why Stopping in the Middle is Bad." For personal amusement, it has also created several music videos and distributed them freely online. These include "Bell B. Dandy," in which the goddess Belldandy gives an enthusiastic performance of Johnny B. Goode, "Kanon Rock," in which the cast of Kanon performs JerryC's hit rendition of a classical piece, and "Kumikyoku," a spectacularly animated and choreographed rendition of the eleven-minute medley circulated on the video sharing site Nico Nico Douga. Reportedly, discussions are also underway to produce adaptations of Animorphs and Megatokyo.
The ReAnimator can purportedly be a very temperamental and demanding creator; one assistant described headquarters as the only place in Fenspace that serves DVDs with chocolate sauce. Particularly infamous are its arguments with Benjamin Hutchins over the production and creative control of an Undocumented Features series. All attempts at producing a new ReAnimator without the original's problems have dramatically failed. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most profitable media producers in Fenspace.
- Lonely Planet: Ceres
- (Documentary, 2009) The first of the now-famous series of travelogues produced by the Soviet Air Force.
- To Boldly Go
- (Documentary, 2009) A documentary covering the conception, construction and flight of the USS Miranda.
- The Handwavium Man
- (Thriller, 2010) After being left for dead by a Boskonian raid, a man is rebuilt with state-of-the-kludge cybernetics and sent to infiltrate a crime family. First feature length film from the Luna Film Studios. (++½)
- The Musical
- (Musical, 2011) Specially-filmed live performance of the cult-favorite musical by Tom Smith and R.K. Milholland.
- Skysaber vs. River Tam
- (Action, animated, 2012) The first feature-length production from the creators of Skysaber Conquers the Universe, billed as "the first true action movie" where the two title characters spend 90 minutes beating each other to a pulp in increasingly over-the-top ways. Of particular note is a sequence where Skysaber tries to use the TransAmerica Pyramid to swat River, only to have her dodge into the upended building, race through the corridors like a demented version of The Poseidon Adventure, emerge from the roof and spin-kick Skysaber into the Pacific. Loud, ludicrous and surprisingly fun. (+++½)
- Raise the Yamato!
- (Documentary, 2013) True story of a splinter group of Boskone seeking to build their own Space Cruiser, and the multi-national backlash and manhunt that resulted.
Fenspace in Mundane TV and Film
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation produced the made-for-television documentary To Fen, Perchance to Dream early in Fenspace's history. It focused on Fen and Fenships with ties to Australia before the handwavium crackdowns in North America and Europe, such as the Galaxy Express 999.
CSI did a show featuring "Fenspace" during its final season (season 10, aired Feb 15, 2010). It was poorly received by the fenspace audience due to its condescending and less than flattering portrayal of their subculture. In this they are joined by... every single other subculture that has ever been featured on a CSI episode.
There was also at least one episode of House which dealt with a handwavium issue. Specifically it included the good Doctor proposing the use of illegal (on Earth) biomodding to treat a patient's terminal cancer (it was later revealed not to be cancer and no such procedure was performed). A major subtext of the episode was House considering the use of thionite, but he rejects it by the end of the episode. Many other episodes following this one included at least once one of his team suggesting the weekly mystery ailment may be related to handwavium, which it never turns out to be. This has led to a popular fan refrain "It's never handwavium!"
Several Hollywood productions, while not aimed at the fen market, have been filmed in Fenspace. Joss Whedon filmed several episodes of a short science-fiction drama called Doing Well, using various Fenspace locales as backdrops (including Stellvia, Kandor City and Utopia Planitia). The show featured extensive use of handwaved special effects and the first use of an AI actor in a mundane production. Production was halted during Operation Great Justice, and it is doubtful that Mr. Whedon will be able to secure financial backing from Earth to reinvigorate the show. While much of the filing was done in Fenspace, a good deal was also done in soundstages in LA.
Other science-fiction movies produced in space include a poorly-received reimagining of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, a film called Space Kittens that went straight to video, and the movies Mass Effect and Bioshock based on the popular video games of the same name and directed by Uwe Boll. More popular was James Cameron's Battle Angel adaption of Gunnm, which was filmed with the assistance of the Panzer Kunst Gruppe, where motion capture gear was fitted to a number of Kunstler, who also appeared in some live action scenes as background actors. The motorball scenes were notably filmed on location on Mars, using actual practitioners of the sport.
|The Politics of Filming in Space|
|While the enmity many mundane nations -- particularly the United States -- hold toward Fenspace and the Fen does not (in general) extend to a complete blockade and embargo, both unofficial policy and official regulations can discourage casual traffic with entities above the atmosphere. This can make filming "on location in space" difficult for indie productions -- as usual, money talks, and big-budget features always seem to have more latitude with the government than small-budget projects.
Human ingenuity being what it is, by 2009 several organizations had established "studio facilities" in Australia for the use of such projects. Although these "studios" do provide a few token sound stages, screening rooms, FX studios, equipment rental, and other necessities of modern film production in order to provide plausible deniablity (and indeed, such facilities are always state of the art), the truth is that they are actually private spaceports established mainly to provide transport into space for film crews. This has become an open secret among filmmakers, to the point that "filming in Australia" has become a euphemism for "filming in space".
Universal was rumored to be considering shooting the next Star Trek motion picture entirely in space. William Shatner was supposed to reprise his role as Kirk after receiving a handwave treatment that would restore his youthful vitality. These rumors are denied by everyone involved but that doesn't stop people from speculating.
The reality show Survivor: Mars was a critical success. All of the participants were from Earth with no Fen involved. A season of The Amazing Race featured three episodes that were set in Fenspace (one on Mars, one in Kandor City and one on Venus). Both Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy have had week-long specials that took place on Stellvia (the view of the Earth from the large viewport that served as backdrop to the sound stage was spectacular).
Fenspace (and handwavium) has been referenced a multitude of times on many popular shows, however they are often encountered as hazards to be overcome and one-step-short-of villains. Amazingly enough, one of the most positive representations of fen occurred, and still occurs, on the soap opera One Life To Live (airing weekdays on ABC). The popular character John McBain was transformed in 2011 into a catgirl when one of the other characters spiked his food with handwavium in an elaborate plot to break up his marriage. Jo McBain is one of the most popular characters on the serial, and her struggle to deal with the reality of her new condition and the prejudice associated with it is a major story arc. Despite this, many in Fenspace complain because the actress who potrays Jo McBain is an unmodded human in makeup.
Kemwer the Prop Master (2012-2014) was an attempt to cash in on the popularity of the Fen Convention in certain 'Daneside demographics. However, Kemwer ended up being to handwavum what Xena was to classical studies: confused and bearing only the most tenuous connection to its subject matter, but still entertaining if taken on its own merits. The titular "Prop Master" and his associates purchased props that were previously used on other television shows, handwaved them to have the abilities they were shown to have on those shows, and used them to fight crime. Most of these supposed "waved props" had abilities far in excess of what handwavium can actually produce.
Noah Scott has appeared on a few episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher, Larry King Live, and one episode of The Colbert Report. After the famous "Bear Incident" Colbert refuses to mention The Professor on his TV show. Conan O'Brien has featured some of the more photogenic and popular people of Fenspace on his show and was the first person to knowingly do a live on-air interview of an AI (well, at least a live made-on-Earth interview).
Fenspace appears often on mundane news services, less so in the United States than in other countries more sympathetic to fen politics. Fox News media commentator Bill O'Reilly has a particular hatred for fen and Fenspace, a fact he is more than willing to make clear whenever he is given an excuse.
- To be fair, the catgirl prosthetics are wavejobs commissioned from Vulpine Fury's Puppetworks and are amazingly realistic.
- Persistent rumor has it that Kemwer was originally envisioned as being a Blue Blazer, but that the Banzai Institute refused to allow the producers to use their trademarks.
- with the now-famous exchange at the end of the interview: "Thank you for being on the show, Mr. Scott" "Thank you for having me on, Mr. Colbert." "Oh, we would never be having you on, Mr. Scott."