Review: ‘Science Fiction: A Journey Into the Unknown’

Produced by the Museum of Television & Radio in association with SGP. Executive producers, Robert M. Batscha, Scott Goldstein. Producers, Mary Wallace , Phyllis Strong. Coordinating producer, Nancy McIsaac. Supervising producer/segment director, Judy Korin. Associate producer, Lawrence Williams. Director, Goldstein; writers, Goldstein, Wallace; Hosts: Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Dean Cain, Carrie Fisher.

Produced by the Museum of Television & Radio in association with SGP. Executive producers, Robert M. Batscha, Scott Goldstein. Producers, Mary Wallace , Phyllis Strong. Coordinating producer, Nancy McIsaac. Supervising producer/segment director, Judy Korin. Associate producer, Lawrence Williams. Director, Goldstein; writers, Goldstein, Wallace; Hosts: Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Dean Cain, Carrie Fisher.

The fourth Museum of Television & Radio special proves livelier than its predecessors, with the subject — a cheeky, fast-paced look at science fiction — seemingly well-suited to the Fox Broadcasting audience. Though a bit bloated at two hours, as clip shows go, this isn’t a bad journey.

Hosted by four personalities with ties to the genre — Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Dean Cain and Carrie Fisher — show focuses on various topics rather than taking a chronological trip through sci-fi history.

Producer/director/co-writer Scott Goldstein tries to keep the ship moving at near hyper-speed with lots of quick edits and short clips, while providing longer tributes to certain deserving series, among them “Star Trek,””The Twilight Zone” and “The Prisoner.”

As with any clip show, there are inherent problems in all of this. If you’re familiar with the series, after all, the snippets amount to preaching to the choir (particularly for “Trek” zealots), and it’s difficult to really do “The Twilight Zone” justice in a five-minute package.

Also, the format probably would have been better suited to 90 minutes, even with the wealth of material available.

Still, the writing is generally sharp, the hosts appropriately playful on the nicely appointed set, and the general theme — the ability of sci-fi to entertain and enlighten — is treated with a certain reverence without feeling empty-handed.

In another plus, the special dispenses with the usual built-in commercial for the Museum of Television & Radio, which, having made its own journey across all four networks, would be wise to emulate this format in any future voyages.

Science Fiction: A Journey Into the Unknown

Production

Fox, Tues. Dec. 13, 8 p.m.

Crew

Camera, Larry Heider, Jerry Feldman; supervising editor, Craig A. Colton; editor, James Wilcox; production design, Peter Clemens; lighting design, Bill Klages; music, Greg Edmunson; sound , Troy Smith. 120 MIN.
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