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CNI News 19.6

 CNI News - Volume 19.6
 June 20, 1996
 Published by the ISCNI News Center
 Editor: Michael Lindemann
        X Files Creator's New Series Explores Millennial Chaos
        Alien Invasion Plot Blurs Line Between Fantasy & Reality
        After 45 Years, "Behind the Flying Saucers" Rings True
 ISCNI encourages you to respond to stories in CNI News.
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 Center Feedback"
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 The subject matter of CNI News is inherently controversial, and the views and
 opinions reported in the news are not necessarily those of ISCNI or its
 The next edition of CNI News will appear on Monday, June 23.
     X Files Creator's New Series Explores Millennial Chaos
 [This is an edited version of an article by Mark Schwed that appeared in TV
 Without a doubt, Millennium, which will air in The X-Files' old Friday slot
 on Fox, is the most anticipated new drama of the fall season. It may also be
 the most disturbing. As other producers busy themselves with copycatting The
 X-Files' dark themes, Chris Carter is focusing his sights on his new project.
 The idea is simple: As we approach the year 2000 -- the end of the millennium
 -- psychopaths around the world emerge to create chaos and horror. It is a
 story of good versus evil, redemption and damnation, heaven and hell. Ex-FBI
 agent Frank Black (played by Lance Henriksen of "Aliens") and a secret group
 of former law enforcement officers known as the Millennium Group have taken
 on the task of saving the world. As Black says, "The Millennium Group
 believes we can't sit back and hope for a happy ending."
 As in The X-Files, which is shooting new episodes just two blocks away,
 Carter has focused on fear, paranoia, and pure evil. "My feeling of life, and
 this is a rather grim outlook, is that everything gets worse," says Carter.
 Still, he insists the heart and soul of the show is more hopeful. "This isn't
 a serial-killer-of-the-week show. Actually, the things I am really interested
 in are hope, heroism, faith, spirituality, and selflessness. That is what I
 hope for. Discipline. Order. Goodness."
 Still, some scenes may shock viewers. "We are taking it to the absolute max,"
 says supervising producer John Kousakis. "And Fox is allowing us to do it."
 There are disturbing characters and scenes. There is a serial killer who
 quotes poetry by William Butler Yeats and recites doomsday predictions from
 Nostradamus and the Book of Revelations. A stripper grinds her hips as the
 wall behind her oozes blood and fire. People are buried alive.
 "One thing that The X-Files has proved is that dark is good," says Millennium
 director David Nutter. "You can go very dark and people will respond. But
 with this show, it's not chasing the paranormal. It's chasing the hell that
 is right outside our window. So it's even more scary. And I look at Frank
 Black as our candle in a dark wind that stays lit, you know?" After 10 years
 hunting homicidal psychopaths for the FBI, Black has retired to Seattle,
 where he lives with his wife, Catherine, a social psychologist played by
 Megan Gallagher, and their little girl, Jordan. He has found a
 picture-perfect yellow house in a picture-perfect neighborhood -- a safe
 haven for his family. But the world outside his door is falling to pieces. He
 has no choice but to step into the fray.
 "This is a simple morality tale," Carter says, "in that people who are the
 perpetrators of evil deeds are caught and punished for them. They are clearly
 bad people and we have good people chasing them. People who provide us with
 In Henriksen's view, the undercurrent of doom that accompanies the
 approaching millennium is real. Humankind is on the verge of catastrophe, he
 believes, and people have a choice to make. "So the millennium to me is the
 moment in history when people say, 'Wait a minute! What is it all about?' We
 are all suddenly going to wake up. We've got to come out of the trance or
 there isn't going to be anything left." To help convey this feeling, Carter
 has hired Gary Wissner, the art director for the gruesome Brad Pitt-Morgan
 Freeman movie "Seven," to serve as production designer. Even without
 lighting, the sets are a study in contrasts: Frank's world is luminous
 yellow, heavenly. "He is, after all, playing God," says Wissner. The walls of
 the strip club are purple flecked with blood red.
 "When you walk in there, you are in the heart of the devil," he says.
 Carter, who in the past has been a surfer, a potter, a carpenter, and a
 journalist, knows that the pressure is intense for his second project. But he
 says he can't resist a challenge. "I remember on The X-Files I said to David
 and Gillian that I wanted to make this five great years of television. And I
 want it always to get better. It is the same thing with this," he says. "It
 is essentially going to be a murder mystery show, which is what X-Files is,
 in the end. I am just trying to make it fresh, original, interesting, tight,
 and as unpredictable as possible."
     Alien Invasion Plot Blurs Line Between Fantasy & Reality
 [CNI News notes that the new fall series "Dark Skies" on NBC is yet another
 vision of Alien Invasion, following the lead of such shows as Babylon 5 and
 Space: Above and Beyond, not to mention the summer big-screen films "The
 Arrival" and "Independence Day." But Dark Skies goes further by introducing
 many historical figures into the plot, blurring the line between fiction and
 reality. As with the online saga currently unfolding at the EON-4 website,
 many viewers might begin to wonder if they're watching "entertainment" or
 news. The following article appeared in the July 96 issue of "Cinescape"
 magazine, written by Edward Gross.]
 Was Lee Harvey Oswald an alien dupe? Did Nelson Rockefeller cover up an E.T.
 invasion? NBC's fall series "Dark Skies" offers a take on real events that
 you won't find in your old high-school history books.
 Fox Mulder's better half isn't Dana Scully -- it's John Loengard, chief alien
 hunter on NBC's soon-to-be-launched Dark Skies, a challenging sci-fi series
 in which Loengard serves more or less as Mulder's predecessor. He's a
 government employee in the early '60s who battles to bring the truth about
 space aliens to the public.  And along the way he interacts, in a twist that
 makes the network rather nervous, with a variety of historical figures, from
 Robert Kennedy and Nelson Rockefeller to Jack Ruby.
 "Our concept," says co-creator and executive producer Bryce Zabel, "is that
 we're going to march through recent history and show you what really happened
 behind the scenes.  We start out in the '60s, and by our fourth season, when
 it's 1999, we will have caught up with [present] time: The alien presence may
 make an announcement on the eve of the millennium."
 The aliens in question are the Hive, parasitic creatures that attach
 themselves to the brains of humans and eventually take control of the nervous
 system.  Hive members communicate telepathically, and are working in unison
 to achieve world-wide "Singularity" (or, as Star Trek's Borg would say,
 assimilation).  En route to that goal, they play a role -- either directly or
 indirectly -- in some of the most significant events of recent years.  For
 instance, ever wonder what really caused the New York City blackout in 1965?
  Well, it turns out that a Hive saucer orchestrated it to stop the broadcast
 of filmed proof of alien infestation.  Apollo 17, it will be revealed, was
 actually a strike against a Hive moon base; SDI was secretly designed as an
 offensive weapons system against Hive spacecraft, resulting in the
 retaliatory destruction of the Challenger. The list continues.
 "This is a large canvas to paint on, and I for one love to find the
 relationships between unrelated things," says Zabel, who co-wrote the pilot
 episode with Brent Friedman.  "One of the things Brent and I did was create a
 timeline, and we literally plugged in all of the major events of the 1960s.
  Then we added UFO sightings; unexplained phenomena of the same period and we
 were able to see which things matched up.  The results would surprise you.
  Things you wouldn't normally group together begin to take on meaning.
  Listen, it's bound to be controversial, and I'm sure that we will have fans
 who will really like us but will also be hard on us. Each of them will
 probably have their own take on how the show should go, and that's great.
  I'll meet them on Internet and we can talk about it."
 The pilot for Dark Skies begins in 1961 as young lovers John Loengard (Eric
 Close) and Kimberly Sayers (Megan Ward) arrive in Washington, D.C., as
 low-level members of President Kennedy's "New Frontier."  They optimistically
 embrace the future, aspiring to some day become President and First Lady.
  Their dreams are short-lived, however, when Loengard becomes involved with a
 secret unit of the government called Majestic-12.  Supervised by Frank Bach
 (J.T. Walsh), MJ-12 has hard evidence that an alien craft crashed in Roswell,
 N.M., in 1947.  Fifteen years later, with Loengard tagging along, the group
 encounters an alien "ganglion" attached to the nervous system of an Idaho
 farmer, leading them to conclude that an alien race is systematically taking
 over the minds of human beings.  Loengard subsequently learns that President
 Kennedy has no knowledge of MJ-12 or the aliens, and that Bach has no plans
 to tell him.  Loengard, however, defies his master, and three days later,
 Kennedy is assassinated to keep the secret contained.
 "Loengard and Sayers are considered loose cannons by MJ-12 and pursued by the
 very organization that considered the death of the president an acceptable
 method of keeping a secret," says Zabel with a wicked smile.
 "I've been interested in this idea for a long time and have included aspects
 of it in some of my other work," says the producer, who wrote the Sci-Fi
 Channel film, "Official Denial." The genesis of the series can be traced to
 1993, when Zabel was struggling through a rewrite of the movie. He received a
 phone call from a man he didn't know who had read the original teleplay and
 had a problem with the ending.  Zabel says that though his initial impulse
 was to hang up, something in the man's voice convinced him to listen.
 "This guy claimed to have been a field operative for Majestic-12 in the early
 '60s," he offers.  "That kind of intrigued me, so I met with him and he
 became one of my sources for this.  His angle was that he thought the time to
 get the truth out had arrived.  Because the disinformation campaign had
 worked for a number of years, using fiction to get the truth out was the best
 way to not put people at risk."
 Zabel says he asked the man for proof of his identity and for evidence of his
 involvement with Majestic-12; none was forthcoming.  Still, what the man had
 to say -- regardless of whether he was a crank, a figment of Zabel's fevered
 imagination or the real deal -- proved valuable to the TV producer.
 "First, he said that the Roswell situation was true and that it happened
 pretty much as [UFO theorists believe it did], and that as a result
 Majestic-12 was formed," he says.  "He told me something else that I had not
 heard, which was that in December of 1960, following the election where
 Kennedy had defeated Nixon, President Eisenhower -- who had been briefed
 about Majestic-12 -- had signed an executive order that the directors of
 MJ-12 could brief future presidents at their discretion, because Ike didn't
 trust Nixon or Kennedy.  According to this guy, they didn't tell Kennedy,
 which is what we build the story around."
 That spin has intrigued just about everyone who has read Zabel's script for
 the premiere episode, including director Tobe Hooper. Best known for his
 big-screen horror efforts such as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre",
 "Poltergeist", and "Lifeforce," Hooper has carved out a new career for
 himself in recent years as a director for the small screen.
 "The pilot script just blew me away," admits Hooper. "This isn't a horror
 film.  It's about real people and an experience that -- who knows? -- could
 be true."
 It was the intelligence of the script and the show's premise, says actor Eric
 Close, that attracted him to the project.  "What I like about this show is
 the endless possibilities it raises.  This script takes a unique look at
 history.  In fact, my favorite scene in the whole pilot was when Bobby
 Kennedy and I were walking along the Potomac River and we're talking about
 the material I sent to his brother.  It was incredible to shoot that because
 I really felt as though I had stepped back in time. Plus this actor, James
 Kelley, had the accent and sort of looked like a Kennedy.  I'm sitting there
 thinking, 'Man, I really am with Bobby Kennedy.' It was a real highlight of
 the show."
 Like other shows with dark conspiracy themes, the government is made up of
 both white hats and black hats -- but the black hats distinctly have the
 advantage.  Frank Bach, however, is something that's a little more unusual in
 TV-Land: a gray hat.
 "What's particularly interesting about the Bach character is that he's
 morally ambiguous," says Zabel.  "John Loengard believes that people have a
 right to know, while Frank Bach believes that people can't handle the truth.
  These are both good points of view.  Either one could be right.  What makes
 it so interesting is that it is a good fight.  Bach's feeling is, 'I'm a
 soldier in a war and people die in wars. I have been charged by my country
 with the solemn duty to protect it from this unthinkable menace and, by God,
 I'm going to do it with all the resources I have available to me. If you
 don't want a warrior to fight your wars, you're in serious trouble.' I think
 the relationship between Bach and Loengard is a twisted father-and-son
 relationship, I think [it's] going to make the J.R. Ewing of the '90s."  Adds
 Hooper, "There's a moment in the pilot when Bach finally loses his cool and
 it's almost like Olivier when he has a confrontation with Spartacus.  When
 you see a powerful man finally losing it, it really humanizes him.  The
 character has an interesting dichotomy to him."
 The dichotomy Bryce Zabel is currently struggling with is the chasm between
 his and co-creator Brent Friedman's vision and that of NBC.  Though open to
 the collaborative process, he is fearful of allowing too many alterations to
 "conventionalize" the series.  The "X-Files," he notes, took a full season to
 become a hit, and part of the reason the show struck a chord with the public
 is that it was unlike any other series on the air."
 "In a sense, we're struggling for the soul of the series," he says.  "What's
 really important to Brent and I is that we want to create an internally
 consistent world so that the fans don't feel toyed with.  We don't want
 people to think we're just making it up as we go along, because we're not.
  We have a grand plan, and we think it's a pretty fun ride and we want to
 take people on it."
 With NBC heavily promoting the series, everyone involved believes that "Dark
 Skies" will quickly gain an audience when it begins its run in August, and
 Zabel is convinced that by working within reality-based conspiracy theories
 the show will keep viewers tuned in.
 "The Kennedy assassination was a cover-up, as was Roswell, as was Watergate,"
 Zabel opines.  "There are many situations where we're told one thing and
 another thing is going on.  Almost anything is plausible.  The interesting
 thing is you may not be able to prove that UFOs are true, based on available
 evidence, but you can almost prove that a cover-up is in existence. If you
 can prove a cover-up, then maybe the truth is stranger than you might expect;
 maybe something worthy of disinformation is out there. So if you believe in
 your heart of hearts that a spacecraft crashed in Roswell, N.M., in 1947, and
 the evidence is relatively strong that something happened, then all kinds of
 things are possible."
     After 45 Years, "Behind the Flying Saucers" Rings True
 [CNI News thanks James Sutton for forwarding this item, which was posted to
 the internet by UFOSearch of Columbia, Missouri.]
 Frank Scully was a very interesting newspaper man, a member of an older
 school of journalism, reviled now, who came up the hard way during the
 Depression.  Scully's abilities at last allowed him access to the upper
 reaches of U.S. society and gave him a true insider's viewpoint, one that
 "normal" reporters never acquired.
 The following paragraphs are from the Preface of Scully's book "Behind The
 Flying Saucers," published 45 years ago.  As you can see, they seem right up
 to the minute.  This is because the world we are living in today was created
 in the immediate Post World War II years -- and a lot of people did not like
 it.  Scully was one of these people.
 From The Preface Of  "Behind The Flying Saucers:"
 "Between the people and government today lies a double standard of morality.
  Anything remotely scientific has become by government definition a matter of
 military security first; hence of secrecy, something which does not breed
 security but fear.  If we see anything unusual, even in the skies, we the
 people must either freeze our lips, like a Russian peasant at the sight of a
 commissar, or give our names, addresses, business connections, and testimony
 to be screened and filtered by anonymous intelligence officers.
 "Feared and respected by many people, these anonymous creatures can deny what
 we say, ridicule what we say, and sometimes (and in an increasing number of
 countries) jail us for what we say -- especially if our timing does not match
 to the second their intended official pronouncements on the subject.
 "The only way for a free people to fight such encroachments on free inquiry
 is to say in advance, "What I am telling you will be denied," or "This is
 true but those who say so now will be branded as dreamers, and if they
 persist, as liars.
 "This may seem a dreadful way to treat our own flesh and blood, our
 commissioned sons who have been trained for combat but are assigned in
 peacetime to espionage and counterespionage.  But since our sons in uniform
 do not report to us, the people, but to Central Intelligence (which as far as
 we can make out reports to nobody and is answerable to nobody), how otherwise
 can we get our current findings to our friends?
 "Scientists believe they have suffered more than any other group from the
 postwar loyalty hysteria but writers cannot be far behind them.  The "thread
 of intolerance" which runs through our history has now become as thick as a
 noose to hang us.
 "Propaganda has made true-and-false practically obsolete in our language.  If
 a spokesman has served time in intelligence, it may be fairly said, the truth
 is no longer in him.
 "Scientists do not want to go to war with the Army over the issue.  They have
 to get essential materials for research, and certain branches of the
 Department of Defense might find it difficult to find such essential
 materials for scientists who will not cooperate.
 "Is it any wonder then that I advise my readers to treat any official
 statement as no more than old newspapers blowing in the wind.  In fact, if
 such faceless men should say that the objects are (a) newspapers or (b) not
 newspapers but fragments of flying saucers, they are not to be believed
 either way.  Not until we, the people, we who have names, addresses and the
 courage of our convictions, not until we say there are such things as flying
 saucers, is it authentic."
 [The following item appeared in the current issue (July 96) of Mademoiselle,
 as a sidebar to a brief article on abduction titled "Blind Dates from Outer
 Space," written by Mededith Berkman. CNI News finds this treatment of the
 abduction subject neither helpful nor amusing -- in fact, we consider it to
 be ignorant, insensitive and outrageous. Any of our readers who feel the same
 might consider writing to Mademoiselle and setting them straight.]
 "How to Survive a Close Encounter"
 1.  Remain Calm. Dr. Jacobs believes that abductors don't respond well to
 melodrama. "Once the event begins, you have no control. You cannot run or get
 loose." Conserve your energy for your recuperation -- not to mention your
 book tour.
 2.  Wear Something He'll Like. "Remember who you're dressing for," advises
 Spit Brody, one of the stars of last season's ABC comedy "Aliens in the
 Family."  "Aliens don't like clothes with good taste, they like clothes that
 taste good. Chanel belt buckles are especially flavorful -- and they show the
 alien that you care." And a caring gesture makes for a caring alien.
 3.  Don't Pressure Him. "Many girls want their alien abduction to be
 magical," says Brody. "To avoid the inevitable letdown, remember: Your first
 abduction is bound to be awkward, even embarrassing, and guess what? The
 alien is probably just as nervous as you!"
 4.  Build Him Up. Most Abductees show a real want of imagination, writes
 skeptic and scientist Carl Saga: "The form of the supposed aliens is marked
 by a ... preoccupation with human concerns. Not a single being in these
 accounts is as astonishing as a cockatoo would be if you had never before
 beheld a bird."
 5.  Act Natural. Be yourself. "Remember, the alien abducted you," says Brody.
 "He could've just as well sucked up an otter or a slug. Don't put on airs,
 don't try to impress, and don't pretend you have more chromosomes than you
 do. Rule of thumb? Phonies don't get a second abduction.
 6. Be Flattered. Why? Because they bothered to come back, even though such an
 advanced race probably could've done the job in one trip. "Why not steal a
 few eggs and sperm cells," wonders Sagan, and then simply manipulate them in
 the lab? In other words, these gray guys are going to a lot of trouble for a
 second date.
 [The following tidbit appeared in Variety, written by Ray Richmond.]
 HOLLYWOOD - Forget CNN, C-SPAN and CNBC. What President Clinton really wants
 is the Sci-Fi Channel.
 That became clear Friday [June 14], when a White House official contacted
 Dick Ross, a VP with USA Networks Inc., parent company of cable's Sci-Fi
 Channel. The official wanted to know how the president could receive the
 cable network at the White House, as well as his retreat at Camp David in
 Frederick, Md.
 Ross told the unnamed official that it just so happened that District
 Cablevision of Washington is set to add Sci-Fi Channel to its basic package
 June 24.
 Camp David, however, was another matter. The area surrounding the
 presidential spread has yet to be wired for cable.
 Ross got the OK to descramble the channel's signal to Camp David so it can be
 received by the property's satellite dish as of Monday. "We're really pretty
 flattered," Sci-Fi spokeswoman Karen Reynolds said.
 #     #     #

Next: CNI News 19.7