Some years back a tv series, Space Rangers, premiered. I had great hopes for it, all of which were crushed. (I have great hopes for every sf tv series that comes along. Mostly they are crushed.)
All the other actors were eminently forgettable, though that may have been the fault of the writing, the conception, the execution, and the notes from the suits.
I hasten to add that I have absolutely 0 evidence for anything in this essay. It is all 100% conjecture. I’ve never talked to anybody who had anything to do with Space Rangers. The year I was in Los Angeles at the Chesterfield Writers Workshop at Amblin, I talked to some of Space Ranger producer Pen Densham’s “people” (I talked to a lot of people’s people that year; I very seldom talked to any actual “people,” in the Hollywood sense of the term) about writing for The Outer Limits, but though they had all sorts of amazingly wonderful things to say about my screenplays, they never called me back, I never worked for them, and I never met the actual person attached to all those people, Pen Densham.
The Outer Limits gave me the classic Hollywood “No.”
(I invented the term, “The Hollywood ‘No.’” The Hollywood “No” consists of hysterical enthusiasm followed by endless silence. Everyone I know who has worked in Hollywood, when hearing about the Hollywood “No,” has said, “OMG, that’s exactly right, that’s exactly what happens!” or words to that effect.)
So, like I say, this is all conjecture.
I’m completely convinced that the original proposal for Space Rangers had Linda Hunt as the spaceship captain: the action hero.
I’m completely convinced that the notes from the suits (network executives) demanded that the spaceship captain be a hunky guy, because hunky guys are the only people qualified to be spaceship captain action heroes, and no sci fi nut would ever accept a show with an action hero who wasn’t a hunky guy.
It would have been a much different, much neater, and quite wonderful series with Linda Hunt as the action hero. The series only lasted a few episodes (it really was pretty terrible), but I rewrote them all in my mind as I was watching them — with Linda Hunt in the starring role.
A few critics have accused me of writing The Moon and the Sun so the Billy Kwan character from The Year of Living Dangerously could get the Sigourney Weaver character. Billy Kwan (Linda Hunt) certainly deservered her more than the Mel Gibson character did.
I haven’t ever answered that question, but I wouldn’t argue too much against it.
Hunt now plays the Sekrit Master of the NCIS-LA team, and I have been known to watch that (fair to middling silly) show because she’s in it (just as I’ve been known to watch — also fair to middling silly — NCIS because David McCallum is in it). Lord knows the hunky action heroes do pretty much nothing for me. I have a long history of preferring second bananas to hunky heroes (Illya Kuryakin, Artemus Gordon, and, OK, I admit it, Mr. Spock, though Mr. Sulu was a close second).
But I would really like to see a series with Linda Hunt as the up-front hero, not the Sekrit Master. Sekrit Masters hardly ever have anything to do except be Sekrit Masters.
Hunt has almost no Internet presence that I can find with my awesome google-fu, and a short visit to a tv series mailroom when I was a pup convinced me that street mail was useless in telling anyone on television that I found them admirable. (In the Star Trek mailroom, I happened to glance into the box of mail they were going to dump because they didn’t have the staff or the time to answer it all. I picked out an envelope and handed it to the person in charge of mail. “You might want to answer this one.” It was from Willy Ley. If you have no idea who Willy Ley was, you were probably born after the original Star Trek went off the air…)
But I really would like to see Linda Hunt as an action hero.
Not that she’d have any reason to have any idea who I am.
Still — If you know her, please tell her so.
You can find The Starfarers Quartet at my Book View Cafe bookshelf, along with Dreamsnake, The Moon and the Sun, Superluminal, and a number of my short stories, including “The Adventure of the Field Theorems,” a Sherlock Holmes scientific romance.