Comics2Film

Wed, November 6th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Rob Worley, Columnist

JEREMIAH

[Malcom-Jamal Warner]Malcolm-Jamal Warner is not Theo Huxtable. Though the accomplished actor has come a long way from his break-out role on The Cosby Show, many who grew up with his likeable antics may find it hard to erase that image from their mind. But Warner takes it in stride - typecasting is "always a challenge, but it's a problem many actors would love to have, so it's hard to get mad," Warner said when he spoke to Comics2Film recently. He just doesn't want preconceived notions to get in the way of some good TV, notably Jeremiah - the sci-fi Showtime series adapted from an obscure German comic book.

In the tradition of Outer Limits and Stargate SG-1, Showtime has scored yet another programming victory with it's latest sci-fi series Jeremiah, and Warner thinks he knows why. "It's a 'back to the basics' show - society has fallen, money is of no value, there's only a barter system," Warner said, "there is little to no technology, and people are scrounging around to survive. I find that intrigues people."

Indeed it does, as reported first by C2F in September, Showtime has renewed the series for a second season, with production currently underway. However, Warner is the first to admit that the above description doesn't even scratch the surface. "Usually when I tell people about the show, I have to go on for a few minutes about the back story," Malcolm said. Yet it is the back story that separates the show from any Robinson Caruso or Survivor knock-offs.

Jeremiah is set in a post-apocalyptic future, which is certainly nothing new - but how they got there is a different story. It all starts in 2006, when a mysterious plague called the Big Death sweeps across the country, killing every human who has reached the age of puberty - leaving the children to inherit the Earth! What starts out as an adolescent fantasy - kids running the show, free of parent's "oppression," "free" shopping sprees, etc - eventually falls way as the leftover supplies begin to run out. And that is where the concept really begins to take off.

The show takes place in 2021 - about 15 years after the Big Death, and mankind is facing a turning point. After years of exploiting what was left of society, people are running out of food, clothes, and medicine. Though the kids have aged into adulthood, most haven't "grown up" - and it becomes clear that a new society must be built, lest humankind fade out in anarchy and chaos, which is the current situation. Enter Jeremiah.

The backbone of the show is Jeremiah's unshakable moral center. The Big Death left a young Jeremiah responsible for his younger brother. Initially, he resents the parental responsibility thrust upon him, but when his brother is slain by a thief, Jeremiah is wracked with guilt. Instead of embittering Jeremiah, he deals with his guilt by strengthening his resolve to help people. This provides the core conflict of the show, when Jeremiah is paired up with the wary Kurdy.

"Jeremiah's all about helping, but Kurdy has a more worldly view," Warner says of the pair's differences. "Kurdy doesn't like to get involved in peoples problems, because he's had experiences where he did in the past and got screwed."

[Malcom-Jamal Warner]Yet, Jeremiah provides a catalyst to bring that aspect of Kurdy's character to the fore once again. "There's a trade off there, and they kind of reach common ground." Yet, the underlying tensions continued throughout the first season. "The tension builds during the season," culminating in a decision Jeremiah makes which drives the two apart, Warner continued. The season ends on a troubling note, in which the two lead characters "end up going their separate ways."

Clearly the show isn't afraid of darker themes that most network television stays away from. Warner credits the challenging storylines to series creator J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5). Straczynski is well-known in comic circles, having created multiple acclaimed comic series like Rising Stars and Midnight Nation, as well as currently writing a much lauded run on Spider-Man. "He's awesome. He's one of the only cats I know [in Hollywood] that shoots straight from the hip," Warner says in praise of the producer.

Surprisingly, Warner knew little about Straczynski before he joined the series. "I wasn't aware of the magnitude of Joe's reputation until I was talking to a friend, and I finally mentioned Joe's name. He said 'you didn't tell me JMS created your show! That guy's a god!'" Know that Warner is familiar with Straczynski, he's quite thankful the producer is running the show. Joe "digs the collaboration process; he invites that team effort."

Another interesting aspect of the show is that it brings Warner together with another TV veteran that is strongly identified with a previous role - Luke Perry, formerly of Beverly Hills 90210. Since 90210, Perry has shown depth with an acclaimed role on the gritty HBO series Oz, and also provided the voice of Rick Jones during UPN's Incredible Hulk cartoon (1996). "We have a really good time together," Warner says of his work with Perry. "We've both been in TV a long time, and had been sick of the B.S. you deal with in network TV. When we started the show, we both agreed 'let's make it about the work,' to throw out egos and do whatever's best for the show."

Perry also serves as a producer on the show, but Warner says you'll never sense any ego from him. "We each have a voice in the development of our characters, and JMS is a big factor in establishing that creative environment, but Luke is great in that way also."

Though most fans will remember Warner from his days as a Cosby kid, fans might require a double take to recognize him now. Aside from being older, Warner now sports a striking set of shoulder length dreadlocks. Was that a hindrance? "Well, if I was playing a beat cop in Iowa, it wouldn't work. But it's never been a problem yet. When I was reading for the part of Kurdy, the casting director asked if the locks came out. I said, 'no, I've been growing them for four years!' Then JMS said 'I love them - I wouldn't make you cut them.' So it worked out. I think they fit what I brought to the character."

[Malcom-Jamal Warner]Warner added that his dreadlocks are a symbol of his spiritual commitment, and would not sacrifice them for a part. Though, Warner also noted his look is quite a contrast with the show's source material. "In the original Jeremiah graphic novel, Kurdy is a white guy with curly blonde hair!" Warner said with a chuckle.

As Warner gets ready to return to production, he is genuinely excited about the coming season. "Now that we've got the story down [and have established this 'world'], we can start to push the envelope," Warner said. "The season ending cliffhanger is indicative of episodes that we'll see in season two. It'll be a rougher, edgier show," Warner said. "We'll definitely be seeing Kurdy in more of a leadership role."

For any comic book fans wondering if acting in a C2F adaptation made Warner a fanboy, he explained, "Well, I never read comics really. But a few years ago, I did an off-Broadway play, in which I played a character who was a Wolverine fanatic. So, for research, I read tons of my friends' X-Men collection, and I loved them. I haven't gotten around to seeing the X-Men film yet, but want to really bad, because I loved the comics."

Look for season two of Jeremiah on Showtime next Spring.

DEVASTATOR

Earlier this month Circle of Confusion, the New York based management/production company announced the opening of an LA office with a 2 year, first look production deal at Sony Pictures. Lawrence Mattis, the founder of Circle of Confusion, brought in three new partners, David Alpert, David Engel, and Jason Lust, to head the West Coast operation.

Lawrence Mattis said, "We couldn't be happier to have our deal at Sony Pictures. The success of movies like Spider-Man and MIB2 opens the door to creating more exciting event movies from the screenwriters, directors, and comic book/video game creators that Circle represents. I know that Circle and Sony are destined for great things."

Regular Comics2Film readers will recognize David Engel as the former director of development at Mace Neufeld where he helped set up Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's Powers at Sony. He's also working to shepherd other Bendis and Oeming titles to the big screen, as well as working with creators like Dan Brereton (see our recent Undeadly write-up) and James Hudnall.

C2F recently spoke with Engel who told us things are moving again with Hudnall's Devastator comic. Although it had previously been seen as a TV project, Engel tells us that it is now being developed as a feature film.

Ralph Hemecker, who made a big splash as the showrunner on the Witchblade TV series, is on board to write and direct the feature. Fans who recognized that the Witchblade show far more stylish than its low budget should have allowed, will likely to be eager to see what Hemecker can accomplish on a feature project. "It's gonna be really, really hot," Engel promises.

Of the other west coast partners at Circle, Alpert previously ran the websites 4filmmakers.com and Castmaker.com and was an independent manager. Lust was most recently a production executive at Hand Print Entertainment where he worked with such talent as Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman and was responsible for the Kidman vehicle 16 Pleasures.

COUSCOUS EXPRESS

Word around Hollywood is that one of the hottest scripts in circulation right now is a comic book adaptation. However, it's not some superhero story riding the web-slinger wave. Instead, it's based on Brian Wood's Couscous Express.

Sources tell Comics2Film that the screenplay, by newcomer Jason Shepley, is generating massive interest from various studios and producers. Word is that CCX (as it's been dubbed by insiders) is a great script with a hip feel that has everyone excited.

The book was published by AiT-PlanetLar in October of last year. The publisher's website provides this description of the story:

"Scooter enthusiast and spoiled brat, Olive Yassin, delivers food for her parents' award-winning Middle Eastern restaurant, Couscous Express. She hates it. It's boring. She would much rather be hanging out with her courier-mercenary boyfriend, Moustafa.

"But when the local branch of the stylish and dangerous Turkish Scooter Mafia make a move against the restaurant, she knows she has to do something, anything, to protect her family."

Our sources tell us to expect a deal on CCX very soon.

WHITEOUT

[Whiteout]Variety reports that, after being frozen for years, the comic adaptation Whiteout has new heat on it. Universal Pictures has picked up the big screen rights to Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber's comic as a starring vehicle for Reese Witherspoon (Sweet Home Alabama).

The south pole murder mystery had originally been optioned back in 1999 for development by Columbia. That studio recently placed the project into turnaround.

Producer Wolfgang Petersen and partner Gail Katz (both of Radiant Productions) carry over from the previous deal. Witherspoon's Type A Films shingle is also producing. Radiant exec Susan Stein will co-produce.

Although the project was initially developed and pitched by screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber, it appears Universal will be seeking a new writer for the pic.

FANTASTIC FOUR

Screenwriter Doug Petrie recently spilled several beans on the Fantastic Four movie to MTV's Movie House correspondent Ryan J. Downey. Petrie's comments are surprisingly revealing and a SPOILER WARNING should be considered to be in effect for the remainder of this article.

In the recent interview, Petrie said that he envisions the movie to be more like The Beatles than The Right Stuff.

"[The other scripts] were very big on 'these are astronauts that go to space' for the first, like, half-hour," Petrie told Movie House. "It was something like Armageddon. I just kept saying it's got to be like A Hard Day's Night."

The opening scene would have the already formed team performing acts of heroism in front of a mob of fans, rather than belaboring the origin story. However, Petrie is intent on keeping the flavor of the comics. "I wanted the poster for the movie to be the cover for the first issue, where basically you do a live-action version of a giant monster ripping through Fifth Avenue and Fantastic Four kicking its ass. For budget reasons, it went to something else, but it's still a giant opening scene," Petrie said.

The movie will present the Fantastic Four as celebrities: the world's coolest superheroes. As previously reported, the film will also call for comedic interaction between the squabbling family of heroes.

The writer also talked at great length about Doctor Doom, the team's nemesis. Plans are for the movie version of the character to be more closely tied to the origins of the FF themselves. "We played him as the Pete Best of the Fantastic Four. He gets screwed out of the superpowers, so he made himself who he is."

Doom is one of the original astronauts who comes back from that fateful test flight with more curse than blessing. He gets disfigured during the rocket crash and now hides behind his mask. However, unlike the comic character, the movie Doom will take the mask off.

"I wanted the big reveal to be [that] the mask is a high-tech thing that can separate and retract off his face when he wants it to," Petrie told MTV. "You see that he's unbelievably handsome. ... But it doesn't end there. When he's handsome, he's lying. When his real character comes out, his face starts to sag and melt and scarify in this horrible way."

Petrie told MTV, "There's a tremendous amount of pressure to get this movie made and to get it right and to cash in on the mania that obviously exists out there and the need for superhero stories."

Check out the complete interview for more insights from Petrie. Fantastic Four is said to be slated for a 2004 release.

PUNISHER, THE

Internet rumors regarding The Punisher are cropping up here and there. Comics2Film has been cross checking them with sources close to the production. Here's what we found out.

This week's talk that Artisan is looking to push screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh out of the director's chair is completely false. Our Punisher source tells us that Hensleigh is hard at work on the movie both as writer and director (not surprising considering he's married to the Gale Anne Hurd, the producer that kicked the project into high gear).

Several weeks back there were whispers that musician/actor Henry Rollins was being eyed for the lead role. Our same source says, nope. "Rollins' name has never come up."

QUICKEN FORBIDDEN

Hollywood Comics chief Jean-Marc Lofficier recently informed Comics2Film that they've recently signed a deal for Dave Roman and John Green's Quicken Forbidden. The deal is with New York based Pipedream Productions for a live action film.

The independently published Quicken Forbidden tells the story of Jax Epoch, an Alice in Wonderland-like character who ventures through a portal into a mystical realm where she steals some magical armor and a book older than time. When she returns to modern-day Manhattan, she doesn't come back alone. Jax confronts her evil twin, rides a dragon through the streets of Manhattan, befriends a robot, and is put on trial for awakening a force of destruction known only as -- the Quicken.

Fans may recall that Roman and Green attempted a short movie version of Quicken Forbidden in the late 90s. That venture is, of course, completely unrelated to the new project.

Visit Hollywood Comics for more information about Roman and Green's work.

DAREDEVIL

[Daredevil Web Site]Fox launched version two of the DaredevilMovie.com website last Friday night.

The studio announced the new site by e-mailing a greeting from director Mark Steven Johnson to registered fans. Johnson writes, "Daredevil has been a passion of mine since I was ten years old, and I'm honored to be the one bringing the story to the screen. Whether you're a hard core Hornhead or just surfing by, I want to invite you to enter the world of the blind vigilante known as Daredevil. Check 'em out and see why they call him The Man Without Fear!"

The new site features a Flash interface focusing on the four primary characters in the movies. Be sure to check the "Production" links at the bottom of the screen for some behind-the scenes concept art including an early, metallic Daredevil suit.

A lot of what you'll find on the revised site is pre-existing content but promising "coming soon" areas include looks at the weapons used by characters as well as "clips" and video exclusives.

The latest word is that the new trailer for the movie is slated to make its online debut on the revamped site tonight!

CRISIS

Multimedia and comic artist Matt Busch tells us he'll be previewing an animated trailer for his spec script Crisis this month.

Busch is hosting a gathering called "Fantastic Visions 2 (FV2): The Art of Matt Busch" at the Emerald Theater in Mt. Clemens, Michigan on November 14th. The new animated trailer will be seen there for the first time.

Crisis is an action thriller that tells the story of a heroic Detroit cop, but with several intriguing plot twists.

"Bruce Lombardo is your basic rough and tough Die Hard-type cop," Busch explains. "He loses his legs early on in the story. Bound to a wheel chair, the action is that much more intense."

Busch intertwines the story of the real life Zodiac Killer, deftly mixing fact and fiction to bring Crisis to a thrilling conclusion. The writer/artist broke with Hollywood conventions by publishing Crisis: an Illustrated Screenplay, contrasting with the typical, confining format for movie specs. The paperback publications went on sale earlier this year.

In addition to the Crisis trailer, "FV2" will be a multimedia art exhibit that includes live performances by The Orbitsuns, Molly, The Brothers Groove, Teddy Richards and DJ Wireless (spinning in the Rock Room). Tickets are available for $5 at Ticketmaster and $7 at the door for this 18 and over event.

If you can't turn out for the trailer, Busch tells us that it'll be available online in December.

CAPTAIN RIBMAN

[Captain Ribman]Last July Comics2Film broke the exclusive news that comedic great Fred Willard had been cast in the role of the world's most inappropriate superhero: Captain RibMan.

Now curious netizens can tune their web browsers to SuperComics.com to see the animated fruits of Willard's labors. Rich Davis, co-author of the Captain RibMan comics strips reports that two animated shorts featuring the clueless crusader were unveiled last week on that site.

First up is "The Happy Lollipop" in which the bad Captain gleefully demonstrates why he's the world's worst role model. As luck would have it, the web-toon features subject matter completely in keeping with the RibMan's reputation for ill-timed shenanigans.

[Captain Ribman]"We held this back several weeks due to the D.C. sniper situation. We think our message that we are safe only when competent law enforcement officers are in charge is especially timely," Davis told C2F. "As you know, Captain RibMan is a super-inappropriate role model. We hope he has lived down to that standard and our fans' expectations."

"The Happy Lollipop" stars Willard as RibMan and Richard Horvitz as his young companion Billy Boyd. Horvitz is well-known to fans as the voice of Invader Zim, who was recently awarded the title of "coolest Alien" by TV Guide. However, Davis admits, "Fred is our choice as the coolest funny non-alien."

The second short features Captain RibMan pitching one of his sure-to-fail products to playmate Shae Marks. The short is called "Bowel Ointment" and stars Willard as the Captain and Marks as herself.

Check out SuperComics.com for the all new animated shorts!

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES - ANIMATED SHOW

[Splinter]Can't wait for the Turtle Power to return to Fox? Then visit NinjaTurtles.com, the official website of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The site was updated last Friday with design illustrations from the upcoming animated show, soon to join the Fox Box lineup.

Check out the design sketches for the four main Turtles supreme, as well as Master Splinter, April O'Neil and Casey Jones.

Then look for the show to premiere on Fox Box, next February.

Special thanks to Sarah for the lead!

X-MEN 2

Have you been missing out on recent TV coverage of X-Men 2? Then you may want to tune your browsers to the Hugh Da Man v 2.0 website. The site, devoted to Hugh Jackman (X2's Wolverine) has posted video clips from various TV programs.

Check out the Entertainment Tonight clip for some playful banter with Jackman and co-star Kelly Hu, as well as several behind-the-scenes shots from the set.

Also available is a segment of E! News featuring Hu, director Bryan Singer and, you guessed it, Jackman. This one features mostly the same movie clips but also has Jackman talking about his nude scenes in the upcoming movie as well as the romance between his character and Jean Grey (played by Famke Janssen). Although the actor would not comment on whether or not the characters kiss, he did say that the tension between them comes to a "hefty resolution."

Be sure to have Windows Media Player installed, then visit Hugh Da Man v 2.0.

Thanks to Wolverine for the lead!

In X-Men 1 news: DVD File has published the final specs for the X-Men 1.5 Collectors' Edition DVD. Here's an excerpt from that site:

"Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 tracks, disc one features an audio commentary with director Bryan Singer and an 'Enhanced Viewing Mode' with 23 segments: 6 deleted scenes and 17 behind-the scenes vignettes.

"Disc two features a new intro from Singer, four featurettes ('The Uncanny Suspects,' 'X-Factor: The Look of the X-Men Costume,' 'Special Effects of the X-Men' and 'Reflection of the X-Men'), Storyboard-to-animatic-to-film comparison, exclusive premiere footage from Ellis Island and around the world, multi-angle scene studies, still gallery, 3 theatrical trailers, 14 TV spots, 12 web interstitials, and an X-Men 2 sneak preview with exclusive set footage and the teaser."

MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN

Hollywood interests have acquired another Lee Falk classic character for big screen development according to last week's Hollywood Reporter. Once again Ashok Armitraj's Hyde Park Entertainment and Howard Baldwin's Crusader Entertainment have picked up the rights to Mandrake The Magician from Hearst Corp.'s King Features Syndicate.

Josh Oppenheimer and Tom Donnelly (A Sound of Thunder) have been handed the writing chores for the story of Falk's adventuring stage magician. Details of the story line are said to be "tightly guarded" but Armitraj told The Reporter that the film will follow the magician from the United States to Europe to South America in a "big-canvas adventure story."

Hyde Park and Crusader made a similar announcement two weeks ago, when they revealed that they had picked up the feature rights to Falk's The Phantom. Steven De Souza (Die Hard) is writing that one.

BIRDS OF PREY

Birds of Prey fans are concerned The WB hasn't yet picked up the show for the full season. The only show left that has yet to receive a full season order, Birds of Prey has also suffered a significant drop in ratings since it's premiere. Birds of Prey Online, (formerly The Clocktower), has launched a fan driven campaign to save the show.

The comic-based show debuted with record ratings for a new series this year. However, the Nielsen numbers have declined each subsequent week, with last week's ratings coming in at half of the debut numbers.

Birds of Prey has not yet been picked up for a full season and the declining Nielsens have led industry analysts like MediaWeek.com to call the show "increasingly vulnerable." Insiders are cautioning fans to act now, before the axe falls. Petitions and letter writing campaigns have little impact on network decisions. Ratings do.

To that end, Birds of Prey Online is launching their official campaign, 'Start a Revolution - Save the Birds of Prey'. It's designed to provide concrete actions fans can take now to help the show avoid cancellation. This includes plans for spreading the word and increasing viewer awareness of the show, so that there'll be eyeballs on the screen when the Nielsen tallies the numbers over the next few weeks. Visiting the campaign's home page for complete details.

With exciting guests like Black Canary and Lady Shiva on the horizon, Birds of Prey may yet soar to new heights.

2000 AD

According to The Hollywood Reporter, 2000AD Films, plc has found a group of British investors to help shepherd the classic UK sci-fi characters to the big screen. Last month, video game and film studio Rebellion established a public offering of a stake in 2000AD Films under a UK based Enterprise Investment Scheme.

The Reporter indicates that the investment group ponied up an undisclosed sum for the rights to characters like Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and more. Jason and Christopher Kingsley, Rebellion co-founders, continue to manage the properties. Andrew Curtis, the founding partner of media law firm Drew & Co. Solicitors, is also named as a partner. Film financier and production executive Daniel Figuero (The Scarlet Tunic) is also on board.

Work is already underway on back-to-back features for the 2000AD flagship character Judge Dredd.

SPIDER-MAN

He did it all summer and it probably won't surprise fans that Spider-Man has done it again. The web-slinger broke yet another new record according to Monday's Variety, this time in the DVD sales arena.

The weekend launch of Sony's smash superhero pic took in $125 million in sales and rentals. It sold 7 million units on its first day, surpassing the September record set by Monsters, Inc. That disc took a week to hit 11 million units, a figure Spider-Man was estimated to hit by the end of the weekend.

Another interesting record for the release is the fact that an estimated 75%-80% of the sales were for DVD (rather than VHS), a new high for the digital format. Yet another record is found in the fact that 40% of the Spidey discs shipped to stores were pre-sold.

The current king of home video sales is Disney's The Lion King. That animated feature shipped more units during its launch in 1995. It moved 20 million copies in its first week and 31 million to date. Spider-Man will likely exceed those numbers, but it should be noted that the Simba flick has only been released on VHS, with a DVD roll out slated next year.

Like the summer box office race, the web-slinger's home-vid foray will get interesting in a few weeks when Star Wars: Episode II: The Attack of the Clones hits the home video market.

Stong box office and home video sales have proven to be good financial news for both Sony and Marvel. Variety also reports that Spider-Man is sharing the love with many promotional partners.

Activision, makers of the Spider-Man movie video game posted another record quarter, riding high on $80 million in sales of the superhero game. With a recent price cut on the title, Activision anticipates continued strong sales on the title.

Video game gadget-maker Naki is swinging on the web-line as well. It's "Spider-Man start pack" accessories for X-Box, Game Cube, Game Boy Advance and PS2 feature Spider-Man branded cases and controllers.

IN THE BLEACHERS

[In The Bleachers]Walt Disney Television Animation Special Projects and cable sports outlet ESPN have announced that the popular syndicated comic strip In The Bleachers will make the transition to animation this month. 15-second animated shorts will run within select ESPN Original Entertainment programming. The shorts, based on the sports strip created by Steve Moore, will debut within "Around the Horn" which premieres November 4 at 5 PM/ET (2 PM/PT) on ESPN. They mark the network's initial foray into animation.

Here's the description of the shorts from the press release:

"In The Bleachers provides a hysterical time out from the big -- and often too serious -- business of sports. With titles such as 'TV Remote,' 'Bullpen' and 'Hoop Dreams,' the cartoons feature a witty, ever-changing cast of characters in hilarious situations centered around athletics. Staying true to the artistic style created by Moore, the shorts are loosely animated with April Winchell (Recess), Kevin Michael Richardson (Lilo and Stitch) and Jeff Bennett (Return To Never Land) providing the voices."

"We're thrilled to be creating our first-ever project for ESPN," said Barry Blumberg, executive vice president, Walt Disney Television Animation. "We're always looking for ways to reach a wider audience and this partnership is a perfect example of how animation can crossover into new arenas."

"In the Bleachers is a terrific property with great comic potential and broad appeal," added Jay Fukuto, vice president, creative affairs, Walt Disney Television Animation. "Our Special Projects team has captured the true offbeat spirit of the characters and working with ESPN and Steve Moore has been a wonderful collaboration."

Moore, who serves as executive producer, created the comic strip in 1985 while working as an editor at The Maui News in Hawaii. Today In the Bleachers is syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate and runs daily in approximately 200 newspapers across the country. John Carls also serves as executive producer.

In the Bleachers is produced and directed by Ed Wexler and Gary Katona, the award-winning Walt Disney TV Animation Special Projects team that created the acclaimed educational, interstitial series, Great Minds Think for Themselves and Find Out Why. Antran Manoogian and Ben Bardens serve as producer and technical director, respectively.

THIS WEEK ON JUSTICE LEAGUE

The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of the world's top superheroes in Justice League: The Savage Time, which debuts on Saturday, November 9, at 7 p.m. (ET, PT) during Cartoon Theatre, Cartoon Network's weekly showcase of contemporary animated movies.

In this special feature length presentation of Justice League: The Savage Time, the Justice League returns from a mission deep in space to find a world that has drastically changed - for the worse. A ruthless, repressive dictator named Vandal Savage has seized control. To restore life as they know it, the world 's greatest collection of superheroes must travel back in time and team up to with some heroes of the past to re-fight a world war in order to stop Savage from taking power.

When the Justice League lands back in Europe during the waning days of World War II, they find themselves split from each other and fighting side-by-side with the Resistance on the war's frontline. Superman, Hawkgirl and the Flash join with the Blackhawks, a squad of fighter pilots from occupied nations, and assist in their efforts to destroy a critical enemy weapon before it can be deployed. Green Lantern is trapped behind enemy lines with a tough-as-nails Army squadron without the use of his ring, the source of his powers. Meanwhile, Manhunter heads to Berlin to infiltrate the despot's headquarters and uncover the secret to his power while Wonder Woman teams up with an American spy to break Savage's secret code.

Justice League: The Savage Time debuts on Saturday, November 9, at 7 p.m. (ET, PT). An encore showing is scheduled for Sunday, November 11 at 10 a.m. (ET, PT).

In the regular timeslot, Superman gets thrown into Mongul's gladiator arena in a repeat airing of "War World - Part 2", this week's episode of Justice League.

The episode airs Friday November 8th at 7pm. Encores follow on Saturday, November 9th at 9:30pm (widescreen) and Sunday, November 11th at 7pm.

Also, look for a repeat airing of "The Enemy Below" Parts 1 and 2 on Saturday, November 9th starting at 12:00pm. These episodes detail the first meeting between the League and Aquaman.

SPIDEY MARATHON ON ABC FAMILY

Don't forget to check out the "Spidey-Mania" marathon airing this Saturday on ABC Family. The network will features four episodes from various Spider-Man animated shows, each featuring the Green Goblin as the villain. The two-hour marathon airs Saturday, November 9 (10am - 12pm ET/PT).

THIS WEEK ON SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

The Goo Goo Dolls and Verne Troyer (Austin Powers: Goldmember) guest star on "Witch Way Out", this week's episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch.

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) decides it's time to give up magic, but after she meets the handsome owner of an art gallery (guest star Austin Peck, Days of Our Lives), and uncovers he collects exotic creatures including a funny little leprechaun (Troyer), she has a change of heart when she realizes he's looking to round out his collection with a witch. Soleil Moon Frye, Elisa Donovan, Nick Bakay, Andrew Walker, Diana-Maria Riva, Bumper Robinson and John Ducey also star. Brian Roberts directed the episode written by Adam Hamburger & David Hamburger.

"Witch Way Out" airs Friday, November 8 at 8:30pm on The WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

THIS WEEK ON JEREMIAH

[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
[Jeremiah]
In the world after the Big Death, knowledge is power -- but there are some people who believe knowledge is evil, thinking that's what caused the Big D in the first place. This is what Kurdy and Jeremiah learn in "Out of the Ashes", this week's repeat episode of Jeremiah.

While Kurdy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) helps a self-appointed librarian learn to read and fend off zealots who are convinced that books are the root of all evil, Jeremiah (Luke Perry) embarks on an arduous journey with a wheelchair-bound woman determined to deliver her father's ashes to the remote island where she was raised. The episode is written by Sam Egan and directed by Mike Vejar.

"Out of the Ashes" airs Friday, November 8th at 10:50 P.M. on Showtime. An encore showing is slated for Sunday, November 10th on Showtime Beyond at 10:55 p.m. (ET & PT)

Preview clips of the show are available online at Showtime's Jeremiah site.

Check out Showtime's Behind the Scenes feature -- a virtual tour of Thunder Mountain -- go to sho.com/jeremiah and click "Behind the Scenes" (you'll need to have a Java and Flash-enabled browser to play the virtual tour).

NEXT WEEK ON SMALLVILLE

In case you missed it last night, The WB is going to rebroadcast the Smallville episode "Lineage", a stunning flashback episode in which Blair Brown guest stars.

A mysterious woman (Brown) shows up claiming to be Clark's (Tom Welling) mother, prompting the Kents (John Schneider, Annette O'Toole) to tell Clark what happened after they discovered him in the cornfield that fateful day. Clark discovers why his father hates the Luthors (John Glover, Michael Rosenbaum), how his adoption was fixed, and who really rescued Lex from the edge of death. Kristin Kreuk, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack also star. Greg Beeman directed the episode written by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar with teleplay by Kenneth Biller.

"Lineage" re-airs Sunday, November 10 at 9:00pm ET on The WB.

Then, in the show's regular timeslot, Mind-reading Ryan returns in and episode called "Ryan".

Clark (Tom Welling) pushes his abilities to the limit to save his telepathic young friend Ryan (guest Ryan Kelley) from an evil doctor who wants to control the boy's abilities. Meanwhile, Nell (guest star Sarah-Jane Redmond) tells Lana (Kristin Kreuk) they are moving to Metropolis. Michael Rosenbaum, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, Annette O'Toole and John Schneider also star. Terrence O'Hara directed the episode written by Philip Levens.

"Lineage" airs Tuesday, November 5 at 9:00pm on The WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info

NEXT WEEK ON BIRDS OF PREY

Helena goes undercover in "Primal Scream," next week's episode of Birds of Prey.

At the request of Det. Reese (Shemar Moore), Helena (Ashley Scott) goes undercover to help bring down a gang of thieves terrorizing New Gotham and quickly discovers that the gang is part of a larger infrastructure. Helena goes after the big boss until her cover is blown, putting her in grave danger. Meanwhile, Barbara (Dina Meyer) has to deal with her fear of intimacy when her relationship with Wade (guest star, Shawn Christian) takes a serious turn. Rachel Skarsten and Ian Abercrombie also star. Jim Charleston directed the episode written by Edward Kittis and Adam Horowitz with story by Adam Armus and Kay Foster.

"Primal Scream" airs Wednesday, November 13th at 9:00pm on the WB.

Thanks to author and comic book movie journalist Andy Mangels for the info.

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