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Television Media

Sci-fi Channel's Children of Dune 351

jazdogg writes "Caught the trailer last night on the Sci-fi Channel for the new Frank Herbert's Children of Dune mini-series. I only hope this series is better than the previous one." I dunno - I liked the last Dune series, and am looking forward to this one.
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Sci-fi Channel's Children of Dune

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:03PM (#5272440)
    Would anyone else besides me like to see Sci Fi channel concentrate more on adapting SF literature than on recent bad horror films?
    • I agree, though focusing on _good_ SF would be even better. I am not sure that 'Children of Dune' would qualify.

      I have almost stopped watching Sci Fi due to the constant barrage of bad horror flicks.

      • I wish they would make a mini-series of I. Asimov's Foundation Trilogy.
        Or perhaps televise the script based on I, Robot that Robert Heinlen wrote.
        More Asimov Now!
    • Here's one: The Forever War.

      From Joe Haldeman's website:


      and IMDB:

    • No (Score:2, Interesting)

      by A55M0NKEY ( 554964 )
      The sci-fi channel can't produce anything. This CoD will suck as bad as their remake of Dune did. They should not make things, but buy them already made from other people.
      • The SF Dune series may not have been great, but one has to admit it was a helluva lot better than that giant feces of a movie that was the original Dune film adapatation.
    • I just wish they had put some of this money into another season of farscape...
    • It would be nice. A few years ago I even thought it was possible. I heard the Sci-Fi Channel obtained the rights for Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy and had high hopes for a mini-series. Now, though? We've got John Edward, the Dream Team, Scare Tactics, movies so awful they don't even have camp value, and, oh yeah, no Farscape. I shudder to think what an adaptation would be like.

      I do have higher expectations for Children of Dune, though. I think the project was conceived prior to the current regime at Sci-Fi, so I'm hoping it has potential.
    • Naw, SciFi Channel is too busy cancelling excellent shows like Farscape, considering cancelling Stargate SG-1, and making wonderful films like Antibody...

      Ok, so "Taken" wasn't that bad, but it wasn't really a SciFi Channel-only endeavor.
    • That and reinvesting in B5. Maybe funding Crusade of Legend of the Rangers. But that's just me.
  • Last Dune Series (Score:2, Interesting)

    by txdadu ( 310768 )
    The last Dune Series was great... sure if you had watched the Lynch movie it wasn't the same, but Paul Atreides was cast better in the series than in the movie and all in all the casting was better.

    I'm looking forward to seeing this must convince the housemates to TiVo it...
    • I don't know, I wouldn't say the casting was better.

      The script, however, was way better for the miniseries.
    • Re:Last Dune Series (Score:2, Informative)

      by mike77 ( 519751 )
      I purchased the last dune series on dvd, as I wasn't able to catch it on tv. I've read the books, and watched the lynch film, and I have to say I thought the SciFi series was atrocious! I refuse to watch the dvd again. The story itself (ie the adaptation) wasn't bad, but the quality of the show itself was terrible. I mean how many times are you going to use the same set backdrop? I don't know, troll me if you must, but I HOPE SciFi does a better job (ie spend more on it) this time around.
      • by Justarius ( 305126 ) <animus@mechFREEBSDanus.org minus bsd> on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:47PM (#5272847) Homepage
        Give the guys some credit,eh? The SciFi channel isn't a move production studio nor does it make the millions that Universal or whatever makes. They're at least making an effort to actually adapt decent SciFi for mass consumption.
        How many people do you know has *even* read Dune or, for that matter, Children of Dune? I've read both of them, watched both versions of Dune, and each has their strengths and weaknesses.
        If we're going to nitpick, I'll say this :: the casting on the SciFi miniseries was much better done and the dialogue was much better. It did miss some of the scenes that are in the book and adapted others (for example, the hunter-seeker scene in Arrakeen). The Lynch version I think touched upon the mystic of the entire thing much better than the SciFi, but the SciFi version made a better emphasis on the political nature of it all.
        Neither are true to the book anyway.

        Hopefully, Children of Dune (which is the destruction of Paul's dream and Aila's nightmare) will be done in the same spirit and I can understand the pitfalls of smaller studios - at the end, it's how much money do you have to burn for the production?

    • Re:Last Dune Series (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RhetoricalQuestion ( 213393 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:39PM (#5272785) Homepage

      I agree. I liked the last Dune mini-series, but primarily because the adaptation was more faithful and the writing itself was better. Paul was better cast (and a better actor). Leto wasn't as well cast; he didn't seem as regal as he did in the movie. I don't recall having a strong opinion on the other cast. (Though I missed seeing Patrick Stewart.)

      The portrayal of the Harkonnens was also FAR better. In the mini-series, they cunning, conniving and evil. In the movie, they were just gross.

      Biggest problem in the mini-series, though, were the visuals. The sets (particularly the desert) looked fake. The costuming looked cheap -- especially compared to the movie, which had great costumes.

      Still, looking forward to this... when/if it comes on Space.

    • I agree, Paul was cast better. The spice was portrayed better, the story was followed more closely to the book. However, Patrick Stewart made a better Gurney Halleck, Sting was the perfect Feyd-Ruatha. In all, the Lynch version has mostly better actor choices, but didn't follow well. I absolutely hated the "Weirding Modules" thing. I am anxious to see how good they do with this one.
  • dune (Score:4, Interesting)

    by psyklopz ( 412711 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:04PM (#5272461)
    dune was only really inspired in the first novel.

    beyond that, it got tired. Herbert even has selective memory of some things... in the first novel, Paul had a son he named Leto, but his son was killed.

    Afterwards, when they have the twins (children of dune), they carry on as if that first child never existed (one of the twins is even named Leto).

    It seems to me that the original Dune novel was intended to stand on it's own. Herbert gave into the pressure of his publishers and screwed up an otherwise perfect and mysterious universe by putting out a series of weirder and weirder sequels.
    • Re:dune (Score:5, Informative)

      by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:10PM (#5272507) Homepage
      Actually, Herbert had sketched out a seven volume story covering 10,000 years; parts of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were written before Dune was finished. And the second of Paul's children named Leto was consciously named that because Paul wanted a son named after his father.

      Herbert got through six of the seven. His son has the notes for the seventh, and is preparing to butcher his father's legacy as he's done six times already with those godawful prequel books.
      • Re:dune (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:26PM (#5272656)
        I've read this before-- the thing about how Frank Herbert had plans for a book 7-- but it seems to me that the ending of Chapterhouse is just too perfect. I prefer the saga the way it is now, ending on a cliffhanger and with that little commentary by Marty and Daniel, who many people think represented Bev and Frank Herbert talking out of character about the story itself.

        It seems to fit, for me, with the interwoven theme of prescience. Paul was cursed by his prescience, and Leto's vision of the future was of humans who were immune to prescience. The end of Chapterhouse, in which Duncan and Sheeana fleeing the known universe in a no-ship, seems to symbolize Herbert's creation escaping beyond the limits of his own vision.

        But what the hell do I know, anyway?
        • Re:dune (Score:5, Interesting)

          by The Bungi ( 221687 ) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:38PM (#5272779) Homepage
          I agree to a certain extent but I think that there were too many unanswered questions. For example, the background of the Honored Matres. Herbert drops precious few hints about them (the "frame bush" thing; the "weapon and charge" thing; who were the futars and why were there so few "handlers"?). Also, he suggests that Marty and Daniel (which I think were a play on his deeply cynical view of religions) are face dancers. What does that mean as far as the dynamics between the Tleilaxu and the Bene Gesserit? Why was it Idaho the only one that could see them? Did it have anything to do with his ghola condition? The only remaining Tleilaxu master had that nullentropy bin in his chest with cells from just about everyone... the implications! Also, why Sheanna as the "chosen" one specifically? I always thought it interesting that it was her and not Murbella (why stay and save the sisterhood?)

          I wish he'd had time to write another 6 books!

          Anyway, I could go on and on... =)

        • Re:dune (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sdjunky ( 586961 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @04:13PM (#5273113)
          "but it seems to me that the ending of Chapterhouse is just too perfect"

          Actually. If you look at when the man died (1986) not long after finishing chapterhouse and before it's publishing (July 1986) you can kind of tell that he knew he wouldn't be writing another book as he was finishing the sixth and just kind of tied things up quickly so as to not leave anything open ended.

          I get the impression that he just kind of gave up on living or at the very least knew he didn't have much time. Chapterhouse near the end starts to seem that it is being rushed. Not as much lush detail in his words as in the beginning etc. Of course, this is my opinion and there are a million of 'em.
        • Re:dune (Score:4, Insightful)

          by starX ( 306011 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @05:33PM (#5273920) Homepage
          I never thought of it that way; the destruction of Dune in the end of the 5th book always seemed to me to be a better fulfillment of Leto's plan: Humanity is now beyond prophecy because the origin of prophecy has been reduced to a molten rock. But I can definitely see your point about Chapterhouse.

          Still, Chapterhouse feels almost as if it is grasping at threads the entire time, and the ending does seem like it wants to be a new beginning, and it might have worked better with a 7th book, but I guess I can't fault the man for dying.

          So in an imperfect world I need to choose between thinking of book 5 of 6 as the end, or book 6, which feels more like the first part of an unfinished sequel to the series. But then again, some time back I think Tim O'Reilly made a good point; the last three books basically build off of and restate the lessons that we as readers, and Paul as character should have learned from the first, so maybe after Children of Dune they're all unnecessary.

          But personally God Emperor is my favorite :)
      • Re:dune (Score:5, Interesting)

        by chrae ( 159904 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @07:39PM (#5275288) Homepage
        Herbert got through six of the seven. His son has the notes for the seventh, and is preparing to butcher his father's legacy as he's done six times already with those godawful prequel books.

        I second that opinion. Here is Frank Herbert's words about the writing of Dune.

        • It was to be a story exploring the myth of the Messiah. It was to produce another view of a human-occupied planet as an energy machine. It was to penetrate the interlocked workings of politics and economics. It was to be an examination of absolute prediction and its pitfalls. It was to have an awareness drug in it and tell what could happen through dependence on such a substance. Potable water was to be an analog for oil and for water itself, a substance whose supply dimishes each day. It was to be an ecological novel, then, with many overtones, as well as a story about people and their human concerns with human values, and I had to monitor each of these levels at every stage in the book.
        Frank Herbert had researched for six years before he even began putting the Dune story together. Much effort and creativity went into it, and the results reflect it. His son, Brian Herbert and another Kevin Anderson are busy milking the Dune legacy as we speak. They have already released 3 prequels, which takes place a generation before Dune. As a standalone series, they are mediocre at best. As an addition to his father's works, they are a travisty. The first of another 3 has been published, taking thousands of years earlier, during the Bulterian Jihad which is often, but vaguely referred to throughout the Dune series. It was terrible. It was painful to read. I could only manage to read a chapter a day (which is at most, about 5 pages) after which I'd put it down in disgust and be in a foul mood for a good 2 hours. Brian and Kevin have plans, after they poop out book 2 and 3 of the Bulterian Jihad, is to write two more triligies for a total of 12 prequel books. All will be released according do when it's most profitable. After then, will he set his sights on the big mother load itself, Dune 7. The book that Frank Herbert made outlines for, but died before he could write it.

        That being said, SciFi's Dune mini-series is the last hope for many Dune addicts out there. Granted, hardcore readers of the book series will have quibbles with it, but Frank Herbert admitted that film is a language different from English, while working with David Lynch on Dune, the movie. Frank said, "[David Lynch] spoke it and I was a rank beginner. To make a film, you translate, as though from English to German. Each of the world's languages contains linguistic experiences unique to it's own history. You can say things in one language you cannot say in another." I'll keep this in mind, with SciFi's upcoming effort to adapt Children of Dune to the screen.


        Looking back on it, I realize I did the right thing instinctively. You don't write for success. That takes part of your attention away from the writing. If you're really doing it, that's all you're doing: writing.

        There's an unwritten compact between you and the reader. If someone enters a bookstore and sets down hard earned money (energy) for your book, you owe that person some entertainment and as much more as you can give. That was really my intention all along.

        Frank Herbert, 1920-1986

    • Re:dune (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plover ( 150551 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:12PM (#5272527) Homepage Journal
      I think the second novel was a decent followup to Dune, but it's also where Herbert started to get more wrapped up in the political / religious issues.

      After the second book, even the bogus political / religious issues took on a tiresome sameness, rather like the plotions manufactured for each episode of Star Trek. I found them frustrating. He hinted at all these worlds, each of which could easily have been as interesting as Arrakis (I wanted to see a book set on Salusa Secundis) but they all focused around the lame Bene Gesserits.

      I hope the SciFi channel has enough sense to stop filming sequels after this book.

    • Re:dune (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:13PM (#5272532)
      Actually, Dune was initially conceived as trilogy. The first book sets up Paul as the perfect Messianic hero. The following two books tear down this hero and point out the perils of the hero myth with is so prevelant in our religions and culture. An excellent yet lenghty analysis written by Tim Oreilly can be found here: http://tim.oreilly.com/sci-fi/herbert/
      • Is the analysys "excellent yet lengthy" or "lengthy yet excellent"? There is a big difference :)
    • dune was only really inspired in the first novel.
      I disagree entirely. There were a few bits in Dune where the whole good/evil idea was played in very black and white terms, while in the later books it became a full colour spectrum.

      Afterwards, when they have the twins (children of dune), they carry on as if that first child never existed (one of the twins is even named Leto).
      This sounds as if you haven't read Dune Messiah (second book) where Leto and Ghanima are born, or Heretics of Dune (Book 5) where the high priest Tuek (probably a descendent of the smugler of the same name from the first book) explins why Leto II is known as Leto II, even though he was the third one.

      It seems to me that the original Dune novel was intended to stand on it's own.
      While the first book does stand well on its own, and none of the others really do, it was never intended to do so.

  • I never understood why people didn't like the Sci-Fi channel's Dune, especially since the movie was so mediocre. I liked the fact that it was more about the story than the special effects.

    • Everyone says the mini-series is more faithful to the books. Okay, so we had the weirding modules in Lynch's film. Big deal. The makers of the mini-series can't even get the basics right. Reasons to hate the Sci Fi Dune miniseries:
      1. Um, it's supposed to be HOT on dune. Like really really really hot. Why are people walking around without still suits? Why are the castle windows OPEN and the wind from outside fluttering through the curtains?
      2. Why does a worm come when Paul and mom are wondering in the desert ONLY when they start walking wo/ rhythm. Hell, they'd been walking rhythmically for a long time, then suddenly they fall down a dune and the worm comes! Huh?
      3. William Hurt was apparently stoned out of his mind the entire movie.
      4. Paul was not a whiny brat in the book - he was supposed to be mature, especially for his age.
      5. The navigators are supposed to look like fish, not bats.
      6. The hats.... someone should have killed the costumer who must have found hats on sale somewhere. Or maybe they paid him to take them away.
      7. Why is Chani, a young fremen, so fat? Hell, why are all the Fremen so water fat? This is talked about in the book how Paul looks "water fat" initially. There is no way a fremen should have breasts that large, but then fan boys probably wouldn't watch it.
      8. The acting just plain sucked.
      9. What was with all of the different classes doing their little tai chi/dancing when they talked?
      That's just a few of the reasons I can think of off the top of my head having not seen the mini-series since its original airing. As many others have said, I suffered through it, hoping it would get better... The trailer doesn't leave much hope for "Children of Dune" whether you liked the book(s) or not.
  • Given, the books are great, but could it be that these attempts to make TV series out of Herbert's work doing more harm than good? I mean just look at what over-commercialization has done to the Star Trek franchise?
    • Totally unrellated subjects. One is adapting sucesfull books, the other is overusing a TV franchise.

      I'm more worried about the "prequels". I hate it when someone's name gets tagged on stuff he didn't write. His son has some author write stuff, he puts his name (wich is also his father's name, duh) on it: Profit.
      They did stuff like that with Asimov al lot...you see a book that has ASIMOV written in giant bold letters all over the cover, but if you look at the small print its only "inspired" by Asimov...sneaky publishing bastards.
      • by joshv ( 13017 )
        I'm more worried about the "prequels". I hate it when someone's name gets tagged on stuff he didn't write. His son has some author write stuff, he puts his name (wich is also his father's name, duh) on it: Profit.

        Except for the fact that his son is also a sci-fi author, who actually co-wrote the prequels, and the fact that the prequels, each one of them, are written better than Dune itself.

        The prequels are fast paced, well written, clear, fascinating page turners that expertly illuminate the events leading up to those protrayed in the original Dune.

        I read Dune long ago in my teens. My girlfriend introduced me to the prequels a few months back. I devoured all four of them - then sat down to read Dune once again. It was anti-climactic.

        • Dune has much more depth and elegance than any of the "prequel" books. The characters are weak, the interrelationship tween the various factions (factions-to-be?) is transparent.

          Brain Herbert needs to give the notes on the final Dune novel to a decent writer who has a better chance of finishing the series.

          Then again, maybe the Butlerian Jihad really was started by a posse of robots who are cruel and like to pick on us po' humans. Plus, there was that good Transformer / Mech Assault drama too. Titans my ass....
          • I liked the first 3 prequels better then the butlerian Jihad one, however on the whole it will probably turn into a good series.
            As a whole I would rate them worst then the original 2.5 Dune books, the far better then anything after the Children.
        • [...] the prequels, each one of them, are written better than Dune itself.
          Wow. You're raising up the Dune prequels above the original Dune? The 1965 Nebula award winner and 1966 Hugo award winner? One of the most famous science fiction novels ever written?
          The prequels are fast paced, well written, clear, fascinating page turners that expertly illuminate the events leading up to those protrayed in the original Dune.
          This is some great advertising copy. "expertly illuminate"? The prequels are entertaining reads (I thought House Harkonnen was somewhat worse than the others), well in line with co-author Kevin J. Anderson's previous work -- his Star Wars novels, for example -- but to compare them to the original Dune is ludicrous.

          Some people enjoy the prequels; others don't care for them. That's all cool. But to call the prequels better than the original... I have to question your taste in SF, and literature in general.

    • by neurojab ( 15737 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:21PM (#5272621)
      The over commercialization did harm to Star Trek? You must be joking. ST was designed as a purely commercial venture. It's first incarnation was a prime-time TV show designed to capitalize on the average joe's hunger for western themes. They just swapped in space as a setting after the Apollo project killed the target market's interest in the visual aspects of cowboys and indians. That said, I don't think it's possible to "commercialize" Star Trek.

      I agree with your point though... the depth and character of Dune can only be poorly represented on the screen. On the other hand, I thought the same thing about the Lord of the Rings, but the Two Towers was very, very good.
    • just look at what over-commercialization has done to the Star Trek franchise?

      OK, I'll bite. What?

      Seriously, the Dune books are written, they are what they are. No one can take anything away from them. If, as a result of the new TV movies, five people go and read the books who might never have picked them up, great! It's not like Frank Herbert is still writing 'em and some new populist direction derived from the TV shows is going to somehow alter a greatness that might have been or the greatness that is and was.

      With luck, the shows will be wildly successful, a new generation of people will read the novels, and the dim expectations of a youth culture made to believe that the likes of "Farscape" or "Babylon 5" constitute the best SF has to offer, simply because they're a tick above the Star Trek/Star Wars "Happy Meal" fodder, will be raised.

      I don't think the Fantsy genre has been ill-served by Peter Jackson's reverent treatment of LOTR. If anything, it means that the public tolerance for a "Sword and the Sorcerer II" has been lowered drastically. All good.
      • If anything, it means that the public tolerance for a "Sword and the Sorcerer II" has been lowered drastically.

        The public should always tolerate films where the protagonist's sword has three blades that can be fired off like bullets.
      • [...] the dim expectations of a youth culture made to believe that the likes of "Farscape" or "Babylon 5" constitute the best SF has to offer, simply because they're a tick above the Star Trek/Star Wars "Happy Meal" fodder [...]
        Huh? Knocking Farscape AND B5? Perhaps you would care to offer me any recent SF television series as good as those 2? I can think of shows as good (Buffy, X-Files), but I am genuinely interested in something an order of magnitude better.

        I can't believe you're using those 2 shows to represent the poor interests of a "youth culture". Seems like you should be trashing... I don't know, reality-show dreck, UPN dreck, WB dreck...

        • I said "SF," not "SF Television." Or what passes for SF on Television.

          Once upon a time, the only way anyone "accessed" SF or Fantasy was through books. Now, I'm always amused by how many self-professed "Sci-Fi fans'" only knowledge of the genre is from the raygun-and-catsuit content of TV and movies.

          Part of the value in a successful mini-series based upon a classic SF book is, to my way of thinking, the number of people who will read the book afterwards, get 'hooked,' and read some more...
          • Ah, I was hoping you'd say that. Couldn't think of any SF on tv that you might be talking about; but SF in general, certainly.

            I see good peripheral results from miniseries in terms of people reading the original books, but in this case the good has already been done. We had Lynch's film in the 80s, and the miniseries 2 years ago, both based on the original Dune, but now Scifi is making something whose source material is not very film/miniseries-worthy. I think any Scifi fanboys who go to read the Dune sequels after seeing this miniseries will not find them very enjoyable; I imagine the prequels would be more to their taste.

  • by shreak ( 248275 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:06PM (#5272470)
    Like Hemos, I enjoyed the Sci-Fi Channel's Dune mini-series. Much more so than David Lynch's version.

    If you didn't like the last one, I doubt you should hold much hope for likeing the next. From the trailers, it seems to be in much the same style, which is exactly what I'm looking for.

    • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:42PM (#5272804) Homepage
      Like Hemos, I enjoyed the Sci-Fi Channel's Dune mini-series. Much more so than David Lynch's version.

      I thought that Lynch was being too self conciously indulgent. The Harkonen characters were played like they were all Calligulas which simply does not work. Lynch spends so much time showing the depravity of the Harkonens that there is almost no development of any of the other characters.

      The whole Lynch movie plot is completely disjointed, he is so wrapped up in the special effects showing the messianic dreams that they are completely incoherent.

      I thought Dune the movie was OK, but the series was a lot better on every level. Although I did watch it straight through from start to finish without a pause on an airplane rather than in weekly installments which might have had something to do with it.

      I'll probably buy the DVDs when it comes out.

    • I also really liked it.

      The miniseries format gave them more time to let the story play out than a movie. The pacing was good (unlike the Lynch movie, which took an hour to get through the first hundred pages of the book and then had to rush to cram the rest in). The sets, costumes, and effects all worked. And I liked all the actors (especially the woman who played Chani).

    • Just a comment - a large part of the reason Farscape was cancelled was that they are supposedly lessening their reliance on new tv shows for ratings and focusing on "quarterly events". Basically, they'll do a miniseries or something like that every quarter, since they get more ratings (and hence more money for the rest of the year) than they do with their TV shows.

      So, if you want them to keep doing TV shows, watch what's left of Farscape, and skip Dune. I already passed on "Taken". And let them know what you're doing, and why.
    • Like Hemos, I enjoyed the Sci-Fi Channel's Dune mini-series. Much more so than David Lynch's version.

      Yeah, I agree. Paul's mom was waaaaay hot in the Sci-Fi channel version (we're talking "MILF quality"). In the Lynch film, she was just so-so. But, the film had Picard dueling using some kind of cool forcefield. I guess there's something for us geeks to like in either version.


  • David Lynch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:06PM (#5272474)
    I have this love-hate thing with David Lynch movies. Most of them I hate, but even in the bad ones, you can tell that Lynch is really working his ass off stylisticly.

    I didn't read Dune before seeing the David Lynch version. I still thought that it was a hell of a movie, despite its many problems. (I hate Kyle Mclaughlin almost as much as I hate Ben Affleck.) Even having read Dune, the Sci-fi mini-series just left me flat up next to the sheer style of the first movie.
    • Re:David Lynch (Score:2, Interesting)

      by awfar ( 211405 )
      Yes; any movie that presents a complicated storyline and environment such as Dune -and- matches it with an Epic style can be a great thing. I have not read the book(s) yet (they were very difficult read for me, to learn their vocabulary, etc.), but I have watched the lynch movie over and over again and the story line gets more complete every time. I think he did a truly good job for any movie of such depth of subject, but cannot judge accuracy from Herbert's perspective.
  • The Sci-fi movies are going to make Dune the phenomenon it should be, the only problem is figuring out how a dune enthusiast is going to wear that huge metal collapsable wall that they show in the promos.
  • The last scifi channel dune series was better than the orignal movie, IMO. Among other things, they showed more of the story. And the chick was hot.
  • by mrs clear plastic ( 229108 ) <allyn@clearplastic.com> on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:10PM (#5272514) Homepage
    As I read the article, it seems to me (and please
    flame/correct me if I am wrong) that this is not intended for the movie theatres, but intended for television.

    I strongly feel that these type of movies should be on the big screen. Even if there is no decent plot (and I know the Dune will have a plot), magnificent scenes should be seen on a large screen in a decent, comfortable theatre.

    I remember the original Dune. I loved some of the epic scens on the large screen in a decent theatre
    with a good sound system. In fact, even though I am not a Dunnite and did not understand the plot, I still sat through it twice just for the scenery.

    I later saw portions on a TV screen. The small screen does not do this type of movie justice. Only if someone has a decent home theatre type TV system with a dedicated room and good sound would a Dune type picture be worth putting on TV.

    I really feel that these folks should release the series into theatres and then make it available via DVD/tape for the TV crowd.

    I apoligize in advance if I read the article incorrectly.

  • SF Mainstay (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mugnyte ( 203225 )

    Dune is a part of the must-read list, as far as the first book. The movie/tv stuff paled in comparison.

    Before I read another "is there no shame" post, herbert is getting what he deserves: paid. This guy has a trmendous imagination and the motivation to organize it. I support the commercialization of anything, because it means it's popular. Unlike free-as-in-beer software, there is a place for "selling out" as much as possible. Fiction has a commercial lifetime, and capturing the sweet spot is part of the game.

    Let the Dune franchise flourish.

    • herbert is getting what he deserves: paid

      Frank Herbert, author of the Dune books, died in 1986 [kirjasto.sci.fi].
    • Re:SF Mainstay (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Flamerule ( 467257 )
      Before I read another "is there no shame" post, herbert is getting what he deserves: paid. This guy has a trmendous imagination and the motivation to organize it.
      Frank Herbert is long dead. It's his son, Brian Herbert, who is cashing out on his father's legacy. I would certainly not call any of those rewards "deserved".
      Let the Dune franchise flourish.
      No. This isn't a case of an author doing what he wants to with his creation, it's of an estate inheritor doing what he wants with the deceased estate owner's property.
  • Hopefully in this one they can at least get the shadows of live actors consistent with the shadows painted into the sets. It was so distracting to see 2 people with their shadows on their left standing in front of "beautiful desert scenery" with shadows on the right sides of the mountains.

  • Dune Messiah? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Adolatra ( 557735 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:17PM (#5272584) Homepage
    Wasn't Children of Dune the third book in the saga? Are they planning on incorporating it with Dune Messiah (which would be more than a little tricky, IMO), or are they simply going to skip the second book?
    • Re:Dune Messiah? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kaypro ( 35263 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:34PM (#5272732)
      John Harrison, the screenwriter and co-producer answers (from here [scifi.com]):

      Q: What books does Children of Dune cover? Why not call it Dune Messiah?

      A: After the enormous success of SCI FI's first Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries, SCI FI asked Richard Rubinstein and me to come up with a proposal for another. After a lot of thought and conversation, it seemed that the next books in Frank Herbert's epic presented unique adaptation opportunities as well as problems.

      Dune Messiah by itself did not resolve completely enough to stand on its own; it set the stage for Children of Dune. But that third book couldn't be the basis for a new miniseries without the precedent of Dune Messiah. So I decided we should combine both books and create a continuation of the first miniseries. Simply put, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune would complete the saga of Muad'Dib and set the stage for what was to come.

      There is a significant passage in Frank Herbert's Dune, spoken by Reverend Mother Ramallo, in which she tells Paul that "when religion and politics ride in the same cart, the whirlwind follows." Of course she means Muad'Dib -- he is the whirlwind. As Dune fans know, in Dune Messiah he is tortured by what that whirlwind has meant, of what has become of his revolution. And, as students of history, we know that "every revolution contains the seeds of its own destruction." In Children of Dune, those seeds have started to bloom. But there is an answer, a road that Muad'dib was unable or unwilling to take: the Golden Path. By the end of Children of Dune, Muad'dib's son, Leto II, is willing to go down that path.

      So I decided to combine both Dune Messiah and Children of Dune into one seamless narrative that would complete this chapter of the Atreides on Arrakis and set the stage for the next 3,000-year era, the Golden Path, and the reign of the God Emperor.
    • According to this [scifi.com] webpage, the series will encompass both Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. It has simply been named after the latter rather than former book. To quote:

      Dune Messiah by itself did not resolve completely enough to stand on its own; it set the stage for Children of Dune. But that third book couldn't be the basis for a new miniseries without the precedent of Dune Messiah. So I decided we should combine both books and create a continuation of the first miniseries. Simply put, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune would complete the saga of Muad'Dib and set the stage for what was to come.
  • For what it's worth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:18PM (#5272589) Homepage Journal
    I never read the Dune story. Doesn't interest me. I *did*, however see the Davis Lynch movie. It was fine. Some of the special effects blew, but that was to be expected. Last year I see the Dune mini-series.

    Or tried to. Paul came off as a whiney spoiled brat and the costumes were *clearly* stolen from Liberace's closet.

    My friend and I got about one hour into it before we'd had enough and put on something worthwhile.

    No, this is not flamebait ot trolling, I'm stating a viewpoint. My viewpoint is the mini-series and I', sure the sequels aren't worth the time from a casual fan POV.
  • I hope.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:18PM (#5272592) Journal
    ....that this one has a budget of more than $20. I mean, last time SciFi did this, while the writing was pretty good, the acting (particularly Duke Leto) was like watching Al Gore. More than half the sets were sand filled soundstages with cheap backgrounds painted on the backgrounds.
  • by Mac Degger ( 576336 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:22PM (#5272629) Journal
    ...was too...clean. I always thought of Arakis as a really dusty, grimy place...the mini-series /looked/ as if it was filmed on a clean soundstage.

    And as for the acting...*sigh*.
  • The Sci-Fi channel's versions are cool, if only to show that good storytelling nowadays doesn't require a $200 million budget. Yes, the backdrops in the first Dune series were obviously painted. Transcribing the story behind Dune to any multimedia format is exceedingly difficult, as so much of the story goes on in the characters' heads. Sci-Fi's version did a reasonable job of telling the story.

    Look into the future, after the fall of the RIAA and MPAA, to a time when actors and sports stars make a wage commensurate with their offerings to society. You'll probably be lucky to see cinema half as elaborate as what you see in this telling of the story. More power to them.
  • Read Dune, Then Stop (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nova Express ( 100383 ) <lawrenceperson.gmail@com> on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:27PM (#5272671) Homepage Journal
    Its easy to understand why Sci-Fi would make a miniseries of Dune, since it's a great book. Were it not for Hollywood's sequel mentality, it would be a lot harder to understand why they're making a miniseries of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune (which Sci-Fi is mashing together for the Children of Dune miniseries), which are not great books by any stretch of the imagination.

    Here's some advice for those who haven't read any of Herbert's many Dune sequels yet: Don't. Not only were they not as good as the original, they weren't even in the same league. If you ask just about any serious science fiction reader, they'll tell you the same thing: Read Dune, then STOP! Dune Messiah sucks, Children of Dune sucks less than Dune Messiah, but still isn't a tenth as good as the original, and God-Emperor of Dune sucks the farts out of dead cats.

    If you can just pretend that Herbert never wrote anything after Dune, you'll avoid wasting your time reading inferior sequels and tarnishing your memories of the original.
    • by Alea ( 122080 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:55PM (#5272915)
      One of the most interesting things about the Dune series is that it's one of the only series where I don't meet with a general consensus on the quality of the various books. I've met people whose favourites were the first, third, fourth and sixth. Even rankings after favourites aren't consistent. How many novel series do you know where most people don't agree, "The first one was best and blah, blah, blah....".

      Don't blindly accept the parent poster's judgement. Even if general experience suggests that sequels are often weak, Dune is a series where I have specifically noticed this odd exception.
      • Agreed. Personally, I don't think the last 3 books in the Dune series can even be considered sequels in the sense that we are usually familiar with. They are mark an almost completely different shift in style. I mean, it's not so much like a Robert Jordan series, where the author keeps cranking them out, for who knows what reason, and extending the same basic plot over 10 books ... the dune sequels are just different. That's not much of a review I guess, but the first time I read them, I disliked them, the second time around, I enjoyed them. I think anyone will agree though that the first book was the best.

    • The last two books, which are basically one large book split into two pieces, "Heretics of Dune" and "Chapterhouse: Dune" are the best books in the series, which you didn't even mention. It takes place thousands of years after God Emperor and kicks ass in much the same style (though not in the same ways) as the original Dune. After the claustrophobia of the fourth book, the universe in the fifth and sixth book is too large for even any of the characters to understand.

      If you're going to sit through God Emperor, at least get the payoff of reading the last two.
    • Its easy to understand why Sci-Fi would make a miniseries of Dune, since it's a great book. Were it not for Hollywood's sequel mentality, it would be a lot harder to understand why they're making a miniseries of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune

      This is a curiously modern problem. The need of the writer or producer to exploit their 'product,' 'franchise,' or what have you outweighs the needs of the story to be a complete and completed experience and the combination of the need to exploit success coupled with the nature of stories themselves form a trap for writers and writing.

      A story works by solving the problems that drive the action in it and once all those problems are solved the story is over. Epic fictions like Dune makes this aspect of writing glaringly obvious; when you have 'saved the universe' or 'destroyed and remade the old order,' you're done and there's nothing left to the story that flows from it naturally; more storytelling is anticlimax.

      It's just one reason history has spared us, 'Romeo and Juliet II.'
  • Children of Dune was the third book in the series, wasn't it? What are they going to do about Dune Messiah. I read Dune Messiah and if I am not mistaken, Paul and his wife(the non princess one) both died in it(Paul was blinded and he walked off to die in the desert) and Duncan Idaho was brought back to life. How are they going to fit that into the story without having to do at least parts of Dune Messiah in flashbacks or something? Or are they just going to screw the story completely?
  • I consider myself a fan of the series. I got started by seeing the Davis Lynch version of the film sometime in '89. That got me interested enough to read the books. In hindsight, the Lynchs' version isn't faithful as it could be. But it is loaded with style, good actors and great locations. As a stand-alone, it fares pretty well.

    Now zip forward a decade or so and I keep hearing about Sci-Fi doing their version of "Dune". The majority of opinions I hear say it's pretty good. I eventually get around to renting the DVD, and you know what? I had to force myself to watch the whole thing. It's that bad. The costumes are lame (someone here made a comment about the costumes being stolen from "Liberace's closet". That's a pretty accurate statement.) Their use of soundstages are far too obvious (A lot of the backdrops look like they were painted by high-school kids.) and a majority of the acting was just piss-poor BAD. Whenever Alec Newman (Paul Atreides) spoke, I cringed as if someone were running their nails down a chalkboard. William Hurt slept through his role as Leto, seemingly there to collect a paycheck and nothing more. I could go on and on. But what I don't get is how I seem to be in the minority! Hey, if people want more "Dune" and Sci-Fi is willing to give it to 'em. So much the better. Just don't expect me to counting the days until the sequal airs.
  • Looks like someone got caught [thesmokinggun.com] with the spice. Puns aren't offtopic, are they?
  • I always thought PKD would be perfect for some television series. My problem with the movie adaptation of his works was that they usually reduced the richness of the books (as most 2 hour movies of 300 page books do). And I think that "near future" SF would be well within the budget of cable TV (say Man in the High Castle or Through A Scanner Darkly).

    For that reason I also thought that post-Virtual Light William Gibson could make some nice TV movies.

    Any others? Thoughts?
  • TMBG (Score:3, Funny)

    by fleck_99_99 ( 223900 ) <[moc.rr.eniam] [ta] [aleb]> on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:53PM (#5272883) Homepage
    I didn't like the last one, and yet I was drawn to it... Too big a fan of the series, I suppose.

    The costumes were OK, but can someone PLEASE smack down the hat designer? The big floating sail covered with butterflies was a bit much, and every time Feyd walked onscreen with that ridiculous triangle behind his head, I had to start singing..

    Triangle man, Triangle man...
  • by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @03:54PM (#5272910) Journal
    How about Brian Herbert's sequel mentality?

    Who needs Hollywood when your own offspring will milk your legacy until it withers and dies- oh, wait, it already HAS withered and died. I guess now the appropriate cliche would be "beating a dead Shai'Hulud" which is something many of you guys out there can relate to. Hoo hoo!

    Further sequels from Hollywood:

    The Color Of Dune: a pool shark hits Arrakis and comes within one step of hustling the trust deed to the palace. Muad'Dib manages to weirding his way around a tricky three ball combination to win the day. Stars Tom Cruise as the dumb guy.

    Look Who's Taking Dune: Yet more children are exposed to their ancestral memories in the womb, and squirt their way out into the new world chatting up a storm and calling storms down from the skies. Stars John Travolta as the dumb guy.

    Dune - The Revenge: Ravenous sand sharks infest the deserts of Arrakis. A malfunctioning transport full of children and Bene Gesserit nuns (or whatever) is stranded in the middle of the Great Erg, and hilarity ensues! Starring Owen Wilson as the dumb guy.

    Dune 3 - Cruise Control: Muad-Dib must somehow rescue a band of Fremen from the back of a bezerk sandworm rigged to explode if it's speed drops below 50 mph! Starring Keanu Reeves as the really dumb guy.

    Dune & Robin: Arrakis. Schumacher. Show tunes. Do the math. The horror... the horror...

    The Quisatz Haderach's New Groove: Muad'Dib is transformed by a nanotech accident into a llama, and hilarity ensues.

    ObBeowulf: Soon they will have enough sequels for a Beowulf cluster. Ha ha. :-\

  • CowboyNeal is my Sci-Fi channel
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday February 10, 2003 @04:10PM (#5273069) Homepage Journal
    Let see, that would be Sandy and Loam?
  • I think it's great that Dune fans finally get to see some Children of Dune in a tv series. It's always fun to watch something that you've read about millions of times.
  • Check out Dune - Spice Opera [geocities.com]. The links aren't working right now, but it seems the webmaster is working on it. You're guided to another site while s/he sort things out, but that one was very slow for me. Anyway, you might get the Spice Opera CD from Kazaa or something too.

    I don't think it's something you can get from a store, or even order that easily. :-/
    • Sorry, I completely forgot to mention that it's a soundtrack CD released by Exxos for the computer game Dune, but I think it matches the Dune "theme" remarkably well. You might not like all tunes in it, but I really like the sound of Ecolove and a few others. Pretty unique music style.
  • All links (Score:4, Informative)

    by Knacklappen ( 526643 ) <knacklappen@gmx.net> on Monday February 10, 2003 @04:21PM (#5273176) Journal
    Why to waste time with all those JavaScript-popups, here are the real links:
    TCA trailer [scifi.com]
    Whirlwind [scifi.com]
    Boys to Men [scifi.com]
    Alia [scifi.com]
    Teaser [scifi.com]
  • by Arcaeris ( 311424 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @04:24PM (#5273196)
    Personally, I think I'll pass on this mini-series. I didn't like Dune Messiah or Children of Dune nearly as much as Dune.

    They just didn't have the same "spice" as the original.
  • Interesting.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ciphertext ( 633581 )

    There was great hype about the SCI FI Channel's production of Frank Herbert's Dune when it was released. I remember a great portion of SCI Fiction oriented websites were debating the merits/demerits of both productions with regards to Herbert's own literary work. I find it only natural that the debate would continue about the next production. Oddly enough, I find the Dune series (literary works) intriguing. Very rarely do you find the creation of such works so very rich with detail. So complete is the marriage of ecology, religion, political intrigue, and human nature into the fabric of the Dune series that there is virtually no gap in the story. The underpinnings and background of the Dune universe leave no question of "how", "why", or "who" in the story. I plan to reserve my comments on whether the new SCI FI mini-series will be good or bad until after I've seen the show. Besides, SCI FI could do much worse in picking a literary work to produce as a mini-series.

    Anybody read the prequels by Brian Herbert? Thoughts?

  • by D'Arque Bishop ( 84624 ) on Monday February 10, 2003 @04:51PM (#5273410) Homepage
    Like some people, I watched the David Lynch movie before I read the book. In fact, I read the book more or less concurrently with the showing of the miniseries. All in all, screenplay-wise, the miniseries was much more faithful to the book, and the casting was generally better. I really do want to like the miniseries more than the movie... however, I'm having difficulty.

    This may sound shallow, but what absolutely DESTROYED the miniseries for me were the desert scenes. I can understand that some scenes have to be done on sound stages. However, those backdrops couldn't have been more obvious if they had painted images of Tux the Penguin on them. I watched those scenes, and all I could see were those damned backdrops. I never felt I was watching characters on Arrakis. I was watching characters on a cheap Hollywood soundstage pretending to be Arrakis.

    I remember reading somewhere that they intentionally did that, to make it seem more unreal. Well, guess what, guys? It didn't just look unreal, it looked FAKE. I'll watch Children of Dune, but I seriously hope they learned from their past mistakes.

    Just my $.02...
    • I couldn't agree more. The only thing I found fatally flawed about the miniseries were those scenes where the Fremen burst out of the sand. What exactly was the rationale here? That they'd been hiding under the sand for hours, waiting for the enemy to happen to blunder by them? One of my favorite bits in the David Lynch movie was the massive desert war. Even if the rest of the movie is pretty crappy, that at least looks pretty cool.
    • wrong expectations (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xtifr ( 1323 )
      Geeze, we're talking about a low-budget production by a basic-cable channel. If you were expecting a special-effects extravaganza, then you were obviously going in with a complete lack of clue. Hell, I was impressed by the mere fact that they tried to show sandworms! :)

      What I was hoping for (and what I got) from the SciFi Channel version was focus on the story. The Lynch version was incoherent and confusing, and all the fancy FX merely distracted from and obscured what little bits of the story he had left in. If I want fancy FX, I'll go watch the latest Lucas potboiler. But in general, I'd rather have unconvincing backdrops and a good script than the most realistic computer-generated Jar-Jar. :)

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments