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PEIA: Harsh Realm Articles
from daily sci-fi:

August 13, 1999
TV: Chris Carter's Harsh Realm Get the goods on the latest offering from the X-Files mastermind.

Stop reading over my shoulder!
The Fall TV season is getting closer and closer with each passing millisecond...can you feel the excitement? As always, your pals at IGN Sci-Fi are here for you with yet another handy preview. This time, we delve into the treacherous depths of a potential break-out hit from one of the great sci-fi minds of our time.

The Show: Harsh Realm

Premieres: October 8 on Fox

The Scoop: Based on the comic book, Harsh Realm is the latest piece of psychoanalytic paranoia from X-Files mastermind Chris Carter, this time focusing on the military's experiments with virtual reality.

Who's Involved: Carter, of course. Scott Bairstow, last seen inspiring hatred in Teen Beat readers everywhere by playing Neve Campbell's abusive boyfriend on Party of Five, stars. Millennium's Terry O' Quinn, Samantha Mathis (Pump Up the Volume, Little Women), D.B. Sweeney (Spawn, TV's Strange Luck) and Max Martini (Contact) are also onboard. X-alum Frank Spotnitz executive produces.

The Hype: Fansites aplenty declare this one the next cult favorite to plan your life around.

The Potential Fan: Takes time out from marathon Quake III sessions to circulate preliminary scripts on the 'net.

They say: "If The X-Files had a very broad group of stories to tell, this will also have that kind of broad scope. Millennium has a narrower scope in its storytelling, but it's a very broad canvas: good and evil. But it uses a little bit of virtual reality. This actually is going to play with reality in ways that I think The X-Files has done so well over the years," said Carter in TV Gen.

We say: As long as it avoids the self-important heaviness that cursed Millennium, it'll be fine. All we're asking is that the actors are allowed to smile once in awhile. We're also intrigued by the use of a VR-based premise for television, previously mined by the underrated VR 5.

This is not a good day.
Episode Rumor Mash: After experiencing the horrors of war in Sarajevo, Lt. Thomas Hobbes (Bairstow) is headed home to his fiance, Sophie (Mathis), But first, the military has one more assignment for him: to test out a top-secret computer simulation, Harsh Realm, that's supposedly the latest thing in military combat training. His goal: to take down the highest-scoring player, Omar Santiago (O'Quinn), who has set up some sort of bizarre dictatorship within the simulation. As anyone who has ever seen any kind of virtual reality-based anything knows, all is not as it seems, and Hobbes soon finds himself trapped in the simulation. Sophie and Hobbes' friend, Lt. Mel Waters (who died in Sarajevo), exist, but they are also (say it with us)...not what they seem. Eventually, Hobbes finds an ally in nutso Harsh Realm inhabitant Mike Pinnochio (Sweeney). Carter vets Lance Henriksen and Gillian Anderson reportedly appear in the pilot -- Henriksen as a high-ranking military officer, Anderson in voice-over.

Our Dream Episode: Hobbes discovers an underground resistance movement lead by frighteningly adorable animated characters. Their methods? Top secret. Their results? Deadly. Their name? The Pokemon.

Will we watch?. Well, we're going to need something to tide us over when X-Files goes off the air. Hopefully, we'll be completely addicted by then.


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