THE VR.5 FAQ by Augie De Blieck Jr. (with Jonathan Gan) Table of Contents Last Update: 01 June 1997 Contents: key....................................... . ! = section modified since last update . . + = section added since last update . .......................................... Part One (0) INTRODUCTION ! (0.1) Introduction / Reading Tips ! (0.2) Finding this FAQ List (0.3) Basics (0.4) Abbreviations (1) IN GENERAL (1.1) What is VR.5? (1.2) Who created the series? (1.3) Why does Sydney use an outdated acoustic modem? (1.4) VR.5 seems similar to [...]. Am I alone in thinking this? (1.5) What episodes have been broadcast? (Episode Guide) ! (1.6) Where can I see VR.5? (1.7) Where does VR.5 stand right now? Was it cancelled? ! (1.8) When is VR.5 taking place? (1.9) What do VR.5 fans call themselves? ! (1.10) Is VR.5 being shown anywhere in the world right now? (1.11) What questions does VR.5 raise? (Missing Data) (2) THE CHARACTERS (2.1) Who are the main characters in VR.5? ! (2.2) Who plays the characters? Haven't I seen [...] in [...]? ! (2.3) Where are they now? (2.4) Is Dr. Frank Morgan still alive? (2.5) Why doesn't Duncan die in VR? (2.6) What do the characters do for a living? (2.7) Is it true that Sydney was originally supposed to be male? (2.8) What does Duncan call Sydney? (2.9) Have members of the VR.5 cast and crew been interviewed? ! (2.10) Why was Dr. Morgan written out of the show in "Love and Death?" (2.11) What happened with Oliver and Alex in the past? (2.12) Was Oliver Sampson a federal agent? (2.13) Is there a pattern to the landscapes Sydney went through in VR.7 when trying to rescue her mother in "Reunion?" ! (2.14) How do I write to the cast members? (2.15) Where can I find the novelization of Anthony Head's UK "Gold Blend" coffee commercials? (2.16) What's been the relationship between Oliver and Sydney? (2.17) Why does Alex's hairstyle (in "The Many Faces of Alex") change so much? ! (2.18) Can we trust Samantha? (2.19) Have members of the VR.5 cast and crew gone online with fans to chat about the series? (2.20) How do I get pictures of some of the cast? (3) MECHANICS (3.1) How are the strange colors in the VR sequences done? (3.2) In "Escape," what were the shows that were parodied in Duncan's VR sequences? (3.3) In "Escape," did the sequence at the beginning really happen? (3.4) Why was the beginning sequence of "Escape" letterboxed? (3.5) What do the episode titles mean? (3.6) What are some clever symbols the writers put in the show? (3.7) What bloopers have been discovered in the show? (3.8) What are some of the most memorable quotes from VR.5? (3.9) How many computers does Sydney use? ! (3.10) I'm totally confused. What happened in "The Many Faces of Alex?" (3.11) In "The Many Faces of Alex," why did Oliver/Sydney/Alex experience Alex's death a few minutes before it actually happened? (3.12) Was the flashback -- with Samantha and Dr. Bloom drowning -- real? (3.13) Will VR.5 be released on videotape? (3.14) Are VR.5 episodes closed-captioned? (3.15) In "Reunion," why are the patients in the nursing home staring at nothing? (3.16) Why did the Bloom car change from a station wagon to a sedan in Sydney's memories? (3.17) What's special about the camera angles in VR.5? ! (3.18) Is there VR.5 merchandise available? (3.19) Was Oliver responsible for Sydney's imprisonment in "Escape?" (3.20) In "The Many Faces of Alex's" first VR sequence, Alex is speaking in a foreign language. What's she saying? ! (3.21) What happened in "Send Me An Angel," "Sisters," and "Parallel Lives?" (3.22) Do people "get" VR.5? How much does each episode cost, and how long does it take to make them? (3.23) Why would Syd do a silly thing like burn her father's diary in "Facing the Fire?" (3.24) Sydney's taking Simon into VR at the end of "Simon's Choice" reminds me of a film... (3.25) The FOX press release in section 1.1 talks about "La Femme Nikita." What is it? (4) THE MUSIC (4.1) Who does the music, and what type of music is it? ! (4.2) Is the VR.5 soundtrack available? (4.3) From which episodes do the tracks come? (4.4) What is the VR.5 Advance Cassette and where can I get it? (4.5) What is the VR.5 Promo CD and where can I get one? (4.6) What are the lyrics to the music at the beginning of "5D?" (4.7) Where can I find the sheet music or MIDI files of the song? (4.8) What is the other music in "The Pilot?" (4.9) What is the other music in "Escape?" (4.10) What is the other music in "Simon's Choice?" ! (4.11) What is the other music in "Parallel Lives?" (4.12) Has Dee Carstensen done anything else besides VR.5? ! (4.13) How can I order either of Dee Carstensen's CD's? (5) THE COMMITTEE (5.1) What do we know about the Committee? (5.2) Does Jackson Booth work for the Committee? (5.3) Does Dr. Joseph Bloom (Sydney's father) work for the Committee? (5.4) Does the Committee know about Duncan's ability to go into VR? (5.5) Are there divisions within the Committee? (5.6) Does the Committee have a symbol? (5.7) What's the Committee's history? (6) VR (6.1) What are the levels of VR? (6.2) Why does Sydney's clothing change in VR? (6.3) How long does a VR call take? ! (6.4) What exactly happens in VR? (6.5) How does Sydney go into VR? Did Dr. Bloom experiment on Sydney? Why can Duncan go into VR? (6.6) Why do Oliver and Alex know that they and Sydney went into VR? (6.7) Are there safeguards in VR? (6.8) What's the meaning of VR.8 in the series? (6.9) In "Reunion," were Sydney and Nora Bloom in VR.6 or VR.7? (7) VR.5 INFO ON THE NET ! (7.1) What newsgroups discuss VR.5? ! (7.2) What's the history behind alt.tv.vr5? ! (7.3) What are these VR5 Digests I see on the newsgroup? ! (7.4) Where can I find information on the World Wide Web? (7.5) Does FOX have an e-mail address? ! (7.6) Where can I find VR.5 sound clips and pictures? ! (7.7) Are binaries allowed in alt.tv.vr5? How can I decode them? ! (7.8) Are there VR.5 discussion mailing lists? ! (7.9) Are VR.5 discussions conducted on IRC? ! (7.10) Where can I find information on keeping VR.5 alive? (7.11) Do the VR.5 producers have an e-mail address? (7.12) Can I read alt.tv.vr5 via Gopher? (7.14) Can I receive and post to alt.tv.vr5 via e-mail? ! (7.16) Has any original VR.5 fan fiction been written on the Net? (7.17) What's Virtual Storm? ! (7.18) Is there a VR.5 multimedia program? + (7.19) Why is there nothing in this space? (7.20) Why do I keep hearing about a VR.5 fan convention in San Francisco? (7.21) Have Virtual Storm's efforts been reported on in the media? (7.22) What do members of the VR.5 production team say about Virtual Storm's efforts? (7.23) What's that miniFAQ I see being posted in alt.tv.vr5? (7.24) What's that Survival Guide I see being posted on alt.tv.vr5? ! (7.25) How can I publicize my VR.5 web page? ! (7.26) I use Microsoft Windows. Can I get an icon with the VR.5 logo? + (7.27) I use Microsoft Windows '95 with the Plus! package. Is there a VR. theme? ! (7.28) What's the "On-Line VR.5 Newsletter?" (8) OTHER STUFF ! (8.1) Who helped in the creation of this list? ! (8.2) Can I sue you if the stuff here is wrong? (8.3) Can I take this list and sell it for $4.85 in bookstores? (8.4) What's the VR.5 Drinking Game? (8.5) Are you a Headcase? (0) - INTRODUCTION (0.1) - Introduction / Reading Tips Hello! Welcome to the VR.5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list and Episode Guide, your #1 source for VR.5-related information. I'm Augie De Blieck Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>, the FAQ list maintainer. My goal is to make this a useful, readable, and timely reference for you, and I hope you'll come back often. It's your help and support that makes this resource possible. PURPOSE OF THIS FAQ. As you follow a newsgroup like alt.tv.vr5 for some time, certain topics come up again and again. Like, "Is Oliver the guy in those 'Taster's Choice' commercials?" Or, "Where can I find a VR.5-based web page?" Or even, "What is VR.5?" These are good questions, but eventually, even the most helpful people on the newsgroup tire of answering them over and over, or of correcting wrong or incomplete answers. This article tries to answer some of the most frequently asked questions by providing clear, succinct answers and posting them regularly. When a question can't be answered definitively -- like, "How does Sydney go into VR?" -- I've tried to present the "best" of the different opinions that've been posted, so time won't be spent going over topics that were discussed months ago. HOW THE FAQ WAS DONE. At about the end of March, the newsgroup "alt.tv.vr5" was formed. (More in section 7.2.) The folks there discussed various elements in VR.5 enthusiastically. The traffic on and propagation of the group were initially low, but steadily grew, and by late April, people were calling for a FAQ. Todd Palino <email@example.com> posted the letter he'd gotten back from firstname.lastname@example.org. (Part of it is in section 1.3.) The VR.5 FAQ started from that letter. Jon Gan added subjects that'd been discussed since early April, organized the FAQ into seven main sections ("IN GENERAL," "THE CHARACTERS," and others), and posted a first draft to the newsgroup on 28 April 1995. The FAQ grew from a 101KB one-part document to a huge reference file greater than half a megabyte in size. I have since made it leaner and meaner. The large FAQ can still be found at Jonathan Gan's web site. It's also spawned a miniFAQ and several other documents filled with various things, like VR.5 fan fiction and conferences with members of the VR.5 production team. In July 1996, Jonathan Gan stepped down as FAQ maintainer to pursue other ventures, such as the Piers Anthony FAQ. I've taken control of the FAQ and have modified it with two goals in mind. Firstly, I want to make it much smaller and more manageable. The Internet already has enough problems dealing with lack of bandwidth. I don't wish to contribute to it. Yet. Secondly, I want to add in all the newest and most talked-about material, such as the music and the fan-fiction. Much of this FAQ is lifted verbatim from the last update of the FAQ, which can still be found at http://www.eskimo.com/~raquele/vr5-faq.html It is a much more comprehensive document than this one, but is also much larger and in some places, out of date. THE FAQ TODAY. As long as people keep reading it, enjoying it, making suggestions, and adding material, I'll continue to update this FAQ. It's a living document, and I need your help to keep it current. If you see anything you want to add or change in this list, or if you have any questions, send me e-mail. SOME INFLUENTIAL FOLKS READ THIS FAQ. This FAQ's been read and endorsed by members of the VR.5 production team, including writers, producers, and actors, people involved in the virtual reality and entertainment industries, people at various networks, and people in charge of content at commercial online services. Most haven't endorsed it *officially* -- they've just said to me personally (or indirectly) that they like it or use it. So at least you know that there's at least *something* right in this FAQ. Thanks to them for their support. USING THE FAQ. Tips: 1. Don't print out this FAQ. Unless you feel more comfortable reading a lengthy document on paper, most will find the FAQ more useful in digital form. Why? * The FAQ is updated frequently; you can easily pick out what's new and go there. (When sections are updated, you'll see a "!" or a "+" marker to the left of them in the Contents.) * It's easier to search the FAQ for keywords or stuff you're interested in. * If you need to skip to, say, section 7.2, you just search for "(7.2)" with your text editor or word processor. 2. Allow lots of time. Generally, people tell me that they read the FAQ over a weekend. It's more difficult to read something on the screen then on paper, so allow more time. *Don't* read it at work, for example, because you'll get distracted. (Unless your boss likes VR.5!) Or use the FAQ strictly as a reference, and ignore tips 2 and 3. 3. Remember to take breaks. This FAQ list is *long*. Look away from the screen and walk around every ten minutes. And drink something! :-) 4. Share. Contribute something. If you've enjoyed this FAQ, do something for the online community. The reason why the Internet's grown as large as it has is because folks like you and me benefit from it and then do their part to help it grow. If you've benefited from VR.5: * write some fan fiction. (Lots of examples in the VR.5 Fan Fiction Archive. See section 7.16 for info on how to get it.) * digitize a VR.5-related sound or picture and post it. * set up a web page. * participate in our discussions. * contribute something to this FAQ. * sign the Virtual Storm's petition. (See section 7.17.) Or... * write a FAQ. * set up a web page. * start a newsgroup. * help moderate a group. * help Usenet grow by participating in the discussions in alt.config and news.groups. Thousands of people have -- that's why you see FAQs, newsgroups, and web pages on everything under the sun. That's why the Internet exists. If you've enjoyed something available here, do your part to make something available for someone else. It's fun, too! Thanks for reading! Virtually yours, Augie De Blieck Jr. North Haledon, New Jersey Jonathan Gan San Jose, California (0.2) - Finding this FAQ List There are two ways to access this FAQ file for the time being. The first is by looking into alt.tv.vr5, where it will be posted every three or four weeks. If that fails, look for it in its home on the WWW at http://www.nic.com/~augie/vr5/index.htm (0.3) - Basics If you don't understand terms like "flaming," or "ftp," or you're new to Usenet, jump over to the message conference (newsgroup) called "news.announce.newusers" and read some of the messages posted there. The info there will help you understand Usenet culture, Usenet etiquette ("netiquette"), and various terms and abbreviations. For example, it's always a good idea to "lurk" (read messages and not post them) when you join a new newsgroup. FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) lists like this one will appear, and you'll be able to understand what topics are discussed. It's also a good idea to check over a message for errors in spelling and grammar before posting it. Make sure you're typing in lower case or mixed case (NOT UPPER CASE) to avoid nasty e-mail. If you want to ask a question about the Net, please ask in the newsgroup "news.newusers.questions." Welcome to Usenet! Stop back here and contribute to the discussion when you can. (0.4) - Abbreviations There are some VR.5-specific abbreviations and nicknames that have entered general use by VR.5 fans on Usenet. Here they are: Syd Sydney Bloom (see section 2.9) Sam Samantha Bloom Mr. Taster's Choice Oliver Sampson VR virtual reality TC The Committee The Other the person who is brought into VR "Many Faces," "Alex" "The Many Faces of Alex" Dunc Duncan PTB Powers That Be (like: "Oh, if only the PTB renew VR.5...") splinter group, The The Committee faction trying to link up Splinter Faction, minds (and kill Sydney) that Abernathy TSF belonged to OS Oliver Sampson (usually: "OS/ASH") ASH Anthony Stewart Head The Man, The Keeper, Sydney's unnamed Keeper, revealed in The Tall Mysterious "Reunion" Stranger, Mr. X VS, VStorm Virtual Storm JSY John Sacret Young, VR.5 executive producer/creator Stormers, members of Virtual Storm; fans who like Virtual Stormers and promote VR.5! (1) - IN GENERAL (1.1) - What is VR.5? (from a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>:) Brief Summary: VR.5 is a science fiction/drama series that follows an ordinary telephone lineswoman who tinkers with the technology of virtual reality and is enlisted by a secret organization to aid in assignments that require more than conventional methods of solution. +++ VR.5 is a one-hour science fiction/drama series from acclaimed executive producer/writer/director John Sacret Young ("China Beach") and co-executive producer Thania St. John ("Life Goes On"). Sydney Bloom (Lori Singer) is the daughter of Dr. Joseph Bloom (David McCallum), a neurobiologist on the cutting-edge of virtual reality research and technology. Sydney is haunted by the loss of her father and twin sister in a car accident many years ago. The trauma of this loss was so great that her mother, Nora (Academy Award-winner Louise Fletcher), a psychologist, slips into a coma due to an accidental medication overdose. Her recovery is the key to unlocking Sydney's past. Socially ill-at-ease, Sydney spends her days as a telephone lineswoman for Tel-Cal and her nights as a hacker on a "home-brew" computer system she assembled herself. One night, Sydney inadvertently taps into an open phone line and connects it to her computer modem, bringing the person on the other end into her computer world beyond what we know as virtual reality, what she comes to call VR.5. Utilizing this newfound skill to address issues and solve individual problems that elude conventional solutions, Sydney begins forays into this dimension with a phone call, pulling herself and the person she calls into an environment limited only by the scope of her imagination. As Sydney explores and alters dreams, memories and thoughts, she is subconsciously able to affect real-world behavior. By assessing VR.5 (VR.1 is basic technology, a form of which is used in video games), she has moved through and past the various levels of VR -- at each level, escalating in danger, she becomes closer to knowing and seeing everything. As she goes deeper, she is involuntarily recruited into the enigmatic world of "The Committee," a secret, yet powerful organization with a duplicitous agenda, who enlist her aid in completing difficult and often dangerous assignments, sometimes against her better judgment. Also starring in the series are Michael Easton ("Days of Our Lives") as Duncan, Sydney's childhood friend, a knowing, yet quirky, fun and humorous confidante, and Anthony Stewart Head (the charming neighbor in the Taster's Choice coffee commercials) as Oliver Sampson, Sydney's dashing and dangerous "committee" contact who becomes involved with Sydney in a relationship that takes a "La Femme Nikita" edge. (For a description of "La Femme Nikita," see section 3.25.) (1.2) - Who created the series? (from a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>) VR.5 is produced by Samoset Productions in association with Rysher Entertainment. It was created by Thania St. John, Michael Katleman, Geoffrey Hemwall, Jeannine Renshaw and Adam Cherry. The executive producer is John Sacret Young. John Sacret Young created and was executive producer of "China Beach." He was awarded the Writer's Guild of America Award, his second, for the episode "Souvenirs," which he also directed. He won the Peabody Award for the "Vets" episode that he wrote and directed, which incorporated interviews with Vietnam veterans. Other accolades for his work on "China Beach" include five Emmy Award nominations, the Golden Globe, People's Choice and seven Viewers For Quality Television Awards. All told, the show was nominated for 29 Emmys and eight Writer's Guild Awards, and won 14 Viewers For Quality Television Awards. His additional credits include the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated "Testament," "Romero," starring Raul Julia, for which he also served as executive producer, and "A Rumor of War," a Vietnam-based mini-series that garnered his first Writer's Guild of America Award. He wrote the novel "The Weather Tomorrow" and is now finishing "The Black Rainbow," to be published in 1996. The co-executive producer is Thania St. John. Thania St. John adds her science fiction and dramatic expertise to VR.5 from the hit series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," for which she served as producer. St. John was also a producer of the Emmy Award-winning and critically acclaimed series "Life Goes On." Her extensive television background includes serving as story editor on BOOKER and 21 JUMP STREET and a writer on "Midnight Caller." St. John graduated from Harvard University and received a Masters degree in Film from UCLA. The supervising producer is Michael Katleman. No stranger to science fiction and drama programs, prior to directing the pilot episode of VR.5, Michael Katleman honed his sci-fi skills directing episodes of "X-Files" and "Quantum Leap." He also directed Emmy-nominated episodes of "Northern Exposure," "L.A. Law" and "I'll Fly Away" as well as numerous other television movies, including "The Spider & the Fly" and "A Fight for Jesse." Katleman made his directing debut on another John Sacret Young series, "China Beach." Prior to this, his experiences included work on the films "Predator" and "Commando." The producers are Jack Clements and Naomi Janzen. The co-producer is Geoffrey Hemwall. (1.3) - Why does Sydney use an outdated acoustic modem? FOX hinted at first that Sydney's use of an acoustic modem to go into VR was only superficial. The following comes from an e-mail message sent to Dave Kliman <email@example.com> from FOX <firstname.lastname@example.org>. From: VR5@delphi.com Date: Sat, 22 Apr 1995 18:11:39 -0400 (EDT) Thanks for your comments. Whether your letter was positive or negative, we want to thank you for sending your e-mail on VR.5. We've received thousands of messages in the first few days. While we can only response to a fraction of the letters personally, we want you to know we are READING as many of the comments as we can. Your feedback is being shared with the producers of the show, the FOX promotion department, and the FOX programming executives who work on the series. We are also reading the notes posted on the Internet (alt.tv.x-files, rec.art.tv, and rec.arts.sf.tv to name a few). We heard loud and clear from a number of people about the plausibility (or implausibility) of using an old acoustic modem as a way to connect with others in Virtual Reality Level Five. This issue has sparked a debate about what exactly is facilitating the VR.5 connection - something that will be revealed in subsequent episodes. If you watch future episodes and have additional comments, please write again at "email@example.com". We will continue to listen to your input. Thanks again for the feedback. In other words, FOX seemed to be hinting that the computer and the modem don't actually serve as the tool that sparks the connection. Something else was making the connection, and there was a great deal of speculation in alt.tv.vr5 on what it was. (See section 6.5.) Later, John Sacret Young (executive producer of VR.5) confirmed, in an interview, that the modem doesn't make the VR connection. See section 2.9. In addition, the episode "5D" almost said straight out that the modem and the computer weren't making the connection. Dr. Honeycutt talked about Dr. Bloom's trust in the human brain; that there were only a pre-programmed series of tracks that a computer could use; and that a human brain was full of life. "Reunion" proved that the modem and the computer weren't making the connection. The brains were -- and fiber optics were shown to carry brain waves as well as phone lines did. Why have the acoustic modem at all? "It looks cool!" says Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org>: Oh, on a side note, my husband was having trouble with the old acoustic modem, and I found the perfect answer: Why did they use an acoustic modem? Because it looked cool! This actually satisfied him...:) I stole the line from the guy who wrote the Star Wars Technical Journals. When he gave a presentation at a con, he talked about how impractical the Imperial Walkers really were, design-wise. So why does the Empire use them? "Because they look cool!" This was his answer to any techno-weenie question. It's science-FICTION, after all. Larry Nemecek (who wrote the Star Trek Companion) also put things in perspective. Fans are willing to believe in transporters, warp drive, and all sorts of different things, and then they obsess over Miles O'Brien's rank pips? People make mistakes, and sometimes, technical impossibilities exist to FURTHER THE STORY. The story should be far more important than the special effects used to tell it. (1.4) - VR.5 seems similar to [...]. Am I alone in thinking this? Not at all. VR.5 has been compared to: "The Prisoner" - GOMLB <email@example.com>, Mark Chaffe <firstname.lastname@example.org> "Twin Peaks" - Lorraine Wong <email@example.com> "Quantum Leap" - <firstname.lastname@example.org> "Lawnmower Man" - Radde Majeed <email@example.com> "Wild Palms" - Greg Berigan <firstname.lastname@example.org> "The X-Files" - Lokeria <email@example.com> "Sapphire and Steel" - Jonathan Gan <firstname.lastname@example.org> "Tron" - Andre Tobiassen <email@example.com> "Vertigo" - many; confirmed by members of the VR.5 production team in an online conference as having been intentionally done in "The Many Faces of Alex" -- see section 2.19 for info on how to get a transcript "An Occurrence at - WalterGL <firstname.lastname@example.org>; see section 3.24 Owl Creek Bridge" It even looks like there was a reference to "The Prisoner" in the episode "Simon's Choice." Jon Drukman <email@example.com> wrote: My favorite indirect Prisoner ref in VR5 was in the episode with the traitor who was about to executed. Oliver gives Sydney a piece of paper and says "Just call this number and ask for 'the prisoner' - no names..." (1.5) - What episodes have been broadcast? (Episode Guide) The following information is extracted from the 21 May 1995 edition of SFTV (SF TV Upcoming Episode Titles and News) from Lee Whiteside <firstname.lastname@example.org>. You can get the latest edition of the listing from ftp.hyperion.com in the /pub/TV directory, or on the World Wide Web at: http://www.indirect.com/www/leew/index.html VR.5 (Fox) 3/10/95 Pilot 3/11/95 Pilot (late night repeat) 3/17/95 Dr. Strangechild 3/24/95 Love and Death 3/31/95 5D 4/07/95 Escape 4/14/95 Facing the Fire 4/21/95 Simon's Choice 4/28/95 Control Freak 5/05/95 The Many Faces of Alex 5/12/95 Reunion These three episodes were produced but were not purchased by Fox. TBD Send Me An Angel TBD Sisters TBD Parallel Lives They were, however, shown in early 1997 on the Sci-Fi Channel in America for the first time. An Associated Press wire story says that the three missing episodes were produced for the international market, and 13 episodes were produced for VR.5's first season. Robt_Martin <email@example.com> writes: There was an AP wire story on VR5 a few weeks ago which said that FOX was only committed to nine eps of VR5, but the production company did 13 so it would be an easier sale to foreign television. According to the article, if VR5 was cancelled (as it was), the three eps would remain unseen here. Here's a quote from the AP piece: The episodes were shot after [John Sacret] Young refused a six-episode deal, Fox counteroffered nine and Young's partners decided to make 13 episodes for international packaging. Fox's 10th episode, the season-ending cliff-hanger, airs May 12. William Wood <firstname.lastname@example.org> has prepared and maintained a very comprehensive VR.5 episode guide for the first season, including synopses of the episodes and analysis. The following is the last update from 30 June 1995. After that are entries for the three unaired episodes done in a similar format, and written by Augie De Blieck Jr. <email@example.com>. An HTML-coded version of this episode guide, along with pictures and links, is available on the web: http://www.nic.com/~augie/episodes/episodes.htm ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? VR.5 EPISODE GUIDE -- FIRST SEASON (1995) ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? HEY!! The following is a veritable cornucopia of *SPOILERS*, so proceed at your own risk. It's also full of Canadian spelling. Such is life. This guide was last updated 06/30/95, and will continue to be modified at irregular intervals during the summer; I'll try to post it every month or so. I've finally added Guest Stars--you guys whined about it long enough! >:) Some role information is based on educated guesses on my part; corrections are welcome. The "Missing Data" segment of this guide has been separated out and will be posted by itself for the time being. Prepared by William A. Wood ("Bitter Guy"). Suggestions/encouragement/abuse: firstname.lastname@example.org Duplicate this guide all you want, but don't charge anybody for it, and give me some credit, okay? All rights vis-a-vis the show itself reserved. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE VR.5 was created by: Adam Cherry & Geoffrey Hemwall & Michael Katleman & Jeannine Renshaw and Thania St. John Executive Producer: John Sacret Young Co-executive Producer: Thania St. John Co-executive Producer: Eric Blakeney (2,3,5,6,8) Supervising Producer: Michael Katleman Producer: Naomi Janzen (2-10) Producer: Jack Clements (2-10) Producer: Mel Efros (1) Co-producer: Geoffrey Hemwall ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????? GENERAL OVERVIEW VR.5 is a Fox Television Network show about a reclusive computer enthusiast's quest for the truth about her traumatic past, precipitated by her accidental discovery that she has the ability to communicate via modem with others' subconscious minds in an ill-defined, quasi-virtual realm--an ability that has brought her (back?) to the attention of the mysterious "Committee." The show has currently completed its first season, and its future is uncertain. >:( ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????? RECURRING CHARACTERS Lori Singer (Sydney Bloom) Michael Easton (Duncan) Will Patton (Dr. Frank Morgan)-- episodes 1-4. Anthony Head (Oliver Sampson)--episodes 4-10. David McCallum (Dr. Joseph Bloom) Louise Fletcher (Nora Bloom) Tracey Needham (Samantha Bloom) ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????? THE EPISODES 1. "VR.5" (PILOT) Broadcast 03/10/95 Written by Thania St. John Directed by Michael Katleman Guest Stars: Adam Baldwin (Scott Cooper), Penn Jillette (Kravitz), Kimberly Cullum (Young Samantha), Stephen Mills (The Man), Gammy Singer (Nurse Jackie), Kaci Williams (Young Sydney), Matthew Koruba (Young Duncan), Chris Owen, Noah Verduzco. Synopsis: Sydney Bloom accidentally manifests her VR ability, and in the process of exploring it discovers that the co-worker to whom she is attracted is actually a serial killer. Having inadvertently tipped off an enigmatic secret organization called "the Committee" to what she can do, she is given an offer of employment she can't refuse. Observed Data: VR: VR.5 "connection" lasts only a few seconds in real time; "connection" is made with the subconscious mind of the "connectee" (hereafter called "the Other")--their memory of the events in VR is more impressionistic than detailed, BUT it can alter behaviour; Sydney has full recall of VR.5 events; Sydney's software apparently determines the mental "space" for VR.5. The Committee: TC had some kind of hold over Joseph Bloom--Dr. Bloom seemed afraid of them; the same man who apparently frightened Joseph Bloom into fleeing (to his death) is still in the picture, observing Sydney (hereafter known as "The Man"); TC is powerful enough to fix police investigations. Miscellaneous: Sydney is socially maladroit, with voyeuristic tendencies--Duncan appears to be her only friend; Nora Bloom is either in a waking coma or has suffered brain damage; Sydney survived a suspicious car wreck in which both her fraternal twin sister Samantha and her father died; Joseph Bloom was very interested in computers (back in 1978) before they were commonly available; neither Sydney's phone lines nor her computer are secure; Sydney's e-mail address is "CyberSyd@ibnet.com". 2. "Dr. Strangechild" Broadcast 03/17/95 Written by Eric Blakeney Directed by Michael Katleman Guest Stars: Elya Baskin, Tom Towles, Nicholas Casconna, Erik Avari, Aaron Michael Metchik, Kate Zentall, Kimberly Cullum (Young Samantha), Danny Goldring, Jason Azikiwe, Cully Fredrickson. Synopsis: "The Committee" gives Sydney her first assignment: discover the whereabouts of a teenage genius who has run away from a top secret installation after having made a momentous discovery. In doing so, Sydney has to come to terms with her own sense of solitude. Observed Data: VR: VR.5 can be "conference-called"; although Sydney picks the locale, the Other seems to control the events that take place in that landscape--this may, however, be a question of the Other's will and/or intelligence (if one contrasts the VR.5 experiences of Stuart Fisher and Kravitz, for example). The Committee: "Jimmy Lewis" was the mutual contact between Dr. Morgan and Parkens-Hart security; TC would like to appear at least partially benevolent (tough but tender), as seen in the character of "Mr. Bland" at the end of the episode. Miscellaneous: Sydney moves into a bigger, more "TV-ish" apartment--Duncan is now "next-door"; Duncan knows a lot about new-age spiritualism; Sydney seems to have consciously or unconsciously forgotten some parts of her past, particularly the events surrounding the crash. 3. "Love & Death" Broadcast 03/24/95 Written by Thania St. John Directed by Rob Bowman Guest Stars: George DeLoy (Boothe), Kimberly Cullum (Young Samantha), Carl Strano, Louis Turenne, Jessica Hendra, Peter Spellos, Shane Sweet, Sandra Reinhardt, Bethany Clifton, Wendy Westbrook. Synopsis: Sydney's next assignment is to subconsciously prod Jackson Boothe, a troubled Committee employee, into returning to work. She succeeds, but discovers that he is an assassin, and that the Committee may not be as benevolent as she had first thought. The assassin kills Frank Morgan, Sydney's Committee contact, and a file Dr. Morgan had sent to her slips through Sydney's fingers. Observed Data: VR: Sydney seems to be unique in her ability to survive "high-end" VR, let alone in getting it to work; six or seven people (in Dr. Morgan's experience) have died in VR; the Other's subconscious can "remember" VR.5 events from one contact to the next; Joseph Bloom was apparently part of a team that broke through on VR.3 (Flight Simulation?)--he was important in early VR research, and wrote a paper called "Cyberhelix Recombination". The Committee: TC can "disappear" bodies; TC hires assassins (I guess this ain't the "Knight Foundation for Law & Government"!); Boothe mentions two Committee names: Peters and Hayes; TC may have kept the fact that Sydney survived the crash from Nora, allowing her to attempt suicide. Miscellaneous: Nora Bloom seems to have tried to commit suicide by taking pills--Sydney may have been the one to discover her; Dr. Morgan published his Ph.D. ("Human Brain Reaction to 3-Dimensional Stimulus") in 1979, making him an academic contemporary of Joseph Bloom; Duncan knows a lot about secret societies. 4. "5D" Broadcast 03/31/95 Written by John Sacret Young & Thania St. John Directed by D.J. Caruso Guest Stars: Dan O'Herlihy, George DeLoy (Boothe), Kimberly Cullum (Young Samantha), Jim Holmes, Keith Mills, Kaci Williams (Young Sydney), Matthew Koruba (Young Duncan). Synopsis: Sydney gets a new contact, Oliver Sampson, who pushes her into pursuing Boothe. She conducts her own investigation into what has happened to the body of Dr. Morgan, and discovers that he has been cryogenically preserved. She also discovers her father's blueprint for an organic/molecular computer. Observed Data: VR: Sydney's hardware isn't unique--it can be smashed and replaced; Joseph Bloom taught Sydney, Samantha, and Duncan "brain games"--a possible mental preparation for VR; while in VR.5 with her mother, Sydney sees herself, Samantha, Duncan, and Nora all wearing VR headsets; the Other can become consciously aware of information obtained subconsciously in VR.5 --this may be a result of multiple contacts; Sydney hears her father's voice while in VR.5 with her mother ("Nora, tell her, tell her now!"). The Committee: TC's charter is something like "the unrestricted pursuit of knowledge for the betterment of Man--alternative solutions to social problems". Miscellaneous: Samantha and Sydney may have had fundamentally different weltanschauungen (world views)--Sam saw Buddha as a god, Syd saw him as a man; in general, Samantha seems to have been more aggressive than Sydney. 5. "Escape" Broadcast 04/07/95 Teleplay by John Sacret Young & Thania St. John Story by Thania St. John Directed by Jim Charleston Guest Stars: [the closing credits got cut off for this episode--can anybody help me out here?] Synopsis: A faction of the Committee kidnaps Sydney in order to examine her. In trying to rescue her, Duncan discovers that he, too, can access VR.5. Oliver gives Sydney her father's journal, which was supposed to have been lost in the accident. Observed Data: VR: Duncan has "Sydney-level" access to VR.5; a person can call their own subconscious--i.e., function as their own Other; the Other can be "haunted" by a past connection, in both VR.5 and the real world; Duncan manipulated/tortured Oliver (or did he? Perhaps it was merely Oliver's sense of guilt?), showing evidence that control can be exerted over the Other in VR. The Committee: may be seriously divided into two or more factions with differing methods of operation; whoever kidnapped Sydney not only physically studied her, but was interested in the following intriguing questions: "Were you having sexual relations with Dr. Frank Morgan?" / "Did your father ever take you into VR.5?" / "Did your father ever experiment on you? On your sister?" / "Did your father kill your sister? Did he try to kill you, too?". Miscellaneous: Sydney has two goldfish (Steed & Mrs. Peel). 6. "Facing the Fire" Broadcast 04/14/95 Written by Jeannine Renshaw Directed by Lorraine Senna Ferrara Guest Stars: Shirley Knight, Frank Converse, Meal McDonough, Blair Renshaw, Kevin Carr, Richie Fenner. Synopsis: Sydney, obsessively trying to decipher her father's journal, is assigned to help a test-pilot in a psychiatric hospital. In the process of using VR.5 to help him, however, Sydney plants false memories of child abuse into his sub-conscious--memories that may, in fact, be her own. Sydney also discovers that her father had been a member of the Committee. Observed Data: VR: VR.5 can be relayed to a portable computer; Sydney's own subconscious can forcibly overlay itself on the Other's subconscious, creating false memories in the Other and effectively taking over the scenario; VR.5 can crack "brainwashing" (presumably some kinds of hypnosis). The Committee: TC's seal is a cruciform series of concentric circles surrounded by a motto that reads (in code) "Enter the Labyrinth"; Joseph Bloom may have been in conflict with TC over the contents of his journal. Miscellaneous: Sydney can play basketball; Duncan knows a lot about conspiracy theories; Joseph Bloom's journal was meant to be a legacy to his daughters (or perhaps only one of them); Duncan is now being actively included by Oliver in the missions; Sydney remembers a hand pulling her from the crash. 7. "Simon's Choice" Broadcast 04/21/95 Written by Toni Graphia Directed by Steve Dubin Guest Stars: Robert Davi, Dustin Nguyen, David Brisbin, Jack Rader, William Newman, Robert Phelan, Kaci Williams (Young Sydney), Endre Hules, Edmund L. Shaff, Westin Blakeney, Benjamin Jurand, Yuan Gee Wong. Synopsis: Sydney probes a traitor scheduled for execution in an attempt to discern the motivations for his betrayal. In the process, Sydney must confront her own anger towards her father. Observed Data: VR: Sydney seems to believe that she is the only one that can enter VR.5 (?); Sydney apparently can program a sequence of events as well as a location in VR.5; two Others can share a VR.5 scenario (this was done involuntarily in "Dr. Strangechild")--both are aware of it only subconsciously. The Committee: Oliver apparently did not know Joseph Bloom personally. Miscellaneous: Sydney is a hacker; Oliver's left ear is pierced; Sydney seems to believe, as does TC, that she can access VR.5 because her father "did something to her"; Sydney still owns her childhood home. 8. "Control Freak" Broadcast 04/28/95 Written by Naomi Janzen Directed by Michael Katleman Guest Stars: Markus Flanagan, Tom Mardirosian, Stephen Root, Richard Penn, Carol Kiernan, Frank Whiteman, Johnny Morn, Cynthia Avila. Synopsis: Given the assignment of determining the motives and background of a man holding an airport's control tower hostage, Sydney uncovers a past attempt by the Committee to assassinate Oliver Sampson. Observed Data: VR: Sydney's VR software seems to be some kind of database--she can custom design settings that don't already exist; the Other CAN lie in VR.5, or can at least avoid telling the truth. The Committee: Members don't always know each other (not really a surprise); TC uses their seal on a ring (such as the one Joseph Bloom had) as an identification. Miscellaneous: Oliver lied to the Committee to buy time for his own investigation and, upon confirming that a bomb had been planted to kill him, leaked some version of the truth about Kyle Jarvis to a newspaper-- together these indicate a shift in Oliver's loyalty; Duncan, despite his philosophies, appears to be extremely cynical. 9. "The Many Faces of Alex" Broadcast 05/05/95 Written by Jacquelyn Blain Directed by John Sacret Young Guest Stars: Markie Post (Alex), Jeannine Renshaw, Kathleen Misko, Mark Phelan. Synopsis: Sydney is assigned to a blind contact by an increasingly careless and world-weary Oliver--a contact that turns out to be Oliver's former partner and lover, who may know the whereabouts of Sydney's "late" father and sister. Observed Data: VR: Sydney's father seems to have achieved VR.8 (personality transfer), but may not have accomplished it successfully yet; Sydney can be "kicked out" of VR.5 from within. The Committee: Oliver only started working for TC officially in the last five years, although he was probably working for them unawares before that; TC must be truly international if they were hiding the Blooms (Sam & Joseph) in East Germany; TC seems to have overlooked Alex's feelings for Oliver. Miscellaneous: Oliver seems to have become completely disenchanted with TC; Sydney's father and sister seem to be alive; Samantha may have been publishing monographs under a pseudonym; both twins may have been told that the other was dead; Duncan and Samantha smooched in the sixth grade. 10. "Reunion" Broadcast 05/12/95 Written by Thania St. John Directed by Deborah Reinisch Guest Stars: Turhan Bey (Abernathy), Kimberly Cullum (Young Samantha), Stephen Mills (The Man), Gammy Singer (Nurse Jackie), Kaci Williams (Young Sydney), Matthew Koruba (Young Duncan). Synopsis: Sydney is reunited with her sister. She learns that her father is still alive, and that a faction of The Committee is hunting them. One of Oliver's oldest allies turns out to be a traitor. Oliver, having been ordered to kill Sydney, rebels against The Committee. The fugitives finally make contact with The Man. Sydney's mother is rescued from her coma, but Sydney gets trapped in VR.7 (?). Observed Data: VR: We discover (apparently) the secret of how VR.5 works: Dr. Joseph Bloom has a VR computer set-up that is connected to the telephone lines (presumably locally only?), and the key to accessing VR is retinal patterns...i.e., if the patterns are recognized, the owner gains access to the system; the system has only been up and running again since Dr. Bloom and Samantha started hiding in their old house (Dr. Bloom's secret lab), six months ago; VR can definitely be used to "reprogram" memories, although it seems to work imperfectly; people in VR.6 can work in teams to erase such conditioning because they have access to each other's subconscious minds, which overlap to form "the truth"; "time and space do not function the same way" in VR.7 (a person can get trapped in there). The Committee: there is a fracture at the very centre of TC; TC seems to recruit extensively from within families (they like blood-ties), although if Oliver and Sydney's cases are indicative, family members may not be brought in on the secret until their late twenties; a man named Abernathy was a colleague of Oliver's father (who apparently died for him), and became Oliver's Committee "Keeper" (mentor/control agent/father confessor)--he was also the first known member of the splinter faction (hereafter "TSF"); it was TSF that abducted Dr. Bloom and Samantha 17 years ago (and has presumably held them captive all this time); The Man is apparently on the side of TC opposing TSF, and considers himself Sydney's "Keeper" (and now Oliver's, too--but what about Duncan?). Miscellaneous: the car accident never happened--it was a combination of VR reprogramming and the actual abduction of Sydney's father and sister; Nora Bloom did not attempt suicide, either--she got lost in VR while reprogramming Duncan and Sydney's memories; Samantha and Duncan appear to have had a burgeoning adolescent romance; Joseph Bloom may be insane, having fractured his personality with VR.8 (like Alex). ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? THANKS FOR HELPING/ADDING/PARTICIPATING Jonathan Gan / email@example.com Lisa Cunningham / firstname.lastname@example.org ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Jonathan Gan <email@example.com> listed all the new things he learned after watching "Reunion:" - People from TC took Sam; not an accident - It's been 6 months since the pilot (in the show's time) - Sam has lived 17 years with TC - Sydney knew that Duncan could use VR - "Wolfenstein 3D"-like imagery in VR.7 - Fiber optics were used in the workshop in the episode (instead of phone) - There's been a "fracture at the top" in TC, says the stranger - We hear that there are factions in TC for the first time in the show; Oliver says a renegade faction is trying to kill Syd - Sam and Dr. Bloom were hiding in Germany with the Committee - Abernathy worked with Oliver's father - Committee operates within close-knit family ties (generation to generation) - VR.7 mentioned for first time - Lies; when all three (Duncan/Syd/Sam) together, we get the truth (and several here had predicted that earlier) - Woman who looked after Nora was part of the Committee - Nora tried to erase memories + replace with good ones - Mysterious man changed stories Lori Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org> has made available a 3.3 MB video clip of the last VR.7 scene from the episode. It is available at her WWW site at http://pearl.sri.com/vr5/vr5.htm Here are synopses of the three episodes which didn't air in the United States. [Special thanks to David Shaler and Lisa Cunningham and Jeff Bryer.] 11. "Send Me An Angel" Broadcast N/A Written by Naomi Jenzen & Jeannine Renshaw Directed by Jim Charleston Guest Stars: Armelia McQueen, Barbara K. Whinnery, William Forward, Tracey Needham (Samantha Bloom) Continuity: This episodes comes directly after "Simon's Choice." Synopsis: Syd takes a vacation from the her work for the Committee and returns to her house in Pasadena. There she discovers a tale of a mysterious haunting and fire from the previous inhabitants. While exploring the house, she starts to remember bits and pieces of her past and finally brings Duncan in to help her sort out the memories. She finally brings her mother to the house to see if she can break through but the child who lived there previously shows up. Syd realizes that the house is on fire and Oliver, who has been watching her, breaks into the laboratory at the last minute and rescues Nora as Syd carries the child to safety. Oliver tells Syd that she must explore these mysteries herself as it is the only way she will ever be able to put her past to rest. Observed Data: VR: The machinery is located in the Bloom House's basement which takes retinal scans of people who can be used for VR in the future. Nora's apparent illness is not caused by pills and sunglasses, but rather from VR somehow. Dr. Bloom taught his two daughters a rhyme to help them remember how to get into his secret room downstair where he experimented with VR: E is to Enter the closet ourselves N is to Never tell anyone else T is to Tap with your knuckles times three E is for effort when turning the key R is Run back the latch and find me The Committee: The front door of the Bloom House incorporates a window designed after the Committee's symbol. Miscellaneous: Samantha Bloom is alive. At the end of the episode, we see Mr. X/Syd's Keeper in amongst the crowd gathered outside the Bloom House. 12. "Sisters" Broadcast N/A Written by John Sacret Young Directed by John Sacret Young Guest Stars: Colleen Flynn, Willie Carson, David McCallum (Dr. Bloom) Continuity: This episode takes place after "Dr. Strangechild." Synopsis: Syd investigates the mind of a bank teller who she discovers is stealing. She finds in the VR experiences that she enjoys the sense of danger and excitement related to the excursions she becomes involved with throughout this woman, Janine. This episode also explores Syd's lack of control of the events in VR as well as setting her on a quick course in self-discovery. Observed Data: VR: Sydney tells Duncan what the levels of VR are which are what we see in the opening credits. Morgan shows up in all the permutations of Syd's VR experience, further enforcing the idea that VR picks up on your subconscience and that Morgan was definitely in hers. Miscellaneous: Duncan admits to idolizing Syd's father. He describes the relationship between the Bloom sisters as being one based on one-upsmanship. David Shaler described the episode: There was no VR sequence between Syd and Nora, and there was no mention of her dad being with the Committee. This episode doesn't look like it was redone at all to reflect the new direction the show was taking, maybe because they never intended it to be seen, but it gives you a really good idea of how the writers intended the show to be like originally. 13. Parallel Lives Broadcast N/A Written by Jeannine Renshaw, Thania St. John, John Shirley, John Sacret Young Directed by Guest Stars: Penn Jillette (Kravitz), Billy Burke, Will Patton (Dr. Frank Morgan), Tracey Needham (Samantha Bloom), David McCallum (Doctor Bloom) Continuity: This episode takes place after "The Many Faces of Alex." Synopsis: This episode plays with the concept and characterization of almost every character we have met so far. Much of the dialogue is taken from earlier episodes but it is said by the wrong character under very different circumstances. It involves Duncan waking up to discover that Sam was the one who survived the crash as a child, not Syd (who only appears in one very brief scene), and that the lives of each character are substantially different. It is extremely convoluted and literally requires the viewer to keep track of VR inside VR inside VR. Concepts of reality are toyed with throughout. Observed Data: VR: It is possible to have a VR sequence within a VR sequence within a VR sequence. Miscellaneous: Doctor Bloom is alive and testing Duncan for some unknown reason. Duncan now believes that Sam and Doctor Bloom are alive. Syd is using Compaq computers. (1.6) - Where can I see VR.5? From 10 March 1995 to 12 May 1995, FOX television affiliates broadcasted VR.5 Friday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time (U.S.) and 7 p.m. Central/Mountain time (U.S.). However, VR.5 is now on hiatus and it isn't the case any more. It is, however, on the Sci-Fi Channel Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. now, except when interrupted for movie marathons of one sort or another. And this fall it will move to Thursday nights. Here's how we stand... By country: (Contributors include Andre Tobiassen <email@example.com>, Grail <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Linda Willard <email@example.com>, Lars Johnsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and Kathy Chyla <email@example.com>.) U.S. : Currently and for the foreseeable future, rerunning (all 13 episodes) on the Sci-Fi Channel. CANADA: Currently not on the air. However, select stations did rerun the series, complete with the 3 episodes not shown in the U.S. NORWAY: VR.5 was introduced in Norway in mid-May, 1995. The ratings were "fairly good, considering it's replacing X-Files for the summer," according to Lars Johnsen. The series was rerun in the summer of 1996. Other countries have aired it as well, including Britain (where for some strange and inexplicable reason "Sisters" was not shown), Australia, and India. Sweden, France, and Belgium seem to be seeing it right now, too, from all accounts. (1.7) - Where does VR.5 stand right now? Was it cancelled? Only one season of VR.5 was broadcast, starting on 10 March 1995 (when the pilot was broadcast) and ending on 12 May 1995 (when the season finale was broadcast). Unfortunately, FOX chose not to renew VR.5 for a second season. For information on Virtual Storm, the Internet-based effort to promote VR.5, see section 7.17. The numbers below are from Troy Heagy <firstname.lastname@example.org>'s sci-fi Nielsen ratings lists (in the U.S.). They've been arranged in a chart so you can easily compare results. All dates are in 1995. "Share" means percentage of TV sets tuned to VR.5. Pay attention to VR.5's rank -- 1st place means the most watched show. Week of Rank Rating Share Viewers (estimated) ================================================================= 10-16 April 91st place 4.0 8% 6.5 million 17-23 April 90th place 3.6 7% 6.1 million 24-30 April 85th place 5.2 8% 6.8 million 1-7 May 81st place 3.6 8% 6.5 million 8-14 May 84th place 5.2 8% 7.3 million (season finale) ================================================================= A member of the VR.5 production team, Vrwatch <email@example.com>, wrote this about the VR.5 ratings situation on 7 May 1995: VR.5 is dead last in its time slot. Began with terrific numbers, took second its first couple of weeks with a 15 share. Now hovering around a 7 share (compared to the 23 share any of the ABC shows get on Friday night, and the usual 15-17 or better that X-Files regularly pulls). Here's the relevant list of 8-14 May 1995 sci-fi Nielsen ratings, from Troy Heagy <firstname.lastname@example.org>: PRIME-TIME Ratings: May 8-14(Mon-Sun) SHOW Net/Rating/Share/Viewers in millions 34 Lois & Clark ABC/10.1/18/18.1 41 The X-Files FOX/ 9.4/17/15.5 (tied:ABC Step by Step) 77 Star Trek:Voyager UPN/ 7.1/10/ 8.7 (see note below) 80 Sliders FOX/ 6.6/ 9/ 7.7 84 V.R.5 FOX/ 5.2/ 8/ 7.3 (finale) -- seaQuest DSV pre-empted -- Earth 2 pre-empted 93 shows SEASON FINALES Season rank/Show/Date/Finale Rating 58 Lois & Clark May 21 64 seaQuest DSV May 21 71 The X-Files May 19 + "The Secrets of the X-files" @ 8 PM! 78 Earth 2 ?????? 89 Sliders tonight 95 Voyager May 22? -- V.R.5 May 12 5.2 NA Deep Space 9 Jun 17 NA Babylon 5 Jun 21? Notes: - (R) means rerun - Ranking is based on the rating - 1 Rating point=954,000 homes/96.4 million homes have TVs - Share is percentage of sets tuned to a particular show - Viewers stats based on log/diary entries - Statistics collected by A.C. Nielson Co. from ~4000 households According to "Entertainment Weekly" (2 June 1995), via Mike Rosen <email@example.com>, VR.5 finished 131st with 8.1 million viewers. For comparison, "Sliders" tied for 107th with 10.4 million viewers. (1.8) - When is VR.5 taking place? VR.5 takes place in the present time (as of its original airing.) We learn that "The Many Faces of Alex," broadcast on 5 May 1995, happens in May, 1995. It looks like the action each week happens at about the same dates as when the episodes are broadcast. "Reunion" said it'd been six months since the pilot, when Sydney first went into VR.5. (1.9) - What do VR.5 fans call themselves? There is no set name for fans of the show. Although the topic was once broached and put up for a vote, no definitive answer was ever reached. With the advent of the Virtual Storm, VR.5 fans who helped (and continue to help) in the effort to bring VR.5 back to television have called themselves "Stormers." (1.10) - Is VR.5 being shown anywhere in the world right now? Yes, it is being shown in Sweden, as well as in America on the Sci-Fi Channel. (1.11) - What questions does VR.5 raise? (Missing Data) William Wood <firstname.lastname@example.org> compiled the "VR.5 Missing Data" list below, which is tied to the VR.5 Episode Guide in section 1.5. Here's the 30 June 1995 update. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? VR.5: MISSING DATA--REVEALED? ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? The following are the principal questions raised over the course of the first ten episodes of VR.5; some have been subsequently answered, and I've listed those answers here. The other questions remain open to speculation. I've included some of my own ideas, but they're by no means meant to be authoritative. If you have other ideas (I'm sure you do), perhaps you could drop me a line. I can be reached at: email@example.com These questions are now numbered for your convenience. If you mail me your theory and include the number of the question, perhaps I can start keeping track of the various theories and give credit where it's due. If you have ideas for additional questions, I'll consider those too. Enjoy! Bitter Guy AKA William A. Wood ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? A SHORT GLOSSARY OF ABREVIATIONS AND TERMS ANS = a definitive (?) answer provided by the show (mostly from "Reunion"). Other = the "unwired" half of a VR.5 connection--the person contacted by phone. SPEC = speculation; this is attributed to someone in square brackets ([WAW] for example), which preceeds the speculation; the list of "speculators" to date is at the end of this document. TC = The Committee, especially the "good" faction. "TMFOA" = The Many Faces of Alex, episode 9. TSF = The Splinter Faction, i.e., the "bad" (worse) Committee members, such as Abernathy. ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? MISSING DATA--ANSWERS AND SPECULATION 1. "VR.5" (PILOT) a) Why does Duncan live on the roof of Sydney's building? SPEC: [WAW] I have no idea, but it is presumably a voluntary situation, as I'm sure Syd would let him sleep on her couch if he asked. b) What is the hardware/software/wetware ratio that makes up VR.5? ANS: it appears to be mostly Dr. Bloom's hardware, with software determining location (at least initially), and wetware serving as the key to unlocking the system via retinal indentification. c) Does Duncan remember being passed over in the shower by Sydney in VR.5? 2. "Dr. Strangechild" a) What happened to Penelope (Sydney's bird)? SPEC: [WAW] she probably died in the fire that forced Sydney to change apartments. 3. "Love & Death" a) How does Sydney program VR.5 locations she hasn't seen (i.e., "Boothe's Room")? SPEC: [LC] Sydney can defer to the subconscious of the Other, [WAW] presumably in the expectation that the Other will automatically fill in the details of a supplied title. b) Did Boothe kill Samantha and Joseph? ANS: no. SPEC: [WAW] but he may have thought he did--he may have been the assassin in the German train station that killed the fake Joseph Bloom in "TMFOA"; [LC] Sydney may have projected her subconscious fear that Boothe killed them upon learning that he was an assassin. c) Why was Nora wearing gloves and sunglasses to commit suicide? ANS: these were subconscious clues that Nora had actually been using VR when she went into her coma--i.e., wearing the VR visor and gloves. d) If Nora never realized that Sydney was alive, where did Sydney go after the crash? If Sydney discovered her mother's body, what was the time lag between crash and return home? ANS: Sydney didn't find her mother--those were false memories. e) Where did Sydney grow up? SPEC: [LC] with Duncan's family? [WAW] we have no evidence that Duncan even has a family--after all, he lives on a roof! f) What do Dr.Morgan's last words--"It's not what you think"--mean? SPEC: [WAW] they seem to be a reference to the file he had downloaded to her computer, and which was subsequently erased; perhaps Morgan was more sympathetic to the pain Sydney would feel upon learning that her father was a member of TC than Oliver turned out to be. g) Why is the car in the crash flashbacks different in this episode (sedan) from the one in the pilot (station wagon)? ANS: it doesn't really matter, because the crash never actually happened. SPEC: [LC] the scene was reshot when the pilot was picked up by the network. 4. "5D" a) Why was Dr. Morgan preserved? Who did it? SPEC: [WAW] TSF is probably responsible, but why is still a mystery. b) Why does Sydney have so much baseball equipment (bat, ball, glove) on hand--she's such a loner, and baseball is a team sport: when (if ever) did she play? SPEC: [LC] if she grew up with Duncan, he would include her in neighbourhood games. 5. "Escape" a) Who did Duncan call the last time he used VR.5? If it was Sydney, as is suggested, how did she answer? SPEC: [LC] Duncan and Oliver are already working together--Oliver put the phone to her ear. b) If the letterboxing at the beginning of the episode indicates that the events occurred in VR.5, what does it mean that the scene in which "Oliver" catches Sydney in VR.5 with Duncan is NOT letterboxed? Did Oliver fool Duncan in VR.5, through subjectivity and ambiguity (Oliver states "There is no truth" three times)? Did he, in fact, play a role (possibly a passive one) in Sydney's abduction, stepping in only when it got too rough? ANS: it would appear that Oliver is, in fact, a "good guy". SPEC: [WAW] however, I think the abduction was actually conducted by the "good" Committee (TC), because the questions put to Sydney reveal an ignorance of events that TSF wouldn't have. Oliver may have reluctantly agreed to it (under orders), and then put a stop to it when it got out of hand (more evidence of Oliver's growing rebellion?). c) [LC] Where did Oliver get Dr. Bloom's journal? 6. "Facing The Fire" a) Who pulled Young Sydney from the sinking car? ANS: the hand on her shoulder was a subconscious memory of being disconnected from VR by The Man. b) Does Oliver know that Duncan can access VR.5? ANS: he definitely knows in "Reunion". SPEC: [LC] The Man would know--he disconnected both Duncan and Syd in 1978--and it's possible, therefore, that TC always knew; also, Oliver would be tipped off because how else could Duncan have found the hospital? See also 5a above. [WAW] The fact that Oliver "catches" Sydney using VR.5 on him in "TMFOA" indicates that he is cognizant of having been in VR before, and Duncan is the only real candidate for providing the "experience". It is important to remember, however, that VR wouldn't work until Joseph returned to L.A. and got his computer up and running again... It's quite possible that TC wrote off both Duncan and Sydney as candidates. It's also possible that The Man, whom Oliver did not appear to know, did not share his information with many people--TC is a "need-to-know" organization. c) Did Duncan get around to showing Sydney the "call yourself in VR.5" trick? SPEC: [WAW] no; Sydney doesn't seem inclined to share anything with Duncan, and I think he would take his cue from that. 7. "Simon's Choice" a) What determines the balance of control between Sydney (or Duncan) and the Other? SPEC: [WAW] intelligence and willpower/need. b) Why wasn't Ky uncovered during Simon's trial? He didn't seem hard to find. c) Was Simon actually a member of the Committee? If so, how could he be tried for treason? How "legitimate," or connected with the government, is the Committee? SPEC: [LC] yes, he belonged to TC, but they cut him off because he was both a traitor and an expendable asset. 8. "Control Freak" a) Who tried to kill Oliver? Why did they use such an indiscriminate method when they have been known to employ professionals who work "up close and personal" (like Jackson Boothe)? Why did they only try once? SPEC: [LC] the bomb may have been used to disguise the fact that Oliver was the target; there may also have been other attempts on his life that we don't know about. b) Does Oliver have a cover? How does he wield authority without one? 9. "The Many Faces of Alex" Are Joseph and Samantha actually still alive, or are there minds just tucked away in somebody else (like Nora, maybe)? ANS: yes, they're still alive. SPEC: [WAW] but VR.8 "copies", complete or incomplete, may exist in other people. b) If Joseph and Samantha are not only alive, but together, why would they let Sydney grow up alone? ANS: they have been prisoners until recently, and Dr. Bloom was afraid that Sydney was a Committee stooge. c) Is VR.8 a one-time, permanent transfer or does it make "copies"? ANS: the example of Samantha and Alex seems to indicate that it makes copies. d) If the crash in which her family died isn't real, who programmed Sydney, and why? ANS: Nora "reprogrammed" both Sydney and Duncan in order to hide their knowledge of VR. e) If the crash is fake, how much of Sydney's last 17 years is real? f) Is Duncan a traitor (i.e., does he work for TC)? How did TC know where Oliver and Alex would be? SPEC: [WAW] Duncan is probably not working for TC proper--he just helps Syd either directly or indirectly, through Oliver. Oliver may have told Abernathy where he was going, or Abernathy's people might have been tailing Joseph and Samantha, or Oliver could have been traced via his cellular phone, or Sydney's phone could be bugged, etc., etc., etc. g) Who took Alex from the safe house? Who tried to kill Oliver and/or Sydney? Who killed Alex (in reality and/or in VR.5)? ANS: TSF and/or Abernathy. h) [LC] The implication is made that Dr. Bloom also transfered his mind via VR.8, but too whom? 10. "Reunion" a) Why didn't Dr. Bloom just examine Sydney in VR if he was worried about her loyalties? ANS: Joseph seems to be insane, and very, very fearful; when Sam initiated contact with Syd, he chose instead to flee. b) Could Samantha and Joseph "eavesdrop" on Sydney's VR trips (she was using their system, after all)? SPEC: [WAW] yes; this is probably the source of the voiceover when Sydney is in VR.5 with Nora in "5D". c) According to Fox's material on the show, VR.7 is telepathy, "without the need for a computer." If this is the case, why were Sydney and Nora hooked up together by computer? Shouldn't it be VR.6? SPEC: [WAW] VR.7 is a deeper version of VR.6 that uses "different parts of the brain," but still works through the computer system--the Fox materials are out-of-date/wrong. d) [LC] How come Samantha knew who Oliver was, if he was ignorant of her? Is there an exchange of knowledge when VR.8 is used, rather than just a one-way copy (i.e., did Sam get some of Alex's memories)? e) [LC] What is the exact nature of the retinal ID system? If it was wired into the phone lines 17 years ago, wouldn't that part have been replaced by now? SPEC: [WAW] I think Joseph's system is tapping ALL the local lines looking for a VR signal, and connecting with that signal in order to "screen" the call and activate VR.5 upon recognition--if the retina pattern doesn't pass, the system activates a lethal subroutine to burn out the user's mind (a fairly paranoid set-up; it may not have been so nasty in 1978 when Joseph was still sane). f) [LC] Should Sydney trust Samantha? g) [LC] Oliver indicates that TC likes blood-ties; does Duncan have any? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? KEY TO SPECULATIONS AND ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS [WAW] firstname.lastname@example.org [LC] email@example.com ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Karen <firstname.lastname@example.org> also asked: Why did Sidney go to the railroad guy's house, planning to ask if Morgan had e-mailed him the file on her father, and then do nothing but talk about trains and DNA? (2) - THE CHARACTERS (2.1) - Who are the main characters in VR.5? Section 1.1 contains descriptions of most of the characters; this section serves to provide some extra information and to summarize the list of characters. (Some of this information is from a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>. William A. Wood <email@example.com> provided the information about Dr. Frank Morgan. Kenneth Higa <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided the information about Samantha Bloom.) Sydney Bloom (Lori Singer) - The main character in the series Duncan (Michael Easton) - Sydney's protector; a childhood friend Dr. Joseph Bloom (David McCallum) - Sydney's father Nora Bloom (Louise Fletcher) - Sydney's mother Dr. Frank Morgan (Will Patton) - Sydney's contact with the Committee through the first three episodes Oliver Sampson (Anthony Head) - Sydney's contact with the Committee after the third episode Samantha Bloom (Tracey Needham) - Sydney's sister as an adult, in "Reunion" In the first three episodes (the pilot, "Dr. Strangechild," and "Love and Death"), Dr. Frank Morgan (Will Patton) was Sydney's contact. (See section 2.4 for more.) (2.2) - Who plays the characters? Haven't I seen [...] in [...]? Below are mini-biographies on the main characters, from a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>. LORI SINGER (Sydney Bloom on VR.5) Following her cello training at The Juilliard School in New York at 14, Singer began performing with orchestras. Moving to acting, she started her career as a lead in the television series "Fame." After her first season on the show, she starred in the television movie "Born Beautiful," winning a Silver Halo Award. This was followed by rock concert tours in England and two "Kids from Fame" albums on which she sang and played cello. After her second season on "Fame," she made her feature film debut in "Footloose." Keeping busy ever since, she also co-starred in "The Falcon and the Snowman," "The Man With One Red Shoe" with Tom Hanks, "Trouble in Mind" and, most recently, her Golden Globe Award-winning performance in Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," in which she played concertos from Victor Herbert and Dvorak. She also starred in "Equinox," "Warlock," "Made in USA," "Storm and Sorrow" and "Roxy," which she co-produced. She just completed filming "F.T.W.," with Mickey Rourke, to be released in the spring of 1995. Singer was born June 11 in Beaumont, TX. She is bi-coastal, living in New York and Los Angeles. MICHAEL EASTON (Duncan on VR.5) Born Feb. 15 in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Michael Easton is best known for his role of "Tanner" in the serial "Days of Our Lives," which lead to his selection as the only daytime performer recognized in People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" of 1992 issue. His other television credits include the mini-series "Dazzle" and the movie "Shadow of a Stranger." Aside from acting, Easton likes to write poetry and screenplays. This form of self-expression comes alive in "Drift," a collection of thoughts written during a ten-month journey through New Mexico, Louisiana, New Orleans, Florida and New York. His screenplays include "Monty," which portrays the life of Montgomery Clift, and the now-in-development "Sadness of the Moon," the true life story of a teenage girl unjustly institutionalized and her one-year battle to get out. Easton received a degree in English and History from UCLA. He is single and resides in Hollywood. DAVID McCALLUM (Dr. Joseph Bloom on VR.5) Born Sept. 19 in Glasgow, Scotland, David McCallum has enjoyed an extensive career on both sides of the Atlantic and is best known to the American audience as Illya Kuryakin in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." His long list of television credits includes guest starring on the series "Murder, She Wrote," "seaQuest DSV," "Matlock," and "The Father Dowling Mysteries" and in the movies "Shattered Image," "Behind Enemy Lines," and "Hauser's Memory." In feature films, he most recently appeared in "Hear My Song" and "Dirty Weekend." His theater credits include playing Lewis Carrol in "The Hunting of the Shark" at the Prince Edward Theatre in London and King Henry II on a tour of the United Kingdom in "The Lion in Winter." McCallum lives in New York with his wife, Katherine. He has four children: Paul, Val, Peter, and Sophie. LOUISE FLETCHER (Nora Bloom on VR.5) Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Louise Fletcher ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) was born July 22 in Birmingham, Ala. In addition to VR.5, she has a recurring role on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Her numerous television credits include starring in the mystery series "The Boys of Twilight"; co-starring in the mini-series "In A Child's Name"; and guest starring on the series TALES FROM THE CRYPT, "The Twilight Zone," "Playhouse 90," "Yancy Derringer" and "Perry Mason," among others, and in the television movies "Can Ellen Be Saved?," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "A Summer To Remember." Her feature film credits include "Brainstorm," which was the first movie about virtual reality, Robert Altman's "Thieves Like Us," "The Cheap Detective" from Neil Simon, "The Boy Who Could Fly," "Two Moon Junction" and "Blind Vision." She's also in production on "Virtuosity," which stars Denzel Washington. Fletcher lives in Los Angeles. She has two sons, John and Andy. ANTHONY STEWART HEAD (Oliver Sampson on VR.5) Known to the American television audience as the charming neighbor in the award-winning Taster's Choice coffee commercials, Anthony Stewart Head was born Feb. 20 in Camden Town, North London. He trained at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts. His first role following graduation was Jesus Christ in the national tour of "Godspell." Additional theater credits include "yonadab" at The Royal National Theatre in England, "Chess," "Lady Windermere's Fan," "The Heiress" and Frank N. Furter in "The Rocky Horror Show" in the West End revival. Most recently, he received critical acclaim for his performance as Rupert Cayell in "Rope." While he has worked on many British television productions, he's also appeared on the American series "Highlander" and in the feature film "Royce," with Jim Belushi. Head and his companion, Sarah, live in England and Los Angeles with their two daughters, Emily Rose and Daisy May. Lee Lefler <email@example.com> wrote this in response to the information on Lori Singer from the above FOX press release: Fox missed at least one. 'F.T.W' has already been released. It's also called 'The Last Ride', (FTW are the initials of Mickey Roarke's character), and was on cable several months ago. I did a search on one of the movie web pages and it listed the movie as being released in 1994. Here's Mark Gerl's <firstname.lastname@example.org> take on Lori Singer: As someone already suggested, she had her start on the TV series of "Fame" from '82-'83. But my fond memory of Lori Singer is from her non-blond part of the wild Pastor's daughter Ariel in Footloose. She also had a memorable role in Warlock (cool movie btw). Her movies also include: Equinox, F.T.W., Falcon and the Snowman, Ladybugs, Made in USA, Man with One Red Shoe, Short Cuts, Summer Heat, Sunset Grill, and Trouble in Mind. Ian Philip Schechter <email@example.com> added this tidbit on Lori Singer: She is also the sister of Marc Singer the star of the BEASTMASTER series and the short lived V TV show. David Shaler <firstname.lastname@example.org> found this information at the beginning of May 1995: Lori Singer is in this week's People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people. So is John Grisham, who isn't in VR.5, but looks a hell of alot like Oliver. Terri Ann <email@example.com> dug up some additional information on Anthony Head that FOX didn't share. (Thanks to her for sending it.) The following comes from the 20 May 1991 edition of People Magazine (U.S.; "Sex by the Cupful" by Tim Allis, Laura Sanderson Healy, and Lorenzo Benet; pp. 94-95): According to the article, Anthony Head was born on 20 February 1954 to Seafield Head, a documentary filmmaker, and Helen Shingler, an actress. He was raised in Hampton, which is near London. Unmarried, he lives with his companion Sarah Fisher, who is a former theater administrator. His daughter Emily was born in 1989, and his daughter Daisy was born in 1991. His brother, Murray, is famous for the lead in the musical "Chess," a role which Tony later took over. Terri added: And I don't know how much stock to put into this, but according to the Cardiff Movie Database, Tony Head also played the role of "Anton" in "Lady Chatterly's Lover", a soft-core porn flick starring Sylvia Kristel that was filmed in the late 70's/early 80's. There's more on Lori Singer. Thanks to Ed Sarfeld <firstname.lastname@example.org> for sending in the following article, transcribed and distributed by Pinar Miski and from Mahmut Miski <email@example.com>: "Tuned in to virtual reality" By Eirik Knutzen A cellist of great talent and promise, Lori Singer was accepted at New York's famed Juilliard School at the age of 14. Juilliard's youngest undergraduate student, the daughter of a symphony conductor and a concert pianist, made her debut as a soloist with the Western Washington Symphony a year later. At 17, Singer was flown to Venezuela as a soloist for three performances with the Caracas Symphony, and as the first cellist of the Juilliard Concert Orchestra was in great demand all over North America. She loved her instrument, but inspired by her actor brother Marc Singer-who starred as Mike Donovan in the sci-fi series "V" (1984-1985)-she took a few acting lessons on the side. The extracurricular activities paid off a couple of years later when she was cast as the tall, blond and leggy cellist Julie Miller in the TV version of "Fame" (1982-1987). She managed to get out of her contract when "Fame" left the ABC Network for the first-run syndication in 1983 and promptly began her feature film career in "Footloose." It was followed by a number of good and bad films, including "The Falcon and the Snowman," "Trouble in Mind," "Summer Heat," "Warlock," "Sunset Grill," "Short Cuts," and "The Last Ride." Singer, 33, was perfectly content to divide her time between classical music and motion pictures (she played the cello on the soundtrack of "Short Cuts") until "VR.5" came along. The story and the lead character, originally written for a man, simply "looked too interesting" to pass up. The science-fiction/drama series executive-produced by John Sacret Young ("China Beach") and Thania St. John ("Life Goes On") airs on Fox (Channel 29) Fridays at 8:00 p.m. The show revolves around Singer's character, Sydney Allen Bloom-a telephone worker by day and super-hacker by night. Wonderfully weird and obtuse in every way, including the brilliant special effects, "VR.5" chronicles the life and times of Bloom, as her jury-rigged supercomputer taps into telephone lines and allows her to enter the subconscious minds of unsuspecting nerds who come in contact with her via modems. At "VR.5" (VR.1 is basic technology employed in video games), she has moved into a state of virtual reality unknown to mere mortals. But somewhere in the remote reaches of cyberspace, she encounters The Committee-a quasi-government agency seeking to control her powers for its own dark purposes. The 5-foot-10 actress towers over her supporting case who include David McCallum as her late neurobiologist father, Dr. Joseph Bloom, and Louise Fletcher as her catatonic mother, Nora. Sydney, who is haunted by a car accident 17 years before in which she may have lost her father and twin sister, is comforted to some degree by her lifelong friend Duncan (Michael Easton), and the guidance of her dashing-yet-dangerous mentor from the Committee, Oliver Sampson (Anthony Stewart Head). All live in the realm where nothing is real. Singer, who rates herself computer literate, says she's "fascinated by the whole process of making 'VR.5' because I find the whole idea of virtual reality compelling. Not only could it stimulate everything from surgical procedures to space exploration, but it could be the drug of the future if it indeed could penetrate the subconscious. I guess it would be like LSD to certain people in the 60's. We're taking artistic license here, I guess. I don't think you can step into anyone's subconscious, but you never know." [Whether the show will have a chance to gain a wilder fame remains yet to be seen. "Some people in Fox love it, and some others think it's too far out there," producer Young said recently. "Its numbers, while starting fantastically, have gone down to where 'X-Files' was when it first came on."] Singer, the daughter of Leslie Singer and the late Jacques Singer, was born near Beaumont, Texas, and reared along with three brothers (including her violinist twin, Gregory, and Claude, the writer) wherever her father took up a baton. Her childhood stops included London; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Immersed in music since birth, Singer fell in love with the cello the first time she heard Leonard Rose play the instrument as a soloist for one of her father's symphony orchestras. "I was just a little kid when I first heard Leonard Rose play, but I took up the cello right away in public school," she says. "When I felt that I was ready to study with him at Juilliard, my family happened to move to New York City. It was all fate. And I received a tremendous education there for five years before moving on to 'Fame' and the movies. I'll always keep my hand in music, like the work I did in 'Short Cuts.' And in a few months, I'm scheduled to record got a French subsidiary of Virgin Records." An ardent New Yorker, she rents rooms in Westside hotels while working in Los Angeles. The Southern California climate, perhaps counterbalanced by the threat of earthquakes, is not enough to lure her away from Manhattan's rain, sleet and snow. "L.A. is a tremendous place to work; New York is a place to live because of its diversity," she says. "I feel closer to my background there, closer to Carnegie Hall as wall as Europe. It's a city where you feel anything is possible, which makes life fun and interesting." Singer's mother teaches at New York's St. Thomas Choir School, and old school chums and new friends from music circles seem abundant in the no problem if I want to play chamber music at home. I just call a bunch of friends over to my apartment. We usually start at about 9 at night and finish up about 2 in the morning. It's fantastic; it's a creative world I can't do without." Singer, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Daryl Hannah and several other blonds on the big screen, claims to have no personal life at all while spending "what seems like 20 hour days" on the set of "VR.5." An intensely private person, she deflects all questions about her romantic life gently, but firmly. "Let's just say I'm involved with someone," she says. Alan Light <firstname.lastname@example.org> doesn't agree with the article, though, which (written in 1995) said Lori Singer was 33 years old. Alan sent this in: Lori Singer is a relative of my former college roommate. 10 years ago, she was 4 years older than me (I'm 33). Somehow in the last 10 years I've aged 10 years while she has aged only 6. I wonder how that happened? Jonathan Gan checked the Internet Movie Database for the "definitive" answer -- a very comprehensive collection of information about movies, actors, and actresses, compiled by folks on the Internet. It's available on the World Wide Web at: http://www.imdb.com The information in the Internet Movie Database gives these birthdates and birthplaces for some of the main characters in VR.5: Lori Singer (Sydney Bloom) born 6 May 1962 in Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.A. Michael Easton (Duncan) born 15 February 1967 in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Will Patton (Dr. Frank Morgan) born 14 June 1954 in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A. Based on that information, Singer is 33 in 1995. And who was Tracey Needham (Samantha Bloom as an adult)? Erik, "The Mad Poet" <email@example.com> wrote: Tracey Needham played Paige Thatcher (the eldest daughter) on "Life Goes On." I think she was the second actress to play the part, but I'm not sure. Anyway, she was playing the part when the series was cancelled. She also played Bonnie in a made-for-TV remake of "Bonnie and Clyde." In "Reunion," we discovered that Oliver Sampson had a "keeper" -- a sort of adviser and mentor -- called Abernathy, who later died in the episode. SLefever <firstname.lastname@example.org> recognized the man who played Abernathy: In rewatching reunion last night, I noticed that Abernathy was played by Tuhan Bey, a childhood idol of mine. He made about 30 movies in the 1940's, my favorite being "The Mummy's Tomb." Great Saturday morning TV viewing. He's Czeck and Turkish and played a lot of mysterious and villainous roles. He should be about 75 years old now according to Katz's Film Encyclopedia. Donna Solomon <email@example.com> and Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org> noticed Turhan Bey (Abernathy) had appeared in the second-season, Hugo Award-winning episode of Babylon 5 entitled "The Coming of Shadows." He played the part of the Centauri Emperor. If you're an Anthony Head fan, Terri Ann <email@example.com> writes: Ladies, consider this a major VIDEO ALERT for a certain coffee man/transvestite/dangerous secret agent/etc....if y'all can, rent "A PrAayer for the Dying". Granted, Mr. Coffee only had a small role, but trust me, it'll be worth the $3.00 plus tax to your local Blockbuster (or other favorite video store) once you get to the end of the movie. I won't spoil it for you all, but let's just say I hope our Taster's Choice can swim. ;) PS -- Bonus prize for anyone who can figure out if that's a tattoo or a scar on his left shoulder! Anthony was in a first season episode of Highlander. Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: I found the answer to my own darn question from earlier. Anthony Head was in a first season episode of Highlander. It was called "Nowhere to Run." He played the part of Allan Rothwood. According to the plot synopsis on the Highlander web page that I stumbled across, the obligatory guest-star Immortal is a mercenary. This Immortal's step-daughter is raped by a diplomat's son. Duncan then has to defend everybody (including the diplomat's son) from the mercenary Immortal, who is not too happy about the situation and plans to do something about it. The plot synopsis included some mysterious numbers at the top of the entry. I'll assume they were production numbers of some sort. The numbers were 1.21 and 92125-2. And those mysterious numbers? Grail <email@example.com> answers: 1.21 is the episode number and season - episode 21, season 1. 92125-2 is an incomplete production code. Since "Nowhere to Run" wasn't the second episode, I think it was probably 92125-21 or something like that (the episodes were produced out of order). According to RavvitEars <firstname.lastname@example.org>, you can find Will Patton as the bad guy in "No Way Out" with Costner and Hackman, and in "Desperately Seeking Susan." Erin <AmalieLoft@aol.com> noticed that Kimberly Cullum (one of the young twins) was a frequent guest on the 1995-1996 sit-com "Bless This House." Erin also notes that Cullum appeared in an episode of "Home Improvment" that same season. (2.3) - Where are they now? LORI SINGER To the best of our knowledge, Lori Singer is currently not working. The New York Post reported on 17 January 1996 that she was involved in a legal battle with her estranged husband over custody of their child. Unfortunately, there has not been a follow-up article, and so the outcome remains unclear. John Sacret Young also reports that he heard from her after his last series, "ORLEANS," aired, to wish him luck. ANTHONY HEAD Anthony Head plays librarian/watcher Rupert Giles on the WB's new hit drama "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." He also reports that more Taster's Choice commercials are coming, but refuses to give details. MICHAEL EASTON Easton starred in the syndicated one-hour drama series "TWO" in the 1996-7 season. He played twins - the evil one having framed the good one for a series of murders. I maintained the FAQ for the series which can be found at http://www.nic.com/~augie/two/two.htm TWO lasted one season and was cancelled. Katherine D. Chyla <email@example.com> reports that Easton also did a guest role on CBS' "Diagnosis Murder" in the 1995-'96 season. WILL PATTON Patton was seen in the Summer '96 movie "Fled" with Laurence Fishburne. Before that, he played a police officer in the movie "Copycat" and scientist Dr. Graves in "Puppet Masters." He's now co-starring in the upcoming Kevin costner film, "The Postman." A press release about the movie is available from Warner Brothers: http://pathfinder.com/@@ZWJ7YAcAKawyVRKv/Corp/officialword/wbpr/postman.html TRACEY NEEDHAM Needham quckly picked up work on NBC's "JAG" series. NBC then cancelled the show and CBS picked it up as a mid-season replacement for the 1996-97 television season. A JAG home page <http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/5158/jag.htm> reported the following: ----- Latest News (Thank you to all AOL members for the news: SuzRose, Jenny, and others) Please remember however, that this is from internet sources and has NOT been mentioned in the media (so keep your hopes up!!) btw, thanx Suzanne :) With many people (including myself) disappointed that TN is no longer on the show, maybe we should start a write-in campaign. The combined total of mailing list members and AOL JAG board members would be about 950. Anyone interested, see below for addresses to write to. Tracey Needham was not fired from the show she left in mutual agreement with Mr.Bellisario. (9/4/96) Tracey Needham is no longer with JAG. Harm has a new partner named "Mac", played by actress Catherine Bell (played the woman who Harm was accused of murdering in "Skeleton Crew/Death Watch") Filming for the new shows started on August 19 and should start sometime in October as a mid-season replacement on CBS. (9/2/96) They are replacing Meg with a new character because of in-fighting between Donald Bellisario (creator) and NBC. With the move to CBS, DB wanted to have Kate back but was forced to add a new character. Also, Lt JG Roberts, who was in the pilot, returns in the new season. (9/2/96) It seems that the rumor is true! (NO!!) A Marine major named "Mac" will be assigned to JAG and become Harm's new partner. No report of whether Tracey Needham was fired, or quit, or what! (9/1/96) There has been an unconfirmed report on the JAG AOL board that Harm is going to get a new partner and there will be some new cast members. Hopefully this isn't true. Also, it seems that CBS will not be showing the season one finale "Death Watch" when it is picked up as a mid-season replacement. (9/1/96) ----- She is currently slated to star in a new Steven Bochco drama to begin airing in Fall 1997 on Saturday nights. DAVID McCALLUM Erin <firstname.lastname@example.org> reports that McCallum hosted "Ancient Prophecies," an NBC special opposite the Grammies on 28 Feb 96. LOUISE FLETCHER Fletcher continues her role on Star Trek: Deep Space 9, and played a role in the summer '95 flop, "Virtuosity." In connection with that movie, she made an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show. VR.5 was not mentioned at all. JOHN SACRET YOUNG VR.5's executive producer, JSY created CBS' "ORLEANS" starring Larry Hagman, which lasted all of six episodes before being cancelled itself. (2.4) - Is Dr. Frank Morgan still alive? The VR.5 writers shocked fans when Sydney saw Jackson Booth stab Dr. Frank Morgan (Will Patton) in an alley, in "Love and Death." Dr. Morgan was Sydney's contact with the Committee and a main character in the series. The next episode, "5D," however, showed us Dr. Morgan's funeral, Sydney's new contact (Oliver Sampson), and the revelation that Dr. Morgan was "on ice" -- he was cryogenically frozen. Any questions as to who did this, why they froze him, who was killed in the alley by Jackson Booth, and why Morgan hasn't been thawed out remain unanswered. And Morgan's last words, "It's not what you think," tell us that there's something more to the story than we know. J Scalia <email@example.com> had a theory: Dr. Morgan is probably a DNA experiment and that is why he's on ice. He was probably the prototype that the railroad guy was talking about. He probably never knew it, but was getting close to the truth and therefore needed to be terminated. If you'd like some *real* information on cryonics, check out the Cryonics Frequently Asked Questions List, by Tim Freeman <firstname.lastname@example.org>. It's a fascinating compilation of information about the scientific and moral aspects of cryonics, and it's a *must-read* for all VR.5 fans. (2.5) - Why doesn't Duncan die in VR? Dr. Frank Morgan tells Sydney early on in the series that people have tried to go into VR.5, but all have died except Sydney. Speculation in alt.tv.vr5 (based on some clues found in the series) is that Sydney's father manipulated the DNA of Samantha, Duncan, and Sydney, giving them the ability to go into VR.5. For more on this, see section 6.5. In "Reunion," we finally learned that Dr. Bloom had set up a system to scan the retina pattern of anyone trying to go into VR. Anyone without the same retina pattern as one of those programmed in (Sydney's, Samantha's, and Duncan's) would, presumably, die. (2.6) - What do the characters do for a living? It's established in the pilot that Sydney is a lineswoman for the local telephone company, Tel-Cal. In "Simon's Choice," we find that Duncan earns a living as an artist recycling junk into abstract sculptures. (Thanks to <email@example.com> for this information.) Finally, Oliver Sampson works for the Committee. For all of the first season but the season finale, Nora Bloom was a vegetable and several other recurring characters were dead and seen only through VR or in flashbacks. In "Reunion," the final episode in the first season, Samantha was found to be alive; Nora Bloom was rescued; and we saw Dr. Bloom outside the house, hiding in the bushes. (2.7) - Is it true that Sydney was originally supposed to be male? Yes, according to Tom Scalf <firstname.lastname@example.org>. He'd read an article on 16 April 1995: The 4/16 Washington (DC) Post TV Week 'zine has an interview/feature article on Lori Singer and VR5. In the article, she says that in the original concept and scripts, Sidney was a man! The sex change occurred when she got the role. Gender neutral names are great aren't they. (-; That, of course, also helps explain why Sydney is spelled the way it is. Obviously, before Lori Singer got the role, Sydney was supposed to be spelled, "Sidney." (2.8) - What does Duncan call Sydney? "Syd." It's not explicitly spelled out anywhere in the show, but the folks on alt.tv.vr5 have decided to use this non-standard abbreviation of "Sydney." (2.9) - Have members of the VR.5 cast and crew been interviewed? Yes! John Sacret Young was interviewed on 3 May 1995. Brian Mayberry <email@example.com> wrote this announcement: The producer of VR.5 is going to be interviewed on "Fresh Air" by Teri Gross(?). The radio show is a product of National Public Radio and should be available on public radio stations. Mike Dowd <firstname.lastname@example.org> told us what happened in the "Fresh Air" interview. He wrote: John Sacret Young (VR5 producer) was on Fresh Air (on NPR) today. He revealed that, as many suspected, Sydney's ability to enter VR5 is linked to her brain (and her father's brain) rather than to some strange function of antique acoustic modems. Michael Easton (Duncan) spoke about the show on 12 May 1995. Terri Ann <email@example.com> posted a transcript: The following aired Friday, May 12th on the Fox station WTTG in Washington, D.C. Michael Easton tends to stutter and stammer a lot, so portions in brackets are my interpretation of what he was trying to get across. Excuse any typos in advance. Tracey Neale: Earlier tonight many of you watched the season finale of Fox's new sci-fi hit VR.5. Not since the X-files has a series generated so much interest and so quickly become a kind of cult favorite. TN Voice-over: The 1 hour science fiction drama follows an ordinary woman named Sydney Bloom, played by Lori Singer. Sydney works on telephone lines and tinkers with the technology of virtual reality. She is enlisted by a secret organization to aid in assignments that require more than conventional solution methods. Former Days of Our Lives heart-throb Michael Easton plays Sydney's skeptical next door neighbor. Michael Easton: Whereas Syd is sort of...into the VR and really methodical, Duncan is sort of [a crazy eccentric neighbor] who is reluctantly getting involved in...in virtual reality. He's sort of very standoffish. I mean, Duncan would be, uh, 'Hey, you wanna' go bunjee jupm, you go bunjee jump. You don't do it in a computer.' But now he's slowly sort of seeing the benefits of virtual reality. So I think he represents that segment of the audience that's sort of spooked by technology. "It really came out of left field. I mean, it's a tough sell to show. I mean, it's challenging, it demands a lot from the viewer. And, uh, we've just been really overwhelmed with the response, you know? To get the critics and sort of, the audience alike has been a real, like, double blessing. "I think people are really bored w/ stuff that's going on, and it's just [it's right] to try and bring in a new audience. Umm, I mean, it doesn't appeal to everybody, I don't think it will. "We're at a level where it's no longer computer generated graphics. Uh, VR.5's a level where you're entering into people's subconscious. So therefore, the things you see back [in the goggles], uh, resemble more your dreams. Uhh, colors are distorted, the fim moves faster, some of it's in black and white. So aesthetically it's unlike any show I think you'll see on television. "[It's] like the mind is like the last great frontier of capitalism. I mean, people will be exploring it and seeing where you can go with your imagination." TN: No word yet on plans for VR.5 on Fox for next season. But if you like it, keep your fingers crossed. Background clips came mainly from "Simon's Choice" and "Many Faces of Alex". There were also some scenes between Syd and Dunc that I couldn't tell where they came from. Phousel <firstname.lastname@example.org> said Michael Easton was listed as a guest for the "Jon Stewart Show" for Monday, 3 April 1995. Karen <email@example.com> posted her reaction to Michael's appearance: Okay, his performance on the "Jon Stewart Show" wasn't stellar, but Stewart didn't really ask him any stellar questions either. Where was he going with the Spring Break/50 Most Beautiful People line of questioning? Did he really expect Michael to say, "Yeah, I'm hot, I get laid all the time"? Phousel <firstname.lastname@example.org> agreed: I agree with the analysis of the Jon show. I think it was his 1st appearance in about two years. Michael gets very nervous about those things. He did seem to loosen up in the second segment. ...and Miss Angst <email@example.com> agreed with both of them: Yeah, I was wondering what was up with him too, and then he lifted the mug to take a sip and his hands were visibly SHAKING!!! so I forgive him. <g> SwagSu <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote this on 14 April 1995: I saw an interview last week with David McCallum sounded very enthusiastic (sp) about the show. Did say his own children couldn't watch the drowning scene (too real) Please see section 2.19 to find out how to get transcripts of online conversations between the cast/crew and fans! (2.10) - Why was Dr. Morgan written out of the show in "Love and Death?" We know that Jackson Booth killed Dr. Frank Morgan (Will Patton) in an alley, in "Love and Death." (See section 2.4.) But is there a "real life" reason for Patton to have been written out of the show? Mark Koldys <email@example.com> wrote: The producers didn't care for the chemistry (or lack thereof) with Lori Singer, and thought the new guy had more potential for developing, possibly in a romantic vein. One of the writers posted something to this effect on CompuServe. John Sacret Young, when asked about Will Patton during a 28 May 97 chat appearance courtesy Sci-Fi Channel, played very coy. It wasn't hard to read into what he said that Patton and he had some problems on the set. (2.11) - What happened with Oliver and Alex in the past? "The Many Faces of Alex" raised questions about Oliver Sampson's past life, introducing Alex (Markie Post) as a spy and Oliver's former lover. Ashley Majzels <firstname.lastname@example.org> speculated: Oliver was a federal agent, and Alex was a Committee agent although Oliver didn't know that. After the decoy was shot, Alex went off to rendevous with the Blooms (Dr and Sam). Dr Bloom VR.8'd Alex, giving her Sam's personality (and the ability to VR, one would suppose) John Dobbin <email@example.com> tried to explain Alex and Oliver in the context of the episode's storyline: Two weeks ago I suggested the possibilty that Dr. Bloom and Samantha were still alive. It seemed a good bet. One thing is clear about the most recent show and that is that Alex, Oliver's partner and romantic interest, was going to meet Dr. Bloom and his daughter at Berlin Station following her meeting with the decoy. The murder of the decoy caused her to flee without so much as a word to Oliver. It is likely that she kept the rendezvous with the Blooms but that wasn't shown. Oliver was oblivious to the fact that a decoy was being used and when Alex disappeared he had no idea where to look. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: I also think it's safe to assume that Alex got drawn into the Committee through her involvement with Oliver, probably via Abernathy. And while I agree that the VR episode that Syd takes Oliver into unawares sure seems to imply that Oliver and Alex were married - well, I would hazard a guess that had anything that official occurred, the Committee would have known about it. Remember that when Syd says "If they know you two were partners, they know everything about her", Oliver's response is "Partners, yes, but not the rest." Clearly he believes that the Committee did not know they were lovers. But Abernathy probably did, given the length and depth of their relationship (as evidenced by the apparent affection in the use of the term "Ollie" and the fact that he doesn't want to kill Oliver and apparently tried twice to get him to leave). (2.12) - Was Oliver Sampson a federal agent? John Dobbin <email@example.com> thinks so. He answered the questions surrounding Oliver and Alex, brought up by "The Many Faces of Alex:" It is now confirmed. As previously conjectured by me last week, Oliver Sampson was indeed a federal agent. The authority he commanded during the hostage taking incident in "Control Freak" made me suspect that he was indeed a former federal agent. In the episode of May 5, Oliver Sampson admits that he was once a federal agent (most likely with the Cental Intelligence Ageny but that is unconfirmed). Surprisingly, Sampson was *not* with The Committee while he served as an agent. This means that he has only been with the Committee for five years (1990-1995). Oliver Sampson's partner as an agent was Alex who in 1990 disappeared in Berlin following the murder of a scientist that Alex was helping to escape to the west. Alex was Oliver's romantic interest and it was suggested that the two were married but that remains ambiguous. Oliver described Alex as being like a chameleon and it was hinted at that Alex may have been involved with the Committee long before Oliver was. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> thinks differently. She writes: FEDERAL AGENT???? Oliver a US FEDERAL AGENT? Since when did the US Feds start hiring foreign nationals, particularly for their most sensitive operations divisions? In case it's escaped everybody's notice, OLIVER IS ENGLISH!!! The accent is a dead give-away. He says that he and Alex were working for AN agency - they were doing an "inter-agency transfer". It seems to me that it is safe to assume that the US Feds are not the only "agencies" that would control sensitive operations and important people world-wide. I'll buy an argument for him operating through MI6 or some other sensitive operations British unit. But federal agent? I don't think so. He never "confirms" that he was a federal agent - at least not in my memory and as already stated, regardless of what Oliver may HAVE THOUGHT, I think it's become increasingly clear that he has been connected to, if not actively working for, the Committee all his life. Lisa added that she'd worked for the U.S. government; in her experience, the government strongly discouraged hiring foreign nationals to work for them. (2.13) - Is there a pattern to the landscapes Sydney went through in VR.7 when trying to rescue her mother in "Reunion?" Vikki Godwin <email@example.com> first raised a question about the significance of the types of landscapes and terrain that Sydney went through when trying to rescue Nora Bloom. She wrote: I noticed something about the VR7 sequence in "Reunion." The landscapes that Syd went through became progressively more desolate. At least, they looked that way to me. Anybody else? The first landscape was a forest with lots of greenery, then later there was a swamp, some scrublands, desert dunes, and finally the sterile halls of the labyrinth. Here's my idea: perhaps these landscapes became more desolate to represent the state of Nora's mind. She's pretty much been in a coma all these years, cut off from reality, isolated - the terrain in VR7 refected that isolation, the desolation of a mind unable to contact the outside world. She added: Samantha said that VR7 stimulated different parts of the brain. I think that the terrains were representations of the different parts of the brain (consciousness) that Syd had to traverse before she reached the place where Nora's mind (consciousness) had been locked away all these years. Instead of the active portions, that interact with the real world (represented by the forest), Nora had withdrawn (or was pushed) into a deeper part of her own mind, and unable to interact with the outside world through normal channels. > I think the sequence of landscapes was set out the way it was > because maybe Syd had to travel over various types of terrain > in order to reach the "prison" where Nora was being kept. This is pretty much the idea that I proposed earlier, except I saw the terrains as being symbolic of various levels of consciousness rather than as actual physical landscapes or landmarks. The "prison" in this case, was within Nora's own mind. Interesting thought...Since Nora's coma seemed to be induced by the malfunction of the memory erase program, which mixed the good memories with the bad, perhaps the Committee's symbol serving as the labyrinth represented Nora's own entrapment by the Committee. The Committee exerted control over their lives in various ways. Dr. Bloom's work (and probably some of her own work in psychology) was funneled into the Committee, for its own goals. After the Committee took away her husband and one of her daughters, Nora used the memory erase program in an attempt to prevent the loss of her remaining daughter and Duncan. I can see where she'd feel a little trapped by the Committee, "enmeshed in its toils," as it were. (In this case, literally trapped in the labyrinth which is, itself, the Committee). She can't escape. Even the attempted escape (memory erasure) didn't work. Once you're in the Committee, you never get back out... Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> thinks differently: The sequences in VR7 - I thought they were meant to represent a regression into increasingly more desolate primordial landscapes, a sort of route into the primordial brain where Nora is apparently hiding. (2.14) - How do I write to the cast members? According to Lori Singer during an online conference on CompuServe (see section 2.10), you can send mail to her, request pictures, and also get other promotional material by writing to her via PMK. PMK Public Relations 1776 Broadway 8th Floor New York, NY 10019 U.S.A. Lori says she answers her mail personally, and she "may get" an e-mail address. You can reach Michael Easton via his last show, "TWO" at TWO PRODUCTIONS c/o North Shore Studios 555 Brooksbank Ave. North Vancouver, BX CANADA V7J3S5 As the show has been cancelled and production is finished, it is unknown for how long this address will be good. And SEHZUCKI <email@example.com> posted: You can send mail to all involved with VR.5 to: Television Programming Fox Broadcasting P.O. Box 900 Beverly Hills, CA 90213 U.S.A. (2.15) - Where can I find the novelization of Anthony Head's UK "Gold Blend" coffee commercials? According to Linda Willard <firstname.lastname@example.org>, coffee commercials were produced -- with Anthony Head -- and aired in the U.S. under the "Taster's Choice" brand name. In Britain, they were aired under Nescafe's "Gold Blend" label. Linda wrote: In the British commercials, he has a certifiably English accent; here, it's somewhat mid-Atlantic. The mania over the commercials was even more widespread in the UK, leading to the publication of a novelization that dealt with ad lovers' relationship. My English friend tells me that the original couple has since been replaced (no doubt allowing ASH to take on a somewhat more challenging projects--like Oliver!), and ASH and Sharon Maughm (who played the *other* charming neighbor) "went off into the sunset together," as she put it. Appalling stuff, I admit (but, yes, I ordered it)--you should have heard the clerk's voice when I asked him if the book was available! As you might imagine, it wasn't thought very highly of by the "discerning" public. The softback novelization is available. It's titled "Love Over Gold," it's written by Suzanna James, it costs 3.79 British pounds (plus shipping/handling), and it may contain pictures of the two neighbors. Linda reports that you can special-order "Love Over Gold" from Books, Etc. by calling +44-171-379-6838 (country code - city code - phone number). (2.16) - What's been the relationship between Oliver and Sydney? Linda Willard <email@example.com> posted a brief summary of Oliver and Sydney's tense relationship: She hasn't ever *threatened* him to my (uncertain) knowledge. She certainly resisted him in "Escape," going so far as to try and shove him away when he was interrogating her in the refrigerated room--and got a smack in the chops for her efforts. (Didn't he look just wonderfully evil there? :)) I did admire the continuity connecting "Escape" to "Facing the Fire." Syd keeps a safe distance from him at all times, managing to put a table between them (a distance that Oliver respects--watch how he leans across the table to hand her the file in the beginning) and the gate in her loft, which she rudely closes in his face in the endpiece (and he makes no effort to step through, though he has the opportunity). Compare that body language to her off-hand physical abruptness with him in "5D," when she shoves his feet off the table, and beside Morgan's coffin, when she gives him a solid push demanding "Can't you leave him alone even when he's dead?" Following "Escape," she's come to recognize that the man can be dangerous--even if it wasn't really *he* who hurt her. The next time you see her really angry with him is in "Control Freak," at the end, when she's learned that there was a bomb under his seat, and she wrongly assumes that it was Oliver who placed it there. GG <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote: I was very interested in the following quote from my psych testing: "G.G. appears to have quite a bit of conflict within herself in terms ot her relationship to her husband. On the one hand, she wants him to be very attentive and supportive of her and on the other hand, she would enjoy it if he were a somewhat selfish, slightly dangerous sort of male figure." Sound like anyone you know? Actually, Oliver seems to embody both these diametric qualities. Charlotte Bronte did it first in Rochester. Has anyone seen BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre with Timothy Dalton? A must see for Samsonites. The ultimate Byronic hero, which is, of course, what Oliver is. Is Sydney attracted to Oliver? Lori Olson <email@example.com> wrote: It seems clear that Oliver is touched and amused, even attracted (in a surprised, unexpected sort of way) by Sydney, from the episode "Control Freak", when Sydney is talking about the control tower being as secure as a "box of Cheerios", and Oliver smiles gently. I will review the other episodes as well, when I have a chance, looking for this dynamic. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> agreed: Yeah, I think so. I think it surprises her but I think she is. It happened slowly as their relationship became less combative. And the realization that he was scarred and in need of a friend had a lot to do with it, I think. He stopped being the enemy and became her only ally besides Duncan. And Duncan doesn't know whatOliver does so she finds herself turning to him more and more. She learns to trust that he really is looking out for her - he saves her life repeatedly. She becomes more dependent on him to handle things. And I think a grudging (at first) respect develops between them for their relative skills in dealing with the situations in which they find themselves. Attraction in this instance seems a natural outgrowth of all they are being forced to share with each other and the emotions it is causing in both of them. And I think Oliver is attracted to her as well. <grin> He does not seem to be a man who trusts easily but he starts to trust her and they become easier, more relaxed with each other when he does. I think Oliver rather naturally has some walls up against involvement but I think he finds himself inexorably drawn to Syd, almost against his better judgment. Protecting her becomes much more important than a job to him - it is now someone he cares about. Why else would he take on the Committee in the opening of Reunion? Certainly he has enough experience with the Committee to know that he will also be a target if he fails in this task. He does it because he is emotionally involved which for him has to be a first step in any attraction. And what about Dr. Morgan? What was the relationship between Morgan and Syd? And what was the relationship between Morgan and Oliver? Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> posted: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- >We'll never know. Morgan just hit most of the wrong buttons with me. >Comments like "You played the VR game out at the mall, your boyfriend >felt you up and you didn't like it" just grated on my nerves. It could >have been part of his attempt to warn Syd away from further investigation >of VR, but it just seemed crass. Somehow, I don't see Syd falling for >every man who crosses her path. >True, but I never saw any tension in the other episodes he was in, >either. I only had the one tape handy for reference. When I watched the >other episodes Morgan was in the first time through, there seemed to be a >developing working relationship, possibly a friendship, but no major >romantic chemistry. Maybe Morgan was trying to develop something >romantic, and Syd wasn't responding - this would be especially >interesting if it turned out to be some Committee effort to draw Syd into >further involvement with their organization through personal >relationships (sort of like the "family ties" ideas we've been throwing >around). While I don't think Syd is in the habit of falling with every man she runs into either, I *do* think that particualrly at the beginning, she may have a tendency to become *dependent* on the men in her life. And there is some acknowledgement of sexuality - note her continual embarassment at his sexual commentary or how she almost falls over when he walks out without a shirt. Syd is not particularly skilled with men, at least at the beginning and this puts her at a disadvantage emotionally. I think Dr. Morgan recognizes that in her and doesn't take advantage. He is more interested in her mind and what she can do. I think Syd views him as a technological mentor. Remember her reaction to his death after smashing her computer equipment - she says to Duncan "He was the only one who understood me. The only one who understood what I can do." She needed his knowledge and guidance because this is all so frightening to her and she is, at the time of his death, just coming to terms with the first hints that the Committee may not be her friend. The Committee has no conscience. But Morgan carred deeply about what he was doing and the lives that were damages. Syd could understand that - they had an affinity in this area. And I think this increased the gap between Oliver and Syd when he arrived - he was dyed-in-the-wool Committee and apparently just as unscrupulous and usury. I think that made Syd rebel all the more against Oliver because he failed so miserably in comparison to Morgan in the emotional department. >Oh, I'm not ready to count him out yet. I think a permanent death would >have far more impact than reviving him would, unless it was handled very >carefully and creatively. And, considering the high quality of the shows >we've seen, I think VR5 could pull it off if they wanted to. I wonder if >Morgan knew that his driver was in TC? As for interaction between Morgan >and Oliver - THIS could be interesting! Especially considering that >Oliver, although he works to protect Syd, has also (until recently) kept >her very involved with TC, whereas Morgan did everything he could to keep >her out of TC to begin with. Although Oliver's recent disenchantment with >TC might give them more common ground...Hmmm... I think Oliver and Morgan already *were* interacting. Remember the phone call Morgan makes to update his superior on Syd and try to get her out. he person on the other end is very abrupt with him - much as Oliver is with Syd when he arrives on the scene. I think Oliver was Morgan's Committee contact. After all, Oliver did say that he "rather liked him, actually". Clearly, they knew each other. Oliver is very distressed *not* to find Morgan's body at the cemetery - there must be some relationship there to elicit that level of emotional response. If you think about it, Oliver and Morgan represent two kinds of mentor and protector for Syd: Morgan mentors in the technology, the academic, the learned knowledge and Oliver mentors in street skills like survival, discovery and eluding the enemy. They represent different aspects of her growth and, as such, are both vital in the development of her chracter. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- (2.17) - Why does Alex's hairstyle (in "The Many Faces of Alex") change so much? In response to some comments that Alex's hair would change frequently during "The Many Faces of Alex," Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted: Earlier, someone speculated about Alex's constant changes of hairstyles, and I finally figured out my two cents' worth. Even though she's on the run, she still found time to change her hair (from loose, to crimped, to a bun-lookin' thing). However, she was always "a chameleon," according to Oliver. She could easily assume new identities, and part of that would involve minor cosmetic changes like hairstyles, make-up, glasses, etc., not only to camoflague her own appearance, but to help her assume a new role as well. Even in the VR sequence, after the decoy was shot in the train station in Germany, she took time to duck into a restroom and change her hair and add glasses. Perhaps the changes in her reflected images also represented her change of personality and identity as she did this. So, I think that Alex's constant changes are due in part to her old habits as an agent as well as an effort to make herself slightly harder to recognize. Either that, or she's getting a kick-back from Vidal Sassoon... It is also important to note that only those who have had their retinal patterns scanned by Dr. Bloom are able to change their appearance in a VR experience. The implant-gone-wrong of Samantha's personality is shown here, too. (2.18) - Can we trust Samantha? Folks have brought up the question of whether or not we can trust Samantha. Is she really Sydney's sister or was she planted by the Committee? Is she on Sydney's side or on the Committee's side? BBurs63388 <email@example.com> posted a segment from "Reunion" that made him suspicious of Samantha. He wrote: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- There was a thread earlier about mistrusting Sam, and I wanted to add one thing that immediately aroused my suspicions during "Reunion." When Syd and Sam were setting up the computer equipment in the lab, Syd was talking about her memory retrieval in VR, and the following bit of dialogue ensued: SAM: You mean like old memories resurfacing? SYD: Maybe. SAM: You know, that's what daddy's experiments were about: unlocking the mind. I think you call it VR . . . (she pauses) SYD: VR.5 SAM: VR.5 SYD: Right. SAM: Daddy's gone much farther. But not very often. He's worried about the effect prolonged exposure is having on him. SYD: What's happening? SAM: He's gone much farther than we have. Where did Sydney get her VR terminology? In calling it "VR.5," I'd always assumed she was using the terminology her father used. This bit of dialogue makes Sam sound like she's less informed about VR than Sydney. However, this wouldn't make sense, because: 1) She's worked with her father all this time and has had 15 years (I exposure to VR technology. This would make her more of an authority on it than Syd. 2) The line "He's gone much farther than we have," plus her knowledge of the gear, shows that Sam has been "inside" VR. She should know at least as much as Sydney knows, if not more. Was Sam just testing Sydney, or was she milking her for the terminology? This may be unimportant, but this bit of dialogue stuck with me, and I hadn't seen it mentioned here yet. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- (2.19) - Have members of the VR.5 cast and crew gone online with fans to chat about the series? Yes, and the chat sessions result in a wealth of information about VR.5! Jon Gan maintains a separate document with transcripts from all of the online conferences that've happened between VR.5 cast/crew and fans -- some arranged by the VR.5 production team, and some arranged by Virtual Storm. All of the conferences are fun and all are very informative. The document's available via anonymous ftp at the Organic Computer, maintained by Stanley, "Spokesman for the Committee" <firstname.lastname@example.org>. You can get it at: ftp://archive.egr.msu.edu/pub/vr5/vr5conf.txt If you don't have access to ftp, send an e-mail message to <email@example.com> with the following in the body of the message: open archive.egr.msu.edu chdir pub/vr5 get vr5conf.txt quit You should get the document via e-mail as soon as the server is able to process your request. If that site is busy or down, try previous FAQ maintainer Jonathan Gan's FTP site: ftp://ftp.eskimo.com/u/r/raquele/archive/vr5conf.txt (2.20) - How do I get pictures of some of the cast? PMK Public Relations will send you pictures of Lori Singer if you ask. See section 2.14. You can also find pictures of most of the cast on the various VR.5 World Wide Web sites. The biggest source of pictures online is the Organic Computer. See section 7.4. Finally, Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted: Those of you looking for photographs of the stars, check out: Jerry Ohlinger's Movie Material Store, Inc. 242 W 14th Street New York, NY 10011 (212) 989-0869 You might want to give them a call, but here are a couple of the catalogs they offer. Their poster catalog says you should send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (it says "legal" envelopes only). #25 Male and female stars color stills, $3.23, 400 pages #44 TV and movie science fiction, horror and fantasy stills, $3, 112 pages Apparently, they have a pic of ASH as Oliver Sampson, as well as pics of Syd and Duncan. That's all I know, since I got this info from another list. (3) - MECHANICS (3.1) - How are the strange colors in the VR sequences done? The following is from a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>. For the "visual landscapes" in VR.5, there are two key components -- computers and colors. In a sense, the computer is another character in the series. To produce the visual effects, special screen savers have been designed that allow movement through or with the images on the monitor. Almost like a CD-ROM program, different icons can be used to feature different screens. These screen elements are composited in a digital-editing bay, transferred to 24 frames-per-second film and then played back live on the show's stage as the camera rolls. With this process, the real-life action is synchronized with the action on the computer screen. The other key component in creating VR.5's one-of-a-kind visual landscape is color. After a scene is shot -- using 35mm color film -- the frame rate is changed and the film is then converted to black and white. This film is sent to CST Entertainment, which builds "art stills," one frame for every single cut shot. With this, every angle of the shot can be given a different component: a blue sky can be turned yellow, green bushes can become turquoise, a brown table can be colored red. This gives VR.5 a look unlike any other show. To complete one show, this process takes four weeks. (3.2) - In "Escape," what were the shows that were parodied in Duncan's VR sequences? Lokeria <email@example.com> lists "The Avengers," James Bond, "The Maltese Falcon," and Sherlock Holmes. Speculation is that these shows came out of media influences because Duncan was contacting his own mind. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> said: I assumed that Duncan was purposely calling forth those media influences - they are all agents, investigators. He is trying to gear his mind toward the manner in which they would think so that he can logically reason the problem out and lace the clues together to find Syd. I felt it was intentional in Duncan's part. (3.3) - In "Escape," did the sequence at the beginning really happen? No. (Also see section 3.4.) The sequence with Sydney's "escape" took place completely in VR. (3.4) - Why was the beginning sequence of "Escape" letterboxed? (Contributors to this answer include David Homerick <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and Dave Kliman <email@example.com>.) Because movies are shot with pictures of a larger width than that of a standard TV set, "letterboxing" is a technique that is used to preserve the aspect ratio of the pictures when a movie is broadcast on TV. The viewer sees two wide black areas to the top and bottom of the screen, and the movie takes place between these areas. The entire first segment was a VR experience that Sydney and Duncan were having. The letterboxing was a clue showing that what was happening wasn't real. In effect, it was putting quotation marks around that part of the show. When the VR experience ended, the letterboxing did, too. <firstname.lastname@example.org> made this comment, which can apply to the Committee, or to the VR sequences that seem real but really aren't: However, I feel compelled (not really by way of argument, but more by way of synchronicity) to relate a quote from a book by Carl Djerassi that we just read for class. While under the influence of mescaline, he makes the comment that he feels layers of his protective personality peeling away like the skin of an onion and that soon he'd get to the truth of his being. His wife notes, "You've obviously never peeled an onion. There's nothing left when you've finished peeling." VR.5 makes us ask a lot of questions, and it's unwise to take *anything* for granted in the show. (3.5) - What do the episode titles mean? All of the following is complete speculation, based on the events in each episode. 1. Pilot (May have been titled "VR.5.") It's the start to the series. Sydney surprises herself with her ability to go into VR.5. 2. Dr. Strangechild References the teenage genius that Sydney has to find. 3. Love & Death Sydney appears to be attracted to Jackson Booth (in VR); Booth kills Dr. Frank Morgan. 4. 5D Dr. Morgan's cryogenically preserved casket was numbered "5D." (From Stanley, "Spokesman for the Committee" <email@example.com>.) 5. Escape Sydney is kidnapped by the Committee; Duncan helps her escape. 6. Facing the Fire (There are two separate instances of Sydney "facing the fire" here; take your pick.) A. Sydney has to face the fact that her father (according to Oliver Sampson) was a member of the Committee. She tries to burn the book with strange symbols that belonged to her father. Previously in the episode, she'd hallucinated (?) that the book had caught on fire. Jeff Kramer <firstname.lastname@example.org> sent this explanation of the apparent hallucination: She was lying on her bed looking throught the book and daydreaming when she apparently hallucinated that The book cought on fire. This could be an outward representation of the coverup put upon her earlier in life (Since the pilot had the same symptoms.) Fire seems to be associated with breaking out, or something. Well, that's that... B. The military test pilot kept hallucinating that his plane was on fire when it wasn't. And Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> adds: The test pilot's hallucination of fire is shown to be related to guilt in his own mind. Is Syd's hallucination of her father's journal on fire an extension of that? (Robert DeLisle <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Tom G. <email@example.com> contributed.) 7. Simon's Choice Simon, a man who betrayed his country, is to die in the gas chamber. His son, Ky, whom he saved, decides not to help him. Ky is angry at his father because Simon betrayed his country. Sydney's assignment is to find out why Simon *chose* not to fight the charge of treason. Please also see section 3.6 for another take on why this title is what it is. (Thanks to David Homerick <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who corrected my errors here.) 8. Control Freak (There are a few possibilities here.) A. Kyril, a former air traffic controller (a "freak?") takes over the control tower at an airport. B. The title might refer to the "freak" disturbance in control at towers across the nation, when radar screens stopped working and equipment overloaded. C. The simplest answer is often the correct one. Robin Miller <email@example.com> suggested that "Control Freak" simply meant what it means in normal usage: an expression describing a person (Kyril) who's obsessed with controlling others. D. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> suggests another possibility; I have another one though I think it might be a bit of a stretch: How about Oliver as the control freak? He is shown to be very much in control in this episode and he seems to believe or is trying to convince himself that he has things tightly under control in general but as the episode and later episodes reveal, it is all unravelling, spinning out of his control as he realizes that he's been "used" like Syd. It may be the first time that he acknowledges that he has "lost control" of the situation, that he may never have possessed control over his own destiny at all. I also feel that this is the first episode that puts Oliver in really tight focus and starts treating him as sympathetic and shows that he is as manipulated as Syd. Since the focus is fully on Oliver and his story/past for the first time, it is possible the title refers to him. 9. The Many Faces of Alex The title refers to the many personalities that Alex, a spy, was able to take on. Alex said that VR.8 was used to put Samantha's personality in her head. (See section 6.6.) 10. Reunion (season finale) Sydney was reunited with Samantha for most of the episode; Nora Bloom was saved by Sydney, too late for both to be reunited. 11. Send Me An Angel Samantha Bloom appears to the little girl to be an angel as she saved the girl from the fire. 12. Sisters Janine and Syd develop a close relationship in the VR sequences - almost sister-like. Also, this relationship allows Syd to examine her ties to her believed-dead sister Sam. 13. Parallel Lives The characters in the alternative universe created by Doctor Bloom's VR world closely parallel reality, right down to similarly placed dialogue. (3.6) - What are some clever symbols the writers put in the show? SYMBOL: When Dr. Morgan was first introduced, we thought we could see him in the mirror, talking to Sydney, when in fact he was to the side and unseen. LINK: The Wizard of Oz (in the movie of the same name) used similar tricks. Also, Frank Morgan was the name of the actor who played the Wizard of Oz in the movie. (Thanks to Chris Canary <email@example.com> and Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> for contributng here.) SYMBOL: Jackson Booth killed Dr. Morgan outside a movie theater. The movie playing at the theater was called "Our American Cousin." LINK: Actor John Wilkes Booth (1838-1865) assassinated U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre on 14 April 1865. (Thanks to Andrea Aldridge <email@example.com> for her correction of my paragraph above.) SYMBOL: Sydney found Jackson Booth again, late at night and hiding in the home of Dr. Honeycutt. Booth had just killed Honeycutt. LINK: Federal troops found John Wilkes Booth hiding in a barn in Virginia (U.S.), where he was shot and killed. (Thanks to Chris Canary <firstname.lastname@example.org> for suggesting this link.) Chris Canary <email@example.com> discovered other symbols in VR.5 episodes. He wrote: _when we first see Sampson, there is a consistent Jawbone present...now, i don't remember the Bible very well, but, wasn't Samson associated with the Jawbone of Mannas (sp?)? ...The music Morgan was listening to, in the scene with music before he died, wasn't that...I don't know the specific name, but, I believe a friend referred to it as the Death Ode from M. Butterfly. Edith Weil <firstname.lastname@example.org> watched closely to "The Many Faces of Alex" and noticed a subtle mention of the "Taster's Choice" coffee brand: Regarding The Many Faces of Alex... Did anyone else notice exactly what kind of instant coffee she made for AleX when he was drunk and passed out in her apartment??? The shape of that container is unmistakeable--and they kept cutting back to it as she scooped more and more in... Yes, by God, Tasters Choice!!!!!!!! For those who have been hiding in a cave somewhere, Sydney's Committee contact after the third episode, Oliver Sampson (Anthony Head) played the neighbor in the "Taster's Choice" commercials. Tom Scalf <email@example.com> observed that in "The Many Faces of Alex," an Amtrack train ran through the station. I don't know how it links into anything, but it's interesting! He wrote: Is that why they had an Amtrak train running through an East German train station(-; Nitpickers time. In the first train station sequence, Sampson went running up a ramp to the track platform looking for Alex. As he emerges on the platform, a train is pulling in (or out) in the background. It is very clearly silver with a red, white and blue stripe down the side just under the windows. Classic Amtrak paint job. David Shaler <firstname.lastname@example.org> decided that there was some hidden meaning in having Oliver Sampson sitting on the skylight: Alot of hidden meaning in this episode. I don't know what it was but I know it was there. For example, Oliver sitting on the skylight. There was meaning there. I just haven't figured it out yet. Terri Ann <email@example.com> stretched the symbolism a bit in trying to explain the meaning: Seriously -- maybe the glass represented the kind of danger that has always been a part of his life, but he's grown so used to it that he doesn't care for his own well being anymore...like being on thin ice, but loving the thrill of skating on it so much that you don't care about falling through. It would certainly tie in with what he said when Syd was bandaging him up, about not being able to exit the game (getting off the skylight) because it would mean being human again (caring about his own existence). Another clever symbol, from Iteach1991 <firstname.lastname@example.org>: Did anyone else catch the phone # on the big telephone said AV (Avengers) -6880? Wasn't The Avengers on from 1968-1980? Joannie 40 <email@example.com> replied: I saw it too, and thought to myself it was a salute to a line of multi-media computers that have "AV" in their name. But your reference to The Avengers makes much more sense, of course! Another, from RavvitEars <firstname.lastname@example.org>: Because I'm a big Mary Tyler Moore fan, my favorite pastiche for Duncan was the Richard Diamond sequences with Lori Singer as the telephone operator in shadow. MTM used to play Sam on that show and all you ever saw of her were her legs! I'm not sure a slacker like Duncan would have been familiar with the show since it was back in the fifties, but I'm glad the writers remembered it! The writers love it when we see this stuff. Members of the VR.5 production team <email@example.com> posted: If you have any other questions let us know. Your response has been greatly appreciated and we are all very excited and thrilled that you notice our flair for detail... (i.e. AV-6068; the play on the marquee, Frank Morgan from OZ etc.) And Delfar7 <firstname.lastname@example.org> has this to say about "Simon's Choice:" The title itself is another in joke of sorts. After watching this ep, I went back and saw the title. It's a play on the title of a book (and movie adaption thereof) called Sophie's Choice. The book is about a woman during WWII who must choose which of her children will go to the gas chamber and which one will live. She can only choose one. The decision haunts her for the rest of her days. It not hard to see the parallels between this and Simon's choice between his son or his friends. Pretty hard choices in both stories. Chris Canary <email@example.com> noticed in "The Many Faces of Alex" that, when Oliver stumbled into the loft, he was in front of Sydney's poster of "Vertigo." (See section 1.4.) (3.7) - What bloopers have been discovered in the show? Theresa Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> pointed out this inconsistency in "Simon's Choice:" Just a little thing I noticed on VR5 tonight. The beginning flashback was to 1989 and on the courtroom wall was a picture of the President - Clinton. (Bill Clinton was President of the United States at the time the show was taped. George Bush was President in 1989, at the time of the flashback.) A scene in "The Many Faces of Alex" was a little humorous, according to David Shaler <email@example.com>: Are there palm trees in Germany?? I'm asking this because in the scene in "The Many Faces of Alex" when Oliver runs out of the train station yelling at Alex, there is a palm tree in the background. Continuity errors in "Simon's Choice?" SwagSu <firstname.lastname@example.org> says so: <<Also, in last weeks show, Sydney stated that she was the only one that could go into VR. Did she forget that Duncan hung out in there too? >> I caught that one also. There was several continuity problems with the 4/28 show. 1. Simon said 5 years the invester guy said 6 years. 2. Simon said on the phone he didn't know the guy in the towers name (even though he really did) but then the cop at the tower called him by name. Even with these I still say this was the best episode so far I'm sure they're going to get better (3.8) - What are some of the most memorable quotes from VR.5? One of the most charming things about VR.5 is its writing. Sydney, the rest of the VR.5 gang, and the various guest stars frequently get memorable lines. You can find them repeated on .sigs everywhere and captured in digital format. (See section 7.6.) The following are some lines that VR.5 fans thought were good enough to be included in this FAQ list. (Thanks to Robin Miller <email@example.com>, Dennis Lui <firstname.lastname@example.org>, William Wood <email@example.com>, Dave Kliman <firstname.lastname@example.org>, John Dobbin <email@example.com>, Stanley ("Spokesman for the Committee") <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Terri Ann <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Randolph Jones <email@example.com>, Augie De Blieck, Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com>, Jean Lambert <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Linda Willard <email@example.com>, Eva Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and Jeff Bryer <email@example.com> for their contributions.) "Virtual reality is real." -Sydney, before a commercial "It's not what you think." -Dr. Frank Morgan to Sydney, just before dying "Welcome to the game, Sydney Bloom." -Dr. Frank Morgan "You more than anyone else should know how one moment can change your life, how it can haunt you forever." -Oliver Sampson to Sydney "What's going on here? Why is she a black belt?" -Duncan, referring to the nurse at the hospital who had just given him a good chop "You're talking in circles." -Sydney to Oliver Sampson, referring to Oliver's attempt to explain the Committee's concentric arrangement "Just how well does the subconscious hold its liquor?" -Duncan, after Sydney drew Kyril into VR in "Control Freak" and made the assumption (because she thinks there are no "lies" in VR.5) that Kyril was *not* drinking, as was charged by the FAA "There are no answers when it comes to the Committee. You open a door, there's another one right behind it. The more you peel the onion, the more you sting your eyes." -Oliver Sampson "I think I'm in love." -Duncan, after Alex kissed him in "The Many Faces of Alex" After Sydney's first trip into VR.5: Duncan: "You gonna do it again?" Sydney: "It was incredible." Duncan: "So was peyote, but I didn't do it twice." "There are all manner of lies, Sydney, and all manner of liars. Remember that." -Oliver Sampson Oliver: "Next time I offer to save your life, do me a favor: turn me down." Sydney: "She's my sister. What could I do?" The mission of the Splinter Group of the Committee: "Power isn't anymore about accumulating territories or weapons. It's about accumulating minds. Joseph Bloom can do that. That's why we have to have him back." -Abernathy, in "Reunion" Oliver: "VR conjecture?" Sydney: "No, VR polygraph." -"Control Freak" From "Escape," in the white room with Oliver apparently pulling a cigarette case from his jacket: Oliver: "Do you smoke?" Sydney: "No." Oliver: "Neither do I. But then it's not allowed here." (and proceeds to inject her with something nasty) "I appear to have been shot." -Oliver Sampson, with mild disgust, in "The Many Faces of Alex" "I've been shot before, you know. And they hit vital organs that time." -Oliver Sampson, in "The Many Faces of Alex" Sydney: "What did you just press?" Oliver: "I'll tell you, but I'll have to kill you." -"The Many Faces of Alex," as Sydney is trying to pinpoint the location of the telephone number Oliver had given her. She tells him she's been trying to find out where the number comes from, but the computer won't tell her because it needs a special code. Oliver tells her it's a safehouse and punches in the code. Sydney: "I don't have any enemies." Oliver: "As I recall from your dossier, it's *friends* you don't have." -"5D" Sydney: "He was going to tell me everything!" Oliver: "Oh. Excuse me." -"5D" "My father gave his life for you." -Oliver Sampson, in "Reunion," to Abernathy when he realizes that Abernathy's a member (leader?) of the splinter faction "Maybe VR.12 turns you into Fabio." -Duncan, in "Parallel Lives" (3.9) - How many computers does Sydney use? (Thanks to Terry Asher <firstname.lastname@example.org> for first raising the question.) Based on Jonathan Gan's <email@example.com> observations, Sydney actually only has one computer. In the show, viewers see many bright screens, but Sydney consistently uses only one keyboard and she looks into only one screen. Moreover, what she types is repeated on every screen. All the extra monitors are there only for effect. Because the show's creators want to make a much more vibrant setting, and because one computer screen really doesn't provide much impact, the creators use many screens with fancy screen savers. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> pointed out: Actually Syd looks back and forth on the computers when she does non-VR related computer tasks tho' she seems to focus on just one for the VR experiences. (3.10) - I'm totally confused. What happened in "The Many Faces of Alex?" "The Many Faces of Alex," broadcast during the May "sweeps" period on 5 May 1995, was very confusing. Numerous sequences in the program overloaded the viewer with new information or information that clashed with what VR.5 had previously given us. The questions you might have asked after you watched "The Many Faces of Alex" are numerous; putting them all here would be a mistake. So, each topic has been put into its respective section in this article. This section serves to guide you to all of the topics that "The Many Faces of Alex" covered. Most of this is speculation -- the contributors (and I) don't even *claim* to pretend that these are the complete facts. Here are related topics with "Many Faces of Alex"-specific info: 1.5 - What episodes have been broadcast? (Episode Guide) 1.8 - When is VR.5 taking place? 2.11 - What happened with Oliver and Alex in the past? 2.12 - Was Oliver Sampson a federal agent? 3.5 - What do the episode titles mean? 3.6 - What are some clever symbols the writers put in the show? 3.20 - In "The Many Faces of Alex's" first VR sequence, Alex is speaking in a foreign language. What's she saying? 6.1 - What are the levels of VR? 6.7 - Are there safeguards in VR? 6.8 - What's the meaning of VR.8 in the series? If you're interested in finding out fans' best guesses as to what happened in "The Many Faces of Alex," read the information from all the sections above. The responses quoted in many of the sections cover multiple topics in this FAQ list. "The Many Faces of Alex," an episode broadcast on 5 May 1995, was extremely confusing. For some analysis by fans on exactly what happened in the episode -- what we learned and what we still don't know -- see section 3.11. Here's a synopsis, from a member of the VR.5 production team <email@example.com>: We find out that before Oliver was with the Commitee, he worked for another agency, and had a partner/lover named Alexis Miller (Markie Post), but that she disappeared when a scientist they were to bring to the US from Eastern Europe was killed at the train station where they were supposed to pick him up (scientist looked a lot like Dr. Bloom). And Oliver's been very self-protective about caring about people ever since he lost Alex. Now she's turned up, courtesy of a phone number the Committee had Oliver give to Sydney so she could take the person into VR. The person turns out to be Alex; when Syd and Oliver go try to find her, she hints to Sydney that she knows the Blooms, and they've given her enough trouble already. Alex disappears. And keeps disappearing even after she turns up at Syd's loft pretending to be Samantha. Syd and Duncan finally track her down and get her into VR again, going back to the train station where the scientist was killed--she tells Syd that she's supposed to pick up the Blooms in tunnel 9, and to tell Oliver she loves him, but that lives are at stake and she has to go. When Syd and Oliver try once more to get to Alex, they're ambushed (think Bad Committee) and Oliver's shot. As Syd's taking care of him in the basement of the Bloom house, he reveals just how much of a personal toll Alex's disappearance has taken on him, and together they realize that her father may well still be alive. With Duncan's help, Oliver tracks Alex to the train station, and Sydney puts them all three into VR. There, Alex reveals that she was Dr. Bloom and Samantha's keeper for five years, that he put her into VR.8 trying to transfer Samantha's personality into Alex in a weird effort to help his daughter escape from captivity. But it cracked Alex up, and now everybody's on the run. Oliver tries to reassure her that she's safe, but she's killed in VR. Once they're all out of VR, Oliver and Alex meet and reconcile with a very sad kiss. And as Sydney comes tearing down the train station tunnel to meet them, Alex is shot and killed for real--but not before Dr. Bloom and Samantha try to warn Sydney. Yes, they're alive. But they disappear before Sydney gets to them. (3.11) - In "The Many Faces of Alex," why did Oliver/Sydney/Alex experience Alex's death a few minutes before it actually happened? At the end of "The Many Faces of Alex," many viewers were confused by the VR sequence showing Alex's death, followed by the real sequence showing Alex's death. Ashley Majzels <firstname.lastname@example.org> guesses: As for Alex, I strongly suspect she was able to VR (a side effect of having Sam in her head). If so, then her assaination and the attempt on Syd's life would seem to suggest open season on VR'ers... which suggests some part of TC wants a monopoly... No wonder Oliver didn't reveal Duncans VR abilities... nobody's tried to get him yet... 'The Many Faces Of Alex' is easily the most confusing episode to date.. I won't try and reason out if/why Dr Bloom and Sam were in the background, VR or real (now theres a hairy distinction). But I really do belive now that TC's factions are fighting for control of VR... and if Dr Bloom _is_ alive.. he'd be a fairly hot commodity... I do hope that Dr Bloom put _some_ safeguards into VR, such as the Sam Syd and Dunc all having to be together idea... otherwise, whichever faction of TC had a willing and able VR'er could wreak an awful lot of havok.. Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> brought up another possibility: Also it has been discussed that Syd's lines aren't secure. Could a tapper wire in through the receiving end phone line? Everyone in this show runs around with a damn flip phone in their pocket - these things, like cellular phones, are notoriously easy to access. All you need is the right equipment or, in some cases, the program code of the phone. Couldn't Oliver's (or is he using Syd's?) flip phone be tapped? (3.12) - Was the flashback -- with Samantha and Dr. Bloom drowning -- real? In the first season, starting in the pilot episode, we kept seeing a VR-like flashback with Samantha and Dr. Bloom drowning. In "Reunion," we learned that this was a lie; that Nora Bloom had erased Sydney's memories; and that when Duncan, Sydney, and Samantha hooked up together, they could see the truth. J. Walters <firstname.lastname@example.org> observed: I loved the water motif in this one. Obviously the rain on the night of the original abduction of Dr. B. and Sam translated itself into drowning for Syd. VR, even used to create false memories, seems to work well within the bounds of literal truth to create new reality. This ep made good use of the way the mind catches hold of seemingly unimportant moments and hangs on to them - Syd's Pooh bear being the agent of the auto accident in her false memories. In the true ones she drops it out of her arms as she stands on the porch. I'd be interested to know what might have happened if she'd found the bear on the steps later and ever considered the notion that it could =not= have been pulled out of the car with her. Also it was fascinating to see that at least on some level Syd blamed herself for her father and sister dying/disappearing. The fact that she and Sam were arguing and that her petulance caused Dr. Bloom to turn at a critical moment, and crash the car is a very telling "memory." Why did her mind create that event? Survivor guilt? (3.13) - Will VR.5 be released on videotape? "There is a possibility." Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com>, who has contact with one of the co-creators of the series, wrote: There is a possibility that the entire season, including the unaired episodes, will be released on video. I'll let you know when I hear from the producers regarding fan support and possible network pickup. The Virtual Storm made an offer to create and distribute officially- licensed video tapes. Rysher Entertainment turned them down. Maybe with renewed interest generated by a rerun on the Sci-Fi Channel, this is a possibility again? (3.14) - Are VR.5 episodes closed-captioned? Yes! Katherine Vogele <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted: For all of you who have VR.5 on tape, here's a fun thing: Find the "Caption" mode for you TV -- for the hearing-impaired. VR.5 DOES has captions at the bottom, even if it's on tape. Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> thinks it's a great way to understand segments that are whispered or mumbled: Thank You! Yeah, I found my captioning command! This is great! I suspect after watching most of Alex, that they go for speed over accuracy A LOT. I don't think they have much choice. And sometimes they leave whole lines out. Or a scream gets reduced to "AHH"! But it is still great and wonderful for those garbled and mumbled moments. Tho' the captioner may be guessing too! (3.15) - In "Reunion," why are the patients in the nursing home staring at nothing? When Oliver went to Nora's nursing home in "Reunion," you could see patients staring at nothing, like they were completely oblivious to the world outside. Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org> said her husband thought it was Committee-engineered. She wrote: Pretty much the same condition that Nora was in for those 17 years. What if these people were victims of that Memory Erase program as well? Enemies of TC, experiments gone wrong ("He saw too much. We tried to erase his memories of TC's activities, but something went wrong. Put him in witht he rest."), etc. Possibly agents who know too much to safely retire? (shades of The Village!) The Man (Syd's Keeper) took the Memory Erase program after finding Syd, Duncan, and Nora in the basement. What happened to the program after that? Did he turn it over to TC? If so, the splinter faction could have gotten hold of it and/or made their own copy of the program. Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> thinks differently: I thought the implication was that those patients were victims of VR. People, who like Nora, went to far and got lost in VR7. Remember Dr. Morgan telling us about that jet pilot who wanted to know what it felt like to crash and was comatose ever since? I wondered if Oliver was thinking that as he looked at them - are they all victims of this thing? Gruesome thought. I don't think they are Memory Erase victims - that makes Syd's Keeper a real bad guy and for some reason, I don't think he is. Not yet anyway. WHich is unusually for me - I see double dealing and betrayal around every corner in this show! (3.16) - Why did the Bloom car change from a station wagon to a sedan in Sydney's memories? Vikki Godwin <firstname.lastname@example.org> explains: This could be due to the mixing of memories (the bad with the good) in the faulty Memory Erase program. Instead of the family car and a trip for ice cream, Abernathy's sedan appears, the same car that took Sam and Dr. Bloom away from Sydney (just as she originally thought that the station wagon took them away from her when it sank and they drowned). As a side note, I loved how Reunions paralleled some of the events in the "real" past - specifically, instead of Syd hiding in the closet while Sam runs off to help Dr. Bloom, now Sam hides in the workroom while Syd runs off to help Oliver - who is being shoved into Abernathy's sedan when she finds him, just like Sam and Dr. Bloom were all those years ago. Of course, it could just be somebody falling asleep in the continuity department. (3.17) - What's special about the camera angles in VR.5? Ruth Bolton <email@example.com> wrote: In Louise Fletcher's recent magazine interview, she commented on unusual camera angles in VR.5. She said it made it interesting for her to watch the final product. Rewatching eps, I though this feature was really neat. (I'm not a film major -- people have to _tell_ me these things.) For example, in Alex, people pass in front of the camera lens during long shots of Syd and Oliver in the bar at Lake A. In many shots of Syd's apt, you see people from _above_, plus shots _through_ things: windows, stairwell, etc. It also seems to me that there are more long shots than are typical of most tv shows -- and used to good effect. I need to re-watch segments where Syd is in VR.5 to see if they are doing special shots there. I remember some neat discussion about the skylight scene, and think there might be symbolism in other shots. (3.18) - Is VR.5 merchandise available? Except for the VR.5 soundtrack (see section 4.2), there isn't any available yet. (3.19) - Was Oliver responsible for Sydney's imprisonment in "Escape?" Linda Willard <firstname.lastname@example.org> doesn't believe so. She posted the following article in response to criticism of Oliver's actions on the Net: Ah, c'mon. Give the guy a break. I agree, Oliver's got something to do with Syd's situation in Escape, but it's impossible to tell whether he came in after the fact (and is in fact the hero of the piece) or was in at the outset (and was actively involved in her imprisonment). If Syd *was* kidnapped (the memory of two attackers--neither of whom appears to be Oliver--and the abandoned Walkman [found by Duncan still playing--how long are those batteries good for!?] being the strongest arguments supporting that theory), who's to say *Oliver* had a hand in the doing? Syd's testimony (based on "Oliver"-instigated bouts of torture/interrogation) occurs entirely in VR; Oliver's defense (obtained in VR *and* in person) contradicts her perceptions and places the blame for the harm done her with the bad faction of TC. In person, he very likely lies--or at least toys with the truth--to conceal the extent of TC's involvement; in VR he's much more forthcoming. But there's never an indication (through VR or Syd's memory) that Oliver was involved in her "kidnapping." She "remembers" being hauled off; yet, Duncan finds the Walkman on the stair; if it weren't still running, it wouldn't be notable, would it? Consider that Syd is a bit of slob (have you taken a look at her loft?!) and could easily have left it there when she ran upstairs to grab some things for her weekend away. We are given so much in the way of conflicting information, only the writers could tell us categorically which events really occurred and which didn't. I think Oliver's best defense is to be found in Duncan's acceptance of his good intentions. Would Duncan *really* have left Syd in his care if he seriously doubted her safety there? (3.20) - In "The Many Faces of Alex's" first VR sequence, Alex is speaking in a foreign language. What's she saying? Some fans have tried to figure it out -- if you have any other suggestions, please send them in! Pat Moss <email@example.com> wrote: What I've heard Alex say is: Pourquoi? (Why?) Pourquoi? (Why?) Parce-que ... (Because...) Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> added: There is a word after this....mal? Pat continued: Cinq [something something something] (Five) (The start of address?) Il est fou votre probleme. (Your problem is/has become crazy/out-of-hand.) John Dobbin <email@example.com> said: The English overlay talk mentions not imitating the Cinderella story (said in a flapper voice). The first part goes as Pat says. The next part starts as not an address but a telephone number, Cinq, cinq, cinq. The next sentence is as Pat says. The following sentence begins in French but definitely ends in Italian. Je pense... I think Roberto that...it it definitely your problem. Three languages are overlayed here but the last sentence is completely Italian. I went nuts for nearly 20 minutes here. I don't hear Je pense, John. But I do hear something like "(something - maybe this is the Je pense you referred to, John?) doce cuarta (or cuantra) (en?) Roberto". And it isn't Italian (no doce in Italian - unless I'm misunderstanding what she is saying - I think it could be Spanish. 12:15, Roberto. I think. There is something that follows as well - I think it French laid over Italian and both are very garbled. And after that I could swear I hear "Je le coude" which doesn't make any sense (I know just enough French to know that doesn't make any sense!!) or something similar. There is one more sentence very low at the end that could certainly be Italian or Spanish. But I just can't get it clearly. Has it occurred to anyone besides me that maybe it isn't supposed to make a whole lot of sense? Like the languages are as garbled and mixed up as Alex's personalities? There are just too many layers of sound for me, with my rusty Italian, to really make out. Nor could my sister and she speaks Italian better than I do, I think! The only way we'll ever know is by asking the writers. Why don't you give me something easy like Russian or Japanese to translate? Sheesh. (3.21) - What happened in "Send Me An Angel," "Sisters," and "Parallel Lives?" Please see section 1.5 for descriptions of the episodes, which did not originally air in the U.S. (3.22) - Do people "get" VR.5? How much does each episode cost, and how long does it take to make them? TimDudeFl <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted this message on 12 April 1995: By the way, my newspaper had a cover story on VR.5 in its features section and says the show is filming its "12th and final [sic] episode for the limited spring run. (Producer Michael) Katleman wonders about the future." There are lots more tidbits of info in the story, such as how the special effects are done (the show is filmed in B&W and is then computer-colorized). Each episode costs up to $1.5 million and takes a long time to produce, which could make it more difficult to be ready for the fall season. And there are concerns that not enough people are "getting it." But Bob Greenblatt, exec VP at Fox, is optimistic "I think people are so tired of seeing the same thing that they're willing to try something new ... as long as it's not incomprehensible (making comparisons to Twin Peaks and Wild Palms)." Let's hope he's right. (3.23) - Why would Syd do a silly thing like burn her father's diary in "Facing the Fire?" Miss Angst <email@example.com> answers: It occurred to me right before I fell asleep last night that Sydney had scanned all the pages of the book into the computer... so she wasn't actually risking that much by setting the book on fire anyway. (3.24) - Sydney's taking Simon into VR at the end of "Simon's Choice" reminds me of a film... Perhaps you're thinking of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." WalterGL <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted: > I was extremely impressed with the second to the last > scene where the traitor was taken into V.R. by Sydney > prior to his execution. That scene reminded me of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." A man was about to be hanged for treason, and a noose was tied around his neck -- and then he managed to slip out and dive into the river. He swam rapidly, somehow avoiding the gunfire of the troops. The next 20 minutes of the film showed his escape from the authorities, his plunge down a waterfall, and his return home. As he runs toward his wife, however, his hallucination comes to an end, and he suddenly finds himself dangling from the bridge with a noose tightly around his neck. I couldn't help but notice the parallel there. :D RavvitEars <email@example.com> agreed: I was also reminded of that short film. I think the rope snapped, or the branch broke and that's how he got away in his dream. It was shown once on The Twilight Zone when they needed material and they were running behind in the sked. So they bought the rights for the one time showing. Even though I knew what was happening, it didn't ruin it for me and even made all those poignant home life scenes all the sadder. It was also re-assuring to see that even the Committee has its limits in its power. (3.25) - The FOX press release in section 1.1 talks about "La Femme Nikita." What is it? Zanda <firstname.lastname@example.org> says this about "La Femme Nikita:" Is an excellent french film, remade here in America into a mediocore film called "Point Of No Return", staring Bridget Fonda. The first and definitly the best film the french version. Here's the storyline as it reads on the video (dubbed version). Nikita, a ruthless street junkie, whose killer instincts could make her the perfect weapon. Recruited against her will into a secret government organization by a sadistic man known only as Bob, Nikita is broken & remade. In 3 years, Bob transforms her into a sexy, sophisticated " lethal weapon" named Josephine. Released from the training compound, Nikita establishes a new identity & soon falls in love with Marco, a soft-spoken romantic. Six months later, she gets a call. She's been activated. From that moment, Nikita is caught in a web of intrigue & murder - trapped in a double life as Marco's lover & Bob's hired gun. The underlying reletionship their refering to between Syd & Oliver, resembles that of Bob & Nikita's. A very strong sexual tension develops between them but due to their working relationship is never acted upon by either one. It was one of the best things about the film, if you haven't seen it rent it, "La Femme Nikita" not "Point Of No Return". I become more and more impressed by the writers and producers at VR each week, they know exactly how to play with the viewers emotions and keep them tuning in every week. Way to go & keep up the good work!!!! Long live VR5!!!!! (4) - THE MUSIC (4.1) - Who does the music, and what type of music is it? The following is from a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>. For the "sound landscapes," composer John Frizzell (orchestrator of "Wild Palms") creates VR.5's ear-opening score; opera is the key element. The music created represents the subconscious, which is as unpredictable, paradoxical and passionate as virtual reality itself. The theme, which came to Frizzell in a dream, combined with the lush voice of recording artist Dee Carstensen, musically epitomizes Sydney's persona. Contrasting Dee is opera singer Eileen Frizzell, whose striking mezzo sound resonates with power during the scenes. The shape and direction of the score has been profoundly influenced by music supervisor Abby Treloggen, whose precise and eclectic taste has added an array of music to the soundtracks ranging from Sarah McLachlan to Puccini. (4.2) - Is the VR.5 soundtrack available? Yes! Ford Thaxton <email@example.com> posted: Soundtrack to "VR5" to be released on ZOO ENTERTAINMENT According to the latest new release sheet from BMG. ZOO ENTERTAINMENT (distributed by BMG) will be releasing an original soundtrack album of music from the now cancelled TV series "VR5" by John Frizzell. The album is: - available on both CD and tape - called: "VR.5: the original television soundtrack" - sold out in some areas -- call around - apparently available only in the U.S. right now - sold with a suggested price of $17.95 USA (less than $20 including tax), but can be had for less if you shop around It was released on 13 June 1995 and fans on the Net highly recommend it. If you can't get the soundtrack by name from your local record/CD retailer (i.e., they haven't heard of it at all), they can order it for you. Important information you should tell them: - The name ("VR.5: the original television soundtrack") - Company releasing it (Zoo Entertainment/Zoo Records) - Distributor (BMG) - Number. If you want it on CD, the CD number is: 72445-11109-2 CD-NI If you want it on tape, the tape number is: 72445-11109-4 (Thanks to Terri Ann <firstname.lastname@example.org> for the tape number.) The soundtrack contains the following selections: Track # Title Length (min:sec) 1 sydney's theme 0:48 2 highrise rooftop 2:09 3 paradise shower 2:34 4 waterstation clue 1:03 5 to dance again (*) 4:02 6 animal VR / kravitz VR 5:21 7 didjeridu thing 1:34 8 family drowning / cat fight 4:44 9 sydney's theme 0:54 10 the theater 4:16 11 the bank 3:26 12 getting the info / trailerpark 2:59 13 i'd choose you 1:30 14 scriptwriting 2:10 15 morgan freaks / booth's theme 4:36 16 mom freaks 3:17 17 booth's tango 0:58 18 sydney & duncan talk 1:02 19 main title 0:50 20 simon's requiem 4:37 21 sydney's theme 0:49 (*) Composed by Dee Carstensen and John Frizzell; the hauntingly beautiful song played the funeral sequence at the beginning of "5D." See section 4.6 for the song's lyrics. In case you're wondering, yes: the tracks are all labelled in lower case, and everything after "VR.5" on the label ("the original television soundtrack") is in lower case. (4.3) - From which episodes do the tracks come? This list is compiled from conversations taking place on the VR5 listserv. Thanks to Erin <email@example.com>, Alexander Soendjaja <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Mara Simone Gobovic <email@example.com>, and James Watkinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> for their help. SONGS ON THE CD FROM NUMEROUS IF NOT ALL EPS: sydney's theme (01,09,21) family drowning/cat fight (08) main title (19) [not played in pilot] SONGS ON THE CD FROM THE PILOT: highrise rooftop (02) paradise shower (03) didjeridu thing (07) animal VR/kravitz VR (06) mom freaks (16) SONGS FROM DOCTOR STRANGECHILD to dance again (05) animal VR/kravitz VR (06) waterstation clue (04) SONGS ON THE CD FROM SISTERS: the theater (10) the bank (11) getting the info/trailerpark (12) scriptwriting (14) i'd choose you (13) SONGS FROM LOVE & DEATH: morgan freaks/booth's theme (15) booth's tango (17) mom freaks (16) sydney & duncan talk (18) SONGS FROM 5D: to dance again (05) SONGS FROM ESCAPE: sydney & duncan talk (18) SONGS FROM SIMON'S CHOICE: simon's requiem (20) (4.4) - What is the VR.5 Advance Cassette and where can I get it? Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> came across an advance cassette which is "slightly different" from the CD. This is different from the Promo CD Samoset is currently offering. This one has liner notes: VR.5, the one hour sci-fi thriller series from acclaimed executive producer and writer John Sacret Young (China Beach) and co-executive producer Thania St. John (Life Goes On) debuted as the Fox network's biggest show in its history. Lori Singer stars as Sydney Bloom, daughter of Dr. Joseph Bloom (David McCallum), a neurobiologist on the cutting edge of virtual reality research and technology. Accidentally tapping into the world of virtual reality, Sydney utilizes this new found skill to address significant individula and social issues. Also starring in the series are Michael Easton (Days of Our Lives) and Anthony Head. John Frizzell's exotic film music blends mesmerizing rhythms with lush vocal, string and horn arrangements. From jazz to classical, bizarre syntheses to aboriginal, the VR.5 soundtrack defies classification yet provides a dramatic ambient listening experience as passionate and volatile as virtual reality itself. 'The possibilities of virtual realities are as limitless as the possibilities of reality.......a doorway to other worlds.' - Scott Fisher, Former NASA Researcher, "Virtual Interface Environments"" Lisa further notes the similarity between that NASA researcher and the name of the boy genius in "Dr. Strangechild." The tape is not commercially available. (4.5) - What is the VR.5 Promo CD and where can I get one? On 31 Jul 96, one of the VR.5 team <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted a message to alt.tv.vr5 with a fantastic offer: Hi All, While cleaning out more storage spaces we found a box of CD's that were made for the Premiere Party. It is a limited edition (only 500 made) w/artwork from the Visual Effects Supervisors. (Same music, but in different order from the record label release, and different artwork.) If anyone is interested in obtaining one of these, please send $10 to the Samoset offices - 127 Broadway, Suite 220, Santa Monica, CA 90401. One will be sent to you asap. Thanks. Yes, the offer is legitimate and several people have received their CD's already. The track listing is different, as VR5Prod said, and there are a trio of tracks not on it, but there is also one new track. Here is the track list: Track # Title Length (min:sec) 1 Sydney's Theme 0:48 2 Highrise Rooftop 2:09 3 Paradise Shower 2:33 4 Waterstation Clue 1:03 5 To Dance Again (*) 4:02 6 Animal VR / Kravitz VR 5:20 7 Didjeridu Thing 1:34 8 Family Drowning / Cat Fight 4:44 9 Sydney's Theme 0:53 10 The Theater 4:16 11 The Bank 3:28 12 Getting the info / Trailerpark 2:59 13 I'd Choose You 1:29 14 Scriptwriting 2:10 15 Morgan Freaks / Booth's Theme 4:35 16 Mom Freaks 3:16 17 Booth's Tango 0:58 18 Sydney & Duncan Talk 1:02 19 VR Hot To Cold / Sydney's Theme 2:22 (*) Composed by Dee Carstensen and John Frizzell; the hauntingly beautiful song played the funeral sequence at the beginning of "5D." See section 4.6 for the song's lyrics. Tracks 19 - 22 of the commercially availably CD have been replaced by track 19 on the promo CD. Other than that, the tracks are identical. The packaging is in sepia tone. The front cover is a closeup of Sydney's face in a contemplative mood. The inside of the insert is a pic of Sydney walking down her stairs. The back cover is a black and white picture of the hallway from Escape. And, yes, the track titles do use capital letters. (4.6) - What are the lyrics to the music at the beginning of "5D?" From PencilArts <email@example.com>: Here are the lyrics to the hauntingly beautiful song played during the Funeral of Frank Morgan/Syd Smashing Her Computers scene (beginning of episode #4, "5D"): TO DANCE AGAIN <---Track 5 on VR.5 CD soundtrack by Dee Carstensen & John Frizzell if you hear me if you see a shadow of light it's a child lost long ago emerging from the night if you know me if you do remember our dreams and take me back to yesterday before I had to leave we always dreamed as one we danced until we used up all the sun no endings forever free no harm could come to you and me how I long to see you how I long to dance..again (4.7) What does it mean? Gayle Highpine <firstname.lastname@example.org> posted one possible explanation for the lyrics in the song. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- I don't know the context of "To Dance Again" (it must be in one of the unaired episodes?) but, unlike Erin, I did not interpret the "I" of the song as being Sydney's. Rather, I always thought that the "I" was Samantha and the "you" was Sydney. Sydney and Samantha have a psychic link. But -- Sydney believes that Samantha is dead, while Samantha knows that Sydney is alive. I interpreted the song as Samantha's attempt to communicate somehow with Sydney: If you hear me, if you see ["you" being Sydney] A shadow of light [a vision of Samantha, sense of her presence, whatever] It's a child lost long ago [Samantha was kidnapped and lost, Sydney believes she was lost to death] Emerging from the night [from her apparent death, as it seems in Sydney's mind; also from the endless night of her life since her kidnapping] If you know me, in/if you/your ? Remember our dreams [referring to the "dreams as one" that she and Sydney shared] And take me back to yesterday Before I had to leave [Samantha was the one who left, not Sydney] We always dreamed as one [referring to psychic link between the twins] We danced until we used up all the sun [referring to the carefree childhood games they played] No endings, forever free No harm could come to you and me [referring to the childhood sense of innocence they shared] How I long to see you [Samantha misses Sydney] How I long to dance again [referring to the childhood games and her desire to return to that innocent happy time] If the "I" of the song is Sydney, it is hard to pin down who would be the "you" or the "we." If the "I" is Samantha, the "you" fits Sydney perfectly and the "we" perfectly fits Sydney and Samantha together. Gayle -------------------------------------------------------------------------- (4.7) Where can I find the sheet music or MIDI files of "To Dance Again"? Lori Olson <email@example.com> created a Midi transcription of "To Dance Again" based on the sheet music made by Terri Ann (Wynstorm Huntress) <firstname.lastname@example.org> Guingab. It is available on her VR.5 Multimedia Web Site: http://pearl.sri.com/vr5/vr5.htm as vr5.mid and can run on any computer which has a sound card and the proper software to play it. (4.8) What is the other music in "The Pilot?" Mara S. Gobovic <email@example.com> recognized two tracks from The Pilot on Dee Carstensen's CD. The first, "Beloved One," occured during the VR date Sydney set up with Cooper. Before the oceans parted You swam beside the beasts before you found yourself warmhearted you only lived to set your mind at peace Before the days were separate you were always running toward the setting sun Before your feet were worm from centuries you were chasing your beloved one (4x) Come into my, come into my, come into my dreams chasing me (3x) I am your beloved one, Iam your beloved one Before the glaciers melted you were trashing through the bones I shed I believe last night I felt it I know you'll come one day to see me wed Before the nights grew lonely you were wishing this journey done you were saving your eternity for the mouth of your beloved one (CHORUS) "The Wish" was played during the actual date between Sydney and our favorite psychotic murderer, Cooper: He told me I remind him of you you're a spirit on the wind He could never pin you down yet you're his dearest friend (chorus) I imagine that your lips are soft to kiss I imagine your hair falling on his shoulders as you lay him down I imagine you're a presence a man like him would miss I wish that I were you He told me I remind him of when his heart but all stood still time and time again a first love sometimes will (chorus) I imagine that his lips are sweet to kiss I imagine my hair falling on his shoulders as I lay him down I imagine all the heartache I probably will miss I wish that I were you (4.9) - What is the other music in "Escape?" The lyrics to the song at the beginning of Escape were transcribed by Erin <firstname.lastname@example.org>: Down, down, down, down, till you can reach/breathe no further Down, down, down, down, until you find the bottom of the dark Down, down, down, down, settle at the bottom of the pool Cool, dark pool. Will you come to me? Will you come to me? (4.10) - What is the other music in "Simon's Choice?" According to Jon Neill <email@example.com>, the music in "Simon's Choice" was from "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber. (Thanks to John Dobbin <firstname.lastname@example.org> for first raising the question.) Pat Pruyne <email@example.com> adds: Samuel Barber's Adagio was written in 1936 and performed publicly as a meditation during the funeral services of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I believe the performance played in VR.5 may have been performed by the Kronos Quartet; but that is only by ear and familiarity with their rendition; there weren't any credits, as I recall. AmiLoo <firstname.lastname@example.org> agreed: Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" was a masterful touch for the final scene of 4/21. Just hearing the first few measures was an auditory cue that his number was up. That piece is so beautiful that it never fails to make me cry. Great job! : - ) (4.11) - What is the other music in "Parallel Lives?" The opening sequence from "Parallel Lives" contains what turns out to be a traditional Irish tune, "My Lagan Love." It is unknown who actually performed the composition for the show. SimPenguin <SimPenguin@aol.com> transcribed the lyrics: MY LAGAN LOVE Where Lagan streams sing lullabies there blows a lily fair. The twilight gleam is in her eye, the night is on her hair. And like a lovesick lenashee she hath my heart in thrall. No life have I, no liberty, for love is Lord of all. And often when the beetles horn has lulled the eve to sleep, I'll steal into her sheiling lorn and through the doorway creep. There on the cricket's singing stone, she makes the bogwood fire and sings in sweet undertone, the song of hearts desire. Stephan Roy out of Paris, France pointed out another song, too: There are the references of the Julee Cruise CD. The song heard when Sam went get the money in the building in Parallel Lives is called Kool Kat Walk. The CD title is The Voice of Love and the number is 9362-45390-2. The distributor is Warner Bros. Keep in mind that I bought my CD in Paris - France when it was first released back in 1993. The CD number may vary in other countries. (4.12) - Has Dee Carstensen done anything else besides VR.5? Yes! She is a recording artist in her own right, with two CD's out showcasing her talent. Andrew Tron <awtron@tornado.Princeton.EDU> reports that the first is from 1993 and is entitled "Beloved One." The second, "Regarding The Soul" is a 1995 release. They are put out through the independent label NYC Records. The CD's are very difficult to get through the normal channels. Andrew writes About the albums: her first album "Beloved One" tends to be more upbeat, with stronger rhythms & backing instrumentals. Her second album is more serene, and features her harp playing more prominently. Though naturally this distinction isn't sharp. Anyways, both come highly recommended. (4.13) How can I order either of Dee Carstensen's CD's? Michele Santiago <VR5SBloom@aol.com> posted on 22 Jun 96 that Carstensen had done a guest shot on the home shopping network, QVC, hawking her CD's. They are no longer available, though. Andrew Tron <awtron@tornado.Princeton.EDU> reports that Carstensen's record label also makes her CD's available through a 1-800 number. NYC Records is available at 1-800-266-4NYC. The e-mail address <email@example.com> they were using for orders is no longer being used. They do claim to be constructing a new site, though, which when complete will be found through the various search engines like AltaVista and Yahoo!. As of 02 September 96 no site has been found. More information on her CD's and career (as well as a link to a site where you can order her CD's on-line) can be found on the Unofficial Dee Carstensen Home Page: http://www.hkstar.com/~ericnet/moncoeur/deecar.html (5) - THE COMMITTEE (5.1) - What do we know about the Committee? Its organization is hierarchial, with a series of concentric circles dictating who has power and who doesn't. The people in the center circle control the entire Committee, and the people in the outer circle do the work. Dr. Morgan was in the outer circle; Oliver Sampson is a few circles into the Committee leadership. (From a series of statements from Oliver Sampson during "5D.") "There are no answers when it comes to the Committee. You open a door, there's another one right behind it. The more you peel the onion, the more you sting your eyes." (said by Oliver Sampson, via Dave Kliman <firstname.lastname@example.org>) And a FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>, has this to say about the Committee: THE COMMITTEE Sometimes benevolent, sometimes nefarious, always mysterious, the Committee is an enigma to Sydney Bloom. She is unsure what the organization is or what it represents. The government is involved, big business is involved, but the Committee reports to neither. Was her father involved in the Committee? And, if he was, to what degree? Oliver Sampson tells her the Committee is an ancient secret society of intelligent men and women. They have been in existence for many years and have been strategically involved in crucial points of world history. They seek alternate solutions to social problems. The Committee is structured as a series of concentric circles. At the core is a small group which makes the decisions. Sydney learns that the Committee was and is very interested in VR research -- especially the work that Dr. Bloom as doing before the accident, as well as Sydney's own experimentation. What she also comes to find is that the Committee exerts measureless control over their agents. Once you're in, they don't let you out. This last bit seems to indicate that Sydney is, in effect, working for the Committee. She doesn't want to, and she tried to stop it (see the first section of "5D") but she is. She's getting assignments and working them out. "Control Freak" tells us some more information about the Committee: that the Committee was involved in some very scary activities; that its agents are completely dispensable; and that the Committee tried to kill Oliver Sampson. See section 5.5 for more speculation on the structure of the Committee. After watching "Reunion," <email@example.com> wrote this: The references to knights, keepers, the Crusades and family ties and traditions brings to my mind the secret Order of the Knights Templar... a suggestion of the existence of the Committee in Medieval times. We also learned in "Reunion" that the Committee had strong generational ties. Abernathy -- Oliver's "keeper" (a sort of guardian/Committee contact) -- worked with Oliver's father and was apprenticed to Oliver's grandfather. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes: I have always thought Trilateral Commission when I think of the Committee. Anyone else get this feeling or see the resemblance? (5.2) - Does Jackson Booth work for the Committee? Yes. Oliver Sampson said in "5D" that Booth had been employed by the Committee occasionally, but that to the best of his knowledge, Booth wasn't employed by the Committee when he killed Dr. Morgan. (5.3) - Does Dr. Joseph Bloom (Sydney's father) work for the Committee? Yes, according to Oliver Sampson in the final part of "Facing the Fire." Sydney comes to grips with this during the next episode, "Simon's Choice," in real life sequences and VR sequences. In "Reunion," we learned that if Samantha wasn't with Dr. Bloom, he would've probably killed himself. (5.4) - Does the Committee know about Duncan's ability to go into VR? It seemed that Duncan was the only one who knew. But folks on alt.tv.vr5 thought differently. Lokeria <email@example.com> thinks that Duncan is actually a member of the Committee, and that would explain why Oliver Sampson hasn't realized that Duncan can go into VR.5. (She reasons that Sampson should have known that Duncan could go into VR.5 when Duncan arrived at the hospital in "Escape.") Ashley Majzels <firstname.lastname@example.org> says that Sampson is ignoring or witholding his knowledge of Duncan's VR abilities because he wants a secret weapon against the other factions in the Committee. (See section 5.5.) Michael Lichter <email@example.com> advanced some more questions and theories. He posted: The episode guide mentions that Duncan went into VR.5 in "Escape" and wonders whether or not Oliver knows about this. What puzzled me was that neither Duncan nor Sydney seemed to note Duncan's ventures into VR.5 as anything remarkable. It seemed like the writers wanted us to think that it was the hardware that did it, not Duncan himself. Another, more basic thing I don't understand is why the Committee would have waited until Sydney had her first VR.5 experience to pounce on her. If her father and sister were so important to them, you would think they would have imprisoned her, tested her abilities, and forced her to work for them way back when. Ditto for Duncan, who they seem to have no interest in at all. It certainly would seem reasonable to me to expect that if Sam had been exposed to the "VR field", so had her sister and possibly their constant companion. In "Reunion," we learned that Sydney also knew that Duncan was able to go into VR. (5.5) - Are there divisions within the Committee? During "Escape," we learn that there are, indeed, factions within the Committee itself. My impression was that Oliver Sampson said he wanted to protect Sydney, but that he kidnapped her because some people higher up wanted her kidnapped. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> got a different impression: I thought he said that he kidnapped her back from the faction torturing her and that in teir escape, this faction ran her down with a car, sending her into a coma. I thought that he kidnapped her back from the kidnappers and took her to a safe zone, the hospital. In "Control Freak," we found that the Committee's agents may not agree with what the Committee does, but the Committee wins anyway. In "Reunion," Oliver had decided to put Sydney's welfare ahead of his own. Instead of blindly following orders, he warned Sydney that he'd been ordered to kill her, and tried to get her and Duncan on a plane. If there really are factions, it explains some of the puzzles we've been exposed to. For example, Sampson seemed genuinely surprised when (during "5D") he and Sydney found that Dr. Morgan was not in his casket. Perhaps another faction (without the knowledge of Sampson) took Morgan's body and put it in cryogenic suspension. Ashley Majzels <email@example.com> wrote: His speech in the Asylum episode (my favorite to date) suggests that their may be a covert war within the Commitee... look at the assignments Syd's gotten lately.. The Prisoner episode, she had to determine an unwilling (he certainly wasn't cooperative) persons motivations in a highly emotional situation. The Air Force Pilot episode, she was able to call up repressed memories (and implant new ones, albiet acciendentally). So far, all her assignments could be construed as to making her into a perfect spy/sabatouer. Perhaps the Commitee has her sister also being trained elsewhere, perhaps by those elements of the Comitee that are "less desireable". Now there's a plot twist... a convert VR war waged by Syd versus Sam... Shane Huson <firstname.lastname@example.org> added: This might indicate a governmental or military slant to the Committee. Up till now, I've assumed them to be an independent organization. In other words, a government, or the military of a particular nation, could be funding and controlling the Committee. John Dobbin <email@example.com> added: There are a few things that we have learned about the Committee in the last weeks. The first is that the Committee is not a homogenous secret society. It encompasses many people in many fields. There seems to be various branches of the Committee. For example, there are political, corporate and scientific wings to the Committee. The Committee's scientific wing was comprised of Dr. Bloom and Dr. Morgan. This much we know. There work would appears to have been commissioned by the Commitee directly. Dr. Bloom's involvement with VR was kept secret but Sydney Bloom was able to find Dr. Morgan because of his reputation in the academic world for VR research. This suggests that the scientific wing of the Committee has legitimate careers for their operatives that are often linked to their area of expertise. The Committee's corporate wing has only recently been revealed. The businessman known as Patterson is a member of the corporate wing. He was also once a member of the political or governmental wing. His job as an FAA investigator is evidence of that. Lastly, the Committee's political or governmental wing has shown that it includes such diverse characters as Booth, the assassin and Oliver Sampson, the intelligence officer and possible federal agent. It has been shown that members of the Committee identify themselves with a ring that has their secret society emblem carved into it. The Committee's secrecy extends to the group as a whole. No one knows the inner circle including, it would appear, Sampson. For lower ranked operatives such as Dr. Morgan, there may have been only one or two links to the Committee. The rest of the Committee could have been, and most likely was, a mystery to him. For this reason, after Dr. Morgan's possible death, Sampson was brought into the game because of his wider knowledge of the Committee's aims and his abilty to protect Sydney. The most startling aspect about the Committee is that factions within it are possibly fighting a battle for control of the organization. The possible deaths of Dr. Bloom, Dr Morgan and a host of others disposed of by Booth suggests that there are elements of the Committee that will stop at nothing to get what they want. (Note that FAA means Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA is a U.S. government agency, part of the Department of Transportation, that regulates and promotes air transportation.) Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> says she thinks that the Committee is "an international secret organization, not controlled by a particular country or group but more along the lines of an independent consortium." In "Reunion," Oliver Sampson said straight out that a faction of the Committee wanted Sydney dead, and that the "mainstream" part of the Committee probably did not. The tall mysterious stranger also said that there were "fractures at the top," implying a weakness in the inner circle of the Committee. (5.6) - Does the Committee have a symbol? We first learned, in "Facing the Fire," that the Committee was represented by a symbol (a seal) with the encoded motto: "Enter the labyrinth." In "Control Freak," we learned that Committee members wear a ring with the Committee's symbol on it. And in "Reunion," when Sydney had to rescue Nora Bloom from her catatonic state, we saw her enter VR.7, fly through a labyrinth of "Wolfenstein 3D"-like passages, and realize that the labyrinth was actually the Committee's symbol. (5.7) - What's the Committee's history? Vikki Godwin <email@example.com> speculated: > Do we know how long TC has been in existance? The only > reference I can remember to it would be in "Reunion" when > Oliver talks about his grandfather being in TC, which would > mean at least 75 years or so. I wouldn't doubt it if it has > been around for 200 years, but I'm curious if there's any other > proof anywhere. Somehow, I can imagine this thing crawling around for several hundred years. Who knows what even originally started it - although I just had a thought about that. Pure speculation (yeah, like that's stopped me before!) :) The Committee looks for "alternative solutions to problems," or something like that. A previous poster suggested that Abernathy's references to knights and Grail quests would be a possible hint to a medieval existence of the group. OK, let's combine these two bits of info, and propose a possible origin for the Committee either in the Middle Ages, or else slightly before then. In this case, the Committee would represent an attempt to preserve knowledge. Didn't Oliver even say that the Committee was a group of "intelligent men and women"? So, I imagine TC as preserving knowledge from the flames, encouraging learning and research where possible...except, over time, TC's original noble goals became the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, or for the sake of gaining and maintaining power: "The gaining of territories or weapons...or even minds," to paraphrase Abernathy. This eventually led to the formation of the faction that Abernathy was involved in. Well, that's my speculation, which is admittedly based, in part, on somebody else's speculation. Take it with a grain of salt...or maybe a whole salt lick! ;) (6) - VR (6.1) - What are the levels of VR? In each VR.5 opening sequence, we see: (thanks to Dave Kliman <firstname.lastname@example.org>) VR.1: Computer Screen VR.2: Interactive Video Game VR.3: Flight Simulator VR.4: Cyber Space VR.5: Virtual Sensory Reality Dr. Frank Morgan said that VR.5 uses all 5 senses, and he also mentioned that Joseph Bloom made a breakthrough in VR.3. That ubiquitous FOX press release <email@example.com>, via Todd Palino <firstname.lastname@example.org>, says this: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- LEVELS OF VR VR.1: Computer screen. Flat two-dimensional projection. VR.2: Interactive (e.g., video games). User-controlled manipulation of items on a screen. VR.3: Flight simulator. The user manipulates items and objects on a screen and the simulator responds physically to those actions. This level controls the space and place containing the individual, but not the individual's senses. VR.4: Cyberspace. User is transplanted into an electronically created world. Does not involve user being in controlled environment. Equipment that can neutralize the user's sensory input necessary to alter reality (e.g., helmet, gloves, bodysuit). VR.5: Level at which Sydney initially operates. It provides a window to the subconscious mind. User is taken into the virtual world, accessed at the subconscious level. Experiences, for all intents and purposes, are real for the user. Results in little or no conscious recall of virtual experiences for participants unwillingly brought into virtual plane, yet subconscious behavior is altered, affecting real-world behavior. VR.6: This level, much like VR.5, brings the user and participant into the virtual plane. Access is at the conscious level, with both user and participant having full recall of virtual experiences. VR.7: Telepathy. Communication/experience via the mind, rather than via hardware. A cyberlink formed between the minds of two people without the need for a computer, monitor or mouse/keyboard. VR.8: The level Dr. Bloom reached. The ability to transplant or implant a single or multiple personality and life experience within the mind of the participant. Total mind manipulation. VR.9: The ability to manipulate the real world via the mind. Telekinetic abilities. The virtual becomes real, and reality becomes just one of the operating planes of the user. VR.10: All knowing, all seeing, the ability to transcend normal, natural, and physical laws governing experiences. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- "The Many Faces of Alex" publicly unveiled VR levels higher than VR.5 for the first time in the series. "Reunion" showed VR.6 and VR.7 being used for the first time in the series. VR.7 was more dangerous; we saw Sydney in a coma (dead?) at the end of the episode. It was used to draw Nora Bloom out of her catatonic state. (6.2) - Why does Sydney's clothing change in VR? <email@example.com> speculates that the people Sydney calls determine what clothes Sydney appears in: Actually, I have to agree with whoever noted that the *subject* of the VR experience seems to be the one clothing Sydney in those trips. It seems to be their perceptions/expectations/ desires that frame her. There's also been speculation that Sydney's clothing changes reflect her improved self-confidence when inside VR, as opposed to how she dresses in real life. (6.3) - How long does a VR call take? It was established in the first few episodes that a call took nearly no time in reality. This is reinforced most recently in "Simon's Choice," when the traitor picks up the phone -- presumably to receive his VR call from Sydney -- and almost immediately puts it back down again. Prince <firstname.lastname@example.org> recalled that in "Dr. Strangechild," the scientists taped the VR call Sydney made and said it lasted less than a second. (6.4) - What exactly happens in VR? We don't know. The letter from FOX in section 1.3 seems to imply that something other than the modem makes the connection between minds. Sydney's (or Duncan's) mind touches with another, and the two have a VR experience that extends into the subconscious. At VR.5, the originator of the call remembers what happened, but the receiver does not consciously remember. We learned in "Reunion" that at VR.7, the equipment used a different section of the brain than at VR.5, which is why time and space didn't work the same. Of course, we still didn't learn about what exactly "the equipment" does. Spencer Rasko has archived a theory of his own. Visit his thoughtful and detailed analysis at: http://184.108.40.206/bhs/students/Spence/how.htm (6.5) - How does Sydney go into VR? Did Dr. Bloom experiment on Sydney? Why can Duncan go into VR? These topics have been the center of a lot of discussion on alt.tv.vr5. Dean Adams <email@example.com>, Stanley, "Spokesman for the Committee" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, GOMLB <email@example.com>, and many others have speculated that Dr. Bloom experimented on Sydney, Samantha, and Duncan, recombining their DNA sequences into the necessary configuration that made VR.5 possible for the three of them. J. Walters <firstname.lastname@example.org> thinks it's the mind that allows VR.5 to happen, posting: I've been thinking this, too. What made me wonder was the scene where Sydney took her mother into VR5 and she and her sister and Duncan were engaging in a spirited discussion over the divinity or lack thereof of Jesus. It isn't exactly the sort of thing kids discuss and I thought, "What's going on here?" Then I thought that the best way for Sydney's father to have made her (and presumably her sister) ready for VR5 would be to exercise their minds in all sorts of directions which would help form the neural connections which would let them work within VR. (Forgive me, I'm not entirely up on the science of this, but I do know that to learn any skill requires neural connections to be made and usually early in life.) If he did this in the form of games, discussions and other intellectual exercises, then Duncan, who just about lived with them, would have been exposed to the same sort of mental exercise, and would have developed the same skills. This makes a lot of sense to me since I can't see Dr. B. conducting experiments on his own daughters which would require any sort of physical manipulation. Of course we might find out that he was some sort of cold-blooded fanatic about VR and regularly opened the girls' skulls and popped in circuit boards and such. <G> Mark Chaffe <email@example.com> adds: It had occurred to me that Duncan's attitude towards life was rather "Zen". Before someone drew my attention to the fact that he was included in that little "family portrait" I was wondering if his mind set was what allowed him to us VR. The theory above makes *a lot* of sense to me. BTW, I've got a (expessive) degree on psychology and I can confirm that your thoughts on early learning are correct. In fact, many complex skills *must* be acquired at an early age, or not at all. Keep thinking. Many think that the acoustic modem doesn't automatically make VR.5 possible and that it's just a point of focus. (John Sacret Young, VR.5 producer, confirmed this in an interview. See section 2.9.) They think that the DNA makes the VR.5 interaction possible. Elayne Wechsler-Chaput <firstname.lastname@example.org> says: I think it's more than that. I think the DNA is one of the keys as well. Remember the constant questionining by the Committee: "Did you father ever experiment on you or your sister?" And remember, DUNCAN CAN DO IT TOO. Sure Dad experimented on her. HE ALSO EXPERIMENTED ON DUNCAN, her and Sam's childhood friend. Think about it. Dave Kliman <email@example.com> wrote that Duncan may have been part of Dr. Bloom's experiment. According to the pilot, Duncan was with Sydney and Samantha 17 years before the time of the pilot. Jeff Kramer <firstname.lastname@example.org> agreed with Elayne: Don't forget that piece of paper, with the DNA segment drawn on it. Sure, it might be symbolic, but it's something. Carlos Francisco Gomez <email@example.com> confirmed this theory: I agree. She also got her hands on a piece of paper (via the "dead" professor) that her father wrote which showed a DNA strand. I say the father used gene therapy to modify his daughters and Duncan. I'm not sure he's such a nice Dad after all. In "Reunion," we learned that there was a system to scan the retina pattern of the people trying to go into VR. If the retina pattern didn't match the ones that were programmed -- Sydney, Samantha, and Duncan -- they would presumably die. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> added her own thoughts: The retina pattern seems to be the secret to accessing VR5 but perhaps it is not enough in higher levels of VR. Perhaps Dr. Bloom was working on the theory that DNA analysis would provide the next step up in the survivability of VR levels above 5. It also works with the primordial part of the brain theory I hypothesized earlier. This theory also supports the fact that the retina pattern offered no protection in VR7 for Syd. But one has to ask why Syd was having trouble in the episode Reunion while still in VR5? She is clearly in pain and vertiginous coming out of VR on at least 2 occasions ("How's your head?" she says to Duncan when he asks if she's ok), the problem increasing with every passing trip into VR. Why is the system breaking down for her only? Has she spent too much time in VR5, even for someone who has the retinal imprint? Has nutty old dad removed her retinal imprint from the system? (6.6) - Why do Oliver and Alex know that they and Sydney went into VR? In "The Many Faces of Alex," we discover that Alex is able to remember what happened in VR after being pulled in by Sydney. We also learn that Oliver knows when he's pulled into VR. Jonathan Gan <email@example.com> thinks it's because Alex has special powers. He wrote: Alex also took some of the powers of the personalities she held. Because Dr. Bloom was able to go into VR.6, Alex was able to remember what happened after her and Syd went into VR. Ashley Majzels <firstname.lastname@example.org> guessed: As for Oliver and Alex knowing when they'd been VR'd, how is that? Does it mean they've experianced VR.6 or above? Does it come with experiance? Or... maybe you know when you've been VR'd, when you are able to VR... jeez... one could get lost in speculation. Don Alsafi <email@example.com> thinks that Oliver remembered that he'd gone into VR because he simply recognized the signs. He wrote: actually, i was confused by oliver's remembering it too. my friend, however, pointed out a different reason. (incidentally, it was his first time watching vr5--i was explaining facts and speculations left and right.) if you recall, he only berates syd for taking him in--he never mentions what the vr5 sequence contained. now we all know that vr5 only takes a second or two, right? so, assuming he DIDN'T remember, it would still be apparent to him (or at the very least likely, considering what he's dealing with) what happened by his picking up the phone and getting silence for a few seconds followed by a hangup. In answer to the argument that *anyone* could've called and hung up, Don wrote: yeah, i thought of that, but considered what with how much he's dealing with VR5 that such an occurence would automatically have him assume what happened, and that his berating sydney for taking him in was just a passionate accusation which turned out to have been right. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> says it's really no big deal. She wrote: Some people, presumably those with better access to their own subconscious or the more trained minds of the characters in the show, do remember VR5 if vaguely. Oliver knew - he said it felt "peculiar"; Alex knew, presumably because of her wider experience in VR and the fact that Sam's personality was in her mind; Booth recognized her in the stadium (?); Simon said "You're the girl in my dreams." (6.7) - Are there safeguards in VR? "The Many Faces of Alex" raised questions about VR levels higher than VR.5 for the first time, and sparked a discussion on the VR experience as shown in the show. Jean Thompson <email@example.com> thinks that Dr. Bloom implanted a security feature into Sydney, Samantha, and Duncan -- that VR's full potential can only be reached with all three minds working together. if Dr. Bloom implanted sections of knowledge into each of their minds.. but only when all three (?) work together in VR they'd be able to go beyond VR.5.. thats interesting.. it would be a good security feature.. unless all three are working together the full potential can't be reached, so if any one faction controls just one of them, they won't have full knowledge.. <firstname.lastname@example.org> agreed: (this was written the same week that "The Many Faces of Alex" was broadcast) Jean, I think you're brilliant! That makes incredibly good sense and on a mythological level it has tremendous power. The promos for the season finale put Syd and Sam back together again and can Duncan be far behind? We'll all see it you're right in less that a week. "Reunion" revealed that this was, indeed, the case. When Samantha, Sydney, and Duncan linked up together, they were able to unravel the truth behind their childhood, instead of the lies that Sydney had been exposed to. We also learned in "Reunion" that there was a safeguard in that the equipment would scan the retina pattern of anyone trying to enter VR, and -- presumably -- deny access to anyone with the wrong pattern. (6.8) - What's the meaning of VR.8 in the series? Through most of the first season, viewers had thought that VR.5 was the highest level of VR, as was reinforced by the title sequences. However, in "The Many Faces of Alex," Alex mentioned VR.8 for the first time. We have some information about VR.8 from FOX's press release (section 6.1), and Alex revealed in "The Many Faces of Alex" that Samantha was transferred into Alex by using VR.8. Jonathan Gan <email@example.com> wrote: After watching "Many Faces," it looks like Dr. Bloom used VR.8 to copy Sam's personality into Alex while the two hid somewhere. We don't know what happened after Bloom and Samantha hid, but it seems like Alex became unstable. She could change into the "Samantha" personality, but the change became involuntary. Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> responds: I think it's probably a safe bet that Alex always was unstable, whether you run with the multiple personalities complicated even more by VR8ing Sam in or with the idea that Sam had been VR8'd before Oliver became involved with Alex. A person with a chameleon-like personality who lives on the razor's edge of danger and seems to enjoy it can't really lay claim to stability and responsibility as strong character traits. VR.8 may have also been used to transfer the various personalities of Alex into her. John Dobbin <email@example.com> speculated on VR.8 and what it actually was: In one of the VR sequences where Sydney encounters her father and sister, her father says that he survived the only was he knew how and that was by using VR8. The FOX information on VR8 is that it is the ability to implant personalities and is a kind of mind of manipulation. This suggests that Alex (played by Markie Post) had VR8 contact. This would explain her chameleon-like behaviour and the confusion she had about being Sydney's sister. For a moment, and only for a moment, it looked like she was going to convince Duncan that she was indeed the sister of Sydney. And then she kissed him! Duncan's remark before being slapped down by Sydney was "I think I'm In love." Did Alex have the ability to use VR8 on Duncan but fail? (6.9) - In "Reunion," were Sydney and Nora Bloom in VR.6 or VR.7? At the end of "Reunion," Sydney apparently pulled her mother into VR.7 to draw her out into the real world. But the creators haven't been really clear -- in either the FOX press release or the show itself -- on what differences there are between VR.6 and VR.7. William Wood <firstname.lastname@example.org> tried to sort it all out: As I understand it *from the show* (not the Fox promotional materials) VR.5 is the Originator (i.e., the person with VR gear/access) contacting the Other's subconscious mind; VR.6, on the other hand, is two (or more) Originators contacting *each other's* subconscious minds *simultaneously*. VR.7 (AKA "telepathy") would probably (logically) be the next step--an Originator getting into contact with the Other's *conscious* mind. Sydney, in the past, has only touched her mother via VR.5, which probably ruled out reasoned discourse... from what we've seen in the show, the Other's subconscious can be poked, questioned, even channelled, but it remains "reactive," not assertive/pro-active/really helpful. As long as Sydney could only contact her mother using VR.5, all she could do was ask questions, to which Nora usually responded in a manner that seemed reflexive and intractable by turns. It was only in VR.7, at the end of "Reunion," that Nora was able to escape VR *on her own* (i.e., her mind was free to take independent, conscious action). Now, why are they still using hardware to do this, when Fox is trying to say that none should be required: simply put, I think the Fox list is wrong. Samantha tells Sydney that VR.7 acts on or through different parts of the brain than VR.5--within the technical context of the show, this makes more sense if it is explained as a *refinement* of the VR technology rather than an evolution away from it. Perhaps, over time, continual exposure to a VR.7 environment (but NOT from within a coma) would develop the portions of the brain responsible for "telepathy" to a point where the hardware is no longer necessary. Who knows? As things stand now, as far as the show is concerned, I think we should ignore and/or amend the Fox list's description. (7) - VR.5 INFO ON THE NET (7.1) - What newsgroups discuss VR.5? Most of the message traffic on VR.5 centers around the VR5 listserv. (See section 7.8) However, the digests of that listserv are post to the newsgroup alt.tv.vr5. There's also sporadic discussion on rec.arts.sf.tv, rec.arts.tv, and alt.tv.x-files, although the "discussion" there usually degenerates into flame wars, ratings flames, or "my show is better than your show" advocacy-type postings. (7.2) - What's the history behind alt.tv.vr5? (1) alt.tv.vr5 was created by Tom Servo <email@example.com> on 26 March 1995. Because he didn't follow the rules for alt.* group creation, the number of sites carrying it was pretty low. (2) On 7 May 1995, Jonathan Gan <firstname.lastname@example.org> re-created the group after following "official" group creation procedure in alt.config. After five days of discussion, VR.5 fans had come through and posted eloquent messages of support: CArdoin658 <email@example.com> Dave Kliman <firstname.lastname@example.org> David Stinson <email@example.com> dspiral <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> Gerry Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> John Dobbin <email@example.com> John Resotko <firstname.lastname@example.org> Megan Gentry <email@example.com> Robin Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ruth Ellen Seid <email@example.com> Stanley ("Spokesman for the Committee") <firstname.lastname@example.org> Stephen McLeod <email@example.com> alt.tv.vr5 is now a "legitimate" newsgroup. If you still can't get it on your site, write to the address "news", "usenet", or "postmaster" on your system, and ask them to carry alt.tv.vr5. The newsgroup once averaged over 440 articles a week, with no flames spotted and intelligent conversations along VR.5's entire spectrum. Please help keep alt.tv.vr5 flame-free! Nowadays, it averages a couple dozen posts per week, most of which are VR5 listserv digests and SPAM, as occurs in most alt.* groups. On 3 May 1995, Lori Singer (Sydney) herself acknowledged the efforts of those in alt.tv.vr5 trying to save the show. On 5 June 1995, we received confirmation that the four biggest U.S. commercial online services -- Prodigy, America Online, CompuServe, and Delphi Internet -- had committed to providing alt.tv.vr5 for their customers. If you're on America Online, you can receive alt.tv.vr5 by: 1. Going to Internet Connections 2. Choosing Newsgroups 3. Choosing "Expert Add" or "Search Newsgroups" 4. Typing in "alt.tv.vr5" (Thanks to Maritza Stember for these instructions.) On 4 July 1995, alt.tv.vr5 celebrated its 101st day in operation. (7.3) - What are these VR5 Digests I see on the newsgroup? The VR.5 mailing list cross-posts to alt.tv.vr5. As each digests comes out, it automatically gets posted to alt.tv.vr5. This serves a number of purposes: * Allows people to read the mailing list without getting their e-mail boxes bombed on busy days. * Fosters discussion on the newsgroup itself. * Keeps the newsgroup from becoming a barren wasteland. The digests are more or less searchable through the Dejanews service, too. http://www.dejanews.com They are also archived privately at Jonathan Gan's FTP site. Jon explains the directory layout and system: VR5 digests 500-502 and 508-599 are now available at <ftp://ftp.eskimo.com/u/r/raquele/vr5-digests/500s/>. I'm still fishing in the computer for digests 503-507, which are in any of several subdirectories on my hard disk. If you have any of the digests I'm searching for, *please* e-mail me. I'm eager to compress the 500s -- which began in February and just ended yesterday -- into a single ZIP file as soon as I can, to save space and transfer time. Meanwhile, a directory for the 600s is now up at ftp://ftp.eskimo.com/u/r/raquele/vr5-digests/600s/ (7.4) - Where can I find information on the World Wide Web? There are several web sites for VR.5 information. They each have a different emphasis, but most have pictures and sounds from the series, as well as links to other sites and text information files. - The Sci-Fi Channel has a VR.5 web site up, complete with episode guide, multimedia downloads, and actor profiles. http://www.scifi.com/vr5 - Jonathan Gan <firstname.lastname@example.org> has the original FAQ up on his web site, along with a multitude of other handy VR.5 reference documents, including the fan-fiction, conference, and E-mail Newsletter archives. Visit it at the following site: http://www.eskimo.com/~raquele/vr5/ - Yahoo!'s listings for VR.5 sites is available at: http://www.yahoo.com/News_and_Media/Television/Shows/ Science_Fiction__Fantasy__and_Horror/VR_5/ - Stanley, "Spokesman for the Committee" <email@example.com> runs the Organic Computer, a site chock full of VR.5 graphics and sound clips. Point your graphical WWW browser to: ftp://archive.egr.msu.edu/pub/vr5/vr5.htm Notes for this site: - It says ftp, but you will reach a hypertext page. - If you encounter any problems using the site (or if you're using a text-based WWW browser like lynx), you can also get the files on the site via anonymous ftp. Use ftp to connect to archive.egr.msu.edu, go to the /pub/vr5 directory, and get the files you want. - Pat Moss <firstname.lastname@example.org> runs the Committee Special Report on VR.5. Go to: http://www.planetx.com/vr5 - Augie De Blieck, Jr. <email@example.com> runs the Virtual StormCenter, a VR.5 web page dedicated to keeping VR.5 alive. Go to: http://daniel.drew.edu/~adebliec/vr5.html - Scripts transcribed from some VR.5 episodes can be found from Mara's <Jubal01@aol.com> site at: http://members.aol.com/Jubal01/vr5.html - Alexander Soendjaja <firstname.lastname@example.org> has archived a transcript of the Pilot episode, complete with the scenes cut in the episodic version: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/3155/VR5Pilot.html - More episode transcripts are available from Spencer Rasko's <x-modem@juno,com> page: http://220.127.116.11/bhs/students/Spence/trans.htm (This page also contains a transcript of Anthony Stewart Head's interview on Entertainment Tonight shortly before VR.5's premiere.) - The Sci-Fi Channel has its own set of VR.5-related links at: http://www.scifi.com/orbit/scifitv.html - You can sign the VR.5 Petition at the form available at: http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/4950/petition_form.html - The "Dominion BBoard" on The Sci-Fi Channel's web site had some discussions on VR.5. Go to: http://www.scifi.com/bboard/bboards.html Choose the VR.5 topic and follow the instructions to read and reply to "posts" on the site. There is some renewed interest in this site now with the show re-airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. - A picture of the USA Today announcement of the AOL OMNI conference can be found here: http://www.quiknet.com/~franknw/news.html (Just ignore the news part of the page. It is out-dated and wrong.) - Lori Olson <email@example.com> maintains the VR.5 Multimedia Site, with dozens of screen captures from most of the episodes: http://pearl.sri.com/vr5/ It includes quotes about the VR.5 effort. - James Watkinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> has opened up a broad-spectrum VR.5 web site, complete with video clips you can download and a rotating selection of screen capture: http://www.macnet.com/home/jwatkinson/vr5home.htm - "The Committee's Sound Archive" is maintained by <email@example.com> at: http://members.aol.com/SydnyBl00m/vr5.html - Not really a VR.5-specific site, per se, but it does mention VR.5: http://www.eden.com/users/my-html/fox-list.html It's a list of every show FOX ever aired. Do you want to see what other shows were given the short shrift by FOX? Here you go! - Augie De Blieck Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> maintains the WWW version of the episode guide, complete with graphics and links: http://www.nic.com/~augie/episodes/episodes.htm - A Dee Carstensen home page is available from overseas; it is in English: http://www.hkstar.com/~ericnet/moncoeur/deecar.html - Fans of Will Patton (Frank Morgan) have also constructed a web page: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/9637/ - Entertainment Weekly did a review of the series when it first started: http://pathfinder.com/@@5dy5pgQAryPW6C3T/ew/950324/tv/ TV-VR5_Sliders.html - Another Entertainment Weekly article ("The Next X?") has a longer article about the series as well as a couple of pictures not seen anywhere else on the web: http://pathfinder.com/@@5dy5pgQAryPW6C3T/ew/950310/xfiles/ vr5.html - Alexander Soendjaja maintains "Sydney's Apartment," complete with a weekly "gear," collecting pictures, videos, and/or sounds from VR.5 available for downloading. It includes an image of the VR.5 movie cover available exclusively in Australia: http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/7007/VR5.html - Here are some other WWW sites you may wish to visit, as well. The maintainer of this FAQ just hasn't gotten around to sorting them out yet: http://www.planetx.com/vr5/update/ http://www.teleport.com/~amalie/index.html http://www.abacus.ghj.com/sci_fi/vr5/vr5.htm http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/1727 http://www.cs.ruu.nl/wais/html/na-bng/alt.tv.vr5.html http://18.104.22.168/bhs/students/Spence/vr5lnk.htm http://connexus.apana.org.au/~kat http://www.intercom.no/~savage/ http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/1946/ http://www.astro.ulg.ac.be/~lamy/vr5.html [In French] (7.5) - Does FOX have an e-mail address? <email@example.com> = comments about any FOX series; include the series name in the subject FOX reads your e-mail. Charles Kennedy, Vice President of Programming Research for FOX, has written (on rec.arts.sf.tv) that he reads every piece of mail received through these addresses. When the address was still active shortly after the series premiere, William Cameron <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote that it took 8 weeks for him to receive a form letter from the <email@example.com> address, so it appears that they are busy. And via Alexis Massie <firstname.lastname@example.org>, we have the following "other" FOX addresses: <email@example.com> = Mark Schey, FOX-to-Delphi middle-man <firstname.lastname@example.org> = "MJ," FOX Scheduling (7.6) - Where can I find VR.5 sound clips and pictures? VR.5 sound clips can be found occasionally in the newsgroup alt.binaries.sounds.tv. However, the most reliable way of finding sound clips and pictures is to go to the VR.5-specific World Wide Web sites. (See section 7.4.) Lori Olson's VR.5 Multimedia Site and The Organic Computer, contains an extensive collection of interesting sound clips and pictures. You can also find items posted occasionally to alt.tv.vr5. (See section 7.7.) Jonathan Gan <email@example.com> compiled a list of WWW sites with graphics on them - a list which is added to with nearly every update of this FAQ, it seems: <http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/7007/VR5.html> <http://www.abacus.ghj.com/sci_fi/vr5/vr5.htm> <http://www.clubi.ie/lestat/vr5jpg.html> <http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~bill/e309m/final/drapes/tech.htm> <http://www.cyberverse.com/~elf/subpages/gfxpage/vr5.htm> <http://www.intercom.no/~savage/> <http://members.aol.com/SydnyBl00m/vr5.html> (7.7) - Are binaries allowed in alt.tv.vr5? How can I decode them? Nobody has ever complained. However, it is against common USENET protocol and courtesy to do so. You are better off placing your binary in an alt.binaries.* newsgroup or posting it on your web page. In either case, make a brief post pointing people in that direction so we all can enjoy. (7.8) - Are there VR.5 discussion mailing lists? The main VR.5 discussion mailing list is run by Pat Moss <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and it's called "VR5." It may be useful to you if you're a fan of the series but can't receive alt.tv.vr5 (no matter how much you beg your system administrator). Here's VR5's charter and other info: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- CHARTER: This automated mailing list is chartered to support the discussion of the television show VR.5. It is also to be used for the discussion of VR applications on the Internet (and other networks). This includes (but is not limited to) AR, ColdX, VRML and AI Systems. SUBSCRIBING AND UNSUBSCRIBING: The administrative address for this list is LISTSERV@PLANETX.COM and this is where *all* SUBSCRIBE and UNSUBCRIBE messages should be sent. To subscribe to this group, send the message "subscribe vr5 your name" to the administrative address. To unsubscribe from the VR.5 mailing list, send the message "unsubscribe vr5 your name" to the administrative address shown above. Send the message "help" to the administrative address if you want to know how to change your reception and echo settings. USE OF THE LIST: The normal mailing address of this list is VR5@PLANETX.COM and this is where you should send messages to the rest of the group. Please do not send advertizing or use this automated mailing list as a political soap box. We all have our own opinions. Misuse of the list will result in a blacklisting. QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS: Please send any problems with the automated mailing list to me at PMOSS@PLANETX.COM where I will look after the problem as soon as I can. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- The VR5 list is sporadic and erratic. It can be as slow as one or two messages a day to as many as 50 or 60. (At his height, VR5 channeled 300 messages a day!) In any case, subscribe to the list from a mailbox you can clear periodically during the day or week to avoid being deluged with the volume of messages. If you've subscribed and you're upset with the high volume of posts, send an e-mail message to <email@example.com> containing the following in the body of the message: set vr5 mail digest Instead of sending you each message as it's sent, the list server will send you only *one* e-mail message each day with a digest of the last 24 hours of VR.5 discussion. Joining the List To join the mailing list, send an e-mail message to <firstname.lastname@example.org> containing the following in the body of the message: subscribe vr5 My Name Replace "My Name" with your first and last name. Removing Yourself from the List To remove yourself from a list, send e-mail to <email@example.com> containing the following in the body of the message: unsubscribe vr5 My Name Replace "My Name" with your first and last name. Sending Messages to the List If you'd like to send a message to the VR5 list, send it to <firstname.lastname@example.org> Your message will be transmitted to everyone on the list you sent it to. NOTE! Do *not* send your subscribe/unsubscribe message to <email@example.com>. If you do, you won't be subscribed/unsubscribed, and your message will be sent out to everyone on the mailing list. It can be pretty embarrassing! :-) (7.9) - Are VR.5 discussions conducted on IRC? Maybe. When the show was first aired, weekly IRC chats were held on Saturday nights - the day after a new episode was aired. Nowadays, no such regular chats are held. However, it's always worth a check at #vr5 to see if anyone is in there. Otherwise, post a message in alt.tv.vr5 or on the VR5 mailing list to set up a time and date and you can probably find someone who'll chat with you. Recently, a movement has begun to have discussions on IRC every Tuesday night, when Sci-Fi airs VR.5. Look to the newsgroup and/or listserv for details and more info as it becomes available. There is also now a dedicated VR.5 chat room available through: http://22.214.171.124/bhs/students/Spence/vr5lnks.htm (7.10) - Where can I find information on keeping VR.5 alive? Augie De Blieck, Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> has generously offered to be the home site for information on how to keep VR.5 alive -- in any media. Finger: email@example.com World Wide Web: http://daniel.drew.edu/~adebliec/vr5.html (7.11) - Do the VR.5 producers have an e-mail address? KallyM <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided the e-mail addresses for the producers and for Rysher Entertainment: VR5Prod@aol.com Rysher@aol.com The VR.5 staff at <email@example.com> does read your mail; they've responded to several questions from VR.5 fans. (7.12) - Can I read alt.tv.vr5 via Gopher? The Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration provides a service by which you can read posts from most any newsgroup. If you can read alt.tv.vr5 normally, don't use this service -- excessive overload will cause it to go down. To read alt.tv.vr5: (if you don't understand German :-) (1) Gopher to olymp.wu-wien.ac.at (2) Use the menus to go to Information in English WU Information Services WU-NetNews alt.* alt.tv.* alt.tv.vr5 You can also go directly to this URL: gopher://news.wu-wien.ac.at:7119/1alt.tv.vr5 If you want to post to alt.tv.vr5, check out section 7.14. (7.14) - Can I receive and post to alt.tv.vr5 via e-mail? David Shaler <firstname.lastname@example.org> suggested: I haven't tried this yet because there is no need for me to try it, but for those who can't recieve alt.tv.vr5 or other newsgroups, this might be right up your alley. You can send posts to alt.tv.vr5 through email by sending it to email@example.com In the subject, put what you would put if you were posting a message the rgular way and type up your message in the body. You can also recieve all the posts in a newsgroup. First you have to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and leave the subject blank but in the body type help. Remember to turn your .sig off so it isn't put into the message. You'll get instructions back on how to set it up so that when items are posted in the newsgroup you'll also receive a copy through email. This can be done with any newsgroup and you can send mesages to any newsgroup. Just replace the name of the newsgroup with another when you send it to news.demon.co.uk (7.16) - Has any original VR.5 fan fiction been written on the Net? Yes! Currently, WorstWitch maintains the VR.5 fan-fiction collection, via an extensive web site. Stories are frequently available in both .txt and .zip formats. http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Corridor/9422/ficthome.htm Read and enjoy the stories in the file! If you have any comments, please send them to the authors at their respective e-mail addresses. They'd love to hear from you. If you'd like to write your own story, do so and post it to alt.tv.vr5 for other fans to enjoy. If you'd like it included in the VR.5 fan fiction archive, e-mail your story to WorstWitch at <email@example.com>. She's be more than happy to archive it herself or add a link to your site from hers. If you are stuck for ideas, an article with suggestions on coming up with ideas is available at the Eskimo FTP site: ftp://ftp.eskimo.com/u/r/raquele/archive/vr5-fanfic/gettingideas (7.17) - What's Virtual Storm? Virtual Storm is an Internet-based organization that's dedicated to promoting VR.5. Members of the Virtual Storm coordinate their efforts online by organizing mail, e-mail, fax, and phone campaigns to TV networks and media organizations. Originally proposed on 31 May 1995 by Jonathan Gan <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Virtual Storm has enjoyed broad support from fans of the show online. The Virtual StormCenter -- Virtual Storm's home on the World Wide Web -- is an excellent source of addresses, phone numbers, and sample letters if you want to help keep VR.5 alive. It's maintained by Augie De Blieck, Jr. <email@example.com>; you can reach it at: http://daniel.drew.edu/~adebliec/vr5.html Virtual Storm's current objectives are: - To support the efforts by John Sacret Young, Samoset Productions, and Rysher Entertainment to revive VR.5, possibly as a television movie of the week. - To increase awareness of the series. - To bring in new fans and find original ones. - To tell the media that we exist and that fans are working hard to bring back the series Currently, the Virtual Storm is asking for signatures on a Virtual Petition of sorts to convince FOX that there is enough interest in VR.5 to warrant a television movie. Please sign it by sending a brief message to John Dobbin <firstname.lastname@example.org> with your name and location (city, state/province, country) You don't have to be on-line to sign it, either. Send in the the same information for your off-line friends who wish to support the cause and they'll be added right in, too. The petition is currently at just over 700 names. It will be sent in to FOX after 100 names have been signed. (7.18) - Is there a VR.5 multimedia program? There used to be. =( Nathan Donato <email@example.com> produced and released a "VR.5 multimedia kit" with NeoBook Pro. It contained pictures, sound clips, information about VR.5, and more. To run the multimedia program, you needed: - MS-DOS - Sound Blaster or other sound card - VGA 256-color display or better However, nobody has seen or heard from Nathan in quite some time, and the program seems to have disappeared. If anyone has a copy, please let the FAQ maintainer know as <firstname.lastname@example.org> - he'd like to get the program on the web again. (7.19) - Why is there nothing in this space? I don't know and I'm too lazy to renumber everything to fit it in. Please note, section (7.15) is also strangely absent. Yeesh. (7.20) - Why do I keep hearing about a VR.5 fan convention in San Francisco? In response to requests from the rest of the online VR.5 fan community in early June 1995, John Dobbin <email@example.com> described a VR.5 fan convention in San Francisco that would happen if the posts in alt.tv.vr5 numbered over 300 in a three-day period. It starred many of the personalities on alt.tv.vr5 and the VR.5 mailing list, and as people responded and added their own dreams and comments, the thread became a virtual history of the online fan effort. It included fans' impressions, moods, dreams, and hopes for VR.5 as they worked hard to get it back on the air -- well after the 300-post milestone was passed. You can find the entire "Convention" thread in the VR.5 Fan Fiction Archive; see section 7.16. (7.21) - Have Virtual Storm's efforts been reported on in the media? Northern New Jersey's (U.S.) newspaper "The Record" interviewed Virtual Storm's Media Relations director Augie De Blieck, Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> on Virtual Storm's efforts to promote VR.5. Alonzo Jones <email@example.com> described "The Record" as a northern New Jersey publication with offices in Hackensack, New Jersey, Bergen County. Here's part of the text of the article, as posted by Augie: --------------------------------------------------------------------------- FANS MAKE LAST-DITCH EFFORTS TO SAVE THEIR FAVORITES by Virginia Rohan (The Record, E-2, June 11, 1995) Aux armes, TV fans! This is the spring of discontent. Over the past few weeks, I've received a number of calls and letters from readers who are irate about everything from cancellations to cast changes - and who would like to incite other viewers. After reading my recent column about ABC's axing of "My So-Called Life" - which is still generating sad letters - Augie De Blieck, Jr. of North Haledon wrote to alert us of a "growing movement" on the Internet to resuscitate Fox's "VR.5". His World Wide Web site is the official home page for the campaign, christened "Virtual Storm." (The address for the WWW site is http://daniel.drew.edu/adebliec/vr5.html. [sic] He'll also take e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org) The campaign has several goals. First, De Blieck wants Fox to air the remaining three episodes. As of Wednesday, Fox hadn't made any plans to air them. "Second, we'd like to see Fox reconsider and renew the show, if only as a mid-season replacement." "Third, if that fails, we wish another network would pick it up - such as the WB, UPN, or USA. Failing that, we would like to see either a series of novels or a comic book devoted to the show." De Blieck said the most promising prospect at the moment is the possibility of syndication. He says "a series of poor decisions by Fox management" led to the show's demise: Its 8 p.m. Friday time slot amounted to a kamikaze mission. Ditto, the decision to unveil such a youth oriented series in the spring. "College students - like myself - are a little more concerned with final exams and thesis papers than TV shows during this time of year, causing many to skip television," De Blieck argues. * * * Then the article goes on to an interesting piece with John DeLancie (where she spelled MacGyver wrong - UGH), and an irate fan of Law & Order. The real WWW address is http://daniel.drew.edu/~adebliec/vr5.html She missed the tilda. But the e-mail address is valid, so if someone did want to visit, they could e-mail me and ask for the proper address. Theoretically. My letter was written before the formation of Virtual Storm, so there are a couple of differences in mission right now, I'd assume. The article adds up more to a hybrid of last month's with this month's campaigns. And by the way, I hope it doesn't look like I was trying to make myself look like the sole driving force behind all of this. I always said "we" to her, but she seems to single me out as some sort of troop-rallier. So you have it. I have no idea if anyone has visited the WWW site - a smart Internetter might have known to include the tilda they omitted - but I know I have yet to receive any e-mail. But "Virtual Storm" has hit the press!!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------- (7.22) - What do members of the VR.5 production team say about Virtual Storm's efforts? They certainly appreciate fans' efforts to promote VR.5, and all of the producers or writers we've talked to have endorsed and given their full support for Virtual Storm. (7.23) - What's that miniFAQ I see being posted in alt.tv.vr5? Lori Olson currently maintains the mini-FAQ, posted regularly on alt.tv.vr5. Some essential information is contained therein for those who can't or don't want to read through this entire list. (7.24) - What's that Survival Guide I see being posted in alt.tv.vr5? John Dobbin <email@example.com> has taken over the maintainance functions of the alt.tv.VR5 Survival Guide, a document posted weekly to alt.tv.vr5 with essential information designed specifically to keep regular readers of the newsgroup up to date with the latest info as well as introducing new readers to the peculiarities of VR.5 fan-hood and the newsgroup. (7.25) - How can I publicize my VR.5 web page? There are many ways! The first two steps you probably want to take are: 1. Register your page with Yahoo. Go to http://www.yahoo.com/ and search for 'VR.5'. Choose their current heading for VR.5 listings. Click on Add and fill out the form to suggest a page. (Also, be sure to check out their listings of WWW announcement services.) 2. Send a post to comp.infosystems.www.announce. Be sure to comply with the requirements of the newsgroup. READ THE FAQ! (7.26) - I use Microsoft Windows. Can I get an icon with the VR.5 logo? Yes! Stanley, "Spokesman for the Committee" <firstname.lastname@example.org> created one, and it is now available once again at the bottom of the VR.5 FAQ homepage: http://www.nic.com/~augie/vr5/index.htm (7.27) - I use Microsoft Windows '95 with the Plus! package. Is there a VR.5 theme? There is now! Dawn Smith <email@example.com> has made two separate VR.5 themes available. You can get them from her via the web at http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Set/1946 (7.28) - What's the "On-Line VR.5 Newsletter?" For a period of a few months starting in August of 1995, Augie De Blieck Jr. <firstname.lastname@example.org> took the news from the VR.5 mailing lists and newsgroup and compiled them into a short, informative newsletter, which he posted on newsgroups alt.tv.vr5, rec.arts.sf.tv, and rec.arts.tv. However, due to several reasons (lack of time and material, a computer crash) the newsletter was cancelled. However, there is an archive available of all the issues at http://www.eskimo.com/ftp/u/r/raquele/archive/vr5enews.txt (8) - OTHER STUFF (8.1) - Who helped in the creation of this list? Many good people have taken the time to tell me that they've appreciated my work, or contributed help, resources, and/or material to this FAQ list. It's because of you that this document exists; thanks for helping me keep it updated and complete. You're probably credited below. If I've stolen material from postings, the authors are credited for it and their name is also listed here. Without all of these people, this FAQ list would not be in existence. Thank you, and a big hand to... (in no particular order) Robin Miller <email@example.com> Pat Moss <firstname.lastname@example.org> Todd Palino <email@example.com> Randy and Jean-Marc Lofficier <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dave Kliman <email@example.com> gomlb <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mark Chaffe <email@example.com> Lorraine Wong <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> Radde Majeed <firstname.lastname@example.org> Lokeria <email@example.com> Lee Whiteside <firstname.lastname@example.org> William Wood <email@example.com> Troy Heagy <firstname.lastname@example.org> Steve Freedkin <email@example.com> Kevyzim <firstname.lastname@example.org> William Cameron <email@example.com> Lee Lefler <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mark Gerl <email@example.com> Ian Philip Schechter <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ed Cannon <email@example.com> Jeff Kramer <firstname.lastname@example.org> Jay Jachimiak <email@example.com> Nancy Cavaness <firstname.lastname@example.org> Tom Scalf <email@example.com> Jon Neill <firstname.lastname@example.org> John Dobbin <email@example.com> David Homerick <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> Robert DeLisle <firstname.lastname@example.org> Tom G. <email@example.com> Ashley Majzels <firstname.lastname@example.org> Shane Huson <email@example.com> Prince <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dean Adams <email@example.com> J. Walters <firstname.lastname@example.org> Elayne Wechsler-Chaput <email@example.com> Carlos Francisco Gomez <firstname.lastname@example.org> Enigma Q. Voxy <email@example.com> Wyndstorm Huntress <firstname.lastname@example.org> Laraine Wessels <email@example.com> Timothy Bruening <firstname.lastname@example.org> David Homerick <email@example.com> Theresa Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> Brian Mayberry <email@example.com> David Shaler <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mike Dowd <email@example.com> Chris Canary <firstname.lastname@example.org> Andrea Aldridge <email@example.com> Dennis Lui <firstname.lastname@example.org> Terry Asher <email@example.com> CArdoin658 <firstname.lastname@example.org> dspiral <email@example.com> John Resotko <firstname.lastname@example.org> Bill Bickel <email@example.com> David Stinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Gerry Smith <email@example.com> Stephen McLeod <firstname.lastname@example.org> Augie De Blieck, Jr. <email@example.com> Mark Koldys <firstname.lastname@example.org> Jon Drukman <email@example.com> Jean Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Edith Weil <email@example.com> Michael Lichter <firstname.lastname@example.org> Megan Gentry <email@example.com> Ruth Ellen Seid <firstname.lastname@example.org> Don Alsafi <email@example.com> Kenneth Higa <firstname.lastname@example.org> Geoff Alexander <email@example.com> SWright001 <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ed Sarfeld <email@example.com> Mahmut Miski <firstname.lastname@example.org> Miguel Vasquez <email@example.com> Dennis Bronstein <firstname.lastname@example.org> Erik, "The Mad Poet" <email@example.com> Toni C. Emerson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sony/"Mnemonic" Internet promotion <email@example.com> SLefever <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> Jol Padgett <firstname.lastname@example.org> KallyM <email@example.com> MAO369 <firstname.lastname@example.org> Vikki Godwin <email@example.com> Michele Santiago <VR5SBloom@aol.com> Heather Clebo <firstname.lastname@example.org> Andre Tobiassen <email@example.com> "Doctor Bob" Rankin <firstname.lastname@example.org> news.answers moderation team <email@example.com> David Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Alexis Massie <email@example.com> Alan Light <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ford Thaxton <email@example.com> Lisa Cunningham <firstname.lastname@example.org> Pat Pruyne <email@example.com> Charles Krause <firstname.lastname@example.org> Randolph Jones <email@example.com> Jones Kelly Suzanne <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ruth Bolton <email@example.com> Linda Willard <firstname.lastname@example.org> Katherine Vogele <email@example.com> Nick J. Rudnicki <firstname.lastname@example.org> Rudnicki's friend <email@example.com> Lynn McElhatton <firstname.lastname@example.org> Grail <email@example.com> University of Texas mail-to-news gateway <firstname.lastname@example.org> Joe Dysart <email@example.com> Mike Rosen <firstname.lastname@example.org> BBurs63388 <email@example.com> Paloma Joye <firstname.lastname@example.org> Andrew Brennan <email@example.com> Nathan Donato <firstname.lastname@example.org> Robt_Martin <email@example.com> Tim Freeman <firstname.lastname@example.org> PencilArts <email@example.com> Maritza Stember <firstname.lastname@example.org> Jean Lambert <email@example.com> Lars Johnsen <firstname.lastname@example.org> Eva Wong <email@example.com> Margaret Patmos <firstname.lastname@example.org> Kathy Chyla <email@example.com> Bill Walko <firstname.lastname@example.org> Alonzo Jones <email@example.com> Frank Garcia <firstname.lastname@example.org> Donna Solomon <email@example.com> GG <firstname.lastname@example.org> Finger e-mail robot <email@example.com> Robert Spier <firstname.lastname@example.org> NDC <email@example.com> Laura Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> Marvin Price <email@example.com> Joanne <firstname.lastname@example.org> Lori Olson <email@example.com> Jeff Bryer <firstname.lastname@example.org> Zanda <email@example.com> Phousel <firstname.lastname@example.org> RavvitEars <email@example.com> Karen <firstname.lastname@example.org> Iteach1991 <email@example.com> Joannie 40 <firstname.lastname@example.org> Miss Angst <email@example.com> TimDudeFl <firstname.lastname@example.org> SEHZUCKI <email@example.com> SwagSu <firstname.lastname@example.org> WalterGL <email@example.com> J Scalia <firstname.lastname@example.org> Delfar7 <email@example.com> Vrwatch <firstname.lastname@example.org> FX ANGEL <email@example.com> James Watkinson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Mara <email@example.com> Spencer Rasko <firstname.lastname@example.org> Alexander Soendjaja <email@example.com> Dawn Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> Stephan Roy (via the newsgroup) <email@example.com> Mara <Jubal01@aol.com> Special thanks to: Jonathan Gan <firstname.lastname@example.org>. He is the man who started this whole project. The FAQ is an unbelievable amount of work and the time and effort he put into it from the beginning makes my job just that much easier. Also thanks to him for donating the FTP space to house so many of the files listed here. Stanley, "Spokesman for the Committee" <email@example.com>. From the very beginning, he's contributed time, energy, and space on his web/ftp site for this project. John Dobbin <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Who has been there every step of the way for both Jon and myself. Lisa Cunningham <email@example.com> She is as much a VR.5 legend to me as is Lori Singer or John Sacret Young; her endless enthusiasm and conversational skills made the VR5 mailing list a great place to be when she was there. Russ Hersch <firstname.lastname@example.org>. His document, "FAQs about FAQs," was invaluable in the creation of this list. Members of the VR.5 production team <email@example.com> and people from FOX <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Rysher Entertainment <email@example.com>, and Samoset Productions. Not only have they created and broadcast a thoughtful and creative TV program, but some have risked their jobs to chat with us, keep us updated, and offer their support for our efforts on the Net. Thank you all! All of the information that the people listed above (and the maintainer of the FAQ list) have contributed represents their opinion only. It does not represent the opinions or positions of their employers. Thanks to all of you who've contributed and all of you who've sent in your suggestions and compliments. This FAQ list is truly a reflection of the VR.5 fan effort! (8.2) - Can I sue you if the stuff here is wrong? Try not to. "This article is provided "as-is," without any express or implied warranties. The maintainer of the FAQ list and the contributors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein." -- "VR.5 Escape Key" at the end of the FAQ list You see, I do this as a hobby, and if I had to be held financially responsible for misspelling a company's name (and if I had to be taken to court), I'd stop. It wouldn't be fun any more. :-) If you're from someone's legal department (or even if you're not) and find something wrong with anything here, though, please feel free to e-mail me, Augie De Blieck Jr., here at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you disagree with any of the opinions here, e-mail me. I'll include your bit or position and add your name to the huge acknowledgments list. (8.3) - Can I take this list and sell it for $4.85 in bookstores? You may be able to, if you get permission first. (If you distribute the VR.5 FAQ & Episode Guide unmodified and in its entirety and without charging for it -- except for online charges, if applicable -- that's fine.) "This FAQ list may not be distributed for financial gain, or included in commercial collections or compilations without express permission from the maintainer. Please e-mail Jonathan Gan <email@example.com> with a description of your plans." -- "VR.5 Escape Key" at the end of the FAQ list So if you want to post it to another newsgroup, e-mail it to a friend, post it on AOL, or print out a copy and send it to someone you think might be interested, do it. And if that person finds something they want to add and sends me the addition... even better! You've just helped contribute to a living, constantly updated document. If you're distributing it for financial gain (or including the FAQ in commercial collections, like books or CD-ROMs), please contact me first and tell me what you plan to do. This is: - because the FAQ & Episode Guide took thousands of hours to produce and maintain, and if someone's making money off of it, I'd like to know. :-) - so that -- if you're publishing the FAQ list in a book about VR.5, for example -- I can include your book here as a source of info about VR.5, which may help you and readers here. Or if you're taking some of the information here and putting it in a book, we can arrange how people will be credited in your book. - because several enterprising (but not very thoughtful) people have been taking FAQs and stuffing them on a CD or in a big book without letting their readers know where they can find the FAQs for free. Just let me know, and we'll discuss your plans. This FAQ was meant to be free for everyone, and I'd like to keep it as close to that as possible. (8.4) - What's the VR.5 Drinking Game? From Terri Ann <firstname.lastname@example.org> comes the semi-official VR.5 Drinking Game! Play along as you watch VR.5! (Contributors also include Vikki Godwin <email@example.com>, Pat Moss <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and Robert Spier <email@example.com>.) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ingest the following amounts of your selected drink (be it alcohol, coffee, whatever) when these incidences occur: 1 sip for each techno-geek who complains about Sydney's use of an acoustic modem. 1 sip every time Duncan says, "Hey!" 1 sip during each scene Oliver Sampson is drinking some sort of beverege. 2 sips if you think it's Taster's Choice. 3 sips if it really is Taster's Choice. 4 sips if you wonder when Syd will VR into Oliver's head and find him having coffee with Sharon Maughan. Join Alcoholics/Caffeine/Whatever Anonymous if it really happens (you've been drinking too much). 1 sip for each of Sydney's unnecessarily skimpy outfits. 3 sips if you wonder to yourself when Oliver gets to wear an unnecessarily skimpy outfit. 1 sip if you've rented/purchased any of the other work the actors in VR.5 have been in. 1 sip if you look at Louise Fletcher's character and have an irresistible urge to call her "Kai Bloom" or "Nora Ratchett". 2 sips if you got the last joke. 1 sip for each of Oliver's unintelligible phrases. Finish your glass if you can translate them (You've been cheating!) 1 sip every time someone whispers. 1 sip every time you have to rewind the VCR to figure out what they said. Continue until you've figured out what they've said, or you finish the bottle (whichever comes first). 1 sip each time you ask yourself, "Does Duncan do *anything* for a living?" 1 sip for each computer enhanced scene (sure to get you). 1 sip if, during any scene, you see any of the other Fame kids standing in the background with a "Will dance/sing/play cello for food!" sign. 1 sip every time Alex changes her hairstyle 1 sip every time somebody dies 2 sips if it was a recurring character 3 sips if he was in the opening credits Whole drink if he wasn't really dead after all 1 sip every time Dad drowns 1 sip every time Oliver lets himself into Sydney's apartment 2 sips for every time he actually bothers to knock For Mormons or other non-drinkers... 1 sip for any episode of VR.5 that answer every single question you ever had about the show. [with a different measuring system:] One drink Everytime Duncan spouts off about something obscure Chug Everytime Sydney enters VR One drink Anytime there is sexual tension between any of the characters One drink Everytime we learn something about the Committee One drink Anytime Sydney enters the scene in a dishevelled state One drink Anytime Sydney screams One drink Anytime Oliver is ambiguous and does not tell the whole story One drink Anytime a character has a flashback Two drinks Anytime we catch a glimpse of Dr. Bloom --------------------------------------------------------------------------- (8.5) - Are you a Headcase? Donna Solomon <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes: For some time now my friends have said I was a head case. Guess now they're right, although I'd have to capitalize that title. I'm not even quite sure when it happened during the course of watching VR.5. Probably during Escape. But as I've told friends, I know I've got it bad. I've even compiled a list of symptoms. You might want to take this quick test to discover your own level of Sampsonitis. 1. You dislike instant coffee, yet are irrestiably drawn toward the Taster's Choice display at the supermarket. 2. You beg Highlander fans for a copy of Tony's episode. 3. Your list of future computer passwords includes OLIVER and SAMPSON. 4. You rent "Royce" and actually watch the whole thing. 5. You seriously consider going through old video tapes that you made over the years to search for Taster's Choice commercials to put them all together. 6. You listen to the original cast recording of "Chess", knowing full well that it's Murray and not Tony singing, but you still try to imagine how Tony sounded performing "One Night in Bangkok" and "Pity the Child." 7. You consider going to see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" for the first time in years so you to try visualizing what Tony looked like in fishnet stockings and a corset. 8. You're browsing through the bargain books at Barnes and Noble and can't resist picking up a copy of "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" because the cover states that there are eight pages of photos and you want to see how much Murray and Tony look alike. 9. You can't help thinking about all those years you watched Taster's Choice and thought "he's okay," but it took a British accent and a little angst -- ok, maybe a lot of angst -- to push you over the edge. All right, so these are my own little quirks. And I confess that at least one was exaggerated. (I couldn't make it all the way through "Royce." I turned it off after an hour.) Anybody care to add their own to make it an even 10. Donna "VR.5 is coming back."