Monday, October 12, 2009

News - 10/12/09...

Aye Carumba! Marge Simpson poses for Playboy cover

Blue-coiffed mom Marge Simpson will be front and center in Playboy's November issue -- marking the magazine's first-ever cover and centerfold of a cartoon character.

On the streets October 16, Playboy will spotlight the Simpsons star in a three-page pictorial that a magazine spokeswoman called "sexy" with "implied nudity."

However, Marge won't appear on the cover of subscriber editions, delivered to 40% of Playboy's readership. Those will display a celebrity instead.

The Marge Simpson centerfold is "obviously somewhat tongue-in-cheek," new CEO Scott Flanders -- no relation to Ned Flanders -- said in an interview Thursday with the Chicago Sun-Times. "It had never been done, and we thought it would be kind of hip, cool and unusual."

According to Flanders, the aim is to draw readers in their 20s, a demographic which he hopes to reach. The average Playboy reader's age is 35.

Couples Rules, But Toys, Meatballs Hold Up Well

Animated features continued to hold up well against neurotic couples and zombies at the box office this weekend.

Sony’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs closed in on the $100 million mark, taking in about $12 million for a total of $96.3 million. The film, in its fourth weekend of release, is on track to become the first Sony Pictures Animation feature to top the $100 million domestic mark.

In third place was Disney/Pixar’s limited double feature release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3-D. The duo grossed $7.7 million in its second weekend, bringing the limited run’s total to $22.7 million.

None of which was enough to top Universal’s comedy Couples Retreat, the only major new release of the weekend. It topped the box office with a $35 million opening, followed by Zombieland with $15 million.

The surging horror film Paranormal Activity came in fifth place for the weekend, with $7 million — a huge increase for the film. Comic-book adaptation The Surrogates was in sixth place with $4.1 million, for a total of $32 million.

Also still in release is Focus Features’ 9, which took in $815,000, edging its total up to $30.6 million.

(Thanks Animation Magazine)

New Images And Video Clips From Upcoming “Batman: The Brave And The Bold” Episode

The World’s Finest has received new clips, images and details from the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "When OMAC Attacks!"

Cartoon Network has passed along the episode synopsis, video clips, and over twenty images for the upcoming Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode "When Omac Attacks!" The episode is scheduled to air Friday, October 16th, 2009 at 7:30pm (ET) on Cartoon Network. To get a closer look at the images, click on the thumbnails below.

Click Here For More Images, Videos & Details!

The all-new Batman: The Brave and The Bold "When OMAC Attacks!" episode, scheduled to air on Friday, October 16th 2009 at 7:30pm (ET) on Cartoon Network, is described as seen below.

Batman: The Brave and The Bold "When OMAC Attacks!"
The all-American fighting machine OMAC is pitted against the equally destructive Shrapnel in a chaotic fight to the finish, but the architect behind the battle is the mysterious, balance-obsessed villain Libra.

Three clips from the episode, provided by Cartoon Network, are available to view here at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite. Other details for Batman: The Brave and The Bold "When OMAC Attacks!", including cast and crew credits, are also available at our Batman: The Brave and The Bold subsite.

Billy Mays Hucks Chipotlaway on South Park

If you missed the latest South Park on Wednesday, here’s a 2-minute clip from one of the funniest sequences. Finally, there’s a product that cleans those annoying blood stains!

Shaw Sets The Machine in Motion

Rob Shaw’s powerful stop-motion short, The Machine, is a parable examining man’s thirst for power and dominance. This 4-minute short film was produced out of Bent Image Lab and animated by Shaw and Sarah Hulin.

Angel Vitamina Teaser Falls to Earth

Angel Vitamina is a story of Earth’s fallen angel, who is discovered by earthbound astronomy-lover Julu. The project, which is conceived as a feature, is being produced by Wujoco out of Argentina. Here’s a cryptic teaser:

Encyclopedia Pictura Creates Animated Universe

This CG short, titled How Will You Create The Universe draws inspiration from the video game Spore, which invites users to create their own worlds. It was directed by Encyclopedia Pictura (Bjork’s Wanderlust), and animated at Tippett Studios. I’ve also read that it was intended as a spot for Spore, but EA went in this direction instead. Offers Up Animation-Related Exclusives

Special exclusive behind-the-scenes content from Marvel Animation will be on display on starting Thursday, October 8, 2009. Included will be concept artwork, storyboards, character designs, background artwork, music, videos, and more from many of Marvel's current animated offerings, including Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Wolverine and the X-Men, and The Super Hero Squad Show.

The full press release follows:

Glimpse Into Marvel Animation’s Secret Archives… Presents Marvel Animation Daily Exclusives

See all-new concept art, storyboards, character designs, backgrounds, videos, music and more

(October 8th, 2009) – For the first time ever, Marvel Animation and ( invite fans to enter the vault of Marvel Animation’s never before seen images. Available for an exclusive sneak peek are some of Marvel Animation’s most popular shows The Super Hero Squad Show, Iron Man Armored Adventures and Wolverine and the X-Men, just to name a few. From original concept sketches of characters to backgrounds, storyboards, final colored character and background artwork, and so much more, the Marvel Animation vault is officially open and fans can see it exclusively at

Each unique feature offers engaging information and questions that will intrigue and excite all Marvel fans. Accompanied with all-new facts about Marvel Animation’s hit shows, each image offers a rare glimpse into the Marvel Universe. For the first time, Marvel Animation is delivering a behind the scenes look at the creation of some of its most popular animated series, giving fans a deeper look into Marvel’s past, present and future animated properties.

As if it could get any better, each animated series is linked to the “Related News” sections that include character biographies, episode synopses, music videos, trailers, sneak previews and so much more! For the first time ever, Marvel fans will be able to experience first hand the development and creation of the world’s greatest Super Heroes!

The Super Hero Squad
When the greatest (and coolest) heroes on the planet unite to face the world’s greatest villains, you get the biggest, most family-friendly Super Hero team-up in TV history. It’s no small job protecting Super Hero City from the wild, weird (& even wacky) villainy of VillainVille’s infamous baddies… but the Super Hero Squad is always up for the job. These brave heroes totally deliver the action – but with plenty of humor on the side.

Animation Exclusives featuring THE SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW include:

SHS Concept Art
Character Sketches
Background Sketches
Full Color Character Poses
Full Color Background Art
And so much more…

Iron Man Armored Adventures
Tony Stark is not the typical teenager… he’s a billionaire, brilliant inventor… and Iron Man! Iron Man Armored Adventures follows Tony Stark, 16-year-old genius and heir to the billion-dollar corporation Stark International, as he battles the enemies of world peace with his revolutionary power armor technology. Growing up, Tony had always lived a life of luxury, but everything went horribly wrong when a tragic plane accident robbed him of his father and nearly cost him his own life. Eager to honor the memory of his dad, Tony now uses his suit of invincible armor and technical know-how to protect those who would also fall prey to tragedy, corruption and conspiracy. With help from his friends Jim Rhodes and Pepper Potts, Tony’s activities as Iron Man usually result in high-speed flight, high-tech battles and high-octane quests for justice.

Animation Exclusives featuring IRON MAN ARMORED ADVENTURES include:

IMAA Concept Sketches
IMAA Rough Drawings
IMAA Screenshots
Iron Man Suit Concepts
Final Color Character Imagery
Background Artwork
And so much more…

Wolverine and the X-Men
The story begins as an explosive event shatters the lives of the X-Men and takes away their mentor, Professor X. The beaten heroes, including Beast, Storm, Cyclops and Nightcrawler, walk away from it all but then they are given a rare glimpse into the future, where they see a world in utter ruin…ruled by giant destructive robots. They discover the world has spiraled out of control because the X-Men have given up. So now the most legendary of all X-Men, Wolverine, must take the lead on the ultimate mission--to prevent the world's destruction—while fending off enemies Magneto and The Brotherhood.

Animation Exclusives featuring WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN:

WXM Concept Sketches
Rough Character Images
Colored Final Character Images
Exclusive Wolverine and X-Men Images
WXM Screenshots
Background Imagery
And so much more…

Marvel Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 5,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in licensing, entertainment (via Marvel Studios and Marvel Animation) and publishing (via Marvel Comics). Marvel's strategy is to leverage its franchises in a growing array of opportunities around the world, including feature films, consumer products, toys, video games, animated television, direct-to-DVD and online.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" Shortlisted for The Times BFI Award

Wes Anderson's stop-motion feature Fantastic Mr. Fox is amongst the films shortlisted for the Best Film Award at The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival.

The festival takes place Oct. 14-29, with the awards presented on Oct. 28. The Best Film Award is a new category, recognizing "creative, original, imaginative, intelligent and distinctive filmmaking.

“Wail to God” Video by Anthony Schepperd

Don’t miss Anthony F. Schepperd’s video for Ape School’s “Wail to God.” The immediacy and intensity of his drawn animation is a real pleasure to watch. His stretchy character transformations and surrealist touches like the NSFW tit-trees give off a vibe of somebody who’s having fun with the possibilities of animation.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Bottom of the River

The latest video for the Canadian band Tom Fun Orchestra from the duo Alasdair Brotherston and Jock Mooney (we featured their previous piece here a couple of months ago). This one, done in a moody silouette style, was just nominated for a UK VMA award.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Toy Story 3 trailer

(Thanks cartoon brew)


Donato Sansone makes bizarre little test films, mostly live action. Enrico Ascoli, his sound designer, posts them online. This is one of his best and its animated:

(Thanks cartoon brew)

My Afternoon Romp at Cartoon Network

I spent the after-lunch hour bouncing between buildings at the Network of Cartoons, where there is work going on with different series within the skyscraper adjacent to CN's regular studio, even as the third floor of the original facility stands mostly empty.

A young artist informed me:

"The seventeen Cartoonstitute shorts that the studio hadn't released showed up on You Tube a bit over a week ago. Cartoon Network (or somebody) hauled them down, but many of us think they were put up by a person who got their hands on the DVD disk the studio had made up.

"Half of them popped back up on You Tube real fast, because people liked them and ripped them from the internet. Some of the shorts are really funny.
Uncle Grandpa got a huge number of hits before it was taken down the first time. The interesting thing is that all these cartoons are now eligible for Emmys because they appeared on the internet. And there's a new Emmy category for animated shorts ..."

I've got no idea if any of these shorts will win a pretty gold statue, but I certainly hope one of them gets the nod. You Tube is a pretty good distribution system.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Disney sound editor Warren Hamilton dead at 76

Sound editor Warren Hamilton, the winner of Golden Reel Awards for his sound effects and editing on the Disney feature films Oliver & Company and Beauty and the Beast, died August 17 in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 76.

Hamilton was the sound effects editor of the 1996 direct-to-video Disney sequel Aladdin And The King Of Thieves.

He won a third Golden Reel Award for his work on the live-action movie Speed.

Hamilton worked on over 53 feature films. He was the sound editor on such movies as Apollo 13, Twister, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Total Recall, Beetlejuice and Batman Returns. Other credits included Edward Scissorhands, Jackie Brown and Poltergeist.

Hamilton was born in Los Angeles. His father, also named Warren Hamilton, worked in the art department at MGM and Fox. He began in show business as an actor, appearing in small roles in such films as The Blackboard Jungle.

After serving in the United States Army, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA. In 1960, Hamilton began working as a story editor for Warner Bros. on such TV series as 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and Cheyenne.

Hamilton left in 1962 to join Alfred Hitchcock Presents, later becoming employed by Disney.

In 1969, he co-wrote the Academy Award-nominated documentary short An Impression of John Steinbeck: Writer.

For a decade, he was a story editor and writer for low-budget films. By the late 1970s, he had become a full-time sound editor.

Hamilton was a past president and lifetime board member of the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild. He also was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He is survived by his son Craig, a copyright administrator for Warner Bros., and daughter Jenene, who works for the screenplay clearance firm Marshall/Plumb Research Associates.

Donations can be made to the AMPAS Foundation and the Motion Picture Television Fund Volunteer Guild.

The Story of Alvin

Steve Worth over at the Asifa-Hollywood Animation Archive has posted a plethora of Alvin and The Chipmunks memorabilia to tell the story behind this eternal pop-culture phenomenon. Steve has posted much rare material from the Format Films era Alvin Show including several storyboards (including the rare pilot) and Jules Engel color keys. Go there now! Here’s the direct link.

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Captain Planet Tackles Climate Change

The climate change talks in Copenhagen are a couple months away, but Chris Voigt is already on the attack. A failed superhero is the only person who can save us now – this is Captain Planet goes to Copenhagen.

Hirsch Grabs Yankovic Off the Wall

Remember Alex Hirsch’s CalArts short Off the Wall? Well it’s a series now, retitled Scribble Talk, and who better to help kick off the first episode than “Weird Al” Yankovic?

"The Cat Piano" by Eddie White and Ari Gibson

Beautiful hand-drawn animation and design in the short film "The Cat Piano" by Eddie White and Ari Gibson of the People's Republic of Animation Studio .

(click through to the link on Vimeo to watch in HD.)

Model sheet of The Poet from "The Cat Piano"

© People's Republic of Animation

See the production blog: "The Cat Piano" Production Blog

(Thanks David Nethery)

Milt Kahl pencil test - King Louis and Mowgli

Some Milt Kahl pencil test goodness :

(a drawing or two are missing, so a couple of bumps not there in the original , but this is pretty much complete)

(Thanks David Nethery)

Sylvain Chomet's "The Illusionist"

"The Illusionist" from a script by Jacques Tati , directed by Sylvain Chomet ("The Triplettes of Belleville")

The film is near completion (post-production) . Pathe is releasing in Europe, but no word on a U.S. release yet.

Latest images of the film released by Pathe (via Victor Ens' blog)

(click on images to see them larger)

The film is about “a dying breed of stage entertainer whose thunder is being stolen by emerging rock stars. Forced to accept increasingly obscure assignments in fringe theaters, garden parties and bars, he meets a young fan who changes his life forever.”

(Thanks David Nethery)

Thoughts from Brad Bird

I came across this quote from Brad Bird on CartoonBrew recently:

"It’s also worth noting that (Wall Street) analysts are always bullish about any studios whose production slates are loaded with sequels, remakes, and “re-boots”.

This particular poverty of imagination is absolutely mainstream thinking when it comes to businessmen, who are all about recognizing patterns of success that they assume are repeatable… no matter how often that very approach fails.

They always try to copy the original THING rather than the CONDITIONS that allowed the original thing to come into being."

– Brad Bird

He totally nails it. They try to copy the original thing rather than the conditions that allowed the original thing to come into being. Exactly.

"Hey, make me something like Bugs Bunny... yeah, that's it , give me the New Bugs Bunny" , they say , instead of considering "What were the conditions operating at the time of the Leon Schlesinger Studio that caused the artists working there to create characters like Bugs Bunny?" Why not try to replicate those creative conditions that gave rise to those classic cartoons and then see what happens ?

Also for more thoughts along those lines from Brad Bird, read this article from the McKinsey Quarterly on Fostering Innovation , which has been around for a couple of years, but is worth reading again if you've seen it before, or if you missed it the first time around take a look:

Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation

This link is to an excerpt from the full article. To read the full article you'll need to subscribe to The McKinsey Quarterly.

Among the gems from this interview with Brad Bird are :

Lesson Five: High Morale Makes Creativity Cheap

The Quarterly: It sounds like you spend a fair amount of time thinking about the morale of your teams.

Brad Bird:
In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget—but never shows up in a budget—is morale.

If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.

Again, he's talking about creating the conditions under which creativity can flourish.


In a similar vein these thoughts from Frank Zappa about the demise of the music industry which can be applied directly to most of the animation industry today (in the first 2:10 of this interview) :

Frank Zappa Explains Why Cartoons Today Suck

(Thanks David Nethery)

Pencil Test Depot - great resource

Add this one to your bookmarks and check it frequently:

The Pencil Test Depot

This collection (which is ever-growing) of pencil tests was put together by animator Jamaal Bradley who writes:

"The Pencil Test Depot blog is for the people who love pencil tests. It can also be used as a resource for animators who are looking to study another animators work."

(Thanks David Nethery)

Quick Draw Fun

(Thanks John K.)

EXCLUSIVE: Sam Raimi Hopes To Start Shooting 'Spider-Man 4' In March 2010

Back in March, a little less than two years after "Spider-Man 3" opened with what was then the biggest first weekend ever, Sony and Marvel Studios announced an official release date for its fourth Spidey flick: May 6, 2011. Still up in the air was the date when production would actually begin.

In an exclusive conversation with MTV News on Friday, franchise director Sam Raimi reveled that if all goes according to plan, shooting will begin early next year.

"We're hoping that it's the first week in March," said Raimi.

At the moment, pre-production is in full swing, even as screenwriter Gary Ross ("great director and a very fine writer," said Raimi) continues to work on the script.

"He's working on a draft," he continued. "I just gave him some notes and he's doing a rewrite right now."

On other fronts, "Spider-Man 4" continues to chug along. "The production is starting to come together," Raimi told us. "I've got a production designer who is starting to design the sets and the environments that the picture will take place in. We just brought aboard Scott Stokdyk as one of the two visual effects supervisors, and I worked with him on all three 'Spider-man' pictures."

With Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst set to reprise their roles, Raimi and his team will soon turn their attention to filling out the rest of the cast. "None of the casting has really taken place, but we're starting to think about that now," the director said.

Our chat with Raimi was a wide-ranging one, filled with talk about where he wants to take the Peter Parker character, which villain(s) might be showing up on the big screen, and much, much more. Check back in the coming days for more exclusive Spidey news.

Leonard Nimoy says Star Trek doesn't need him anymore

Leonard Nimoy may have made his final appearance as Spock in the Star Trek reboot. He says he doesn't think the series needs him anymore. As plans for a sequel develop, Nimoy does not expect to be involved.

"I frankly, frankly doubt that I will be called upon again," Nimoy said in a conference call on Oct. 7 while promoting his appearance on Fringe. "I think I was useful in his last film to help bridge between the original characters, the original actors, and the new cast. They have a wonderful new cast in place, and I'm sure they'll move ahead with them."

Nimoy also joked about the new moniker, Spock Prime, meaning he is the Spock from the original timeline but clearly different from the Spock that Zachary Quinto will grow to be.

"That's right, I'm in the prime of my life, right," Nimoy laughed.

Still, the original Spock's appearance in Star Trek meant more than just passing the torch. Longtime trekkers choked back tears as Spock Prime confessed his friendship to young Kirk. Even though the Quinto, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, etc. cast is now established as the Enterprise crew, no one would object to another appearance by Spock Prime.

"I don't see, at the moment, why they would need me in the next film, although if they called me, I'd be happy to have a conversation about it," Nimoy said. "My understanding is they're working on a script right now. I expect there's going to be some time before they really know exactly who they need and what they need."

Trek 2 shocker: The original Spock and Kirk—in 3-D?

We've reported scattered comments about the Star Trek sequel development ever since Star Trek came out. Throughout the summer, director J.J. Abrams and writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman have hinted at their early development as they promoted their show Fringe and the writers' movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Now we've got them all in one place talking about Trek. Abrams spoke to a group of reporters on Oct. 8 in Santa Monica, Calif., and Orci and Kurtzman gave another press conference later that day. We've compiled the eight directives, if you will, that they gave for their sequel to the biggest Star Trek film of all.

They'll do classic Trek, but not inside baseball

The reboot of the Star Trek canon inspired fans to imagine the possibilities of this new, young cast revisiting classic Trek missions from their new perspective. Perhaps another Khan, or Mudd's women. The fan fic writes itself. While the script is still in early development, Abrams promised the best of both worlds. "In going forward, the fun of this movie series is that we will have the opportunity, given its alternate timeline, to cross paths with any of the experiences, places and characters that existed in the original series," Abrams said. "We have to be really careful, obviously, doing that. I don't want to do something that is so inside that only die-hard fans will appreciate."

They're thinking big

The best Treks addressed philosophical, ethical or social issues that made sense even if you didn't understand future technology or alien cultures. That's where they want the sequel to go, but don't worry. They're not doing Gitmo. "It is the job of the next film to go a little bit deeper," Abrams said. "It shouldn't be any less fun or take itself too seriously, but consider who these people are now and grow with them, and just examine them a little more closer, now that we've gotten through the pleasantries and introductions."

They could go anywhere, but they're focusing on one story

With such a strong jolt to the franchise, a studio would certainly want to think of back-to-back sequels. Even the fans would want to see them crank out Star Trek 2 and 3 as quickly as possible. The writers said they won't, but for a good reason. "It's very, very important to us to make sure that each movie is good," Kurtzman said. "Not 'Hey, let's do as many as possible.' Part of what is great about Star Trek is that it's a continuing adventure, so you naturally think that there will be many, hopefully, but we only focus on what comes next, and then build off of that."

Missed Trek 1? You can still catch up in Trek 2

Being the biggest Star Trek in the franchise's history, it's doubtful anyone was meaning to catch the flick but just couldn't work it into their schedule. Still, if there were any holdouts, you can just wait for the sequel. "I guarantee you, whatever the story is, and whatever the final movie ends up being, I know it will be something that will work on its own terms and be something that you don't need to know and study Star Trek to get," Abrams said. "But, if you are a fan, there will hopefully be gift after gift of connections, references, characters that you hold near and dear. At least, that's the intent."

J.J.'s up for one more, he thinks

Abrams has been discussing the Star Trek sequel as if he's guaranteed to direct it. However, in an unrelated question about the possibility of shooting in 3-D (that's a big maybe), Abrams phrased it interestingly. "If I, in fact, direct the Star Trek sequel, 3-D could be really fun," Abrams said. If? Well, he's certainly investing a lot of time in prepping the sequel. "It's obviously just movie-to-movie," Abrams said. "The fact that we are now actively discussing the second film is surreal and very nice, and I'm thrilled. I hope that that results in something worthy of your time. But it's one of those things that you just don't know."

Mr. Nimoy, you are still Spock

Perhaps Leonard Nimoy was just being modest when he said Star Trek doesn't need him anymore. Abrams and company still welcome him. "I can't imagine a Star Trek movie not needing him," Abrams said. "I'm sure that what he's saying is a combination of modesty and honesty. He may actually feel that way. Working with him again would be a joy. It is clearly too early, given that we are just now talking story, to conclude whether or not Spock Prime is in the film or not. Do I want to work with him again? Of course, 100 percent. I'd love to."

This time, there may be a part for Kirk!

Abrams explained that the on-screen death of Capt. Kirk in Star Trek: Generations made it impossible to work him into the new Star Trek storyline. However, now that the new actors are established as the crew, maybe now he can focus on a way to bring back Kirk. "I feel like the first movie did some of the heavy lifting that needed to be done, in order to free us to continue, going forward," Abrams said. "Maybe there's less of a burden and there's going to be more opportunity to work with him again. I would love to work with him."

Oh yeah, and it still might be in 3-D

Abrams shunned 3-D on Star Trek purely out of insecurity with his own filmmaking chops. Now that he's seen his contemporaries use it, he's more ready to jump on board. "Paramount talked to me about doing the first one in 3-D," Abrams said. "Having it only been my second film, I was petrified just at the addition of it. I thought it would be another dimension of pain-in-the-ass. I was so worried that, instead of being a decent 2-D movie, it would have been a bad 3-D one. I'm open to looking at it because now I feel a little bit more comfortable. What I've seen of Avatar makes me want to do it, because it's so crazy cool-looking."

You can own Firefly's Serenity for just $2,495

The people over at Quantum Mechanix aren't kidding around. After three years of work they're getting ready to take pre-orders for the first replica of the Serenity from Firefly, amusingly called Serenity - The Big Damn Replica. At $2,495 apiece, maybe "the very expensive" replica would be more appropriate (hello, recession?), but we have to admit, it's kind of nice. Here's what you get:

Remember, each replica takes 46 hours to build and is made to order by professional model makers entirely in the U.S.A. It consists of more than 250 resin, aluminum, brass, ceramic and acrylic parts, 30 shades of paint and 32 lighting effects. The Big Damn Replica comes in an edition of just 1,000 ships and includes a wireless remote, stand and base with an individually numbered builder's plaque signed by Captain Tight Pants himself...

On Quantum's site they have a movie of the replica's "32 lighting effects, including static, flashing, strobe and chase lights," which are surprisingly cool. The wireless remote for activating the lights even comes with a dedicated "hard burn" button.

Again, the price is out of our range, but for those who can afford it, you can specify what "engine pose" you want for your Serenity, whether the shuttles are in flight or docked, and whether the reactor shutters are opened or closed. May we suggest Crazy Ivan, docked and open?

Oh, and technically this is a replica of the ship from the movie Serenity, not the show, although we consider it to be both. As you may recall, the ship got some cosmetic enhancements for the movie.

Chart: Sci-fi's sexy scientists ranked by hotness/plausibility

Ever find yourself watching a movie or TV show featuring a beautiful female scientist character only to think, "She's no scientist"? Us too! Only once we thought about it further, we realized that some of those scientists were hot and plausible, some were neither, and most fell somewhere in between.

In honor of Friday's second-season premiere of Sanctuary (10 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy), starring Amanda Tapping as Dr. Helen Magnus, we put together this chart, in which we rate sci-fi's sexy scientists by their hotness vs. their plausibility.

Click below to view the chart at a more readable size.

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