Monday, June 15, 2009

Next Times: The Teaser PR


Well, there's an announcement about the coming Times episodes on Wizard World, and since I wrote it, it must be official. (And since the TOPIC LINE IS MISSPELLED, you can tell I'm pretty excited about this. Idiot.)
You can read it there, or below. Either way, rejoice and enjoy. And gaze upon the new logo (yes, ANOTHER one) while you're at it.
-- L.

Prometheus Radio Theatre has announced that SuperHuman Times -- the anthology podcast series following the everyday lives of superhumans and humans -- will return for a new season this summer with five new stories, all of which can be downloaded for free from the Prometheus website or via free subscription to iTunes.

SuperHuman Times
is named for a national magazine in a superhuman-filled, present-day Earth where, following the mysterious exile of the world’s deadliest supervillain from the planet and a resulting drop in super-crime, superhuman heroes and criminals are now trying to find new lives among the humans they once protected. Or threatened.

“The series returns following a very busy year for Prometheus Radio Theatre,” said SuperHuman Times creator/writer Lance Woods. “Prometheus followed last year’s Times run with the huge, six-part season finale to its flagship series, The Arbiter Chronicles, after which they took a long, much-needed rest. During that time, our listeners made it clear that they were eager for more Times tales. . As we head back into the studio rejuvenated, we hope that those listeners, and new listeners just discovering SuperHuman Times, will continue to enjoy what’s been called ‘The Coolest Comic Book You’ll Ever Hear.’”

The next season of SuperHuman Times includes:

Once Upon a Times: SuperHuman Times reporter Kevin Dunbar is sent on an assignment to find an elusive superhuman his publisher encountered during his own reporting days – and ends up going back 40 years to uncover the surprising origins of his magazine.

No Good Deed: A researcher who’s desperate to test his revolutionary serum on a human subject gets advice from an unexpected volunteer: a dying ex-supercriminal.

Unfinished Business: Sorceress Nataliya Tzone and her gifted daughters Violeta and Nicoleta (introduced in the first-season story Risk Management) return for a tale in which an old family friend begs Nataliya to violate a personal code to help him contact the dead in order to perfect a flawed military weapon he created with her missing husband … and she refuses.

Flight Risk: A retired superhuman flight instructor is recruited by the government to observe a student who’s suspected of being a potential assassin how to fly, but is forced to act when he inadvertently places the assassin’s intended target in even greater danger.

Print the Legend: Dunbar's back for a two-part mystery-romance set at a comic-book convention, where he meets a beautiful artist who harbors an unusual family secret, helps a superhuman friend investigate a suspicious book deal, and becomes a murder suspect when a superhuman he wrote unflattering things about turns up dead.

Each episode will run approximately 30 minutes. Please note that the release order of these episodes is subject to change.

For more information and free podcasts:

For more information about SuperHuman Times:


Based in Elkridge, Maryland, PROMETHEUS RADIO THEATRE began performing radio drama at Science Fiction conventions in 2000. Its flagship series, THE ARBITER CHRONICLES — which follows the adventures of four young midshipmen and their shipmates in a space navy of the far future — has earned thousands of regular listeners via podcast and live performances (often with celebrity guest stars), and has sought to reach new audiences, the versatile troupe has earned an equally strong following for its ongoing series of folk tales. The troupe’s work has earned it the prestigious Mark Time Award Silver Medal in 2003 and the Parsec Award for Best Audio Drama (Long Form) in 2007.

LANCE WOODS has been writing since age 5 and won’t stop. He has had two comedy-thrillers — “Breeding Will Tell” and “Murder Case” — successfully produced by the Baltimore Playwrights Festival, and has written & directed numerous stage shows for the Cheap Treks comedy troupe. He counts Neil Simon, William Goldman, James L. Brooks, and Rod Serling among his writing heroes. He, his wife, and young son live in a situation comedy format outside of Baltimore.
SuperHuman Times © & ™ by Lance Woods. All Rights Reserved. Audio Productions © & ™ by Prometheus Radio Theatre. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Memories of Treks, Cheap & Otherwise


Aside from a new graphic that I just posted on the web page, nothing truly newsworthy to report, but I’ve been watching some stuff on TV and it made me want to share some thoughts with anyone who might be following this blog, the show, and its origins.

Not long ago, we bought the Blu-rays of what I consider to be the three best Star Trek movies ever made, namely II, III, and IV – or, as I refer to them, the Holy Trinity. If you’re into old Trek and haven’t picked them up yet (and you have a Blu-ray player, of course), I highly recommend the box set of them . The visual effects look stellar (well, okay, there’s some FX masking in a few shots in III, but it doesn’t ruin the overall film) and the stories hold up quite well. All of the extras from the films’ last DVD releases are intact, plus there are a few new hi-def extras on each one. (No offense to Nick Meyer, but I suggest skipping the “tribute” to Ricardo Montalban on II. It’s just Meyer talking about Montalban in 1080i. For about five uninterrupted minutes. No clips from “Space Seed” or any of Montalban’s old movies. Just Nick sitting and talking. Next!)

Anyway, I watched II and III yesterday, and the memories attached to them overwhelmed me. Not just the usual ones you’d associate with watching a movie you first saw many years ago – which friends were with you, where you first saw it, that kind of thing – but memories associated with how I and a bunch of my best friends had the time of our lives systematically ridiculing these and so many other films and TV shows on convention stages for a decade.

I refer to the moron squad we called Cheap Treks (1987-1997), and I mention it because it played an important role in how my overall writing developed and, consequently, how SuperHuman Times came to be. In fact, if it weren’t for a horrible onstage spoof of Star Trek III, you might not be hearing the show at all.

See, Cheap Treks came into being after Dave Keefer (playing Scotty) and I (playing Kirk for what would be the first of many times) took part in an abominable parody of III in 1986 that caused us to look at each other after wards and say, “We could do better than this.” (This was also how we started the Boogie Knights four years earlier, only with filksinging; Dave was always suckering me into such things – thankfully.)

Anyway, back to ’86: The only things that made this show tolerable for us were 1) the Cole Porter musical score (yes, this was a musical; no, we could not sing); and 2) the fact that the director – the late and much-missed Marion McChesney – gave us permission to experiment during rehearsals. And we did. Hell, we didn’t just throw in an ad-lib or two, we ran amuck, and the audience loved it. If I can find the show tape and can finesse the quality, I really should put the Scotty rant that Dave came up with on YouTube. I remember him reciting it for me the first time as he drove us to a rehearsal. My God, that’s still funny.

BUT, what does all this geezing have to do with SuperHuman Times?

Well, like I said, the next year, Dave and I began Cheap Treks with our Trek IV parody, “Live Long and Thanks for All the Fish”. It, and all the shows that followed, were terrific exercise grounds for me as a writer and, when summoned, as an actor. Remember, I was still in my 20s, when I still believed the All Things Are Possible, like my becoming a professional scriptwriter. And having convention stages to play on allowed me to try writing different types of shows, experiment with verbal and visual gags, play with timing, and, basically, figure out what a given audience would let me get away with. It also gave me and my pals a chance to put on what I humbly submit were some of the best and most elaborate spoofs – no, that's a disservice; by the time it ended, we were doing plays -- to grace any convention stage (and I’m not just talking about the ones I wrote or co-wrote). To this day, it’s hard to watch the Trek films – and a host of other things, from the original Star Wars trilogy to Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera to Dragnet – without reciting the lines we wrote/made up on the fly. And that cumulative experience has guided me in every “serious” writing project since – including (FINALLY, the point) SuperHuman Times.

“But Lance,” you’re asking, if you’ve read this far, “you said something about how we might not be hearing the show at all if it weren’t for that godawful Trek III spoof in 1986…”

True enough. Here’s why. While I was playing Kirk, I met a very twisted and talented young man who essayed the role of David Marcus, the Admiral’s son. Like Dave and myself, he ran with every opportunity to make the show better for us and, more importantly, for the audience. A prime example of this can be found in his offstage death scene, which he used to (successfully) knock me off guard on stage during the performance and bring down the house. I knew he was a farceur to be reckoned with and, if you’ve heard Prometheus Radio Theatre’s Planet of Dark Shadows, you know I was right.

His name? Steve Wilson, master of Prometheus and he whose whim allows SuperHuman Times to have a home. Being incurable parodists, our paths probably would have crossed and entwined eventually beyond that show, but I want to think that SOMETHING good came out of that Cole Porter show, so it may as well be our friendship. And, oh yeah, Cheap Treks.

Thanks, Steve, Dave, et al for the writing lessons. And a great ride.

-- L.

Cheap Treks' first class picture from Shore Leave 1987: "Live Long & Thanks for All the Fish", featuring a few names you may recognize from Prometheus productions.
Back, L/R: Paul Balze, Steve Wilson, Sharon Palmer, Dan Coggins, me, David Keefer, Barb Helfer, Eric Burch
Front , L/R: Chuck Coates, Alan Chafin, John Scheeler, Winchell Chung
Yes, we often took liberties with the costumes -- like Spock's mohawk -- which I'll go into some other time.