HOTPIXEL POST: Instant: Tony Janning and Roddenberry Entertainment Bring Their Latest to HotPixel

Janning in a scene from Instant. Photo courtesy of JCHB Gallery.

Janning in a scene from Instant. Photo courtesy of JCHB Gallery.

There’s news over at HotPixel, and it involves sci-fi, so listen up, geeks! 😉

HotPixel just completed post-production work on an indie sci-fi short film called Instant, which stars (and was co-produced by) Tony Janning of Legend of Neil fame, and produced by Roddenberry Entertainment! Yes, that Roddenberry. I talked to Janning a little about the film…


Tony Janning has gained a new respect for producing in the past year. He’s always considered himself an Actor/Writer/Producer, most notably on Comedy Central’s popular digital series, The Legend of Neil, but the first two labels were the ones he wore most often.

Then came Instant.

Instant is a 20-minute dramatic science fiction short film directed by Alex Albrecht and co-produced by Janning, Chad Kennedy, and Roddenberry Entertainment. Yes, as in Star Trek. More specifically, Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, Jr., who runs Roddenberry Entertainment with C.O.O, Trevor Roth, and produces content of interest to modern sci-fi fans while staying true to his father’s vision for the future. Instant was written and co-produced by Janning’s friend, writer Todd Beauchamp, who first mentioned the story to him over drinks with friends.

“A lot of the themes in it relate to what Roddenberry’s always been about. It comes from a very personal place for [Todd], and there’s a lot of things in it that deal with family, humanity, and hoping for a better future.”

For the full post, or to make a comment, check it out at the HotPixel blog by CLICKING HERE!

Pike and Trident Premieres TODAY!

I’m very excited to announce and support a new, female-led digital series called Pike and Trident, which launched TODAY! It’s the story of two museum curators from the future – Myrtle Pike and Trudy Trident –  who must time-travel to regain important historical artifacts that were lost when one of them, ahem, SCREWS UP. 🙂

If Doctor Who and Game of Thrones had a baby girl, it might look something like this.

The series was written by and stars my good friend, Patty Robinson, and co-stars the lovely Kim Turney. It’s co-directed by Turney and Jan Bryant, who is also the stunt coordinator. And stunts there are! One of the coolest things about Pike and Trident is the fact that so much focus is placed on sword combat between the two leads. This series is great, in part, because Pike and Trident are the opposite of besties, and watching them be at each other’s throats even as they need to rely on each other to get out of trouble is a lot of fun!

Right now, only the pilot is available, with more to come soon (and hopefully, they’ll be able to raise the money to continue the show as scripted – though there are currently plans to regularly put out supplemental digital content from the world of Pike and Trident). Check out the pilot (below!), then head on over to the Pike and Trident website, and “like” the show on Facebook, to keep up with future content and episodes.

If you love female protagonists, time travel, sword fighting, sci-fi, and general badassery, give Pike and Trident a whirl.

It’s my Talk Like a Pirate Day gift to you. Arrrrrrgh! 😉

NEW AT BEACON: “SDCC ’14 – Nicole Perlman Talks Guardians of the Galaxy!”

Photo by David Flores.

One of the highlights of SDCC this year for me was getting to meet Nicole Perlman, screenwriter on Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens today. As part of my SDCC coverage over at Beacon, I just posted an interview with her where we discuss the film, women in the film industry (especially in sci-fi/action-adventure movies), and bridging the gap between Hollywood and the scientific community.


One of the highlights of my time at San Diego Comic-Con was a panel I attended called Behind the Scenes of Science Fiction Film and TV, which featured some of my favorite sci-fi creators! Moderated by Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy Blog), it included Jane Espenson (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Husbands),Amy Berg (Eureka, Person of Interest, Caper), Gale Anne Hurd (Terminator, The Walking Dead), and Guardians of the Galaxy screenwriter, Nicole Perlman. It was an enlightening, entertaining panel in which these writer/producers really delved into how their respective properties got made: the problems they faced, how they handled their successes, what the day-to-day looks like if you want to create a blockbuster film or hit television show…

But the best part? It wasn’t until the Q&A portion, when an audience member expressed her excitement at having such inspiring women all in one place, that I even realized that THE PANEL WAS ENTIRELY MADE UP OF WOMEN. It wasn’t presented as a “Women in Sci-Fi” panel or anything like that. It just so happens that some of the most prolific, hardest-working, and talented people in genre film and TV are women, and those people were chosen for this panel. That realization made me bop up and down in my seat a bit, I ain’t gonna lie!

I had the pleasure of doing a one-on-one interview with Nicole Perlman afterward, and we had a more in-depth conversation about Guardians of the Galaxy, women in science-fiction, and her desire to bring the scientific community and Hollywood closer together.

Wanna keep up with Comic-Con through MY eyes? CLICK HERE to get to my article and subscribe to me at Beacon! Starting at only $5/month, you can have access to my pop culture column, Pop Goes Teresa, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists covering all the topics you care about!

NEW AT BEACON: “The Angel of Verdun: Nuanced Female Characters”

Posts once a week at Beacon. That’s how I wanna roll. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the latest at my pop culture column over there. It’s about the difference between “Strong Female Characters” and “Nuanced Female Characters” and why I think Rita Vratasky (Emily Blunt) in Edge of Tomorrow is a great example of the kind of female character we should be clamoring to see in films.


I hate the phrase Strong Female Character

“Strong Female Character” carries with it a judgement that I don’t think its users intend. After all, what does “strong” mean? Does it mean physically strong (and so, are we defining strength according to stereotypically male criteria)? Does it mean emotionally strong (and so, does this mean that if a woman cries, falls in love, or protects her children she’s not strong)? Does it mean assertive and ambitious (and so, can more average women not be “strong characters?” And how do we square that with the fact that, with male protagonists, the Hero’s Journey is often defined by his starting out as an ineffectual schlub who grows into leadership. Was he not a “strong character” until the very end)? 

My preferred phrase – and what I think most people mean when they say “Strong Female Character” – is Nuanced Female Character.

What those who want gender parity in pop culture want in their female characters is complexity. We want them to be more than girlfriends, doormats, or prizes to be won. We want them to have their own inner lives and goals in the stories we watch. Even if they’re not the protagonists, we want them to be fully-realized people, not caricatures. We want them to have strengths and flaws. We want them to have, or at least want and earn, agency. Most of all, we want them to have a reason to be in the story that doesn’t boil down to: Plot Device.

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! For only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

COUNTDOWN TO BEACON: Pop Culture and Religion

One of my favorite sci-fi books of all time, and the protagonist is a Puerto Rican Jesuit priest.

Hey there, everyone!

Yesterday, I told you all about my opportunity with Beacon, and how, beginning March 3, I’m going to be offering subscriptions to my pop culture writing for $5/month.

It got me thinking about the writing I’ve already done as I’ve been brainstorming the kinds of articles I’d like to continue doing, and I’ve decided to send some Blasts From the Past your way, in case you missed them the first time around! This is work of which I am still proud, and showcases the kind of topics I’d like to focus on through a pop culture prism.

This piece, Religion and Science Fiction: Asking the Right Questions, is up at In it, I talk about how religion is handled in science fiction stories, when I think those attempts are most successful, and how I explain my relationship with God using Deep Space Nine. 🙂


From the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I’ve been fascinated by science-related topics. Space Camp was one of my favorite movies, and there was a time I wanted to be an astronaut before I realized you had to like and be good at math. Trips to the Hall of Science in New York City was a favorite pastime. I was also a devout Catholic who loved being in the children’s choir, eventually becoming a leader of song and lector in her church, teaching Sunday school, and attending mass every Sunday. Of her own volition. Without her parents. Science and religion always went hand-in-hand in my house, and things like God Creating the World and Evolution weren’t contradictory. They flowed into and out of each other, and that made sense to me. It still does.

It wasn’t until I got to college and beyond that the science vs. religion discussion slapped me in the face. The older I got, and the more involved I became in various arts communities, the more I realized that all of my new, wonderful, intellectual friends thought belief in God about as passé as spandex leggings and slouch socks under a cinched sweater. People who were into science and all things nerdy weren’t into God, and I didn’t understand that. I never believed that one had to cancel out the other. I had always thought that science and religion complemented each other really well.

If you enjoy this piece, and want to see more like it, consider subscribing to me at Beacon, beginning March 3rd. I’d love to continue to bring you the in-depth pop culture discussion to which you’ve become accustomed! 🙂

The Doctor Who 50th: We’re All Just Whovians

This past week was Who-tastic! The BBC pulled out all the stops when celebrating the 50th Anniversary of everyone’s favorite Time Lord.

First, there was a new prequel short called “The Last Day”:

Then, there was the most badass Doctor Who prequel short EVER, called “The Night of the Doctor” (starring Paul McGann!):

Then, there was an (by all accounts) amazing biopic about the beginnings of Doctor Who called An Adventure in Space and Time (I’ll be watching it soon, and will buy it on iTunes):

Then, there was the wonderful 50th Anniversary special itself, “The Day of the Doctor,” which was simulcast all over the world, and has just gotten into the Guinness Book of World Records for largest simulcast of a TV drama ever, being shown in over 96 countries on 6 continents:

But if THAT weren’t enough, Saturday also saw the release of a hilarious short film called “The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot,” written and directed by the Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, and starring him and too many other fabulous people to list (it’s half an hour long – and WELL worth the time, especially to discover John Barrowman’s secret shame).

I could talk about the joy of going to see a screening of the simulcast on Saturday morning, sitting in a room full of Whovians all dressed up and raring to go (I wore my K-9 shirt). I could talk about how fun the entire week was, as all of my friends did nothing but talk about Doctor Who for a good five days.

But what strikes me the most is the fact that Doctor Who has become a worldwide phenomenon in ways that would make Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert proud. Just looking at the sheer number of mediums used for the 50th Anniversary alone, it’s incredible to see how Doctor Who’s storytelling has evolved. It started on television, then there are the radio plays, audio plays, novels, the TV movie, then a new TV show, and stories from that series augmented by additional stories on the web. Oh, and the comics that never stopped.  And because of the genius premise of the show – that it takes place anywhere in space and time; that its main character regenerates and is centuries old – it’s a story that can go on and on and on and never get boring. It can expand forever, in any direction and in any medium, because there’s always something new to say, somewhere new to go, and some new angle at which to explore every facet of the universe. I can easily see Doctor Who going on another 50 years, and beyond!

And that fact made me think about the idea of “Classic” Who and “New” Who.

Whenever I’ve been asked to write or talk about Doctor Who, it’s always been from the perspective of my having started the show at the 2005 reboot. I didn’t grow up with the show the way many people did. Rather, I started watching the show on DVD in 2006-2007 and became immediately enraptured. Knowing that the show had a history going back to the 1960s, I sought out the older Doctors, and am still happily involved in watching all the old episodes with several Doctors and many companions yet unseen. However, I have friends who, when they’ve tried to watch the old episodes of the show don’t like them as much, and stick to the current incarnation.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

The beauty of a show with this kind of longevity is that there are always going to be new fans jumping onto the most current stories. They should definitely check out older stories if they can, as watching the evolution of the Doctor as played by twelve (soon thirteen!) different actors is a fascinating exercise.  There’s also the fact that, if you don’t like the older television stories, there might be something for you in the audio dramas, or the comics! However, sometimes you just want to stick with the stories that are most relevant to you, and that’s OK, too. Because fetishize them though many do, several of the older stories were downright BORING, with many of the six-part stories containing two parts devoted entirely to running (and nothing else). Then again, many of them aren’t, and you should treat the old show the way you treat any current show you enjoy – love the good episodes, bemoan the crappy ones, and keep watching.

Fifty years in, we’re all just Whovians. We each have our preferences in Doctors and companions and storylines, but the idea of being a “classic” Who fan vs a “new” Who fan is irrelevant. After all, many “classic” Who fans grew up with Tom Baker as “their” Doctor…but there are people who grew up with Hartnell and Troughton. There are people who grew up with Colin Baker. And there are people like me who never heard about Doctor Who until a friend lent me her DVDs of the Eccleston series and told me that this show would change my life.

It did.

Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who.  Here’s to many more!

(LATE) FRIDAY NIGHT FICTION: The Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space

I’m sorry my tumultuous week last week prevented me from putting up my Friday Night Fiction. This edition of Friday Night Fiction was inspired by Experience reader, Gryffud. Thanks for commenting on the blog, Gryffud! You will be sent a purdy, signed, handwritten copy of this story! It will be the only handwritten version of it IN EXISTENCE you lucky thing! 🙂 Thanks for helping me exercise my prose muscles.

And now, for the rest of you, here’s the story inspired by Gryffud’s Three Words…


A Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space

By Teresa Jusino

Below is a sampling of the first few entries from the concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space, the centuries-old legend written by Bera Klár that was lost to the ages until 2012, when Icelandic archaeologists discovered the tale etched on tablets buried in the Lava Caves in the Hallmundarhraun Lava Flows in Western Iceland. The legend indicates that space travel has existed for centuries on Earth in the Bear Community. The full concordance can be purchased on, as can a full English translation from the Old Icelandic.

Astronaut [as-truh-nawt, -not]
Page 2…..The Astronaut, proud though he stole the technology…
Page 5….. …Astronaut’s routine, which included replicating his oats…
Page 6…..Though the Astronaut was a horse, he didn’t think that bears…
Page 9….. …Astronaut, who always dreamed about space travel, now had a ship all his own…
Page 12….. …when suddenly the Astronaut heard a thumping sound…
Page 14….. …took the Astronaut by surprise, binding his hooves…
Page 56…..She asked if he’d come home to her. the Astronaut said “Neigh…”
The Astronaut’s Wife [th ee as-truh-nawt, -not ‘s wahyf]
Page 51…..It was the Astronaut’s Wife, and she didn’t like what she was seeing…
Page 53….. …the Astronaut’s Wife called her a “cheap, space-exploring whore!”
Page 55…..“I’m the only one allowed to lay hooves on my husband!” the Astronaut’s Wife shouted…
Baby Bear [bey-bee bair]
Page 17….. …and Baby Bear, members all of the Bear Space Program.
Page 21…..“This engineering room is just right,” said Baby Bear.
Page 25….. …which disappointed Baby Bear, even though it was never as good replicated.
Page 31…..Baby Bear was young, but he knew a thing or two about shuttle engines.
Page 54…..Baby Bear didn’t want to admit it, but he had a crush on her.
Page 55…..She put Baby Bear in an escape pod and sent him back to Earth.
bunk [buhngk]
Page 55…..She slinked into his bunk, not caring what his horsey wife thought…
Exodus [ek-suh-duhs]
Page 10….. …he hoped to signal the beginning of the Horse Exodus from Earth…
Page 18…..Though the Bear Exodus had already come and gone, still they wanted more…
Page 19….. …the Exodus led them to several Bear worlds, but they wanted Earth most…
Goldilocks [gohl-dee-loks]
Page 45…..“My name is Goldilocks. I came to kick the shit out of some bears.”
Page 47…..Goldilocks stroked his mane, and immediately felt something stir inside…
Page 48….. …the animal revolution, but Goldilocks was in love, and she couldn’t hurt him…
Page 49….. …quickly dispatched of the mother and father, but Goldilocks couldn’t hurt the child.
Page 50…..He nuzzled Goldilocks, and she responded with a kiss…
Page 56…..Goldilocks would let the animals have this battle, she’d win the war…after making love.
Mama Bear [mah-muh bair]
Page 17….. …Mama Bear…members all of the Bear Space Program.
Page 15…..There was no bigger proponent of defeating the Horse menace than Mama Bear.
Page 16…..If there’s one thing Mama Bear hated more than Horses, it was Humans.
Page 49…..“Get away from him, you bitch!” Mama Bear shouted.
Papa Bear [pah-puh bair]
Page 17…..Papa Bear…members all of the Bear Space Program.
Page 15…was an idealist. His wife would’ve said that Papa Bear’s idealism was weakness.
Page 25…..He hated the stuff. Papa Bear was more an oatmeal kind of Bear.
Page 49…..Papa Bear knew that reconciliation with the Humans was the way…
porridge [pawr-ij]
Page 25…..His mother set the replicator to “porridge”, her son’s favorite…
Page 26…..Papa Bear turned his nose up at the too-hot porridge…
Page 55…..She brought a bowl of porridge in with her, like a trophy.