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Science-Fiction on PBS.

Think Science-Fiction is an unusual idea for PBS? You're an idiot.


"Overdrawn at the Memory Bank"

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

Throughout the 1980's, WNET in New York produced and released three pieces of Science-Fiction, all three being adaptations of Novels or stories. One was Kurt Vonnegut's "Between Time and Timbuktu". "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" was another WNET production.

Besides having a title that describes the memories of some PBS people who refuse to acknowledge over a dozen Science-Fiction series have aired on PBS regularly, "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" was also the only PBS production to be used by "Mystery Science Theatre 3000". Starring Tony award nominee Raul Julia, the movie was filmed on Video to try to take advantage of digital special effects available at the time, unfortunately giving it the appearance of being filmed with a camcorder.

The late Raul Julia played Aram Fingal, a bored worker in the future who got caught watching "Casablanca" on the job one too many times. To be punished for this, Fingal is sentenced to a 48-hour "Dopple", where his consciousness is removed and placed in the body of a baboon, so that he can experience the world through an animal's perspective. But while this is going on, his human body is misplaced at Novacorp, causing a corporate scandal. In a desperate attempt to save Fingal's consciousness - and Novacorp's reputation - Computech's Apollonia James transfers his mind to the corporate mainframe computer, where Fingal creates his own reality centered around Rick's cafe from Casablanca. Hoping Fingal won't disrupt Novacorp's control over the world, the Novacorp's Chairman also enters the mainframe to kill him. Got it?

"Overdrawn" had aired numerous times on Sci-Fi Channel, allowing it to be used by "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" for one of their broadcasts, where Pearl Forrester decided to host a Pledge Drive to fund her attempts to take over the world, where she declares "It's day one of the Public Pearl TV pledge drive. And if you pledge at the $150 Producer Level, you can get a lovely blue totebag". During a kissing scene between Fingal (Raul Julia) and a female character in the movie, Tom Servo comments "I guess PBS means Public Boinking System". When Fingal was watching the "Casablanca" scenes, Tom comments on the quality of the movie when he states "Never show a good movie in the middle of your crappy one".

The Internet Movie Database declared "Overdrawn" among the bottom (worst) 100 films of all time, receiving hundreds of votes placing it there. The mere fact that hundreds of people remember it is impressive. It beat out Whoopi Goldberg's "Theodore Rex", "Orgy of the Dead", John Travolta's "Battlefield Earth", and both "Meatballs" 3 AND 4 as the 100 worst films. It was however voted as not as bad as Bill Cosby's "Leonard Part 6", "Problem Child 3" and "Monster a-Go Go". It only equaled the terror of "Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie", "Robot Monster", and the classic "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians".

Raul Julia, who is most remembered from the two "Addam's Family" Movies, died while in a coma a few days before his last movie, "Street Fighter", was finished. He was loved by critics, who admit he was never given a role good enough for him to get the credit he deserved. Leonard Maltin stated that Julia had a better performance in "Presumed Innocent" than his co-star Harrison Ford.


SCIENCE-FICTION ON PBS:
Doctor Who
Blake's 7
Red Dwarf
Starcops
The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Man from UNCLE
Star Trek
Japanese Animation
The Invisible Man
2001: A Space Odyssey
Space Island One
Godzilla
Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, The Time Tunnel
The Tripods
Neverwhere
The Prisoner
Overdrawn at the Memory Bank
Slaughterhouse Five
The Lathe of Heaven

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