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 12:00 AM, 10-SEPTEMBER-08
Simpsons Parodies Transformers

Al Jean, executive producer of Fox's The Simpsons, told SCI FI Wire that this year's Halloween episode will parody It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Transformers, while next year's will spoof zombie movies, a la 28 Days Later.

"I'm really excited that we finally got to parody It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," Jean said in an interview at a party to celebrate Fox's fall season in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Sept. 8. "The Great Pumpkin comes to life and is so upset about the way people treat pumpkins that he goes around trying to kill everybody."

Simpsons animators have adapted their characters into versions of the famous Peanuts gang. "Bart's like Charlie Brown. Milhouse is like Linus. Lisa's like Sally. We did the backgrounds in a similar style. We actually were able to clear the Vince Guaraldi music, which, of course, is like hardwired into everybody's DNA from childhood."

Another segment lampoons Michael Bay's Transformers movie. "What happens is Bart gets a Christmas present from a 99 Cent store, and it turns out to be a Transformer. They take over Springfield, and they're fighting all over the place. Then Marge says to the Transformers, 'Why do you have to fight?' And they go, 'We agree. We'll just team up and take over you guys.'"

For the segment, animators drew from the live-action film, not the animated Transformers TV series. "It's based on the movie. It's just really fun to do transformations. You can see why they enjoyed doing that film."

Jean already has next year's Halloween special scripted, because it takes nearly a year to complete the animation. One of next year's segments spoofs the modern zombie apocalypse movies.

"We do this post-apocalyptic 28 Days Later/Children of Men thing," Jean said. "Krusty makes his hamburger out of mad cows, and it winds up turning everybody into zombies."

Homer Simpson gets to weigh in on the "fast-running zombies vs. slow, George Romero zombies" debate. "We do a joke where Homer sees the zombies coming, and he goes, 'Oh, zombies, you can always outrun them.' Then they start running really fast, and he says, 'Stupid fast-running modern zombies.'"

The Simpsons Halloween episode airs Nov. 2, following the longstanding tradition of airing after Halloween night. --Fred Topel

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©2008, SCI FI. All rights reserved.

FearNet is set to debut Midnight Meat Train, based on the Clive Barker story, on its "FearNet on Demand" channel on Oct. 1 and FearNet.com on Oct. 30.

Fox has picked up Doomsday Protocol, an original science fiction spec script by Shane Salerno, according to The Hollywood Reporter; the secret plot is said to be an epic SF adventure involving a group of aliens and humans with various abilities who are brought together to save Earth.

SyFy Portal reported that HBO purchased the television rights to George R.R. Martin's fantasy novel A Game of Thrones, the first volume in the Song of Ice and Fire series, for development as a TV show.


Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2.0
Smallville 1.2
Supernatural 1.0
Reaper 0.7

Source: Nielsen Galaxy Report, 8/18/08 - 8/24/08. Fewer than 10 listings appear because fewer than 10 different SF&F original series aired on broadcast networks this week.