A stellar lineup of actors and directors, along with one of the great minds of the science world, are set for ABC's new hour-long anthology series, Masters of Science Fiction. Academy Award nominee and Emmy nominee Sam Waterston, two-time Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Judy Davis and Anne Heche (ABC's upcoming Men in Trees), internationally renowned star Malcolm McDowell, Terry O Quinn (ABC's Lost ), Elizabeth Rohm (Law & Order), 2006 Emmy nominee Clifton Collins, Jr. (ABC's Alias), Kimberly Elise (Close To Home) Sean Astin (Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, 24), Academy Award nominee James Cromwell ("Spider-Man 3"), two-time Tony Award winner and Emmy Winner Brian Dennehy, two-time Academy Award nominee John Hurt and James Denton (ABC's Desperate Housewives) have been cast in the first six installments of the series, which films in Vancouver. Masters of Science Fiction, from IDT Entertainment, in association with Industry Entertainment and its Vancouver partner Reunion Pictures, is based on some of the genre's most popular and highly regarded short stories, and will air next season on the network.

Acclaimed physicist Professor Stephen Hawking will introduce each episode. Award-winning director Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond, The River, The Rose) and writer/director Michael Tolkin (The Player, The Rapture, The Burning Season) directed the first two episodes. Directors for the subsequent 4 episodes include Harold Becker (Sea of Love, Malice, Mercury Rising), Darnell Martin (Their Eyes Were Watching God, I Like It Like That), Michael Petroni (Til Human Voices Wake Us, Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys) and Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: Insurrection, Star Trek: Voyager, Roswell).

The first episode is A Clean Escape, based on Nebula Award winning author John Kessel's short story. Rydell directs from a script by Sam Egan (The Outer Limits). In A Clean Escape, set not-too-far in a post-Apocalyptic future, psychiatrist Dr. Deanna Evans (Judy Davis) interrogates a distinguished if befuddled -- man (Sam Waterston) who appears to be suffering from a lapse in memory. Why can t he remember and why is it so important that she uncover the secret he holds deep inside?

The second installment is Jerry Was A Man, featuring Anne Heche and Malcolm McDowell. Tolkin directs from a script he wrote based on the classic Robert Heinlein story. Set in the future, the world's seventh richest couple, the van Vogels, find their lives changed forever when they acquire an anthropoid named Jerry.

The third episode is The General Zapped An Angel, starring Terry O Quinn and Elisabeth Rohm. Based on the short story by Howard Fast (Spartacus, Citizen Tom Paine) the episode opens outside Baghdad, where US Soldiers discover a mysterious casualty one they can t even identify as human.

The fourth installment is Little Brother, written and adapted for the screen by Walter Mosley (Devil In A Blue Dress), and directed by Darnell Martin. Featuring Clifton Collins, Jr. and Kimberly Elise, Little Brother is set in the future, where courtrooms exist without human judges or juries, and automated justice is the law of the land. Frendon (Clifton Collins, Jr.) must find a way to convince this machine of his innocence.

Episode five is Watchbird, based on the short story by the legendary Robert Sheckley and written by Hugo Award Winner Joe Michael Straczynski. The episode stars Sean Astin and James Cromwell and is directed by Harold Becker. In Watchbird, as society creates robotic droids to prevent killing before it takes place, they discover that all life depends on a fragile formula of killing and death.

The sixth episode is The Discarded, based on the short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate, Harlan Ellison. The episode is written by Harlan Ellison, and 2005 Academy Award nominee Josh Olson. Brian Dennehy, John Hurt and James Denton star in this ultimate story of despised minorities sentenced to drift in the darkness of outer space forever. These men and women make a desperate pact in the hope of being offered refuge at home on Earth.

In addition, physicist-professor Stephen Hawking will introduce each episode of the show, which is filmed on location in Vancouver.