Squee, etc. Only two weeks til the next Tom McRae album. But it sounds very different. Will I like it, dear reader. WILL I LIKE IT?1
The (non-album) single is like being hit repeatedly over the head with a Tom McRae song.
I think I’m enjoying it.
1 Yeah, probably.
Nothing new to report on the Bump front, so here’s some nice eye candy that distracted me last night.
Here’s a really impressive trailer for a film that was completely off my radar, Daybreakers. Stars Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, and set in a world in which Vampires are the majority and humans the hunted underclass. Pushes all my buttons, really.
The surprisingly good, even mature looking (I know, I know), trailer for Torchwood’s Children of Earth mini-series (running in five parts Mon to Fri in a single week.)
I’m intrigued by the Johnny Depp / Christian Bale / Michael Mann gangster flick Public Enemies, even if the trailer is just an abridged version of the entire film as far as I can tell. Although he can be quirky and mannered as an actor, Depp is such a chameleon sometimes.
And BIG ‘SPLODY THINGS. Roland Emmerich destroying the world again in 2012. Unlike Transformers, the astonishing spectacle of this one may actually lure me to the cinema against my better judgement.
Finally, and on a slight tangent, I’m a complete nerd sometimes but this CGI image from a forthcoming Trek calendar is just stunningly beautiful. In a nerdy way. (From the blog of Doug Drexler, an FX guy from Trek / BSG.)
Yay, bank holiday!
Apropos of nothing in particular, I indulged in a bit more nostalgic Doctor Who watching recently.
‘Battlefield’ starring Sylvester McCoy was the extended DVD version. While it’s one of the Seventh Doctor’s better outings (i.e. it’s not utterly unwatchable), it’s very stilted. In general it feels like it was shot on a shoestring budget in approximately two days with no time to rehearse. (Which knowing Who is probably exactly how it was shot.) McCoy does his best to appear, by turns, mysterious, impish and brooding, but I remain utterly unconvinced that he’s any of those things. Worse, I can’t help feeling that the Doctor is written significantly better than he’s played, which is never a good feeling to have about the lead character. Likewise Sophie Aldred as Ace gets a lot of gushing teenage behaviour for which the actress seems too old. There are a few decent scenes and likeable supporting characters, and a welcome return for Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier. Oh and a cool blue demon. But overall: meh. Sorry, Tim!
‘Image of the Fendahl’ starring Tom Baker is better. Okay, it feels like it was shot on a shoestring budget in approximately two days with no time to rehearse, but at least Tom Baker is convincing. The story is an odd pastiche of ‘Quatermass and the Pit’, involving ancient aliens from Time Lord mythology who have somehow influenced human evolution. The plot is woefully illogical and under-explained, to the point where it feels like key scenes must be missing. On the plus side it has Chris Boucher’s usual crackling dialogue and pin-sharp characterisation, and a very decent supporting cast. I have no recollection of watching it my youth so I can’t lean on nostalgia with this one, but I do remember the novelisation which probably helps.
On a related-ish note, here are a couple of BBC News videos:
An interview with Russell T Davies about completing filming on his (and David Tennant’s) era on Doctor Who. (It includes the trailer for ‘The Waters of Mars’ special that aired after the Easter special.)
A five minute interview with Richard Dawkins that barrels through all the questions you’d expect, against a ticking clock, and gets Dawkins’s usual precise answers.1
1 Dawkins is of course best known for his cameo in last season’s Doctor Who finale (not to mention being married to Romana mk II), but has probably done a few non Who-related things in his life.
Unexpectedly, the latest trailers (Trailer 3 in both cases) for Star Trek and Terminator: Salvation are not just good but *so* good they’ve more or less sold me on the films. I wasn’t sure either of them would amount to more than superfluous cash-ins on their respective franchises, but the Star Trek one in particular reached me on a gut level in a way that previous promos for the film missed by a mile. Maybe it’s just been so long since Trek had some genuine spectacle, drama and energy on its side.
If streaming video doesn’t float your boat, both trailers can be downloaded directly here
More viral marketing for Watchmen. Following on from the 1970s news pastiche about the tenth anniversary of Dr Manhattan is this 1970s public service film pastiche about the dangers of vigilantism. Both have the sense of time and style down perfectly, which has to bode well for the film.
OMG Leonard Nimoy!
It’s a new shot added to the recently released trailer for the new Trek movie. Seeing an actor in 2008 playing an elderly version of a character he first played in 1964 is fairly unique in itself. What strikes me first is how very old he looks, but then I look things up on the interwebs and realise he hasn’t appeared on screen as the character since 1991. That’s an amazing 17 years ago.
As for the trailer itself (HD versions here) it’s a strange mixture of homage and newness pitched primarily at a mainstream movie audience. I expect they’re hoping, as with the revamped Doctor Who, that any lingering lack of coolness surrounding Trek will have faded with time (notwithstanding the near saturation screening of modern Trek shows in the intervening years). Despite a few moments of more widespread appeal, like The Voyage Home, Trek has always been a fairly niche property so they’re clearly pitching at a bigger audience of non-fans who have a nostalgic fondness for the ’60s show but aren’t that familiar with later incarnations.
What that means is a film that looks high budget, action oriented, with a youngish cast, plenty of humour and only a passing resemblance to the original show. Probably wisely they’ve opted to keep the general look of the costumes and the core characters but little else. The cast seem okay, aping the original actors to greater or lesser degrees: on the one had is Karl Urban practically impersonating DeForest Kelley as McCoy, and on the other Simon Pegg seems like Simon Pegg with a Scottish accent. But that’s probably just because he’s so familiar. Likewise Zachary Quinto looks like Sylar dressed for Halloween.
It’s hard to deny that it looks interesting, but although I’m keen to see it I think my main reason is less excitement and more a burning curiosity to see what they’ve done with the concept. I really don’t know whether it’ll be any good, but I really do want to find out.
Interesting juxtaposition in the US Presidential Election of Sarah Palin’s derogatory statements about science vs. Obama getting the endorsement of high profile scientists.
Palin, in that ‘loveable’ folksy way of hers (see also: George W Bush), decided to ridicule ‘wasteful’ scientific research on things like fruit flies: “You’ve heard about some of these pet projects – they really don’t make a whole lot of sense – and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit-fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not.” Since my own wife’s degree project focused on drosophila melanogaster, I’m well-versed in how incredibly useful these little insects are to science, but here’s a fairly scathing rebuttal to Palin.
Meanwhile 76 Nobel prize winners have written a letter endorsing Obama as “a visionary leader” and condemning Bush’s policies.
Also, as if Obama could become any more like Jed Bartlet, here’s a really fascinating speech of his about the role of religion in modern America. I hadn’t previously been aware of this speech but it looks like it was made back in 2006. I can’t help but be reminded of President Bartlet’s rant from The West Wing episode The Midterms (itself gacked from the interwebs) about selective adherence to the Bible to support bigotry. Obama’s speech (in selectively edited form) been seized on to argue that Obama ‘hates’ God, but it’s actually a very even-handed and astonishingly brave thing for a US politician to do. Brave even though he’s not claiming to be an atheist, merely arguing very cogently for separation of Church and State; a fairy uncontroversial view, you’d think1.
Speaking of YouTube, this video of Palin set to piano improv is deeply unfair, but very funny.
1 Bartlet is of course portrayed as a devout Catholic and his rant is not seen as coming into conflict with his beliefs, and there’s no reason Obama could not be a Christian and still make this speech.
I don’t normally embed videos, but I was emailed this today by Avaaz.org, and I’m sure this will be doing the rounds.
It’s a quite nice, positive video underlining America’s place in the world (rather than apart from it). The email claims “The ad doesn’t tell people who to vote for” (I assume they had difficulty saying this with a straight face since it’s explicitly anti-Bush) “but its overriding message of tolerance, diplomacy, human rights and equality is unmistakable”. And that part is tough to disagree with. It’s pro- things that, to me at least, sound like common sense. So I guess that makes it a pro-Obama advert. 🙂
Of course I don’t live in the US and can’t vote in the US election for quite sensible reasons relating to electoral fraud, but as the BBC like to remind us the election will affect the rest of the world. That’s clearly the point of this campaign.
The official blurb:
In just over a week, America will head to the polls. So much depends on this election — the fight against climate change, the war in Iraq, global efforts on human rights and many other issues.
But right now, US conservatives are employing the most divisive and deceptive tactics in the US election, portraying those who call for change as “anti-American” and even terrorist sympathizers. Check out this new response ad from the global online organisation Avaaz.org, calling for hope, unity, and change as Americans head to the polls.
If enough people watch the ad and sign its message to the American people and presidential candidates, it will be picked up by the US talk shows — who are looking for what is hot online. You can watch the ad and sign on here.
Hey, you never know…
EDIT: While I’m at it, here’s Joss Whedon praising a number of things including The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Hard Day’s Night, but Obama makes it into the list.
The moment I started my holidays last Saturday I started coming down with the lurgy. Funny how often that happens. So even though I’m on holiday this week I’m also bunged up and feeling like the back of my throat has been sandpapered (or, occasionally, chiselled). Since I’m not up to much therefore, here are a few things that, in my delirium, I mentally logged as worth telling someone. You be the judge.
The saga of Tom McRae’s website continues. It’s now in Australia. No really.
This story about the MMR vaccine scare on Bad Science is actually an excerpt from Ben Goldacre’s new book. It’s also a fantastically rational account of how irrational the media can be in their quest to sensationalise a story.
Frost/Nixon is a movie that wasn’t on my radar. What were the chances that anyone, let alone Ron Howard, would make a Hollywood movie out of David Frost interviewing Richard Nixon? It’s hard to know what to make of it. The trailer paints the film as a mixture of political drama and David vs Goliath feel-good story, in the general neighbourhood of Charlie Wilson’s War. Michael Sheen looks great as Frost, and Frank Langella seems okayish as Nixon. Other eclectic cast members include Oliver Platt (White House Counsel Oliver Babish on The West Wing) and Matthew “Tom from Spooks” McFadyen. (Plus it has Kevin Bacon in it, so given how ubiquitous Michael Sheen is this should blow the Kevin Bacon game wide open.)
No Heroics is a new sitcom centred around off-duty UK Superheroes. The trailer looks surprisingly okay, albeit sex-obsessed, particularly given that this is airing on that great sitcom purgatory, ITV.
Lastly, what is up with those camera zooms that punctuate Evan Davis’s every sentence at the start of Dragon’s Den? It’s like the camera operator just ate an entire keg of Smarties and can’t calm down.
Joss Whedon is filming a new pilot for Dollhouse, with the original pilot now the second episode. He explains, in amusing fashion, why this is allegedly not the usual well-trodden road to cancellation here.
There’s a promo for the Battlestar Galactica spin-off/prequel/barely related cash-in here. It doesn’t look terrible. It confuses me becase it looks more like A.I. than Battlestar Galactica and seems, on the face of it, hard to reconcile with what little we know of Galactica’s backstory.
Back in March I linked to a video of the Earth setting behind the moon from Japan’s Selene probe. Here is another one of those things that really gets your ‘sense of wonder’ juices flowing: video (okay, technically an animation of many still images) of the Moon passing in front of the Earth. This was taken from about
50 31 million miles by Nasa’s Deep Impact probe, which is all finished with its primary cometary mission and is hanging around the solar system drinking beer and spraying graffiti on asteroids until its next comet turns up.
More details, and an infrared version in which the continents are more visible, at the Nasa site.
After tomorrow Dr. Horrible becomes paid download only, so get your fix now.
Assorted movie trailers:
Watchmen. The trailer is a strange mix of extremely faithful images, overly stylised slow-mo and slightly unreal visual effects. I think I sorta like it. (EDIT: now working.)
Outlander. A spaceman crashes in an ancient norse village while hunting an alien creature. The Vikings do battle. The Vikings are led by John Hurt… …I *know*. I may have finally lost my grip on reality but this looks really entertaining, in a “Vikings vs. Predator by way of Chronicles of Riddick” way.
Terminator Salvation. This looks surprisingly promising for an unnecessary sequel, but really it’s just a mixture of Christian Bale and some images taken wildly out of context. A teaser trailer in other words.
Quantum of Solace. Hmm. Could be good. I loved Casino Royale, and it feels a bit strange saying this about one of the longest-running movie franchises in history, but it remains to be seen if they can catch lightning in a bottle a second time.
Oh and of course not forgetting:
It’s available again!
Having now seen Act One I can confirm that it is not, in fact, rubbish. It’s rather droll, in fact. I don’t often refer to things as droll – it makes me sound like a sardonic butler – but droll it is. Also, funny and with catchy songs. It takes a bit of time getting started, but it’s generally an extremely likeable, extremely silly bit of
TV streaming online media content. And Neil Patrick Harris is just great.
David Simon was interviewed about The Wire on tonight’s Culture Show. It was very much a primer for the show for UK types so there were no specific spoilers. Nothing he hasn’t said many times before, but it was still nice to see the show getting some exposure on UK television. This edition of The Culture Show is repeated at about 11.20 p.m. on Thursday on BBC2 if you’re interested.
They also premiered this highly amusing animated cat cartoon, from Simon Toefield, the man who brought you the equally amusing animated short of the cat trying to wake up its owner.
EDIT: ajr beat me to it.
EDIT EDIT: In fact, don’t wait, watch extra bits from the David Simon interview on the BBC website right now. So much extra stuff it must clock in about the same length as the actual interview.
EDIT EDIT EDIT: And here’s the aired interview to watch online too.
Well, Act I is available. Act II comes out on Thursday, Act III on Saturday, and then after Sunday it disappears and you can only download for a nominal free (or buy the eventual DVD).
This is Joss Whedon’s free, streaming, internet-only supervillan musical, which Joss explains far less coherently but more amusingly in his evil Master Plan.
My only caveat is that I haven’t actually watched it yet. For all I know it’s rubbish.
EDIT: This is on the Facebook and Myspace sites:
We’ve officially crashed
We love you for crashing the site, we really do.
In the meantime, those of you who have iTunes capabilities can go there and get your fix. Our site should be up and running again in a few hours.
Your support is warming our hearts and kicking our asses. So thank you thank you.
Joss Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Zack Whedon
Tom McRae “guests” on the new single by Wills and the Willing, Lipstick. This seems to mean that he wrote and performed all his bits of the song –which are excellent– based on hearing the rap parts –which are terrible. You can hear the whole song on their myspace page. Tom is also performing on Jonathan Ross’s Radio 2 show tomorrow, which will presumably be available on the ‘listen again’ feature for the coming week. Finally, here is a very good summary and set of interviews with the Tom McRae / Hotel Cafe tour.
Meanwhile have some Star Wars Strictly Come Dancing. The best bit is Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers at the end.
And Harry Knowles has seen some scenes from J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek film. It’s not out for a year, but this is the first thing I’ve read to get me actually excited about it.
The second trailer (UK only) for next Saturday’s Doctor Who is rather cool.
It’s slightly spoilery, particularly if you’ve no idea who the main villain is (assuming you can read this from your isolation tank).
A quite nice X Files 2 poster. Apparently they’re still haggling with the studio over what the film will be called. I don’t mind “The X Files 2” personally. It’s been so long since the first one they don’t really need a subtitle, and anything is better than “Fight the Future”.
The director of the fourth Terminator film, which is having title troubles of its own, seems to imply that they’ll be trying to keep its timeline straight with that of the very decent TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Nice idea, although frankly since that series may or may not run for several years who knows where it might end up and how it may end up contradicting things? Despite the continuing absence of James Cameron (which arguably hamstrung T3), Christian Bale is on board for the film and there’s talk of making a Batman-style fresh start, which bodes well.
Incidentally the Sarah Connor series has some kind of tangential viral marketing site, EniTech labs, that seems to have little to do with the actual show but ties in strongly with the Teminator franchise as a whole. Frankly I couldn’t be bothered to plough through all the dodgily acted videos/webisodes but the last one does feature some cool Killer Robot Action.
Ronald D. Moore reckons they’ve taken the opportunity afforded by the writer’s strike hiatus to retool the second half of Galactica season 4 (spoilers in the link for those who haven’t seen the S3 finale). This either means that we’ll feel the benefit of forward planning that blessed the first half of Season 2 or, more likely on the evidence of recent storylines, that important threads will fizzle into nothing while major events and character arcs will suddenly erupt out of nowhere.
Battlestar Galactica’s Helo is one of the stars of famed misogynist (just kidding) Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
Meanwhile Moore and fellow Galactica producer David “Not the one who thinks the Queen is a lizard” Eick have been given the greenlight on their strangely dull-sounding Galactica prequel Caprica. I wish I could summon up any interest in this but I can’t.
Eick is also writing the pilot of a TV show based on Children of Men. Sounds like a terrible idea given how good the film was, but from the brief comments he makes it seems it will be based more on the book and the social aspects of having no future for mankind. So it may not suck.
And finally… J Michael Straczynski In Good Script Shock. Specifically his movie script for World War Z, apparently.
Nice cinema trailer for new Doctor Who, Season 4 here. It still has Catherine Tate in it, sadly. There’s only so long I can remain in denial about her. It also has some significant returning faces, and various nice shots of Rome, Ood and Sontarans. Oh, and Bernard Cribbins. Quite well done, all told.
We’ve been continuing to watch various old Doctor Who stories recently, with mixed success. I mentioned last time how much I enjoyed Tom Baker’s debut story ‘Robot’. Sadly ‘Planet of Evil’ from the following year is less impressive.1 The setting is atmospheric, especially the weird alien jungle, but it just lacks the necessary character banter from the Doctor to lift the so-so plot. Likewise Pertwee’s debut story ‘Spearhead from Space’ manages to be simultaneously snappily edited and draggingly slow, which is disappointing. Even the Autons can’t really lift it from tedium.
We then progressed to the ‘Beneath the Surface’ box set. ‘The Silurians’, despite being very long, is consistently entertaining with good characterisation, decent location filming, Fulton Mackay, Geoffrey Palmer and a vague attempt at moral complexity. Okay the Silurians themselves look crap and the young, headstrong one has a hilarious voice but otherwise it works very well. The sequel tale ‘The Sea Devils’ is less good but still quite enjoyable. You can’t go too far wrong with Roger Delgado and Sea Devils, and in true Pertwee fashion the story is stuffed to the gills (geddit?) with location filming and speedboat chases. The end of the -ahem- “trilogy”, Davison’s ‘Warriors of the Deep’ is both better and worse than I remembered. Better in that it was a tiny bit less polystyrene than I recalled, but worse in that the Silurian and Sea Devil dialogue is nothing but undiluted exposition and cliche of the worst kind, delivered at about four words per minute. “Soon.. we.. will.. have… our… revenge…” kind of stuff. (Also, why are the Silurians calling themselves Silurians when we know from ‘The Sea Devils’ that it was a misnomer? And why do they talk about “Our Sea Devil brothers”? Don’t they have a name other than a pejorative nickname some sailors slapped on them in the 1970s?)
I’m enjoying old Who overall but it’s a very hit and miss experience. My boss’s 6 year old boy was apparently sat down in front of an old Tom Baker episode recently and immediately started complaining that the monster looked fake. Sign of the times.
1 Although a few moments gave me powerful deja vu from watching the show in the 1970s, and from reading the novelisation — it’s surprising how often that happens. Those novelisations were a big part of my childhood.
This is very nice indeed. Actual movie footage of the Earth ‘setting’ behind the moon taken from Japan’s new Selene probe which has been imaging the moon in High Definition. Amazingly smooth video (the Realplayer version worked for me). There are more images and videos at the main site, although the videos are extremely poorly indexed.
Or if you prefer your views of the Earth from a greater distance, how about a photo of the Earth and moon taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars.
(Or if that’s still too close I previously posted a photo of the Earth and Moon from the Cassini probe in orbit around Saturn.)
Lastly, there are some unusually dynamic images of avalanches in progress on Mars:
What’s great about this pirated convention footage of the trailer for The X Files 2 is not so much what’s in the trailer as the audience going apeshit every time Mulder or Scully appears on screen. Strangely amusing. Apparently the film has a standalone supernatural plot (good), which makes it slightly perplexing that the trailer manages to look like an alien conspiracy episode. And is that Billy Connolly?
Someone linked me to this recently: Flight of the Conchords’ Frodo, Don’t Wear the Ring. They are insane.
Gah! I keep getting emails from my ISP telling us we’re x amount over our website’s daily bandwidth allowance, and as a result our entire website has been taken down (or ‘archived’) until I apologise and agree to play nicely.
Some of you may remember the incident in which Dan Hartland ate our website after I naively hosted a large video of him on the Gadget show (now to be found here instead.) It’s like that.
Except, it isn’t. I’d love to be that popular, but without Dan’s special brand of internet charisma working for us there’s just no way our humble site of photographs is exceeding 250 MB of traffic a day. (Even allowing for the fact that I store all my LJ files and pictures there.) After checking our webstats we do indeed seem to be below 250 MB a day, despite emails telling us we’re up to 150MB OVER that limit.
I’ve raised it with the ISP who responded as follows: “We have seen a few reports of sites being archived for going over the bandwidth allowance when it appears they haven’t. I have added your account to the open problem so we can check and confirm this further so the alert may well be in error.”
So, okay, maybe if they knew it was happening they could have let everyone know, but that’ll do in a pinch. Or it would, if we hadn’t received yet another email this morning, and if our site hadn’t been archived yet again. Once more we seem to be within our limit, and it’s very frustrating. We do keep resisting moving from plus.net because I don’t want the hassle of changing our website’s domain, but I’m seriously thinking about getting it hosted elsewhere.
EDIT 24/2/08: “Dear Mr Clark, I have restored your site. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, this problem should be fixed now so hopefully it won’t happen again.” Hurray!
Some sparkly things that have captured my ever-drifting attention:
Everbody’s favourite transporter chief1, Colm Meaney, says he’s filmed the pilot episode of David E Kelley’s U.S. version of Life on Mars. He’s in the Gene Hunt role. I’m extremely interested to see what it’s like. The original BBC show, especially the first series, was excellent but there’s room for a different take on the concept. Relocating it to LA could just be enough of a difference.
Ben Goldacre’s seminal explanation in The Guardian of why homeopathy doesn’t make sense (it’s really good–read it) has won high praise from James Randi. Which is nice.
Galactica showrunner (and Trek alumnus) Ronald D Moore has a shiny new blog replacing his moribund one on the Sci-Fi Channel site. At present there are musings about Galactica and the Writer’s Guild of America strike.
Speaking of the shiny, in the wake of the terrifying number of Trek fan series underway on the internet, there’s now a Firefly fan series named Into the Black in production. As with most things in modern fandom, the production values are surprisingly decent. The cast… not so much. At least, not if the YouTube trailer is anything to go by. Also the song is quite scary.
Lastly, for the woman who has everything except a talking Stephen Fry clock: a talking Stephen Fry clock. Cool, but not quite as cool as Lego Batman: The Videogame.
1 Unless you favour Mr Kyle but, really, how geeky would that be?
Given the astonishing constraints of time and budget that a little vignette like this must face, I have to give Steven Moffat kudos for pulling off as much characterisation and even perfunctory plot as he did.
Spoilers for the Doctor Who Children In Need Special 2007
Several coolish movie things:
Hot on the heels of the probably-very-good casting of Zachary ‘Sylar’ Quinto as the young Spock comes this simple but pleasingly retro poster for the new Trek prequel film.
A slightly naff yet iconic poster for the new Indiana Jones film. But more interesting still is the news that Karen Allen will be reprising her role as Marian Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
A nice new image of the Joker from Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight plus a pretty nifty teaser trailer (more audio than video, but good nonetheless).
A stunningly visual trailer for the Neil Gaiman / Roger Avary penned Beowulf film with CGI that you’d be hard pressed to tell apart from real actors for most of its length. I still want to see the characters do some real face acting before I’m convinced.
Lastly some interesting casting for Watchmen.
Oh, and as a bonus I’m throwing this one in just because I can’t tell how crap it’ll be: a trailer for The Last Legion a film that seems to mix the end of the Roman Empire and the legend of King Arthur with such certainty you’d think it was actually telling real history. Could be just as bad as the recent King Arthur but you never know.
There’s a trailer for the new Babylon 5: The Lost Tales DVD on the official website. The website has been given a facelift too, by someone without any noticeable design skills.
The DVD is set ten years after the series. Just seeing the familiar ships and hearing the music certainly gets my B5 juices flowing. For all its flaws, and they are many, Babylon 5 was a show that completely hooked me at the time. Although it didn’t make it to the end of its five year story as seamlessly as planned, it inspired subsequent science fiction series to seriously consider long-term storytelling as a viable proposition. My wife has managed to get one of her work colleagues into the original series and he seems to be having a hugely good time watching our DVDs. He’s right in the show’s heyday (mid Season 2) with plenty of good stuff ahead, and I can’t help but be a little envious.
Battlestar Galactica is a series that takes almost the opposite approach to story arc, preferring to make it up as it goes along. Nonetheless its producers are still bravely claiming that “This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and, finally, an end.” They simply have no idea what any of those things are. Hopefully they’ll make their minds up soon, since they’ve just announced that Galactica will officially end after its Fourth Season.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes be afraid. It’s not that a big screen adaptation casting Holmes as a more “edgy” action-oriented hero is doomed to crassness but… well, quite. The quote about “playing up his skills as a bare-knuckle boxer and expert swordsman as he goes about solving crimes” does not fill me with confidence. Then again, the world has already witnessed the astonishingly poor yet strangely entertaining Young Sherlock Holmes.
Further weirdness: how does the inestimable Cate Blanchett in the fourth Indiana Jones movie sound? In other casting news for that film, has anyone ever seen Shia LaBeouf and immortalradical at the same time?
Meanwhile Stephen Fry is writing a script for Peter Jackson. The world has gone mad, I tell you. Sadly it seems Mr Fry didn’t have the time to write his promised episode of Doctor Who. Sniff. (The trailer for the new series of Doctor Who is now up at the official site and looks much more promising than the last one, once you get past the painfully hokey intro.)
Following the pretty pics from the new Babylon 5, AICN have a description of the rough-cut opening credits which gets all the nostalgic juices flowing. Whether B5 has anything more to offer the world than nostalgic remembrance of past glories is something that remains to be proven at this stage. The CGI image above has certainly got me keen to see what B5 can look like with modern effects work. The FX company’s showreel includes plenty of recent fare like Galactica and SG-1, and it’s sobering to remember that it’s nearly nine years since the end of the B5 series proper (five years since the distinctly low-rent Legend of the Rangers pilot). Where does the time go?
Still on our heap of TV to watch: six episodes of Studio 60, three episodes of Battlestar Galactica, three episodes of Waking the Dead, five episodes of Jericho, three episodes of Primeval, two episodes of CSI, one apiece of Time Team and Stargate SG-1 and a DVD of Doctor Who: The Aztecs. And those are just the ones I can remember. It’s possible we have a problem.
Part of the reason for our scary TV backlog is that we’re now fully caught up with Life on Mars, having watched every episode in one week from a standing start and liking it greatly. I thought the season 2 opener tripped over its feet a bit in its effort to re-establish the premise, but was otherwise as enjoyable as ever. I have to concur with the general opinion that Chris Chibnall’s episodes, particularly his second season offering, have been in a different league entirely from his Torchwood work (and featured not a single pterodactyl), so maybe his upcoming Doctor Who episode won’t be crap after all. Sadly our romp through Life on Mars has so far not been matched by our efforts with Primeval which I’ve yet to even start. Let’s hope I can summon up equal levels of enthusiasm for that series, although the opinions I’ve seen so far make this fairly unlikely.
Bones has delighted me by continuing to feature Stephen Fry in a recurring guest role which he was born to play, and if they’re laying on the Englishisms a bit thick, well, it *is* Stephen Fry. His scenes actually seem better written than the rest of the show. Which admittedly isn’t difficult.
EDIT: Sky One’s Continuity Announcer, before tonight’s episode of Battlestar Galactica: “Forget Sci-Fi, THIS is real drama.”
A few bits of video linkage that caught my eye recently.
Firstly, how cool is this sliding door? It would obviously annoy the crap out of you if you actually had one, but the technolust is too powerful to resist. Janet thinks we should get one.
Those who saw my recent post about the Frank Miller adaptation 300 may have seen the video showcasing several scenes from the film (from a recent comics convention). The official trailer is now available, and it’s every bit as testosterone drenched as the previous video, only in better quality. It’s also rather stylish, and very beautiful. And it features a shouty man with lots of teeth.
In one of my excessivly geeky moments I talked about the remastering of the original 1960s Star Trek show; primarily this is just a high-definition clean-up and rescanning of the original film/negative, although it’s not yet airing in HD. Controversially they’ve also chosen to update the effects using CGI. Less controversially they’re hewing incredibly closely to the look and feel of the original effects, the only complaints so far being that the CGI space shots are allegedly even blander than the original model work. (Well, not the only complaints since Trek fans are a fickle bunch. In fact the faithfulness of the effects is in itself becoming controversial, with some individuals feeling that there’s no point in redoing the effects if they’re not going to try something a little more daring.) Me, I love the original Trek with the completely non-rational portion of my brain1, and I know a lot of the episodes very well indeed, even though it’s years since I actually sat down to watch one of them from start to finish. I’m also generally opposed to special editions, since part of the pleasure in watching something old is in analysing how it looks, whether it’s dated well, what still works, what looks hokey, etc. There’s a part of your brain which stands back from the story and appreciates it as an artefact of its era. But that said, these do look pretty good. Some sample pictures and videos here and here, including this nice new Enterprise flyby.
1 Yes, there are some rational bits.