film and tv
Thursday, September 20th, 2012 | film and tv, mythology, scifi | No Comments
Since the 5th and final season of Fringe starts airing soon, I have been following the re-watch podcasts by The Fringe Podcast‘s Summer re-watch, re- watched all 4 current seasons.
I was pleased to see that a lot of the apparent “throw-away” lines and plots actually are paying off, sometimes after 3 – 4 years.
This is the kind of story I like. It rewards patience and has some wonderful characters and character development.
I particularly like John Noble’s portrayal of Walter Bishop. He never fails to deliver perfectly, this old scientist with a heavy conscience.
Anna Torv gets to show her range in playing several versions of herself, and does it convincingly.
Given the episode 4.19 glimpse into the future of the story I am very excited to see what the 5th season will bring, as I suspect it will complete its mythology.
Monday, September 3rd, 2012 | cons, Doctor Who, film and tv, scifi, star trek | No Comments
At a large convention like Fedcon you are likely to find a lot of people having built models (sometimes full size) of science fiction icons.
It is quite amazing how much attention to detail there is. The guy with the remote control told me that he built the whole thing – except for the dome that was machine made. Well done !
The other thing found rolling around was a Dalek from Doctor Who :
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 | cons, film and tv, photos, scifi, star trek | No Comments
This week’s photo was taken at the Fedcon in Düsseldorf, Germany in May this year.
A very entertaining actor, he suddenly left the stage and walked among the audience.
When he passed right by me I was quick enough with the camera to catch this picture :
The colours come from the stage lighting, I like the mood of the picture.
As an experiment it may be worth trying to convert this picture to black/white.
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 | Babylon 5, blog, books, comic, Doctor Who, film and tv, podcast, scifi, star trek | No Comments
When I have finished the reading/watching and voting for the Hugo Awards – some time in Early August I have a few things in mind that I would like to do, SciFi wise.
Audio stories :
Catching up on some podcasts – they all have some absolutely marvelous stories (even if not all will be to my liking, there wil be many I like :
- early Escape Pod
- Starhip Sofa
and other audio drama/audio book podcasts
- Doctor Who (Big Finish) stories – there is a lot, some very good, some ok-ish
- All of Lost – whenever the last season DVD set is out – it will be an all new one for me long term
- Older Doctor Who , long term project
- Detailed rewatch of Babylon 5 with lots of comment on this blog – will take a lot of time, probably with watching almost every episode twice, so please be patient. Also some comparison to Star Trek DS9 – probably an episode every one or two weeks on average, yes, it will be a long term project
Since I have seen B5 a few times by now, each episode review will probably be a relatively spoiler free post, followed by a review in the context of the whole story – possibly with some extra comments on issues of special interest to me (and hopefully others)
- Rewatch of (more or less) all Star Trek, with blog comments on the episodes I enjoy – another long term project
- Supernatural (first watch) – it comes recommended
- Second seasons of Dollhouse and Fringe
– Chuck – that is a fun one
All this will be a bit at a time, no great marathons, except when I visit a good scifi friend
Dexter – not scifi, but good TV drama, *very dark*
… and much more
- All of George RR. Martin’s Son of Ice and Fire – well, what is out there, since he will be Guest of Honor at the Eastercon/Olympus2012 in London – I got through the first volume Game of thrones by now
More Dresden Files books – they are fun and I got through the first two for now
- Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series
- Babylon 5 books, including the script books series – partly in conjunction with re-watching the series
- Some graphic novels and comics, especially ones written by J. Michael Straczynski, but others, too
…and much more reading of scifi/fantasy old and new that I cannot yet specify
If this looks like a lot …. well, it is, and I am probably not going to get any of it done fast, but here we go, and I will see how much will be achieved
Lately I have re-entered into building electronics equipment, and this will take some time from the scifi stuff – yes , I am prioritizing, so some scifi stuff will be done
For now, until the end of July, the Hugo awards’ stuff has high priority
Monday, May 24th, 2010 | Doctor Who, film and tv, scifi | No Comments
Having watched the first episode of the “new Who” Silurian story, “The Hungry Earth” I decided to take a look at the very first Silurian story, I happened to have it on DVD in the “Beneath the Surface” box set.
Now, when overcoming the rather poor technical quality (thank you very much BBC for deleting the tapes) and thus the poor video quality, this is a very good story.
The memory of my early Doctor Who (before the “new series” is mainly of Jon Pertwee, and I do recall to have seen some nice stories.
Early Who mostly has a lot of running through corridors etc (well, new Who does, too), chased by monsters. While looking monster-like, the Silurians are not really that much different in attitudes from humans, making them more interesting adversaries.
This is more so true of the escalating military part of the conflict, so well commented by the Doctor.
The end is rather sad, and perhaps that is reflected in “The Hungry Earth”, seeing the Doctor’s attitude towards the Silurians.
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 | awards, film and tv, funny, scifi | No Comments
A web story by Joss Whedon.
After having heard most people rave about this little show I finally got the DVD and watched the thing.
The beginning is quite funny, but for me the fun wears off quite quickly. I find it too repetitive and to me that gets boring. I probably have heard too much hype about how hilarious this is.
I have no problem with the production as such, and it probably deserved winning in its Hugo category.
It just did not bring much *to me*.
Sorry about that, guys. Don’t let this take away any of your enjoyment of the show.
6/10 on the Lurker’s scale
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | awards, Doctor Who, film and tv, reviews, scifi | No Comments
From the beginning of the first new season I have always loved the episodes written by Steven Moffat, from ‘The Empty Child’/'The Doctor Dances’ over ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ and the brilliant ‘Blink’ to this double episode. I am looking forward to see what he will bring to the series as show runner.
Like the other stories (when they were written) this story stands a bit by itself in the Doctor Who time line.
We find The Doctor and Donna arriving (in the 51th century) at a planet full of books. In essence it is a library of all known books, known just as The Library. Something is very wrong, since the library seems completely empty. Well, there are the books, but no people at all, just a cryptic computerized warning message ‘Count the Shadows !’ .
Another party arrives, with among others, a certain professor River Song who appears to have a past with The Doctor, in his future. It turns out she even knows the name of The Doctor, something unheard of in the series until now, of course not counting The Doctor posing as John Smith, clearly an alias.
The “monster” of this story is the invisible, but very deadly Vashta Nerada, residing in the shadows and being a kind of “piranhas of darkness”.
In the story we learn enough to know why the Vashta Nerada act like they do, and of course The Doctor, aided by professor Song saves the vast majority of the people trapped on the planet.
The Little girl, living an imaginary life, does raise the questions of “what is reality” when Doctor Moon tells her that the life she thinks of as her own is not real .
For me the story has the best of the elements creating a good Who adventure, a good “monster”, a mystery or two, some good characters accompanying the Doctor, etc.
This was my first choice in the category for the Hugo Awards 2009. ‘Dr Horrible’ won that one, and that is fine.
‘Spoilers !!’ (River Song)
9/10 on the Lurker’s scale
Sunday, December 20th, 2009 | Babylon 5, film and tv, mythology, scifi | No Comments
One of my favourite quotes from Babylon 5 comes from the ISN news item where President Clark has declared Martial Law and the Mars colony does not follow suit.
“Mars has rejected Martial Law”
It has always amused me in the midst of all the seriousness of the situation, if you do not know why – think of what is the origin of the term Martial Law.
It refers to the Roman God of War – yes Mars, Martial, so it becomes a sort of a contradictory sentence.
Saturday, December 19th, 2009 | awards, Doctor Who, film and tv, scifi, Uncategorized | No Comments
Hugo Nominee 2009 Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
This is Russell T. Davies’ writing at its best, aided by Graeme Harper’s directing. With all due respect for his team reviving Doctor Who Davies’ writing has not always been the best during the new Who era – probably due to the pressure of being the show runner.
While we have seen indications of inner strength in Donne Noble, this episode pulls all that to the fore. She has a little help from a friend she did not know she had : Rose. This is, for now, the culmination of the small glimpses we have had of Rose since the beginning of the season
The story finds Donna tricked into living a version of history where she did not meet the Doctor, and it is not a pretty picture. Guided by Rose from a different reality she finds her inner strength to change history back to what we know from the third season of the 10th Doctor.
The story has a good deal of fine drama, some fine character development of Donna, and a stunning conclusion, as a prelude to the two final episodes.
I consider this episode better than the two final ones, although I find those quite good as well.
This is certainly one of my favourites of the season, mainly rivaled by the double episode ‘Silence in the Library’/'Forest of the Dead’
9/10 on the lurker’s scale.
Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 | authors, film and tv, scifi | 1 Comment
A few months ago I had a chat with Charles Stross at a small convention in Copenhagen. He did express his dislike of space opera at that time, though I had no idea he would later write such a scathing attack on this subgenre, beginning with his viewing of the Star Trek: Next Generation pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint”.
Here is what he considers the most important part :
“The biggest weakness of the entire genre is this: the protagonists don’t tell us anything interesting about the human condition under science fictional circumstances. The scriptwriters and producers have thrown away the key tool that makes SF interesting and useful in the first place, by relegating “tech” to a token afterthought rather than an integral part of plot and characterization. What they end up with is SF written for the Pointy-Haired [studio] Boss, who has an instinctive aversion to ever having to learn anything that might modify their world-view. The characters are divorced from their social and cultural context; yes, there are some gestures in that direction, but if you scratch the protagonists of Star Trek you don’t find anything truly different or alien under the latex face-sculptures: just the usual familiar and, to me, boring interpersonal neuroses of twenty-first century Americans, jumping through the hoops of standardized plot tropes and situations that were cliches in the 1950s.” (emphasis added).
Part 1 : He has recently written “Saturn’s Children : A Space Opera”. I did read this novel as part of my preparation for voting, since it was nominated for the Hugo Award, and I found it a good, solid story, though not my favourite of the four I got to read.
If you have not read Saturn’s Children, and plan to do it here follows a [SPOILER ALERT] brief description of the story :
The robots are travelling the Solar System. They were created by humans because humans are very fragilec reatures, not very suited for space travel. Of course, robots are the servants of humans, to such a degree that humans forgot to live their life, and are extinct at the time the story begins.
The main character is an obsolete sex robot (humanity extinct, remember), trying to find a “life” of her own, being whirled into a dangerous adventure.
I do like the twist at the end, but will not spoil it here.
Come to think of it, this story actually has some interesting parallels, in particular with the new “Battlestar Galactica” (BSG). some inetesting differences as well. In both stories humanity has created sentient robots to serve their purpose. In Saturn’s Children the robots were extensively programmed with Asimov’s rules for robots, yet indirectly caused the extinction of humanity – apparently that was not the case in BSG, since the Cylons rebelled, almost bringing on the extinction of humanity.
Part 2 of the irony : (remember : “the protagonists don’t tell us anything interesting about the human condition under science fictional circumstances”).
If we take Stross’ complaint seriously (and literally), Stross himself should have this complaint about his own story, because (a) the main character is a robot and (b) humanity is extinct
On top of that, BSG does exactly what he requires of a good SF story, dealing with the human condition under conceivable (but not existing) circumstances.
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