Monday, 12 December 2011

New Dr Who Episodes Found

Fans of DOCTOR WHO have been given an early Christmas present this year with the announcement that two episodes of the classic series thought to have been lost forever have been found in Australia.

Coming from the stories Galaxy 4 and The Underwater Menace, starring William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton as the first and second incarnations of the peripatetic Time Lord.

The loss results from the early practice of wiping videotapes to be used again at a time when the idea that fans would want to rewatch this material in their living rooms forever wasn't even considered and videotape was expensive.

The full story can be found here.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Giant Smurf Attacks London

No, it's not the end of the world as we know it.

The Smurfs movie is out this week on DVD and Blu Ray and to mark the occasion the world's largest inflatable smurf was, ahem, inflated near Tower Bridge (just look in the background).

That's not something you see every day and probably a bit of a distraction if you were driving past.

As well as the Smurfs movie, there is a Smurf's Christmas Carol DVD available from selected outlets and what would Christmas be without Charles Dickens classic ghost redemption story? Even if it does feature tiny little blue people.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Things To Watch This Christmas: The Borrowers

Monday 26th 7.30pm BBC 1

Do we need another version of The Borrowers? Well, we've got one anyway:

Arrietty Clock is a head-strong teenage Borrower who is desperate to explore life outside her family home hidden under the floorboards. Her parents, Pod and Homily Clock, are terrified of the world of the ‘Human Beans’ and are fiercely protective of their daughter.

Arrietty sneaks upstairs one night and befriends James, a lonely boy who lives above her in the house with his father, Robert Millman. This leads to a world of trouble when the Borrowers’ home is discovered by James’s formidable grandmother, and they are forced to venture into the big wide world…

Grandma Driver knows the ‘little people’ exist; she’s always known and is determined to hunt them out of her house. Professor Mildeye also knows of the existence of the ‘little people’. Determined to restore his reputation and resurrect his academic career, he’ll go to any lengths to capture them and reveal them to the world.

Spiller, a leather jacketed tearaway, takes quite a shine to Arrietty. She’s not quite sure what to make of this, but when her parents are captured by the evil Professor Mildeye, she is forced to enlist both Spiller’s and 'human bean' James’s help. They go on a series of daring adventures to try and outsmart Mildeye and return the Clock family to their former home in time for Christmas.

Arrietty Clock is played by Aisling Loftus, Pod Clock by Christopher Eccleston, Homily Clock by Sharon Horgan, James by Charles Hiscock, Robert Millman by Shaun Dooley, Granny Driver by Victoria Wood, Professor Mildeye by Stephen Fry and Spiller by Robert Sheehan. "

Things To Watch This Christmas: The Lost Christmas

Sunday December 18th 5.30pm BBC 1

"Starring Eddie Izzard, with Jason Flemyng, Geoffrey Palmer and Larry Mills, this CBBC family drama is an urban fairytale from the backstreets of Manchester.

Steven Moffat introduces this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special

The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe is the title of the upcoming Christmas Special and the BBC mediacentre website has this introduction from Steven Moffat:

"The Doctor at Christmas - it always just feels so right. When I was a kid, Santa and the Doctor somehow lived in the same place in my head - two generous madmen that I loved so much. So now that the Doctor is a regular feature of Christmas the world is just that bit more right.

"This time we're in England in the 1940s, and recently widowed Madge Arwell hasn't told her children, Lily and Cyril, that their father has died flying his bomber home over the channel, because she doesn't want Christmas to become the day that broke their hearts.

"But when they're evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset for the holidays, and meet a mysterious young caretaker in a bow tie, events take an unexpected turn. What could be inside that big blue parcel under the tree?

"Soon the Arwells find themselves in a battle for survival in a magical new land. As ever, at this time of year, the Doctor is trying to make things right, and as always it doesn't go according to plan. But maybe he's reckoned without the power of a determined mother.

"This Christmas, it might just be the lonely Time Lord who's shown the way home."

Friday, 25 November 2011

Anne McCaffrey dies

Anne McCaffrey, author of the Dragonriders of Pern and Crystal Singer series of books has died at the age of 85.

It is a constant source of amazement to us that the Pern books haven't yet been made into a big budget movie series. What's not to like? There's intrigue, adventure, romance and bloody big dragons.

We read the books way back when and they are truly magical, and epic series that remains light and breezy and entertaining without ever straying into the pomposity that other large fantasy series can be known to.

McCaffrey was a pioneer in the field of fantasy being a female author, but her style wasn't aimed at either gender and appealed to both.

The universe of fantasy was made greater by her presence and is diminished by her loss.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Doctor Who stole my award

Whilst it's usually the misfits ASBO offenders that are doing all the stealing, it has been reported that they had an award stolen out from under them at the Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards. The prize they should have received was handed to Doctor Who instead.

Apparently there was a 'human error in data entry'. That's a hell of typo from 'Misfits' to 'Doctor Who'. Perhaps it was just a fan making their own judgement call. If so then the 'steps have been taken to ensure thatit cannot happen again' means that someone got sacked for liking Doctor Who over Misfits.

The whole story is reported on the BBC News website.

Friday, 14 October 2011

KICK ASS comes to Seattle

Well, it had to happen sometime.

A self-styled vigilante has been in court an waits to see if he is to be charged for wearing a silly outfit and allegedly trying to break up a fight outside a nightclub.

Not surprisingly, the police were less than impressed with the man who calls himself Phoenix and claims to be the head of the Rain City Superhero Movement.

The full story is here.

Life imitating art eh. Who'd have thunk it?

Dude's got a pretty cool outfit though.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Episodes to Savour - Space 1999 - The Infernal Machine

In 1999, the moon is rocked by a series of explosions, is hurled out of orbit and goes through a 'black sun' to emerge in a distant part of the universe. The staff of Moonbase Alpha encounter many strange things as their wandering moon passes by new planets tha might provide them with a home.

SPACE:1999 is not a great show. The scientific illiteracy of the whole thing (it takes a week to fly past a planet and yet they'll find anohter one nearby soon, what speed are they travelling at?) makes much of it laughable and the introduction of some terrible monster suits in the second series really don't help.

First series episode The Infernal Machine, however, transcends all of that with a simple tale of two travellers who arrive on the moon. One is an old man who is dying. The other is the seemingly all-powerful sentient spaceship that he is companion to. The ship wants a bit of nuclear fuel and a new companion.

Now all-powerful beings with the emotions of children are ten-a-penny in TV science fiction, but this is lifted by a superb central performance from the redoubtable Leo McKern. As the dying companion he is full of weary humanity and as the giant machine he is al arrogance and, eventually, grief and loss. Barry Morse's character Victor is also given a rare chance to really shine.

All of the other good things about the show (costuming, set design, special effects, Eagle spaceships etc) are well up to snuff, but this is an episode about characters, about the need for companionship and about grief and loss.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Television taken over by fantastic shows!

Well, the number of science fiction, fantasy and supernatural horror shows still pales into insignificance when compared with dreadful sitcoms or awful reality TV shows or CSI: Pick A City type shows, but the lover of fantastic TV has a lot of stuff spread out across the telewaves in the UK now and in the next few weeks.

TERRA NOVA, the all new dinosaur romp joins the recently re-started FRINGE on Sky 1 providing an action-orientated entertainment to counterpoint the more cerebral mystery investigations of the Fringe Division.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is back on ITV 2 next week with its teenage take on the toothsome kind, dovetailing nicely with the fact that the same writer's THE SECRET CIRCLE has just kicked off on Sky Living.

HAVEN returns to Syfy where it lines up alongside the currently running LOST GIRL and WAREHOUSE 13.

And for those people who can't be bothered with all that Skybox stuff then the good ol' BBC has MERLIN which is back on BBC 1 for Saturday nights and the much more aimed at adults THE FADES on BBC 3.

And of course, Sky Living is also still scaring the bejeesus out of people with the always excellent SUPERNATURAL.

It is interesting to note that of all the above shows only TERRA NOVA is a straight science fiction show with all the others edging more towards the fantasy and supernatural horror strands.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

It's time to say GOODBYE SARAH JANE

Whilst there was a bittersweet rightness to the fact that the last story of THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES shown before Elisabeth Sladen's death was entitled 'Goodbye Sarah Jane', the fact that there were stories already filmed and unshown means that the final season of the show will be airing from October 3rd on CBBC.

For all die-hard Sarah Jane Smith devotees it's going to be a hard thing to watch, but as these are the last new appearances there will ever be they are a thing to be savoured. A fitting chance, perhaps, to say Goodbye Sarah Jane.

BBC press release

"Investigative journalist Sarah Jane Smith and her gang of young sidekicks are back, as the final ever episodes of the award-winning The Sarah Jane Adventures are broadcast on CBBC from Monday 3 October.

The six episodes making up the fifth series of The Sarah Jane Adventures were all filmed before the sad death of much-loved actress Elisabeth Sladen earlier this year.
Lis first appeared as Sarah Jane in Doctor Who in 1973 and remained on the iconic programme for three-and-a-half series alongside the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, and the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. She returned to the role in 2007 in her own spin-off series on CBBC.
The Sarah Jane Adventures brought Lis to a whole new generation of fans who grew to love her alien-busting adventures.

Created by Russell T Davies, this new series of the hugely successful Doctor Who spin-off features new aliens, surprising arrivals, and the usual mix of thrills, scares and fun. Sarah Jane and her gang are thrown into the middle of a war between two deadly aliens, Fleshkind and Metalkind, Clyde finds himself out on the streets when an alien curse turns his friends against him, and Sarah Jane confronts the mysterious Mr Serf and discovers the secret of his success – he has alien slaves in his basement!

Elisabeth Sladen plays Sarah Jane Smith alongside young stars Tommy Knight as Luke, Daniel Anthony as Clyde and Anjli Mohindra as Rani. This series introduces a brand new member of the gang, Sky, played by Sinead Michael. The series also features Ace Bhatti and Mina Anwar as Rani's parents, Jocelyn Jee Esien as Clyde's mum, and guest appearances from Floella Benjamin as Professor Rivers, James Dreyfuss as Harrison, Peter Bowles as Lionel Carson, Christine Stephen-Daly as Miss Myers and Lily Loveless as Ellie.
The Sarah Jane Adventures is executive produced by Russell T Davies and Nikki Wilson and is produced by Brian Minchin. Writers include Phil Ford and Gareth Roberts.

The Sarah Jane Adventures will air on Monday and Tuesdays on CBBC.

The Sarah Jane Adventures is a BBC Cymru Wales/CBBC production. "

Monday, 26 September 2011

Merlin's Back

Harry Potter may be gone, but that other teen wizard MERLIN returns to the BBC, taking over the slot vacated by the DOCTOR WHO on October 1st.

All the favourite characters return and the series opens with a two-parter following on from the tumultuous events of the last series.

Here is what the BBC press office have to say on the matter of the wizards' return:

"Merlin faces his toughest challenge yet when Morgana's blinkered determination threatens not only Arthur's future, but also the very balance of the world. With her magic stronger than ever, the sorceress summons the mighty Callieach to tear open the veil between the worlds.

Hellish creatures pour forth, killing all who succumb to their touch. With Uther a shadow of his former self, it falls to Arthur and his loyal knights, including Lancelot, to protect the kingdom.

But it will take more than just swords to vanquish their enemy and Merlin is shocked to the core when he discovers the only way to restore the equilibrium requires a sacrifice of unimaginable proportions... "

With a write up like that, you just know that you'll be there.

Fantasy goes Opera

Ok, we'll be the first to admit that we don't like opera. The music yes, but all that caterwauling over the top? No thanks.

This announcement from the BBC, though, has got us interested enough to think about putting aside that prejudice and giving it another whirl. I mean a big scale fantasy directed by Terry Gilliam that actually got made.. How often does that happen?

The scheduled date is October 14th on BBC 4.

Here's the press release:

"BBC Four broadcasts English National Opera's highly acclaimed new production of Berlioz's The Damnation Of Faust, directed by film-maker and former Python Terry Gilliam.
Introduced for BBC Four by Gilliam himself, this spectacular show takes as its theme the art and politics of Germany from the 19th to the mid 20th century. Faust begins as a romantic seeker after truth, but his pact with Mephistopheles propels him on a rollercoaster ride through history. He experiences the carnage of the First World War, the turmoil of the Weimar Republic and becomes embroiled in the rise of Hitler. His beloved Marguerite turns out to be a Jewess disguised as an Aryan. This love affair leads Faust to damnation and Marguerite to the gas chamber.
It features a stellar cast with Christine Rice as Marguerite, Peter Hoare as Faust and Christopher Purvis as Mephistopheles.
The ENO Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by ENO Music Director Edward Gardner. "

Episodes to Savour - ANGEL: Smile Time

ANGEL always was one of the grumpiest vampires around. Never happy with his lot simply because a bunch of gypsies decreed that he would lose his soul if ever he was perfectly happy, he didn't suffer fools glady, but was glad to make fools suffer.

Imagine, then, this vampire being faced with a bunch of demons disguised as muppets on a children's television show called Smile Time. Even better, imaging this vampire being turned into a muppet version of himself.

Yes, it's a gag episode, but it's a gag that is pulled off to perfection and works because of the character and not because of the gag. The moment when rival vampire Spike ends up in a fight with this muppet is priceless and worth the episode alone.

And yes, you can buy the muppet yourself.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Does Endgame mark the end for TV's superheroes?

And so THE CAPE came to an end this week after a 10 episode run on Syfy. It's been cancelled and the final episode didn't even make it to the TV screen in the States.

Now, after the cancellation of the likes of NO ORDINARY FAMILY and this show the question arises as to whether there is a place for superheroes on the small screen. Even the legendary HEROES failed after its splashy opening season.

Why do superheroes not fly on TV when at the cinema they are all over the place. The answer, we think, lies in the spectacle. Movies have huge amounts of money to splash on huge set piece action stunts. TV doesn't have that and no matter how much you try to replace that with drama, the show will ultimately fail.

The arrival of shows like TEEN WOLF and LOST GIRL might suggest that the antics of werewolves, vampires and other supernatural entities are inherently more suited to the TV scale than those of masked vigilantes.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

DR WHO Christmas special press release

Production has started on the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas Special in which the Doctor (Matt Smith) finds himself in war-torn England embarking on a magical and mysterious adventure with a young widow and her two children.

A stellar guest cast including Claire Skinner (Outnumbered), Bill Bailey (Black Books), Arabella Weir (The Fast Show) and Alexander Armstrong (Armstrong & Miller), join Matt Smith in the emotional festive special, packed full of Christmas thrills and chills.
Steven Moffat, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, commented: "The Doctor at Christmas – nothing is more fun to write. Maybe because it's so his kind of day – everything's bright and shiny, everybody's having a laugh, and nobody minds if you wear a really stupid hat. Of all the Doctors, Matt Smith's is the one that was born for this time of year – so it's the best news possible that he's heading back down the chimney."

The special, set during the Second World War, sees Madge Arwell and her two children, Lily and Cyril, evacuated to a draughty old house in Dorset, where the caretaker is a mysterious young man in a bow tie, and a big blue parcel is waiting for them under the tree. They are about to enter a magical new world and learn that a Time Lord never forgets his debts.
Claire Skinner said: "I am thrilled to be in Doctor Who playing Madge who is a bit of super-mum. It's a magical part."

This marks Matt Smith's second outing as the Doctor at Christmas time and will follow hot on the heels of the successful 2011 series, currently airing on BBC One until October.

The Christmas Special was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama and Danny Cohen, Controller BBC One. Steven Moffat is Lead Writer and Executive Producer with Piers Wenger and Caroline Skinner, also executive producing.

Filming on the Christmas special will continue until mid-October 2011. "

Let's hope the Steven Moffat can come up with something better than last year's THE CHRISTMAS CAROL which was good without being great.

Genre Icons We Love - Summer Glau

If you look very closely at the tortured ballerina in the ANGEL episode Waiting In The Wings then you will see that it is none other than Summer Glau. This isn't really a surprise since trained as a ballerina and therefore looks completely at home in the part.

From this small background role, however, started a career that has made her such a genre icon that she was able to appear as herself in a cameo role on the best geek comedy show ever THE BIG BANG THEORY.

Glau manages to combine a vulnerability and apparent fragility with inner strength and this is the combination that made her perfect to play the kick ass robot sent back in time to save John Connor (again) in TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. There is a definite kick to be had watching this slight girl beating the living daylights out of some big hefty blokes.

It was, though, just a variation on the part she had already played in Joss Whedon's sadly truncated FIREFLY in which she was a young and fragile girl who could turn into a kick ass killing machine when the plot required. In an ensemble as strong as this show boasted, being able to hold her own proved her acting ability.

Since then, she's gone on to play one of the empowered 4400, a supergeek scientist type in DOLLHOUSE and the mentally fragile superhero sidekick in THE CAPE (just coming to an end on SyFy).

No matter what she appears  in, Summer is watchable and eye catching and a perfect science fiction icon.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Episodes to Savour - Star Trek Voyager: Bride of Chaotica!

Even the lowliest of shows can come up with one outstanding episode that lives in the memory long after the rest of that show has faded into the mists of memory.

STAR TREK VOYAGER isn't the lowliest of shows by any means, but it did feature a fair few unmemorable stories.

The one that stands out for us is this holodeck pastiche of the old Flash Gordon/ Buck Rogers serials that glories in the name of BRIDE OF CHAOTICA!.

Harry Kim and Tom Paris have recreated one of the adventures of their favourite heroes, Captain Proton, and energy beings that appear when the ship hits a weak boundary between space and subspace take this to be reality and attack the ship. Only if Captain Janeway takes on the role of the Bride of Chaotica will the ship be saved.

This is, of course, utter nonsense, but it is also joyfully alive and witty and funny and the references to the old serials are spot on. The glorious black and white photography inside the holodeck is a gorgeous touch and Kate Mulgrew's reaction as Captain Janeway to the fact that she is going to have to go in and camp it up in the holodeck programme is just brilliant.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Should George Lucas alter Star Wars

The Star Wars saga is out on Blu Ray, but the debate rages as to whether George Lucas is destroying his legacy by consistently changing the films with CGI tweaks and fixes.

Now the idea of people going back and doing their films over again is as old as Cecil B DeMille remaking BEN HUR because that's the only choice that he had with the technology of the time, but with CGI and digital it is simple to make all manner of changes (such as Steven Spielberg taking the guns out of ET The Extraterrestrial).

The question is, do they have the right?

Well of course they do. They made the films, they own the films and they have the right to do what they like with them.

We'd like to espouse the opinion, however, that when a work of entertainment (or art if you prefer) is released into the world, it is a contract between the artist and the audience. The imaginations of both are used to some sort of degree to create the final piece. What you see in STAR WARS is different to what I see because we are different people and our responses to the images are different.

So, if the audience are investing themselves in the piece, shouldn't they have a say in whether it should be messed around with?

The answer is no, but with a proviso here. Once the work has been released, it belongs as much to the public who saw it as the artist who made it. That work should therefore remain available to the public should they wish it to. Any subsequent versions that the artist decides to make should not make the original unavailable.

Yes, artists should be allowed to make improvements, but if the public don't like those improvements then they should be allowed to go back to the original just as freely. If the artist doesn't like that principle then they shouldn't release their work into the public eye and certainly shouldn't be taking money for doing so.

So Mr Lucas et al, carry out all the tinkering that you want, but leave the originals available for those that love them that way.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Charly dies

It's a rare thing that a science fiction film gets lauded for the acting and the idea that a sci fi movie could win a best acting oscar might seem pie in the sky until you consider Charly, for which Cliff Robertson won a best actor oscar.

Based on the heartbreaking book Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes it tells of a mentally challenged man who is given a whole new life when an experimental drug enhances his intelligence. When the effect isn't permanent...

Cliff Robertson deserved his oscar without doubt because it's a very fine performance indeed and we receive the news of his death sadly, not least because he showed that science fiction can mean real quality performances.

Friday, 9 September 2011

SKY goes blockbuster mad next weekend

Sky Movies are doing a whole weekend of big name recent blockbusters on the Sky Sci Fi and Horror Channel next week. This is the list of the goodies in store:

Friday 16th

G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra 7pm
Tron Legacy 9pm
The Matrix Revolutions 11.05pm

Saturday 17th

Predators (2010) 7.10pm
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen  9pm
The Book Of Eli  11.30pm

Sunday 18th

Superman   2.25pm
Hulk  4.50pm
X-Men Origins: Wolverine  7.10pm
Superman Returns  9pm
Planet Of The Apes (2001)   11.35pm

It's an eclectic bunch, but there should be something for everyone and if you want it's a chance to really glut out on big screen budget busters.

Monday, 5 September 2011

DOCTOR WHO still hates my dad

The second half of this year's series of Doctor Who is only two episodes old when evidence of the ongoing anti father agenda surfaced in the episode Night Terrors shown this Saturday and written by Mark Gatiss.
It had all started so well. A story about a young boy frightened of everything and the monsters in his closet being real, it had a father who was present and married to the mother and who was going to be around for the whole episode and probably wasn't going to be a child beater or an alien in disguise. Then it turns out that it's all the fault of the father because he's made the son think that he's going to send him away and all he really needs to make everything all right is a bit of fatherly affection and reassurance.

So even Dads that haven't run away and don't beat their kids are bad fathers who turn their children into bags of fear.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Who's the Fairest Of Them All

Syfy launched its latest show LOST GIRL this week and to celebrate, they carried out a survey of all the lads and lasses that we like to lust after in our favourite genre. No big surprises here you would say.

Sci-Fi Babes
1.     Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) – 81.9%
2.     Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary) – 1.1%
3.     Sarah Michelle Gellar  (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – 0.9%
4.     Jewel Staite (Stargate Atlantis, Serenity, Firefly) – 0.8%
5.     Eliza Dushku (Eureka, The Guild) – 0.7%
6.     Gina Torres (Firefly) – 0.6%
7.     Anna Torv (Fringe) – 0.5%
8.     Morena Baccarin (V, Stargate SG1, Firefly) – 0.4%
8.     Felicia Day (Eureka, The Guild)  – 0.4%
10.  Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Episode 1, 2 & 3) – 0.3%

Sci-Fi Hunks
1.     Jenson Ackles (Supernatural) – 51%
2.     Jared Padalecki (Supernatural) – 17.8%
3.     Mischa Collins (Supernatural) – 11.2%
4.     Mark Sheppard (Dr Who, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly) – 5%
5.     Nathan Fillion (Serenity) – 3.2%
6.     Robert Downey Junior (Iron Man) – 2.4%
7.     John Barrowman (Torchwood) – 1.8%
8.     Hugh Jackman (X Men) – 1.6%
9.     Zach Quinto (Heroes) – 1.3%
10.  Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary) – 0.9%

Lost Girl debuted on SyFy this week and we'll be covering it on the site proper just as soon as we can.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

15 Genre Gems That You Probably Missed #4 - The Return Of Captain Invincible

THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE hails from Australian shores, but utilises the talents of the UK's ROCKY HORROR SHOW maestro Richard O'Brien for a couple of the songs.

Yes, this is a comedy musical, science fiction, superhero mash up that boasts Alan Arkin as the washed up superhero in hiding (what, you thought THE INCREDIBLES thought of that?) who is now a drunk and unable to control his powers after being declared a communist because of the colour of his cape.

When Mr Midnight (and yes that is Christopher Lee letting his hair down and proving that the shower is the best place for his singing to be kept) threatens the world (or at least its ethnic minorities) it's up to Captain Invincible to recover his abilities and save the day.

If any of this sounds vaguely familiar then you're probably thinking of the Will Smith starring HANCOCK that 'borrowed' liberally from the set up of Captain Invincible, but there is a lot of fun to be had with the frankly silly and lo-fi goings on here that are on the very edge of bad taste, but hugely entertaining with it.

Arkin is great, Christopher Lee is having a hoot and some of the songs aren't bad.

Most of the jokes are.

It's not available on DVD in the UK, but a region 1 DVD is available or you can pick up a used VHS on Ebay.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Daleks invade London (again)

Do you remember this?

Way back in 1964 this was the image that scared the living daylights out of a generation. The daleks had taken over the planet and to prove it were parading through the city of London.

The episode was The Dalek Invasion of Earth and starred William Hartnell as the first Doctor. It's available on DVD and it hasn't lost any of its power to shock.

Now look to the right. No this isn't the horror that is colorisation visited on the classic Dr Who adventure, but a restaging of the event in aid of publicising The DOCTOR WHO EXPERIENCE in London, which runs through to November.

There are four generations of dalek here frome throughout the show's run including the triumphant copper-coloured recreation for Christopher Ecclestone's ninth Doctor and the much more controversial multicoloured version that greeted Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor. Whichever is your favourite, it cannot be argued that the daleks are the quintessential Doctor Who alien and a truly iconic science fiction creation.

Anyone who disagrees will, inevitably, be exterminated.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Kermode Gives Quality Rant to Transformers 3

If you haven't already heard it, get yourself over to BBC Radio 5 Live's website and check out Mark Kermode's review of TRANSFORMERS 3:DARK OF THE MOON. It's absolutely priceless.

Howl at the moon with TEEN WOLF

The vampires have been having all the fun in recent years with the success of the TWILIGHT movies and more vampire TV shows than you could easily shake a sharpened stake at, but the success of the Jacob camp amongst the twiglet lovers has suggested that this might be time for the furry wolf type creatures to take over.
The Michael J Fox limp teen comedy TEEN WOLF might not be the obvious source material for this to happen, but then BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER came off a very poor movie as well and that's just about one of the best fantasy shows ever. So, after a VAMPIRE DIARIES style makeover, the hairy fanged ones (rather than the spangly fanged ones) are attacking your teletube over on Living TV.

Falling Skies comes to the Sci Fi Freak Site

This alien invasion show that comes with Steven Spielberg's name all over it (don't get too excited he is the executive producer, not the director) has finally arrived in the UK and can be found now at The Sci Fi Freak Site for reviews of each episode as they air on the FX satellite channel.  This harkens back to Mr Spielberg's earliest days when he made a film about alien invasions, but then turned to more genial alien visitations in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and ET THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL before taking on the ultimate alien invasion with War of the Worlds.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


If this describes you then you need to read on.

20th Century Fox are looking for the UK's biggest Stargate Fan to help support and lead the campaign for its return!

Are you an avid and devoted fan?
Do you have a huge memorabilia collection?
Have you got any Stargate Tattoos?
Do you pop to the shops in a Stargate outfit?

If so then it's your DESTINY to come aboard this MISSION. If you think you fit the bill then get in touch.

Please email with a short description of yourself detailing why YOU should be crowned the UK's biggest Stargate Fan.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Joe Cornish @ BAFTA

Joe Cornish, director of the fun British sci fi actioner ATTACK THE BLOCK is giving a talk at a screening for BAFTA. They say:

"Writer/Director Joe Cornish's Attack the Block is one of the year's biggest
home-grown hits, a brilliantly inventive south-London set sci-fi horror
where 'inner city meets outer space', as the tagline memorably puts it.
We're delighted to welcome the filmmaker ahead of tonight's screening to
discuss some of the movies which influenced him, from the work of directors
John Carpenter and Walter Hill, to E.T. and action-packed 80s extravaganzas
such as the first part of tonight's double bill, Die Hard."

So if you've not caught up with the movie yet or you want to listen to the man about what it takes to make a sci fi blockbuster then head over to the BAFTA what's on board and look up July 30th.

TORCHWOOD remains Welsh

Torchwood Children of Earth Cast

Russell T Davies has promised on the BBC news website that Cardiff remains the spiritual home of TORCHWOOD despite the fact that it is now part-financed by the Starz Channel from the USA and he himself is living in LA.

Considering that Children Of Earth was one of the best things on TV that year and made up for two decidedly lacklustre seasons by blowing us away, we're willing to take anything that RTD has to say on the matter as gospel truth.

We're willing to bet, however, that the so-called gay agenda will be referenced/continued and someone will be a bad/abusive or absent father.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Erica meets ADAM'S FAMILY

The lastest episode of the time travel as life therapy show from Canada showed on E4 on Sunday.

Life is turning around once again for Erica. Her mother's cancer has been successfully treated and her business is on the way back, but Adam has decided to stay with the woman that a vision of a different life told him would be his wife. When he finds it hard to deal with the prospect of a full relationship, Dr Tom sends him back to his early life.
Our parents screw us up, but we are not our parents. That's the message and it's obvious from the very moment that Adam is transported back into a row between his mother and father. It's cereal box psychology that is only saved by the powerful performance from Adam Fergus when his character breaks down under Dr Tom's pressure.
Everything else has the spectre of soap opera hanging over it. A glossy, well-produced soap opera to be sure, but a soap opera all the same. This is disappointing after last week's episode and the dilemma of a man who has seen an alternate reality and is now caught in the trap of whether he should make it happen is barely addressed.

GAME OF THRONES ends, but will be back

Following the death of Lord Stark, everyone pauses to consider the new landscape. The war is running against the Lannisters, the young King is refusing to be commanded by his elders and in another land witchcraft has dramatic results.
It was the big finale, except that wasn't.There was no climax here, no conclusion, no bringing together of the plot strands into some sort of satisfactory whole. Instead, the plot continued to meander on, there were more meaningless conversations and patience was stretched to snapping point. The end result of ten hours of the most vaunted fantasy series ever was an astounding 'is that it?'.
The show tried to pull things out of the fire (literally) with the birth of Daenerys' dragons, but by that point it hardly mattered. Faith must be hugely high in the continuation of the show since no effort was made to wrap up even one single storyline or present a cliffhanger. The story didn't come to an end, it just sort of ... stopped.

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Future's Not Bright, The Future's British

Before the reboot of Battlestar Galactica brought in the new era of gritty, realistic science fiction, US television was the home of the bright and shiny future. From STAR TREK through to STARGATE SG-1, the future was shiny and bright.

Not so in the UK. The British view of the future has been unremittingly bleak.

 The most recent example of this was the BBC space opera OUTCASTS, set on a far flung colony planet where life is near to impossible and the colonists don't know if Earth has been destroyed in some sort of cataclysm of mankind's own making. Gritty drama it might be, but bleak and depressing it most certainly was as well and it wasn't just part of the current trend for dark material reflecting the current climate.

Way back in 1978, the BBC created its own space saga to rival STAR TREK in the shape of BLAKE'S SEVEN, but instead of a huge ship full of integrated crewmembers from a peace-loving Federation spreading joy, love and the American way throughout the galaxy we got a bunch of thieves, killers and murderers on the run from a crushingly oppressive totalitarian regime. It's true that this show came from the mind of Terry Nation who created that other bleak British future SURVIVORS in which virtually the entire world's population was wiped out by a manmade plague in the scariest opening montage sequence ever. It was remade recently.

Even the otherwise bright and cheery dinosaur nonsense that is PRIMEVAL posits a future in which mankind's few survivors are at the mercy of carnivorous predators and giant insects in the ruins of a destroyed civilisation. And the list doesn't stop there. THE LAST TRAIN had a world devastated by a natural catastrophe and the survivors reduced to a medieval standard of life and THE CHANGES had a future where mankind had developed a terror of mechanical things and had destroyed them all.

About the most positive of the futures were from Gerry Anderson's puppet shows, but even though mankind has created the most incredible machines and structures, they are needed to avert a string of huge disasters in THUNDERBIRDS and the Earth is fighting a destructive war of attrition with martians in CAPTAIN SCARLET. Even the human shows didn't escape since SPACE 1999 had the moon blasted out of orbit and UFO had another alien race at war with the Earth.

The more realistic MOONBASE 3 had us on the moon, but struggling to finance the mission and the most recent QUATERMASS had the youth of world turning on their elders to destroy the fabric of society before being eaten by a space entity.

One thing seems clear, if you want a bright and better future then US TV science fiction is the place to be.

Collectormania at Milton Keynes

It's a bank holiday weekend and that means that it's going to be raining, but don't be downhearted because the great and the good of the science fiction world will be meeting in glamorous Milton Keynes for this year's Collectormania.

This isn't a convention, more a glorified trade show, but there are tons of stalls to buy all that hard to get memorabilia at , loads of people wandering around dressed as your favourite science fiction icons and a whole bunch of people who were once in sci fi shows signing autographs at £20 a pop.

I know that sounds cynical, so let me put you right straight away, I love Collectormania and not just because it's free. Yes, we used to frequent the Memorabilia show at the NEC in Birmingham, but that got a bit too expensive for our humble pockets (entrance plus parking?). Collectormania may be smaller, but it's free and there's so much parking around the stadium that you don't have to worry about finding a space or paying for the privilege.

Invitees this year include Buffy's watcher Anthony Head, the Enterprise's doctor Gates McFadden, two Doctors in Colin Baker and Peter Davison. River Song (Alex Kingston) will be there, the all-powerful Q (John DeLancie), the ever scary Freddie (Robert Englund) and many, many more.

We'll be there anyway.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Friday 13th is GHOSTBUSTERS night

Who you gonna call?

Yes, tomorrow night we're all warping back to 80s at the invitation of Sony Pictures to enjoy a mass GHOSTBUSTERS viewing.

The twitter address is @GhostbustersDVD and, taking the time difference into account (and probably getting it wrong in the process) the time is 11pm UK.

Be warned though, GHOSTBUSTERS is not as good as you remember it being, but there are still enough laughs and certainly who can resist Sigourney Weaver in full on vamp mode and a giant killer Stay Puft marshamallow man?

All together now... When there's something weird in the neighbourhood...

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Steven Moffat Unhappy about Dr Who Leaks

Steven Moffat is reported on the BBC news website as being unhappy about fans who blogged details of the latest series opening two parter after having been invited to a showing of the stories at the official launch of the series.

It strikes us as being somewhat naive to think that you can invite fans to such an event and not expect them to leak spoilers. Is the Moffster playing publicity-raising games? He certainly uses some unfriendly language, calling the offender a twit and hoping that he goes and watches something else instead.

You also have to say that accusing someone of having 'ham-fisted english' when you're a writer is opening yourself open to all kinds of criticism when you yourself are a writer, no matter how successful.

We loved Moffat's work in the Russell T Davies era, but have been disappointed since he took over. We won't be accusing him of 'ham-fisted showrunning' any time soon, though.

We really enjoyed last Saturday's episode though.

Monday, 2 May 2011

This Year's B Movie Celebration

Every year in September, Franklin Indiana becomes the centre of celebration for all things B Movie.

It's an event that we've always wanted to attend, but the air fare's a bit beyond our means.

If you happen to be out that way, though on September 23rd to 25th then go, check it out and let us know what we're missing.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Genre Icons We Love - Elisabeth Sladen RIP

I was in the land of no internet access when I heard the news that Elisabeth Sladen had died on April 19th and so this planned icon piece has become an epitaph.

I had the fortune of meeting this lady twice and lady is the only word that can adequately express the manner in which she treated not only myself, but others that shared the experience. The first time was at a time when the classic series of DOCTOR WHO was over and the new series that now rules the airwaves wasn't even a twinkle in Russell T Davies' eye. An artist who had painted an image of her from the classic show's story THE SEEDS OF DOOM (now out on DVD) was trying to shift them at a genre show and she had turned up without billing or pre-notification to help him out. She was approachable and chatted for simply ages. Had I not already been smitten by her from an early age then I certainly would have been after this encounter.

The second time that I met her was only days after her triumphant return in School Reunion and the queues to her table were miles long. Even so, she took time with each person, especially her new younger fans and treated everyone as thought they were special and not just a means to make some extra cash.

When DOCTOR WHO first returned to our screens, I had two thoughts in my head. They were 'make it good' and 'bring back Sarah Jane'. Sarah Jane Smith was the first female character that impacted on my younger self and her impact was so strong that my daughter's first names are Sarah and Jane (my wife refusing to double barrell it because her surname is already double barrelled). Well it came back and it was better than good and they brought back Sarah Jane Smith.

Not only did they bring her back, but they gave her a spin off series that was way better than the lacklustre TORCHWOOD.

THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES gave Elisabeth another chance to shine as an actress and she took the chance with both hands, showing that she was every bit as capable of the modern style of more subtle performance as the older style from the classic series of DOCTOR WHO. There can be no-one who wouldn't want a neighbour like Sarah Jane Smith.

Sarah Jane Smith may be the only role that Elisabeth Sladen will be remembered for by her fans, but it is a character that featured in some of the very best episodes that the show ever produced (GENESIS OF THE DALEKS anyone) and she is, above all, the companion who will be remembered. Amy who?

Elisabeth Sladen is no longer with us, but the pleasure that she brought will remain with us for as long as her shows continue to captivate new audiences. I will always remember her, though, as the charming, warm and thoroughly lovely woman that I was lucky enough to meet twice.

BAFTA nominates a few genre shows

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts TV nominations are out and there are some genre nominations to be pleased about.

Misfits has a number of nominations, cementing its place as the country's favourite genre show (at least in the eyes of the industry). These include Robert Sheehan for best supporting actor, Lauren Socha for best supporting actress, Best Drama Series and New Media.

BEING HUMAN's scorching third season also gets a nomination in the Best Drama Series category and Matt Smith is nominated for his performance as the 11th Doctor in DOCTOR WHO in the Best Actor Category.

Surprisingly, there are no nominations for either THE DEEP or OUTCASTS (this last bit is ironic).

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

15 Genre Gems That You Probably Missed #3 - PAPERHOUSE

Anna is a young girl on the edge of puberty with concerns over her parents relationship and a streak of rebellion about her. She draws a house and finds that she can enter into that drawing into a world where there is a young boy who can give her solace, but a world that also contains terrible threats.

Anyone who thinks that PAN'S LABYRINTH  was startlingly original (which it was), should take a look at this 1988 movie which has many scenes and themes that foreshadow Guillermo Del Toro's masterpiece.

As with all classic gothic horror pieces, the film plays with what is real and what is the creation of fevered dreams, perhaps brought about by an awakening of sexual potential.

It is the world of the paperhouse that really impresses. The production design is excellent with slanted camera angles and heightened reality caught somewhere between a child's drawing and the real world making it visually exciting as well as utterly convincing.

The performances are also excellent, though low key. The heroine is played by Charlotte Burke as no angelic Hollywood brat. She is smart, sassy, self-absorbed and rebellious. Your regular teenager in fact. Glenne Headley is the mother who doesn't know what to do with her youngster and Ben Cross is a memorably scary monster.

PAPERHOUSE didn't make a splash because it's pitched between age groups. Horror fans will find its bloodless scares weak and it's too dark and layered for the younger audience.

Even so, this is a very fine dark fantasy and well worth picking up for a look.

Genre Icons We Love - Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is a top model turned actress who has an oscar under her belt for uglying up to play a serial killer. Whilst she might argue that she's no genre icon since she's been in any number of non-genre movies, we beg to differ since she's been in enough sci-fi and fantasy flicks to meet our criteria (which is if we want you in, you're in).

Theron made her genre debut in 1995's CHILDREN OF THE CORN 3:URBAN HARVEST, but she probably came to most people's notice when she appeared (pretty much all of her) in the over-the-top but highly enjoyable DEVIL'S ADVOCATE where she proved to be one of the best things since Keanu was just looking pretty and Al Pacino was overacting to the nth, oth and pth degree.

She cashed in on the success of that by taking the lead role in the giant gorilla remake MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1998) which was acceptable family fare, boosted by her committed performance in making us believe she was sharing the screen with a giant gorilla. Immediately afterwards, she worked with Johnny Depp in the misconcieved THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE(1999), which managed to completely waste the considerable talents of its two stars whilst hoping to get by on their sheer good looks.

That kept her out of the genre for a few years, but she was tempted back for the equally misconceived AEON FLUX that should have been so good, but was, in fact, so bad. That experience might have put her off altogether, but she came back again for the so-so, but fun HANCOCK with Will Smith and the hard, but worthy THE ROAD with Viggo Mortensen (2008 and 2009 respectively).

She's currently in the cast for the potentially alien-linked Ridley Scott production PROMETHEUS as well as the mooted MAD MAX:FURY ROAD and playing the evil queen in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, all of which qualify as genre. Perhaps we've won her back.

Theron is, as far as we are concerned, The Most Gorgeous Woman In The World TM, but she is also an excellent actress who brings intelligence and emotion to any role that she takes on. Whatever the quality of the film she is in (yes THE ITALIAN JOB we're looking at you) she is always worth watching and not just for the eye candy.

Friday, 25 March 2011

The licence fee is your friend

This weekend, BBC3 broadcast an event called Frankenstein's Wedding...Live In Leeds in which the original gothic science fiction story was retold in a mix of live acting, song, dance and filmed inserts. The final event was a curate's egg for some, but we thought caught the essential power of the story (see the link).

What got us thinking, though, is who else but the BBC would have even considered commissioning something like this? ITV? Five? We don't think so. Only the BBC because of the licence fee source of finance can take the risk on non-commercial minority programming. Because let's be clear about this, science fiction and fantasy is minority programming.

Take a look at the recent BBC output in this area - Outcasts, The Deep, Being Human, Survivors, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Whistle And I'll Come To You and, of course, Doctor Who. OK, the quality has been variable at best, but you can't fault the committment to home grown science fiction and fantasy.

What have the other main channels produced? ITV brought us Marchlands and Primeval (which only came back thanks to creating financing in part paid for by BBC America!) and Sky Living gave us Bedlam. And that's it.

The non-BBC channels bring us tonnes of science fiction and fantasy from America and we're not complaining about that, but if you are a fan of British science fiction then it is clear that the licence fee is your friend and long may it continue.

Monday, 14 March 2011

BEING HUMAN will return

It's less than 24 hours since the third season of BBC 3's supernatural drama came to a game changing end that upheld its position (in our eyes at least) as simply the finest supernatural show on television at the moment.

What sounds like a joke - a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost share an apartment - has developed into a dark and violent tale of this world and the next; bloody, unpredictable, witty and full of warmth.

The finale of the third series came to an end and the credits rolled without a word about the show coming back. Today, however, a BBC 3 blog put fans of the show out of their misery (well part of it, but you'll have to see the show to know what we mean) by announcing that the fourth series has been commissioned.

With the emotional fallout from last night's events and the arrival of a whole new threat there is plenty of story to be told, but will the creators be able to juggle the darkness, comedy and down to earth mundaneness so succesfully for a fourth time?

One thing's for sure, we'll be front of the queue to find out.

Friday, 4 March 2011

15 Genre Gems That You Probably Missed #2 The Day The Earth Caught Fire

THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE was made in 1961 when nuclear hysteria and the cold war were in full swing, but it has lost none of its ability to chill.

Two nuclear tests take place on opposite sides of the globe within a short time frame and the combined effect of the blasts shifts the axis of the Earth's rotation. This in turn means that the orbit is shifted into a slow fall towards the sun.

This manifests itself in freak weather conditions, temperature rises, water rationing and the threatened breakdown of all human civilisation.

The very human people at the heart of this tale are a floundering newspaper reporter (Edward Judd, never better), the girl he meets through the story and who might just be able to save him from himself if someone else can save the world (the very sexy Janet Munro) and a crotchety old hack with a heart in the right place under the cynical exterior (the inestimable Leo McKern).

The story plays out in almost documentary style as the reporters dig into the story of freak weather conditions and slowly learn the horrifying truth. The arrival of equipment to set up communal showers and water rationing is brilliantly chilling and the ending - oh that terrible tease of an ending.

This is out on DVD and at a good price, so rush out and buy it now. You won't be disappointed that you did.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Want To Write A Hit Show Like Misfits?

Well, if you're anywhere within reach of Nottingham on MARCH 28th then your luck is in because creator/writer Howard Overman will be appearing in a Q&A for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (or Bafta as it likes to be known) in the shire formerly haunted by one Robin Hood.

The venue is the Broadway Cinema on Broad Street, the start time is half pas six in the evening and tickets can be claimed/bought/blagged/obtained by less than legitimate means by visiting the Bafta website

Whilst you're there, you could ask him from us what went wrong with DIRK GENTLY.

Sci Fi takes technical awards (again)

In another year, INCEPTION probably would have swept the board at the Oscars, but this year it was up against the exceptional double act of THE KING'S SPEECH and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. As a result, the film had to settle for taking the technical awards, walking off with the golden baldie statuettes for Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing (not the same as mixing apparently) and Visual Effects.

The only other genre entry to win anything significant was ALICE IN WONDERLAND's double win for Costumes and Art Direction.

The Razzies, however, were once again dominated by a genre entry. In this case for the truly terrible movie THE LAST AIRBENDER. Taking Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and the special category of Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse Of  3D.

The latter is supposed to be a one-off for this year, but it''s the kind of thing that might be around for some time yet to come.

Friday, 25 February 2011

15 Genre Gems You Probaby Missed #1 MR WRONG

Meg, a young woman, buys an old Jaguar car for a ridiculously low price when she moves out of her parents' house and into the big city for the very first time. Strange things start to happen. She sees strange figures. The car seems to have a life of its own. Something bad once happened in it and the person responsible might not be happy about Meg stirring up the past.

This 1986 supernatural thriller from New Zealand taps into that part of the world's obssession with cars (The Cars That Ate Paris, Goodbye Pork Pie, Mad Max and The Road Warrior) and delivers a slow burn, but atmospheric thriller that uses suggestion and those 'out of the corner of your eye' moments to build suspense rather than resorting to blood and gore and stupid jump moments.

The no-name cast guarantees that anyone is expendable and you're never quite sure what's going to happen next.

If you like your horror gory or obvious, then this just won't do for you, especially in terms of the blood spillage, but if you want something spooky and off the beaten track then keep and eye for it.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Nicholas Courtney Dies

We could not let the news of the passing of Nicholas Courtney go past without adding our appreciation of the man to the many that will be made on fan sites all over the world.

As someone who grew up with the third and fourth Doctors, Courtney's role as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart in DOCTOR WHO has a place of fondness in my heart. His was a difficult job as the character was often used as someone for the Doctor to ridicule and belittle for his faith in superior firepower, and yet Courtney managed to make his underwritten military commander into a fan favourite and gave the character a sense of honour and nobility.

Be honest, would UNIT have ever become such a major part of the show without him?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Aliens Invade the Horror Channel

 We like the Horror Channel and not just because it's one of the few movie channels that we can get on our Sky box thingy. The channel regularly screens TV shows that we missed the first time around (or just ignored) and which have only a tenuous link at best with the word 'horror'.

Anyway, March sees aliens invade the channel as a series of straight to TV, DVD, video or bargain bucket productions for your delight and delectation. Watch out, watch the skies and watch what you're doing with that lighted blowtorch.

The invasion begins on Friday 5 March with ALIEN FURY: COUNTDOWN TO INVASION (2000), directed by Rob Hedden (writer, director of Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan). This sci-fi drama pits aliens against a covert US defence agency and a surveillance satellite retrofitted with a nuclear warhead. Starring Dale Midkiff (Pet Sematary), Dondre Whitfield (Ghost Whisperer) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Deadwood, Glee).

  Next up is INTRUDERS. Directed in 1992 by the original Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis, this alien abduction mini-series features our very own Stephen Berkoff, alongside Richard Crenna (Colonel Trautman in the Rambo movies) and award-winning actress Mare Winningham. Centering on two cases, where both women have experienced similar nightmares involving aliens, a psychiatrist decides to investigate. This will be split into two parts, with Part 1 on Sat 12 March and Part 2 on Sunday 13 March

THE INVADERS (1995), which will broadcast on Saturday 19th March and Sunday 20th March, was originally a television series created by Larry Cohen in 1967. This welcome reprise stars Scott Bakula (of Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise fame) as Nolan Wood, who discovers an alien conspiracy and tries to stop an invasion of the earth by aliens disguised as humans. Roy Thinnes reprises his role of David Vincent, now an old man handing the burden over to Wood.

In ROSWELL: THE ALIENS ATTACK (1999) a cheesy slice of sci-fi on Sat 26 March, two aliens intend on blowing us all to smithereens. John, a male alien and Eve a female alien escape from Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 with intentions to blow up the earth. Eve finds she enjoys sex and likes to seduce soldiers. However, John falls in love with an Earthling and decides to stop Eve from setting off a nuclear weapon the two had developed.

Finally, on Sunday 27 March, the channel brings you ALIEN TERMINATOR (1995). Five miles below the Earth's surface, a group of scientists is working in self-imposed isolation, perfecting a series of DNA experiments that could literally change the world. But when one of those experiments goes awry, it unleashes a nearly immortal organism - one capable of instant regeneration, and with an insatiable appetite for living flesh. Soon, nothing can contain the creature and the scientists grimly prepare for their final battle. Directed by Dave (Reeker) Payne.

We're back

There's been an extended hiatus here and on the Sci Fi Freak Site following tumultuous events in our personal lives, but now we're back and looking to make up for our absence with posts about the wacky world of science fiction. This week will see a review of PAUL going up on the main site and we have a plan for a major series of posts for the blog, so watch out, watch the skies and watch what you're doing with that needle.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Genre Movies Top UK Box Office Moneymakers

The biggest movies in the UK in 2010 were almost all genre films of some kind according to the list produced by Screen International.

Topping the list was TOY STORY 3, which some wouldn't call genre because it's a kids' movie, but it features toys that come to life when there aren't any humans around and how much more fantasy-related can you get than that?


The only film in the list that you couldn't make a case for being either sci fi or fantasy was SEX AND THE CITY 2 at number 8.

If ever there was more proof needed that, in the cinema at least, genre IS the mainstream then this is it. When people are spending their money then they are going for the fantastical.

Admittedly, five out of the nine were sequels and two were remakes with only AVATAR and INCEPTION as being really new.

This is at a time when budgets are being squeezed everywhere and Hollywood will no doubt take note that ticket buyers are still expecting good visual and big movies for their money. What that means for the future of big screen genre outings is uncertain, but it can only be to the good.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Dr Who Still Hates My Dad

In January last year I blogged a bit about the fact that Dr Who under Russell T Davis had a serious anti-father bias. Well, Stephen Moffat has taken over and it's nice to see that things haven't changed an iota.

This year's Christmas special, A Christmas Carol, revolved around a man who was the worst sort of person ever. He revelled in taking hostages against debts and was willing to let a whole spaceliner of people die when he could save them without too much effort.

And why was he like this? He was like this because of his abusive father!

Once again, Dr Who comes up with a bad dad as the root of all evil.

Still, at least in last year's series we saw that Amy Pond's father was a good and kind man - Oh hang on a minute we didn't because he wasn't anywhere to be seen and when he could have appeared quite easily we get some sort of aunt or friend of the family.

It seems like the anti-father agenda is set to stay.