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.