Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cowboys vs Time Lords - DOCTOR WHO PREVIEW

This is it! The first preview of the coming series of DOCTOR WHO and there's a lot of fun looking cowboy stuff going on.

We've been underwhelmed by Steven Moffat's reign so far, but this might the series it all comes good.

Monday, 26 March 2012

A THOR point at the Empire Awards

You can always be sure that the Empire Awards will always go off in a direction that none of the other awards shows do and that's because the awards are voted for by the readers of the magazine ie the general public. None of you la-di-dah industry insiders here (unless they're readers of course).

This year there were two genre winners and it's no surprise that the Potter Generation came out in force to award HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 the Best Film award, but also Best Director for David Yates.

The second film to snaffle a couple of perspex prizes was THOR with Tom Hiddleston getting a best newcomer (male) award for his performance as Loki and the film taking the best Sci Fi/Fantasy category.

We'll just ignore the whole Art of 3D award altogether.

The night was then capped off with an Legend award (ie life acheivement award) for Tim Burton, whose fantasy movies has lightened out hearts (or darkened in many cases) since BEETLEJUICE.

God bless the British moviegoing (or magazine reading at least) public for giving us one awards ceremony that wasn't dominated by silent movie dogs.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

New DOCTOR WHO companion announced

The BBC has announced who is going to be the new DOCTOR WHO companion replacing Amy Pond and she is Jenna-Louise Coleman, an actress who previously appeared in the soap opera Emmerdale.

Let's just hope that we can get move away from the Rose Tyler feisty girl-next-door types. It's good to have a strong female role model, but they've been a bit samey in the new incarnation.

Oh, and can she please not be in love with the Doctor.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

JOHN CARTER is UK's number one (no matter where he's from)

Although already labelled as a flop in the US with a less than stellar run, Andrew Stanton's take on Edgar Rice Burrough's science fiction adventurer topped the UK charts in its opening week. The £2 million take in the first week would cover somewhere in the region of one percent of the film's overall budget.

This isn't really important to us and anyone who heard Andrew Stanton on Five Live's Simon Mayo/Mark Kermode show will know that it doesn't mean anything to the director either. This is all to the good, but anyone who bankrolls a $250 million movie would be a little worried that the director doesn't care whether it makes its money back.

It looks like JOHN CARTER (the 'OF MARS' being dropped not to put off non science fiction fans apparently - and if that isn't a commercial decision then we don't know what is) is destined to join a list of expensive science fiction flops (remember WATERWORLD? No, us neither) and that is worrying because it's a genre that is traditionally thought of as expensive and high profile failures does us no favours.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Dinosaurs Extinct! (again)

Word is that the Fox Network in the US has cancelled the time-travelling series TERRA NOVA after the first season.

The show, which saw pioneers from a shattered future going back in time to a prehistoric past to build a better world in an alternate timeline. They were faced with a rogue group of humans and, very occasionally, the odd dinosaur here and there.

The show will be offered up to other networks, but the cost of dino-creation and location shooting makes it  an expensive proposition for anyone and any paring back on the dinosaur appearances would be to remove them altogether and they were the lure rather than the prehistoric soap operatics that were finally served up.

Steven Spielberg's name was plastered all over the show in the publicity, but his big screen touch of gold wasn't evidenced here.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Ralph McQuarrie Dies

Production designer and artist Ralph McQuarrie, who was responsible more than anyone for the look of STAR WARS, has died aged 82.

McQuarrie's designs for sets and characters infused the film series and gave it many of its influential design statements such as C-3PO, the stormtroopers uniforms and the like.

He won an Oscar for his work on the pensioners rejuvenated by alien swimming pool comedy COCOON and was also responsible for the ships and Cylons of the original BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

He will be most remembered by the SciFiFreak Site team, however, for designing the mothership that gave us an almost religious moment in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.

Friday, 2 March 2012

DIRK GENTLY slips back onto BBC 4

Dirk Gently was the great Douglas Adams' creation forever overshadowed by the undisputed work of genius that was The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (whose title, incidentally, was reworked into our own TV reference guide The Sci Fi Freak's Guide To The Televisual Galaxy so thanks for that Douglas).

A standalone pilot episode for a series based on the character of Dirk, a detective who believes in the interconnectedness of all things and therefore whose investigations are somewhat unorthodox appeared in December 2010, but it's taken until now for the following three part series to emerge. This is probably down to show writer Howard Overman having to put episodes of the BBC's own Merlin and E4's Misfits to bed before getting around to this.

The new series starts on Monday March 5th, but might have gone right past us since we haven't seen anything in the way of publicity for it.

Our reaction to the pilot is to be found here and we'll be reviewing the series episodes as we see them.