Sci-Fi Storm

Aliens, Titanic, Twister actor Bill Paxton passed away

by on Feb.26, 2017, under Movies, Obituaries, Television

Breaking news – a family representative has released a statement that actor Bill Paxton passed away due to complications after surgery. He was 61.

It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” the statement said.

“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”

Bill starred in so many things where he made the role so memorable. The earliest I recall was Weird Science, where he played older brother Chet who would antagonize Wyatt to the point that he was turned into a giant talking turd by Lisa. Just a year later came the role that would make me look forward to anything else he did, as Private Hudson in Aliens, for which he won a Saturn award. While these roles seemed to point him towards playing the “lovable dumb guy”, he broke that by getting much more scientific as astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (co-winner of a Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance of a Cast), storm chaser Bill Harding in Twister, and treasure hunter/deep sea explorer Brock Lovett in Titanic. My kids even remember him from the role of “Dinky Winks” in Spy Kids 2.

More recently he had a recurring guest role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and was currently appearing on the CBS cop show Training Day.


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HotShot Trailer: Alien: Covenant prologue: “The Last Supper”

by on Feb.23, 2017, under Movies

The colony ship Covenant, on its way to a distant planet to start a new human settlement carrying a crew of couples and an android named Walter (who looks remarkably like the android David in Prometheus), discover what they think is an idyllic paradise but instead turns out to be a dark and dangerous world.

In this prologue, the crew of the Covenant enjoy a little free time before they enter their long hypersleep on the way to their destination.

Alien: Covenant stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, amd Benjamin Rigby


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TidBits: Doctor Who spinoff Class in US; renewal bubble watch; Syfy still looking at cosplay

by on Feb.20, 2017, under Television

It’s a long weekend here, so here’s a few more tidbits:

In a conversation with Deadline, BBC America president and GM Sarah Barnett tiptoed around the discussion of who might be the new Doctor to replace Peter Capaldi, but did mention that the Doctor Who spinoff Class, which takes place at the Coal Hill School where there first moments of it’s parent program took place, will debut in the U.S. on April 15th.

On renewals/cancellations, it seems several freshman shows will not survive. Spies have been whispering to us since January that Aftermath will not see a second season and Syfy and SPACE have silently killed the show. Star James Tupper also tweeted, “So sad to report #Aftermath will not be getting a second season. #sobummed”. We were hoping for a renewal and though the ratings and the partnership between Syfy and SPACE would help. No formal pronouncement still, but sadly it seems unlikely.

Also on the bubble are the CW’s Frequency and NBC’s Timeless. Frequency did not have an option to pick up more episodes, leaving the first season at 13, and they did essentially conclude the first season storyline. However, the show is on Netflix now, where it might pick up eyes, but we’re thinking it likely will not return. The Timeless season finale airs tonight, and it’s teetering on the edge. It may depend on what NBC decides on other shows and how many slots are available.

Syfy is still looking for a formula to bring cosplay into the limelight, and it will try again with Cosplay Melee, hosted by self-described “super fangirl” Yvette Nicole Brown. Each week, four world class cosplayers compete to create not only intricate full-body costumes – but fully-formed characters that they must bring to life through their own realistic performance. Guiding and critiquing them are a panel of judges including world class cosplayer LeeAnna Vamp, and A-list costume creator, Christian Beckman (The Hunger Games, TRON: Legacy). At the end of every episode, the winner will walk away with $10,000 … and the right to claim cosplay supremacy.

“As a huge fan of the creativity cosplayers bring to their craft, nothing makes me happier than having a front row seat for the amazing creations set to hit the Cosplay Melee runway,” said host Brown. “These talented artists are going to shine!”


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TidBits: Star Trek: Discovery add cast; Amazon picks up Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams

by on Feb.15, 2017, under Television

A couple of catch-up tidbits tonight…

Star Trek: Discovery, finally in production, added three cast members this week. Terry Serpico (Army Wives, The Purge: Election Year) will play Admiral Anderson, a high-ranking official of Starfleet; Maulik Pancholy (30 Rock, Weeds) will be Dr. Nambue, the Chief Medical Officer of the U.S.S. Shenzhou (another ship to be featured in the show); and Sam Vartholomeos as Ensign Connor, a junior officer from Starfleet Academy on board the U.S.S. Shenzhou.

Amazon has reportedly picked up anthology series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, which has also tweaked it’s title. The show was first announced last May is executive produced by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Michael Dinner (Justified, The Wonder Years), and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). The former two are also writing, while the latter will appear in an episode. Based on the many short stories by science fiction author Dick, it joins another Dick adaptation at Amazon, The Man In The High Castle.


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Syfy adds three to pilot The Machine

by on Feb.11, 2017, under Television

Syfy has announced the addition of three cast members for the upcoming pilot The Machine.

Bridger Zadina (Terri, Kill or Be Killed) will play the role of Santiago, an agoraphobic young hacker who — after uncovering the dangerous truth behind those he believed to be his allies — is cast out into the world he desperately fears. Through his harrowing fight for survival, Santiago begins to emerge as one of humanity’s last great hopes in the coming war against rising Artificial Intelligence.

Malachi Kirby (Roots) will portray Aaron, a lonely and out of place young man who created an A.I. as his best friend – benevolent, brilliant, supportive, and in many ways, his equal. Then recruited by the CIA for his creation, Aaron was placed in their cyber warfare division.

Olly Rix (Of Kings and Prophets) will play James, the principal test subject of a secret Ministry of Defense Artificial Intelligence program. A soldier, his badly injured mind and body have been rebuilt using cutting-edge prosthetics and implanted artificial intelligence, elevating him far beyond the limits of normal human capabilities.

Announced last week was Annet Mahendru (The Americans), in the role of Yana, a brilliant but troubled programmer who has created the world’s first super intelligent Artificial Intelligence. With an IQ 500 times greater than Einstein, this S.A.I. is capable of conquering the world’s most complex problems, such as disease, poverty, and environmental devastation.

The Machine, based on the 2013 UK cult film, explores humanity through artificial intelligence when a sentient AI is created, but the military wants to use it for war. Caradog James, who directed the film, is an executive producer with Red & Black Films and John Giwa-Amu, the film’s producer.


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XYZ Films acquires Indiegogo-funded Code 8 led by Robbie and Stephen Amell

by on Feb.11, 2017, under Movies

XYZ films has acquired international sales rights for Code 8, the Indiegogo-funded feature film based on a short film that will star cousins Robbie Amell (The Tomorrow People) and Stephen Amell (Arrow).

Jeff Chan, who directed the short (shown below) will also direct the feature as well as produce. The Amells, screenwriter Chris Paré, Thick Water Entertainment and Lee Kim for Resolute Films are executive producing.

The short film takes place in a world where 4% of the population are born with some type of supernatural ability. Instead of being billionaire superheroes, most ‘specials’ live in poverty and resort to crime, forcing the police to become more militarized.

The story follows a young man with special powers (Robbie Amell) struggling to find work as a day laborer. After a dispute over payment, he finds himself in a confrontation with a police officer (Sung Kang, The Fast and the Furious franchise) and the autonomous robots backing him up.


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Arrival lands in 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD

by on Feb.09, 2017, under Movies, Video/DVD

Best Picture nominee Arrival arrives in Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, February 14th! The film was hailed by critics as “mesmerizing” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone), “amazing” (Brian Truitt, USA Today) and “the best film of the year” (Christopher Orr, The Atlantic).

Arrival was released in Digital HD online on January 31st.

Arrival, starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, received eight Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. In addition, Arrival has been named one of the best films of the year by the American Film Institute, National Board of Review, New York Times, USA Today and many more.

Five-time Academy Award® nominee* Amy Adams “delivers one of her best performances” (Brian Truitt, USA Today) as expert translator Louise Banks. When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team races against time to decipher their intent. As tensions mount between fearful governments, Banks discovers the aliens’ true purpose and, to avert global war, takes a chance that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity. Oscar® nominee Jeremy Renner and Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker co-star in this epic film with “a mind-blowing ending” (Brian Truitt, USA Today) that “you will want to see again and again”(Brian Formo, Collider). The Arrival 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include over an hour of engrossing special features, with in-depth explorations of the film’s subject matter, sound, score, editing and more.

Arrival Blu-ray Combo Pack
The Arrival Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description and English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles. The combo pack includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film as well as the following:

Blu-ray

  • Feature film in high definition
  • Bonus Content:
    • Xenolinguistics: Understanding Arrival
    • Acoustic Signatures: The Sound Design
    • Eternal Recurrence: The Score
    • Nonlinear Thinking: The Editorial Process
    • Principles of Time, Memory & Language

Arrival 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack
Fans can enjoy the ultimate viewing experience with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes the Blu-ray detailed above, as well as an Ultra HD Disc with the film presented in 4K Ultra HD with English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, and English Audio Description with English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles. The Combo Pack also includes access to a Digital HD copy of the film.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack and 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack available for purchase include a Digital HD Version of the film that can be accessed through UltraViolet™, a way to collect, access and enjoy movies. With UltraViolet, consumers can add movies to their digital collection in the cloud, and then stream or download them—reliably and securely—to a variety of devices.

Arrival Single-Disc DVD
The single-disc DVD is presented in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs with English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description and English, French, and Spanish subtitles. The disc includes the feature film in standard definition.


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Syfy picks up Channel Zero anthology for two more installments

by on Feb.09, 2017, under Television

Syfy and Universal Cable Productions (UCP) today announced a pick-up of two more installments of the critically acclaimed horror anthology series, Channel Zero. In addition, UCP has signed an overall deal with the series’ executive producer, Nick Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf). Under the agreement, Antosca will develop and produce scripted programming with UCP for the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio and for external networks and streaming services.

Each installment of the Channel Zero anthology is based on a “creepypasta” (user-generated horror stories published online). The first installment in the anthology series, the six-part ‘Candle Cove’, landed on several “Best TV of 2016” lists and centered on Kris Straub’s unnerving story of one man’s obsessive recollection of a mysterious children’s television program from the 1980s. ‘No-End House’, the second six-hour installment, is set to premiere on Syfy in October 2017. It follows Brian Russell’s story of Margot (Amy Forsyth, The Path), a young woman who, along with her friends, visits the No-End House – a bizarre house of horrors consisting of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms.

Channel Zero certainly hit a nerve with ‘Candle Cove’,” said Chris McCumber, President, USA and Syfy. “We look forward to creeping everyone out again this fall with ‘No-End House’ – and can’t wait to see what nightmares Nick has in store for the future.”

“Nick delivered a truly haunting and unpredictable first installment of Channel Zero and was embraced by fans and critics alike,” said Jeff Wachtel, President, Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “He is a fresh, passionate talent with a unique vision — precisely what we strive to cultivate here at UCP. We’re fortunate to have him in the family and look forward to developing new projects together.”

“Making Channel Zero’s ‘Candle Cove’ and ‘No-End House’ has been a terrific experience,” said Nick Antosca. “Universal Cable Productions and Syfy gave us a unique space to adapt weird cult horror stories and showcase some of the most talented independent directors out there. I’m so excited to bring more of these stories to the screen.”

Novelist, screenwriter and TV writer Antosca (Hannibal, Teen Wolf) returns as executive producer, showrunner and writer for both newly ordered installments alongside executive producer Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), with Universal Cable Productions as the studio. Before Channel Zero, Antosca was a writer and producer on “Hannibal.” He has written five books including The Girlfriend Game, Fires and Midnight Picnic, which won a Shirley Jackson Award. He is from New Orleans, Louisiana and currently lives in California. Antosca is represented by WME, Writ Large and attorney Lev Ginsburg.

Antosca joins UCP’s roster of overall deals with A-list and top-notch emerging talent, including Sam Esmail, who is at work on Season 3 of the Golden Globe and Emmy-award winning Mr. Robot; James Frey’s Full Fathom Five, who are currently producing the supernatural horror-drama pilot The Haunted for Syfy; and Doug Liman’s Hypnotic, who recently produced the teleportation drama pilot Impulse with UCP for YouTube Red.


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Netflix and Showcase renew Travelers for second season

by on Feb.08, 2017, under Television

Canadian sci-fi drama Travelers, which stars Eric McCormack and was created by Brad Wright (executive producer on the Stargate TV franchise), has received a second season order from Canadian network Showcase and Netflix. Production will begin in March in Vancouver, with the show set to air on Showcase in the Fall, followed by a worldwide (except Canada) release on Netflix.

Travelers follows the last humans on Earth hundreds of years in the future, who have discovered how to send their consciousness minds into the past into random people, where they work together to avoid the fate that the human race faced in their future.

Schedules have been set to accommodate McCormack, who will also appear in a 10-episode revival of Will & Grace for NBC.


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Richard Hatch, the original Apollo on Battlestar Galactica, 1945-2017

by on Feb.07, 2017, under Obituaries, Television

I’m sad to say that we’ve lost another icon of SF…actor Richard Hatch, who played Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica and later had a recurring role on the reboot, passed away today at the age of 71 after an extended illness, while surrounded by his family and friends.

Hatch started off on All My Children, then a string of guests spots on a variety of shows before landing a regular role in the last couple seasons of The Streets of San Francisco. He followed that up with his best known role on Battlestar Galactica, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

After that, he went back to guest roles and lesser known movies, and some short runs on Dynasty and Santa Barbara. All the while, he kept the fandom of Battlestar Galactica alive at conventions, even writing and producing Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, a short featuring several of his fellow cast members in raising interest in the possible return of the series. Even when Universal decided to go for a complete reboot, he felt that any Galactica was a step in the right direction, and was the only original cast member to appear in the new show, in the recurring role of Tom Zarek.

I had the good fortune to meet Richard at a smaller local convention a couple years ago, and he genuinely enjoyed talking with the fans. We chatted for a while about his thoughts on the reboot and the differing opinions of his cast mate, Dirk Benedict, who was next to him. He was glad the show came back in any form and was nothing but supportive of the effort. A franchise is lucky to have such a proponent that gets the fans and works with them, and Richard was one of the few.


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