Sci-Fi Storm

Archive for December, 2015

Syfy gives early renewal to The Expanse

by on Dec.31, 2015, under Television

After only four aired episodes, Syfy announced today that it has renewed its critically-acclaimed series The Expanse for a second season. The 13-episode second season from Alcon Television Group is expected to air in early 2017.

The Expanse is firing on all cylinders creatively, building a passionate fan base among viewers and critics alike, and delivering on Syfy’s promise of smart, provocative science fiction entertainment. We can’t wait to see where the story takes us in season two,” said Dave Howe, President, Syfy and Chiller.

Currently airing on Syfy Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT, The Expanse has garnered strong multiplatform viewership since its December 14 debut, with 4.5 million viewers sampling the first episode on Syfy.com, On Demand and digital outlets prior to the series’ linear premiere, and an average of 1.6 million P2+ linear viewers (L3) in its first three episodes.

Set 200 years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman that brings a hardened detective (Thomas Jane) and a rogue ship’s captain (Steven Strait) together in a race across the solar system that will expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

In the episode premiering next Tuesday, January 5 at 10PM ET/PT — the fifth in the 10-part first season – Holden (Strait) and his crew make a deal with an unlikely ally (Chad Coleman). Meanwhile Detective Miller’s (Jane) obsession over the missing Julie Mao (Florence Faivre) continues to grow. Shohreh Aghdashloo also stars as Chrisjen Avasarala, along with Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar and Wes Chatham. See the trailer here.

Academy Award-nominated screenwriting duo Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby (Children of Men, Iron Man) serve as writers, as well as executive producers and showrunners. Executive producer Naren Shankar (CSI, Farscape) is also showrunner.

The Expanse is financed and produced by Alcon Television Group (ATG), a division of Alcon Entertainment. Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson serve as executive producers along with former president of Alcon Television Sharon Hall. Alcon Television executive Ben Roberts serves as co-producer. Sean Daniel and Jason Brown of the Sean Daniel Company are executive producers. Ben Cook serves as a producer.

The series is based on the New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as The Expanse, written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey).

The Expanse is part of a powerhouse Syfy original lineup that includes upcoming 2016 scripted series The Magicians (January), based on Lev Grossman’s best-selling novels, Hunters (April), from The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, and the second season of the critically acclaimed 12 Monkeys (April). Additional high profile scripted projects in development include Incorporated, a futuristic espionage pilot from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Films; Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television; and David Goyer’s Superman prequel, Krypton.


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CBS/Paramount sue crowdfunded Star Trek prequel film

by on Dec.30, 2015, under Television

CBS Studios and Paramount, owners of the Star Trek franchise, have filed suit against the producers of Axanar, a crowdfunded film that was set to begin production in January, but released a short called “Prelude to Axanar” in 2014. (Read more after the video)

Axanar gives the story of Captain Garth, who appeared in the third season episode “Whom the Gods Destroy”, as a former Starfleet captain – considered one of the greatest – who was imprisoned in a Federation insane asylum.

Axanar Productions, led by Alec Peters – who, oddly enough, was the official archivist for the franchise, appointed by CBS – have stated that they are not licensed – from their web site:

No, Axanar is an independent project that uses the intellectual property of CBS under the provision that Axanar is totally non-commercial. That means we can never charge for anything featuring their marks or intellectual property and we will never sell the movie, DVD/Blu-ray copies, T-shirts, or anything which uses CBS owned marks or intellectual property.

Now, I am not a lawyer, but simply declaring your work non-commercial – and whether you pledge not to sell anything, etc. – does not permit you to use someone else’s intellectual property, regardless of your intent, quality, etc. And it doesn’t matter how much the fans scream for it either. You have to have permission, or use it under what’s called “fair use”, but most of those revolve around educational uses, or the infamous “parody”. This isn’t a parody. And they are raising money via donations to pay for the production – which could fall under a commercial venture.

However, there are already a number of fan-made productions out there that also use the same intellectual property – notably Star Trek: Phase II (originally called Star Trek: New Voyages), which CBS/Paramount has tolerated as long as they aren’t used to make money. But I don’t know their funding model – I know the actors are volunteers, so perhaps it is all volunteer work.

We’ll see if the two can get along in the near future to produce the story, because I’d like to see it. And they have a number of Star Trek actors and other genre actors lined up, including Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, Gary Graham, and Kate Vernon.


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens makes first $1 billion in record time

by on Dec.28, 2015, under Television

In case you had any questions as to why Disney spent $4 billion dollars acquiring Lucasfilm three years ago, wonder no more…Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first product of the new Lucasfilm, has already made over $1 billion at the global box office, and in record time. And business is expected to remain brisk through the remainder of the holiday break, with no major releases and China’s release still ahead.

And why is it crushing records? People are seeing it more than once – some as many as five or six times, harkening back to the original movie. I myself already have tickets to see it again next weekend, after which I might be willing to make spoiler-level comments on the movie.


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Star Wars: The Force Awakens demolishing records

by on Dec.18, 2015, under Movies

No spoilers! No spoilers!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opened in “previews” nationwide yesterday evening, has already destroyed the Thursday preview records with $57 million, is looking at somewhere between $130-$150 million for an opening day mark (which includes Thursday), and could top a quarter of a billion dollars by the end of the weekend!

I got to be one of those record setters last night, and just wanted to say (NO SPOILERS! Even though I want to talk to people about it!) that the movie was awesome – it puts all three prequels to shame. Visually stunning – location shooting just seemed more real than any of the prior movies. Cheers rang out when each of the classic characters arrived. It also felt like it had more humor than any of the past movies – in a really really good way. Some nitpicky things too…but I’ll leave those for later.

Update 12/21: It’s official – Star Wars: The Force Awakens now has the biggest opening weekend ever, both domestically and globally. The reportedly final numbers, after a late boost from the domestic box office, are $247.97 million domestically, and about $529 million globally. That’s half a billion dollars folks – in a weekend. And it is still expected to do brisk business with upcoming releases this weekend not expected to compete for #1, and lots of people still waiting to see it and others watching it multiple times. I’ll be seeing it again on New Years weekend, but this time in Laser IMAX3D…


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Quickie review: The Magicians

by on Dec.15, 2015, under Television

Syfy has moved up the premiere episode of The Magicians to tomorrow (Wednesday, December 16th) with a special commercial-free preview airing…so I finally managed to squeeze some time to watch the screener they sent me – along with my acceptance letter to Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy’s graduate program…so I wanted to give a brief spoiler-free review to know what to expect.

It likely can’t be helped that this is thought of as “Hogwarts for grown-ups”. But make no mistake – this isn’t Harry Potter’s wizarding world we’re talking about, although there may be similarities. This show – based on the series of books by Lev Grossman – takes itself seriously. And the show is definitely aimed at a more adult audience, although probably on the younger end of the demographic.

The Magicians centers on Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student chosen to attend Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real – and poses grave danger to humanity.

The series stars Jason Ralph (Aquarius) as Quentin Coldwater, Stella Maeve (Chicago PD) as Julia, Olivia Taylor Dudley (The Vatican Tapes) as Alice, Hale Appleman (Teeth) as Eliot, Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie) as Penny and Summer Bishil (Lucky 7) as Margo.

Each of the characters has an interesting skill in magic – but they all have issues as well. Some were considered losers in the outside world. Crazies. Loners. They had no idea what they were themselves. At Brakebills, they find others like them. But that does not make them safe. Quentin gets messages from who he thought was a fictional character in a book – and the message is that everyone at Brakebills could die – at the hands of one called The Beast. Who is he, and what does he want with Quentin? I suspect we’ll find out more when the series returns in January.


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TNT renews The Librarians

by on Dec.15, 2015, under Television

TNT announced some renewals today (Murder In The First and Major Crimes), and some cancelations (Legends, Agent X, Public Morals). Among the renewals is one of our favorites, The Librarians, which will get a 15-episode 3rd season. The show has been averaging 5.5 million viewers across all available platforms.


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Javier Grillo-Marxuach tapped to pen Xena reboot script

by on Dec.15, 2015, under Television

Lost and Helix writer and producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach has been named to write the script for a proposed NBC reboot of wildly popular syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess.

NBC is hoping the popularity of the original will translate not only to a U.S. network broadcast but the global audience, being produced by NBC International Television Studios under the watchful eyes of original producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi for Tapert’s Renaissance Pictures. The original show, one of the most successful syndicated shows of all time and ran from 1995-2001, was produced in New Zealand.

The show followed the travels of the titular character (played by Lucy Lawless) and her friend Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor) through adventures in Ancient Greece, but they weren’t afraid to anachronistically travel to other periods for more adventures.

Lawless is not currently connected with the show. And while it is doubtful she’d return to star, she is married to Rob Tapert, so we might see some cameo appearances…


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HotShot Trailer: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them announcement trailer

by on Dec.15, 2015, under Movies

It’s time to go back to the wizarding world…in theaters November 2016!


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HotShot trailer: Star Trek Beyond first trailer

by on Dec.14, 2015, under Movies

After the international trailer leaked online for Star Trek Beyond, Paramount released the full trailer early!

No ship, no crew…

WAIT! No SHIP?!?

See it on July 22nd, 2016.


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HotShot Trailer: X-Men: Apocalypse

by on Dec.11, 2015, under Movies

Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

X-Men: Apocalypse is in theaters May 27th, 2016


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