Sci-Fi Storm

Archive for January, 2017

Syfy’s The Expanse returns with more Mars, more politics, and more mystery

by on Jan.31, 2017, under Television

Like with The Magicians, Syfy’s The Expanse was one of the programs I was looking forward the most to returning. The gritty, realistic portrayal of semi-near-future space travel, along with the issues of culture and politics with Earth, Mars, and the Belt all at odds over the scarce resources was a huge draw to me. Stylistically it was a bit like the revival of Battlestar Galactica, but more grounded with known physics and seemingly more attainable future. Similarities with early set stories in Larry Niven’s Known Space, of which I know a little bit, pull me in even more.

At the end of last season, the crew of the Rocinante and Ceres detective Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) tracked the disappearance of Julie Mao to the colony on Eros, where she is found, being consumed by the “protomolecule” infection, as are many others…and it seems that this infection may have been intentional.

Season 2 picks up immediately from there, with the Rocinante crew trying to find out what is going on, but also trying to decide how they can stop the spread of the protomolecule further. And the source of the protomolecule might have an extra-solar origin…

In the meantime, Earth and Mars are on the brink of war. Fear of conspiracies and terrorists and lack of resources, and the resentment of the Belt pushes each to the edge, tightening their belts at the expense of the lower classes – all while being egged on by a mysterious fourth party.

We will get to see more of life on Mars and how they train, and why there are apparently a more militaristic society, providing a new setting for us to see.

Who sent the protomolecule, and who is behind using it on Eros? And why?

The Expanse returns to Syfy Wednesday, February 1st at 10/9c.


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TidBits: The Magicians, Aquaman, Teri Hatcher and Supergirl

by on Jan.31, 2017, under Television

A few tidbits from the past few days…

Syfy’s The Magicians are pulling a bit of sophomore magic, with the Season 2 premiere getting double digit gains over the series premiere in the Live+3 ratings, netting a 25% overall increase and 33% higher in the 18-49 demo, and the highest for the channel since 2014. It seems that this show really has caught with audiences as the story has developed.

Jason Momoa’s Aquaman has found its villain…Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Get Down) has signed on to play foe Black Manta in the standalone film, scheduled for an October 2018 release.

Teri Hatcher is returning to the Kryptonian world of DC Comics…the former Lois Lane from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman will join the cast of Supergirl in an unspecified recurring role – but word on the street is that she will become the new Big Bad of the show.


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Peter Capaldi leaving Doctor Who

by on Jan.31, 2017, under Television

It is, alas, official. Peter Capaldi announced via BBC Radio 2 that he is leaving Doctor Who after the upcoming 10th series (since revival) and the 2017 Christmas Special. This did not come as much of a surprise, as showrunner Steven Moffat is also departing at the end of the year since taking over from Russell T. Davies, who likewise co-departed with David Tennant. And with the exception of Christopher Eccleston, each Doctor since has held the title for three complete series – although Tennant had several “special movies” as well leading up to his departure. Capaldi said when making the announcement, “I’m always someone that did different things. I’ve never done one job for three years before and I feel it’s time for me to move on to different challenges.”

“One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best,” Capaldi added. “From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity and generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic.”

Chris Chibnall, who is a Doctor Who fan himself, will take over for Moffat. Chibnall was the head writer on Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, and wrote several episodes of Doctor Who, as well as created the series Broadchurch starring David Tennant.

Let the speculation on the new Doctor begin…and keep in mind, we are never right 🙂


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Actor Sir John Hurt, 1940-2017

by on Jan.27, 2017, under Obituaries

According to multiple source, British actor Sir John Hurt has passed away, having turned 77 earlier this week.

Hurt was one of those actors who simply showed up everywhere, from iconic roles such as the eponymous The Elephant Man (for which he received an Oscar nomination), to smaller but memorable ones such as Kane, the first victim in Alien (and self-parodied in Spaceballs), or even random roles such as an appearance in the short Masters of Science Fiction anthology series. I’ve seen him in so many things over the years, and I can picture him in each one – even if I didn’t realize it was him, such as his role of eccentric billionaire S.R. Hayden in Contact. He received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and won the Golden Globe for his role of Max in Midnight Express. He had a way of making the smallest roles stand out for me.

More recently, Doctor Who fans would know him as the one the Doctor wouldn’t talk about, a.k.a. the “War Doctor”, who was responsible for what happened to the Time Lords and the Daleks at the end of the time war. And before that, he was Ollivander in several of the Harry Potter movies. And his distinctive gravelly voice was used in many other productions, including The Black Cauldron, Watership Down, The Tigger Movie, the Dragon in the BBC Merlin series, and the animated The Lord of the Rings.


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Niven’s Inconstant Moon to be adapted as a feature film for Fox

by on Jan.26, 2017, under Movies

Fans of writer Larry Niven have been waiting eons for adaptations of his works, most notably Ringworld, but we’ve had our hopes raised before. So far, the only works of his that have been adapted have been “The Slaver Weapon”, adapted into an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series (as “The Soft Weapon”), and a 1996 episode of The Outer Limits based on “The Inconstant Moon”.

Well, now it appears the latter might get a new adaptation, but this time a bigger one – a full feature film. Fox 2000 has started development on the film in conjunction with Arrival‘s Shawn Levy and his production company 21 Laps. Director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) is attached, with Daniel Casey writing the script. 21 Laps Dan Cohen, Ponsoldt and Created By’s Vince Gerardis will also produce.

“The Inconstant Moon” starts with an apparent brightening of the Moon being observed on Earth. Most simply commented on it being pretty, but the narrator of the story has a dreadful explanation – that while the Sun was shining on the other side of the Earth, it went nova, and the planet has mere hours before it is destroyed.

Hopefully this will give more exposure to Niven’s works, and we can get some Known Space stories soon!


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Fox orders pilot for new X-Men series

by on Jan.25, 2017, under Television

It’s pilot season, and Fox is stacking its superhero deck…the network has ordered with a put commitment an unnamed pilot from 20th TV and Marvel TV for an X-Men-based series that will run in the same universe as sister channel FX’s Legion, which premieres next month. Franchise leader Bryan Singer will executive produce, while Burn Notice‘s Matt Nix will write the script.

The show will follow a family of human parents with mutant children, on the run from a mutant-hostile government. Casting is expected to take place quickly with the pilot order.


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The Magicians returns with more magic, more Fillory

by on Jan.24, 2017, under Television

Syfy’s breakout hit The Magicians returns tomorrow night at 9/8c, and the second season is already amping up the magic levels – in order to save the magic.

Season 2 begins with with the possible destruction of all magic, and Quentin (Jason Ralph), Alice (Olivia Taylor Dudley), Eliot (Hale Appleman), Margo (Summer Bishil) and Penny (Arjun Gupta) are in Fillory to save it. Fillory, which Quentin thought was just a place from a series of storybooks called “Fillory and Further”, is not only real but is the source of all magic. And to save it, it may mean fulfilling the story and becoming the kings and queens of Fillory. Meanwhile, Julia (Stella Maeve), having become a hedge witch since she was rejected as a student at Brakebills, is teaming up with the Beast (Charles Mesure) in order to get revenge on the trickster Reynard the Fox, and her friendship with Quentin won’t stop her.

I don’t think it is a surprise that the students survived the attack by the Beast, although we were left wondering at the end of Season 1 – and it is “resolved” rather quickly. However, this isn’t just a push of a reset button after a cliffhanger – their survival won’t be without issues and consequences that will last through Season 2. So while the show still keeps its whimsical side, it will continue with exploring deep issues, such as Julia’s need for revenge after the being a victim of Reynard’s sexual assaults.

It is interesting that the parallels with C.S. Lewis’ world of Narnia continues as well, with Eliot not only having to become High King, but his fellow students also becoming Kings and Queens – two of each, just like the Pevensies in Narnia. This seems to add to the intrigue of the story, however – it is like seeing someone else’s take on the story, being familiar yet different. And we’ll see a deeper side of Eliot while he is in Fillory with new responsibilities.

I can’t wait to see more of this show…

The Magicians, based on the books by Lev Grossman, follows the 20-something students at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, where they discover that magic is hard and the world of fantasy is real.


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The Librarians renewed for a fourth season

by on Jan.24, 2017, under Television

Creator/producer Dean Devlin has been chomping at the bit to make an announcement over the past few days, and finally today he could – after the third season finale aired on Sunday, today Devlin announced that TNT has renewed The Librarians for a fourth season. The next season should start airing later this year.

The Librarians is based on a series of TV movies produced for TNT which followed Flynn Carsen (Noah Wyle), who was chosen to be the next Librarian for the mysterious Library which holds many artifacts (such as the Sword of Excalibur) that possess many magical qualities. The series picks up with the the Library taking on three new Librarians to help Carsen – Jacob Stone (Christian Kane), an expert in history, languages and agriculture with an IQ of 190; Cassandra Cillian (Lindy Booth), a mathematician with an innate ability to visualize and solve problems in her head; and Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim), a master lockpicker and thief with extensive knowledge of technology. They are joined by Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn), a former NATO Colonel who is the new Guardian, whose job is to protect the Librarians, and Jenkins (John Larroquette), the Library’s caretaker, who has been around for a strangely long time…


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Flash News: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi title official

by on Jan.23, 2017, under Movies

Breaking from StarWars.com: The official title for the next episode of the saga, Star Wars Episode VIII, will be The Last Jedi. Rumors had been swirling about a supposedly leaked title of “Forces of Destiny” (similar to a licensed card game), and others that sounded a bit Indiana Jones-ish. This at least seems respectable.

Rian Johnson is writing and directing, to be released on December 15, 2017.


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Paramount/CBS, Axanar producers settle suit

by on Jan.20, 2017, under Movies, Television

We can now say that the Battle of Axanar is over…Paramount/CBS and Axanar productions have reached a settlement in the suit against the fan-produced Axanar film. With things looking bleak earlier this month when Axanar was denied fair use status, so there wasn’t much surprise that a settlement was reached. It wasn’t much in the film’s favor, but it will see the light of day in a shortened form with major modifications, restricted to two 15-minute episodes released on YouTube sans ads (they will not be allowed to monetize the film), along with Prelude to Axanar with the same restrictions. Producer Alec Peters also admitted that the production “crossed the line” and was not approved by Paramount/CBS.

Axanar wasn’t the only loser here though, as Paramount/CBS lost a lot of the fan love they had by bringing on this suit.

The full text of the announcement is here:

Paramount Pictures Corporation, CBS Studios Inc., Axanar Productions, Inc. and Alec Peters are pleased to announce that the litigation regarding Axanar’s film Prelude to Axanar and its proposed film Axanar has been resolved. Axanar and Mr. Peters acknowledge that both films were not approved by Paramount or CBS, and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law.

Axanar and Mr. Peters have agreed to make substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation, and have also assured the copyright holders that any future Star Trek fan films produced by Axanar or Mr. Peters will be in accordance with the “Guidelines for Fan Films” distributed by CBS and Paramount in June 2016.

Paramount and CBS continue to be big believers in fan fiction and fan creativity. They encourage amateur filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek. Paramount and CBS will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional, amateur, and otherwise meet the Guidelines, which can be found at http://www.startrek.com/fan-films. Paramount and CBS would like Star Trek fans, with their boundless creativity and passion, to “Live Long and Prosper.”


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