Sci-Fi Storm News From The Edge Of The Universe Wed, 17 Jan 2018 19:54:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 47635738 Shannara Chronicles canceled by Spike; being shopped to others Wed, 17 Jan 2018 19:54:02 +0000 Cable network Spike, which re-brands itself as the Paramount Network tomorrow night, announced that it has dropped scripted series The Shannara Chronicles, which aired its second season on the channel after shifting from its sibling channel MTV.

Sonar Entertainment is reportedly shopping the show to other networks.

It previously announced that it canceled its first original drama, The Mist.

Parent company Viacom announced last February that it is re-organizing its portfolio of cable networks to focus on six “core” networks – BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Paramount. Paramount will become the flagship “general entertainment” brand. It remains to be seen what happens to some of its smaller channels, such as TV Land and CMT, but two planned series for TV Land, Heathers and American Woman, will be taken over by Paramount.

Fox and National Geographic order second series of Cosmos Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:18:57 +0000 It’s about time…several years after 2014’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey starring chief science nerd Neil deGrasse Tyson and produced by Seth MacFarlane, itself a sequel of 1980’s seminal science series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by Carl Sagan, will get its own sequel.

Cosmos: Possible Worlds – the title of which is perhaps a nod to the theme of this series – has been ordered from Fox and National Geographic, with a planned Spring 2019 release. The same creative team will be back as well; MacFarlane will be joined by executive producers Brannon Braga and Jason Clark, as well as executive producer, writer and director Ann Druyan who won an Emmy for writing the 2014 series. Tyson will return as host. The 2014 series was watched by 135 million people worldwide and was the most watched series on National Geographic’s international channels.

Also, this time the series will receive a companion book, much like Sagan’s original series did.

Fox and National Geographic will remain partners for the series despite the impending sale of National Geographic Channel to Disney as part of the giant acquisition.

Gore Verbinski exits Gambit X-Men movie; Fox pushes release date Fri, 12 Jan 2018 01:48:19 +0000 It appears that director Gore Verbinski has quit the Gambit starring Channing Tatum. The split is amicable however – Verbinski just had too many scheduling conflicts. The movie will now look for yet another director – Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) and Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) were previously attached.

With the need to find a new director, Fox has already pushed back the movie on the planned release schedule, moving to June 7th, 2019 from February 14th.

Donnelly Rhodes, Battlestar Galactica‘s Doc Coddle, 1937-2018 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 23:44:03 +0000 Another lost to the stars…Canadian actor Donnelly Rhodes, best known in these parts as Dr. Cottle in the updated Battlestar Galactica but also for his role of Dutch Leitner on the late 70s ABC comedy Soap, passed away yesterday at the age of 80 due to cancer while in hospice care according to talent agency Northern Exposure.

Rhodes most recently made an appearance in the 2016 “Invasion!” Arrowverse crossover as Agent Smith, and he also starred as Det. Leo Shannon in the Canadian series DaVinci’s Inquest. He had many small roles as well, such as the grandfather in TRON: Legacy and a couple of appearances in The Outer Limits anthology series. In all he had appeared in more than 160 series and movies over a 60 year career.

New trailer for SYFY’s Krypton Tue, 09 Jan 2018 22:51:02 +0000 Just released today at the Television Critics Association…

What if Superman never existed? Set two generations before the destruction of Superman’s home planet, KRYPTON follows Seg-El (Cameron Cuffe), the legendary Man of Steel’s grandfather, as a young man who is faced with a life and death conflict – save his home planet or let it be destroyed in order to restore the fate of his future grandson. With Krypton’s leadership in disarray and the House of El ostracized, Seg finds himself in a difficult position. He must redeem his family’s honor and protect the ones he loves while being challenged by familiar DC characters Brainiac (Blake Ritson) and Earthly time-traveler Adam Strange (Shaun Sipos).

Krypton is from Warner Horizon Scripted Television and is executive produced by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Dark Knight Trilogy) through his Phantom Four banner, alongside Cameron Welsh, who serves as showrunner. In addition to Cuffe, Sipos and Ritson, the show also stars Georgina Campbell (Broadchurch), Elliot Cowan (Da Vinci’s Demons), Ann Ogbomo (World War Z), Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness), Wallis Day (Will), Aaron Pierre (Tennison) and Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones). Based on the DC characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

SYFY orders up George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:38:44 +0000 SYFY today announced a series pickup for Nightflyers, based on author George R.R. Martin’s novella and the 1987 film of the same name. Jeff Buhler (Jacob’s Ladder) wrote the adaptation for television and will executive produce alongside Daniel Cerone (“The Blacklist”) who will also serve as showrunner. Martin will also executive produce, along with Gene Klein (Suits), David Bartis (Suits) and Doug Liman (Live. Die. Repeat) of Hypnotic; Alison Rosenzweig (Jacob’s Ladder, Windtalkers) and Michael Gaeta (Jacob’s Ladder) of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films; Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions. Robert Jaffe (Nightflyers, – 1987) will produce. Andrew McCarthy (Orange is the New Black) will be a producer-director on the project. Mike Cahill (I Origin) will direct the pilot.

The series will be produced by Universal Cable Productions. Netflix will co-produce and have first-run rights to the series outside of the U.S.

Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire) is set to star as Dr. Agatha Matheson, alongside Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Karl D’Branin, David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6) as Roy Eris, Sam Strike (EastEnders) as Thale, Maya Eshet (Teen Wolf) as Lommie, Angus Sampson (Fargo) as Rowan, Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship) as Melantha Jhirl and Brían F. O’Byrne (Million Dollar Baby) as Auggie.

Nightflyers follows eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain — in the hope of making contact with alien life. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place they start to question each other — and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone thought.

The series, produced in Ireland, is moving forward with the support of the Government of Ireland, through the Minister for Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht and the Irish Film Board.

All my problems with The Last Jedi Mon, 01 Jan 2018 23:29:15 +0000 So, I promised a bit of a review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it would be impossible to talk about it at the level I want without spoilers, so be forewarned…SPOILERS AHEAD!

Before getting there, some spoiler-free notes. Despite what I am going to say below, I thought it was a great film. Visually stunning and with superb audio, it kept you riveted. I love when a story delves into its own mythology, which we get a bit of here with the Jedi. I think overall the story was solid, although how it got there had a number of issues.

So let’s get started…


The Force Awakens was criticized for being a retelling of A New Hope. So you would think that they might try and avoid the comparisons with The Empire Strikes Back. And at first I thought they had avoided it (aside from a particular battle which seemed rather intentional) but then thinking about they really didn’t. Let me see if I can write up the parallel plot:

“The [Rebel|Resistance] base on [Hoth|D’Qar] has been discovered by the [Empire|First Order] and they have to quickly evacuate. A battle during the evacuation ensures their escape but costs them greatly. [Luke|Rey] travel to find the last Jedi Master [Yoda|Luke] on a remote planet but find he is reluctant to train [him|her]. They relent and begin the training, which involves a cave under a tree and visions. Meanwhile, [Han, Leia, Chewie and the droids|Finn and Rose] travel to a city [run by a gambler|inhabited by gamblers], and end up disrupting things before escaping. [Luke|Rey] ends up confronting [Darth Vader|Kylo Ren] where they learn the truth about their parentage.”

This leaves a bit off off the end of The Last Jedi, which is where a mimicking of the Battle of Hoth comes in, complete with AT-ATs, a white battlefield, useless trenches, and a sense of hopelessness. It just came at the end instead of the beginning, with a different battle at the start.

Can we talk just a bit about physics? Yes, I know, physics has absolutely no place in Star Wars. But at least there were some elements they they tried to accept. I’m not talking about Poe Dameron pulling a turn and burn like he was drifting on a dirt track in Charlotte…I’m talking about simple things like gravity and air. And, like, the apparent fact that gravity still pulls bombs downward while in space out of a bomb hatch like it was doing a bombing run in Germany in 1944, and that a ship can be ripped to shreds, yet losing air doesn’t appear to be a serious issue. Apparently because space is full of air. Why? During the “slow chase”, when the support ships ran out of fuel, they didn’t act like they simply stopped accelerating – they acted like they were encountering resistance. Instead of simply falling behind, they tumble backwards.

Yet Leia gets sucked out into space, in an obvious vacuum…which, by the way, was the LEAST stunning visual effect. It just looked cheesy. Sorry, I didn’t like it.

I do have to point out that the the way Holdo’s hyperspace jump into the oncoming fleet was artistically depicted was brilliant. To do it with absolutely no sound at all made it all that much more impactful visually. The chain reaction of superluminal shrapnel was awesome. Too bad they didn’t think of doing that with the support ships earlier.

And that brings me to the whole idea of the chase. First, the plot device out of the hyperspace tracker that only works in one ship, it’s on Snoke’s ship (which wasn’t even in the first battle), and that Finn knows where it is because he was a janitor on the ship just like he was on Starkiller Base and knows all the secrets like any janitor/Stormtrooper should…rather convenient.

Then, for the “faster, lighter” Resistance ships, they didn’t seem to be outrunning the First Order very well…but actually, I think this was correct. If they knew they couldn’t completely outrun the fleet, they wouldn’t thrust as fast as they could, which would just burn the fuel faster – they’d get out of range and then maintain that range as long as possible, conserving fuel. So, that’s one in the win column. Sadly, I only figured this out while writing this. This is why exposition lines in dialogue exist…and why they are important. 3 seconds and people aren’t questioning it.

But my biggest, and I mean BIGGEST problem, is the whole idea that Holdo kept the plan a secret from everyone. In fact, in general, this movie is full of the dumbest strategists in that galaxy on both sides. What purpose did keeping the plan a secret serve, other than yet another plot device to make the sacrifice and climax more impactful? Unless they feared a mole, which they never made mention of, it would have been better to let them know of the plan rather than allow an already burning seed of distrust and hopelessness smoulder into a full-blown mutiny.

Strategy and tactics on the First Order side aren’t much better. “Hey, let’s bring in our fleet-buster dreadnought to fight the remaining Resistance forces, which we know have small light fighters, but let’s not fly a fighter cover or anything…or, you know, just shoot them out of the sky when we show up…wait for the big ship to make a big show of it.” Works well, don’t you think?

Which brings me to General Hux in general. Now, I like Domhnall Gleeson, but I just don’t buy him as the leader of the First Order military. He seems more like a whiny military brat trying to do his General dad proud but is really, REALLY bad at it. Yet Snoke keeps giving him a chance. He’s failed to crush the resistance multiple times, last the biggest weapon ever made, and yet he gets more chances…I see Kylo Ren similarly, but the potential is seen there. Hux lacks that.

Resistance tactics weren’t much better. They need to watch Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan – strictly two-dimensional thinking, like it’s a sea battle. All ships form a line and head directly at the enemy – making it very easy to pick them off all in a row. you have three dimensions – you should be attacking from ALL directions, and spread the fire out. Same thing happens in the Battle on Hoth-er, Crait…attach all in a straight line, head on. Then again, stormtrooper aiming…maybe not so bad. The whole red soil and “hydroplane skis” thing was to make it 1) Not Hoth, and 2) more visually stunning (OK, a win there…) And wait a second, the First Order fleet was shredded, yet they still are able to get a bunch of AT-ATs and a battering ram down to the surface…and they park them so far away they take forever to move into position and allow the Resistance time to mount a hopeless defense…

Not a bad point, but did you notice there was a huge tell that Luke wasn’t really on Crait? He appears younger…darker, shorter hair. As Ben and Leia and anyone else would remember him when he left – that’s how his projection appeared to those who saw it. Interesting that even C-3PO saw him, so it wasn’t simply a force connection like Rey/Ben had. Very interesting.

I think that covers it. Do you agree or disagree? Come comment on the post on our Facebook page. I’ve said before, the problems I have with a movie do not detract from my enjoyment of a movie – I enjoyed the movie. I just wish they would think some of the technical aspects through better.

Peter Capaldi bids farewell to Doctor Who Wed, 27 Dec 2017 01:24:55 +0000 Yesterday we bid adieu to another Doctor, on the annual Christmas special episode, “Twice Upon A Time”, Peter Capaldi’s final appearance is the title role of Doctor Who, 4 years to the day of his official debut. In the episode the 12th Doctor crosses paths the “THE” Doctor, the original (played by David Bradley, who played the original actor, William Hartnell, in the dramatization of the original production of Doctor Who, “An Adventure in Space and Time”), when both contemplate fighting against regenerating and allowing themselves to die. They both soul search over their decisions while at the same time struggle over the life of a World War I soldier (played by writer/actor Mark Gatiss) who was taken away from certain death on the battlefield by an unknown force that could stop time. Incidentally, another cameo that you have have missed – the German soldier in the crater with him was played by Toby Whitehouse, who has also written a number of episodes and is also the creator of Being Human.

Now, it wouldn’t be an episode of Doctor Who if some liberties in continuity, established canon, etc. aren’t taken. If you are a sticker for those things, you probably have given up on Doctor Who in the 60s aren’t aren’t reading this anyways. But the important points were the emotional ones, between the characters and with themselves. And when it is revealed who the soldier is, it hits you right in the feels for fans of the classic run of the series.

Especially compelling is the advice that the 12th Doctor gives to himself – well, his future self. While I don’t have the same feeling of loss as with after Ten and Eleven left, I will still miss the old fool – but I am excited to see what new directions we are going in…

TidBits: Star Wars, Jumanji weekend takes; Star Trek writer; passing of Heather Menzies-Urich; Tue, 26 Dec 2017 23:40:37 +0000 It’s time to come out of our holiday-induced coma and get caught up on the news, so here is some rapidfire TidBits…

Sadly, we have learned that actress Heather Menzies-Urich, wife of late actor Robert Urich and best known as Louisa in The Sound Of Music, passed away on December 24th at the age of 68. Obscure SF TV fans may also known her for playing Jessica in the TV series version of Logan’s Run.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi added another $99 million over the holiday weekend, although analysts expected more from the weekend. Fans seem to be greatly debating the merits of the movie…from our point of view it was a good movie but with a slew of technical problems. Expect a spoiler-laden review later this week.

In the meantime, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle appeared to get a big turnout from holiday audiences looking for something lighthearted, getting $72m since the Wednesday open and including $2m from the Amazon Prime Members preview earlier in the month. It’s definitely a good movie for audiences looking for a laugh. The Greatest Showman, which appears to be fighting critical reviews as well as the competition, only made $19m for the same six days, but we think is a great musical film with several Oscar-worthy songs.

Lastly, Quentin Taranino’s R-rated Star Trek has named a writer – The Revenant‘s Mark L. Smith.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi breaks $500m worldwide in first week Thu, 21 Dec 2017 02:10:23 +0000 Disney/Lucasfilm sure appears to be exercising their force powers on the moviegoing audience…the latest installment in the franchise crossed $500 million worldwide. The domestic tally beat $250 million as of today, adding $21.8 million Monday, $20.4 million Tuesday and looking at at least $17 million today as fans get second and in some cases third viewings in.