Sci-Fi Storm

Archive for November, 2012

Syfy brings Robot boxing to reality with Robot Combat League

by on Nov.26, 2012, under Television

I miss Robot Wars and BattleBots – the shows that brought exciting clashes between remotely controlled devices of destruction (and occasionally self-destruction) to TV. But seldom did they take on any sort of anthropomorphic form like in Real Steel – most were squat devices on wheels with spinning hammers or pneumatic spatulas.

Well, now Syfy has taken a step towards real fighting robots with Robot Combat League, a weekly series hosted by the WWE’s Chris Jericho and will feature eight-feet tall, state-of-the-art humanoid robots controlled by human “robo-jockeys”, competing tournament-style. The show will debut on February 26th at 10pm ET.

The idea of robots in battle has captured the imagination for generations. Now, through ground-breaking engineering, the fusion of a human’s fighting spirit with a powerful robotic machine built for destruction has become a reality. This extraordinary new series will feature twelve teams consisting of a fighter (a “robo-jockey”) and a robotics engineer (a “robo-tech”) from myriad backgrounds including a race car driver, an Olympic athlete, a National Guard helicopter pilot along with a mix of professional fighters and software engineers. Each team is paired with its own unique robot and will fight in a first-of-its kind competition using a high-tech exo-suit that translates their movements to their robot. Each fight consists of three rounds of intense action, with the winning team advancing in the competition.
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Merlin will not return for a sixth series

by on Nov.26, 2012, under Television

Found out through the official twitter account – the BBC has announced that Merlin will not return for a sixth series, with the fifth series currently airing in the U.K. and starting in the U.S. in January.

Star Colin Morgan said, “I know this is the end, and I know this is goodbye, but thank you for being there on the journey with us.” Co-star Katie McGrath added, “It’s completely the right time to draw our telling of the story to a close.”

The BBC Media Centre also has a release, with an interview with Colin Morgan talking about the final series.

Update: Word is that Shine TV and FreemantleMedia Enterprises are in the early stages of exploring spin-offs within the universe established by Merlin, but creators Johnny Capps and Julian Murphy have announced they are departing Shine TV to form their own company.

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A holiday SF-themed buying guide

by on Nov.25, 2012, under Games, Movies, Television

I haven’t done one of these in a few years, but I thought I’d put together a small holiday buying guide for SF lovers – at least some of the items I think readers of this site would like…

To start, I cannot say enough about Ashley Eckstein’s Her Universe – except that I am jealous as the merchandise is for females of the species. My loss appears to be my wife and daughters gain – they love their shirts, and they might just be finding a few more delivered by Santa this year…just this week there are two new Doctor Who shirts – “Whovian” and “The Girl Who Waited”, while on the Star Wars side there are new “Cute Vader” pajamas and a Japanese-style V-neck. And the Ahsoka Tano hoodie, representing Ashley’s alter ego, is now available in adult sizes due to demand.
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Enjoy holiday movies with your favorite SF stars

by on Nov.23, 2012, under Television

Missing your favorite stars from SF shows? Want to catch other shows they may be in? Well, you should check out the holiday movies that are on for the next month (and have been on for a while)! You might notice a lot of familiar faces…here is a quick-and-by-no-means-complete guide to some of the holiday movies which feature stars you should be familiar with.
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Happy Birthday, Doctor Who!

by on Nov.23, 2012, under Television

49 years ago today, in just a couple hours (17:16 GMT, or 12:16pm EST), Doctor Who debuted on the BBC with the very first episode, “An Unearthly Child”, and set off what would become a worldwide phenomenon. Originally conceived as a family show with educational aspects, using time travel to teach about history, etc. the show would be produced continuously for 26 series.

In 1989, with declining viewership and increasing budgetary constraints (anyone remember how they avoided showing the inside of the TARDIS in the final season? They had junked the set before that season, and for a final scene they built a cheap one), despite assurances from the BBC that it would return, Doctor Who ceased production until 1996, when the BBC and Fox jointly produced a TV movie starring Paul McGann as a backdoor pilot in an attempt to relaunch the show in both hemispheres. The movie was poorly received (and canonically questionable), and the Doctor was once more relegated to the vortex.

Finally, in 2005, Doctor Who returned to television after some success with animated webcasts and a big audio adventure business. Russel T. Davies took the producing reins, production took place in Cardiff at BBC Wales, and Christopher Eccleston became the 9th Doctor when he told Rose Tyler, “Run!”

Since then we’ve had 7 new series, two more Doctors in David Tennant and Matt Smith, several new companions, and a show that doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon.

Happy Birthday, Doctor – and may we celebrate many more!

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666 Park Avenue and Last Resort will get to wrap up properly

by on Nov.23, 2012, under Television

As previously mentioned, ABC has decided not to order back-end episodes for freshman series 666 Park Avenue and Last Resort, effectively canceling them. However, the network did so with enough lead time that both shows will be able to properly wrap up their series with their respective final episodes.

“We have time to tweak,” according to Shawn Ryan, who created Last Resort, while 666 Park Avenue producers say they are “building to a powerful and surprising series finale.”

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Kasdan reportedly approached to write Star Wars script

by on Nov.21, 2012, under Movies

We already know Michael Arndt is penning the first of three planned Star Wars sequels – now it appears that Disney is reaching back to the past and asking Lawrence Kasdan to write on of the others, according to Deadline.

Kadsan wrote the scripts for both The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi along with Raiders Of The Lost Ark, so this could harken back to the “glory days” of the franchise.

Disney is eager to get moving on the franchise, so they appear to be approaching the writers early to get the ball rolling.

Deadline also says that Simon Kinberg, who wrote X-Men: The Last Stand and Sherlock Holmes and is currently working on X-Men: Days Of Future Past has been approached for the other script.

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Tolkien estate sues Warner Bros. et al over online gambling game

by on Nov.20, 2012, under Movies

When it rains…it seems the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien is upset over an online slot machine game using the Lord Of The Rings property – so much so that they’ve sued Warner Bros, New Line, and Saul Zentz Co. (the long-time movie rights holder Lord Of The Rings) for $80 million.

Apparently the estate’s lawyers received a spam email about the game, and looked into the rights. In the lawsuit they claim, “The original contracting parties thus contemplated a limited grant of the right to sell consumer products of the type regularly merchandised at the time such as figurines, tableware, stationery items, clothing and the like. They did not include any grant of exploitations such as electronic or digital rights, rights in media yet to be devised or other intangibles such as rights in services.” The estate also learned that a physical slot machine game was also planned.

There are video games, etc. based on the movies, so it seems odd that this particular claim is made, as it seems to imply that those rights were not granted to the defendants.

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PETA claims animal abuse on The Hobbit; Jackson says hold your horses

by on Nov.20, 2012, under Movies

Surprise, surprise – less than a month before the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, PETA decided to level charges of animal abuse on the production, claiming that 27 animals died during the making of the films, saying that “death traps” where they were stabled caused the deaths, and a horse was “hobbled”. But apparently, the allegations come from two particular wranglers who were dismissed by the production for their care of animals not being up to the production’s standards. Other agencies have already stated that no evidence of any of the claims has been found, and even the owner of the horse in question says he is fine.

Here is a full statement from Peter Jackson himself from Facebook:
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