Sci-Fi Storm

Archive for March, 2018

Krypton takes us to the dark past of Superman’s world, literally

by on Mar.21, 2018, under Television

SYFY’s jump into the DC universe takes a jump back in time to explore not really the origin story of its most famous superhero, but of his ancestors instead. An ambitious move, to eschew the draw of having a well known character to revolve around, instead developing a backstory for the world he ultimately came from.

We know the planet Krypton explodes, and we know Jor-El sends his only son Kal-El to Earth just before that, where he grows up to become Superman. But this isn’t about that exactly – we’ve seen that in a few different versions of the Superman mythos.

Instead, we are set a couple generations before those events, focusing instead on Kal-El’s grandfather, Seg (Cameron Cuffe), in his younger days. Seg’s own grandfather, Val-El, is declared a heretic and banished to the Phantom Zone, leaving the House of El disgraced and nameless. Seg becomes one of the Rankless – the lowest class of Kryptonians. He gets the chance to rejoin the ranks, but learns about his grandfather and what may happen after an Earth man from the future named Adam Strange (another DC comics character, played by Shaun Sipos), warns that someone is coming to change the course of history to prevent Superman from being born.

The show is set in the domed city of Kandor, the capital city of Krypton and one of nine city-states that exist in the remaining inhabitable areas of the planet after a previous catastrophe. In recent years, the democratic government has been overthrown by a theocratic form that revolves around the worship of the sun god Rao, who is embodied by the Voice of Rao, a mysterious figure who wears a six-faced golden mask. All other religions have been banned. Several guilds exist to maintain the functioning government and the members live the “high life”, literally, while the Rankless occupy the streets.

I think the tensions and power struggles between these factions may provide the compelling story here, while the backdrop of the “Back to the Future”-eqsue (come on, he brings Superman’s cape to Seg, which is slowly dissolving due to the potential changes in the timeline!) time travel story is a bit secondary.

Although I saw some elements which had not yet had completed VFX so it may change for broadcast, I found the apparent practical set design to be dark and in some cases cramped. The darkness is something I find in common with a number of SYFY shows – I don’t know if it is a cost-savings thing or what is going on – in establishing VFX shots Krypton appears to be sunny at times, but rarely does this appear on screen with the characters. For the “cramped” feel, I can best point to scenes in which a major religious event appears to be taking place, but it’s in a small cavern area with 20-30 people present.

One other aspect that I noted a bit was language. The show is filmed in Ireland, and the cast is primarily British – in fact, I couldn’t pick out an accent that wasn’t British or Irish except for Adam Strange, as Sipos is Canadian. This doesn’t normally raise any flags for me – I watch a lot of British TV – but in most cases the accents are very neutral to be consistently understandable to an international audience. The difference here is I’m picking up on regional variances a lot – I picked out the Northern Irish tones of Seg’s mother instantly, for instance. This actually might be an improvement – it shows some variation the culture perhaps.

Now aliens speaking English is not unusual in science fiction – it’s a huge convenience both for the production and the audience. The Kryptonians speak in modern English, including the current trend on cable television towards swearing. The only reason I mention this is that despite the language, they have troubles understanding a colloquial phrase by Strange, which smacked me with “We speak the same, but different” stick…

But anyways, overall I think there is a storyline I’m going to enjoy following, with well-done acting all around. I wish there was a higher budget that could show through in the sets especially. I have high hopes for the show regardless, and hope that it avoids the pitfall of beelining to the “obvious” storyline of saving Superman and concentrates on the “A” story of the politics and intrigue of a planet we are given the opportunity to learn much more about.

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Check out the first look at SYFY’s Nightflyers

by on Mar.20, 2018, under Television

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.

Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) is set to star as Karl D’Branin alongside 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, Gretchen Mol (Boardwalk Empire) as Agatha, David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6) as Roy Eris, and Brían F. O’Byrne (Million Dollar Baby) as Auggie.

Coming this Fall to SYFY

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Indiana Jones 5 to start filming in April 2019!

by on Mar.19, 2018, under Movies

We finally see the return of Indy! Steven Spielberg, on hand at the Rakuten TV Empire Awards to receive a special award for his enormous body of work, also dropped word that the long awaited Indiana Jones 5 will begin filming in the UK next April!

“It’s always worth the trip when I get to work with this deep bench of talent coming out of the UK,” he told the audience. “The actors, and the crew, the chippies, the sparks, the drivers — everybody who has helped me make my movies here, and will continue helping me make my movies here when I come back in April 2019 to make the fifth Indiana Jones movie right here.”

We’re excited to say the least – but it will be interesting how they deal with Indy’s son, played by Shia LeBeouf, as they had the chance to pass the fedora on but opted not to…

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HotShot Trailer: Avengers: Infinity War trailer #2

by on Mar.17, 2018, under Movies

In case somehow you haven’t seen this yet…tears were shed when it was seen…

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Author and physicist Stephen Hawking, 1942-2018

by on Mar.14, 2018, under Obituaries

Sadly we lost a brilliant mind today. Stephen Hawking, who has fought an amazing battle against ALS for decades, passed away this morning.

Hawking, despite being trapped in his body and only able to communicate via a computer speech synthesizer, was the world’s preeminent theoretical physicist, postulating many new models of physics including reconciling general relativity and quantum mechanics. At the same time, he tried to bring advanced physics to the masses as a best-selling author, his most famous work being A Brief History of Time. He was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for 30 years, from 1979-2009.

Hawking was also a friend of the science fiction community, making cameo appearances in various shows including The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Futurama. SYFY has already announced that they will air seven episodes of Futurama including several that feature Stephen’s electronic voice tonight starting at 11pm ET.

He leaves behind three children and three grandchildren. His children released a statement: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”

The condolences and memories on Twitter are too great to cover here…but fellow physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s seemed appropriate:

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HotShot Trailer: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald teaser

by on Mar.13, 2018, under Movies

It’s time to delve back into the magical realm…here is the first teaser for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, in theaters November 16th…

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It’s official – Dirk Gently is no more

by on Mar.13, 2018, under Television

For those who were holding out hope for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to find another outlet after being canceled by BBC America, officially the road is over…there will be no Season 3 after it was unable to find a new network.

Executive Producer Arvind Ethan David tweeted heartfelt thanks:

The wonderfully quirky show, as only a show from the mind of Douglas Adams should be, followed the adventures of the “holistic” detective Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett) and his reluctant assistant/friend Todd (Elijah Wood) as they investigate a series of seemingly random events that all tie together into an insane mystery.

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TNT cancels The Librarians

by on Mar.08, 2018, under Television

NO! From producer Dean Devlin:

This saddens me a great deal. Watching the show was just pure fun and we loved all the characters. I really hope another network is willing to pick this up.

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Jon Favreau to executive produce and write live-action Star Wars series

by on Mar.08, 2018, under Television

Lucasfilm announced that Jon Favreau, who helped usher in the era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for Marvel Studios, will now take the reins of the upcoming untitled live-action Star Wars series that will be part of Disney’s direct-to-consumer video service.

“I couldn’t be more excited about Jon coming on board to produce and write for the new direct-to-consumer platform,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”

Favreau is familiar with the Star Wars universe as well, having voiced Pre Vizsla in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and will appear in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story. “If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.”

Favreau was nominated for an Emmy in 2005 for producing dinner for Five, and and won the Saturn Award in 2009 for Best Director for Iron Man. He directed both Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and executive produced the Iron Man and Avengers movies, and also appeared as Tony Stark’s assistant Happy Hogan in many of them. He’s currently working on The Lion King for Disney.

No release date for the Star Wars series has been announced.

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Lost in Space full trailer

by on Mar.07, 2018, under Television

Lost In Space starts on Netflix on April 13th, and stars Toby Stephens (Black Sails) as Commander John Robinson, Molly Parker (House of Cards, Goliath) as Maureen Robinson, Taylor Russell (Falling Skies) as Judy, Mina Sundawall (Maggie’s Plan) as Penny, Maxwell Jenkins (Sense8) as Will, Ignacio Serricchio (The Wedding Ringer) as Don West, and Parker Posey (Superman Returns) as Doctor Smith.

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