Sci-Fi Storm


Starz cancels Ash vs. Evil Dead

by on Apr.21, 2018, under Television

It appears to be the end of the road for Ash Williams after three movies (and a cameo in the 2013 soft remake/continuation, plus a prototype film), comics, video games and now three seasons on TV. Starz has elected not to renew Ash vs. Evil Dead, and as such the third season finale on April 29th will serve as the series finale.

The gory horror-comedy franchise was created by Sam Raimi, with longtime partner Rob Tapert producing. It follows Ash (played like no one else could by Bruce Campbell) as he encounters the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, a Sumerian book which unleashes the undead upon the inhabitants of a cabin in the woods, and later transports him to middle-ages England to fight the forces of the dead again.

Campbell tweeted:

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Actor Tim O’Connor, Dr. Huer in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, 1927-2018

by on Apr.13, 2018, under Television

Actor Tim O’Connor, best known for playing the role of Elliott Carson on the original primetime soap opera Peyton Place, but also around here would be known for his role of Dr. Elias Huer in the first season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, passed away on April 5th in his sleep at home in Nevada City. He was 90.

The Chicago-born O’Connor’s long career spanned stage and screen. His first on-screen appearance was an uncredited role in 1949’s Master Minds. Over his career he made many guest appearances, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, M*A*S*H, The Streets of San Francisco,Wonder Woman, Dynasty, All in the Family and more.

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Colony adds familiar faces with List, McTavish, Brady and Zuwaiter

by on Apr.11, 2018, under Television

USA Network’s Colony has added four cast members for the upcoming third season, which starts May 2nd.

Peyton List (Gotham) will play Amy Leonard, a doctor and member of the San Fernando cell, who embarks on a dangerous journey with Eric Broussard (Tory Kittles) to deliver valuable secrets to Resistance fighters combating the Occupation.

A Boston native, List studied at the School of American Ballet in New York City and began her career as a model and actress at the age of eight. Since then, she had various modeling jobs for Dooney & Bourke, as well as Clean & Clear, and belongs to the Eileen Ford modeling agency in New York. At the start of her acting career, List played the role of Lucy Montgomery on As the World Turns and went on to guest star on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Sex and the City and Smallville. List can also be seen in films including The Greatest Game Ever Played and Conjuring Aurora.

Graham McTavish (Preacher) will play Andrew MacGregor, the leader of the most successful Resistance camp in what used to be the western United States. He’s held the camp together through a combination of discipline and charisma but is forced to adjust his plans once Will and Katie Bowman (Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies) arrive with vital information that could forever change the Resistance’s outlook.

Originally a Scottish television and film actor, McTavish is best known for his roles in Outlander, The Hobbit trilogy for Peter Jackson and Preacher, based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s cult comic book series. McTavish has also starred alongside Sylvester Stallone in Rambo and Creed, making him the only actor to perform opposite Rocky and Rambo. Additional credits include Red Dwarf, 24, Rome, The Finest Hour and Colombiana. McTavish has also lent his voice work to games and animated TV, including Uncharted 2, 3 and 4, Call of Duty, Dante’s Inferno, Hulk v Thor, The Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Kung Fu Panda.

Wayne Brady (Sofia The First) will play Everett Kynes, a highly successful tech entrepreneur who has risen in this new world to become the head of the rebuilt Seattle Colony. Kynes’ technology was used – and misused – by the human collaborators before the Arrival, leaving him with a chip on his shoulder… and a unique relationship with the invaders. Kynes is both brilliant and has a messianic belief in his own vision for the future.

Born in Columbus, Georgia, Brady began his career performing in numerous stage productions including A Chorus Line, Fences, A Raisin in the Sun, Jesus Christ Superstar and I’m Not Rappaport. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 1996, he performed at the prestigious Mark Taper Forum in its production of Blade to the Heat and garnered guest starring roles on television series as I’ll Fly Away, The Home Court and In the Heat of the Night. Brady has since lent his voice to multiple TV series including TripTank, Phineas and Ferb and, most recently, Sofia The First. Additional credits include The Loud House, Real Husbands of Hollywood, How I Met Your Mother and American Dad!

Waleed Zuwaiter (Altered Carbon) will play Vincent, a moral man who finds himself caught in an impossible position while working for a powerful Resistance group. He will ultimately have to choose between supporting the Bowmans and holding on to old loyalties.

Currently starring alongside Sarah Jessica Parker in the indie Unfollow The Rules, as well as The Angel, Zuwaiter recently wrapped the indie Saint Judy and Altered Carbon. He will next be seen in William, directed by Tim Disney, and Billionaire Boys Club. Additional credits include 20th Century Woman, The Free World and Prison Break. TV guest star roles include Masters of Sex, The Blacklist, House of Cards, Homeland, Madam Secretary and The Good Wife.

In the wake of a mysterious alien invasion, a family fights to stay together in a new world order. The third season of COLONY begins six months after the Bowmans’ escape from the Los Angeles bloc as Will (Josh Holloway) and Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) struggle to rebuild their family in the world beyond the walls. When their peaceful existence is shattered, they are sent on an odyssey that will finally reveal the horrifying truth behind Earth’s mysterious occupiers and once again force our heroes to choose sides.

Created by executive producers Carlton Cuse (The Strain, Bates Motel, Lost) and Ryan Condal (Rampage), the critically acclaimed drama is co-produced by Legendary Television and Universal Cable Productions. Colony also stars Holloway, Callies, Tory Kittles, Peter Jacobson and Alex Neustaedter.

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HotShot Trailer: Solo: A Star Wars Story

by on Apr.09, 2018, under Television

Starting to get excited…but am I the only one sensing this could just as easily be a prequel to Guardians of the Galaxy if you just swapped some characters around?

In Theaters May 25th!

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Retro Review: Space Academy

by on Apr.04, 2018, under Television

Camelopardus! I’ve been wanting to do a retro review for quite a while – it’s been a while. But I’ve dug out some of my old DVDs that I purchased but never got to watch…and for this, I’m going back into my childhood (way back…) in the 70s world of Saturday Morning Television.

Back in the days where you had just a handful of channels and had to adjust antennas to point in the right direction depending on the weather, Saturday mornings were the domain of kids programming. Primarily cartoons, occasionally there would be a live action show as well. In the cartoon universe, there were the major players like Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros, there was also Filmation, who was firmly entrenched in Saturday morning programming since the 60s, working on early DC Comics shows featuring Superman and Batman as well as the Archie comics. In 1973, they produced Star Trek: The Animated Series. By the mid 70s they had quite a few cartoons in heavy rotation…but then they decided to break out into live action shows. Shazam! (which is being developed for a feature film) and The Secrets of Isis, but the two I remember most were Ark II and Space Academy, being the science fiction-crazed kid I was. Both shows only lasted 15 shows, but they were repeated often and I would watch any chance I could get. Both were released on DVD in 2006. Neither are currently in production, but you might be able to pick them up from resellers. Check out Amazon.

Space Academy was my favorite. It was like Star Trek for kids, featuring kids – well, primarily teens and young adults playing teens. It is set on board a traveling academy built on an asteroid founded in the year 3272 (it is never specified when the series itself is set), where the best and brightest gathered to study and explore the mysteries of space. The show focuses on the Academy’s “Blue Team”.

Starring in the show were:

  • Jonathan Harris, best known for Lost In Space as Commander Gampu, the 300 year old head of Space Academy
  • Ric Carrott as Chris Gentry, the captain of Blue Team. Ric also played the original Chuck Cunningham, Ritchie’s older brother, on the episode of Love, American Style that served as a backdoor pilot for Happy Days.
  • Pamelyn Ferdin as Laura Gentry, Chris’s younger sister with which he shares a psychic bond. She made many appearances on shows in the 60s and 70s, and starred in Lassie.
  • Brian Tochi as Tee Gar, the medical officer of the team and also has super-human strength through his martial Arts. Brian may best be known for his run as Takeshi in the Revenge of the Nerds movies, Nogata in the Police Academy movies, and the voice of Leonardo in the Teenage Mutant Nija Turtles movies.
  • Maggie Cooper as Adrian Pryce-Jones, third in command of the team and the team’s technical expert. This was Maggie’s first role, but she would later star in the Chuck Norris film An Eye for an Eye and had a recurring role on Falcon Crest.
  • Ty Henderson as Paul Jerome, a transfer from the Red Team, his introduction shows him as a tough loner but he warms up to the team quickly and his high intelligence aids the team. Ty would later guest star in a number of shows, including recurring roles in Madame’s Place and Santa Barbara.
  • Eric Greene as Loki, who was found as a lone orphan on the planet Zalon. He joins the team, which vows to find where he came from (although this is largely forgotten after the first few episodes.) Eric went from acting to get a law degree and works in civil rights and is also an author.
  • Erica Scheimer as the voice of Peepo the robot, who gets into as much trouble as Loki. Erica is the daughter of Filmation founder Lou Scheimer, and did many voices on Filmation shows.

The show is probably what you’d expect for a Saturday morning kids show. The budget wasn’t enormous, although they did well with what they had – the visual effects were good but often relied on stock footage. Planets were obviously on small soundstages redressed in different ways. To avoid needing expensive spacesuits, they simply had “life support” devices that presumably provided an invisible energy barrier to protect the wearer, like the life support belts used in Star Trek: The Animated Series. But the model of Space Academy was decent, and I really liked the overall design of the Seeker, their primary ship. Occasionally, the effects were laughable, such as the stop-motion creature in the second episode. In a “long shot”, you’d see the worm-like creature with arms flailing about – but the create had an ability to be invisible – coincidentally whenever the actors were shown…

Being kid oriented, stories were somewhat simplistic. The show was in 30-minute episodic format, with little carrying through from episode to episode – normal for the time. And since it was aimed at kids, so there would be some sort of lesson or moral to each. Heck, I think there was more to learn from these shows than the so-called “E/I” tagged shows these days.

The acting wouldn’t win any awards, but again this was Saturday morning kid stuff and an early venture into live-action programming for the studio. I suspect it was perhaps more at the production level plus the inexperience of some of the actors. I didn’t care at 10 years old though, and I . The late, great Jonathan Harris, as he generally did, performed every scene with an all-in attitude regardless of the material, and could make everything work. Pamelyn and Brian, having the most experience, did seem to excel at delivery more than most.

Speaking of Pamelyn Ferdyn and Brian Tochi, a bit of trivia – the two had previously worked together in the episode “And the Children Shall Lead” in the original Star Trek, where they were two of the children who took over the ship. And I have to say, I had a crush on Pamelyn back then – she had such a cute face and I recognized here across her many guest appearances on various shows, including The Odd Couple and The Brady Bunch.

Guest appearances were hit-and-miss. Not because of the performances but the characters were a bit…odd. Again because it’s a kids show, it seems like they would choose a guest character to be visually interesting to a kid, but not necessarily in a way that fits the role the character is in – I want to say more clownish/comical, but not really that. Just as an example, in the episode “Johnny Sunseed”, the eponymous character is there to inspect the Academy, but the portrayal and dress of the character is more like someone who would be panning for gold in the Old West with a twist of pirate including a parrot on his shoulder. He’s also a technophobe inspecting one of the most advanced space stations…

If some of the voices sound familiar, you’ve probably heard them many, many times on other Filmation shows. Even Lou Scheimer himself is uncredited as a voice in a couple episodes. I recognized the voice from other cartoons, but never realized it was Lou! Even some of the live action guests were better known for their voice work, such as the aforementioned Johnny Sunseed, played by Dal McKennon, who’s voice work includes Lady and the Tramp, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and over a 100 others.

And in the spirit of “don’t build a new one if you can re-use what we have”, not only does a heavily modified Robby the Robot make a guest appearance, but all the sounds and incidental music were recycled, mainly from Star Trek and Star Trek: The Animated Series. And then ultimately, after the show ended the sets and models got re-used in a sequel series, Jason of Star Command – which should show up in a Retro Review soon as well!

Despite it showing its age and probably not appealing to a modern science fiction fan, I still LOVED this show. I’m so glad I finally took the time to watch it again. I miss being a kid.

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Doctor Who: Tom Baker Season 1 on Blu-ray!

by on Apr.02, 2018, under Television, Video/DVD

For the first time, classic episodes from the Tom Baker years of Doctor Who will be released on Blu-ray in the U.S.!

Tom Baker’s entire first season, Season 12 of the classic series, will be released as a single unit as Tom Baker Season 1, consisting of 6 discs. All the episodes, plus all the extras that were on the individual DVDs will be included. In addition, all new extras will be added, including an all new candid interview with Tom Baker; “Behind the Sofa”, watching various clips with Tom Baker, Philip Hinchcliffe, Louise Jameson, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Sadie Miller; new “making of” for “The Sontaran Experiment” and “Revenge of the Cybermen”, and more!

If this sells well, we can expect more such releases of the classic series!

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Sharknado to get sixth – and final – installment

by on Mar.29, 2018, under Television

Yes, my friends…we will see more chainsaws and sharks and Ian Ziering…SYFY has given a green light to a sixth and final entry in the camp movie franchise…and this one will have time travel!

Finn (Ziering), left in a world devastated at the end of Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, will apparently travel back in time in an attempt to stop the very first Sharknado – and if successful it will be as if it never happened…some may wish it never had. 🙂

Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassie Scerbo, and Vivica A. Fox will all be back as will director Anthony Ferrante. I’m sure in the coming weeks we’ll start hearing the list of guest stars and cameo appearances.

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Krypton premiere nets 2.6 million viewers

by on Mar.28, 2018, under Television

SYFY’s untold Superman series Krypton, premiered to an audience of over 2.6 million people in the Live+3 ratings, the best new series premiere on the network since Ascension in 2014. Krypton debuted on March 21 and was the #1 entertainment program on cable for the night.

The show was the #1 entertainment program on cable in total viewers on its premiere night, beating Riverdale in all key demos, and was the best cable genre series premiere in key 18-49 demo since Legion on 2/8/17.

Set 200 years 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. 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) 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 (Black Mirror), 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.

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Star Trek Discovery bonus scene from WonderCon

by on Mar.25, 2018, under Television

At WonderCon this weekend CBS released a deleted scene from the finale of Star Trek Discovery that shows the return of a group suspected to be behind the “black badge” Starfleet members, and show where the show is heading in its upcoming second season.

Note: The scene may present spoilers if you’d rather wait, or if you haven’t finished watching the first season…so stop reading now.
(continue reading…)

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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.
(continue reading…)

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