Category Archives: Tv shows

Visual guide to the Expanse

I have made no secret about the fact that I think the Expanse is bloody great. I am currently in that painful period between both Expanse books and TV series. It has given me more time to do other things with my life, I guess, but it still sucks.

Anyway. Because I am a fan and the internet these days knows everything about me, I get sent a lot of Expanse related material and came across a nice little infographic guide thingy. In case you are solely ensconced in the TV show and have short term memory I thought it could be handy. The books are now a lot more complicated and would require something colossal! This is well done and has also has a cool title. Go Rocinante!

Game of Thrones Seasons 1 to 6 recap

Game of Thrones season 7 is back on air tomorrow night on HBO and will be downloaded by most of the planet an hour later. (Not me, I hasten to add.) I was toying with rewatching seasons 1 to 6 but I am currently in the middle of rewatching all of Twin Peaks so just don’t have the time. Thankfully there are a lot of people on the internet who do have the time and have compiled a handy recap.

So without further ado, here is everything that happened:

Into the Unknown – Exhibition at the Barbican

I saw ‘Into the Unknown – A Journey through science fiction’ a couple of weeks ago. If you like science fiction and are in London, I highly recommend it. It consists of quite an eclectic group of science fiction artefacts, pictures, installations, models and videos. Here is the blurb:

“The genre-defining exhibition of art, design, film and literature.

From the 19th century cabinet of curiosities, to the vastness of space. Through future cities, into the inner landscapes of human perception.

Uncover the mysterious lands of Jules Verne and Ray Harryhausen where Science Fiction narratives first took root. Venture on an odyssey into our solar system, with vintage artwork promoting Soviet visions of space alongside immersive work by Soda_Jerk. Visit a gallery of aliens, and stand alongside iconic spacesuits from a galaxy of blockbusters including Star Trek and Interstellar.

Imagine dystopian worlds with Margaret Atwood and 28 Days Later. Then, with nowhere left to explore but human consciousness, delve deep and experience the transformation and mutation of the body through the eyes of Jack Kirby and Ex Machina.

Curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger, this festival-style exhibition consists of more than 800 works, many of which have never been seen in the UK before. Continuing across the Centre, it includes artwork from Isaac Julien, Larissa Sansour and Conrad Shawcross, and an installation from the creators of Black Mirror.”

I struggled a bit to find a common theme at ‘Into the Unknown’ but maybe there wasn’t one. Just lots of science fiction goodness.

The main room has a huge smorgasbord of stuff – old magazines, video clips, models, props, outfits, books, comics and more. I really enjoyed it and even spotted a couple of books I hadn’t read. There is an interactive bit from the Martian, which was quite fun and some superb models from Harryhausen and designs based on the awesome HR Giger. Near the end are the spacesuits used in films like Star Trek and Sunshine.

The exhibition continues elsewhere but they were a bit hit and miss for me. In the Pit, there is a kind of robotic arm that moves around shining a light. It was kind of cool – more like an art installation that looked scifi-ish than anything else. There was a short film in another room that was ok. In the entrance/exit there is an installation by Black Mirror which is intriguing if you haven’t seen the show – if you have, then it just makes you want to rewatch them all again.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Into the Unknown’ and would recommend it. The main room is the best bit and although it feels a bit random, the stuff on display is great.

Here are some more pics. Enjoy.

 

Game of Thrones new trailer

Game of Thrones season 7 is coming! There is a new trailer to prove it and it looks fucking incredible. I have utterly given up on the books now and it is pretty liberating to have no idea what is going to happen. I am pretty sure Cersei is doomed, however (I reckon eventually killed by her very loving bro Jaime). Plus. and this is a hopeful guess, there will be boobs and violence and dragons.

The new series of Game of Thrones is back on 16th July. Here is the trailer:

 

 

Star Trek Discovery trailer proves divisive

A couple of days ago I wrote about The Orville – a Star Trek parody that I hope will be good but I can’t help feeling on the fence about. In that case it was because it might not be funny. Now the Star Trek Discovery trailer has landed and I feel myself on a similar fence, except this time because is just doesn’t feel like should.

The trailer for Star Trek Discovery has divided the world into three camps – those who are Trek fans and think this looks great, those who are Trek fans and don’t like the JJ Abrams prequel-ness of it all, and non-Trek fans who are just getting on with their lives.

Now I will grudgingly admit that the trailer looks quite fun and seems well made with a decent budget, great cast and so on. If it had been a different series entirely, or even set after Voyager, I might even be massively excited. This is shiny new prequel Trek however, and while the films are fun and exciting, it isn’t exactly what I was hoping for when it comes to a Star Trek TV series. If asked, which I shockingly wasn’t, I would have requested something that continues the original timeline and looks like Star Trek before the Kelvin/Abrams reimagining. Something more character and story based, with less lens flare, action and see-through computer screens.

I know a lot of Star Trek fans are now sounding like whining little sad sacks but I understand where they are coming from. I guess it feels like the makers were unaware that there were a load of TV shows before the Abrams films. So they decided to make a prequel show that mirrors his ‘reimagining’ whereas most actual Trekkies want more stuff that feels like all the TV shows – and I am including Enterprise in that. I think I have just hit ‘peak prequel’. If something is going to look more technologically advanced, set it after the original.

I will stop bitching. Star Trek Discovery looks like it might be a good show with a great cast and the best effects yet. I just remain to be convinced that it is good Trek. Fingers crossed.

 

Seth McFarlane’s sci-fi parody ‘The Orville’ might be fun

THE ORVILLE: L-R: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Halston Sage, Penny Johnson Jerald, guest star Brian George and guest star Christine Corpuz in THE ORVILLE premiering this fall on FOX. ©2017 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

Seth McFarlane is the guy behind Family Guy, American Dad! and Ted. So if you like his humour you will probably like this. If you hate his stuff, then your course of action is pretty clear. Good for you. Personally, there are moments of his work that I find funny but on the whole, I can take it or leave it. But this is in space, so all bets are off.

I am hoping his live action science fiction comedy “The Orville” will be his best work yet because it looks like it has a lot of potential and appeals to my inner nerd. It is clearly a parody of Star Trek and if it is even half as good as Galaxy Quest, I will be very happy indeed. The difference between this and something like Family Guy is that the whole thing is set in a space with aliens and robots and so on, so it hopefully won’t be so reference-laden and desperate to shock. The effects look pretty decent too, although maybe that is just for the trailer. Oh, and it is also directed by Jon Favreau, who is generally pretty reliable.

We shall see. I like comedies set in space. I hope I will like The Orville. It is already pretty polarising on the internet but then everything is these days because people are opinionated idiots. (Fact, not opinion.) There is no official word on when it will be out, but it will be this year and on a Thursday. Here is the trailer:

 

The Expanse season 2 starts February 1st

The Expanse season 2 is due to kick off with a double episode premiere on the 1st of February. I am currently reading Babylon’s Ashes: Book six of the Expanse, so I am clearly a bit of a fan.

Season 1 was great, although I understand why some people found it a bit slow to start off with. The book was a bit like that too but when it gets going it is great. The first season just dealt with the events of the first half of book one, so there is a lot of exciting stuff still to come. If you haven’t read the books or seen the first series, I highly recommend you do both. The whole Expanse series of books by James S.A. Corey are a cracking read and I hope they carry on for decades.

There are quite a few Expanse trailers around, including a bizarre recap of season one using cats (seriously). This trailer came out a month ago but is bloody superb and should whet your appetite. I will be doing all I can to publicise the show because if another Firefly scenario happens, I don’t think I can recover. I’m officially very excited.

Rick and Morty

rick-and-mortyI haven’t reviewed a TV show in a while and as I have been binge watching Rick and Morty on Netflix recently, I might as well do that.

Rick and Morty is an animated science fiction comedy on Adult Swim. It follows the adventures of a genius alcoholic scientist and his grandson – Rick and Morty respectively. It is, to cut a long review short, absolutely brilliant. While it may not be quite as laugh out loud funny as Futurama (the obvious comparison), the scifi ideas and concepts explored are superb, thoughtful and generally pretty fun. Futurama has some pretty cool ideas but Rick and Morty explore slightly different areas.

Among other things, the show explores the idea of multi-dimensional existence. Rick, Morty, and sometimes the older sister Summer, are always popping through portals and occasionally meeting other versions of themselves. At times the show can be quite bleak in a nothing really matters and everything is just chance, kind of way. This existentialist element can get a bit much for some I guess, but I like it. Some quite violent stuff happens to some of the characters, even the main ones, but it doesn’t really matter in a multiverse. Rick frequently destroys entire worlds but if you can just pop to another universe where everyone is ok, it becomes hard to care. Rick in particular is massively selfish, amoral, and just enjoys science without much thought to consequence.

I am getting a slightly deep but basically, if you like science fiction that explores philosophy and deep scifi ideas, but also has drunk people, chases and lots of aliens, then Rick and Morty is worth a watch. I love it. It is on Netflix but you should be able to find it elsewhere if you are vaguely intelligent. Season 3 is due out sometime soon-ish.

To give you an example of the sort of thing you can expect, here is a brief clip that is vaguely reminiscent of Star Trek Next Generation episode “The Inner Light”. Just to give you an insight into the moral ambiguity of Rick, just before this clip, he had invented an incredible gun which he then sold to a hit-man so he could play games.

While I’m at it, here is a Rick and Morty in the Simpsons couch gag. Enjoy:

 

John Cleese recaps The Walking Dead seasons 1-6

The Walking Dead season 7 is coming

The Walking Dead season 7 is coming

I love The Walking Dead. It is so damned bleak and gory and filled with really horrible violent people. Brilliant. It explores the idea that if there is an outbreak of zomb- I mean Walkers, what would happen? Mostly the conclusion is that most of the survivors would be a bit psychopathic and no one would thinking of heading for sea or remote islands or anything. Or maybe they do and the whole show just follows all the nutters around as they are more interesting.

Possibly in an attempt to lighten the mood somewhat, UK streaming service – Now TV – hired John Cleese to do a recap of everything that has happened for the whole of Walking Dead seasons 1 to 6. Damned funny it is too. Just like the show, there is a fair amount of gore. But this time you’re laughing, so it is ok.

The Walking Dead is back with season 7 on October 28th. I can’t wait. Zombies! I mean Walkers! (Seriously, why can’t they say zombies?) Here is Mr Cleese. Enjoy.

(Thanks Screen Rant for the image)