Category Archives: Tv shows

Twilight Zone to return as BBC radio drama

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

Original Twilight Zone and Rod Serling

‘You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!’

There are numerous versions of the above opening but they are all pretty similar and are all pretty damned awesome. I love the original black and white Rod Serling-helmed Twilight Zone. Maybe the newer ones were good – I never saw them – but the fact that channels like Syfy and streaming services like Netflix always play the original shows, makes me wonder if the newer ones might not be the best. I saw the 80s film and it was ok, as far as I remember, but certainly no better than watching several original episodes in a row.

Maybe I am just a fan of Rod Serling or maybe it was that the stories were written by some superb talents. Writers included Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Serling (obviously) and many more. There were also stories adapted from the brilliant tales of writers like John Collier, who wrote the superb short story collection ‘Fancies and Goodnights’, and Ambrose Bierce who is probably most famous for his ‘Devil’s Dictionary’ and also for a great story called ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’.

Which is my rather long winded way of introducing the first Twilight Zone radio play in a new series on the BBC. ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’ was first published in 1890 and is a non linear tale set during the American civil war. It was then a short silent film, and was then adapted to an ‘Alfred Hitchcock presents…’ episode, then a Cannes film festival and Academy award winning short film. It was this latter version that was then adapted for the Twilight Zone. It is a cracking tale and will be the first of a series of 10 adaptations that will air on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I highly recommend Radio 4 Extra and I highly recommend the Twilight Zone. According to the Independent the new radio series will feature actors like Jane Seymour, Jim Caviezel, Michael York, Malcolm McDowell and Don Johnson. As you can tell, I am pretty damned excited about all this. I love “Golden Era” scifi stories with a twist in the tale and Rod Serling’s Carl Sagan-like voice is a superb start to any show and I am sure Stacey Keach, his replacement, will put in a pretty good effort.

The radio series starts in March and will will air on Saturday nights. Check BBC Radio 4 Extra for details.

 

Game of Thrones Season 6 teaser

Game of Thrones Season 6

Game of Thrones Season 6

I wouldn’t hold your breath for the next Game of Thrones book but the TV show seems pretty damned reliable. GOT season 6 will be here in April forcing me to make the horrible decision of whether to watch it episode by episode, or hide from the internet and spoilers for 10 weeks and binge it. I suspect the former as I am weak.

Frankly the teaser it reveals next to nothing except that Games of Thrones is going to be bleak and full of death. Which isn’t much of a reveal. Still, it got me excited. Enjoy.

 

The Expanse Pilot episode

The_Expanse_TVThe Expanse TV series is finally here. Well, technically it starts on Syfy on the 14th of December but you can watch the pilot online now. I was pretty nervous about it as I loved the books, but I am pleased to report it’s bloody great! I should warn you that the video below is only available to watch in the US, which is where most of my readership lives. For the rest of the planet, you will have to wait. Or if you even vaguely internet savvy, you might work out a way to watch it. I highly recommend you do you so (obviously legally). Here is the Expanse pilot episode:

In case you are one of the poor bastards who were unable to watch this episode and lack the creative internet skills necessary to find it online, here is a 3 minute youtube clip about the worlds featured in the show. Not as good as a whole episode, but better than nothing.

Every Doctor Who story from best to worst

13 Doctor Who actors

13 Doctor Who actors

I saw this on io9 and just had to share. Doctor Who can be ridiculously hit and miss at times but no matter how much it misses, it remains a much loved TV show across the world. Probably because when it is a hit, it is just superb. Or maybe because so many of us grew up watching it. Or it’s just fun. Whatever.

Someone at the superb io9 site has rated every single episode and ranked it in order. Which is a superb achievement and I feel obliged to share the link. I know what I will be watching for the next few days. Enjoy:

Every Doctor Who episode from best to worst

Fastest spaceship in the galaxy

Fastest ship in the Universe

Fastest ship in the Universe

Han Solo claimed the Millennium Falcon could do the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Which is presumably a speed race with the winner being the spaceship that can go the furthest distance in a specific time, as a parsec is a measurement of distance. But Han Solo lived ages ago. Plus, it is possible that he and the Falcon are fictional.

What about other space going vessels that may or may not be real? Which one of them is the fastest spaceship in the universe? I have literally fallen asleep pondering this.

The good people at Fat Wallet have come up with a handy chart, rating tons of known fiction/non-fiction space ships for speed. The first half are rated by how much G they pull on acceleration. Once the speeds go past that of light (at which point we are talking probable fiction), then they are rated by light seconds.

I should point out I disagree with a few of these. What about when navigators in Dune fold space, or popping into another dimension, or using wormholes? I’m thinking Skylark of Space, Babylon 5, DS9, Stargate (when a shuttle goes through a gate) and many more.

However, the fastest spaceship is unlikely but totally correct – you’ll see what I mean. I found this fun, so thought I would share.

(Thanks Fat Wallet http://www.fatwallet.com/blog/fastest-ship-in-the-universe/)

Fastest-Ship-in-the-Universe_IG

 

Minority Report TV show

Minority report TV show

Minority report TV show

I don’t care what you think of me, I quite enjoyed the Minority Report movie. Right up until most of the ending when it all turned to treacle and was all ‘Spielberg-nice-and-huggy-and-happy’ and shite. I hated the end of that film. I would like to have seen Tom Cruise successfully do his thing, but the pre-cogs get caught and go back under into that pool thing, trapped with no freedom but stopping murders and helping society. This way you have a bit of a moral dilemma. Obviously someone like Spock would just say, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. So fuck’em.’ And I guess he’d be right.

I digress, but only a bit. As the title suggests, there is going to be a Minority Report TV show where one of the pre-cogs is roaming around and  gets a bit of a vision but not enough to solve much. Society is going back to being all “murdery” as the pre-cogs had escaped. It seems he will team up with police woman and they will solve crimes. So quirky guy and no-nonense, hot, kickass female cop form an unlikely bond. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Castle, The Mentalist, Sleepy Hollow, etc. I actually enjoy most of the times this pairing happens in TV shows, so I’ll allow it.

This post was originally twice the length as it descended into a rant about big budget scifi being cancelled after a series or two but I will save that treat for another time. Hopefully this will be good and will last. To be fair, it actually looks alright. Here is the Minority Report TV trailer:

 

 

Syfy and Amblin to make Brave New World TV show

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Syfy channel and Spielberg’s Amblin Television have just announced that they are going to make a TV show based on Aldous Huxley’s superb Brave New World. I have to admit, I have mixed emotions about this – and most of those emotions are negative.

On the one hand, I can’t help but get excited when a novel I like is being turned into a film or TV show. On the other hand, I have been disappointed the vast majority of the time. I know I recently got fairly excited by the prospect of The Expanse coming to TV, but the books are written so visually that I can almost see the TV show in my head. On the third hand, Brave New World is pretty much a novella and short stories can make great TV/films as they can go with the idea and not be too beholden to the source material. On the fourth – alright, bollocks to the whole ‘hand’ thing – another point is the fact that the best novellas are the length they are because they have a precise story in mind that is longer than a short story but has a definite end. A Brave New World has a definite end.

I’m a huge Orwell fan. Animal Farm and 1984  were perfectly complete stories that were far too long for a short story, but not quite book length.  They were the length they needed to be for the finite tale they told. The same goes for the perfectly written The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. (All of these have actually translated quite well into films as the novella is perfect film length.)

I just don’t think a Brave New World will translate into great TV. They should make it a movie or fixed-length mini-series. I guess we shall see.

New Power Rangers short

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 11.24.45 AMDo you remember the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers? If so, poor you. It sucked. I recently worked for a kids TV channel and had to watch a ton of the different Power Rangers on a daily basis and they were all dire. I grew up in Hong Kong and masked heroes from the 70s on kids’ TV were generally a lot cooler – Gatchaman, Masked Rider V3, and so on.

If you never saw the Power Rangers, the basic story is this: an evil alien witch, who had been imprisoned in a space container, escapes and decides to attack the nearest planet – Earth. Usually using robots or weird creatures. Another alien picks five teenagers and gives them the power to morph into a giant robot. They could also fight really well, which is what you want in a load of angsty teenagers.

Got that? Right. Well here is a short film starring Katie ‘Starbuck’ Sackoff, and James Van Der ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Beek in a gritty reimagining of how the whole story may have played out, if the annoying Power Rangers grew up to be attractive adults twisted by a life a violence. This new Power Rangers short movie is pretty well done, given the source material. Enjoy.