The 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Do 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.
The Expanse books are coming to Syfy and I’m incredibly excited. The trailer looks pretty good and they’re managed to show a lot of the characters without showing much of the action. According to Syfy it’s their most expensive product to date and if you’ve seen Sharknado 2 that’s no small boast. To be fair they are trying to get away from the Sharknado bollocks and make more science fiction so I should be more supportive.
I’ve written about every book in The Expanse series and raved about them but if you haven’t yet, give them a read starting with Leviathan Wakes. Each book feels like it’s a slightly different genre:
Leviathan Wakes – Noir detective / zombies.
Caliban’s War – Political / military
Abbadon’s Gate – Exploration / Arthur Clarke’s Rama
Cibola Burn – A bit like a Western
They are all great though and the recurring characters are awesome. The TV series seems to be just the first book but they have also included a character called Avasarala from the second, who is a brilliant character and is brilliantly cast. In fact the whole cast seems great and I knew the characters just by looking at them, so I that’s a positive sign.
Anyway, that’s enough waffle. Here is The Expanse TV series trailer:
The Great Martian World War is a documentary from the History Channel. I really felt like I should establish that first to give the whole thing a bit of gravitas. As far as I can tell it is basically a way to explain the First World War to people who are shallow or young. Which is kind of a noble thing right? The idea is this (from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3199240/):
“Documentary-drama recounting the Martian War of 1913 – 1917. Europe was on tenterhooks in the 2nd decade of the 20th century, everyone was expecting a Great War between the major European powers. But then, in 1913, something crashed into the forests of SW Germany. Troops were sent to investigate but were wiped out. Martian fighting machines began making their way across Western Europe and the countries of Europe combined forces to resist them. With aspects taken from “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells and from WWI itself, this dramatisation presents a documentary style look at events as they unfolded and the effect they had of our world today. Lots of references to real events including the mass attacks and defeats as men were thrown against machines on the Western front, the Christmas truce and the Angel of Mons, America’s isolationism and late entry into the conflict, the worldwide “Spanish” flu epidemic that killed more people than the war, and many other things.”
More info about the Great Martian World War can be found here: http://www.history.co.uk/shows/the-great-martian-war. Here is the trailer:
There have been a lot of foul, terrifying wars but WW1 is in the public eye right now with the 100 year anniversary of the outbreak. It is synonymous with innocence lost and a new type of conflict. WW1 was awful. The documentary was designed as a kind of desperate attempt to make kids (of whom a staggering percentage couldn’t tell you the century, let alone the participants) be slightly interested. The main battles are included so education and stuff happens. Remembrance is a good thing.
So with that all established, I give you a fan made video introducing the documentary with heavyish techno. It’s comes with a great soundtrack that basically works as an intro the the documentary. If you feel sad and a bit shocked about the devastation and reality of the horror faced by the people involved, then that is normal. It was an horrendous waste.
Some clever chap called Billy Hanshaw had an idea for a new Doctor Who opening sequence. He made the sequence and it went viral because the internet has both taste and a lot of nerds. Stephen Moffat consequently saw the clip and it is now the basis of the new credit sequence. Moffat obviously has permission from Hanshaw and the BBC are obviously going to add a couple of expensive graphics to it. But the new Doctor Who opening sequence is pretty much good to go already. Go internet and go creative Doctor Who fans!
A couple of new trailers have been released to drum up excitement for the new Doctor Who series. Which isn’t really needed but is appreciated nontheless. Thanks BBC! The first was released last month and is a taster for the series as whole:
The second is a trailer for the first episode ‘Deep Breath’
Annoyingly, Doctor Who season 8 (depending on how you judge these things) or the 12th Doctor’s first series or whatever you want to call it, starts on Saturday 23rd August 2014. Just after I leave England. If only there was some kind of advanced technology that will let me watch it…