Monthly Archives: May 2009

Torchwood Again: Bigger Than Last Time

by Irma Arkus

Oh Torchwood, how much I’ve missed you!

Torchwood is coming back with a 5-part special Children of Earth. The trailer is finally out and available for viewing (click here.)

Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner are executive producers, and they are also joined by Peter Bennet in that department.

Director of the “Children of Earth” special is none other than Euros Lyn who directed a slew of familiar stuff, including nine episodes of Doctor Who, including: The Girl in the Fireplace, Tooth and Claw, The Runaway Bride, and Silence in the Library.

Judging from his previous work, Lyn has a taste for fast-paced story-telling grandeur, assuring us that this will be the highlight of the summer.

Russell T. Davies is quite heavily involved with this special, as he himself has written the opening and the closing chapters of the special, the first and the last episode.

Davies is joined by James Moran, known for his writing of Doctor Who, Crusoe and Primeval. Moran has written the famed Doctor Who “The Fires of Pompeii” screenplay.

Additionally, John Fay is involved with the writing, and he has sharpened his tools with a bit of Coronation Street and Robin Hood.

The story brings back Captain Jack (John Barrowman), Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) to fight a danger that “throws the future of Torchwood and the entire human race spiralling into danger” says the BBC.

What we can glance from the trailer, the children stop. All children stop. All the children in the world suddenly stop, and turn into something manipulated by a dark alien force, announcing its arrival. And noone else is there to stop them, except for Torchwood. And the British army.

C. June Wolf is Giving It Away!

C. June Wolf has a free book giveaway on her site. Free book! You can win a copy of Finding Creatures and Other Stories, prefaced by Charles de Lint and signed by C. June Wolf herself, by merely posting a comment. A comment! That takes like…a second or something.


“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” Canceled?! Noooooo!!!!

by Irma Arkus

It is THE time. Summer approaches, meaning that many shows are either looking at cancellations, or crossing their fingers and hoping to get picked up. Which brings me to my sore point: “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” is canceled.

Despite the “Terminator 4” dangling Christian Bale, MCG’s efforts have proven to be less than successful, allowing Fox executives for a speedy removal of a show that has been actually quite good, but not good enough in ratings.

Why people did not watch Sarah Connor Chronicles is a mystery.

The show not only goes back to basic science fiction premise established by James Cameron, depicting machines from the future in an attempt to manipulate the past in order to kill the leader of the human resistance from their time line, but also features solid cast, an interesting story arch, and fantastic action sequences.

Lena Headey and Summer Glau most definitely bring something to the screen. Even though Headey was impossible to imagine as the tough, gun-wielding matron, she did an amazing job at doing the gloomy Sarah Connor, brooding over her son’s future apocalyptic struggle.

But that is not the only thing that made this show into pure source of entertaining awesomeness. We’ve been missing strong female characters, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles brought it on by the handful. Both Glau and Headey performed exquisitely as two ladies that surpass anyone in the action department.

And let’s not forget marvelous Shirley Manson who managed to deliver outstanding role of the cold steel mama, Catherine Weaver: a sophisticated liquid terminator pretending to be a shadowy industrialist, who is pursuing her own agenda, separate from other machines, refusing some day in the future, to join Connor in his task.

Furthermore, the writing deserves a mention. Introduction of Glau’s character, Cameron, who happens to be a sophisticated, new generation of Terminators, starts to pose questions of what the machines are attempting in the present and the future. The question of what they might be evolving in to and why, presents juicy enough material to keep you seated and thinking about possibilities.

While “possibilities” seemed endless, the show itself is unfortunately looking at the deep dark end.

I guess we’ll never find out how John Connor grows into the post-apocalyptic warrior and mastermind. I am just glad I got to see some of it. If you’ve been missing this one, I highly recommend you get a copy and watch it.

Leo Awards: We Like Mostly Sci-Fi

by Irma Arkus

I am running a tad late reporting this, as Leo Awards were held a few days back, but the fact that so many awards were handed to science fiction shows is worty of note.

Unlike in other parts of the world, where science fiction gets a mere mention for a great FX, CGI or costumography, Canada seems just fine with its huge number of science fiction productions.

Indeed, this year’s Leo Awards honoured quite a few achievements on popular sci-fi shows and fan favorites.

Amongst notable winners, Brad Wright won for Best Screenwriting in a Feature Length Drama for his work on “Stargate Continuum,” joining Paul Sharpe, Iain Pattison, Graeme Hughes for Best Sound on same production.

None other than Michael Shanks won for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama, also for “Stargate Continuum,” while Amanda Tapping won for Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series for Sanctuary “Requiem.”

Joining our Stargate champions on Leo Awards is also Tyler Labine, winning Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series for Reaper “Coming to Grips.”

I am still coming to grips that Reaper is considered a “dramatic series,” rather than comic relief.

List of other winners as following:

Best Dramatic Series
Stargate Atlantis
Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie, Brad Wright, Robert Cooper,
Carl Binder, Martin Gero, Alan McCullough, John Smith – Producers

Best Direction
in a Dramatic Series
Robert Cooper
Stargate Atlantis – Vegas

Best Screenwriting
in a Dramatic Series
Alan McCullough
Stargate Atlantis – The Queen

Best Cinematography
in a Dramatic Series
Michael Blundell
Stargate Atlantis – Vegas

Best Picture Editing
in a Dramatic Series
Mike Banas
Stargate Atlantis – Vegas

Best Overall Sound
in a Dramatic Series
Kelly Cole, Patrick Ramsay, Bill Mellow,
Joe Watts, Hugo De Le Cerda, Kevin Belen
Stargate Atlantis – Enemy at the Gate

Best Sound Editing
in a Dramatic Series
Steve Smith, Matthew Wilson,
Kirby Jinnah, Jay Cheetham, Jason Mauza
Stargate Atlantis – Enemy at the Gate

Best Production Design
in a Dramatic Series
James Philpott
Smallville – Quest

Best Costume Design
in a Dramatic Series
Valerie Halverson
Stargate Atlantis – The Queen

Best Make-Up
in a Dramatic Series
Todd Masters, Nicholas Podbrey,
Sarah Pickersgill, Harlow MacFarlane
Sanctuary – Warriors

Best Visual Effects
in a Dramatic Series
Mark Savela, Shannon Gurney,
Kodie MacKenzie, Viv Jim, Dan Weir
Stargate Atlantis – First Contact

Best Guest Performance by a Male
in a Dramatic Series
Ryan Robbins
Sanctuary – Edward

Best Guest Performance by a Female
in a Dramatic Series
Gabrielle Rose
Sanctuary – Edward

HiSciFi – Jody Thompson on Alien Trespass, Flash Gordon, and more Star Trek!

This week we have Jody Thompson as our guest, an actress who has a mile-long list of shows to her credit, many of which happen to be our favorites.

She tells us of her experiences on Flash Gordon, as well as her role in the fabulous remake of Alien Trespass, a film that is to appeal to all lovers of classic B-Movies, and pin-up goodness of days gone by.

We also give you the goods on Bisphenol-A, and we simply cannot stop talking about Star Trek.

HiSciFi – Jody Thompson on Alien Trespass, Flash Gordon, and more Star Trek!

Hail Return of “V” The Series

by Irma Arkus

We’ve been waiting this for years. If you’ve been a long time listener, than you are well aware that amongst the shows we’ve been mulling over as worthy of a restart, “V” has always been on our minds. And our wishes are coming true.

The trailer for the pilot of “V” remake by ABC network is already out, and worthy of your attention (view it here).

Scott Peters, known for his work on 4400, is writing for the show. And the pilot, as well as the series promise a revolving door of familiar faces. Morena Baccarin, familiar to all as Inara Serra of Firefly, or feared Adria of Stargate, is going to be the face of Anna, the alien emissary.

Another Firefly face is Alan Tudyk, who will play Dale Maddox, and Scott Wolf of the “Party of Five” fame, will be Chad Decker, one of the humans caught in the events prompted by alien Visitation.

While the first show, made in 1983-84, features some budget-conscious television making, the premise itself was worthy of note. The Visitors, alien, technologically sophisticated, quickly engage in trade and diplomacy with leaders of humanity. Unfortunately, the Visitors are revealed to have ulterior motives, and though resembling humans, are actually bi-pedal lizards disguised as humans.

The lizard bit is not the most interesting part, as genetic compatibilities between humans and Visitors are established later on. Their appearance aside, it is the reaction of the human “leadership” that is most important, as speedy establishment of militarised society, aiming to preserve their relatively important technological trade with new partners, turn our society into a highly controlled one. Those deemed anti-Visitors are quickly dispatched into concentration camps without any broad questions by the media or public.

The first show was to question how society grows to ignore great tragedies and injustices, such as the Holocaust, examining whether our society would be willing to ignore human rgiths abuses for the sake of profit and benefits brought by the Visitors. By the time the fascist undertones of their brave new world become apparent to public, it is alas too late, leaving only a handful of human resistance members to fight off a major threat to the human race.

These messages were important in 1980s. They may be more important now than ever before.

Is Hentai Child Pornography?

by Irma Arkus

The latest news on Japanese manga are all about getting arrested.

A US manga collector, Christopher Handley, has been found guilty of possessing drawings depicting child pornography, after US Custom Service authorities examined the materials sent to Hendley’s home from Japan, and determined that it depicts sexual acts with minors.

For anyone familiar with manga and hentai…sexual acts constitute a great deal of content. And despite the fact that the experts brought into the case agreed, Henley has been convicted of owning child pornography, and is looking at sentence that may land him up to 15 years in prison.

The unprecedented action against Henley who according to his lawyer has collected *everything manga* rather than just comics with sexual content is causing waves of panic amongst collectors and fans of Japanese manga in US, and justifiably so.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is outraged, as this conviction means that many of comic book collectors and afficionados are in danger of being arrested and incarcerated. [CLBDF]

Scientology Banned From Wikipedia

by Irma Arkus

The Church of Scientology has stepped on too many toes, as it has officially been banned from contributing in any fashion to Wikipedia entries. While Wikipedia previously banned individuals from promoting their own agenda by re-editing the entries on Wikipedia, this is the first time that a high-profile organisation has been banned from doing so.

Today, the Arbitration Committee has blocked all IPs associated with the Church of Scientology.

The surprise move should actually not be such a surprise, as according to The Register article: “multiple editors have been “openly editing [Scientology-related articles] from Church of Scientology equipment and apparently coordinating their activities.” Leaning on the famed WikiScanner, countless news stories have discussed the editing of Scientology articles from Scientology IPs, and some site admins are concerned this is ‘damaging Wikipedia’s reputation for neutrality.'”

The main concern over the Church of Scientology contribution is the fact that “the [Church of Scientology] Office has organized massive efforts to remove Scientology-related materials and criticism from the web.”

This is not the only public relations crisis that the Church of Scientology is dealing with at the moment. The Church of Scientology could be dissolved in France, should the seven of its French leaders be convicted of organized fraud and illegal pharmaceutical activity.

The case in France may provide some illuminating information on how exactly the Church of Scientology gained so much power and money in a matter of decades, as the court case involves three plaintiffs who describe their astronomical expenditures for books, electrometers and “purification packages.” In one case, a plaintiff describes spending all her savings, and even taking out loans, in the sum of some $30,000 to purchase all that the church required of her. Upon changing her mind and deciding to leave the church, she requested a refund, and the church leadership refused her request.

Moreover, the issue that will be addressed in French court is not only the appetite for money, but also the willingness of the leadership to provide curatifs, mainly vitamins peddled at high costs to their followers. In this case, Church of Scientology acts as a “pharmacy.” [The Register, The Associated Press]

HiSciFi – Star Trek, Dan Payne in Icarus, Watchmen, BSG, Stargate and more!!!

This week on HiSciFi, we bring you reviews of Star Trek and Macros Frontier, and a special interview with Dan Payne, the actor who has pretty much been “that Wraith guy” in Stargate Atlantis.

Moreover, Payne is currently starring as Dollar Bill, a member of Minutemen in Snyder’s version of the “Watchmen,” and gives us the goods on his new role in Dolph Lundgren’s upcoming “Icarus” Payne is also spilling the beans on his experiences with Stargate SG-1, and Battlestar Galactica, and even gives us hints on the new and upcoming show “Defying Gravity.”

HiSciFi – Star Trek, Dan Payne in Icarus, Watchmen, BSG, Stargate and more!!!

Pirate Bay Review Judge Removed For Bias???

by Irma Arkus

The reveal of judge Tomas Norström presiding over the Pirate Bay Four case as a biased judge sent shockwaves through Sweden. Norstrom was found to be involved with a number of active copyright-reenforcement lobbying groups. The case, Pirate Bay Four lawyer stated, was biased.

Now, the plot thickens, as the judge Reviewing the case circumstances, Ulrika Ihrfelt, has been removed herself from involvement…for being biased.

Ihrfelt was to determine whether Norström’s judgment can be dismissed in favor of a re-trial. Now, however, due to the discovery that Ihrfelt herself is a member of those same lobbying groups, she will no longer be in charge of the investigation.

The plot thickens though – even if Ihrfelt was removed from the case, Swedish courts apparently have a difficult time finding members who are not tied to the lobbying groups. Currently, three new judges have been appointed to review the case appeal.

Even though the court stated that the three are uninvolved with pro-copyright lobbyists, simple Google searches confirmed otherwise. Anders Eka, for example, has been found to be tied to The Stockholm Center for Commercial Law organisation, whose members are also Monique Wasted and Peter Danowsky, prosecution lawyers in the Pirate Bay Four case who generally work on behest of movie and music industries.

Currently, it is the question of Norström’s bias that must be determined. And the results of the review will be seen in a matter of weeks. [TorrentFreak]