11/30/2009

In the past, when trying to watch the adventures of the time-traveling "Doctor Who", the time difference in Britain and America has been annoying. At one point, BBC was a whole season ahead of "The-Channel-Formerly-Known-As-Sci-Fi", which made it impossible to get news without a tsunami of spoilers like "Can you believe Doctor Who has a daughter?" The same is true of the final episodes of David Tennant as the tenth Doctor and Russell T. Davies' as its executive producer and lead writer. According to rave reviews I am forced to evade from "the Guardian" and "The Telegraph" it's stupendous.

While "Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars" has already aired on November 15th and been enjoyed by 9.1 million people, here in the United States we'll have to wait almost a month before it airs. So, for those of us that don't want to download watch it on BitTorrent, here is the schedule on BBC America:
  • "Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars" airs Saturday, Dec. 19th at 9/8C
    On Mars in the year 2059, the Doctor encounters the first human colony commanded by one of his old companians, Captain Adelaide Brooke. The last recorded message from the base is a warning: "Don't drink the water. Don't even touch it. Not one drop."
  • "Doctor Who: The End Of Time: Part One" airs Saturday, December 26th at 9/8C
    "Its the Tenth Doctors final journey – but his psychotic nemesis the Master has been reborn, on Christmas Eve. With both determined to cheat death, the battle ranges from the wastelands of London to the mysterious Immortality Gate, while the alien Ood warn of an even greater danger approaching, as a terrible shadow falls across the entire Universe." [tardis.wiki.com]
  • "Doctor Who: The End Of Time: Part Two" airs Saturday, January 2nd, 8:00pm ET/PT
    "The Doctor faces the end of his life as the Master's plans hurtle out of control. With the sound of drums growing louder, and an ancient trap closing around the Earth, the Doctor and Wilf must fight alone. But sacrifices must be made, and the deadly prophecy warns: 'He will knock four times.'" [tardis.wiki.com]
UPDATED: With recent airdates and descriptions

11/27/2009


  1. James Cameron hired a team to create an entire alien language and planetary biology for his movie "Avatar". This will only be interesting to the type of people who listen DVD commentary, and will be meaningless on-screen. Thankfully, I am one of those people.
  2. The last thing we need is another Ang Lee "Hulk". We dodged a bullet now that John Woo has come out and said he's not interested in comic book movies. 
  3. The guy who created a "wrist-mounted flamethrower" to replicate "Pyro's" superpowers must have spent eight months burning himself to a crisp. I'd market my DIY Wolverine claws, but I only have ten fingers.
    TOSS-UP: Wrist-mounted flamethrower or life-sized Tauntaun costume? I would take the flamethrower although mastering it, and even using it, would guarantee me a regular bed in the ER.
  4. "Lee Majors Rechargeable Bionic Hearing Aids" is the most pathetic thing I've ever seen. But, even sadder is "The Six Million Dollar Man" didn't have bionic hearing, which means that Lindsay Wagner must have turned them down first.
  5. The  Evolution of the Superhero Movie chart is really cool since it shows how far the genre has come, but I'm suprised that 1989's "Punisher" is the biggest box office bomb.
    ODDSMAKERS: Iron Man 2 will beat the current superhero opening record of $151 million ("Spider-Man 3"). I say there's a 76% chance the film will beat the record since it's rare for a sequel to beat the original.
Image taken from LATimes.com

11/25/2009

In the tradition of Clue: The Movie, there's an unlikely movie adaptation of a board game in the works. That's because the game Monopoly is coming to the big screen. Why are we talking about Monopoly in GeekTwins? Because they've added a sci-fi twist. Apparently, the movie will take a page from Alice in Wonderland. The story, according to an interview in the LA Times, will involve a real-estate executive obsessed with the game Monopoly who ends falling asleep during a marathon session of the game and wakes up in a world that mirrors the game. He finds himself in Monopoly City, where they use Monopoly money as currency, and the Parker Brothers are an evil entity to be destroyed. It sounds like the screenwriter made only cursory nods towards the game, though. He says that he worked the different game pieces in as background material (a wheelbarrow goes by, a sports car drives up), and he made Uncle Pennybags a maƮtre d' in a restaurant. A restaurant? For crying out loud. It doesn't sound that great to me...sounds kind of hokey...but it sold Ridley Scott, who begged to direct it.

My take? I would've taken a page from Pirates of the Caribbean and made a story that mirrors (but isn't entirely revolving around) the source material. I would've made a story similar to Wall Street, where two scheming CEOs battle it out through business dealings and corporate espionage. The main character is the nephew of of an old-school Nelson Rockerfeller-type (nicknamed Uncle Pennybags) who made his money in the railroad and real estate. His uncle dies, and leaves his company to the nephew. The hero is plunged into the world of wealth and high-finance, but faces a hostile takeover by a high-tech Bill Gates-type of technological magnate. All the game elements are there (they go to Wall Street, buy hotels, the villain has a Scottie dog), but it's not so obvious. But I guess that's why I'm not a famous Hollywood screenwriter.

11/24/2009

An absolutely brilliant take on "The Portait of Dorian Gray" set against a backdrop of cloning.
eidolon.net: The Extra by Greg Egan
"The latest report offers a revealing look at why 'Spider-Man: Turn off The Dark' will be so expensive—the elaborate staging alone requires at least 40 stage hands to operate the musical's backstage rigging"
- MTV Splashpage about the upcoming Spider-Man musical.

This conjurers up images of forty sweaty guys hanging from cables desperately trying to prevent Spider-Man from doing a face plant into the front seats.
Image courtesy of MerryWankster

11/23/2009


Duke Nukem has fought many enemies like giant floating brains, aliens and mutated pig cops. Yet now an even more powerful force may kill Duke Nukem for good: economics. On May 8th 2009, 3D Realms abruptly fired everyone on the team developing the ironically named game Duke Nukem Forever. Take-Two Interactive, the company that owns the publishing rights to develop the game, is suing 3D Realms to try to rescue the twelve million dollars they put into the project. Reports of 3D Realms' clandestine off-shore accounts and wild parties drinking champagne from the bellybutton of scantily clad women abound*. As long as the lawsuit grinds its way through the court system, the character may not see the light of day on advanced consoles like XBOX 360 or PS3. But the saddest part is that Duke Nukem Forever won't be on the list of Wired Magazine's vaporware awards for its 12-year-long development time. *Sniff* I loved that joke.

UPDATE: Updated for clarity

*We made up that last part, but it's fun to think about.

11/20/2009

There was a particulary strange batch of news this week, but for some reason Star Trek won out. Go figure. In the comments you can agree or disagree.

  1. The New Clash of the Titans trailer makes me want to run into the street bellowing "O Fortuna", while swinging a light saber. But, what made the original a classic? It wasn't a compelling story or Harry Hamlin with his shirt off, it was Ray Harryhausen's amazing stop-motion creatures.  Without those, the film will be about as worthless as a Bill Cosby mask at a Twilight convention.
    ODDSMAKERS: What are the odds that Liam Neesen will not furrow his brow and glower menacingly for the camera in his next movie? I say 32%.
  2. Finding out Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher) did the voice for most of the Romulans in Star Trek 2009 once again proves my theory: We will never see an ex-Star Trek actor doing anything other than dancing for nickels with a paper hat on for geeks.
    TOSS-UP: Which would you rather be at a Star Trek convention: Brent Spiner or Walter Koenig? For me, Walter Koenig, because I never get tired of the words "alien wessel".
  3. That the producer of "Stargate: Universe" took time out of his busy schedule to rail on someone for writing a bad review shows he's cracking under the strain of bad reviews. Soon, he'll be galloping up to people on the street and pimp-slapping them for not liking Grandpa from "The Munsters".
  4. The guy who taught his son Klingon as his first language rivals Balloon Boy's dad as Worst-Father-of-the-Year. Klingon is a fascinating language, but to hold your newborn son and think, "I wonder if I can trick him into learning a fake language"? That’s creepy.
  5. TOSS-UP: Which sequel casting rumor is more likely to come true: Mayor Guyliner from "The Dark Knight" as Khan in "Star Trek 2" or Anne Hathaway as Black Cat in "Spider-Man 4"? I say Anne Hathaway is more likely, simply because I would personally beg J.J. Abrams on bended knee not to do a Wrath of Khan plot in the sequel.
    BONUS ODDSMAKERS: Since neither film has a script, the odds that neither character will appear in their respective film. I'd say 90%.

11/18/2009

There's an online campaign by the “nothing-better-to-do” crowd for Warner Bros to release a DVD of Bryan Singer’s original two hour and forty-five minute edit of “Superman Returns”.

So-called "director's cuts" can be fun. For example, the 2006 Richard Donner director's cut of Superman II is well worth the time since the original was seriously flawed. But, I don’t think a director's cut of Superman Returns would make much difference.

In the case of Donner, the studio re-edited the films without their involvement. But, Bryan Singer wasn’t pressured by the studios to make the cuts. In an interview in 2006 he said:
"No one told me to do it, to make these cuts. I had no time restrictions. Nor pressure whatsoever. I just felt the movie doesn't need this so I did something else instead...
The director's cut. No this is the director's cut. You just saw it. They don't tell me what to cut. I'm not in a place in my career that anyone tells me that I have to cut anything or put anything in."
- Superherohype

The proponents cite scenes like Clark Kent's return to Krypton as proof that the movie deserves to be seen its entirety. Would the newly cut film explain why Superman would abandon Earth to learn about his past? Yeah, it probably would. But, would the director's cut remove ludicrous scenes like Superman listening to the world from space or eliminate the storyline of Superman and Lois' son? This is about as likely as Lucas cutting Jar-Jar Binks out of the next Super-Duper, Super-Special edition of Episode I.

The movie is what it is. While a whole host of websites support the petition, a director's cut would be nothing more than a novelty for the average viewer. Watch the trailer below and see if it convinces you.


UPDATE: Rewrote the article so it doesn't read like a monkey jumping up and down on a keyboard.
So a few weeks ago, we saw an alien species arrived on Earth in giant flying saucers that hover menacingly over the major cities of the world...again. Of course, this happened in the original V mini-series. Then there was when Independence Day ripped off V. And now the premiere of the V series remake. It made me think about how aliens would introduce themselves. Would aliens really think, "Hey, here's what we'll do to announce our presence. We'll come screaming out of the atmosphere with no warning in our enormous ships, and hover menacingly for hours over all the major cities of the world." I think the 1950's plan of landing a single, small saucer on the front lawn of the White House makes more sense. Then again, these days the UFO would probably get shot down before it landed by pilots thinking it was a terrorist plot.

11/17/2009

Our love of fan-films ranges from the clunky to the brilliant, and Doctor Who: Alternate Empire is a fascinating entry into the field.

The show is set up as a mash-up between Doctor Who and Star Wars. The Doctor finds himself fighting  a group of aliens trying to conquer Taris IV from the Star Wars Universe.

The writing is top-notch and the acting is very well-done, but, the editing is bizarre with characters sometimes talking and then pausing while the cut changes. The special effects are adequate, but not spectacular.

Hopefully as the series continues we'll see the Doctor wielding a light saber. Light sabers make everything better.
We can't think of a scarier quote than the one below for the franchise.
"Harry Potter is a bit of a role model for us, absolutely." - Producer Lauren Shuler Donner said of the upcoming film "X-Men: First Class"

11/13/2009

Well, it looks like our earlier plea to put Dollhouse out of its misery was heard. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Fox has officially cancelled the show. It'll air its remaining episodes, so at least Joss Whedon will get a chance to put an ending on the series. And for those who want to argue, "It was cancelled too soon! Give it time! It was a great show!" My response would be, "Then why weren't you watching it?" The show had horrendous ratings this year, bottoming out at 0.8 two weeks ago. Of course, Whedon will blame the cancellation on network interference, an audience too stupid to appreciate his show, the lousy time-slot, anything other than the fact that the show was fundamentally flawed. He broke the number-one rule of writing any fiction - create a hero that the audience can care about. Echo was not that hero. Maybe next time, he can get it right. But it sounds like Whedon will be taking time off from TV for a while to create new and more thought-provoking entertainment like Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

11/11/2009

I'm glad that Morena Baccarin has gotten more publicity as the sinister alien Anna in the V series remake. She's a very good actress and stunningly beautiful, although I miss the long, curly tresses she had as the intergalactic hooker in Firefly. The great thing about her is that she has an eerie beauty that makes her a perfect alien. It's easy to imagine that aliens would deliberately take on an appearance with an ambiguous ethnicity to appeal to the most people (for the record, she's Brazilian). Plus, she's got some acting chops behind her with a calm but sinister demeanor. You can see why humanity would fall for the Visitors when she's their spokesperson, but there's a quiet evil behind the surface. Great stuff.

11/09/2009

Okay, so let's review. Battlestar Galactica was a re-interpretation of the Mormons' journey to Utah, filtered through Star Wars. Then came the Sci-fi Channel's...oops, I mean Syfy's...re-interpretation/sequel to the original series, which won critical and popular acclaim. Now comes the Battlestar Galactica movie, which will be a re-interpretation of the original series. That's right, Bryan Singer has signed on to direct a movie adaptation of Battlestar Galactica that will have nothing to do with the cable TV series. Instead, it will pretend the modern TV series never existed and do their own version of the original seventies' version.

Confused? Why would anyone remake something that was already re-made and popular to begin with? Well, this version is going to be written by Glen A Larson, the original creator of the series. He didn't care for the new version, and thought it changed too much. That means he won't throw everything into the trash and start over like the Syfy version did. Personally, I'm not going to foam at the mouth like a lot of the geeks are doing. I was one of the few geeks who didn't care for the ultra-depressing, robot sex-laden version of Battlestar Galactica. The original seems a little naive now, but it had a sense of fun that the Syfy version didn't. Now I'm not saying we need to put in a space disco, but I can totally see how someone could come up with a new version that is faithful to the original without its flaws.

Image taken from Giantfreakinrobot.com

11/06/2009

When I heard they were making a movie out of the awesome Twilight Zone episode Button, Button, I was delighted and confused. The episode is great, a meditation on greed and selfishness, with a haunting twist ending. But, I asked myself, how do you stretch that into a movie? Well, it turns out that the movie The Box extends the story to answer the question the original never did: where the box came from. Personally, that seemed to me a mystery not to be solved, but I could see where you could get some traction with it. Anyway, turns out the whole thing was a failed exercise. Movie's getting bad reviews, but it sounds like the problem is not with the premise, but with the director. Richard Kelly, the writer and director of The Box, is being widely panned. Seems like his career will end up peaking at Donnie Darko, which was a great film.

On a side note, it turns out that the Twilight Zone episode was based on a short story by Richard Matheson that had a completely different plot and ending. Not bad. Both, I think, have their merits, but I prefer the TV version. The original short story is a little too close to The Monkey's Paw.

11/04/2009

Those are the words that greeted us when we tried to log in to Geocities today.  The now famous web hosting service that ushered in a whole world of websites, some good, most horrible, has shut down.  Created by David Bohnett and John Rezner in late 1994, the service became unavailable on October 27, 2009. 
The site allowed millions of people to create web pages with no knowledge or interest in HTML or web design sense.  Back when the BLINK command was essential, and you could download millions of different colored bars and buttons, using them all on one page.  Once host to millions of web pages, competition from other free hosting sites (ex. Angelfire, Tripod) and social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace slowly dwindled market share till it bacame unprofitable.

Rupert Goodwins, editor of the ZDNet website, described GeoCities as "the first proof that you could have something really popular and still not make any money on the internet."

Sadly, we heard the news too late to save some of our fan sites. Of course, we never looked at them in almost two years, but we would have liked to save them for posterity.  If only we'd known about the digital museum http://geocities.ws/ we could have saved it there too.  Anyway.   There's speculation that it's possible the pages are still available if we sign up for Yahoo's paid web hosting service, but we're not that interested.

Good bye Geocities. We hardly knew ye.

BONUS LINK: Wired has a splendid recreation of every awful Geocities site. *Sniff* We just need a minute...

UPDATED: Fixed the typo "would have liked to dave them for posterity". Thanks "TheForce.net" forum. LOL

11/03/2009

There are many debates that rage through the annals of geekdom. Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Picard vs. Kirk. Batman vs. Superman. But there's one question that rises above them all: lightsaber vs. Superman. Specifically, can a lightsaber cut through Superman? The question first gained notoriety from a posting in Yahoo Answers that is hilarious in the answer's sincerity. Gizmodo took a serious tackle at it as well, but it turns out this battle raged at the force.net six years earlier.

Personally, I say no. Not because of some fanboy "Nothing-beats-Superman" logic or technical minutiae, but because of this point that is brought up multiple times: in Episode 1, we saw that the lightsaber can instantly cut through anything except a blast door. That took a while. That means there are limits to the lightsaber's cutting power. I have to believe that Superman is denser than a blast door. The question implies a combat situation, where Luke Skywalker is fighting Superman. If Luke wants to cut Superman, I imagine the lightsaber bouncing right off Superman's body. Then Luke holding Superman down while he forces the lightsaber into Superman's chest. Not gonna happen.

11/02/2009

Tomorrow, the reboot of the classic 80's mini-series "V" will begin on ABC (8\7pm central). We have a lot of fond memories of this show. One especially vivid one was the heated discussion of whether the alien baby would be human or alien (it as twins so they were both right).

We have high hopes for the show. Having watched the clips and first nine minutes it seems suitably creepy and has an ominous tone.  While original creator Kenneth Johnson may be hoping to make a low-budget movie some day, we're hoping that he stays out of it and this succeeds where other reboots have failed: Capturing the spirit of the show while updating weaker parts to make it stronger.

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