11/27/2010

For the entire run of Lost, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have insisted that the mysteries of the show would be answered. They claimed that there was a master plan all along, and that they knew the five-year run and even the ending all the way back in 2004. Now that the show has ended, and the run has ended, let's imagine two scenarios...

In September 2004, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse walked into the writer's room at Bad Robot Productions. They carried huge charts, graphs, and a stack of books.

Cuse started setting up the charts while Lindelof addressed the writers around the table. "Okay, so the pilot was a huge success, and we got the green-light for a full season of Lost. The basic idea is that this plane crashes on this mysterious island, and all sorts of weird things happen. You'll all be writing for the show, so you'll need to know the background. The details are in these show bibles, but here's a brief overview."

Lindelof turned to the charts that Cuse had set up on the whiteboard. He turned on a laser pointer and began highlighting the diagrams. "Okay, so in the first season, the survivors of the plane crash discover the island they crashed on isn't deserted. They run into a monster made of smoke, polar bears, and some other people on the island that they call 'The Others.' They also find a metal hatch that's been buried. Then they find out that the hatch is an underground research station, built by a scientific organization called the DHARMA Initiative. The DHARMA Initiative's been building research stations all over the island, and genetically engineering polar bears and sharks and birds. The hatch has a computer that they have to keep putting numbers into, otherwise it'll destroy the world. They also find out the plane crash was caused by an electromagnetic explosion, because the underground station exploded. Then in the third season, the survivors find out the Others have been living on the island for centuries. They killed and took over all this stuff from DHARMA, and they're trying to cure the condition that keeps them from having kids. The Others all follow this guy named Jacob. They later find out Jacob is an immortal being who’s trying to protect this light hidden in the center of the island. The light is the source of all life on Earth, and the island is the plug for it.

"So what happens in the last three seasons is that some of the survivors of the plane crash escape the island, but the ones who stay behind end up going backwards in time. When they do, they set off an atomic bomb to try to change history and keep themselves from ever being on the island in the first place. Oh, and they end up moving the island with this big wheel buried underground. Meanwhile, the ones who escaped the island come back to help the ones who were left behind. So there's two groups led by Jacob and his twin brother, who turns out to be the smoke monster in another form. He's evil and wants to escape the island, and fights with Jacob over the source of the island's power. There's also an alternate reality where the passengers were never on the island. In the end of that one, it turns out that they were all dead, and they're in purgatory. That's how the series ends. Any questions?"

All the writers raised their hands.

Cuse patted the cover of one of the foot-thick books. "Don't worry. It's a little complicated, but all the answers are all in here. Wait'll you get to the part about the guy with the fake arm."

OR

In September 2004, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse walked into the writer's room at Bad Robot Productions. They carried some small notepads.

Cuse sat down while Lindelof addressed the writers around the table. "Okay, so the pilot was a huge success, and we got the green-light for a full season of Lost. Now, we want this show to keep the viewers guessing, so they tune in each week to find out what happens next. We need to put in all sorts of crazy stuff. We had a polar bear in the first episode, a weird monster that we never saw that made mechanical noises, some numbers, and one guy's dead father coming back to life. More of that would be good."

One writer raised his hand. "How about a ship in the middle of the island?"

"Love it," said Lindelof.

"Yeah," said another writer, "and we see the statue of a foot. Just the foot, nothing else. And it's only got four toes."

Lindelof nodded. "Good stuff. Keep it coming."

Another writer raised her hand. "But what happens down the road? Don't we have to explain all this stuff we come up with?"

Lindelof waved his hand. "Ah, don't worry about it. The audience won't care about the little things, just the big picture. And the show might not even last past a season or two. If it does, we'll come up with something."

Which scenario is more believable?

11/24/2010

After going through the just-released Green Lantern trailer frame by frame, I found some pretty amazing reveals in the trailer. Here are some of my favorites:
Abin Sur is dying and apparently has sustained some pretty terrible wounds. How so? And what's with the spaghetti-looking body damage?

Someone appears to riding in some kind of weird vehicle. In the movie, the Lanterns use vehicles to travel great distances. Is that Sinestro in there?

The planet Oa. What are the plumes of light coming from the planet? We see these again later
Here we see Jordon and Tomar-Re looking out over Oa. The plumes of light are coming from some place deep underground and are so powerful they go into space. Tomar's suit has a scaly look to it.
Sinestro. The director has said hes not going to be evil in this movie, but he definitely looks sinister. Notice how his costume is slightly different from Hal's.

Hal uses his infamous giant green boxing glove. It's more like a fist here, though.
Sinestro is descending into what looks like an enormous glowing GL symbol. This is the power battery deep in the planets core. Notice the light in the background shooting into the sky.

Kilowog and Hal meet. Apparently, he has bad breath
The most revealing of all clips. What looks like Sinestro being blown back by a massive yellow power source. Is this the beginning of his move to the dark side and the appearance of Parallax?

Hammond is the main villain of the film and is apparently building some sort of vehicle.
A great view of how the suit is created over Hal's body. It spreads out from the symbol on his chest to his body. We don't know what happens to his clothes

Great shot of GLs costume. Looks great and has more shading than the previous shots we've seen.

11/22/2010

Boneshaker (Sci Fi Essential Books)TITLE: Boneshaker
PUBLISHED: 2009
AUTHOR: Cherie Priest
SYNOPSIS: In an alternate Seattle of the 1800's, an enormous drilling machine (nicknamed the Boneshaker) collapses half the city. As if the destruction wasn't enough, the Boneshaker releases a mysterious gas that transforms anyone who breathes it into a flesh-eating corpse. To prevent the gas from spreading, the city is walled in and abandoned. Sixteen years later, the son of the Boneshaker's inventor journeys into zombie-infested Seattle to find evidence of his father's innocence. His mother, Briar Wilkes, goes in after him to find a community of criminals and outcasts has made the city its home, along with an evil scientist with a mysterious connection to her husband.

A lot of modern sci-fi novelists are more interested with being scientifically accurate than fun, which is why I found Boneshaker so refreshing. Priest really captures the spirit of adventure and delivers great thrills and chills without worrying about science. The novel wears its steampunk setting on its sleeve with crazy steam-powered machines, and of course, airships. My only complaint would be that I thought Boneshaker didn't go far enough in its steampunk technology. No steam-powered computers or robots in this world.

But the reader is drawn into a fully-realized world. Hearing the characters describe the devastation of Seattle, it was hard to imagine anyone surviving inside its walls, much less living there. There was a sense of dread and excitement as Blair enters the walls, wondering what she would find. I won't say too much, because I don't want to spoil it, but Priest has done an excellent job of working out how and why society would survive inside the walls. You also get the feeling that there's more going on than just in Boneshaker. In the end, you're left wanting more, which is why I'm glad that Cherie Priest has written two more novels set in the Clockwork Century universe; Clementine and Dreadnought.

The characters are also very well-written. Briar Wilkes herself is a great heroine, ostracized for her association with her husband and the disaster, but strong and determined. We never really learn the background and motivations for most of the other characters, but they still ring true. The focus is always on the adventure, which is non-stop with gunfights, airship combat, and zombie attacks.

In an industry where readers spend hours analyzing whether an author's fictional planet is the right distance to its fictional sun, I'm amazed a novel like Boneshaker has not only been published, but embraced by the sci-fi community at large. The novel was actually a nominee for a Hugo Award for Best Novel. It gives me comfort that a great novel like this got the attention it deserved, and the sci-fi fiction industry hasn't completely lost its way.

Rating: 4 out of 4 geeks

11/19/2010

This week's new releases of geeky DVDs you'll love:


Avatar (Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition)Avatar (Three-Disc Extended Collector's Edition)
 Product Description: Experience the spectacular world of James Cameron's Avatar as never before with this all-new three-disc extended collector’s edition. The journey begins with three movie versions: the original theatrical release, the special edition re-release, and the exclusive extended cut not shown in theaters. The set's bonus feature run more than three hours and include over 45 minutes of deleted scenes and a feature-length documentary on the film's groundbreaking production. The greatest adventure of all time just got bigger and better.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Scott Pilgrim vs. The World 
Product Description: Scott Pilgrim plays in a band which aspires to success. He dates Knives Chau, a high-school girl five years his junior, and he hasn't recovered from being dumped by his former girlfriend, now a success with her own band. When Scott falls for Ramona Flowers, he has trouble breaking up with Knives and tries to romance Ramona. As if juggling two women wasn't enough, Ramona comes with baggage: seven ex-lovers, with each of whom Scott must do battle to the death in order to win Ramona.

Dark Star - The Hyper-Drive EditionDark Star-The Hyper-Drive Edition
Product Description: In the mid twenty-first century, mankind has reached a point in its technological advances to enable colonization of the far reaches of the universe. DARK STAR is a futuristic scout ship traveling far in advance of colony ships. Armed with Exponential Thermostellar Bombs, it prowls the darkest reaches of space on a mission to seek out and destroy unstable planets ahead of the colonists. But there is one obstacle that its crew members did not count on -- one of the ship's thinking and talking bombs is lodged in the bay, threatening to destroy the entire ship and crew! John Carpenter's first major movie release, now in a new version.

11/17/2010

First, the results of the last poll. We asked whether you thought The Dark Knight Rises was a good title for the next Batman movie, and the results are in. They're decidedly mixed; both "I hate it" and "I love it" were tied at 41%. I think it's safe to say that geekdom in general is divided on the title. We'll see what happens when the movie's released. Thanks for voting!

Our next poll question is: "Were you satisfied with the series finale of Lost?" Were you disappointed that all the show's mysteries weren't resolved? Did you think the emotional resolution was more satisfying? You've got a week to weigh in, so go ahead and vote in the upper right corner. Feel free to sound off in the comments.

11/12/2010

1. Wonder Woman War - Lynda Carter and Megan Fox have gotten into a war of words over Wonder Woman. Rumors that Megan Fox would be playing Wonder Woman in the upcoming movie were dashed when she was quoted in the London Times trashing the superheroine:
"Wonder Woman is a lame superhero. She flies around in her invisible jet and her weaponry is a lasso that makes you tell the truth. I just don’t get it. Somebody has a big challenge on their hands whoever takes that role, but I don’t want to do it."
When asked about her comments on an episode of Fox and Friends, Lynda Carter responded in a very genteel way:
"Megan Fox actually kind of trashed Wonder Woman. She said she thought it was dumb, like 'what's the big whoop making people tell the truth.' I like her, I just thought she shouldn't trash Wonder Woman."
Monkey Migraine: As much as I hate to admit it, Megan Fox kind of has a point. But the comics have really toned down the goofy gear, and focused more on her physical strength, bulletproof bracelets, and given her the power of flight. So a movie would most likely do the same. I appreciate that Carter weighed in on this, although I wish she had started cursing and trashing Fox. And then I wish that Lynda Carter and Megan Fox would meet on the red carpet and get into a catfight, and tear their dresses off…sorry, where was I? Oh, yeah. Megan Fox has a big mouth. And on a personal note, I've always had a crush on Lynda Carter, and I think she still looks absolutely breathtaking, especially considering her age.

Maurice M: Megan totally misses the point. Forcing someone to tell the truth is the most useful superpower in the world. Just watch Lie to Me. The bracelets are kind of lame since you have to move your wrists fast enough to block them. She's just sour about getting kicked off Transformers. Good point about Lynda Carter, bro. Very hot.

2. Happy Trails, De Laurentiis - Dino De Laurentiis died at the age of 91. If the name doesn't ring a bell, then his resume will. Many of the iconic sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films of the last fifty years came from Dino De Laurentiis. He was the producer of Barbarella (1968), King Kong (1978), Flash Gordon (1980), Conan the Barbarian (1982), Dune (1984), The Dead Zone (1983), Cat's Eye (1985), and Army of Darkness (1992).

Monkey Migraine: Happy trails, Mr. De Laurentiis. Though the quality of his movies may be debatable, no one can argue about his enthusiasm.


Maurice M: The man was a giant in the film industry. It would be twenty years before someone else dared to remake King Kong. The man had guts. Happy trails indeed.

3. Happy Trails, Caprica - Last year, the big hyped SyFy channel show was the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica. They've just announced that there will not be a second season and they won't air the final episodes till later.

MauriceM: Happy trails, Caprica. The next time a boring sci-fi show about political intrigue and teenage robots comes along, we'll think of you.

Monkey Migraine: Never saw it, didn't plan to, don't miss it. But I hear the show has caused ripples through the sci-fi community. George Lucas is preparing a TV show that's a prequel to the prequel trilogy. It will be a series set in the period prior to the discovery of the Force, the lightsaber, and space travel. It'll be set on Tattoine before it was colonized; a weekly hour-long show about empty sand dunes. But seriously, Syfy has simultaneously green-lit another BSG prequel called Blood & Chrome, set during the Cylon Wars. This is the move they should've done in the first place.

11/10/2010

It was recently revealed by Chris Nolan that the Riddler (contrary to popular rumor) will not be appearing in the third of his Batman trilogy. That raised the question of which villains might be in the movie. Most of Batman's most popular villains like the Joker and Catwoman have made the journey to the big screen. However, there are still plenty of villains in the Rogues Gallery that have yet to make the journey. Here are six that I think would be the best.
Star Trek: U.S.S. Enterprise: Haynes ManualCongratulations to Scott Suehle, the hilariously named 8-bit Dad, for winning our latest contest. You' ve won a brand new hardcover copy of the Star Trek: U.S.S. Enterprise: Haynes Manual!

Thanks to everyone who entered:
• 8BitDad [Scott Suehle] (9 pts)
• Jrsskfeed (2 pts)
• TheCarManual (2 pts)

If you want a copy, you can still buy one from Amazon.com. Stay tuned for our next contest!

11/09/2010

This week's new releases of geeky DVDs you'll love:
 
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XIX [Limited Edition]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XIX Limited Edition
Product Description: You are cordially invited to step aboard the stranded Satellite of Love as its crew continues its ongoing assignment of viewing (and mocking) the most . . . ahem . . . misunderstood . . . films of all time! Join hosts Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson as they celebrate the very first and only 19th DVD box set of the hilarious cult phenomenon Mystery Science Theater 3000 with their loyal, albeit morally misguided, crew Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot and, of course, Gypsy! Episodes include: Robot Monster, Bride of the Monster, Devil Doll, and Devil Fish.

Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth SeriesDoctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series (2010)
Product Description: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan star as the new Doctor and his companion in an all-new series of Doctor Who. After his explosive regeneration, the Eleventh Doctor awakes to discover his TARDIS is about to crash! After falling from the sky, he pulls himself out of the wreckage to come face-to-face with young Amy Pond. The Doctor promises to take Amy to the stars. But first they must divert an alien plot that could destroy the Earth. The Doctor makes good his promise, and Amy boards the regenerated TARDIS, ready to take to the stars on a series of wild adventures that will change her life. As always, wherever the Doctor goes, his oldest enemies, the Daleks, are never far behind. They are hatching a new master plan from the heart of war-torn London in the 1940s. But they are not the only strange creatures the Doctor and Amy must face--there are also alien vampires, humanoid reptiles, the Weeping Angels, and a silent menace that follows Amy and the Doctor around wherever they go.

11/08/2010

In a recent interview in the Star Tribune about his new movie Morning Glory, the usually quiet Harrison Ford opened up about George Lucas' stilted dialogue. He says that on the set, Ford told Lucas exactly what he thought of it:
"I told him quite simply, 'George, you can type this (expletive), but you sure can't say it."
Guess that's why Ford famously changed and ad-libbed a lot of his dialogue, including the infamous response to Leia's "I love you" with "I know." Having seen very good actors woodenly reciting dialogue in the new trilogy, I can't disagree. [Source: Star Tribune]

11/07/2010

Well, the results are in on our last poll. According to the voters, Iron Man would mop the floor with Spiderman.

The new poll is about the recently revealed title for the third Chris Nolan Batman movie: The Dark Knight Rises. What do you think of it?

11/06/2010

The folks at Giant Microbes are at it again, this time introducing a line of plastic vinyl toys. These toys are departing from Giant Microbes' usual fare in that they're more expressive characters inspired by symptoms of illnesses. There's Sniffles (rhinovirus or runny nose), Ahh-lbert (streptococcus or sore throat), Bellie (dysentery or stomach ache), and Dr. Larkin (flu). You get some nice swag with each figure, too - a sticker, and an animated flipbook. I think this is a good direction, since it gives them more marketable characters. I don't know about you, but I can see Giant Microbes: The Animated Series.

11/05/2010

1. Enterprise-d: In a move destined to set the cause of geek-dom back thirty years, the Internet rose up in fury over the accidental naming of the Star Trek Enterprise. In an article on Australia's News.com site they accidentally referred to Captain Kirk's ship as the Enterprise-E instead of D. They were hit with so much hate mail they were forced to send out a retraction:
"There was no intention whatsoever to suggest Captain Kirk may have commanded the Galaxy Class Starships Enterprise-D and Enterprise-E. Any damage to the Star Trek brand incurred by the use of the term 'hyperspace' is regretful. No malice was intended and a correction to the original article will be made."
Is this an over-reaction or an under-reaction?

Maurice M: OVER-REACTION. Is anyone really going to think that Kirk was the captain on
Star Trek: The Next Generation because of a typo? Let it go, people. Australians are backwards, anyway.

Monkey Migraine: This is hilarious. All that fuss over a stupid letter that most people wouldn't notice. Just shows Trekkers are obsessive-compulsive. And the apology is hilarious. Like it was an insult to mix up the spaceships.

2. Batman Incorporated - In the latest issue of Batman and Robin #16, Bruce Wayne holds a press conference to announce that he is really Batman, and that he's starting a global organization called Batman Incorporated to fight crime around the world.

Maurice M: I was listening to a podcast where Gaiman was talking about this, but he was so vague that I wasn't sure what he was saying. He was saying this is going to focus on the Bruce Wayne side of Batman and make him more human. This is about the same level of idiocy as Superman walking across America. He's a force of nature. Batman's origin is based on cowardly superstitious criminals, not the U.N. Peacekeeping force. It sounds good in theory, but breaks down in execution. ODDSMAKER: Batman will retcon this incident in six months? 39%, because they're launching a new title. That will be hard to sweep under a rug.

Monkey Migraine: I don't know how to address this without launching into a rant. Maybe I will in a follow-up post. But the short version is:
  • Stop messing with our superheroes! That goes for DC and Marvel. No taking away powers, no more changing costumes, no more killing characters off, no more amnesia. Just let them be who they are.
  • Batman as a character is inherently mysterious. When people know who he is, it takes away from his power. Batman's no longer a primal force of terror. He's some rich guy in a costume. This is a horrible idea, is never going to last, and will take years to fix. Take a tip from Spiderman's unmasking that they had to have a deal with the Devil to fix
  • What's wrong with secret identities? Why do they keep trying to take them away?

3. The Dark Knight Rises - The other buzz this week is on the new Batman movie's title. Nolan announced that the new Batman movie is going to be The Dark Knight Rises. In the same article, it revealed that the Riddler will not be in the third movie.

Maurice M: The title is lame since it's named after the second movie and not the first. "Rise" is a lame title word, anyway. List of bad movies with "rise" in the title:
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Terminator 4: Rise of the Machines
Transformers: Rise of the Fallen
GI JOE: Rise of COBRA


Monkey Migraine: My opinion, I don't like it. I didn't like that he went with The Dark Knight for the second movie, but at least it was a cool title. Dark Knight Rises sounds lame. In fact, "rises" shouldn't be in any title. It's too passive. Batman doesn't rise, he swoops.As for the Riddler not being in the third movie,  that's disappointing. I thought Nolan could've done a good job, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great. So who'll the new villain be now?

11/01/2010

What do you do when you're stuck in the Delta quadrant and blow a warp core? Normally, you'd have to call an expensive tow truck, get towed to the nearest dealer and pay an arm and a leg to get it repaired.

Now, thanks to the good people at Haynes, you can repair it yourself and save some Gold-Pressed Latinum with their handy repair manual.

Haynes manuals are known for being written in plain English with clear pictures to help you repair your car. I've actually had a number of Toyota and Nissan manuals and found them invaluable.

Here's how they describe it.
"The U.S.S. Enterprise is without doubt the most famous starship in history. The vessels that have carried the name have saved the galaxy countless times and her captains, including Archer, Kirk, and Picard, have been legendary.
This Haynes Manual provides in-depth information about these extraordinary ships, from the Enterprise NX-01, to Captain Kirk's Enterprise NCC-1701 and Captain Picard's Enterprise NCC-1701-D including histories of each vessel, technical information about their systems, and discussions of key technologies such as transporters and warp-speed travel. Find out exactly what powered these ships, how they were armed and what it took to operate them.
The book features newly created artwork throughout, including full-ship cutaways of each Enterprise, key systems, and interior locations together with detailed new exterior views by one of STAR TREK's original visual effects artists.
This Haynes Manual is fully authorized by CBS and technical consultant Michael Okuda, who spent thirteen years working on STAR TREK TV series and movies.
This book is awesome, so we're giving a new hardcover copy away in this month's contest for all you Star Trek fans.
 

The Prize
One copy of Star Trek: U.S.S. Enterprise: Haynes Manual

How we'll choose a winner
The person with the most points wins. Here's how you get points:

  • Leave a comment using a valid email address = 1 point
  • Become a Google Follower = 1 pt
  • Post about this contest on your blog including a link = 5 pts
  • Tweet, Digg or Facebook about this contest = 2 pts each
Let us know in the comments how many points you've tallied in case we miss the trackback. In the case of a tie, we will randomly select two winners using Randomizer.org. Its important to use your valid email address because this will also be the email we'll use to contact you for your prize.

How Long
The contest will run for one week from November 1 - 9, 2010.

Restrictions
One entry per person. Participation limited to U.S. residents with existing Amazon.com accounts. You can set one up for free here.


Source: dailymail.co.uk

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