Sunday, December 21, 2008

Battlestar Galactica - Catch the Frak UP & New Webisodes

The last half of the fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica begins on SciFi on January 16th. You can Catch the Frak Up! with the below embedded video and also catch new webisodes over the next few weeks bridging the two season halves.




SciFi.com is releasing new Battlestar Galactica: Face of the Enemy webisodes as a lead up to the resumption of the 4th and final season of Battlestar Galactica. SciFi is also releasing enhanced webisodes with commentary by writer Jane Espenson. They are also being made available on Hulu.com and I have linked the first three below:

Webisode 1




Webisode 2



Webisode 3

Monday, December 8, 2008

Babylon 5 Music Videos Now Available

Back in the day, whenever J. Michael Straczynski made a convention appearance about Babylon 5, he'd usually open with a music video done by John Hudgens, and his Z Team Productions, Aside from a couple of early ones that ended up on some bootleg tapes, they've never really been available to watch online before. Now, with the permission of jms, John has made available the music videos on You Tube at The Z Team You Tube page.


I've enjoyed seeing them at the cons and its great to be able to see them again!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Catching Up After LosCon, Blood on the Satellite of Love

Still catching up a bit following LosCon. Still need to write up a report or two to go with the pictures. I did get the SFTV Schedule lists updated! Lots of changes coming up in the network schedules.


Typing has been slowed down a bit by a cut index finger that happened when I was opening the tin case for the MST3K 20th Anniversary collectors edition. Be careful opening up the back of it to free Tom Servo from his cage! Wow! In putting in the link to Amazon.com, I realized that it is now worth a lot more than what I paid for it at Borders with my 40% off coupon earlier in the week... Maybe I should auction it off complete with blood stains?


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

LosCon 35 Report is forthcoming. In the meantime, here's some pictures...


Some SF TV & FIlm Writers

Jane Espenson

John Scalzi, Bacon Cat, and Wil Wheaton


Scalzi's Ribbons


Closing Ceremonies with Double Doubles


A COnjunction on the trip home.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Star Trek The Exhibition Comes to Phoenix


Star Trek: The Exhibiton opened in Phoenix at the Arizona Science Center this past weekend. I've put together a report on the United Federation of Phoenix web site. Also reporting on it is Trek Movie Report and Nerdvana.



Monday, October 27, 2008

I Want to be Elected!



Yes, I have the original CD.


Somewhere....

Then there's this guy named Alice that seems to have also done the song with its own primitive music video....



It's Time to Get Political....



I have that same poster set (but alas, I only have five of the original six).

You want a candidate That's a War Hero?


Or Someone who's a real team player?


Or a female candidate with some spunk?






Or someone to help you feel secure about the future?

Or someone who's experienced with dealing with obstacles?


The Choice is yours!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Doctor Who News, Rumors and all sorts of stuff

OK, there's been lots and lots of Doctor Who related news, rumours and what not in the last few weeks. It's made the usual rounds on the internet and in the British papers. Partick Stewart, Tom Baker, Sean Pertwee, Zygons, Ice Warriors, Neil Gaiman, and Paul McGann have all been mentioned. Some of it is rubbish, some of it may happen, some of it may end up not happening. I have no sources (or those that I have emails for I'm not going to email them and ask what's true or not).
Of late, things have focused on who will be the Doctor after David Tennant leaves?

Even The Doctor Who News at Outpost Gallifrey has avoided some of these, but the spoiler threads on the Doctor Who Forum have been very active (and likely the fodder for some of the news articles). The Thoughts in Time and Space blog by Eddie has broken some of the rumors and also pointed out some that were intentional leaks to help them find out who some of their leaks are.

So, according to some people (Rich Johnston in his Lying in the Gutters column), "Paterson Joseph as the prime suspect" for the next doctor and Rich has a link to a video clip from Neverwhere that has Paterson pretty much channeling The Doctor in his role as the Marquis in Neverwhere (written by Neil Gaiman and inspired by Hartnell and Pertwee). A SciFi Wire article on the subject also appeared.

However, Eddie is still insisting that Marc Warren and Sean Pertwee (Jon Pertwee's son) are near the top of the running for the 11th Doctor. Marc Warren most notably was Teatime in the Hogfather movie., and played Dracula in the 2006 TV movie and Elton Pope in the Love and Monsters Doctor Who episode.

Sean Pertwee has been in a lot of stuff over the years, genre and otherwise. In actuality, ten years ago, when we were still reeling from the FOX movie, I saw a movie called Stiff Upper Lips in which Pertwee had a role as George (the dashing young man of sorts) and a pretty silly send up of the Merchant Ivory films (I actually saw it in a theatre in Los Angeles when I was out there for a training session). I could see a bit of his father in that role and thought at the time "too bad the movie tanked, he might make a good Doctor if it ever came back". For a look at a recent picture of Pertwee, this Sun article from November 2007 talks about his desire to play the role.
As indicated in one of the articles on Eddie's blog, Steven Moffat, as he deftly detailed in Silence in the Library, really doesn't like spoilers. But, we've definitely got a few more episodes with David Tennant, and likely a full season after the set of specials in the next year, so lets maybe get a chance to see those before we find out about what's happening afterwards.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Misc SF TV Stuff

We're most of the way into the new fall season with a couple of things left to debut. Here's a few notes about the season so far....

Heroes - NBC is hoping the ratings will return to former heights. Not sure if the time travel and jumping around is doing much for casual viewers.

Chuck - Still good, but not drawing in the numbers. However, NBC is hurting all over the place and already gave the show a full season order.

Knight Rider - About as expected. Ratings have been soft but NBC appears to be sticking with it for now.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles has not done very well opposite the Dancing with the Stars juggernaut (which also hasn't helped Chuck or Heroes) and if things don't pick up after the baseball pre-emptions, it may get terminated.

Life on Mars versus Eleventh Hour - In the battle of the Brit adaptations, both did about the same overall in the ratings with their debuts but Life on Mars held on to much more of its lead-in ratings (77% vs 49%) than Eleventh Hour.

Star Wars Clone Wars did very well for Cartoon Network and Sanctuary debuted very well for SciFi. Lets see how they hold up on a week to week basis.

Returning show The Ghost Whisperer has held up with ratings similar to what it did in the past however ABC's Pushing Daisies is definitely down from its first season (but ABC's entire Wednesday is down across the board).

Fringe has done well for FOX and is holding on to most of the House audience (although House is down without American Idol as a lead-in) and The Mentalist has drawn big numbers of viewers for CBS (but Fringe is still beating it in the demos). Also doing well for HBO (and getting a second season order) is True Blood, which has helped to bring all of Charlaine Harris's novels onto the top 20 besteller paperback lists.

Over in the UK, the debut of Merlin has done well for the BBC, with the ratings having gone up despite some really tough competition from ITV. Sarah Jane has also returned to Children's BBC and is doing comparable to what it did in the first series.

Still to come (as I type this) is My Own Worst Enemy on NBC, the Return of Eli Stone on ABC, and Crusoe on NBC. Crusoe actually looks like it might turn out pretty good. It is being show run by Stephen Gallagher, who created Eleventh Hour, and also has James Moran (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Law and Order: London) contributing an episode.

At the start of November is the debut of Legend of The Seeker, based on the Terry Goodkind series of novels starting with Wizard's First Rule.

I've limited the number of links here since the last time I put a bunch of links into a post, Google blocked my acces so they could determine if it was a spam blog or not, but you can get to official show pages and schedule links via the SFTV Schedules page.

Lee

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Books Out Now Worth Getting if You're Young or Old

This week sees the release of two "children's" books by two popular SF/F authors, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. You've probably seen more about Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book than Terry Pratchett's Nation. Between Neil's own online journal and a nationwide book tour that started at the National Book Festival (where you can see video of his talk) and has continued on where he is reading a chapter from the new book at each stop and they are putting the video up the next day on his Mouse Circus website.


Terry's novel actually came out earlier in September in the UK where he did two signings, one in a small bookshop on an island and then another (after a helicopter ride) in the big Waterstones store at Picadilly Circus. Since then he's done TV chat shows, spoke at the Tory conference, did an online chat at the Washington Post (who had a good review of Nation, and will also make an appearance in Second Life on October 8th.


Terry also read from Nation at the UK Discworld convention in August, a snippet of which is here on Youtube. The best part was at the end of the reading when he read straight through the part of the book where Mau and Daphne have a tea party that ends with both of them almost drowning and Mau defiantly yelling "Does Not Happen!" Yes, it makes sense.

Both books are very good books, going beyond what is expected for younger readers (Graveyard book is for 9 and up, while Nation is marketed as for Young Readers). Neil's is obviously written for young readers, using simpler grammer and words, but still doesn't pull any punches in the story (it starts with the murder of a family with the son wandering off into a graveyard). Nation reads much more like an adult novel but also deals with loss, starting with the aftermath of a tsunami that wipes out the entire population of an island and kills everyone on a ship except a young girl.

For more information on the various editions of The Graveyard Book, visit this Subterranean Press website. Nation had a limited edition of 275 sold only on the day of the two signings. There is also a Waterstones limited edition still to be shipped. You can also get signed copies of Nation from PJSM Prints, Terry's official merchandise site.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

SFTV Updates and more!

Still playing catchup after the Conapalooza at the end of the summer...

The SFTV Page has been updated with updates to current and season to date lists. I've also updated the individual schedule links page listing (which I use in tracking down the various schedules). Also updates to Connie Willis.net.

Over on the BBC, Merlin starts up this weekend on Saturday night. You can check out most of the content on the official page on the BBC website and even more information on the Press Office in the Merlin Press Pack.

Starting up on September 29th on the BBC and children's BBC is the second series of the Sarah Jane Adventures. Check out the official BBC site as well as a Press Office Press Pack.

Be warned that Spaceballs: The Animated series debuts on G4 this weekend. It looks pretty low-brow and treading a lot of ground already tread very heavily by others.

HBO has picked up True Blood for a second season after liking what they've seen in the ratings so far. Press Release at The Futon Critic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One more quick UK update with a couple of pictures...

For the last week I've been in the UK and got to see some of the sights in London, go to the Doctor Who Exhibition at Earls Court, attend the Discworld Convention in Birmingham. Here's a quick picture update...

The Model of Big Ben used for Doctor Who on display at the Doctor Who Exhibition.
The real Big Ben, still in one piece (with the London Eye - no longer in use by the Nestene) in the background.

Daleks exterminating!


Me at the Discworld convention with Twoflower's Iconograph and hat from the Colour of Magic miniseries.

My time is up and I have a plane to catch back to Arizona....


Monday, August 25, 2008

Discworld UK & WorldCon

Quick update to the blog.

Still in the UK with reports on WorldCon and the UK Discworld coming soon.

Lee

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Blog that Couldn't be Killed... More Comic Con Photos

OK, for whatever reason (maybe all of my links to reports on Comic Con), Blogger decided that my blog might be a spam blog and locked me out from editing it until they had a chance to review it. It appears that I do have control again, but they never sent me any confirmation or apology about it. In any case, here's a few more pictures from Comic Con. I was hoping to get more of an organized report up, but I'm in the process of trying to get ready to go to WorldCon in Denver, Denvention 3, this coming weekend.

I've put up a report about Connie Willis at Comic Con over on the Connie Willis blog (it wasn't locked out even though it is under the same account). Connie will also be at WorldCon, and is nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novella.


There were lots and lots and lots of people in costumes, most of which I didn't get pictures of. These three I did manage to catch, though, as well as the Batman and Wonder Woman seen at the top of this entry that were hanging around the Sony DC Online booth.



There were stormtroopers, ghost busters, jedi knights, all sorts of comic book characters running around all weekend. Some of the costumes were OK, but there were a good number that were very impressive, like this pair below.


I caught up with a Rincewind and his Luggage from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. This Green Lantern was busy texting or playing a game while waiting for the Masquerade. I also came across a Hal Jordan Green Lantern and a Green Arrow in the lobby where the Green Lantern was conversing with someone (Black Canary? Carol Ferris?) who he was trying to find and had just been told that she was standing in front of a Starbucks. There's only about five or six Starbucks in the convention center alone. Needless to say, GL was a bit frustrated....


There were also lots of authors and comics writers and artists there. I did catch up with John Howe, who it was nice to meet him in person
finally (after having exchanged a few emails with him). I also caught Dave McKean at the Allen Spiegel Fine Arts booth and had a few things signed, inclding one item that Dave was surprised to see. The original UK edition of Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic, for which Dave did the cover art for when he was just starting out. He wasn't too embarrased, though, since he had to show it to Allen. I also was lucky enough to get a ticket to the Amano signing at the Dark Horse booth and got a couple of things signed. Watching Amano draw a sketch is always a neat thing. I brought a few things for Todd Klein to sign (or letter, since that is how he does his signature, too.) He has some real neat posters available on his website that he was selling at his table that you can also order. He has done most every comic written by Neil Gaiman, Fables, Castle Waiting, and lots of other stuff, and has been a consistent winner of the Eisner Award for Lettering.




Down at the Donato Arts booth, they did several art demos in association with Spectrum and Tor, I caught a bit of the Greg Manchess demo, where he painted an image of Hellboy. Tor.com has an article on the demo as well as a sped up video of him painting the picture.

At the DC booth, I made it to the X-Files signing with Co-Producer Frank Spotnitz and artist Brian Denham. The suprise was that Chris Carter was also there, signing the comic and some promotional photos for the X-Files movie (for the few of you who did see the movie, did you stay all the way through the end credits? Is that the Lost island they are heading for?), Unfortunately Chris decided to lean back as I took my picture, so all you can see is the top of his head behind Frank. It was nice to chat with both Frank and Chris for a bit. Also at the DC booth, I caught up with Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming, who were responsible for the original Ambush Bug comics and are working on the new Ambush Bug series, Year None. Get it, you'll be glad you did.



Finally, to close out this entry, one of the not-usually-at-comic-con celebrities was singer/songwriter Tori Amos, promoting the release of Comic Book Tattoo. Once I have the time, I'll devote an entire blog post to the Odyssey of Comic Book Tattoo at this year's Comic Con...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

SDCC Coraline Figures

One of the things somewhat hidden at San Diego Comic Con this year was a display at the NECA Booth. This article at the LA Times talks about them a bit, but doesn't really give you a good look at them. The movie adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Coraline is being done in stop motion by Henry Selick and is scheduled for release next February. DreadCentral also took a lot of closeups of the figures, but missed the one with the faces.

This figure of Coraline with a multitude of faces wasn't in the display to start with but showed up later in the show.















The Other Mother (Teri Hatcher)









Coraline's Doll & Mr. Bobinsky















Coraline and Wybie



The Ghost Children



Monday, July 28, 2008

Comic-Con Survival Guide Episode One

Comic Con is over and I survived!
Yes, it was a long hectic weekend which I spent running around the exhibit hall tracking down authors, artists, producers, writers of stuff and so forth. I will hopefully have some coherent reports covering a wide variety of subjects ranging from the futile search for an Arc Welder to the Comic Book Tattoo Odyssey.

In the meantime, here's some links to sites that covered the convention pretty thoroughly in their areas of expertise:

Newsarama ComicCon Index

Comic Book Resources

ComicMix

Tor Books, searching for Comic Con

Suvudu.com (Bantam's new SF news website)

NBC's Comic Con website

SciFi's Comic Con Website

BBC America's ComicCon Website

Friday, July 18, 2008

The End of an Era: Star Trek: The Experience Beams Out

A little over ten years ago, a new attraction opened at the Las Vegas Hilton that became the destination of choice for Star Trek and science fiction fans visiting Las Vegas, Star Trek: The Experience. But now, the owners of the attraction (Cedar Faire, who acquired it when Viacom split itself up) and the Las Vegas Hilton have not been able to come to terms to extend the lease for the exhibit and it will be closing down on September 1st. What it will be replaced with is unknown, but it will likely not be anything similar. The Hilton will likely create something entirely new to take advantage of the monorail stop that will generate more income for them than they got by leasing the space The Experience was in.

The Experience was launched during the latter part of the run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the attraction relied heavily on the look of that incarnation of Star Trek for the d├ęcor and atmosphere as well as the names for Quark’s Bar, Moogie’s Trading Post, and Garak’s Clothiers. The main attraction was the Klingon Encounter that took fans into the future and onto the bridge of the Enterprise D where you learned that one of that one of your group was a ancestor of Captain Picard and that you needed to be returned to your own time with help from Geordie and Commander Riker. The ride ended with a simulator ride that featured your shuttle being chased down the Las Vegas strip by Klingons. In later years, the ending video sequence became very dated as most of the casinos seen in the sequence were long gone or remodeled and jokes were made that your group had been returned several years early. On your way to the ride, you got to take a look at the History of the Future, featuring many props and costumes from the entire history of Star Trek, which was periodically updated with information and props from the newer versions of Star Trek on TV and in the movies. In 2004, the Borg Invasion 4D was added, which made use of newer high definition video technology to provide an updated ride tied into Star Trek: Voyager. It featured Admiral Janeway, the Emergency Medical Hologram, and The Borg Queen in an adventure on a space station being overrun by The Borg. The ride was an example of what can be done with newer technology, but the simulator part was a bit tame.

The attraction has been a very popular location for weddings and other events, with many couples taking their vows on the bridge of the Enterprise D over the years. Additions of a behind the scenes tour and photo opportunities on the bridge set were also popular with fans. But what kept fans coming back even if they didn't go on the rides was the Star Trek atmosphere of The Experience. The Quark's Bar menu features themed dishes (my favorite is the Holy Rings of Betazed for the Onion Rings) and the Warp Core Breach was always a popular drink. The ambassadors (waiters) and the roving aliens (Ferengis, Klingons, and Borgs) were always fun to talk to and usually did not break out of character and some fans more than likely tested their patience at times. The Hilton has also become the site of the annual big Star Trek convention run by Creation and the Experience has always been a focal point of the convention. With the attraction gone, it is unclear if Creation will continue having the events at the Hilton. This year's convention happening August 6-10 will definitely be a bitter-sweet one for the fans who have considered The Experience part of their annual convention experience.

Over the years, I've made many visits and had many dinners at Quarks. Sometimes it was a quick stop while I was in town for the Consumer Electronics Show and other times it was with friends as part of a group trek. The United Federation of Phoenix has made several trips as a group to the Experience which always have been fun outings and they are organizing one last trip the weekend of August 1-3.

I was in Las Vegas for the Westercon 61 convention over July 4th weekend and made sure I went back there for a final dinner at Quark's and spent some latinum for a few trinkets to remember it by. Saturday night was still pretty busy and they also had a couple of weddings going on, so it was pretty much business as usual. It did appear that a lot of the people there had heard about the closure and the employees were acknowledging it but they were still fairly low-key about it. The waiters and gift shop employees should be able to find similar jobs without too much trouble, I'd think, but I'm not sure what having "Ferengi host at Quark's", "Klingon Ambassador", or "Enterprise-D pilot" on their resumes will do to help them find a similar job.

It was hoped that with the advent of the new Star Trek movie coming in May 2010 The Experience would be kept going for another year, but in the end it was decided to shut it down. Hopefully something new will be created somewhere that can give fans old and new a place to go to experience the Star Trek universe in person. I've enjoyed my trips there over the years and will remember Star Trek: The Experience fondly.




PS. They do now have a Star Trek video slot game, sitting right outside of the Experience....