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Category: Sci Fi


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Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

What’s better than when all the new TV series line up just right?  This coming Fall the networks have at least one great genre series every day of the week returning, including several new supernatural crime dramas: the CW’s Flash, ABC’s Forever, BBC America’s Intruders, Fox’s Gotham, and NBC’s Constantine.  Well, the networks have at least one genre show per day except Thursdays, so it’s not exactly “just right.”  But we could use a day off from TV anyway.  And isn’t that what DVRs are for?   Strangely enough, nearly all of these series have a supernatural crime element of some sort, with plenty of superheroes and time travel, too.  Interesting.

Below we have the best of the Fall line-up with trailers for all but NBC’s Grimm. 

Haven, Season 5 and its 26 brand new episodes begin Sunday, September 11, 2014, on the Syfy Channel.  Here is a preview of the new season:

Sleepy Hollow, Season Two, begins Monday, September 22, 2014, on Fox, following the new Gotham series.  Here’s a trailer for the new season of Sleepy Hollow:

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Prometheus_fire_and_stone1   Grendel vs The Shadow Matt Wagner

We have a variety of previews today, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Comics.  New series include a monthly based on the TV series, Bob’s Burgers.  Another features a tie-in to the Alien universe, with Prometheus: Fire and Stone.  A third series based on NBC’s Grimm begins this week with Grimm: Portland, Wu.  And Matt Wagner’s anti-hero Grendel finds his way to 1930s New York in Grendel vs The Shadow.

Tomorrow, Dynamite is publishing the first Bob’s Burgers comic book series.  Based on the animated show, it will be written by Rachel Hastings, Mike Olsen, Justin Hook, and Jeff Drake, with art by Frank Forte, Brad Rader, Bernard Derriman, and Tony Gennaro.  And Grimm: Portland, Wu is a one-shot written by Marc Gaffen and Kyle McVey, with art by Daniel Govar.

GrimmPortland-Cover   D.E. Comic Page Template.eps

From Dark Horse, Grendel vs. The Shadow features a story and art by Matt Wagner.  Grendel will find its way to store shelves September 3, 2014.  Also from Dark Horse, Prometheus: Fire and Stone, with a story by Paul Tobin and art by Juan Ferreyra, hits comic book stores September 10, 2014.

Check out the four previews, after the break.

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TMNT elevator

Review by C.J. Bunce

Somewhere around the halfway mark of the new movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a fun action flick comes together.  If you can get to that point without falling asleep.  With the modern special effects this movie should not have needed to have been compared to the original 1990 film version.  Unfortunately the slow start and less-than-appealing villains keep this one from the top tier of this summer’s would-be franchise blockbusters.

So what’s worth the admission price?  First off, Megan Fox.  Not for a second does she flinch from a strong portrayal of April, the well-known friend of the Turtles.  She delivers even the silliest lines as if she’s playing serious drama.  And the film is better for it.  Although the perpetually young looking actress may be typecasting herself with films like the original Transformers and this similar action genre entry, she may also be simply carving out a niche she’s darned good at.

The biggest failing of Iron Man 2 was the “annoying guy” played over and over in movies by Sam Rockwell.  That same caricature is in TMNT, but played by Will Arnett, who I have not seen before simply because I don’t watch his admittedly popular series including 30 Rock and Arrested Development.  Here he offers what seems like an impersonation of the Night Shift and Batman era Michael Keaton, and it’s some funny stuff.

tmnt-2014-michelangelo-mind-blown

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Automata poster A Automata poster B

Antonio Banderas is not someone you might think of as star of sci-fi or futuristic tales, but evidently this is one he’s had in play for a while.  He’s producing and starring in his next feature film–taking inspiration from Isaac Asimov short stories his new Automata looks a bit like Steven Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence meets Elysium or District 9.

Something about the variety of low-end tech robots and independent film vibe might show some promise, but it also may reflect a low production quality film, too.  It’s hard to say whether this is a poorly conceived trailer or reflective of what we’re going to see in the theaters. We’ll be waiting for early reviews before jumping in to see this one.

Automata also stars Dylan McDermott, Melanie Griffith, and the great Robert Forster.  Gabe Ibáñez directs.

Here’s the trailer for Automata:

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BSG1880-01-Cov-Syaf  SMDMSeasonSix05-Cov-Ross

Battlestar Galactica in 1880?  As a graphic steampunk story?  Steampunk Cylons?  You bet.  Today, Dynamite Comics launches its new series Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880, taking an alternate universe look at the popular 1978 and 2004 sci-fi television series characters.  And for even more sci-fi fun, our favorite borg is back this month in a new issue of The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six–with some familiar “faces”.

If classic pulp noir reads are your thing, you’ll want to check out our preview of the new Dynamite Comics series Justice, Inc.  The Shadow is back, this time with The Avenger and Doc Savage.

JusticeInc01-Cov-Francavilla   JusticeInc01-Cov-Ross

After the break, take a look at previews for each of these new books, courtesy of Dynamite Comics, available at comic book shops everywhere today.

Steampunk Battlestar Galactica 1880, Issue #1, features a story by Tony Lee with art by Aneke.  The Six Million Dollar Man Season Six, Issue #5, is written by James Kuhoric and art by Juan Antonio Ramirez.  Justice, Inc., Issue #1, has a story by Michael Uslan and artwork by Giovanni Timpano.

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Eliza Dushku Tru Calling

Between 2003 and 2005, Fox aired one of the best supernatural thrillers to date. Fans of Eliza Dushku, missing her superb performance as vampire slayer Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, could get their fix with Tru Calling.  After years of sitting on the shelf Tru Calling is finally being re-broadcast Wednesday nights on the Chiller cable network.

Eliza Dushku’s first starring vehicle of her post-Buffy days, Tru Calling had an excellent sci-fi premise, Medium meets Groundhog Day.  Medical student Tru (Dushku) gets a part-time job in the morgue and discovers that the recently deceased can ask for her help, causing her to relive their final days, in the hopes of saving their lives or solving their murders.

Tru Calling is one of those forgotten series that made our borg.com10 TV series that didn’t make it (but should have)” list back in 2011.   Lots better than Dushku’s role on Dollhouse, Tru Calling also was the first time we noticed many current genre favorites.  Tru’s co-worker mentor in the morgue was played by The Hangover‘s Zach GalifianakisMatt Bomer (White Collar, Chuck, Space Station 76) played Tru’s boyfriend.  But several more actors were barely known then, and featured in guest spots on the show.

Tru Calling

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Cybermen and the 12th Doctor

As we saw with last year’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the BBC knows how to whet fans’ appetites with a week-long lead-in of episodes and documentaries leading up to benchmarks in the Doctor Who universe.  The next benchmark is of course Peter Capaldi’s first full episode as the 12th Doctor airing next Saturday night, 51 years after kids in England were first entranced by a mysterious time traveler in a ship that is bigger on the inside and looks like a phone booth.  Viewers who aren’t giving up on Doctor Who after losing Matt Smith, and are just excited to see what Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss & Co. have in store next, will see another week full of past Doctor Who episodes as well as plenty more leading up to next weekend.

The collective anticipation of a worldwide core of fans translates nicely to the title of the next episode, “Deep Breath.”  How will Capaldi’s Doctor take to captaining the TARDIS and leading his feisty young companion Clara (Jenna Coleman)–the ultimate companion who is the only companion to accompany every prior Doctor–through their next adventure together?  Plenty of new cyborgs are waiting, as revealed in the below trailer, shown after the break.

Doctor Who 12 cities showings

“Deep Breath” will premiere August 23, 2014, 7 p.m. Central on BBC America.  Last night BBC America premiered two new shows, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Companion and The Real History of Science Fiction: Time, each to be re-broadcast throughout the week.  A third special, Doctor Who: The Ultimate Time Lord premieres tomorrow, Monday, August 18, at 9 p.m. Central.

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creature from black lagoon poster

Who is my favorite Universal Studios classic movie monster?  I have always answered The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  I first watched the web-footed and web-handed fellow with gills in 3D on local network television on one Friday night many years ago.  I am not sure cable TV was yet making its headway across the country, but the “creature feature” was something marketed for a few weeks over the summer.  The local CBS affiliate, if I recall correctly, teamed up with the local Hy-Vee grocery store to hand out those cardboard and vellum 3D glasses.  I knew early on that The Creature was the first and only one of the classic monsters filmed and shown in theaters in 3D back in 1954.  My trusty World Almanac told me it wasn’t the first 3D film released–that went to the African lion film Bwana Devil in 1952.

As part of my current quest to sample the best of 3D movies on Blu-ray, finding The Creature from the Black Lagoon on the very short list of released 3D films was a big win.  Back in 1997 in Seattle where basic DVDs were first released in a major U.S. market, I remember digging through a short box at the big Suncoast store but feeling similarly dismayed, until I noticed A Boy and His Dog among the early conversions to digital video.  The Creature is a great starting point for modern 3D, giving the current technology some historical context.

Creature in 3D

Thanks in large part to make-up guru Bud Westport’s incredible creature suit and mask, the film holds up as well as any modern classic.  In fact, viewing The Creature back to back with Predator 3D (reviewed here earlier this month), it’s surprising how similar the films are.  Take away the sci-fi intro to Predator and you have a jungle adventure with another otherworldly creature.  As with Predator 3D, the multi-layered jungle comes alive in The Creature, and the careful placement of actors onscreen gives a crystal clear dimensional image that doesn’t waver.  Better yet, you have to look hard to see The Creature’s air bubbles–mostly he swims for seemingly long stints underwater with no apparent breathing going on.  And let’s not forget both of these films are part of the horror genre–each character gets picked off one by one by the monster until only a few are left for a final life-or-death showdown.

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Space Station 76 poster

It all looks good on paper: Patrick Wilson, star of Watchmen and Phantom of the Opera, Liv Tyler, star of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Armaggedon, and The Incredible Hulk, and Matt Bomer, star of White Collar, all in a new sci-fi flick called Space Station 76.  The poster looks great.  Something is not quite selling it for me with the promotional blurb: A character-driven, domestic dramedy, which takes place in a 1970s version of the future, where personalities and asteroids collide.  With the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, which pulls a lot of its humor from 1970s music and references, you’d think this could be the right time for a national release.

Despite some pretty impressive early release images of 1970s-influenced sets, wardrobe, and space props, Space Station 76 is starting to look less like a campy Spaceballs or Galaxy Quest and more like the 2012 re-look at the past’s future Dark Shadows.

Space Station 76 clip

I’ve learned from enough reviews of films I didn’t like that buzzwords “black comedy” and “full frontal nudity” tend to refer to movies I wish I would have passed over.  Then I see a word like “dramedy” tacked on and it makes me question whether this is all supposed to be funny or serious.  I love a good mash-up, but a combination of too many disparate components can be like too many cooks in the kitchen.  I’m happy to fork over cash to see solid actors like Wilson, or Tyler, or Bomer in the theater–especially for a science fiction film, but I need to know more.

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The Bionic Man Volume Three End of Everything Gillespie Tadeo Mayhew Villegas Dynamite

Dynamite Comics’ The Bionic Man series, especially Issues #17-26, was among the best comic book reading of 2013.  They are now available in a trade paperback: The Bionic Man Volume Three: End of Everything.  Featuring a story by Aaron Gillespie, with art by Ed Tadeo and Rey Villegas, colors by Thiago Ribeiro, letters by Simon Bowland, and covers by Mike Mayhew with other regular edition covers and variants by prolific Dynamite Comics artists Jonathan Lau and Ed Tadeo.

The Bionic Man is a great read and recommended for comic book fans.  It features Aaron Gillespie’s storytelling, which we lauded on our borg.com Best of 2013 list last year.  It also has the whole package from cover to cover–story, art, covers, humor, action, and fun.  We won’t re-state what we said in our review last year–you can read that here.  Enough of the origin stories that bogs down superhero books, this Steve Austin was able to get out there and do something.

Bionic Man Issue 20 cover by Mayhew   JF Kennedy bread card 1976

The series featured some of our all-time favorite cover art, with a cover run on Issues #17-22 by The Star Wars artist Mike Mayhew.  Mayhew created a new, cool, young look for Steve Austin, who sported the classic track suit updated for a modern audience and fashion sense.  His Issue #19 cover has Steve holding a car over his head, and you get to really see the strength.  Probably his best cover is for Issue #20, an inspiring cover which reminds me of one of my favorite paintings of President Kennedy.

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