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Category: Sci Fi


12 Monkeys Syfy

Terry Gilliam’s 1995 sci-fi thriller 12 Monkeys is every bit a genre classic.  Starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, and Brad Pitt–each in one of their best film performances–Willis plays James Cole, a time traveler from the future, Stowe plays Kathryn Railly, a psychologist in the past, and Pitt, in a supporting actor Oscar-nominated performance, as a mental patient who masterminds a terrorist group called the Army of the 12 Monkeys, and is the son of the wealthy Dr. Goines, played by Christopher Plummer.  So how about 12 Monkeys as a television series?

How would you approach it?  Use the same world but send another group of people back to try to “prevent the future” by trying again to pinpoint the source of a virus that will destroy everyone?  Or would you use the same characters?

Aaron Stanford star of 12 Monkeys

In the January 2015 TV series 12 Monkeys, James Cole will return, played this time by Aaron Stanford, who played X-Men mutant Pyro in the Marvel Comics movie series.  And this time Cassandra Railly (not Kathryn), played by Amanda Schull (Suits, Psych, Grimm) sends Cole back in time (is this Kathryn’s daughter?  Coles’ daughter?) to meet with… Cassandra, to try to change the future.  Character actor and guest actor of every other series on TV, Zeljko Ivanek (White Collar, Argo, House, M.D., Live Free or Die Hard, Lost, Bones, Homicide, Donnie Brasco, The X-Files, and Tex) will play a lead role as Leland, who is key to changing the future.  Kirk Acevedo (Grimm, Fringe, Walking Dead, Rise.. and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) plays a friend of Cole.

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Art of the Films Planet of the Apes cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

We all know the apes win and rule the Earth from the original novel and film Planet of the Apes.  But how do they get there?

Not intended as a post-apocalyptic story as much as a chronicle of the birth of an ape civilization, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its July 2014 sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are films that manage to have no villains–by design–where the viewer can empathize with both the human and ape characters equally based on the characters’ histories and individual viewpoints.  Writers Sharon Gosling and Adam Newell have created a deluxe volume documenting the art and design of both movies with the newly released Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes.

The Planet of the Apes reboot was an outgrowth of the technologies emerging from Weta New Zealand’s work on The Lord of the Rings franchise, coupled with Andy Serkis’s experience playing Gollum as a motion capture character, and later the giant gorilla King Kong, Serkis was uniquely suited for the role of the sci-fi classic character Caesar from the original novel and film.  The crew credits the acting and chemistry of Serkis and co-star James Franco in part with the success of the reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise in 2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Andy-Serkis-Dawn-Planet-Apes

The challenge for the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?  For the first time in film history, digital characters finalized in a post-production process would be realized by total performance motion capture of actors initially, and not on a separate green screen soundstage, but alongside live-action characters on a standard movie set as well as on location.

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Koba socializing with humans

WELCOME TO EARTH-4

A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain

When I think about some of my favorite movies, they contain a sense of the dynamics of a family, whether it is by blood or by situation.  The Incredibles is a fantastic example of a family at the center of the story and how, when forced to confront his own mortality, at his core Mr. Incredible finds that family is the most important thing in his life.  Stalag 17 is about a family in a single room wooden cell in a POW camp and even though they argue and kid and get on each other’s nerves, they will risk their lives for each other.  The Philadelphia Story revolves around a family’s plan for a wedding one weekend on their estate.  Up is built on scrapbook glimpses of a life spent together as a family.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes contains what it means to have family and what a family is as one of its themes.  Humans as a family.  Apes as a family.  The family of Caesar and the family of the lead human Malcolm played by Jason Clarke.  Family by blood and new families after loved ones perish.

It is dealing with the idea of ape families that becomes problematic in my mind.  Scientifically, we know that chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans have familial bonds.  We can see those attachments as we stare at them through windows in zoos as the elders have learned to turn their backs to our prying eyes.  There are blood families and communities as families.  Yet, we don’t really care much about what happens to them because they can’t tell us how separation from their family feels.  We hope they forget if they ever get sent to a new zoo or study facility.  We hope that any new introductions into a community will forget the families left behind in the wild or their previous place of captivity.  It would be different if our apes, the ones that we see, could scream at us like Caesar and tell us that we won’t threaten or separate their family.

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Peter Capaldi new trailer Doctor Who

A scary and dark Doctor?

It’s not just Star Trek delving “into darkness”, as revealed in this first real look at Peter Capaldi’s 12th iteration of the Doctor in Season Eight of Doctor Who, coming to BBC in the UK and BBC America in the States next month.  Premiering during the World Cup in the UK, British soccer fans were rewarded with an expected surprise, and U.S. fans are only now getting in on the release since it hasn’t been shown on BBC America yet.

New TARDIS, new sonic screwdriver, new Daleks, a new medieval Cyberman, new cyborgs, new garb, new Doctor, a new T-Rex.  Only Clara remains the same.  And our favorite guest “intraterrestrial,” the Silurian Madame Vastra is back!

Despite his rather serious demeanor in the preview, this line of dialogue shows there is some of that kindness of Matt Smith’s Doctor sure to come through: “I’m the Doctor.  I’ve lived for over two thousand years. I’ve made many mistakes.  It’s about time I did something about that.”

scary Peter Capaldi

Then there is this rather scary looking Capaldi in night shirt on horseback.

Check out this first full preview of Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor in Doctor Who:

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orphan black season 2 blu-ray cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

In her 1995 view of the future, RemakeConnie Willis predicted a future where anything could be digitally created on film, where modern-day actors could be digitally stitched into scenes with long dead actors in films like Singing in the Rain or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the living and the dead could intermingle effortlessly.  But it’s the “effortlessly” that she got wrong, as becomes very clear from the special features on the DVD and Blu-ray release of Orphan Black Season Two, which will be released today across the U.S.

It’s rare when the best television series stands so far apart from the rest of the crowd, but Orphan Black is that series.  Ignore the Emmy nominations.  If you only could watch one series from 2014, this is that series.  Playing nine characters* and counting, star Tatiana Maslany has scored Golden Globe and People’s Choice Award nominations, a Canadian Screen Actor Award for Best Performance in a Dramatic Role, a TCA Award for Individual Achievement, a Critics’ Choice Best Dramatic Actress Award, and the Young Hollywood Award for breakthrough performance, all for her work on Orphan Black.

Maslany and Maslany in Orphan Black Season two

Even more than Season One, which we reviewed here at borg.com last year, in Season Two creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson delved deeply behind the several characters that populate the world of Orphan Black, most played by Tatiana Maslany (or just “Tat” according to the other actors on the show).  In addition to Maslany’s always on-the-run Sarah, suburban mom Alison, free-wheeling scientist Cosima, and crazy but strangely innocent Helena, Season Two showed us the dark side of the sestra with the cold-as-ice Rachel, and the far side with transgendered Tony.

The season also featured the return of Jordan Gavaris as Sarah’s foster brother Felix, Dylan Bruce as the dubious Paul, Matt Frewer as the Dyad experiment scientist Dr. Aldous Leekey, Evelyne Brochu as Cosima’s partner Delphine, Kristian Bruun as Alison’s husband Donnie, and Kevin Hanchard as Detective Art Bell.  It also introduced Michiel Huisman as Kira’s father Cal, and Michelle Forbes as Marion Bowles, a new player sure to play a key role in Season Three.

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comic-con-logo-image

It’s less than two weeks until 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International will host more than 150,000 fans of sci-fi, fantasy, superheroes and other pop culture, and SDCC has now released the entire panel schedule for this year’s big show.  If you haven’t been to the modern-day Greatest Show on Earth, it should at least be on your bucket list, but beware:  if you attend the show once you’ll want to keep going back.

Tickets as usual were sold out months ago, but for those attending this year’s show, we have some quick links to the event list so you can start planning your days now.

This year’s panels prove yet again that you shouldn’t listen to the naysayers who claim SDCC doesn’t focus on comic book artists and writers.  Even more events are occurring this year focused on the comic book medium, including benchmarks like Batman’s 75th anniversary.  Yet there are also all of those big panels planned full of this summer’s movie blockbusters and big-name casts and the casts and creators of your favorite television series.

Comic-Con image b

First and most importantly you’ll want to download to your smart phone the SDCC handy My Schedule app here.  We’ve used it before and it’s a great help when you’re in the crowd and can’t get into one panel but you want to try the dash for another one or you just get tired of walking the main hall with Artists’ Alley and the dealer booths and you want to sit down and see something new for an hour.

Having trouble choosing from all the panels?  We think the biggest event and best bang for your buck will be the Warner Bros. panel we previewed a few days ago here with pilots and previews of DC Entertainment series The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, and Arrow.  After the break we pulled some other panels you might like if you follow borg.com regularly.

Here are the quick links to each day’s panel events for SDCC 2014:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 Preview Night

Thursday, July 24, 2014 Panel Schedule

Friday, July 25, 2014 Panel Schedule

Saturday, July 26, 2014 Panel Schedule

Sunday, July 24, 2014 Panel Schedule

SDCC 2014 banner

Here are some panels to consider (after the break):

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Mal and Inara Leaves on the Wind

In the Firefly universe tie-ins are few and far between.  Where other franchises may have had several novels by now, fans wanting more Firefly must turn to Dark Horse Comics, the publisher of the Firefly “expanded universe.”  With the very unlikely hope of more live-action shows, the new stories may very well be considered “canon” one day.  We previously reviewed here at borg.com each of the graphic novels featuring the crew of the Firefly class vessel Serenity,Those Left Behind (2006), Better Days (2008), and The Shepherd’s Tale (2010) featuring scripts by Joss Whedon himself, as well as writers Brett Mathews and Zack Whedon and artists Will Conrad and Chris Samnee.  All are good stories that should satisfy any fan’s need for more Firefly.

Writer Zack Whedon returned to Serenity this year after four years without a new Firefly tale, with his six-issue mini-series Serenity: Leaves on the Wind.  More so than the earlier comic book series, Whedon has captured the relationships of the characters in his story, which takes place after the events in the movie Serenity.

Zoe Leaves on the Wind

We meet up with the crew in hiding, with Zoe pregnant, Mal and Inara are finally a couple, as are Simon and Kaylee.  Jayne Cobb, still wearing his mom’s hat, is off doing his own thing, and River keeps company with Zoe.

Mal & Company are heroes to some, fugitives to others.  When a group wanting Mal to lead them solicits the help of Jayne with a bribe of gold, what can he do but help them?  From the opposite faction a bounty hunter is recruited, and we’re reintroduced to the vilest of original series villains, Jubal Early.  Nathan Fillion’s dialect and inflections for Mal are immediately realized by the reader due to Zack Whedon’s writing, as is the odd sentence construction of Jubal Early.  These characters form just the right bookends to convince you you’re back in a world with Firefly still playing weekly episodes.

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Noto Sleepy Hollow

One independent comic book publisher drew our attention this week more than the others.  BOOM! Comics has two new comic issues out tomorrow for sequel stories to classic films–Big Trouble in Little China and RoboCop–and it made an announcement about a new series coming our way based on the television show Sleepy Hollow.  We’ve got previews of Big Trouble and RoboCop after the break and first images from Sleepy Hollow.

John Carpenter and BOOM! Comics’ Big Trouble in Little China monthly is so much fun you’ve got to be adding it to your pull list at your local comic book store.  Following the adventures of Jack Burton after the events of the original 1980s film, it’s a sequel that might as well be titled “The Sequel” with the same spirit, humor, and visuals as the original.  Big Trouble is co-written by the great John Carpenter with Eric Powell and art by Brian Churilla of (the awesome) The Secret History of D.B. Cooper fame.

BigTroubleLittleChina_02_coverA    Robocop_001_coverA

The other sequel-that-might-as-well-just-be-called-a-sequel is BOOM!’s new RoboCop series.  Written by Joshua Williamson with art by Carlos Magno, the new series is far different from other recent RoboCop monthlies including Frank Miller’s version, and will be a welcome relief for fans of the classic movie who couldn’t or wouldn’t check out the reboot.  That means look for plenty of the ugliest view of Detroit you’ve ever seen, lots of violence, crime, and over-the-top bullets flying.  Too bad all the big baddies were killed in the original movie as they’d feel right at home here.

Robocop_001_coverB    BigTroubleLittleChina_02_coverB

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Star Wars Storyboards The Original Trilogy book cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

A new collection of artwork upon which the original Star Wars trilogy was built will have fans who have seen the films hundreds of times delving back in again, this time to match memory to history.  Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy is the second archive of selected storyboards edited by J.W. Rinzler revealing the works of a variety of artists hand selected by George Lucas and his visual design team to share ideas about what the movies would become.  The first was Star Wars Storyboards: The Prequel Trilogy, released last year.

Rinzler, known for several books on Lucasfilm, including his work on The Making of the Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Frames, reviewed previously at borg.com, also partnered with artist Mike Mayhew and colorist Rain Beredo this year to write The Star Wars–an eight-issue mini-series based on Lucas’s original draft screenplay of Star Wars.  Now that fans can examine the original film Episode IV: A New Hope, The Star Wars, and Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy, they can have a complete view of what is, what was, and what might have been, for the Force, the characters, the Rebellion, and the Empire.

SW Storyboards excerpt 2

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Simm in intruders

Put together Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino and star of the British mega-hit Life on Mars John Simm, add in Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sanchez and The X-Files executive producer Glen Morgan, and what do you get?  It’s the new BBC America series Intruders.  Based on the novel The Intruders by Michael Marshall Smith, Intruders has the dark and creepy vibe of The X-Files and the supernatural horror of Skeleton Key.

The sci-fi/paranormal thriller is set in the Pacific Northwest and follows Simm as Jack Whelan, a former LAPD cop with a troubled past whose quiet life is shaken when his wife (Sorvino) Amy vanishes.  Whelan is consumed by the investigation into his wife’s disappearance as an underworld society is enmeshed with the pursuit of an assassin and another case involving a missing girl.

Why will Intruders be worth checking out?  If you watched Life on Mars–the British original, not the U.S. remake–you’ll know how brilliant John Simm can be as the lead in a mystery tale.  You may also have seen him in State of Play (the original British series, not the American movie remake) or as The Master in Doctor Who.  Mira Sorvino will also be a welcome addition to television.  In the TV realm we’ve only seen her recently at the tail end of the Psych series (in a great, quirky role) and before that in a guest spot on House, M.D.

Sorvino in Intruders

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