Review by C.J. Bunce
With the historic reboot of Doctor Who in 2006 and all of Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat’s world building since then with Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and their five companion voyagers– what if the creators have been holding back? What if we haven’t seen nothin’ yet, if all these great science fiction episodes were all leading up to the real payoff with the 12th Doctor? I got that feeling last night with only the second Doctor Who episode of the season. This new Doctor is here to stay, and the writers are driving full steam ahead, plunging Clara (Jenna Coleman) and the Doctor straight into the darkness without giving us a chance to breathe.
We’ve heard it before: Resistance is futile. But this time the phrase is not about Star Trek and the futility isn’t about we humans, as the new Doctor stumbles into his latest encounter with one of his most hated borg nemeses: The Daleks. With “Into the Dalek” Steven Moffat has created what I am sure we’ll look back on as an episode up there with the David Tennant episodes “Waters of Mars” and “Silence in the Library” or Matt Smith’s “Cold War.”In only his second outing as the Doctor, Peter Capaldi is already comfortable in the role he was destined to play since his days sending fan letters to the BBC as a young boy. With last week’s season opener “Deep Breath,” we were introduced to Capaldi’s Doctor in a typical Doctor Who post-regeneration episode–part with the Doctor learning to “love the skin he’s in” while also getting a taste of how his companion is going to adapt, wrapped in a Tanagra/El-Adrel IV story.
WELCOME TO EARTH-4
A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain
I just finished my third book written by Cormac McCarthy. The first was Blood Meridian, the second was No Country for Old Men, and the third was The Road. Reading McCarthy is unlike any other literary journey I’ve taken. What will I remember from reading The Road? Bleakness. Emptiness. How man can become a monster. Not that different from the others I suppose, but it led me to a question – where does hope come from?
In all fantasy, science fiction and apocalyptic tales generally a hero emerges. A man or a being similar to man steps to the fore and as a reader I can pin my hopes upon him (or rarely her as even coming up with female sidekicks was a chore in the series that popped off the top of my mind. Amy Pond. Leia. Gamora. Uhura.) Superman. Wonder Woman. The Doctor. Sheriff Rick Grimes. Tasslehoff Burrfoot (or the more heroic but less fun Tanis Half-Elven.) Frodo Baggins. Luke Skywalker. Rick Deckard. Groot. Mr. Spock.
Through these characters and many more like them we can find the possibility of averting crises. We can see a proverbial light at the end of the darkening and constricting tunnel. Survival, though bleak, has a chance.
I think McCarthy likes to explore the world where there are no heroes. There is only survival and to survive, horrendous choices must be made because after the apocalypse, scarcity rules. A person cannot go back in time. A person cannot till the earth by himself, trying to bring non-irradiated soil to the surface. A ring, a starship, a building or an artifact cannot be destroyed through the hero’s quest. There is only the earth. There are only Homo sapiens. If something happens, powerful heroes won’t emerge, instead it will just be the basest urges within us all that come forth.
Is there something not quite right about a new G.I. Joe series that features a Joe team finally headed up by Scarlett, that is also titled “The Fall of G.I. Joe”? We’re guessing the juxtaposition of these two elements wasn’t intended to be some kind of causal thing. Instead we’re focused on plenty of cool covers released by IDW Publishing for the series, which is expected to ship its first issue in September.
G.I. Joe: The Fall of G.I. Joe will be written by Karen Traviss with interior art by Steve Kurth. Several covers will be available, from artists including Cliff Chiang and Jeffery Veregge.
Check out these covers from the new monthly. The cover style from Veregge makes us wish Phil Noto or Kevin Dart was also working on this series, and maybe provide some variant covers. Still, they do look like something we might have seen back in 1972 on the box covers for large-sized G.I. Joe action figures.
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:
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.
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.
The motion picture industry lost a great director and character actor this weekend with the passing of Richard Attenborough at age 90. Attenborough likely will be best remembered because of his starring role as the jolly John Hammond, the “spared no expense” creator of the dinosaur theme park in Jurassic Park (1993). Rightly so. The adventure film will go down as one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, and his performance is a big reason for it. Michael Crichton’s Hammond had been killed off in the original novel, but there was too much of the amiable Attenborough in the film version of Hammond and Steven Spielberg knew audiences wouldn’t stand for a similar fate for the film version. Attenborough would return to the role again in The Lost World (1997).
But Attenborough’s greatest feat was not being an actor, as he would take up making movies behind the camera with a second successful career as a major studio director. That work earned him an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director for Gandhi in 1982. He went on to a decade of critically acclaimed directing gigs, helming A Chorus Line (1985) with Michael Douglas, Cry Freedom (1987) with Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline, Robert Downey’ Jr.’s acting comeback in Chaplin (1992), and Shadowlands (1993) with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
Never the guy for leading man roles, the character actor proved his skill with three other great films, two of which earned him Golden Globe Awards for Supporting Actor: For Albert Blossom in Doctor Doolittle (1967) and Frenchy Burgoyne in the 1920s naval drama starring Steve McQueen, The Sand Pebbles (1966). He’ll also be known for his performance as squadron leader Big X in The Great Escape (1963). And he even played opposite John Wayne in his brief detour from Westerns in the cool 1975 cop film Brannigan. But his best role in film? It’s one not to be missed.
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.
WELCOME TO EARTH-4
A Weekly Column with J. Torrey McClain
There are combinations of nerddom or geekdom or awesomedom (however you’d like to describe persons with passionate interests in a given subject) that are simple. A love of chess and a love of The Lord of the Rings can lead to buying a Lord of the Rings-themed chess set. A love of Chuck, Alien Nation, and cosplay can lead to Tenctonese Buy More employees Alien and Predator can lead to Batman: Dead End. (AK47, gone, not forgotten.)
Then, there are combinations that have built on each other for hundreds of years, as a love of science fiction can lead to a love of sciences and exploring that interest through reading books on astronomy, physics or chemistry (or vice versa). I can’t remember why I came upon Disappearing Spoon And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, but its combination of history, familiar names of the past and the ability to summon up the image of the corner of my high school chemistry class, made it enthralling to me every morning and evening during my subway commute. It may not be as obvious as a Star Wars Monopoly set, but in this book and contained in those stories are links to older wonders that we Knights of Wonderfulness, we Kings and Queens of Comic-Con explore.
BBC America has been advertising the new series Intruders for months now but this extended trailer should be all you need to know this is a series pilot not to be missed. So stick around after Doctor Who’s big premiere episode with the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi Saturday night. It looks like Kate Hudson’s Skeleton Key and Daniel Radcliffe’s The Woman in Black meets Marchlands and Lightfields.
As thrillers go they got this preview right, with pretty heavy doses of creepy–just right for a late night show with the lights off. How can they go wrong, with stars like John Simm–star of Life on Mars, one of the five best television series of all time–and Mira Sorvino, Oscar winner and versatile actress most recently dazzling us as a cop on Psych? Add in James Frain and Robert Forster–Frain a more recent character actor showing up everywhere, and Forster a genre TV staple–and this show just begs to be seen.
Check out this extended preview for Intruders: