Category: Con Culture


Review by C.J. Bunce

TV historian and Star Trek expert Marc Cushman is back to continue his second trilogy of books about the development, production, and struggles behind the first two decades of Star Trek.  In These Are the Voyages: Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek in the 1970s, Volume 2 (1975-77), at last we get to delve into the biggest Star Trek project never delivered: The 1970s Star Trek: Phase II series that would be parted out and become Star Trek: The Motion Picture and later Star Trek: The Next Generation.  And that’s not all–ideas and early scripts for Phase II continue to be tapped in the 21st century Star Trek series and films.  Even better, Cushman digs into the ever-developing Star Trek novels, conventions, and more, which became the practice grounds for the wider, broad world of pop culture fandom as a whole.  How did Star Trek finally movie forward from the original series to become what it is today?  How did the fans play a major role in making that happen?   Continue reading

I was thinking about re-publishing a list of war movie recommendations in November for Veteran’s Day, recommendations provided by my father, Milton L. Bunce, Jr., movies that I recommended here at borg years ago.  He passed away Saturday at the age of 79, and as a tribute to him I thought I’d go ahead and share again now two sets of recommendations of movies he enjoyed, which also influenced me and my movie preferences over the years.  These are 20 films, one list of classic war movies that he thought reflected his own experiences in the U.S. Navy, and another, showing the preferences of a kid growing up during World War II at the local movie house.  My father went to the movie theater every Saturday with his sister, and spent the day enjoying many of these great films on the big screen.  If you have more time at home as many do this summer, what better opportunity to catch a classic you may have overlooked?

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It’s back.  Discovery′s annual Shark Week programming returns this month and is bringing along a new giveaway.  From August 9 to August 16 look for your annual week of shark-centered features.  Shark Week is television’s longest running summer TV event.  And you know what that means–Narragansett is back with an online store full of tie-ins to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws to coincide with Shark Week 2020.  Not only is Narragansett one of America’s oldest companies (they turned 21 in 1911), Jaws made its beer famous again in 1975 when Robert Shaw′s character Quint downed a can and crushed it to look tough in front of Richard Dreyfuss′s character Hooper.  Hooper created the the most humorous moment of the film, countering Quint by crushing his Styrofoam cup.

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Nathan Fillion–with a moustache?  One of the more interesting panels from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and one certainly not to miss for Browncoats everywhere is a panel devoted exclusively to the star of Firefly, Castle, and The Rookie.  It’s definitely one of those atypical panels (even for 2020) like we saw Fillion host back in the days of Nerd HQ, this time with added wacky editing and Fillion stepping in to provide commentary along the way.  That’s right, Fillion has enough pop culture street cred to get a panel to himself.  But he also knows how to share the stage.

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Comics artist and illustrator Mark Chiarello (Batman, Hellboy, Star Wars) and non-fiction writer (National Geographic, The History Channel), former Marvel Comics senior editor, colorist and writer, and consultant for Major League Baseball Nel Yomtov have teamed up to join the ultimate baseball debate: Who are the greatest 100 players in hardball history?  Who holds the number one spot?  Is it Babe Ruth?  Willie Mays?  Jackie Robinson?  Shoeless Joe Jackson?  Baseball 100: A Celebration of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time is a new book offered as part of a crowdfunding campaign that began yesterday.  And it is already halfway funded.

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Last year at San Diego Comic-Con we got our first look at season one of His Dark Materials, BBC and HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s popular fantasy novels, so it’s no surprise the second season trailer premiered at this year’s Comic-Con@Home.  Logan star Dafne Keen returns as Lyra to lead a cast including Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ariyon Bakare, Andrew Scott, Amir Wilson, and newcomers to the series this season, Terence Stamp, Jade Anouka, and Simone Kirby.

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The showrunner and cast of History’s Vikings, including showrunner and writer Michael Hirst and actors Travis Fimmel, Katheryn Winnick, and Clive Standen, who we saw at their first Comic-Con back in 2013, invaded Comic-Con this weekend with a new preview for the last time.  That’s a virtual invasion, because of course this year it’s San Diego Comic-Con@Home, but as panels go this was just as you’d see at any ordinary SDCC, but without the lines and squinting from the back of Hall H.  Hirst and actors Fimmel, Winnick, and Standen were joined this year by actors Alex Ludwig and Jordan Patrick Smith, to discuss the fates of Fimmel and Winnick’s characters on past episodes, the six seasons of the series, and what’s next.

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The most eagerly awaited movie in years received some nice treatment this week as part of San Diego Comic-Con@Home.  We’ve previewed and re-previewed new trailers for The New Mutants probably more than any other movie in our past decade of coverage here at borg (just type The New Mutants in the search box to the right and you’ll see it all).  The new and improved, post-merger 20th Century Studios even nicely mocks the delayed release dates in its Comic-Con@Home panel footage below, which features the director, cast members, and the legendary comic artist most closely aligned with The New Mutants by way of his 1980s artwork, Bill Sienkiewicz.  It also previews the entire opening scene and a trailer with new content from the film.  All in all, some good stuff for a very patient fanbase for a film made in the summer of 2017.

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Was it really only two years ago that we were meeting the cast and crew of The Orville at their first appearance at San Diego Comic-Con?  Take a look back here at borg if you missed it (director/executive producer Jon Cassar and producer/editor Tom Costantino gave us some cool swag and let us take photos with props from the series and we chatted with the cast wearing our custom-made The Orville uniforms).  This year you won’t want to miss a few features for The Orville at SDCC 2020/Comic-Con@Home, including the reveal of new The Orville Starship Collection of miniature ships from Eaglemoss and some great behind-the-scenes images.

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In a normal year for San Diego Comic-Con, we at borg would be taking photos and checking out the new products, panels, and movie trailers, and trying to share as many as possible.  But first we’d go through the badge line and get our annual, over-sized haul bag, which we’d probably keep folded up anyway because it makes it difficult to move around.  But with that bag is the annual “Comic-Con book,” which is not a comic book, but an official book about half of a medium-sized city telephone directory (what’s a telephone directory?).  The book would be full of discussions about anniversaries of comic and pop culture events and salutes to individuals who have gained some portion of iconic status for fanboys and fangirls everywhere.  But you never read this during con week.  Why?  You’re too busy trying to cram in all you can before the show is over.  Sometimes you don’t even find this book until two months after you get back home after the con and are revisiting your swag.  This year, the SDCC staff has made it possible for everyone to download a copy of that book.

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