Category: Fantasy Realms


Genre favorite Jenna Coleman is back, this time not as the friendly companion in Doctor Who, but as Johanna Constantine in The Sandman, a new series coming to Netflix this summer.  Based on Neil Gaiman’s series of graphic novels from DC Comics, it’s a dark fantasy tale of another world, a place called the Dreaming, the realm of The Sandman, Master of Dreams, played by Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd).  “When Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever.”

The trailer reveals a British production that has the look and vibe of the Twilight and Harry Potter movie series, and it features a long list of familiar genre faces, including Potter’s David Thewlis, plus Alien3 and Bleak House’s Charles Dance, The Hobbit and V for Vendetta’s Stephen Fry, Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Gwendoline Christie, Logan and The Predator’s Boyd Holbrook, and Veronica Mars’ Kirby Howell-Baptiste.

Here’s the new trailer for Netflix’s The Sandman:

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More than two years since filming and it was well worth the wait.  Stranger Things at last fulfilled its mash-up pop culture promise in its fourth season.  Hidden inside a mix of a B-movie style homage to low-budget horror and Steven Spielberg movies of the E.T. and Goonies vintage, the story finally came full circle in nine big hours over seven episodes.  What do you get when you take 1980s pop culture, a haunted house, a superman lab, more Upside Down, more D&D, not-rabid mynocks, a monster to rival Freddy Kruger, and a huge cast of characters you’ve grown to love (and watch grow up)? The best season of one of the streaming era’s best series.

So let’s dig into Season 4.

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Some movies seem to come out of nowhere.  Take The Menu.  What kind of stylish dark fantasy is this?  The movie is about a couple visiting an exclusive remote resort restaurant that has deadly surprises in addition to exotic food.  Is it The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, & Her Lover, or a twisted mix of Iron Chef and The Freshman?  It also appears to follow the framework of Clue/Cluedo and locked room mysteries like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.  Or is it something else entirely?  The Menu has an exceptional genre cast mix, featuring Ralph Fiennes (James Bond, Kingsman, Harry Potter series), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit, The New Mutants, Unbreakable series), Nicholas Hoult (X-Men series, Mad Max series), and John Leguizamo (The Mandalorian, Ice Age series, John Wick series).

Get on your foodie hat (I guess that’s a chef’s hat, right?) and take a look at Searchlight Pictures’ The Menu

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The Clones Wars have ended.  You can either adapt and survive, or die with the past.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch was last year’s new animated series spinning out of characters featured in 2020’s surprise seventh season of The Clone Wars.  It’s about that motley band of clone troopers gone AWOL from duty to fight the wrongs of the Emperor and his hold over them.  This past week should be a dream fulfilled for fans of The Clone Wars and Dave Filoni’s vision for the story of the prequels after the prequels, with Obi-Wan Kenobi further digging into his storytelling and characters.  At Star Wars Celebration Sunday a trailer for the second season of The Bad Batch reveals even more surprises ahead, and the return of some fan-favorite characters.

Check out the new trailer for The Bad Batch, season two:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Aligned with the year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, Disney+ began its latest Star Wars series this week, Obi-Wan Kenobi Or did it?  Maybe they uploaded a Young Princess Leia series and inadvertently swapped the reels?  The choices of subject matter to feature for the story are certainly interesting, as director Deborah Chow and the writing team take some surprising turns, especially with its focus not on Kenobi, but the Skywalkers again.  With two short episodes past us–of only a six-episode series–as with the original Star Wars movie and the prequels, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a secondary character.  Sure, he’s the glue that holds things together, but not the character who drives the action.  Will we ever see that story?

But two camps should love this series:  If you are a fan of the prequels and the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this is your series.  Also, if you like Disney fairy tales featuring the latest version of Ariel or Belle or Elsa this is also your series.  As a pure Disney family show it works, and it works as a continuation of The Clone Wars as a “sequel to the prequel trilogy” mixed with significant elements and characters from the Dave Filoni-verse.

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As the Obi-Wan Kenobi series arrives on Disney+, this year’s Star Wars Celebration netted some good stuff this week from Lucasfilm: a first promotional photo from the next Indiana Jones movie, a name and star for a coming Star Wars series (that’s Captain Marvel and Gattaca co-star Jude Law in an Ahsoka/The Mandalorian era series called Skeleton Crew), and two trailers.  Both have been talked about going back to early pandemic days.  Diego Luna will be joined by Genevieve O’Reilly in her third stint as Mon Mothma plus Stellan Skarsgård is an unnamed new character in the Rogue One prequel series, Andor And Warwick Davis and Joanne Whalley are back in a new Willow series.

Both the trailers deliver some great visuals that will make them difficult to wait for.  Andor is already confirmed for a second season.  Check them out below.

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Regular borg readers know about novelist Elizabeth C. Bunce′s reviews here at borg.  Last year her novel Premeditated Myrtle won the Edgar Award at the 75th annual honors (awarded by the Mystery Writers of America and named for mystery writing pioneer Edgar Allan Poe).  She was also a finalist for both the Agatha Award (honoring mystery author Agatha Christie), and Anthony Award (honoring mystery author Anthony Boucher).  As we shared previously, Elizabeth was a 2022 finalist–her second consecutive year–for the Edgar Award and the Agatha Award this time for the latest novel in her Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series, Cold-Blooded Myrtle.  This year’s finalist list has been released for the 2022 Anthony Awards, and Elizabeth has been nominated yet again, making her one of only three novelists in the history of the awards to be a finalist twice for all three honors, and the second novelist to be so honored with the mystery writing trifecta in back-to-back years.

The Anthony Award is an annual recognition for mystery authors, named to honor mystery writer and Mystery Writers of America co-founder Anthony Boucher (shown above, with cat friend).  Past novelists recognized by the Anthony Awards include J.K. Rowling, Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Dashiell Hammett, Stephen King, Lilian Jackson Braun, Robert B. Parker, Max Allan Collins, Jill Thompson, Louise Penny, Lawrence Block, Laura Lippman, Nancy Pickard, Sue Grafton, Jonathan Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, Donald E. Westlake, Rick Riordan, Lee Child–and Elizabeth (shown above with Sophie, the inspiration for Peony the Cat in her series).

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Review by C.J. Bunce

You have two days left to get in on Free League’s Kickstarter for the new Blade Runner roleplaying game (check that out here).  It’s already achieved unprecedented success (nearly $1.5 million pledged!), and if you sign up by May 26 you can get in on a stunning supply of unlocked stretch goal extras.  If you haven’t tried a FL RPG yet, you might want to start with the FL’s officially licensed rule book to Alien: The Roleplaying Game (available here at Amazon).  For anyone who loves the Alien franchise movies and novels (reviewed here) and its Colonial Marines, anyone who wants to see Weyland-Yutani get their just desserts, or anyone just willing to jump into the realm of horror roleplay–where you don’t always make it out alive–let’s dig into this recent RPG release.

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The officially licensed roleplaying game for Blade Runner is almost here, and you have less than three days left to get in on its Kickstarter and some unlocked stretch goal extras.  Fully funded in just three minutes, the Kickstarter from RPG publisher Free League is approaching a whopping $1.5 million in pledges.  Set in the year 2037, Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game begins with a core rulebook of more than 200 pages featuring an adventure set shortly after the Wallace Corporation debuts a new cyborg: its Nexus-9 Replicants, giving players the choice to play as either human or Replicants.

Check out the Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game Kickstarter here and its website here now for more information, and below is a look inside the first release, its core rulebook.

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