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Tag Archive: Daleks


power-daleks-clip

In the 1960s it was not unheard of that television stations like the BBC in the United Kingdom did not retain footage of television series.  Film reels were thrown out instead of storing shows for archival purposes as we do today.  The greatest volume from one series is probably from Doctor Who, where nearly 100 episodes were lost.  But thanks to fans recording the audio of the shows at home, plus film stills and the odd found footage, the stories themselves remain.  In the case of one legendary tale, The Power of the Daleks, the BBC decided to animate the tale and distribute it for a new generation of Doctor Who fans.  Premiering in full this Saturday, November 19, and beginning November 20, on BBC America, viewers can stream the entire six-part series, and tomorrow night you have one chance to view the new animated version in theaters.

Thought to have been lost forever, The Power of the Daleks is the missing third serial of the fourth season of Doctor Who.  No complete film recordings or master negatives of The Power of the Daleks are known to have survived an archive purge in 1974.  This brand new animation is recreated from original audio, photographs, and surviving film clips.  The Power of the Daleks has never been shown in North America in any form.

powerdaleks

An original clip of the lost Doctor Who serial “Power of the Daleks.”

Fans of any iteration of Doctor Who will want to see this series for two key reasons.  First, it is the first rejuvenation of a Doctor, here showing Patrick Troughton transform into the Second Doctor.  Second, fans first realized the true darkness behind the Daleks, who would remain the greatest foes of the Doctor and his companions to this day.  Also featured are companions Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze).

Check out this quick preview:

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Old Luke at KCCC 2016 x

Yesterday thousands of sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero fans began to converge on Kansas City as Kansas City Comic Con returned to Bartle Hall for Kansas City Comic Con 2016.  The show is featuring the very best comic book and fiction writers and artists in the U.S. as well as some great movie and TV guests.  We had a great time on day one chatting with Nichelle Nichols, well known for her groundbreaking role as Uhura in three seasons of Star Trek and six major motion pictures, Billy Dee Williams, best known as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and the original Bo and Luke of Dukes of Hazzard, John Schneider and Tom Wopat.

And Comic-Con also means cosplay time.

Sporting my “old Luke Skywalker” garb from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with my cloak created by intrepid borg.com contributor Elizabeth C. Bunce, we had many attendees ask the question: Where was Luke all that time leading up to his discovery by Rey at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

You remember, old Jedi Master Luke was only in two scenes.  The first in a flashback with R2-D2:

KCCC 2016 Luke S and R2-D2

… and then at the end when Rey attempted to give him back his lightsaber?

KCCC 2016 Rey and Luke

Here, Sir, I have brought back your lightsaber.

So where had he been hiding all that time?

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Before Flood Fisher King Doctor Who

For fans of time travel, look no further than the past two-part episode of Doctor Who for one of the most complex and bloody brilliant time travel stories yet to make it to the screen.  Steven Moffat, after a year of getting us accustomed to Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor, has now delivered four superb episodes.  It’s enough to convince us Capaldi is the real deal and fans of not only the Doctor Who of Christopher Eccleston/David Tennant/Matt Smith series but the classic series as well should be able to embrace the current series as the real thing.

Take the first two-parter of this second season of the 12th Doctor, beginning with “The Magician’s Apprentice,” the creator of all Daleks, Davros, continuity-wise looking very much as he looked back to Tom Baker days, sets up the beginning of a clever trap for the Doctor, relying on the Doctor’s compassion as his ultimate weakness.  Then Michelle Gomez’s Missy–the Doctor’s “brother” Time-Lord also known as The Master now in its current female or “evolved” form–must partner with Jenna Coleman’s Clara to both save the Doctor and themselves, sort of.  It is my own favorite motif–the forced partnering of a franchise’s good guy with its villain against a common foe.  The chemistry between Missy and Clara was simply superb.  And of course, the finale in “The Witch’s Familiar” successfully ties up all the loose ends, but not without wrestling in some good conflicts like an emotional struggle with the Self as the Doctor deciding whether to leave a little boy to die in the middle of an alien mine field.

Before the Flood

This season is about Capaldi’s Doctor letting loose and freely occupying the role as his own.  The electric guitar show he performs in the season opener with his new sonic sunglasses replacing the retired sonic screwdriver–a brilliant and probably long-overdue maneuver by Moffat–came full circled last night in “Before the Flood,” with an updated version of the Doctor Who introduction music in the wrap-up of the two-parter begun on October 3, 2015, “Under the Lake”.  The Doctor’s Finest–a recap show highlighting the best of the reboot Doctor Who episodes shown this summer as a lead-in to Capaldi’s Season 2 (also reboot Season 9)–needs completely redone now that we have the story arc in “Under the Lake”/”Before the Flood”.

Is time linear or “twisty” as the Doctor has asserted before?

Before the Flood Fisher King

Beginning with a parable about Beethoven and showing a bust of the composer that looks strikingly like Capaldi, Moffat takes us on a magical mystery tour full of adventure, emotion, fear, self-reflection, heroism, and all-out fun.  Only this Doctor would get away with talking directly to the audience.  In fact, this two-parter may be a good entry point for those unfamiliar with the series.  It has everything Doctor Who is known for, including the best-in-class scenes of crew life aboard a spaceship, the world’s finest creature costumes and make-up work with the new villain The Fisher King (part Predator, part Xenomorph, part Mimic creature), a look at the complex and vital relationship between Doctor and companion, subplots making you care about the everymen he encounters along the way, further study of the Doctor’s singular aloneness in the universe, and his willingness to do anything to protect humanity.

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Barry Newberry The Signature Collection cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Telos Publishing has just released The Barry Newbery Signature Collection, an indispensible collection of photography taken by Barry Newbery of sets he designed and constructed as production designer on the Doctor Who television series from 1963 to 1984.  Now in his eighties, the most prolific designer of sets from the classic era of Doctor Who discusses decisions behind the design of historic sets well-known to long-time Whovians as well as a behind-the-scenes look at his work as a designer working for so many years at the BBC.

Expect to see several images of the Daleks, the TARDIS, and the various interior designs of the ship that has always been bigger on the inside.

Early TARDIS crossing the Gobi Desert

A great early image of the TARDIS being carried across the Gobi desert.

The book showcases more than 250 black and white and color photos in surprisingly good quality considering their age.  It includes many full-page photos as well as up to five images of items per page for things like further set detail.  The Barry Newbery Signature Collection also includes design sketches from “The Awakening,” “The Brain of Morbius,” “The Aztecs,” and “The Silurians.”

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Spoilers!

By C.J. Bunce

Diehard Doctor Who fans will already know this, so this is more for you almost-diehard fans–If you watched this weekend’s explosive (or “explodey-wodey”) Doctor Who season premiere episode “Asylum of the Daleks,” you might have missed that the character Oswin was played by actress Jenna-Louise Coleman, and if you haven’t been paying attention you further might have missed that she will be replacing the Ponds as the new companion to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor by year end.

If you had known this your watching experience may have gone something like this–Wait!  Isn’t she the new companion?  She looks familiar.  Did we know she was going to be in the first episode?  Which then went to:  Hmm… I’m not sure I like her.  Then, hmm… she’s really quick and witty.  Smart.  Sassy.  And by the end of the episode you feel guilty to so quickly give up your loyalty to the best companion ever (yes, Amelia Pond) for someone with the name.. Oswin Oswald?  But wasn’t the new companion’s name supposed to be Clara?  They wouldn’t do something so low and wrong as having the same actress play two parts in such a short timeframe, right?  Questions, questions.

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By C.J. Bunce

We highlight them all the time here at borg.com.  But some of them don’t naturally come to mind when you think of cybernetically enhanced organisms–cyborgs, or borgs for short.  What makes a borg?  An organism, human, alien, or animal, who has been modified by technology or uses technology as part of or in place of another biological function.  We use this broadly, encompassing not only a long-accepted group of borgs that are more metal than man, but also robots or androids modified with biology or biomatter, although taken to the extreme this would seem to include the bioneural starship USS Voyager from Star Trek Voyager.

Regardless of how you define it, meet our borg.com Hall of Fame, always ready for new honorees…

With Marvel’s big premiere of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers, we’ll begin with Tony Stark’s Iron Man.  Tony Stark is not advertised as a borg, but if your power source involves techno-gadgetry via an arc reactor and you have his fully integrated armor, we think that makes you a borg.  Whedon is very familiar with borgs, having created the character Adam, the nasty, almost unstoppable foe of the Scooby Gang in Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

If Iron Man is a borg, should one of the oldest creatures of science fiction be considered a borg as well–Frankenstein’s monster?  How integral are those bolts and attachments to his survival anyway?  Does an external power source make a borg?  Did he ever have to regenerate?

And if Frankenstein’s monster makes the cut, maybe this spin-off fellow should, too:

Yes, Frankenberry, the only cereal mascot borg?  Are those pressure gauges on his head?  What functions do they serve?  Before we move forward very far in time, we also think we need to at least consider Maria’s doppelganger from Fritz Lang’s sci-fi film classic Metropolis as a possible borg.com honoree–a robot admittedly, but somehow transformed into a humanoid creation with flesh, used to replace the real Maria and wreak havoc across Metropolis:

From one of the biggest science fantasy franchises, Star Wars, Darth Vader began as Anakin Skywalker, but through his own rise to evil and subsequent downfall he became more machine than man:

He even caused his son to require borg technology by slicing off his arm and hand with his lightsaber, making Luke Skywalker a borg as well:

With Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, we met an interesting new villain, General Grievous, a four-lightsaber wielding almost lobster-like biological creature made up of techno-armor and, in close-up are those reptilian eyes?  His apparent disfigurement and breathing problems hint at a back story that must be not unlike Vader’s.

In The Empire Strikes Back we also briefly met Lando Calrissian’s majordomo who possessed some type of brain adapter technology–we learn from action figures, trading cards and comics his name is Lobot:

And probably the very first cyborg to be referred to specifically as a “borg” (by Luke Skywalker, even), Valance was a cyborg bounty hunter in the early pages of Star Wars, the Marvel Comics series:

Some borgs are more cybernetic than organism, at least at first appearance.  This would include Doctor Who’s Cybermen:

and we’d learn even the Daleks were cybernetic organisms:

and the Terminators from the Terminator movie and Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series, very much more machine with a bit of organics (and even Arnold’s character called himself a “cybernetic organism”):

In Star Trek: First Contact the Borg Queen alters the android Lieutenant Commander Data in such a way so as to make Pinocchio a real boy:

giving real organic material to Data, (like Maria’s double above from Metropolis?) bringing him briefly into the realm of borg status, like Isaac Asimov’s Bicentennial Man:

and this even suggests the Tin Man from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz may be a rudimentary variant borg being along the lines of Frankenstein’s monster:

All humanoids or aliens modified to become The Borg of the Star Trek franchise clearly are good examples of cyborg beings, the most famous of which are probably Patrick Stewart’s Locutus:

the seemingly innocent Hugh:

and Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager:

On Earth we encounter humans all the time with bodies improved by borg technology.  Because of the OSI Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers were rescued from near death with enhanced biology and appendages to become the Bionic Man and Bionic Woman:

The British agent James Bond had to take on Doctor No, an evil scientist who took on his own technological enhancements because of medical maladies, bringing James Bond into the fold of genre franchises investigating a borg character:

Featured in a 1980s movie series and soon to be the subject of a new movie, Robocop:

showed us a variant on Austin and Sommers, and a bit like Iron Man, we have the government creating technology to make super-humans, and here, a superhuman police officer.  This is taken even further, making three animals into borgs for military use in the Eisner-nominated comic book mini-series WE3:

 …a far darker take on the classic cartoon character Dynomutt from Scooby Doo:

Inspector Gadget:

and Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock) in Spider-man 2:

 

both were borgs that made it into big-screen films.

In the DC Comics universe we have a newer Justice League featured member Cyborg, a football player/student who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, when his father’s lab goes up in flames and his father uses his own research to save his son from death:

Before that, Frank Miller envisioned a disfigured future world Green Arrow who would need his own prosthetic cybernetic arm in The Dark Knight Returns:

Mr. Freeze was an early borg villain in the Batman series:

In Marvel Comics Rich Buckler created Deathlok the Demolisher, another cyborg creation, and one of the earliest borgs in comics:

Add to that Marvel characters like Ultron, the “living” automaton:

Ultron’s own creation, named Vision, the “synthezoid”–

and the borg called Cable:

In the 1990s Jim Lee created the Russian borg in the pages of X-Men called Omega Red:

Long before these Marvel characters the cyborgs Robotman and Robotdog graced the pages of DC Comics in the 1940s, and yes, they were not just robots:

The modern Cylons from the reboot Battlestar Galactica TV series are borgs in the Terminator sense, robots made to look and pass for human.  And there were a bunch, not just background, but named characters, the most famous of which was the seductive Number Six:

  

Years before, Philip K. Dick would create more than one borg character in his novels and short stories, revealed to us the best as the Replicants in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner:

Several replicants appeared in the film:

 

…all indistinguishable from humans to the naked eye.

In the horror realm we have Ash, from Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, his arm a functioning chainsaw, and at least in the comic book, like the Star Trek borgs he has an interchangeable arm like a mega Swiss Army knife:

If we include Ash do we also need to include Cherry Darling from Planet Terror, since she has a rifle as a leg like Ash’s arm attachment?

Heck, even horrific camp troller Jason became a borg eventually in Jason X:

Todd MacFarlane’s Spawn comics had both the borg assassin Overtkill:

and the cybernetic gorilla Cy-Gor:

Speaking of borg beasties, even Japanese monster movies embraced borgs, having their hero Godzilla encounter Mechagodzilla:

and Gigan:

In the world of manga and anime we have Ghost in the Machine’s own borg girl Motoko Kusanagi:

leader of a group of borgs, and the villain Cell from Dragon Ball: 

Cowboy Bebop had the borg character Jet Black, which seems influenced by the design of Seven of Nine:

Akira had Tetsuo Shima:

And we have a new one to add to the list because of the film Prometheus, the creepy borg, David 8:

But he’s certainly not the first in Ridley Scott’s Alien universe.  Don’t forget Ian Holm’s Ash in Alien:

Lance Henrikson’s Bishop from Aliens:

and Winona Ryder’s Annalee Call from Alien: Resurrection:

But these are just the biggest examples of borgs in popular genre works.  Countless books, comics and short stories have introduced other borg beings, not to mention every other new video game.   What will be the next borg to enter the mainstream, with a new TV show or movie?

Should we add an Honorable Mention list to the borg.com Borg Hall of Fame, for beings resulting from the merging of humans with cyberspace?  Think of characters like Tron and Flynn from Tron and Tron: Legacy?  Or Neo and Trinity & Co. from the Matrix movies?  You can argue some of the above in or out of the list, but we’ll be visiting most of them here now and then.

Editor note: We’ll update this list from time to time and feature it as its own page on the borg.com home page.  Just click on “Know your borg” at the top of this page now for a full update!

Why borg.com?

As you might already know, borg is the short version of cyborg, itself a shortened combination of the term “cybernetic organism.”  At its core a cybernetic organism is the juxtaposition between the present and the future—the evolved organic meets future technology, usually technology meant to enhance, improve or replace a biological function.  Today people with loss of limbs or other functions benefit from cybernetic improvements that didn’t exist just decades ago.  The seemingly unlimited boundaries and implications of these technologies have been pursued throughout popular fiction for years.

My first encounter with the concept of a cybernetic organism is like many peoples’—Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man.  In fact, the original working title of SMDM was “Cyborg.” Back in the 1970s one of my favorite toys and the first of many large action figures was this astronaut from the TV series.  He was the perfect archetype and a great introduction to the borg concept for kids back then. He explored both the good and the bad of mixing technology with biology, usually through the struggle he and his friend Jaime Sommers “The Bionic Woman” experienced adapting to these new enhancements.  Ultimately in science fiction a lot of time is spent focused on the pitfalls of this mix—Terminators dehumanize us.  Robocop and Darth Vader ultimately lose their human selves.  But let’s face it, the benefits can be amazing.

When I was ten years old I got my first pair of eyeglasses.  I remember reading my first comic books and thinking about the old “what if?” question:  If you could have any special power, what would it be?  The ability to fly like Superman?  The ability to move fast like the Flash?  To climb walls like Spiderman?  For me the answer was easy—I wanted perfect vision.  Steve Austin, the astronaut played by Lee Majors, crashed in a test flight, and because “we can rebuild him” because “we have the technology,” Steve got not only superior vision but superior physical strength and other powers, too.  Through my Six Million Dollar Man action figure I could literally see (through a window in the back of his head) Steve’s super vision.  But this was science fiction, right?  And who has six million bucks anyway?

 

Flash forward to the 21st century.  Science fiction meets reality, and not for six million dollars but more like six thousand dollars comes LASIK.  I found myself in an eye doctor’s laboratory with eye tests that looked like something out of 1950s sci fi TV serials—with flashing lights and lasers measuring the surface of my eye to the actual (gulp) restructuring of my eyes with a real-life laser beam.  Back in the 1970s I would have thought it possible, just not likely, that I could have my wish come true.  And the days of lesser technologies…eyeglasses and contact lenses…were a thing of the past for me.  Did I get to benefit from actual cybernetic technologies?  You bet!  Do I consider myself a bit of a borg?  I’m not telling, but I’ve been known to refer to my new sight as laser vision—a concept straight out of Stan Lee’s Marvel Comics.

I also just like “borg” over “cyborg” and “cybernetic organism”.  It’s less formal and I hope to drop all formality with this website.  My own first encounter with the word “borg” was in my favorite comic book series as a kid—the Star Wars adaptation and Marvel’s ongoing original comic series that started as a retelling of the Seven Samurai.  In issue 16 we were introduced to the menacing bounty hunter Valance, who hunts robots, only to be revealed to us in the last panel that half of his body was replaced with cybernetic parts—he was a borg.  Who knew one day I would have a website called the same thing?

I also have to mention other borg:  Doctor Who’s Cybermen and even the Daleks, General Grievous and Luke Skywalker, the human Cylons from the Battlestar Gallactica reboot series, Philip K. Dick’s replicants we saw on the big screen in Blade Runner, and last but not least the species in Star Trek that assimilates all species and cultures, “The Borg”—I hope here, too, to pull together all science fiction, fantasy, entertainment–all pop culture–in one place. 

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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