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Tag Archive: The Dead Zone


We knew from early trailers and buzz going back literally years now that Syfy’s new series Krypton was going to cover Superman’s family’s distant past.  Even back here at borg.com in 2014 we previewed the first plans for Syfy’s series, wondering how close the DC writers would stick to the known backstory from the comic book pages, asking “Will they keep the character’s original name Seyg-El?”  Answer: Yes, with a slight change in spelling to “Seg”.  And “Will they bring in an Eddie Haskell neighbor as a young Zod?”  Answer:  Not quite, but the Zod family is going to be well represented in the series, which premiered this week with a pilot that should far surpass fan expectations.  In fact Krypton’s production values, writing, and actors are so well put together the show has the potential to equal the DC Comics adaptations on the CW network, and ten minutes into the pilot it already seemed more grounded in the comic books than any of the DC movie adaptations going back to Superman II.

The previews for Krypton failed to convey the actual scope and solid space fantasy framework the series is built on (and the epic scope that goes beyond Superman lore, but more on that below).  It looked like it was going to be like Marvel’s Inhumans–another odd, fringe fantasy show.  So don’t let the trailers mislead you.  The acting ranks are excellently cast–the show’s lead, British actor Cameron Cuffe, plays Seg-El.  The actor is a bright, knowledgeable fan of Superman in his own right, as conveyed as the host of the after-show.  Seg-El’s family grounds the series instantly with genre gravitas: first, Sherlock’s Rupert Graves plays his father, then Paula Malcomson–who portrayed moms in both The Hunger Games and Caprica–plays Seg’s mother, and General Dodonna himself, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Horatio Hornblower, and Game of Thrones actor Ian McElhinney, plays Seg’s own grandfather.  From the beginning the women take on a fierce role in the show, with the house of Zod represented in warrior Lyta Zod, played by show co-star Georgina Campbell (Black Mirror, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Broadchurch).  Ann Ogbomo, who portrayed an Amazon warrior in the big screen’s Wonder Woman and Justice League plays her mother, Jayna Zod.  While fans are still on a fantasy superhero high from this year’s Black Panther movie, the military guild with the fierce Amazon-inspired Zod warrior-in-charge is well-timed.

The surprise from the pilot is how much Krypton seems to have the potential to be the next big Syfy series, like Battlestar Galactica came out of nowhere to reinvigorate science fiction television 15 years ago in 2003.  The show pulls from several science fiction and space fantasy realms, but the space fantasy potential is most interesting, with Stargate, John Carter, Valerian, Riddick and more as possible inspiration.  Pinar Toprak’s musical score, with appropriate John Williams Superman movie theme cues, has a pulsating Daft Punk Tron: Legacy vibe, with brightly neon-lit ships also borrowing some of that film’s more familiar visual elements.  Add in the visuals you can find late artist Michael Turner’s Krypton and great costume styles from designers Varvara Avdyushko (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and Bojana Nikitovic (Underworld: Blood Wars, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance).  Story elements can be found in Logan’s Run, Flash Gordon, THX-1138.  Even parallels to scenes from Batman’s backstory come into play.  The story in the first episode plays like one of the better episodes of Star Trek’s Enterprise series, the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, incorporating the beginnings of political tangles like those in The Dead Zone.  Krypton is also cool and cocky in its sets, style, writing, and acting, much like one of Syfy’s best recent series, Killjoys.  As fulfilling as the CW Network’s worldview of the DC Universe has become with the Arrowverse, Krypton is different, with none of the pop culture reference-heavy chatter, or that soap opera vibe of Smallville.  It’s a promising pilot–this looks like a most welcome Syfy channel space show.

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Limitless poster

It’s probably telling that the 2011 movie Limitless was directed by Neil Burger, director of the brilliant fantasy film The Illusionist, starring Paul Giamatti.  Strangely marketed as a movie about a dead-end would-be writer that finds a way to gain intelligence by using more of his brain than the ordinary guy, Limitless is a film the studio just didn’t understand.  It is listed in various places, in reviews, in marketing lists and DVD sales notations as each of the following: fantasy, drama, science fiction, thriller, mystery, urban fantasy.  It is neither and yet it is all that.  Above all it is a superhero film.  Yesterday we reviewed the new comic book series Uncanny, and we previously reviewed the new series Dream Thief.  These are only recent examples of an ordinary guy gaining strange powers.  Bradley Cooper’s Eddie Morra gains similar extraordinary abilities in Limitless.  In the process of honing these powers, he’d fit right in with another tale of the X-Men.

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Joyland cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Tomorrow Stephen King’s newest novel, Joyland, hits the shelves already a pre-release #1 Bestseller.  Come back to borg.com Friday, June 7, 2013, for information on how to win copies of an exclusive edition of Joyland or canvas cover prints of the novel’s artwork from Titan Books, publisher of the Hard Case Crime imprint, as part of the Stephen King-Joyland online book tour.

As a fan of many Stephen King movies and TV series based on his books, strangely enough I never made it through a Stephen King novel before now.  Because King’s adapted visual works have been so consistent, I found the easy-going storytelling in Joyland to be very familiar.  Joyland contains themes found in the innocence of Stand By Me (based on King’s novella The Body) and Silver Bullet (based on King’s novella Cycle of the Werewolf), the supernatural of The Green Mile (based on King’s serial novel of the same name), and the Northeast U.S. town-life found in the TV series Haven (based on King’s The Colorado Kid) and The Dead Zone (based on King’s novel).  King’s storytelling is very recognizable–you’d know his style anywhere.  And Joyland is not horror, but a blend of true crime-type drama mixed with King’s signature violent/explicit/graphic accounts of not just the crime that is the focus of the story but the life of the protagonist.  Yet it is also a coming of age story for the 20s set–written in a manner similar to classic middle grade and young adult works, like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and Tex, and even some of Judy Blume’s works.

Old Joyland Amusement Park

Old Joyland Amusement Park (King’s is a fictional park)

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Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Everyone here at borg.com is a loyal fan of Warehouse 13, and we eagerly waited for Season 3 with excitement and just a *leetle* bit of anxiety (Will She or Won’t She? regarding a return for Joanne Kelly, after Myka quits in a…well, to tell you the truth, we can’t really remember why she quit, but we’re pretty sure it had something to do with H.G. Wells and a pitchfork). Thank goodness, all that uncertainty was put to rest by the season premiere (July 11, 2011, “The New Guy”) and a Comic-Con confession by Eddie McClintock (Agent Pete Lattimer) that the whole Myka quitting drama was just a ratings stunt (whew!).

Ahem.  But while that got our hackles up just a little, that maneuvering did make room for potentially interesting additions to the cast, notably “New Guy” Agent Steve Jinks, as well as priming audiences for larger-scale storylines.  As we mentioned in our review earlier this year of the Leverage premiere, raising stakes for your characters and creating bigger, more meaningful plotlines is usually a good thing. And bless their hearts, Warehouse 13 gave it their all this season.  From turning our beloved Johnny Smith (Anthony Michael Hall, The Dead Zone) into a maniacal supervillain bent on exacting revenge from… Captain Janeway? (Kate Mulgrew, Star Trek Voyager) (Wait a minute–what?) to throwing Claudia at poor Agent Jinx in an over-the-top BFFE crush that only the writers really understood, to a literally explosive finale involving yet another reincarnation of series favorite H.G. Wells (this one presumably the last, as Jaime Murray is now a regular on Ringer… although with H.G. Wells and Warehouse 13, you never can tell).

By now you may be thinking that’s a lot of balls to juggle–even for the W13 gang–and you’re right.  It got a little hard to follow, and there were some missteps that took the series away from everything it had always done so, so right: the punchy camaraderie of the core cast, and the zany artifact hijinks that delight demented history buffs everywhere.  Something seems to have fizzled in the brilliant, squabbling-siblings chemistry between Myka and Pete, and even the artifacts got a little strained, having me occasionally roll my eyes instead of giggle maniacally.  I also found myself a little frustrated with some of the world building, as the addition of Kate Mulgrew as Regent-slash-Mom Jane Lattimer expanded the role and history of the Regents.  Case in point: There is already a thriving network of Warehouses, so what’s with this super-secret Regent Vault?  You need a better Warehouse for even worse artifacts?

Yeah, yeah, yeah… but because I do love this show and all its wackiness (that’s, by the way, meant to be praise here) I’m going to go on the record as saying I think all of that is just growing pains.  It’s Season 3–time to spread wings and see what happens when you leave the nest, and there are bound to be some bruised feathers.  And, to be sure, there were some standout moments this year. As Warehouse hacker-turned-techie-turned-trainee-turned-full-fledged-agent Claudia Donovan, Allison Scagliotti proved her mettle again and again this season, as her role was expanded in almost every episode (note to producers: Scagliotti is brilliant, but let’s remember this isn’t The Claudia Show), and although I personally didn’t feel we saw enough of Agent Jinks to share in the pathos of his death (or, um, potential undeath?  But we’ll have to wait for Season 4 for that!), Scagliotti managed to single-handedly carry the emotional weight of that entire plot thread, and she did so completely convincingly.  I almost thought I knew Jinksy enough to miss him, too.

The finale itself (the Sept. 26, 2011 two-parter “Emily Lake/Stand”), particularly the last act, was splendidly zany in the best W13 tradition–from a deadly chess game-slash-guillotine you have to cheat to beat, to a perversely-timed acting-up of random artifacts, to a startling and unexpected fate for mysterious Warehouse guardian Mrs. Frederick (which opens up marvelous possibilities for Claudia for next season), to the gutsy, glorious decision to destroy the whole warehouse, Search for Spock-style… I’m finding myself all geared up and ready for Season 4!  Only now I know all my gang is still right where they should be (well, minus Mrs. F and her iconic beehive–not, of course, to be confused with the other iconic beehive, the one from “Queen for a Day” that nearly destroyed Pete’s ex-wife Amanda Lattimer’s wedding  [Jeri Ryan/Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager, if you’re still keeping track of the crossovers!] wedding).  Wait.  Gotta catch my breath there.

Anyway, as mildly disappointed as I was with some of this season, it’s still Warehouse 13, which is still more fun than almost anything on TV, and my disappointment is merely a sign of how wonderful the show truly is–anything that can inspire fans to feel invested in the fates of the characters is doing pretty much everything right.  And I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Season 4 can annoy me, too!

P.S.  We loved chatting with Saul Rubinek at Comic-Con this year…

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