Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Doctor Who - New series, new species part 16

I'm glad to be able to continue what is possibly my longest running and certainly most numerous series of posts. As I posted not too long ago the Doctor Who children's spin off has returned, I've quite enjoyed the show as I did last series. As ever my remit is to discuss the brand new species created by the writers and production staff. I do this partly because it saves space and gives structure and also because I'm interested in how the television crews of today go about designing and making new ideas for alien species. Anyway, with classic series aliens the Sontarans taking up the first two-parter so just one alien for you this time, but it's a good start and an interesting creature.

Jeggorabax Energy Entity

I'm always quite interested in how they do these minimum prop aliens, all they needed was a man in a clown suit for this one and it worked pretty well. I wasn't blown away by this one as it seemed to be an amalgamation of several previous Dr Who villains, it existed because of people's emotions, which made it very similar to Adam in Torchwood who lived by people's memories. The climax scene where all the children walk off in zombie state was something of a Who cliche and has been done a few times (e.g. 1st christmas special) and wasn't that scary. But the angle of Sarah Jane exploring her own fear was very potent and the fear of the loss of a child as being the most powerful were extremely interesting and made good watching.

This creature originates in the Jeggorabax Cluster, known to be home to creatures that feed on emotion. The creature seemed to have inhabited a meteor that came to Earth sometime in the 13th century. It's first guise was the now legendary figure of the pied piper who gained fear by stealing the town's children. Realising this was an efficient way of producing fear he took on a number of guises down through the ages, generally of an entertainer and frightened and stole children to keep itself alive. It was not until it encountered Srah Jane Smith that the fatal flaw was revealed, if it was not feared, if people were happy and bold in it's presence it simply could not exist, the creature was destroyed.

Well that's it only to mention the slightly intriguing fact that the new girl's called Rani...hmmm.

Monday, 27 October 2008

The Forever War

Not sure if this warrants a post, but Ridley Scott has officially announced that he is to begin work on a film adaptation of The Forever War.
Get Googling.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

SF on TV

I only do this intermittently but as there's a fe decent Sci-Fi shows on TV I thought I'd quickly share with you what's on, especially as one show is premiering tonight! Not that these are shows that are in the UK and I only have freeview so it doesn't reflect what may be on other networks, but there's no point me teling you what I don't know is there?!!

OK on with the show(s)...

The Sarah Jane Adventures - Series 2 (BBC 1, Mon 4:30)

The better of the two Doctor Who spinoffs in my opinion, this series follows former Doctor's companion Sarah Jane Smith and her Earthbound friends as they combat alien menaces drawn to their part of the world. This series starts off with Sarah being much closer to her adopted son Luke and that is a definite settled state now that series 1 has been resolved, but Maria has moved away leaving Luke distraught and possible a space on the young team. Episode five airs monday, but you should be able to catch up on iPlayer - expect a "new species" post soon.

Heroes - Series 3 (BBC2, Wed 9pm)

Heroes quietly snuck back onto the BBC, I found out only hours before the broadcast! While series 2 floundered a little, due in no small part to the writer's strike, it was still one of the best things on television. The third series is already far better with new villains, great actions and more questions about what it means to have powers, specifically examining where powers come from and what would happen if everyone had them. I'm pleased to see that they are including characters from the comics too, which makes reading them a more exciting experience. There have already been several shockers and twists so I'd reccomend you get iPlayer, catch up quick and get on board while you can.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - Series 2 (Virgin1, Thurs 9pm)

PREMIERING TONIGHT!!! The exciting show that delves into the world of the iconic films is back and on freeview screens in just under two hours from this post. The show was clever in that it took a slower pace than the films, allowing you more time to grasp the character's emotions (or lack of the in terminator Cameron's case) and see the backstory that leads them to where they are. The story caused some confusion as it seems to jar with T3, but it's still very compelling and with a fourth film on the horizon there's a lot of potential, and apparently it references them both so we'll have to see what's coming, but it's sure to be a heck of a ride!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Series 1 (Sky Movies coming soon)

The new CG series set in the battles between episodes 2 and 3 of the prequel trilogy. Kicked off with the film that was released a few months back this film explores the effects of prolonged war on the Jedi and their clone allies. A common theme seems to be that the Jedi teach the clones that their lives are of value to them, even though they are grown life forms. I caught a few episodes dealing with a trap for Yoda and a Seperatist superweapon. Unfortunately the Cartoon Network site seems to have decided to block UK viewers so you can no longer watch episodes on the site, but I've included it as a link just in case. The series comes to the UK soon for people willing to pay for Sky Movies.

Well that's it, I've got stuff to do - I might add pictures if I've got time, but for now enjoy!!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Star Wars Vector, Chapter 3: Rebellion

Well Vector has moved forward in time once again, just a decade or two this time, from the Dark Times after the creation of the Empire to the time when those who hate the Emperor have amassed their forces and declared open rebellion against the Empire. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca and a few lesser known series regulars face up to the terrifying Rakghoul plague in the third chapter of Vector.

The story slots into issues 15 and 16 of the Rebellion series, following on from 3 successful story arcs. Though a lot of series regulars appear in the book (and it is a direct continuation of the Rebellion storyline, so it doesn't disrupt regular readers) it is still very easy to follow from the previous chapter of Vector and since a lot of the key Star Wars cast are involved it's not too unfamiliar territory.

Well I'll quickly pop up a review for you all, remember this will be very spoilery so if you are keen on getting it yourself you may want to skip the rest of this...ok let's go. Our troubled heroin Celeste has been on an abandoned moon for a little under two decades, the soul keeper of a plague spreading talisman and the ghost of a Sith Lord driving her mad - the only positive effect seems to be that she hasn't aged a day!!

Well she has been abandoned, but she hasn't been forgotten - Vader remembers the powerful Jedi he left behind and the even more powerul weapon around her neck. He sends an expeditionary force, when he hears that the force has crashed and lost contact after sighting an individual on the planet he knows she is still alive and leaks the information to the rebels in the hope that the plague will spread and destroy them.

The plucky team of rebels land on the planet with a full commando force including Able, a clone soldier from the Clone Wars and Deena Shan a young and nervous volunteer who has been a key player in the series so far. The rebels find the crashed Imperial landers and are soon assaulted by the stormtroopers they brought down, now transformed into monstrous Rakghouls. Han and most of the others are pushed back to the Millenium Falcon and forced to leave Luke, Leia and Abel behind. The ship is soon harrassed by a Star Destroyer ordered by Vader to get the rebels to flee back to base, and so cannot return to rescue our heroes.

Luke ends up backed into a cave and is suddenly attacked by Celeste, crazed by her abandonment and the whispers of Karness Muur. Leia and Abel arrive to help Luke, but this further enrages Celeste, who assaults Leia and turns Abel into one of her mindless monsters. Karness however sense an opportunity for galactic conquest and the talisman leaps towards Luke and Leia, but Celeste, regaining her senses retrieves the talisman and once again accepts her burden - to keep Karness prisoner in her body and to halt the plague as much as possible.

She walks off, discarding Luke, who is eager to know more of the Jedi, but she has decided to explore the galaxy and takes of in the rebel assault sguttle to see more of the galaxy. As she leaves she passes the waiting Star Destroyer who are still listening for Vader, who realizes too late what is happening, the ship is overrun by the plague and crashes into the planet. Meanwhile the Falcon has been able to shake it's pursuers and rescue Luke and Leia who return to the fleet to mourn Abel and others lost and to contemplate the future of the Jedi and of the Rebellion.

Well the Legacy portion of Vector is currently being published so I'll share what happens next with you all in a month or two, that portion will be collected in the second volume of Vector along with the Rebellion story - Volume 1 of Vector will be released in January.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

SF at the Movies

Well we've hit October and so it's time to quickly fill the silence with a look at what's going to be showing at the flicks this month. I'm afraid the cupboard's pretty bare, or at least the Sci-Fi shelf is, with the new Bond out it can't be all bad for cinema goers I suppose. Anyway, let's keep to our remit shall we?

City of Ember
Released 10/10/08

As far as I'm concerned the only 'proper' SF release this month. City of Ember is set in a hidden underground city where for 240 years the remnants of mankind have stayed and survived so long they've forgotten where they came from. But there's a bit of a problem with that as the city was only meant to hold humanity for 200 years and now the generator is failing. Two youngsters happen upon an ancient plan, a away to get out of the city and do all they can to escape and save humanity. It's very good, though a little slow in parts and doesn't hold back though it's meant for a younger audience...


Released 17/10/08

...unlike some films! This is a film about mad scientists making stuff and so falls roughly into our chosen field it's about a novice who wants to invents some kind of evil science thing and...ooh it's CG...again, people are still impressed by that...aren't they?


Releases 17/10/08

Some guy wakes up and finds a giant spider and...wait, didn't they do this film already?...like five times...two at least!!


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Matrix Online: Things to do part 2

Curiouser and Curiouser: More things to find and do in Uriah

Well blogging seems to have died down a bit so I'll try and liven things up with another promotion of Matrix Online, the online multiplayer that lets you live out the future of the Matrix storyline. While at some point I'll get on and tell you about that story, for now I'm going to try and tantalize you with some of the things you can do and enjoy in game, and all just in the first neighbourhood!

Mercury's Sixth

OK so if you've gotten started in the Matrix you may have met Mercury who I posted about last session. Merury is one of several "contacts" whi give you mission and are located in most of the city's neighbourhoods. Each gives a set of five missions, but just to make it interesting for new players the developers added a sixth. In this mission you learn more about Mercury, his work and his relationship with Pepper, an exile from Downtown who you won't otherwise meet until you're much further in the game. And you won't go unrewarded for your mission.


Codebase is a recruiter for the Machine organization, who you may want to try joining. He is found adjacent to the first hardline you discover. He is also friends with Mercury, and if you get a note from Mercury for completing his last mission he'll reward you with an exclusive "Industrial" jacket. He is also interested in taking down the Chopper gang in Uriah, and will reward you with both info (money) and experience code for retrieving one of their keys, this can be a great boost to a start up operative. For the more sentimental types he also offers a souvenir version of the chopper keys, to remember your early days by.

Mars Industrial Storage

Mars Industrial Storage is a warehouse, but it is also the first of many "hideouts" in the game, they are marked on your map with an orange arrow symbol. Gangs lurk below ground in these hideouts, often unusual in nature. Operatives often test their strength against these gangs by trying to get through the subterranean chambers, from which there is only one way out - getting past the gang's leader. But defeating the leader usually results in a reward, so many will try it. The gang in Uriah are called the Unclean, old disease spreading programs from an older Matrix. While they are fairly weak, defeating them and their leader Zero is still a challenge. These gangs also carry pills that can alter the look of an individual in the Matrix, from hair to skin tone to body size. These are valued by operatives, but also by Kimree, who stands outside the hideout, and will take a full set of the pills they carry and trade it for an "Industrial" fedora, which will complete your collection nicely.

The Headless

The Unclean are not the only ones to hide below the warehouse, on the fourth sublevel another exile group exist, known as the headless. Generally hidden, but when an operative approaches their leader Barebones, then a headless attacker of similar strength to them will emerge and attack. Defeating Barebones will stop these attacks, but also the reward for fighting them. These strange program drop a unique type of code fragment, collecting a complete set of these and returning them to Kimree, will reward you with the Headless Glasses, a popular Matrix item.

So for those of you with a taste for combat and cool clothes that oughta keep you happy. Well whenever I get round to it next I'll tell you about some of the other adventures you can be having in the Matrix.