Category Archives: Humor

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‘S.H.E.I.L.D’ casts its final character, Lindelof not writing ‘Promethus’ sequel, ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘The Nedist’ score at BBCA

Chloe Bennet, who currently plays record company assistant Hailey on Nashville, has reportedly become the sixth and final regular cast member on ABC’s S.H.I.E.L.D. She will play Skye, who is a confident woman who is slightly obsessed with superhero culture and the shadow organizations that exist within it. She’s edgy and can out-talk anyone with her unflappable nature. Bennet joins Ming-Na as Agent Melinda May, Killing Lincoln’s Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Gemma Simmons, Ian De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, and of course the incomparable Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson.

prometheus2Though it proved a solid hit at the box office, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was a love-it-or-hate-it affair for most sci-fi fans. Many blamed Damon Lindelof’s (Lost) rewrite, which took a more straightforward Alien prequel and tried to flesh it, encompassing some big ideas that got mixed up. Lindelof, though, has confirmed he will not be writing the sequel to Prometheus, due to other commitments already on his plate. “The thing about Prometheus was it was a rewrite.  Jon Spaihts wrote a script and I rewrote it.  And still it was a year of my life that I spent on Prometheus, kind of all in.  The idea of building a sequel to it–from the ground up this time–with Ridley is tremendously exciting. But at the same time, I was like, “Well that’s probably going to be two years of my life.” I can’t do what J.J. [Abrams] does. I don’t have the capability.  I’m usually very single-minded creatively. I can only be working on one thing at a time.  So I said to him, “I really don’t think I could start working on this movie until I do this other stuff.  And I don’t know when the other stuff is going to be done.” And he was like, “Well, okay, it’s not like I asked you anyways.”  He and I are on excellent terms and it was a dream come true to work with him. But much to the delight of all the fanboys, I don’t see myself being involved in Prometheus-er.” Still, Lindleof did say he and Scott discussed ideas for future installments. “Ridley [Scott] and I talked at great length during the story process of the first movie about what subsequent movies would be if Prometheus were to be successful. And I think that the movie ended in a very specific way that hinted at, or strongly implied that there were going to be continuing adventures worthy of writing stories. What those stories would be would not necessarily usurp or transcend the Alien franchise as we saw it because we know that the Nostromo hasn’t come along yet.  So the idea was to set up a universe that… Is it a prequel?  Okay.  If that’s what we want to call it, sure.  But the sequel to this movie is not Alien. The sequel to this movie is this other thing.”

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Doctor Who, it appears, will always be referenced as a cult show, despite its huge growth in popularity both in the UK and the US. The Christmas special The Snowmen delivered 1.4 million viewers. That’s not quite enough to topple the show’s record-setting fall premiere, but it’s huge for BBC America on a holiday (considering here in the States, every show is in reruns). The special was up 54 percent from Doctor Who‘s 2011 Christmas special, plus set a record among adults 25-54.nerdist

Meanwhile BBC America has become so enamored of Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist specials that it’s turning the podcast adaptation into a full-blown show, giving Hardwick 10 episodes in which he can continue to talk about nerd and pop culture. The newly expanded Nerdist will premiere in the spring, kicking off the network’s “Supernatural Saturday” programming block that includes Hardwick-favorite Doctor Who as well as Being Human.

It is truthful when I say Pixar’s Cars movies don’t appeal to me. The first film, while technically brilliant, has a predictable story done a million times over at Disney and thus showed that even they can be lazy when it comes to stories. Its huge success, though, was based on the car culture and the appeal of racing, mostly NASCAR. Cars 2 seemed just a pointless as the first, with another weak, lazy story that appeals to the lowest common denominator. While rest assured we’ll see a Cars 3, in the meantime, Disney will release Planes in August of 2013. Planes is a spin-off of the franchise –though Pixar is not actually making it- and it was originally planned as a direct-to-DVD release but it appears Disney thinks that this can work as a theatrical film. We’ll see.

Travis Richey prepares to bring us Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time

Who knew when NBC’s cult favorite Community began a recurring joke about a legendary TV series called Inspector Spacetime, which was a parody of the long-running BBC series Doctor Who, it would spawn its own cult following?

Actor/writer Travis Richey, who recurred on the Peacock Network’s show as the Inspector, clearly saw potential in expanding the concept (along with a host of other people, who created an entire history of the show via online bulletin boards, Tumblr, and a TVTropes page), so he and his writing partner Eric Loya decided to write a 6-epsiode web series called Inspector Spacetime and offered it up to NBC. But when the network gave no response to their pitch, they turned to Kickstarter.com to get fans to help fund a non-profit production.

That’s when Sony intervened. Since the studio owns the name and likeness to Inspector Spacetime, he was told he could not use the title or the look that appears on Community. But like many clever writers, Richey and Loya, altered the title and the appearance of the main character and came up with Untitled Web Series About A Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. And because all other aspects of their original idea about Inspector Spacetime they pitched to NBC were inventions of himself, Loya and legions of fans that help create an elaborate back-story for the character, Richey can continue to use them.

Richey’s Siv-Art Productions have announced that Fallout: Nuka Break director Vince Talenti will helm the first season of what now is a parody of a parody. Talenti is best known as one half of the comedy production house Wayside Creations and recently premiered a six-episode web series based on the video game Fallout. The series and the short film that preceded it have racked up over 3.5 million views on YouTube, in addition to the various behind-the-scenes videos the crew shot for fans.

In a press release, Richey said, ‘I am so thrilled to have Vince aboard to make this series.  He has a special skill for making a show look as good as possible, including great special effects and action, while still ensuring that the comedy shines through.  Which is exactly what The Inspector needs.”

“I’ve been a fan of Travis’s work for some time,” commented Talenti, “The sheer volume of content that he has created over the last few years on no budget is amazing.  I’m so excited that we have a chance to bring one of his projects to life with the budget it deserves.”  He added, “I think that Travis is doing this for the right reason, because it’s a passion project, which I completely understand.  It’s the reason I did Fallout with Zack,” referring to Zack Finfrock, the other half behind Wayside Creations.  Finfrock will also be involved with the project, as a producer, as well as lending his artistic talents behind the scenes.

Richey himself had previously achieved international acclaim as the creator of several web series, including Robot, Ninja & Gay Guy, 2 Hot Guys In The Shower, Smiley Town, and an award-winning series of “Mac vs PC” spoofs.  His videos -featured on CNN, Comedy Central’s website, The Huffington Post, The UK Telegraph, PerezHilton.com and many other blogs and websites- have garnered over 2 million views on Youtube.  While not  performing regularly at ACME Comedy Hollywood, Richey can be seen in the Season 2 finale of Pretty Little Liars, which recently aired on ABC Family.

The fundraising  on Kickstarter.com ends on April 1. And while they’ve raised the $20,000 needed to fund the project, any additional money fans can give them until then is welcome, as it just assures additional post-production funding. The team hopes to begin premiering the series in May 2012.

Review: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

I am not going to say I completely understand what this book was about, though it’s safe to say had I not read some Jasper Fforde’ s Thursday Next series or some Kurt Vonnegut, I would be completely confused. Still, the novel is clever, and often funny, filled with a lot of 20th Century ideals about science fiction.
Every day in Minor Universe 31 people get into time machines and try to change the past. That’s where Charles Yu, time travel technician, steps in. He helps save people from themselves. Literally. When he’s not taking client calls, Yu visits his mother and searches for his father, who invented time travel and then vanished. The key to locating his father may be found in a book. It’s called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and somewhere inside it is information that will help him. It may even save his life.
The novel is not linear, nor is really plotted out. But, I think, that’s the point. Charles spends most of the book hiding in his time machine, not really working, and dwelling on his childhood relationship with his father (daddy issues abound). And that is about as far as the plot goes, but by adding a sort philosophical conversations about time travel, about life, about the choices we make and don’t make, author Yu gives us a glimpse into the soul of how we see our past. Thus what we have here is an often razor-sharp satirical novel about people who try to save their own pasts to alter their future (which does not work) while a son goes in search for a father who is lost in the ether of time itself.

Pros and Cons of Cons

I have a long history with Scifi conventions. I attended the second or third Star Trek Convention ever held in the early 70s when I was barely a teenager. The Hubs has been going to Philcon forever, it seems. However, it wasn’t until moving to Los Angeles that we really started attending major conventions with any frequency. That wasn’t by any design on our part. I had begun the insane writing experiment, The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway. Because of those stories and later, the webpage, we started getting invitations to speak on panels at conventions. We became even more popular on convention panels after I appeared in the documentary, Trekkies. I was in fangirl heaven for a while. If a convention paid for me to attend, I had money to buy lots of stuff from the vendors. I bought t-shirts and buttons from my favorite shows, and I wore them, gleefully identifying myself as a fangirl. The only things I didn’t do was Cosplay though I really wanted to and Filking which I never want to do.

Convention appearances were more complicated for us since we moved to LA. At conventions where actors appeared, it was problematic. Since Jon and I were writing scifi scripts to produce, we were hoping for a professional relationship with some of these actors. Now, I’m not saying that actors are snobs. They meet a great many people during their careers. It makes sense that they would put people they meet into categories as quickly as they can. If I was introduced as a fangirl, I may have had a lovely moment that made me feel like I was the only one they were thinking about. Then, they would have forgotten the meeting or worse, they would remember meeting me in my one of a kind caricature t-shirt of their TV or film character. They would then justifiably refuse to take me seriously about a part I may offering. Thus, I demurred at the notion of meeting them while they were signing things or before their panels. The one exception to that was the bar Toronto Trek. It was at the nexus of corridors and a patron could see everyone passing by. That was where I would hang out and wait for Jon or our friends. I usually was dressed normally while in that bar. Since Canadian fans tended to be far less intense than US fans, actors felt comfortable hanging out there. And it was easier to actually talk for a time in that setting. I actually cast one of them that I met there, Jason Carter, in Demon Under Glass years later.

Things got really weird with actors at Conventions after we made our first pilot presentation, The Privateers. By then, Jon and I were dressing like we were going to a pitch meeting when we attended panels. We didn’t know who we might run into – especially conventions with a heavy media presence. We had to dress and conduct ourselves like a business meeting might happen. A few times, they actually did. Not that we were in suits and ties. It was LA business casual – no fun buttons or stickers on our bags. At any rate, one of our Privateers/Demon Under Glass alumni outed us in an autograph room full of actors as film producers. Twenty heads snapped around to where we were standing. That made things really awkward as we weren’t hiring at that point in time. Finding a balance is a challenge. At our last visit to Dragon*Con, one of my favorite conventions, Jon and I did a talk about how to attend the Cannes Film Market and Festival on the cheap and get a lot done. We even dressed the way we did most days in Cannes. That same day we had a panel on the viability of fan made productions as an economic model. I was also the lone fangirl on a panel about Trek versus the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. That was a great fun.

We found a balance of sorts with regards to conventions. Though we no longer just go for fun. I regret that sometimes. When we go, we’re usually networking at the very least. The next couple of conventions on our horizon are about marketing the upcoming books and web series. It’s lots of fun roaming amidst the really cool stuff on the vendor tables or endlessly debating about our favorite shows for the debate’s own sake. We just can’t justify the time unless it’s also work related. One consolation though. I still wear things that identify me as a fangirl. It’s just a lot harder to spot. Those vendors do have some amazing stuff.