battlestar galactica

DVD Releases: July 28, 2009

Out this week we have seven DVDs to feature:  Dollhouse: Season One, Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, Torchwood: Children of Earth, Knight Rider, Green Lantern: First Flight, Dragonball: Evolution, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5.

  • Dollhouse: Season One:  This is a great show, Joss Whedon does it again.  It received mixed view based on the first few episodes which are not the best but that is due to Fox forcing rewrites and re-shoots on Joss' vision.  The fans have lovingly come to refer to those episodes as Fox's Dollhouse and the rest of the show as Joss' Dollhouse.  After about episode five this show really opens up and develops.  This set includes the original pilot episode plus the episode Epitaph One. A must own!
  • Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead: a special episode of David Tennant Doctor Who when the Doctor and his fellow passengers are mysteriously transported through a wormhole to a planet inhabited by an endangered anthropomorphic species.  It's on the top of my Netflix que if not an owner unseen.

  • Torchwood: Children of Earth: I love this series, this is a five episode mini-series picking up for season three of Torchwood.  It's on the top of my Netflix que if not an owner unseen.

  • Knight Rider: This was a light, fun show with fast changing cars and action.  It started with some promise of having substance with gay characters and interesting subplots it just unfortunately suffered from too much studio tampering and test audience death and lost it's substance.  Watch it here on Hulu.
  • Green Lantern: First Flight: another DC Comics animated project bringing us the Hal Jordan Green Lantern.  It's on the top of my Net Flix que and almost an owner unwatched because of how good the past animated DC projects are.

  • Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5:  The conclusion of season four and the Battlestar Galactica show.  I really liked how this show grew into it's own and tackled some interesting topics.  I wished it had been bolder with some of the social and philosophical topics addressed.  My issue with this product is it's an overpriced 1/2 of a season set.

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V: Trailer- Devotion the Ultimate Weapon

Ok, I am so surprised how excited I am about this series.  The Trailer looks great, sort of an Independance Day meets Battlestar Galactica meets V.

29 ships surround the world.  I love the way the ship switches over to  display its message on its underside.

Devotion: The Ultimate Weapon

I wondered how they were going to update the series to reflect the times.  Framing the coming of the Visitors with the human longing for a savior is a brilliant move.

I am curious to see how they are going to answer it in the series.

Alan Tudyk

Alan Tudyk is in the trailer for all of 2 seconds.  Look carefully he is in there.

Unmasking the Visitors

The short clip of the Visitors true face looked great!  I think this will work out.

Review: Star Trek

startrekfanposter1I was a little afraid to see the new Star Trek Movie.  All of the materials they sent me to hype the movie either bored or annoyed me.  I started getting a little excited about the movie after the early screenings started returning good reviews. Sitting in the theater as boring trailers, my anticipation ramped up as film crept ever closer.  I love Star Trek.  It is probably my favorite franchise.  I really hoped they wouldn't mess it up.

It took me a while to write this review, because I wanted to make sure I got past my fanboy response to the movie and was able to talk about the movie with a bit more distance and clarity.

What should Star Trek be?

Gene Roddenberry's concept of Star Trek was a simple formula:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Basic wants and needs

But it should also tackle all of the most important issues of the day.  (You can read more about this in my post: More Proof J. J. Abrams Doesn’t Get Star Trek).  The early publicity left me with many concerns.

Addressing early concerns

Prequel/Sequel/Reboot [reus name="Star Trek iFrame"]

I was really confused about the nature of the film when they started calling is a prequel/sequel/reboot.

That is a strange thing to say, and alone, a statement that doesn't make sense, but for this film it works.

  • Sequel
    • Spock starts on Romulus like he is in the Next Generation
    • The first Federation uniforms we see are right out of Star Trek Enterprise.
    • Time travel story
  • Prequel
    • Young versions of the characters
  • Reboot
    • Establishes an alternate timeline for Star Trek

I am not sure I like the classification of this movie as a reboot.  Battlestar Galactica was a reboot, this was more of a return to the core of what made Star Trek great in the original series.  If this is a reboot so was:

  • The Animated Series (added more exotic alien races)
  • The Motion Picture (changed the Kligons forever)
  • Wrath of Khan (Brought back the Action/Adventure quality of the series.
  • Voyage Home (The crew of the Enterprise mess with the timeline)
  • The Next Generation (updated the series for a new generation of fans)
  • Deep Space Nine (Star Trek without exploration but with more military elements)
  • Generations (Kirk is ripped from the timeline)
  • Voyager (Star Trek without the Federation)
  • First Contact (The Borg and the crew of the Enterprise mess with the timeline)
  • Insurrection (The Federation is not perfect)
  • Enterprise (Star Trek before the Federation without superior technology)

If you would count each of these major revisions of the setting as a reboot, than this movie is a reboot.  To me, this sequel/prequel.

Turning Star Trek into Star Wars?

trek-newlogo-lg.jpgAbrams, Kurtzman anf Orci all said they wanted to turn bring more Star Wars into Star Trek, but I don't think they got there.  I love both series, and I am familiar with the main qualities of both, and I don't think they brought much if anything from one to the other.

I was afraid that is was going to be more of a Lethal Weapon in Space, Speed: Warp 10, Star Wars: The Vulcan Chronicles, or Cloverfield 2: The Future of the Beast (WTF Star Trek Super Bowl Ad!?!).  There is not a scene in this film that I could see easily fitting in one of the earlier films or the original television series.

Maybe they originally thought of Nero's ship as a sort of Death Star, but it is no more than Probe from The Voyage Home, V'ger from the Motion Picture, or the Son'a ships from Insurrection.  Other than that, I just don't get it.

Uhura in her off hours

I was excited when I saw the clip of Uhura telling Kirk off in the bar.  I hoped Kirk would get his butt kicked and he so did.  I was concerned about the stripping clips of Uhura in the trailers but I love the way the dealt with her.

----------Spoiler Alert!!----------

I loved the relationship between Uhura and Spock.  It made sence, and it served to dehumanize Spock in an interesting way.  The juxtaposition of her emotions and his total lack of emotions really hilighted the difference between humans and vulcans.

I know there are a lot of people who didn't like her depiction in this movie, but Uhura was always a more laid back member of the crew.

Addressing new concerns after seeing the movie

Kirk's Vaccine reaction

I loved the adverse reaction that Kirk had to the Vaccine that McCoy gave him.  It was a flashback to the kind of humor the original series thrived on.  It was silly, light hearted and interfered with the characters ability to do what they needed to do.

The Engine Room of Doom!

WTF were they thinking when they designed the engine room.  It was funny, but I agree with Gwen DeMarco regarding the fate of the writer who came up with the idea for these scenes...

I could go off on a long string blue words, but I will let the others who have already done that do it.  I just thought this was a blemish on an otherwise great film.

Nero's ship armament

Brian and I argued about this fro a long time after the movie.  Personally, I think Nero was just a MacGuffin to give an excuse for the story to happen.  Neither he nor his crew are intgral to the plot and could have been replaced by anyone else with any other motive using any other means.  Nero is not important. They obviously didn't give his subplot any thought, and frankly, the movie would have been better without the distraction.

I wish the film would have had a real 3 dimensional villain, but I honestly didn't expect one from a J. J. Abrams movie.  He has never done villains well.  Every movie and show that he has ever touch has had a weak, impotent, or flat villain.  A better director would have insisted on a better antagonist, but the story didn't matter, the action did.

startrek20081015025340385.jpg

Kirk's Exile from the Enterprise

Some people have complained about Spock having Kirk put in a life pod and jettisoned from the ship.  If I really wanted to defend the movie here I would say that this was a symptom of Spock's frustration that Kirk should not be on the ship at all.  I think that could be argued.

Once more, this is another symptom of Abrams' half-assed directing style.  He needed to have Kirk on the planet to meet Spock and this was the quickest and most "visually exciting" way to do it.  Let's be honest, this was an excuse to have Kirk chased by a Cloverfield reject so he could talk to Spock in a cave.  It was not thought out.

Nero's Motives

nero-characterposter-72dpi.jpg

Nero's motive for attacking Vulcan are nothing less than laughable.  He was a stupid man on a stupid ship with the horridly named "Red Matter" who wants to destroy Vulcan rather than save his homeworld.

Maybe he thought he could do both.  Rid the Empire of the threat of the Federation and save his homeworld.  I think the reallity is a lot simpler.

Like most of the annoying things in this film it just wasn't well thought out.  It was a flimsy excuse for a Nero to be a villain and commit a terrorist act without having to think about whether or not he has a good (or at least understandable) reason or not.

Nero is a flat, empty character and I can tell you why.  This movie is nothing more than:

Wrath of Khan, take 2

This story follows the plot of Wrath of Khan beat by beat with several notable exceptions:

  • Nero is not as scary as Khan.
  • Nero does not have a motive for revenge.
  • "Red Matter" is not as scary as the Genesis Device.
  • Wrath of Khan had better writers and director.

This movie is to Wrath of Khan what the Next Generation episode "Naked Now" is to the Original Series episode "Naked Time."  It is a good remake, but it is not as good as the original.

Is this Star Trek?

Let's measure it against Gene's definition

√ Action √ Adventure √ Basic wants and needs √ Tackle all of the most important issues of the day.

That last check might be a little controversial, but I thought the show dealt with the random nature of terrorism and the emotional cost it has on people.

Star Trek's New Phase

I am glad to say that Star Trek has been reborn, much as it was when Wrath of Khan came out.  I loved the movie.

Likes

  • Canon Uniforms
  • Spock's relationship with the Romulans
  • Characters were perfect
  • Not just an action film
  • great FX
  • sense of humor

Dislikes

  • The Engine room
  • Lack of a serious villain
  • Nero's Ship
  • "Red Matter"
  • The Alien Monster
  • Kirk's marooning

Rating = 10

The Future of Star Trek

Orci and Kurtzmen have already signed on to write the next movie in the series, but that are not sure if it will be a Prequel, Sequel, or Reboot to this movie.  They said they are waiting to see what the reaction to this film is.  And there is one more thing:

Kurtzman: The very last scene when Spock and Spock meet each other, finally. And elder Spock is convincing young Spock that he couldn't interfere, because it would have diverted [Kirk and Spock] away from their friendship. And that their friendship is the key to the whole sort of shebang.

Orci: He gave him a recorded message from Kirk.

Kurtzman: He [elder Spock] said, "Don't take my word for it." And he handed him [younger Spock] a little holographic device and it projected Shatner. It was basically a Happy Birthday wish knowing that Spock was going to go off to Romulus, and Kirk would probably be dead by the time... (Topless Robots)

That could be the set up for the next movie.  Personally, I don't want another movie.  I want a TV series.

DVD Releases: April 21st, 2009

Out this week we have 2 DVD to feature: Wolverine and the X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy, Battlestar Galactica: Caprica


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Literature of Change

We have discussed What Speculative Fiction is, What makes it Progressive, and Why it is important that it is progressive,  but now it is vitally important to clarify some key points about the nature of Progressive Speculative Fiction.  There are two equally disastrous paths we can take from here.  As with everything in life, we have to find the middle path between the opposites:

  • The Light Side: Everything is great, and will only get better.  The future will be a universally happy place.  We are heading towards a utopia.
  • The Dark Side: Entropy rules the world and things are only getting worse.  The future will be a gloomy and sinister place.  We are heading towards a distopia.

Both are extremes, and neither can ever paint a valid world that has any grounding in reality.

Does Speculative Fiction have to be gloomy?

Damien G Walter at the Guardian wrote a fascinating article about the utopian and distopian sins of Science Fiction (read it here).  He asks the basic question that I would love to paraphrase: Does Speculative Fiction have to be gloomy?

From the recent releases, you might assume the answer is a yes, but it doesn't have to be.

Gloomy has its place in any story, but if that story only strikes one note throughout, then it become boring, and the audience looses interest.  We can see this trend with Lost and Heroes, but shows like Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica, and Sanctuary show that it s possible to strike a happy median.

Sometimes a story has to be bleak and gloomy throughout to make the point, like 1984 by George Orwell, but more often then not writers take the gloom to an unnecessary extreme.

The challenge for writers of science fiction today is not to repeat the same dire warnings we have all already heard, or to replicate the naive visions of the genres golden age, but to create visions of the future people can believe in (The Guardian).

Must SF fix the worlds problems?

Kathryn Cramer at Tor had an interesting take on Damien's post (read it here):

I view science fiction partly as a set of perceptual tools we take with us into the world. I don’t think SF can be held responsible for finding solutions to all the world’s problems, but I think it is SF’s task to help us understand them (Tor).

Whether or not the writer understands or believes it, all fiction is a perceptual filter that shows their readers/viewers the world from a certain point of view.  People are influenced by these perspectives to differing degrees.  The quality of the fiction plays a part in that, but so too does the structure and discipline of the reader/viewer's mind.

It is too much to ask any writer to solve the world's problems in their work, but they have to understand that they are responsible for show the cost and consequences of their character's actions.

For example, we like to believe that people are born good or evil, and that it is alright to be amoral from time to time.  This is why so many people reacted negatively to George Lucas' edits of the original Star Wars Trilogy and the addition of the prequel.  He clarified Han Solo's morality and showed how a good person can become evil.  In fact, it has been argued by C. S. Lewis and others that their truly is no such thing as evil.  There is only vile, horrible, and misguided attempt to do good.  If you look at most of the "monsters" in history, they are people who thought they were doing good even though they wrought horrors on the world.

It is the job of every writer to show that every action has an effect.

A Positive Science Fiction Platform?

Jason Staddard over at Strange and Happy put forth his Stranger and Happier: A Positive Science Fiction Platform.  While it is well intentioned, I think it swings the pendulum too far in the other direction.  Let's go through the planks in the platform.

Positive science fiction starts with acknowledging that there are positive things happening, now (Strange and Happy).

Is this necessary? No.

Often an SF writer will start here, but others will start with the fear of the current situation or from the perspective that the current state of affairs in beyond saving, and impose a new solution to avert the mistakes the present state could lead too.

  • Star Trek starts with a world war and global catastrophe that nearly brought about another dark age.
  • Lestat saw the system of mandated belief an filial duty as corrupt and corrupting.  It wasn't until he became a vampire that he started looking for a better way.

That does not mean we should ignore this plank, but simply take it as advise rather than a rule.

Positive science fiction is about the possibility of positive change (Strange and Happy).

Absolutely.  In the Project: Shadow Manifesto, I call this simply "hope for the future."  Things can get better, but that doesn't mean they are destined to.  If there is no hope, there is nothing at stake for the characters and no tension in the story (What is Progressive SF?)

Positive science fiction has a protagonist or protagonists that can effect change (Strange and Happy).

Definitely.  This is the problem I have pointed to time and time again with SF media, and why I didn't like Battlestar Galactica for a long time.

This ties directly into hope.  If it is impossible for a character to affect change, then there is no tension.  The villain will win.

Positive science fiction isn’t afraid to look at challenging definitions of “positive (Strange and Happy).”

This is where the writer has an important question to answer.  "For whom is the change positive?"

Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side is necessary to bring balance to the force.  There are many ways to take this, but it is fundamental to Progressive Speculative Fiction.

Positive science fiction inspires people to act and influence positive change (Strange and Happy).

So long as it is not preachy, I agree.  If the story inspires the reader/viewer to make a possitive change within themselves, then the story succeeded.  There isn't enough time or space for me to list all of the stories that have influenced me positively.

Literature of Change

There is a common thread weaving through this discussion.  Jetse de Vries on his blog, In the Plane of the Ecliptic found the middle ground between gloom and naivite, the answer we have been looking for:

I disagree with the cliché that SF is the literature of ideas (they help, but they're not the core): to me, SF is the literature of change.

Roughly speaking, there are two kinds of change: things change for the worse, or things change for the better (I realise life is much more complex than that: some things improve, other things worsen, and some things don't change very much. I'm looking, admittedly roughly, at the net result here) (In the Plane of the Ecliptic).

Even the simplist horror and fantasy deals with the nature of authority and friendship.  Change is the only constant in the universe, and Speculative Fiction is the literature of change.  Writers ask themselves, "What if this happened?"  The answer is usually, everything would change.

How writers explore the changes is the difference between and great and a mediocre story.

Literature of Change

We have discussed What Speculative Fiction is, What makes it Progressive, and Why it is important that it is progressive,  but now it is vitally important to clarify some key points about the nature of Progressive Speculative Fiction.  There are two equally disastrous paths we can take from here.  As with everything in life, we have to find the middle path between the opposites:

  • The Light Side: Everything is great, and will only get better.  The future will be a universally happy place.  We are heading towards a utopia.
  • The Dark Side: Entropy rules the world and things are only getting worse.  The future will be a gloomy and sinister place.  We are heading towards a distopia.

Both are extremes, and neither can ever paint a valid world that has any grounding in reality.

Does Speculative Fiction have to be gloomy?

Damien G Walter at the Guardian wrote a fascinating article about the utopian and distopian sins of Science Fiction (read it here).  He asks the basic question that I would love to paraphrase: Does Speculative Fiction have to be gloomy?

From the recent releases, you might assume the answer is a yes, but it doesn't have to be.

Gloomy has its place in any story, but if that story only strikes one note throughout, then it become boring, and the audience looses interest.  We can see this trend with Lost and Heroes, but shows like Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica, and Sanctuary show that it s possible to strike a happy median.

Sometimes a story has to be bleak and gloomy throughout to make the point, like 1984 by George Orwell, but more often then not writers take the gloom to an unnecessary extreme.

The challenge for writers of science fiction today is not to repeat the same dire warnings we have all already heard, or to replicate the naive visions of the genres golden age, but to create visions of the future people can believe in (The Guardian).

Must SF fix the worlds problems?

Kathryn Cramer at Tor had an interesting take on Damien's post (read it here):

I view science fiction partly as a set of perceptual tools we take with us into the world. I don’t think SF can be held responsible for finding solutions to all the world’s problems, but I think it is SF’s task to help us understand them (Tor).

Whether or not the writer understands or believes it, all fiction is a perceptual filter that shows their readers/viewers the world from a certain point of view.  People are influenced by these perspectives to differing degrees.  The quality of the fiction plays a part in that, but so too does the structure and discipline of the reader/viewer's mind.

It is too much to ask any writer to solve the world's problems in their work, but they have to understand that they are responsible for show the cost and consequences of their character's actions.

For example, we like to believe that people are born good or evil, and that it is alright to be amoral from time to time.  This is why so many people reacted negatively to George Lucas' edits of the original Star Wars Trilogy and the addition of the prequel.  He clarified Han Solo's morality and showed how a good person can become evil.  In fact, it has been argued by C. S. Lewis and others that their truly is no such thing as evil.  There is only vile, horrible, and misguided attempt to do good.  If you look at most of the "monsters" in history, they are people who thought they were doing good even though they wrought horrors on the world.

It is the job of every writer to show that every action has an effect.

A Positive Science Fiction Platform?

Jason Staddard over at Strange and Happy put forth his Stranger and Happier: A Positive Science Fiction Platform.  While it is well intentioned, I think it swings the pendulum too far in the other direction.  Let's go through the planks in the platform.

Positive science fiction starts with acknowledging that there are positive things happening, now (Strange and Happy).

Is this necessary? No.

Often an SF writer will start here, but others will start with the fear of the current situation or from the perspective that the current state of affairs in beyond saving, and impose a new solution to avert the mistakes the present state could lead too.

  • Star Trek starts with a world war and global catastrophe that nearly brought about another dark age.
  • Lestat saw the system of mandated belief an filial duty as corrupt and corrupting.  It wasn't until he became a vampire that he started looking for a better way.

That does not mean we should ignore this plank, but simply take it as advise rather than a rule.

Positive science fiction is about the possibility of positive change (Strange and Happy).

Absolutely.  In the Project: Shadow Manifesto, I call this simply "hope for the future."  Things can get better, but that doesn't mean they are destined to.  If there is no hope, there is nothing at stake for the characters and no tension in the story (What is Progressive SF?)

Positive science fiction has a protagonist or protagonists that can effect change (Strange and Happy).

Definitely.  This is the problem I have pointed to time and time again with SF media, and why I didn't like Battlestar Galactica for a long time.

This ties directly into hope.  If it is impossible for a character to affect change, then there is no tension.  The villain will win.

Positive science fiction isn’t afraid to look at challenging definitions of “positive (Strange and Happy).”

This is where the writer has an important question to answer.  "For whom is the change positive?"

Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side is necessary to bring balance to the force.  There are many ways to take this, but it is fundamental to Progressive Speculative Fiction.

Positive science fiction inspires people to act and influence positive change (Strange and Happy).

So long as it is not preachy, I agree.  If the story inspires the reader/viewer to make a possitive change within themselves, then the story succeeded.  There isn't enough time or space for me to list all of the stories that have influenced me positively.

Literature of Change

There is a common thread weaving through this discussion.  Jetse de Vries on his blog, In the Plane of the Ecliptic found the middle ground between gloom and naivite, the answer we have been looking for:

I disagree with the cliché that SF is the literature of ideas (they help, but they're not the core): to me, SF is the literature of change.

Roughly speaking, there are two kinds of change: things change for the worse, or things change for the better (I realise life is much more complex than that: some things improve, other things worsen, and some things don't change very much. I'm looking, admittedly roughly, at the net result here) (In the Plane of the Ecliptic).

Even the simplist horror and fantasy deals with the nature of authority and friendship.  Change is the only constant in the universe, and Speculative Fiction is the literature of change.  Writers ask themselves, "What if this happened?"  The answer is usually, everything would change.

How writers explore the changes is the difference between and great and a mediocre story.

What is Progressive Speculative Fiction?

"Progressive Speculative Fiction is a story told in any medium which has a “What if” at its core and is filled with hope for the future and promotes a sense of community (Project: Shadow Manifesto)." Of all the things I wrote in the Project: Shadow Manifesto, that one sentence has proven to be the most controversial.  Writers have emailed me asking if their work is Progressive SF or not.  Let's approach the question slowly.

What is Speculative Fiction?

Speculative Fiction is any fiction that has at its core a "What if?"  There are five main subgenres of Speculative Fiction:

  • Science Fiction
  • Scifi
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Alternative History

What sets these stories apart from the mainstream?

All fiction asks the question, "Suppose X happened to this character, what would happen?"  Speculative Fiction asks, "What if X were true about the universe, how would this character react?"  For example:

  • Harry Potter: "What if magic existed in the world and it could do anything but bring people back from the dead?"
  • Lord of the Rings: "What is the prehistory of Europe where a mystic struggle between the powers of light and darkness over the nature of the world to come?"
  • Dune: "What if it were possible to alter consciousness enough for people to see the interconnectedness of all things"
  • Cthulu Mythos: "What if there were beings in the universe as powerful and incomprehensible as we are to an ant?"

The question is the heart of the story.  You cannot have a ghost story unless you ask, "What if ghosts interfered with the lives of people?"

That is why it is called Speculative Fiction.  It speculates about a world that is different from ours in some way.

What makes Speculative Fiction Progressive?

Hope for the future and promotes a sense of community.  Some have taken this to mean that dark fiction cannot be Progressive.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Heroes and Battlestar Galactica

i has BSG S3!!!
Image by Mostly Lisa via Flickr

Heroes is not progressive, but Battlestar Galactica is.  Both of these stories are dark, and at times bleak.  Why is one Progressive and the other not?

There is no hope in Heroes.  Nothing inspires the characters forward.  They looked into Kierkegaard's void and could not take their eyes off of the fact that the world is free from purpose and meaning.  They embrace their meaninglessness, and robs the series of any lasting merit it could have.

Battlestar Galactica looked into the same void, and the characters chose to carve out their own meaning in the cosmos.  They have hope for the future, even if it is challenged often, and they are continually struggling to build a viable community.

Hope for the Future

Hope is a necessary element of fiction that many post-modern writes/producers neglect.

  • Without hope, the characters have nothing to loose.
  • With nothing to loose, there is no tension.
  • Without tension, there is no reason to care about the characters.
  • If you don't care about the characters, there is nothing left but spectacle.

That is the primary problem with shows like Lost, Heroes, and Fringe.  All they have is spectacle and shock value.  They have no depth, and there is no reason for people to care about them.  People watch simply to see what crazy thing happens next.  They will be forgotten quickly.

Community

A side effect of the hopelessness and ennui that fills post-modern SF is the focus on the individual to the detriment of the community.  This factor alone was able to change my opinion of Battlestar Galactica.  I didn't used to like the show, but after I marathoned the boxsets, I could see and better still feel the communities that were trying to maintain themselves.

A sense of community is integral to Speculative Fiction because most if not all stories present a world that is different from our own, and without a sense of community it is hard if not impossible to understand the nature of the setting.  For example look at Legend of the Seeker:

  • The levels of mistrust amid Darken Rahl's soldiers
  • The submissive population of Brennidon
  • The reverence of the Confessors for each other and their outrage at sacrelige
  • The prevelence of hidden valleys and islands

All these and more add up to a better understanding of the world under Darken Rahl's control.  Through these communities and the relationships between Richard, Zedd, and Kahlan defines the setting.

Hope and community are part of what Progressive Speculative Fiction is, but they are also Why Progressive Speculative Fiction is important, which we will talk about in the next post in this series.

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DVD Releases: January 6th, 2009

  • Bsg40 Babylon A.D.:  This one is going on the rent list.  I want to see it but have concerns, read Exploring: Babylon A.D. for more.  The movie is about Toorop a mercenary in the future who takes the job of escorting a woman from Eastern Europe to New York. While he thinks this is just an ordinary mission, he gradually finds out that his guest is carrying an organism that has the potential to become the next Messiah — and everybody wants to get their hands on it. Theater or Renter: August 2008.
  • Battlestar Galactica - Season 4.0:  A continuation of the Sci Fi series.
  • Doctor Who: War Machines (Episode 27):  Last of the William Hartnell years.  The Doctor poses as a scientist in 1966 London to ferret out the source of evil and stumbles on the thinking computer WOTAN. Though poised to be linked with computers around the world to create an advanced computer network, WOTAN has its own plans: namely, to create a robot army to take over the world.
  • Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday (Episode 118):  From the Peter Davison years.  The good doctor and a trio of companions aboard a spaceship headed for Earth in the company of an ethnically diverse android crew and the frog-like alien Urbankans. With the Urbankan leader set on poisoning the planet's inhabitants so that he can repopulate it with his androids, it's up to the Doctor to find a way to avert disaster.
  • doctorwho4_2_doomsdayDuckman: Seasons Three and Four:  This show is vulgar and funny, not for the light of heart or easily offend able.  The animated show is about a private detective Duckman who returns for more comic misadventures with his partner, Cornfed.  Duckman lands himself in the nuthouse, starts a revolution in a third-world country, adopts rap star Coolio and buys a mail-order bride.  Definitely worth seeing.

    Vampire Fans

    I haven't had a chance to sink my teeth into these yet.  If you have seen them let me know: owner, renter, or don’t waste my time?

    • Kiss of the Vampire:  Sick of teleporting to the next town after leaving a trail of blood-drained bodies in his wake, vampire Alex Stone and his clan decide to stay awhile in sleepy Hamilton, Ohio, after he falls hard for one of the local lovelies But while Alex wants nothing more than to leave immortality behind, there are those in town who will do almost anything to gain what he's intent on giving up in this horror love story
    • Netherbeast Incorporated:  In this satire of corporate America, it's business as usual at the vampire-owned and -operated Netherbeast Inc. -- one of the world's largest phone makers -- until the boss contracts vampire Alzheimer's and starts hiring humans. Bodies soon begin to pile up in this office comedy based on the award-winning short The Netherbeast of Berm-Tech Industries, Inc. Darrell Hammond, Judd Nelson, Dave Foley, Jason Mewes and Robert Wagner co-star.

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  	 Fandango - We've Got Your Movie Tickets!Don't wait. Guarantee your seat before you go and  avoid a sold out show. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets at Fandango.com.

Speculative Fiction BOX Sets Limited Time Deals

OMG I love Christmas, and Amazon made it even easier to give this year.  They have put out some excellent must own SF box sets at prices that are practically a give away.  The only catch is that the deals are limited time only so if you are thinking on doing this don’t procrastinate!

  • get your copy of sg-1 Stargate SG-1 - The Complete Series Collection $99.99:  This show rules!  I have the first three seasons but had to get this one when I saw the deal imagine paying less than $2 per DVD full of Stargate goodness!.  Stargate SG-1 Season 1, Season 2,  Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7, Season 8, Season 9, Season 10,  Disc 51 includes: Ark of Truth Promo, Continuum Promo, "Stargate SG-1: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 7)", From Stargate to Atlantis: The Lowdown (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1), Behind the Stargate: Secrets Revealed (SG-1 Season 8 & Atlantis Season 1), Disc 52 includes: "Sci Fi Inside: Stargate SG-1's 200th Episode (SG-1 Season 10)", "Behind the Mythology of Stargate SG-1 (SG-1 Seasons 1-10)", Stargate SG-1: True Science, Disc 53 includes: **Season Three, Timeline to the Future, Part 1: Legacy of the Gate, Part II: Secrets of the Gate, Part III: Beyond the Gate, **Season Four, SG-1 Video Diary: Teryl Rothery, "Stargate SG-1 Season 5: Gateway to Adventure ", Stargate SG-1: The 100th Episode, **Season Five: SG-1 Video Diary: Don S. Davis, **Season Six: SG-1 Directors Series: Smoke and Mirrors", SG-1 Directors Series: The Changeling, SG-1 Directors Series: Memento, SG-1 Directors Series: Prophecy, SG-1 Video Diary: Richard Dean Anderson Paradise Lost", Disc 54: **Season Seven: SG-1 Directors Series: Revisions, SG-1 Directors Series: Heroes, SG-1 Directors Series: Resurrection, "Behind the Scenes: Journey Inside Lost City", The Storyboard Process, "Bra'tac vs. Ronan: Designing the Fight", Stargate Magic: Inside the Lab, Richard Dean Anderson: "My Life as a Mime", **Season Eight: Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Amanda Tapping" "Beyond the Gate: A Convention Experience with Michael Shanks" SG-1 Directors Series: Threads, Profile On: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, The Last Day of Teal'C, SG-1 Directors Series: Moebius, “Stargate SG-1 Alliance: The Making of The Video Game"
  • Battlestar Galactica Franchise Collection: $99.99 (Season One | Season 2.0 | Season 2.5 | Season 3.0 | BSG Razor)
  • The Ultimate Matrix Collection$24.49 (The Matrix/ The Matrix Reloaded/ The Matrix Revolutions/ The Animatrix)
  • The Mel Brooks Collection: $38.99 (Blazing Saddles / Young Frankenstein / Silent Movie / Robin Hood: Men in Tights / To Be or Not to Be / History of the World, Part 1 / The Twelve Chairs / High Anxiety)
  • Planet of the Apes - The Legacy Collection$26.99 (Planet of the Apes [1968] / Beneath the / Escape from the / Conquest of the / Battle for the)
  • The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection$22.99 8 Disc Collection
  • Alien Quadrilogy$32.99 (Alien/ Aliens /Alien 3 /Alien Resurrection)
  • Jim Henson's Fantasy Film Collection$20.49 (Labyrinth / MirrorMask / The Dark Crystal)
  • Godzilla DVD Collection 7-Pack$64.99 (Godzilla (1998) / Godzilla 2000 / vs. King Ghidora / and Mothra The Battle for Earth / vs. Destoroyah / vs. Space Godzilla / vs. Mechagodzilla / Giant Monsters All Out Attack / vs. Megaguirus)

P:SI #226 "And Now A Word From Voldemort..."

Ayn Rand & Voldemort | SF Art: Hypnos and Mos Eisley Cantina | Top Summer Villian Joke | Dragonball | Battlestar Galatica | Terminator Discussion | Slipknot Battle | and Twilight: Conversation Leeks and Controversy Today on the Project: Shadow Informant.

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  • Ledger voted top summer movie villain (via Reuters)
  • Brand New Dragonball Poster and Screenshots (via Superheroflix)

TV / Series

  • Battlestar Rumors Debunked (via Sci Fi Wire)
  • Terminator: The Sara Conner Chronicles (P:S HQ)

get your copy of Slipknot All Hope Is Gone here Music

  • SLIPKNOT Loses Battle For Top Of BILLBOARD Chart By 13 Copies! (via Blabbermouth)
  • TRIVIUM - DOWN FROM THE SKY (P:S HQ)

Books

  • Twilight, a book to read or not to read (dashPunk)
    • Give Twilight A Chance (P:S HQ)
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Exploring BSG: Six of One

Review of: Battlestar GalacticaEpisode 4.2: Six of OneOverall Rating: 7.2 C 8.0 B- Battlestar Galactica

Episode: Six of One was suspenseful with some fascinating surprises, actually two that really got my attention, and some obvious expected surprises. I found some moments to be very touching and poignant but nothing really grabbed me. The philosophical / spiritual questions put forth are touched on but not as compelling as for instance Babylon 5. I appreciate and enjoy them bringing up the subjects and that they don't give definite answers to questions like self determination and god or gods personal involvement in personal affairs. Overall: a pretty good experience and I will continue to watch the show, though it will sit lower on my list of things to watch.

This episode is about Starbuck's struggle to correct the direction that the fleet is heading in, she feels strongly that they are going farther away from Earth. The other plot line running through this episode is the debate amongst the Cylons trying to decide what to do about the Cylon Raiders.

Battlestar Galactica is a Military Science Fiction / Drama about:

the journey of the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol after their nuclear annihilation by the Cylons. The survivors are led by President Laura Roslin and Commander William Adama in a ragtag fleet of ships with the Battlestar Galactica, a powerful but old warship, as its command ship. Pursued by Cylons intent on wiping out the remnants of the human race, the survivors travel across the galaxy looking for the fabled and long-lost thirteenth colony: Earth. (via Wikipedia)

Season Four opening credits Twelve Cylon models. Seven are known. Four live in secret. One will be revealed.

Likes

  • The debate between Starbuck & Roslin
  • What they are doing with the Cylon's path to self discovery and the idea of self preservation and revolution that gets brought into an orderly programmed society when choice is given to something that is predisposed to resolve conflict through violence.
  • The phrase "I want to hear Admiral Atheist say it."
  • The revolution.

Dislikes / Concerns

  • Having Starbuck act bat shit crazy
  • The camera work: I appreciate that they are trying for a feel and mood with it and commend them for taking the effort but some of the choices go to a degree that distracts from the scene and story instead of furthering it.

*** update***

C. E. Dorsett is right, I did unfairly give this a C and I have corrected that.  The rating of  C would be a show that I would not mind watching if it was on and I was in the room, a B and above would be something I would take some effort to watch and would finish watching the whole episode.

O Battlestar Galactica, ugh

Ok, John, lets do this thing:

Not too long ago, Battlestar Galactica was everybody's darling. But then ratings slipped until, last month, the show was moved to Sunday nights to attract viewers. Although the show has  been picked up for another season, it's a partial commitment for 13 episodes (SF Signal: BSG Backlash?)

...here we go.  **deep breath**  I have never been a fan of Battlestar Galactica.

**ducks under my desk and looks around nervously**

Do you hate me now?  I hope not.  The orignal series was not bad for the time it came out, but I have never found the new series to be anything other than an overblown, space opera with really pretty special effects.  The sex scenes were crude and unimaginative and the show had no subtlety at all.

I have never had a love affair with the show, and to me, people are waking up to what the show has always been.  This is one show I will not miss.

Let the hate mail start.... now!