Virtuality Pilot Review


virtuality cast

Virtuality may be one of the better scifi show I’ve seen this year and thanks to Fox, you will probably never see it. Honestly, Fox programming for scifi shows is the kiss of death and to boot air the shows on a Friday night. With two strikes against any show, Virtuality is practically dead in the water. However, thanks executive producer Ron Moore who made BSG more than just Battlestar Galactica from the 70’s, he has made a compelling scifi series that is worthy to watch and a much improved drama over Caprica.

Think of this show as The Real World meets The Truman Show meets Big Brother in outer space. This is a story about 12 astronauts on a mission for 10 years leaving our own solar system to the distant Epsilon Eridani with the whole world watching the journey and along for the ride. We see video confessionals from each crew member baring their hopes, their dreams, and their frustrations ala Real World. The mission is also sponsored by various companies and the crew on a given day would work in the sponsors name just like on The Truman Show by wearing the apparel. And despite the exploration mission being changed to a mission of salvation, because the world would be uninhabitable in 100 years, we personality clash, tempers flair and romance between adult crew members like on Big Brother. These are not the perfect UtopianStar Trek crewmembers we have grown to expect from Starfleet but rather this maybe the very thing that might happen people have to live with one another not by their choosing and for nearly a decade in space. Despite all this, there is an escape for the crew members from the promotion of sponsors and video confessionals through the use of virtual reality.

Before you write off as boring and we’ve seen this already on Star Trek and Earth 2, yes I agree. The virtual reality does play an interesting part in the series. I did have the groans of seeing the VR on screen at the very beginning and an unknown character invading the VR setting interacting with the Commander. We saw this countless of time on TNG and even the Danger Room the X-Men comics by Whedon became sentient. However, this becomes a mystery throughout the pilot with other crew members and does not get wrapped up in the end. Virtuality gives you a WTF moment at the end but in a good way. With this going on, the rough at times crew interaction and the actual journey to the new system, there is enough drama and storylines that makes for great scifi watching and eventual dvd owning.

But as I said before, we may not see this again. The rating for very poor to be nice but thanks to Hulu.com you can watch the show below. Do yourself a favor and tell a friend about this show if you enjoyed as much as I have. One last thing, go over the Cinemaviewfinder.comfor a couple of blog entries about this project from Ron Moore.

J.J. Abrams finally speaks about that Star Trek sequel; also, M:I 4 and Fringe | SCI FI Wire


There are two things that I want to bring up in this entry about Star Trek. With the great success of the reboot, some fans are divided about what should happen in the upcoming sequels and/or possible new tv series. If you had listened to the Monster Scifi Show podcast #15, there was a discussion about the next villain.

nestor carbonellI felt seeing a new Khan would be a tremendous boost for many die hard Trek fans and I knew exactly who should be casted in that role since Ricardo Montalban passed away. Fans of Lost will know this character by the name of Richard Alpert or fans of the live action Tick will know him as Batmanuel. He has done lots of other work such as being the Mayor of Gotham City in the last Batman movie – The Dark Knight; the actor is Nestor Carbonell. Nestor does have screen presence and at times the charisma of Ricardo. The question then lies, with the reboot of the series, are we going to see a remake of the “Space Seed” episode? How can elements of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan be worked in considering the gap in time between the tv episode and the movie?

Moving forward or should I say backward, the year 2004. Fans of Babylon 5, if you were on the bboards, were happy to hear the J.Michael Straczynski had written a treatment with Bryce Zabel to reboot the Star Trek franchise. This come on the heels of the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise Season 4. While this season started off with many fan storylines which involved Orion slave girls to the reason why some Klingons had smooth foreheads was simply not enough to continue this series. Star Trek was in essence out of steam. This would make perfect sense for J.Michael to jump on this franchise since Babylon 5 was a truly amazing show which had a strong sense of direction and engaging storylines. However, Paramount did not buy into this because there needed to be time for the franchise to rest. Below is the a sample of the treatment Straczynski wrote:

variation.
We want to re-boot STAR TREK. The original. Pure and simple. The characters, universe
and situations that have attracted, and continue to attract, a worldwide audience. Re-set…
re-imagined… re-invigorated…
Imagine taking those characters, and using what we know now about the universe, and
combining it with the kind of storytelling that audiences of 2004 are used to seeing in
Star Trek: Re-Boot the Universe, Straczynski & Zabel, 2004
3
modern prime-time television. Hard-hitting. Exciting. Character-driven. Innovative. And
armed with the very latest EFX in support of our stories.
Start with the three best things in the Star Trek universe.
Kirk, Spock, McCoy.
Put them in the most durable concept ever created in sci-fi TV.
The five-year-mission.
Star Trek.
It is time to go boldly back to the original, the “classic,” re-born and re-tooled for a new
millennium, applying hard lessons and building in new thoughts that shake things up
creatively.
It’s time to take a real risk, to push the chips out into the center of table, to once again put
these incredible characters into play. Through their eyes, let’s see stories about the human
heart in conflict with itself…and let them express genuine conflict that can jeopardize lives
and friendships…and take them on a journey that will shake their view of the world and
universe in ways they could never have imagined…
… because if we don’t do these things, then what’s Star Trek for?

What we propose is not Star Trek: Another Generation, or Star Trek: A New Ship, or even Star Trek: The Search for Plots. In other words, not a copy of a copy, or a distillation of a variation.

We want to re-boot STAR TREK. The original. Pure and simple. The characters, universe and situations that have attracted, and continue to attract, a worldwide audience. Re-set…re-imagined… re-invigorated…

Imagine taking those characters, and using what we know now about the universe, and combining it with the kind of storytelling that audiences of 2004 are used to seeing in modern prime-time television. Hard-hitting. Exciting. Character-driven. Innovative. And armed with the very latest EFX in support of our stories.

Start with the three best things in the Star Trek universe.

Kirk, Spock, McCoy.

Put them in the most durable concept ever created in sci-fi TV.

The five-year-mission.

Star Trek.

It is time to go boldly back to the original, the “classic,” re-born and re-tooled for a new millennium, applying hard lessons and building in new thoughts that shake things up creatively.

It’s time to take a real risk, to push the chips out into the center of table, to once again put these incredible characters into play. Through their eyes, let’s see stories about the human heart in conflict with itself…and let them express genuine conflict that can jeopardize lives and friendships…and take them on a journey that will shake their view of the world and universe in ways they could never have imagined…

… because if we don’t do these things, then what’s Star Trek for?

ST2004Reboot

Finally, checkout below what J.J. Abrams had to say:

J.J. Abrams at the Saturn Awards on June 24

The success of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek has fed speculation about a sequel: Will it include a return to classic Trek missions, albeit from the perspective of the new timeline? Speaking with SCI FI Wire on Wednesday night at the Saturn Awards, Abrams said that he is excited about that possibility but won’t rule out new ideas either.

“The great thing is we’re all open to anything,” Abrams said. “I think the fun of where we are with Trek is that it can and should just be fully explored. So I think to limit ourselves to only new adventures would be a mistake. But I also think we want to take advantage of this moment and figure out what’s the most exciting version for the new audience as well.”

Meanwhile, Abrams spoke a bit about the proposed fourth Mission: Impossible movie. Each Mission: Impossible film was a vehicle for a director to lend his own vision to the franchise: Brian De Palma, John Woo and Abrams directed very different films. The recent announcement that Abrams was returning to the series makes him the only director to do two of the films. His Mission Impossible III was the best-reviewed (though the lowest-grossing), but Abrams indicated he is not planning to direct the fourth.

via J.J. Abrams finally speaks about that Star Trek sequel; also, M:I 4 and Fringe | SCI FI Wire.

Goodbye, MJ. Until next time….


mj smooth criminalToday has not been the greatest day when it comes to being a fan of pop icons. Michael Jackson has passed away from a cardiac arrest earlier today. While he has been out of the spotlight for many years, it comes as more of a shock rather than the passing of Farah Fawcett. I could go on and on about how many times I watched the Thriller video which was directed by John Landis. This was not only a groundbreaking video on many levels but a great homage to many classic horror as well as having dancing zombies. Come on, who does not like dancing zombie? And yet, MJ also had a scifi connection.

Michael Jackson & E.TI will admit to owning a copy of Michael Jackson narrated the story of E.T. on a record. Those who are familiar with the movie will know how special this Spielberg movie was to many kids. With Michael Jackson having released his Thriller album, you put this two huge icons together and I thought this was the coolest thing ever. To go one further, if you had ever gone to Disney’s Epcot when they first opened will know that MJ starred in a 3-D film production called Captain Eo.

While I vaguely remember what the film was about I do remember one of my earliest piracy efforts. Of course, I can say that this was a no-no but back then, I knew that I will not be able to see this again. There was no internet and not VHS copies of the movie, at least I could remember, so I used my camcorder to record the movie. Here was the big mistake about recording Captain Eo, the movie was in 3-D. But I didn’t care, I still recorded the film and did not return my 3-D glasses. I got back to NY with my prize and the video really sucked. Thank god, we have YouTube and below is the poster as well as the actual film.

I am sad to see Michael go but we have so much of him still with us in his music and many videos that captured the way I want to remember him. Until next time….

eo

Digital Comics Next Step: Longbox


longbox_logo_smIn these tough economic times, alright… enough of this overly used phrase but seriously, as a comic book fan and semi-retired collector, I missed the days of going to my neighborhood candy store and $1.05, I could pick at least three comic books. Those were the days were I started collecting books when they were .35 cents a pop.

Now, I still continue to read comics via my library just because I have no room for comic and trades are the best way to get really into a story. While single issues are fine, trades, like a dvd box set, tells the whole story without having to wait. Very cool but I do have to wait until the trades comeout and then put my name on a request which can be up to six months on top of the six months to a year sometimes to have the single issues be compiled.

As I often do on my google reader, I find something that speaks to my needs as a comic geek and yet, understands the current economic climate. Longbox Digital Comics is hoping to be the next thing like what iTunes did for downloadable music. The concept is sound about having a digital comic versus the print edition. Cost is looking around .99 cents per comic and we’re talking about major publishing companies. Having said that, my needs would be meet based on cost and being able to read the latest issues. Physical storage will not be an issue except on your computer if they are allowing the content to be dowloaded. There is a Longbox reader, as seen below, that looks to be a program we would have to download. However, this would be tied to my computer. There are some free comic that I’ve downloaded to my iPhone like Atomic Robo and Farscape. I’m sure the guys over on Longbox understand the need for portability.

LBX_Reader_QuickNav

While I will miss the tactile information in holding a comic or trade in my hands, my needs are much, much different from when I started getting into comics. Now, I want to read comics for great story, great artwork, and great fun. If Longbox can deliver, provided the publishers gives quality to us, I am all for it and sign me up except not until sometime in the fall. Click the link below to read more info from iFanboy.

Digital Comics Next Step: Longbox

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Separated @ Birth… Scifi Style Part 16


nina and star and basket caseAs my son is turning three next week, as any parent of a toddler, your early nights are nothing but watching Sprout. I’ve always been crept out by star because of his… star shape. His smallish, squashed size with his human like hands reminded me of a creature from a horror movie I saw a long time ago. You extra geek points if you guessed the creature on the right as seen in the movie Basket Case. This story involves Duane Brady and his deformed brother Belial who separated and sought revenge on the doctors who performed the surgery. This is a very campy and dark little horror movie but I highly recommend this to you.