12 items from 2014
By Adrian Smith
(The following pertains to the UK, Region 2 releases)
Like Walt Disney before him, Gerry Anderson's name became a brand identifier in itself, a mark of quality. It is impossible to hear his name without automatically thinking of puppets on strings, whizzing spaceships and secret island hideouts. In tribute to Anderson, who sadly passed away two years ago before the completion of this documentary, Filmed in Supermarionation presents a brilliantly detailed history of his working life. The film is full of archival material detailing just how difficult it was bringing life to those puppets, along with interviews with many of those who worked alongside Anderson, most notably his wife and long-standing collaborator Sylvia who also provided the voice of Lady Penelope.
The documentary revisits some of the original studios that Anderson and his crew used and new footage is shot in Supermarionation (Gerry Anderson's term to »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
To mark the 20th anniversary of Space Precinct, Kyle takes a walk down Demeter City's memory lane to explore the show's highs and lows…
Cops in space. It's a neat idea, right? The concept is rich with potential, but it's surprising just how underused it's been. Gerry Anderson first approached it back in 1986, when he made a pilot for Space Police, which failed to sell and so remained unaired. The show starred Shane Rimmer (the voice of Scott Tracy in Anderson's Thunderbirds), and followed the exploits of a human cop working amongst aliens. For whatever reason, this incarnation of the show never saw the light of day, and remained buried for eight years.
In 1994, the series resurfaced with a new title, new actors, new aliens, and a less comedic tone. Space Precinct 2040 was a standard police show – crimes are committed; our plucky heroes chase the perps down – but transferred to Demeter City, »
New Indie: Space Station 76 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) sets up audiences to expect something broad and spoofy, particularly with its spot-on re-creation of the future as envisioned by 1970s sci-fi. But the movie has more on its plate than wackiness: once you get past the cigarettes, hairspray and ceramic owl cookie jars, you find that these sets are populated with melancholy characters and messed-up relationships that are meant to be taken seriously. Not for nothing did one critic call this a mix of Space: 1999 and The Ice Storm. The arrival of Jessica (Liv Tyler) aboard the space station causes ripples amongst its unhappy crew: hard-drinking Captain Glenn (Patrick Wilson) resents her presence while stewing over past regret, but Ted (Matt Bomer) sees Jessica as a kindred...
- Alonso Duralde
Anderson Productions has launched a Kickstarter campaign today to fund production of a pilot for Gerry Anderson’s FireStorm, a new adventure series in the tradition of the original Anderson series like Thunderbirds and Stingray. Only hours after its start, the campaign has already been 25% funded of its initial goal.
Once funded, the pilot will be filmed in “Ultramationation”, described as a new hybrid process “using a combination of puppetry, practical effects, physical props and sets, and model miniatures”. Fans of iconic Gerry Anderson shows like Space: 1999, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, UFO and Thunderbirds will be able to back the project to help fund the pilot episode in return for special limited edition rewards from props and collector edition DVDs, to set visits and film credits.
Originally developed by Gerry and his business partner John Needham, the project originally became a Japanese animated series produced in 2003. The new series starts from scratch, »
- Vinnie Bartilucci
Firestorm has been developed from Anderson's original synopsis and story outline documents.
The series would follow Storm Force, an organisation formed to combat terrorist threats, including the group known as Black Orchid.
An anime version of the project was previously produced and aired across Japan and South East Asia in 2003.
Fans who help fund the new Firestorm pilot episode will receive special limited edition rewards, from props and collector edition DVDs, to set visits and film credits.
Once the Kickstarter campaign reaches its target, a pilot episode will be made with a new filming technique called 'Ultramarionation' - a combination of puppetry, practical effects, physical props and sets, and model miniatures.
To celebrate the release of Sci-Fi Chronicles: A Visual History of the Galaxy’s Greatest Science Fiction – which is released here in the UK on October 13th – we’ve got a copy of the book to give away courtesy of the lovely people at Aurum Press. Read on for a synopsis and details of how to enter…
The ultimate guide to the infinite variety of the science fiction multiverse.
What links Stingray to Space: 1999? Which superstar director had a hand in *batteries not included? Who was Pierre Boulle and how did he spawn one of Hollywood’s greatest franchises? All the answers, and much more, are revealed in Sci-Fi Chronicles.
From Barbarella to Blade Runner, this comprehensive guide to science fiction explores the creation and evolution of the genre’s greatest creations, detailing their complex real-world and in-world development through an arresting blend of incisive commentary and stunning archive imagery. »
- Gary Collinson
“When television is good, nothing – not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers – nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland. You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials – many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see »
- Mindy Newell
Earth. 2013. Some guy sits in his basement flat in a proverbial state of unemployment. His only goal? To perfect his game of Halo. Mission completed. So what next? Earth. 2014. Said unemployed guy has pumped all his energy into a sci-fi movie, shot in 3D and to be screened at Frightfest. The result? A film that looks, feels and sounds like a game of Halo!
And that, in a nutshell, is Shockwave Darkside 3D. Although to be fair, the official synopsis makes the film sound a hell of a lot more exciting:
The nano-plague that poisoned Earth’s water supply has reached its 60-year critical mass. The Unlight enemy forced the first exodus to the moon where the outlawed banished population was supposed to die. But now the Unlights have launched from Earth and »
- Phil Wheat
Thank heaven for suspension of disbelief, because film and television get their science wrong a great deal of the time. And I don’t just mean the small details. Often, the basic premise of the story is fundamentally flawed from the start. Here’s a look at seven science fails from television and the cinema.
The premise of the Matrix is essentially that humans are kept alive by the machines as a type of electric generator. Frankly, this is not only far-fetched, it’s impossible in terms of the conservation of energy. The humans would need more energy to be kept alive than they would actually produce. It’s comparable to saying you could power your car with batteries, while keeping the batteries charged with a giant turbine powered by the car's engine. The giant turbine would require more energy than the car engine could supply, and therefore »
- email@example.com (Rob Young)
In space, everyone one can hear you kvetch. That appears to be standard operational procedure aboard “Space Station 76,” an intergalactic deadpan farce that suggests a daft mashup of “The Ice Storm” and “Space: 1999.” With the aid of ensemble players who maintain admirably straight faces amid the absurdity, director Jack Plotnick gets an impressive amount of mileage from a concept — characters in a futuristic sci-fi setting evince ‘70s angst and attitudes — that might seem at first blush barely adequate to sustain a “Saturday Night Live” sketch. This low-key indie comedy could live long and prosper on homescreen platforms.
Working from a script he and four fellow writers originally conceived for the stage, Plotnick establishes a tone of seriocomic soap-operatics in the early scenes while introducing the diversely dysfunctional crew of the Omega 76 Space Station.
Sexually repressed Capt. Glenn (Patrick Wilson, first among equals in a fine cast) is by »
- Joe Leydon
Whether you’re into Doctor Who and Star Wars or The Wire and Sherlock, there’s a great line-up of special guests coming to the NEC on 22-23 March for McM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia. Here are just a few of them!
British actor, writer and director Phil Davis has appeared in a host of top TV shows including Whitechapel; Sherlock, Being Human, Merlin and Doctor Who, while his movie credits include Alien 3, Quadrophenia, Notes On A Scandal, Secrets & Lies and Vera Drake, for which he was BAFTA-nominated. Paul McGann – Famous for playing the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television film – a role he reprised in 72 audio dramas and the 2013 mini-episode ‘The Night of the Doctor’ – and for starring alongside Richard E. Grant in much-loved 1987 black comedy Withnail And I. Clarke Peters – Best known as detective Lester Freamon in acclaimed crime drama The Wire, as well as »
- Phil Wheat
Earliest TV memory?
I remember a programme called The Boy From Space. There was a black actor called Loftus Burton in it; he ended up starting the drama school I went to in Notting Hill. Loftus went on to act in the TV series Space: 1999 and I went on to be the "pussy in space".
The Real McCoy. British television is lacking in that kind of show. The characters were not written by some guy in an ivory tower who dictates what we should be watching. Only a certain number of people now get to take the piss out of people who need the piss taken out of them. The only show that really did that was Spitting Image, and The Real McCoy was very much like that, but it was from a different community's point of view. »
- Kate Hutchinson
12 items from 2014
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