The blog of a Sci-Fi Geek

Sun 25 April , 10

Doctor Who : The Time of Angels [REVIEW]

Filed under: TV, TV Review — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 13:07

S. 31, Ep. 4.

What a wonderful episode.
New Doctor. New companion. New ‘big bad’. River Song. It would’ve been sheer incompetence if this episode had failed, but that’s okay, because it didn’t.

It’s interesting to note that this was Matt Smith’s first episode to shoot and I think it benefited greatly from this.
This is a story that calls for more drama from the actors rather than mania. The Doctor has always been able to dial back the mania when the story requires but the youthfulness of Matt Smith made the mania almost appear to be effortless in the first three episodes. The gravitas that this episode required really let us see that Matt Smith is certainly not the wrong choice to play this character.

During this episode it becomes clear that Amy Pond is in her first spot of real peril as a companion, and it’ll be interesting to see how she deals with this. There’s a scene where she’s interacting with an Angel on a video monitor and without trying to give anything away Amy Pond proves that she’s every bit a worthy companion.
It’ll be interesting to see further interaction between her and River Song.
It was fantastic to see Amy getting a brief education on Gallifreyan history from The Doctor.

The Lonely Assassins (or Weeping Angels) are the crowning glory of this episode.
They’re not new-new villains – having previously been introduced during the last Doctor’s tenure – but these are the modern day equivalent of the Dalek as far as I’m concerned.
The tension of the episode is perfectly punctuated by the genuine menace that these statues-that-aren’t-statues bring to the mix. To say any more would spoil it for those that haven’t yet seen the episode, so I’ll stop here.

River Song makes a very welcome return in a way that only River Song could.
I initially thought The Doctor and her would rendezvous in a slightly different manner but that would have dispersed any tension that would have created between River and Amy.
River’s knowledge of The Doctor and what he’s likely to get up to in the future is a definite draw for the audience but there’s a secret she’s keeping and it really is only a matter of time before The Doctor (and the audience) finds out.

Overall a brilliant episode and I’m very much looking forward to the second part.

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Sat 17 April , 10

What’s in a Name?

Quite a lot it would seem.

In 1991 Mitch Rubenstein, Laurie Silvers and Isaac Asimov pitched an idea to a room full of SF writers at the Science Fiction Writers of America annual meeting.
The idea was a simple one; a 24-hour cable TV network dedicated to science fiction. The channel would be called Sci Fi Channel.
The idea apparently didn’t go down too well, with some of the writers in the room arguing that the term “Sci Fi” is derogatory to the SF genre. It was pointed out to the room that if the channel was called SF Channel people would think it was a channel about San Francisco.
Mitch Rubenstein was booed off-stage.
Isaac Asimov then started to speak and explained that the channel had to be called Sci Fi in order to “be in a financial position to acquire and produce the best programming. That’s really what counts, right?”.
Isaac spoke, and the room full of writers agreed.

Fast forward to now and we have a name change from ‘Sci Fi’ so SyFy.
What the what?!?
Yes, the Sci Fi Channel is no more, to be replaced with a new name that apparently makes no sense to anyone (well, apart from perhaps some misguided few from within Sci F… sorry, SyFy).

The new name (say it out loud) is phonetically identical to the old name, so why the change? Well, apparently it “positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.“.

I think the key phrase in the above is “Creating an ownable trademark”, but that’s just the cynic in me.
Personally I don’t like the name change. It’s almost as if the channel is now wanting to distance itself from that which made it so popular in the first place.
I’ve come to refer to the channel as *sigh*fi.

Sources for this post :
Sci Fi Channel
Slice of SciFi
Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood.com

Mon 5 April , 10

Doctor Who : The Eleventh Hour [REVIEW]

Filed under: TV, TV Review — Tags: , , — SFG @ 18:50

This review contains spoilers

A resurrection at Easter?

Dangling precariously from the architrave of his TARDIS whilst being erratically hurtled towardsthe St. Stephen’s Tower, we are finally formally introduced to the 11th Doctor.
In what is rapidly becoming typical Doctor Who fashion the world was in peril and it was down to the Time Lord to save it from destruction. I liked this story, but for me this was about introducing new characters and new actors playing old, familiar characters. That being said, this is an entirely new Doctor, and as such the writing and story should be at its very best, and whilst I enjoyed the episode, I feel it could have been so much better if a little more attention to detail had been paid.

I’ve got nothing bad to say at all about Matt Smith as The Doctor or Karen Gillan as the new Companion (even though she really didn’t have very much to do in this initial story). I have reservations about this being the lead episode of a new season as well as being that of a new Doctor. The pacing was totally wrong for a season opener too – actually, the pacing was just wrong full-stop. You can’t start the episode running then break in to a sprint after 15 minutes and not have any breaks from then on. You have to give the viewer time to catch-up and absorb facts and details without requiring repeat viewings of the episode.

I like the fact that The Doctor has seemingly learned his lesson from the end of his previous incarnation and once again realises that he needs company. As Amy states she thinks this is because he gets lonely but it’s really because he needs a moral compass to stop him from going off at the deep end.
The Doctor also has some bridges to build with Amy too. It seems that their first encounter and subsequent 12 year break has left her somewhat broken.
The producers also decided to break that iconic theme tune, but have counteracted it with an incredible Time Vortex opening sequence. I may have to mute it and watch the opening titles in silence for this season.

Overall, a good – but not great – episode. It did what it needed to do but it could’ve been, and done, so much more.
Every time The Doctor regenerates there’s doubt and uncertainty about the actor stepping in to the TARDIS and on the whole each and every time those doubts have been cast aside after the first couple of episodes. I think it’s the same thing happening here.
DT was an extremely well liked Doctor at the end of his stint in the TARDIS, only time will tell if Matt Smith is as well liked a few years from now.

Sat 3 April , 10

11 Days of The Doctor

Filed under: Fun, Geek, TV — Tags: , , , , , — SFG @ 15:15

I was sent a link by my mate Alex on Flickr of a set of images, some of which are reproduced below (with permission).
The Flickr profile in question isn’t a Pro account, which means they have limited bandwidth so hotlinking to their images really wouldn’t be a good thing.
To view the original images please go to this link : TheBritishBafoon on Flickr.
I’ve added a couple of images after the jump.
All this in in celebration of the return of Doctor Who this evening on BBC1 at 18:20.

(more…)

Who’s Back …

Filed under: TV — Tags: , , , — SFG @ 06:26

It’s about time.


Image source

Fri 2 April , 10

Nanoscale Model of the Enterprise-D

Filed under: Fun, Geek, Internet — Tags: , , — SFG @ 16:24

This Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D of Star Trek : The Next Generation was fabricated by Takayuki Hoshino & Shinji Matsui in 2003 (I don’t know why it only appears to be doing the rounds now) for the 47th International Conference on Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication Bizarre/Beautiful Micrograph Contest. Phew.
The model is an incredible 1:1,000,000,000,000 (European, (1:1,000,000,000 American)) scale – that’s 1 billionth scale.
To put it in more reasonable terms it measures a mere 8.8 micrometers long – there are 1000 micrometers in 1 millimetre.
Here’s the science bit …
It was created using a 30 kV Ga+ focused-ion- beam Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) that uses phenanthrene gas.
They should’ve created a tiny Borg cube to go with it, but the crowning glory (as if this wasn’t enough already) would have come if they managed to get the NCC-1701-D on the saucer section.

Thu 1 April , 10

Sci-Fi Fans

Filed under: Fun, Geek, Internet — Tags: , , , , , — SFG @ 16:58

Browsing around the net and I happened upon this Sci-Fi Superfan Reference Manual.
Now it’s more of a chart than it is a manual, but it’s still rather a fun diversion for 5 minutes.
The original can be found at MADATOMS.com.

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