Friday, December 21, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
This is the latest smokin' hot side project by Stargate SG-1 alumnus and busy bee actress for its latest incarnation, Stargate Atlantis, Amanda Tapping. She's back trying her hand at the latest ground-breaking endeavor- on-line television. Yes, TV made just for the internet. And Yes, she looks fabulous yet again! WOW! Amanda Tapping in full on brunette. She's sellin' it and bringin' it for the internet-based only series dubbed Sanctuary!
This tasty little sci-fi refuge is an internet only series of 8 high definition webisodes that I've taken the pleasure to download. http://www.sanctuaryforall.com/home.php
If you're a fan of the always sexy, always strong Amanda Tapping and you like a healthier dose of monster interplay [not found in her stint as Major Samantha Carter in Stargate SG-1] bursting from your screen then Sanctuary may just be what the doctor ordered. For a small price [roughly 17 dollars] you can download this splendid series drenched in breathtaking backgrounds almost entirely created via green screen on computer. It creeps in with a deliciously terrific little Mid-Eastern theme score by Ian Browne. The show is brought to life by solid direction and a fine cast. Tapping plays the eternally youthful Dr. Helen Magnus, an immortal monster hunter if you will.
At the helm is Stargate SG-1's Damian Kindler. His involvement as executive producer assured you a whole assortment of guest appearances including Stargate Atlantis' own David Hewlett, Paul McGillion, Christopher Heyerdahl and Kavan Smith. Michael Adamthwaite [Herak] of SG-1 acclaim also figures into the proceedings. Additional surprises include a role for SG-1 Director Peter Deluise and Leah Cairns of Battlestar Galactica. It succeeds with great writing and a surefire cast of talents from the streets of Vancouver. If that wasn't good enough longtime journeyman SG-1 Director Martin Wood lends his extraordinary skill behind the camera and pen co-writing alongside Kindler.
What you can expect is a show that's completely refreshing. It's entirely unique. The supernatural elements are reminiscent of X-Files meets Jack The Ripper, but it's wildly special in its execution and its visual style. There's humor, drama, action, monsters and rain, lots of CGI rain. It's always raining. Tapping is a delight and will blow you away! Her English accent and acting chops truly shine [yet again]. She's unrecognizable from her most famous character of over a decade. She's also equally sexy as drenched in black Magnus. Hot black leather and tights and blond partner Ashley also in accompanying sex kitten leather hot pants never hurts. She works with a team that even includes a man-servant/ back up buddy who just happens to be Bigfoot [anyone remember Bigfoot And Wild Boy?] and a CGI amphibian-like creation. This is a top flight, if small scale, operation and its easy to see the huge potential conceptually regarding exactly where Sanctuary could go. This is impressive stuff on what is clearly an extremely tight, little budget no doubt. With a bit more financial backing the folks over at Sanctuary really could have something here. I have to believe Sanctuary is sure to reach television. It's a great concept. If it doesn't I hope the creators take the time to get back to the webisodes. The eight created thus far leave you on the ultimate cliffhanger of cliffhanger even after seeing Bigfoot, Ashley and Magnus open up a might can of whoop ass! I cannot bear to see Bigfoot and Magnus left this way. I won't spoil it you'll need to see for yourself.
[The following clip does not contain spoilers!]
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
This from their website in edited form:
"On Dec. 5th, a warehouse fire in Oregon, IL destroyed the Starlog Group's extensive back issue holdings. STARLOG and FANGORIA Magazines' entire line of back issues, as well as"Best Of" collections, discontinued publications, STAR TREK and other movie tie-ins were burned or water damaged by the blaze. It's believed the massive fire was started when a forklift driver in the warehouse punctured a gas line, which was close to a space heater. Over 100 fire fighters from 20 different companies were needed to bring the conflagration under control. Apparently, the warehouse's sprinkler system was not functioning, which is being investigated by the fire marshals. Total damages are currently estimated at 8 million dollars. Starlog will not be able to supply the majority of these back issues as listed in the magazine and Starlog.com store. A few recent issues may be on hand, but it will take some time to be clear what may remain.
Many of these magazines, pieces of the company's thirty year history,will now only exist in the hand of collectors."
How do I like my collection now? WOW! I was completely stunned and I'm glad no one was hurt, but I can't imagine losing that kind of inventory. A sad day at Starlog indeed. To think I could have missed obtaining this great collection from one of my favorite publishers. It'll be interesting to see how this affects the value of our Starlog collections.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Back when I first launched this blog I mentioned comparing Star Trek to Stargate and I'm going to take the opportunity to highlight one of the articles in this book that hilariously compares the two. The piece, Stargate Trek, is by by none other than sci-fi writer David Gerrold the man behind Star Trek's 1967 episode The Trouble With Tribbles. His observations are spot on and he should know. Gerrold puts it like this, "when you talk about science fiction on television, there's Star Trek- and then there's everything else. And that's unfortunate because a lot of the 'everything else' is pretty damn good- oftentimes even better than Star Trek. Case in point: Stargate SG-1". I'm not arguing because Gerrold should know. To be clear, I'm a bigger fan of Stargate SG-1, but I love the Star Trek universe almost as much. It's just a far less rabid, obsessive kind of addiction. Gerrold goes on to look at how closely tied the two programs are as sci-fi formulas go, in many ways identical, but points out distinct differences that make the shows unique pointing to SG-1's success in breaking away from the pack of the 'everything else' in establishing its own mythos and cannon.
- both have a homebase [SGC/ the Enterprise]
- both have independent, sometimes anti-establishment styled heroes [O'Neill/ Kirk]
- stoic unemotional aliens [Teal'c/ Spock]
- beautiful female members with great cheekbones, chests and brains [Carter/ Uhura]
- authority can be disregarded
- team is family, everybody else isn't [other SGC teams/ most 'red shirts']
- aliens speak English [or stilted English]
- Star Trek takes itself too seriously [even the jokes are important]/ Stargate SG-1 is self-mocking [these people are real and likeable]
- Star Trek has to only solve a problem once/ Stargate SG-1 never seems to quite solve the problem [ie Replicators]
- Star Trek technology is fabulously inexplicable/ Stargate SG-1's is rooted in attempted explanations
Now I'm offering you the condensed digest version. You really need to read the article for all the dirty details and it's a bang up piece. There's plenty I've left out. But the crux of it being if Star Trek wrote the formula so many programs aspire to be, Stargate SG-1 has transcended that formula to create its own identity. Stargate SG-1 may be the first to child to step out from its parents' shadows. Where there was one franchise now there are two.
The articles in Stepping Through The Stargate [the best ones are in BOLD]:
- Highly Top Secret [on the alien technology and weaponry of Stargate SG-1]
- Stargate Trek [Star Trek vs Stargate]
- Through The Apple [fun with physics and wormholes]
- Yasureyabetcha: S-F Speak That Doesn't Make You Wince [the humor of one Jack O'Neill aka RDA]
- Exploring The Archaeology Of Stargate SG-1: From Childhood Westerns To Interstellar Imagination [Stargate as the vehicle for classic entertainment and education]
- Artificial Intelligence And Genuine Stupidity [clever stuff]
- Help! The Aliens Have Landed And Taken Over My Brain [an analysis of the Goa'uld]
- Time Travel For Beginners [serious Astrophysics geekspeak]
- We Need You Back [the concept of bringing back characters to drive a series in this case Jack O'Neill]
- Spin The Gate [Sex in and through the orifice that is the Stargate]
- Where Am I? [a philosophical analysis via episodes Tin Man and Double Jeopardy]
- I Think He's Called Homer [referencing Beneath The Surface - analyzes homage within the SG-1 verse]
- Stargate: The Final Frontier? [more astrophysics as well as inconsistencies within the SG-1 verse]
- When In Rome, Don't Wear That [fashion faux pas within the SG-1 verse by character and race]
- I'm Not An Archetype But I Play One On TV [heady archetype analysis on the four main characters
- Fear And Loathing On Cimmeria [an analysis of Thor's Hammer via Norse mythology]
- A Season Of Stargate [a production diary by Visual Effects Producer extraordinaire James Tichenor]
- The Villians I Love To Hate [a humorous play by play on the plethora of baddies from SG-1]
- Creativity, Continuity And The Modern Licensed Comic Book [fascinating analysis on SG-1 comics]
- Jack's Brain: What Were The Asgard Thinking [... so why exactly did The Asgard choose O'Neill anyway?]
- Vacuum Tubes And Intergalactic Portals [insights from a retired, female, Air Force Colonel]
- Ruminations From A Rat Bastard [Tom McBeath, aka Colonel Maybourne himself, reflects on SG-1]
The book is well worth seeking out and Amazon may be your best shot. Good luck cowboys!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Where to begin? From old-fashioned shutter/ slo-mo effects for dream sequences to bad writing Earth 2 never gets off the ground. Weak on story despite some solid performances from a decent cast including Jessica Steen and Terry O'Quinn. Steen, of course, would first appear on Stargate SG-1 as Dr. Elizabeth Weir in Lost City Part 1 & Part 2 before being replaced by Torri Higginson who would go on to play the regular Dr. Weir in Stargate Atlantis. The much beloved O'Quinn has an incredible track record from his roles in Alias and Harsh Realm to John Locke on Lost. He plays a mysterious figure allied with The Council. Shocker! Admittedly, thanks to O'Quinn, his entrance in the episode Water is where things start to get interesting on the show. Still, he's only one man. Here's a scene with O'Quinn and Steen.
Meanwhile the make-up lies somewhere between a Jim Henson knock-off and Land Of The Lost. What the hell is this?
Oh, and we can't forget the worst in child-acting. Two of the show's main characters are child actors. Terra-ble!
Seriously, animatronic-styled rubber muppets and cheesy music combined with weak acting- not a good combination! By the way, them there fingernails on the little varment are down right nasty if you get one in the neck. Where is Boxey the Daggit [from the original Battlestar Galactica] when you need him! At least it was a real live monkey in a robot dog suit.
Perhaps I just didn't give Earth 2 a fair shake. I actually tried to enjoy this show after watching 10 straight seasons of the genre masterpiece that is Stargate SG-1. It just didn't have a chance to hold a candle. Earth 2 will reaffirm your belief in the best of science fiction. It's readily apparent why Stargate and Star Trek are just so damn good after watching this conceptual mumbo jumbo about Terrians and a transparent attempt at being an environmental letter, sci-fi style. Just stupid. Messages are good but you don't want to get beat over the head with them.
I have to come clean. After watching the first 8 episodes of the series I just couldn't bear to watch another. Turning on the DVD player each night was becoming a chore. I was pained to actually have to sit through roughly 42 minutes of an Earth 2 Episode, commercial free no less. What I would have given for a bathroom break! Making the command decision to shelve it was like lifting the weight of the world off my shoulders. Actually, it was the weight of Earth 2 and it was a relief. I can't tell you what happens to that poor crew or the Terrians or the creatures that inhabited the planet nor do I care. I never want to go there ever! One thing is certain to me now, there's no place like home.
Earth 2: In a word- TERRA-ble!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
There is still time left to pick up the latest issue of Starlog [#360] featuring an article on actor David Hewlett's film A Dog's Breakfast and his role on Stargate Atlantis. Look Starlog is still one of the premiere news sources on our favorite science fiction, but I do have one bone to pick with the publication.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Okay not sure I could close the door on her?
Seriously, ten years later, and Stargate SG-1 finally ended or unended, if you will, bidding farewell.
It's remarkable to me the mythology that has been cultivated so richly like Star Trek. It is spectacularly detailed and original building year after year on the vision of its creators. Where Star Trek has the Klingons and Borg, Stargate the Goa’uld and Replicators.
Such unique, wholly orginal and thoroughly realized worlds are precisely why these franchises succeed. It is why it was so hard to say goodbye to the original SG-1. They are like old friends.
Star Trek has existed much longer and Stargate might seem in its infancy by comparison, but like the Enterprise it is the Stargate that delivers the adventure. The imagination, the writing, the acting, the entire collaborative was pure genius thanks to the likes of Peter Deluise, Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, Robert Cooper and the cast and crew. It was this combined effort and chemistry that made such a lasting impression on modern science fiction.
Unending culled many elements from the show together [time dilation, the Asgard, the Ori, hyperdrive] and came up with yet another entirely refreshing new story, not to mention reversing time.
Unending's focus: the comraderie of Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Claudia Black and Beau Bridges [with a bit of old friend Thor voiced by Michael Shanks]. A montage of the cast's interaction plays over "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival [the first pop song used in the series]. It is genuine, heartwarming and entirely appropriate as longstanding friendships sustain hope in sheer isolation. The sequence is sheer poetry and especially for the fans that had been watching for 10 years understanding the cast dynamics. It is not random filler, but friends coping yet again with extraordinary circumstances. The performance between Claudia Black and Michael Shanks is absolutely raw emotion. There isn’t a single note of dialogue that doesn’t ring true - not a false note in Daniel's reaction to Vala in terms of their relationship and it is simply heartrending. Tapping, Browder, Judge and Bridges all serve up star turns in this 42 minutes of stunning television to cap what amounts to an amazing finish. This beautiful swansong brings it all home. There is a nostalgic quality to this pitch perfect finale. As this family sits to dine and laugh, we laugh and dine with them as our own. Interestingly, Robert C. Cooper's hand in this feels just as personal as it is to us. There is an elegiac tone to Unending's proceedings from the fading flames of the Asgard to the sheer helplessness our heroes face while still finding comfort in each other.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I thought it appropriate even fitting to kick off my very first post with classic lines from Star Trek's opening theme.
I am a collector of Stargate autograph cards among many other things. It is an insane passion and one that can be altogether expensive. Not only does it have an adverse affect on the bank account but it tends to affect the nerves and mind as well as one jockeys for position to win on ebay just prior to the end of an auction. Then comes those harrowing days praying for the safe arrival of said MINT card. We fear their journey through the massive, untrackable, unmerciful US Postal network. I actually like them generally speaking, but it's scary out there. We all simply sit back and pray the cards find their way.
In the meantime, this is one of my own personal classics, an official Richard Dean Anderson auto. His John Hancock was the first to grace the ongoing Stargate card series by Rittenhouse.
That's right, Richard Dean Anderson [MacGyver- though that show never really did it for me], the epitome of hero on Stargate SG-1. In fact, as much as I love Farscape's fantastic Ben Browder as a semi-Anderson replacement in Season 9 of Stargate SG-1, Anderson is still the MAN in that series in much the same way William Shatner was the MAN for Star Trek. The two men are the faces for their respective franchises [topics for another day perhaps].
Star Trek and Stargate respectively, clearly are the respected powerhouses of science fiction franchises as of this writing. We have not crossed those fragile lines of debate on the subtleties, nuances or even broad statements of fact as to which is clearly the better show. Obviously the success of Stargate Atlantis in the footsteps of SG-1 continues to prosper [sorry Spock] in much the same way Star Trek's many variations of its storied franchise prospered. So which science fiction program is better, Stargate or Star Trek and why? Let the debate begin.
Stay tuned for more from Musings Of A Sci-Fi Fanatic. We're just getting started.... indeed.