Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #18



TV

Classic Doctor Who

All I wanted was a Pepsi

All I wanted was a Pepsi

My local PBS station began airing episode of classic Doctor Who a few weeks back starting with the very first Tom Baker episode entitled “Robot” and it looks like for the most part they’re airing them in order. I couldn’t be more happy. I’ve been dying to watch more episodes of the classic Doctor Who for years now, ever since the 50th anniversary a few years ago and when BBC America began airing a handful of Baker episodes last year.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson

The first season of American Crime Story on FX ended its run last week about the trial of O.J. Simpson. The sad thing is that I know a few people who didn’t watch the show because they “knew how it ended.” Except that American Crime Story was anything but just about the ending. It was about all the bits that were never broadcast on TV in the 1990s; what was going on behind the scenes with the lawyers, and jurors and family members we never got to see.

The neat thing about the story was that it wasn’t just one sided — for or against O.J. It’s mostly about the lawyers — the prosecution building a seemingly airtight case against Simpson and the defense finding ways to make their case a little a lot less airtight while at the same time trying to expose what they see as a corrupt system against African Americans in Los Angeles.

In a TV season with a lot of simply great dramas, American Crime Story was one of the best. A

Movies

Edge of Tomorrow: Live Die Repeat

Last week writer/director Christopher McQuarrie announced that there’s going to be a sequel to the wonderful movie Edge of Tomorrow with Doug Liman set to return as director and Tom Cruise as star. I didn’t think that Edge of Tomorrow did well enough at the box office to warrant a sequel, but luckily I was wrong. Edge of Tomorrow is one of the best sci-fi films of the modern age and along with movies like Mad Max: Fury Road is redefining the sci-fi genera.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie trailer

“What will you become?”

Officially titled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this eighth movie in the franchise is the first one to be told outside of the main Star Wars storyline. Here, a resistance fighter, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star. Or, Rogue One would be what was going on immediately before Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope where those plans are hidden inside R2-D2. What I like about the trailer is the design aesthetic seems to be taken straight from those gorgeous Dave Dorman Star Wars paintings that seemed to be on everything Star Wars related in the 1990s. What I don’t like about it is that the vibe in the Rogue One trailer comes off a bit too Katniss in Hunger Games at times for my taste.

That being said, the trailer’s much more good than bad.

The Reading List

Chris Hardwick, King of the Nerds, Is Expanding His Empire

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1979 The TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century premiers
  • 1983 The Evil Dead premiers in theaters



Dr. Who & the Daleks poster



dr_who_and_daleks_poster_02

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Direct beam comms #5



TV

So there’s the Classic Doctor Who series that ran from 1963 to 1996 and a modern Doctor Who of ones from 2005 to present. Is there now a Classic The X-Files of shows that ran from 1993 to 2002 and a modern The X-Files of ones from now on? I suppose much of if the “classic” and “modern” labels will only have any meaning if the new Fox series is limited to just the six episodes or if there’s more than one season.

TNT is working on a TV series version of the film Animal Kingdom. That movie is one of my favorites, I thought it was one of the best of 2010, about a lives of a family of crooks that’s slowly unravelling after one is killed by the police and in retribution the family kills two cops. I think that’s why the movie is so interesting — it’s about something coming apart, destroying itself. It’s still too early to tell, but I don’t think that a (reportedly) series about a family of criminals that’s not coming apart but instead lasts season after season would be as interesting as the latter. Then again I’d be happy to eat my words since I didn’t think Hannibal or The Americans would be any good either and those two shows turned out to be two of my favorites.

Comics

Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel's Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch as Marvel’s Doctor Strange

The comic series Aquila, which ran in the pages of 2000 AD, is available in a collected edition January 12. Aquila: Blood of the Iceni is a sort of mashup of Conan the Barbarian and the writings of H.P. Lovecraft with the title character living in Roman Empire times in the place that will one day be the UK who’s brought back from the dead with one catch; he must provide souls to the ancient hungry god Ammit the Devourer. A god that’s always hungry!

In finding these souls, Aquila must do battle with winged creatures, an insane Nero trying to become a god himself and the natives of England who are out to push all foreign invaders off their land.

Books

CUNNING PLANS: Talks By Warren Ellis is a book of talks collected as essays by Warren Ellis who’s best known for his work in comics. Ellis has a knack for describing the times we live in from almost a future historical perspective. He comments on are everyday mundane things from cell phones to Instagram to traveling. But it’s how he sees them that’s so unique.

“Our ghosts are our history. Their voices are what we learn from. Our rituals are our methods, and our castings and workings are our scientific experiments, magical practices to learn the true names of things that mane the world. Because, in magic, when you name something you can control it.” — Warren Ellis

Apps

For the last few months I’ve been writing most everything in Scrivener using Markdown. I like how Scrivener organizes everything — I have one document for these Direct Beam Comms articles, one for my 2016 columns, one for random stuff… — and how I can export the finished product in just about any format I want.

And Markdown, a “…text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers…” is a nice way for me to format copy without having to worry about future-proofing my work. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years trying to figure this out. If I save everything as a Word DOC and in 20 years there’s no easy way to open the files then I’m screwed. What I’ve been doing over the last five years is saving all my work as rich text format (RTF) figuring that while this might not be the best way to save things, it’s got to be better than the proprietary Word format. Then I thought about saving out everything as HTML files, since those are essentially easily readable text files that anyone at any time in the future will be able to open.

Scrivener solves all these problems for me. I write things once using Markdown and then can export into whatever file format fits my preference. I’ll usually export a RTF if the piece is being published somewhere else and HTML so I can copy and past this content into my website. But I can also save PDFs, ebooks or a host of other file formats too.




Direct beam comms #3



TV

I’m really digging The Expanse on SyFy. It’s very space-opera-isa with a heavy story.

 

Last fall BBC America aired several movie-length episodes of classic Tom Baker Doctor Who. It seemed that perhaps BBC America was about to start airing classic Doctor Who alongside the new but alas this seemed to only be a short experiment where only a few episodes ever aired.

Classic Doctor Who shows usually consisted of four or six half hour episodes that were aired weekly in the UK but were sometimes edited together into two or three hour stories for overseas markets — which is how I saw Doctor Who in the 1980s on my local PBS station and how BBC America is airing the shows.

After having watched several of the episodes on BBC America it’s plainly obvious that some of the classic Doctor Who was greatly padded.

Sometimes it seems as if characters spend what would be an entire 30 minute episode running from something, or getting ready to do something. But not actually getting anything done. And a 30 minute block seems only to exist to move characters from point “A” to “B,” which though the magic of editing could be done in a few seconds of screen time.

I think that the only reason this padding exists is because four or six episodes were needed per Doctor Who story back then, not that four or six episodes were actually needed to tell the story.

Not that this is a horrible thing or that it makes classic Doctor Who bad or anything — I actually prefer it over the new series — just that there was a reason when I was a kid I almost never made it to the end of a two hour episode of Doctor Who without falling asleep.

Movies

Neca Alien 1/4 scale figure

Neca Alien 1/4 scale figure

I mean this in the best possible way — Sicario is a cross between the movies Zero Dark Thirty (2012) and Traffic (2001). A-

 

For how much reviewers disliked Terminator Genisys I thought it was a good movie. There is the issue of a big story turn in the second act of the movie that doesn’t quite work — or make sense — but it’s not enough to spoil the film as a whole. I actually liked how the filmmakers of Terminator Genisys actively played with and used the idea of time travel in different ways than in the other films and introduced the idea that just one thing amiss in a timeline can totally change the future. B

My preference of Terminator movies in order:

  1. Terminator (1984)
  2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  3. Terminator Genisys (2015)
  4. Terminator Salvation (2009)
  5. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Toys

The Neca Alien 1/4 scale figure stands a whopping 22 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation including its alien tongue. It’s everything I didn’t get when I missed getting the original 1977 Alien toy as a kid. The figure retails for around $110 which isn’t totally insane considering its size.

On the Horizon

I’m working on columns for the second season of Daredevil and the Dark Horse Aliens comic books.




1980s Doctor Who poster



“Watch out America, (Doctor) Who is here.”

s-l1600

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