Archive for March, 2009

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Top 15 totally unexpected alternate endings for “Battlestar Galactica”

March 26, 2009

Ah, the post-mortem phase of a TV series. Everybody (us included) is weighing-in these days on BSG’s finale, offering their woulda/shoulda/coulda speculations about alternatives to the ending viewers were given. And some are pretty creative. We decided to take it into the realm of the absurd. Here are some of our suggestions for ways the final episode could have ended that would really have surprised viewers:

15) Starbuck turns out to be an angel, Baltar and Six are angels – kind of. And Apollo’s an angel. And Rosalin and Adama are angels. Yeah, yeah. Everyone’s an angel. Isn’t that what your preschool teacher told you?

14) A group of Colonial settlers comes over a rise to find several dozen Earthlings crouched around a mysterious black monolith, thoughtfully swinging the animal bones they’ve just learned can help them get meat.

13) Galactica jumps into the vicinity of the black hole ready for a fight, only to find Cavil’s already fallen victim to the recession and a force more powerful than a legion of centurions – mortgage bankers – has put a “foreclosure/repossessed” sign on the Cylon colony’s front gate.

12) The Fleet finds Earth – not during the early days of mankind, but during the era of the dinosaurs, which are too many and too dangerous to permit colonization… that is until Baltar looks out a porthole, spots a passing asteroid and says “Do you know, I think I have an idea…”

11) Things look grim for the Colonials as their marine boarding party seems overwhelmed by enemy centurions, when suddenly, lawyers for Warner Brothers appear armed with lawsuits ordering NBC to shut the Cylon colony down for looking too much like a Shadow vessel from Babylon 5.

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“Lost”, season 5, episode 10: “He’s Our You”

March 25, 2009

Please click through to see this post on harrysaxon.com.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

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Top 5 things I wanted to see in “Battlestar Galactica”, but didn’t

March 18, 2009

Yes, I know, BSG is not technically over yet – there’s still the finale on Friday – but for all intents and purposes, it’s history. And while I think it’s one of the best shows on TV ever, regardless of genre, it wasn’t perfect. Here are the Top 5 Things I Wanted to See in BSG, But Didn’t:

5) An episode with survivors on New Caprica
With an evacuation as large, complex and sudden as the one on New Caprica when Galactica came to the rescue, there must have been people (either wounded, knocked-out, or just out in the woods picking mushrooms) who were left behind. Little Hera is proof of that. Sure the Cylons probably made a cursory sweep of the place afterward, but under the circumstances, given the massive success of the fleet’s getaway, I doubt they made much of an effort. Realistically, there would have been a few stranded there permanently. I thought it would have been interesting to have cut back there for a Robinson Crusoe-type of episode (similar to the episode finally shedding light on Starbuck’s fate in the old series). But then again, that would have dampened the pace of the series’ main plot and feeling of forward movement with everyone finally together for better or worse. Still it could have made for an interesting one-off special like “Razor”.

4) Centurion integration into the new rebel Cylon society

We’re only given a couple of brief hints about life aboard the rebel Cylon basestar with the newly self-aware Centurion models: the humanoids have to say please and thank-you to get the big toasters to do the menial work now, and at least one displayed receptivity to Baltar’s seditious sermonizing. Beyond that, we don’t see the Centurions much and have no idea how their integration with their former masters is going. Certainly it has a lot of bearing not only on the social harmony aboard the basestar, but seeing as how the basestar will be the protector of the Fleet, the degree to which the Centurions are getting along with the skin-jobs has a lot of impact on the potential safety of the entire fleet and the survival of humanity. If only the show had a little more time, this is a plot line that should have been explored.

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A grab-bag of “Doctor Who” stuff

March 17, 2009

A bunch of Doctor-related links to pass around…

This year’s UK Comic Relief featured a skit modeled on the new Sarah Jane spinoff series.

And the fundraiser wrapped with an appearance by the 10th Doctor himself, David Tennant, in the TARDIS.

And back on the spinoff scene, there’s word K-9 could be getting a series of his own.

Thanks to Steve, our eye on all things sci-fi out of Britain.

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The top 5 badass superheroes

March 12, 2009

I caught Watchmen in IMAX on opening night last Friday, and harrysaxon wasn’t too far behind me. Not surprisingly, both of us thought it was a pretty impressive film. And, with it fresh in our minds, it’s not surprising that this week’s list is about superheroes. Now, there are lots of different categories you can group your costumed vigilantes into, but there’s that certain class of recklessly ultra-violent types who’s behaviour would be otherwise deplorable, but who tend to get healthy nods of respect (and fear) in the superhero world because their explosions of id are channeled through righteous indignation, making them effective tools in the fight against evil, even if their methods are distasteful and given their cause only marginally acceptable as good. In any case it’s almost alwasy a guarantee that they’re fan favourites in the comic and book stores, and definitely audience favourites during the summer popcorn movie season when folks are hankering for big explosions, bone-crunching fights, and droll one-liners. And we put our heads together to give you the Top 5 Badass Superheroes:

5) Ghost Rider
A demon with a flaming skull (and motorbike) and a thirst for vengeance against the wicked, Ghost Rider generally has very little to say, preferring to tenderize the badguys with a chase and thorough pounding before administering the soul-crushing Pennance Stare. And if that doesn’t work, he’s not above killing. Not a superhero to be messed with. However, his overall B-grade status in pop culture reputation relegates the Spirit of Vengeance to the bottom of the list.

4) The Punisher
An ex-cop with a vendetta against badguys, an absolute sense of justice, and a huge freaking arsenal of big-ass guns is a force to be reckoned with. More importantly, Frank Castle has earned his ultra-tough-guy reputation despite a lack of super powers in a world notable for its legions of meta-humans. The Punisher doesn’t rank higher on the list though because he seems incapable of hitting the target for success in the movies.

3) Wolverine
Weapon-X has been through the ringer more times than you can count, but this tough little guy always comes back to pop the adamantium claws and slash his way through anything and anyone in his path. Always a scene stealer, Logan’s only weakness is his propensity to use the word “Bub”.

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Top 5 SF characters who could be Prime Minister of Canada

March 4, 2009

Recently a fan wrote to William Shatner, informing the actor he’d started a petition to get him appointed Governor General (who is, as the Queen’s representative in Canada, the acting head of state). The Shat responded that he didn’t want the ceremonial position (not entirely ceremonial, given the weighty decision Michaelle Jean had to make about the fate of Parliament earlier this winter), joking that he aspired to be Prime Minister.

Given that there are a lot of citizens of the Great White North out there who would like our country to have someone, anyone else, new in charge in Ottawa, we put our tongues firmly in our cheeks and came up with this list of the Top 5 SF Characters (irrespective of their national/planetary citizenship or their lack of MP’s to form a ruling party in the House of Commons) Who Could Be Prime Minister of Canada:

5) The Shrike from Hyperion
Canada’s been deficit-free and paying down the national debt for years, but as the world lurches into recession, Stephen Harper and his cronies have put us back into the red. We need a leader in Parliament who can slash the deficit, gut the debt, and take a stab at restoring voter confidence. Slashing, gutting and stabbing are what the Shrike does best. It’s probably also capable of showing more emotion than the current Tory PM.

4) R2D2 from Star Wars
He’s the little guy who rolls through the halls of power with confidence. He’s got good ideas. He thinks fast on his feet, er, rollers…whatever. And he’s well-liked. It would seem that Artoo would be the perfect candidate to lead any political party to victory. Sadly though, much like former Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, he’s incapable of speaking English and thus wouldn’t have a chance in hell of winning over the majority of voters, much less making himself understood.

3) The Cyberdyne Systems 800 Series from The Terminator franchise
With one of these cyborgs as PM, we’d save millions in annual security costs – this would be a leader who would definitely not hesitate to throw a punch Chretien-style if some joker got too close, and woe betide the fool who might think about throwing a pie at him at a public event. A T-800 would doubtless be a tough negotiator in international treaty talks. And it too would probably be more capable of showing human emotion than Harper.

2) Spock from Star Trek
Cool under pressure, an experienced diplomat and probably able to secure the all-important Alberta vote through his Vulcan constituency office.

1) Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
He’s the only actual politician on this list, his unpredictability would make for consistently entertaining (if also embarassing) news coverage and punditry, and, while it’s said that most politicians are two-faced, the captain of the Heart of Gold has the advantage of actually having two faces.

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The prescription for “Doctor Who” withdrawal

March 1, 2009

There’s a bit of a wait until the Doctor Who Easter special hits the air, so it’s perfect timing that IDW comics has released a stand-alone adventure of the Timelord to tide fans over. Set during the Martha Jones era, “The Whispering Gallery”, written by Leah Moore and John Reppion, is solid – on par with a typical good (but not great) series 3 episode –  and centres around a trip to the home planet of a friendly traveller the Doctor encountered once, and the menace that keeps residents clamping down on their emotions except for their last, heartfelt whispers in their funerary portraints. The artwork by Ben Templesmith is hit-and-miss, at times capturing the oh so easy-on-the-eyes likeness of Freema Agyeman and the facial acrobatics of David Tennant perfectly, while sometimes rendering them so crudely as to be unrecognizable (one frame in particular stands out in my mind for making the 10th Doctor look more like Fido Dido from the old 7-Up commercials). The empathic monster was also a little uninspired, looking a lot like the creature from Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” who gives away gold nuggets and tries to eat everything – and everyone, or like one of the family members from the old Barba Poppa cartoon might have if the animator was on acid. That being said, overall the art was well done and this comic book installment in the Doctor’s adventures was a pleasure to read.

Thanks to my friend and coworker Steve, afficionado of the best in British SF and comic collector extraordinaire, for the loaner.

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