Monday 26 March 2012

Doctor Who Series 7 trailer now up

Exciting stuff! Ben Browder as a cowboy Borg! (A cowborg?) Mark Williams, no doubt being wonderful as usual -smart money is that he's playing Rory's dad. David Bradley being old and grim and a bit scary. A Dalek in the snow! Great big robots - lovely stuff.

Thursday 22 March 2012

I will show you how a Time Lord dies

Sorry for the tease last night, but we Minister of Chance fans like to be mysterious. Check out the new teaser trailer from Radio Static. Share it with your friends, and help drum up support for episode three!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

I will show you how a Time Lord dies

The New Girl

So, the BBC has announced the new companion for the Doctor, or at least, the actress playing her. It's Jenna-Louise Coleman, being referred to by everyone as"'the bird off Emmerdale." I never watch Emmerdale (I'm a Corrie man myself, and I blame that on quiet evenings at work), but I recognise her from Waterloo Road (and apparently, Captain America.)The Radio Times has the full press release, which does the usual job of making her sound like the greatest, most groundbreaking companion in the history of the series, ever. Just like the last one, and the one before that. I'm sure she'll be grand. She's certainly very attractive, so that's the first qualification sorted straight away.

There's also a bit of a breakdown of the structure of the series. It seems, as I expected, that it will run straight through from the autumn start, taking in Christmas along the way. Amy and Rory will be in it for the first five episodes, before being written out in a Weeping Angel story. Apparently, "not everyone gets out alive!" Yeah, right. Nobody stays dead in this programme anymore. Coleman starts her run as the as-yet-unnamed companion in the Christmas Special, before presumably starring in the the remaining eight episodes of the season. Quite what this means for the fiftieth anniversary plans is unclear. I imagine that will be a seperate special in November, after the thirteen episodes of season seven, making fourteen in total.

I recall when, last year, the splitting of season six into two halves caused some worry. We began to fear that this was a sneaky way of reducing the episode count. Well, we were right. This year, the series starts in the autumn, when the second half started last year, and it looks like we're getting only one run of episodes to last the two years. Not that I won't be happy with thirteen top-notch episodes of Doctor Who, but after all that "we are not cutting the number of episodes" guff from Moffat, it feels a bit underhand. Just admit that we're being eased into shorter seasons, don't try to cover it up.

In any case I shall watch the Who news with interest.

Monday 19 March 2012

Project Unbreakable

This is usually a pretty flippant blog. I don't tend to get very political, beyond the occasional grumpy rant. I mostly write about fairly silly and inane things. Leisurely pursuits and diversions. But this is important.

Project Unbreakable is a unique initiative to help those who have been raped or have suffered sexual abuse. It is being funded using IndieGoGo. It's already surpassed its target funding, but a project like this deserves everything it can get.

If you can't donate, then please take the time to read a few of the posts. It won't be pleasant or comfortable reading, but it will be worthwhile. Maybe some of you reading will want to contribute yourselves. I am certain that some of you will understand what these people have gone through.

Project Unbreakable from Nino Gallego on Vimeo.

Sunday 4 March 2012

Intergalactic Art

Saddened to read that Ralph McQuarrie has died. A great artist, he made a huge contribution to the look and feel of so many classic science fiction movies. Most famously, he was the chief production illustrator on Star Wars, but he also worked on a number of other productions, such as Coccoon, *batteries not included and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. That elaborate illustration of the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark? That was McQuarrie. You can see a great deal of his designs and illustrations on his website, albeit as some pretty tiny image files. There's some bigger files of his Star Wars work here. I've always thought of him as a spaceships and vistas sort of artist, but he did a lot of work on aliens and creatures too. Learnt from his website that he did some designs for ET. I personally can't stand ET, but it's still interesting to see the possible alternative designs for the little weirdie.

(As a trivial aside: as noted on the gallery page, ET was described as being 'three million light years from home,' on the initial poster campaign. Now, many years later, The Phantom Menace showed an impressive Galactic Senate scene with all sorts of alien species, including delegates from ET's people. Now, they were loads of in-jokes in the film, but these guys were clearly visible. Most fans seem happy with the idea that ET originated in the Star Wars Galaxy. Which means that galaxy is 3 Mly away. Maps of the Star Wars Galaxy show that it's a spiral galaxy like our own, and it's usually described as being of similar size (i.e about 100,000 ly across). Now, the best match to those estimates is M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, which is around 2.5 to 3.0 Mly away (depending which side you're measuring from). It's a bit smaller, probably only around 50,000 ly, but it's still a better match than M31 in Andromeda, the only other possible candidate, which is much larger and also closer. So, the Star Wars Galaxy is M33. I reckon.)

So, McQuarrie is something of a legend. They even made an action figure of him. Plus, he worked on Star Trek, which makes me love him even more, although it's a shame little of his work ever made much of an impact on what reached the screen. A StarWars-y Enterprise would have been cool.

On the subject of Star Trek art, check out this gallery. Loads of behind the scenes images from classic Trek thanks to the 'birdofthegalaxy.' Be assured that some of these will show up in future CAPTAIN'S BLOGS.

Thursday 1 March 2012


Time for another CAPTAIN'S BLOG, but, before we get back onto the Star Trek here, let's take a look at it's immediate ancestor.

Forbidden Planet was released in 1956, a full decade before Star Trek was aired, yet there are so many similarities. Gene Roddenberry cited the film as one of his inspirations for the series. Forbidden Planet was a groundbreaking science fiction film, and its story of a manned starship travelling deep into the Galaxy, on a military mission to an alien world is a clear precursor to the missions of the USS Enterprise and its Starfleet crew. It's easy enough to imagine that the voyages of the United Planets Cruiser C-57-D predated those of the more advanced USS Enterprise in the fictional world as well as the real. A line can be drawn from Commander J.J. Adams to Captain Christopher Pike to Captain James T. Kirk. It's easy enough to imagine a party of redshirts beaming down to Altair IV, only to be ripped apart by the Monster from the Id. So why not give it the CAPTAIN'S BLOG treatment?