Superheroes have finally transitioned from comics to screens

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Avengers Age of UltronIn the last post, I examined Marvel Comics and the refusal of the editors to bring the comic books fully into the 21st century.  At the end, I pointed out that the comic book industry is, in reality, a very small one; and that, if it dried up and blew away tomorrow, it wouldn’t exactly be mourned by the world.

That’s because superheroes are too busy working other venues, most notably the big screen and various small screens, and are demonstrating that that’s where the big money is.  And as we rapidly approach another blockbuster summer movie season, we’ll see even more examples of the real future of superheroes in the 21st century. Continue reading

#OscarSoWhat?

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oscarBWA lot of press has been given lately to the claim that the American Academy Awards, or Oscars, have continued to snub black actors; #OscarsSoWhite has been the rallying hashtag this year, and pundits in and out of the industry have chimed in with responses.  Black-white relations in the U.S. has found yet another front to start yet another of their ongoing battles against each other.

I’m not going to regurgitate the discussions here, and here’s why:

Racism is certainly an issue in the U.S.; but calling out Hollywood for being a mostly-white cadre handing out awards to mostly-white people is, in fact, a waste of everyone’s time. Continue reading

Person of Interest: Must-Watch SF TV

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Person of Interest

Harold Finch, genius creator of The Machine featured in Person of Interest.

If you want to see the best, most intelligent science fiction to grace our television screens in decades, bar none… I sincerely hope you’re watching Person of Interest.  Put simply, this show is what science fiction is supposed to be for. Continue reading

New TV projects for me!

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Steven Lyle JordanI was recently told that the TV show premise I’d written was almost picked up by SYFY… except that they had just recently purchased another show very much like mine!  (In other words, late to the party…D’OH!)

However, I was also told that another idea by my TV production contact had attracted the attention of a network, and they want to see more.  As in, some scripts to kick off the show.  And since no one has, as yet, written any… they’ve turned to me to do the honors.

Yes, this is another one of those “I’d tell you the details, but then I’d have to kill you” moments.  What I can say is that the original idea is not mine; but I’ve spent enough time talking to the developers on it that I believe I can put together a dynamite set of opening episodes for it.

So, off I go into my creative world, with a new project to sell and someone already showing interest in it… if I don’t screw it up, of course.  Fingers crossed!

Cable outage

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lines downYesterday Winter bestowed its final insult on my household: It took out the cable.

And I have bundled service, which means I’ve lost television, internet and the land-line phone.  If my cellphone didn’t work in the house (and some days, that’s a close thing), I would have no communication at my home.

So, I’ll be taking off on Thursday to wait for the cable guy to come and reconnect my home with the world. Continue reading

Will relaxed sex standards help SF on TV?

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alien sexOver the years as television has sought new audiences (and revenue streams), some channels have relaxed the old standards for acceptable sexual content.  Starting with the big pay-cable giants like HBO and Cinemax, siphoning down to pay-per-view and the other pay-cable offerings, and now some second-tier cable networks (like FX) have begun to show sexual and language content that used to be forbidden to TV viewers.

Could this trend be a help to science fiction content for television? Continue reading

The movie blockbuster bubble

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marqueeAt the opening of a new building at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, Steven Spielberg was quoted as saying that the era of the movie blockbuster may soon be over:

“There’s eventually going to be an implosion, or a big meltdown… where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

George Lucas—between he and Spielberg, producers of most of the biggest movie blockbusters in American history—agreed that the movie industry was due for a reversal of fortune, where the huge movies of the past will no longer carry the mega audiences they once did, and studios will be stricken by the sudden unprofitability of big movies.  Both of them also lamented about the “lesser” movies they made, which almost weren’t accepted by the studios for theatre releases because of their non-blockbuster status.  That’s right: Spielberg and Lucas both had trouble getting their movies into the theatres.

And what they are suggesting is that, at present, lesser movies are hard to produce for movies… but that in the near future, big blockbusters won’t get the automatic greenlight either.  Does this mean Hollywood will have to turn back to the lesser movies, and a different profit expectation?  If so, what should we expect? Continue reading

A decade later, you still can’t take the sky from me

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Firefly (courtesy Mutant Enemy/20th Century Fox)

It seems like only a few years back that Joss Whedon gave us a new way to look at future fiction that resonated with a lot of people, weirded out a small but influential group of people, and was unseen by most people.

I am, of course, referring to Firefly, the futuristic retelling of America’s post-Civil-War period… cowboys in space.  At least, that was the prominent outer skin of the series; but as fans discovered, Firefly had more layers underneath than an onion from the seventh dimension.

Firefly presented us with a future that sounded more workable and believable than any future depicted by Star Trek, Stargate, Galactica or almost any other space-faring TV society: The future of the human race, having abandoned the used-up Earth of their ancestors, had discovered a single system of multiple-multiple planets and moons, giving them the chance to settle on and terraform each of them into worlds of their desire.  Like the development of the United States, some planets benefited from their available resources better than others, resulting in rich and beautiful cities on one planet, and desolate no-collar existence on another.  And after their own war of unification, the planets were settling into an uneasy alliance, while those who didn’t like the new order tried to eke out an existence on their own, away from authority figures and politics they didn’t appreciate. Continue reading

Matching metaphors: Ebooks and cable television

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A recent thesis by Stefan Larsson, entitled “Metaphors and Norms – Understanding Copyright Law in a Digital Society,” received a lot of attention for examining the metaphors being used to quantify digital products like ebooks, MP3 files, etc. The thesis asserts that the many problems holding the ebook industry from a stable, sustainable state have been the result of applying the wrong metaphors to ebooks, for instance, comparing it to physical goods like printed books, to limited data like an email, or public presentations like a website.

In the arena of ebooks, that discussion has predictably covered a lot of apropos and inapropos territory, effectively providing plenty of evidence in Larsson’s assertion; but thanks to his well-informed attack of the problem of recognizing digital products, quite a bit of the discussion about and following the thesis has been exceedingly intelligent and well-considered. Continue reading

And now we know: UFO was 30 years ahead of its time

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UFO's trademark UFOGerry Anderson’s 1970 series UFO, the show about a secret multi-government organization charged with repelling a constant alien invasion fleet, lasted only a season, and never did much in the ratings game.  Despite a great look and good production, people didn’t “get it;” it wasn’t showy like Star Trek, silly like Lost In Space or mysterious like The Twilight Zone.  (Brits: Insert your own TV references, please.)

But now we know why UFO didn’t make it: It was too far ahead of its time. Continue reading