Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative

Home Of Swords, Sorcery, Superheroes, Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Sci-fi, Smeg, and Silliness

Monday, 30 September 2013

Get Fit For 50...

Today is the start of my latest drive to get fit. My new goal, which I don't think is overly ambitious, is to get "fit by 50" - as the Big Five-Zero is only a few years away.

I'm starting "small" (getting back into the habit of regular walks out of the house) and will then look at going back to the gym (the combination of the heat and my blood pressure made it impractical during the summer, as I would have just kept passing out!).

This effort is being combined with a serious drive to declutter the gamesroom - I started today by taking a rucksack full of DVDs to charity and will possibly do the same thing again in a couple of days.

The idea is "little and often" and I should soon be making a dent in things.I really need to trim down my DVDs, games and (to a lesser degree) my comics. If nothing else I want to make room to be able to properly display some of the nicer objects I have - rather than just having piles of books and comics mounting up around the room.

There's a strong possibility that I'll be having a large eBay sale of my gaming collection in the near future (for my UK readers).

What Are The Chances Of That?

Malekith The Accursed, from Thor: God Of Thunder #13. Art by Ron Garney

With Thor returning to the big screen any day now - in Thor: The Dark World - to face down Malekith the Accursed (as played by Christopher Eccleston), by sheer co-incidence the king of the dark elves has also returned to comics in The Accursed, a storyline launched in Thor: God Of Thunder this month.

Christopher Eccleston as Malekith the Accursed

That's worked out very well for Marvel, hasn't it?

Rachel's Film From The Salute To The '40s...

While I scrambled together my short film of some of the musical acts at the Salute To The '40s the other weekend, Rachel took her time and crafted this wonderful movie of the day's events.

So pleased was she with the finished product (and the praise it garnered) that she's now talking about buying a video camera (rather than filming everything on her phone).

Musical Monday: Why Is The Rum Gone? (Remix)

Remix by YouTuber Andrew Van Vlear, with shades of They're Taking The Hobbits To Isengard (which is no bad thing).

Thanks to author David Powers King for drawing this to my attention.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

This Pretty Much Speaks For Itself...

If nothing else it's very well made and puts its points across succinctly.

Too Much Twin Peaks And Not Enough Psycho...

Over here in the UK we're three episodes into Bates Motel - the televisual reimagining of the origin story of Norman Bates (from Hitchcock's Psycho) - yet so far it feels as though those responsible have watched too much Twin Peaks and not enough Psycho.

The dynamic between mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) and young Norman (Freddie Highmore) is superb, but there's too much other shady, murderous stuff going on in the nearby town of White Pine Bay, Oregon, for the show to focus on their weirdness as it should. 

And who on Earth thought it would be a good idea to give Norman an older brother?

It was strange at first, with this modernisation of the story, to see Norman with a mobile phone and texting (think how different Psycho would have been if Marion Crane had had a mobile!), but I quickly got my head around that.

It's just the ridiculously involved criminal goings-on in White Pine Bay that seem to be unnecessary distractions (the mammoth pot harvests that shore up the town's economy, gangland torchings, sex slavery etc). With all that happening - why should anyone be interested in strange little Norman (who, so far, is also proving to be a bit of a chick magnet).

Personally, I think the town should have been downplayed and its secrets more mundane - more soap opera love triangles and shady business deals - and less Sopranos' organised crime.

I have it on good authority - Billy Flynn of Geek Radio Daily - that the show does get more focused as this first season progresses and he reckons the season ends strong.

Bates Motel has been renewed, so clearly it's popular, and I'm sticking around even if only to watch the bizarre, yet powerful, dynamics between Norman and his mother.

This Season On Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D...

It's Easy To Park As Well...

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Atlantis: The Earth Bull

Jack Donnelly as Jason

Springing from the mind of Howard Overman, the man who gave us Misfits, Atlantis is clearly the BBC's family-friendly, Saturday evening Merlin substitute to keep young fantasy fans distracted (and away from The X-Factor over on ITV) until the return of Doctor Who.

The first episode, The Earth Bull, started with the intriguing premise of our hero Jason (Jack Donnelly) on-board a ship in "our world", preparing to take a submersible under the ocean to try and find the wreck of his late father's sub.

And there's really no hanging around, Overman clearly wanted to get to the fantasy elements as soon as possible.

Once at the bottom of the ocean though, Jason's craft is drawn towards a bright white light and he finds himself waking up on a beach, near an ancient city.

He quickly finds that the city is Atlantis, a hodgepodge of Grecian myth and Dungeons & Dragons where he befriends weedy scribe Pythagoras (Robert Emms) and cowardly drunk Hercules (Game Of Thrones' Mark Addy).

Jason hen discovers, from The Oracle (Juliet Stevenson), that he was actually born in Atlantis but was whisked away to "our world" as a youngster because - for, as yet unexplained reasons - he has many enemies. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some kind of prophecy was involved.

Unfortunately, his arrival in Atlantis coincides with the annual lottery to find seven people to sacrifice to the Minotaur, who lives in subterranean labyrinth in the hills outside the city. We - and Jason - are told that if the sacrifices are not made the god Poseidon will destroy the city.

However (and this might be a slight spoiler, but really was an obvious occurrence) when the Minotaur is slain, everyone celebrates and you have to wonder why they went ahead with the whole sacrifice rigmarole when a company of soldiers could simply have gone into the labyrinth on day one and killed the monster!

The Minotaur is a pretty decent visual effect, although wisely kept largely to the shadows to conceal any budgetary shortfalls.

After a promising start, the episode sagged a bit in the middle, but once it reached the climactic, torch-lit exploration of the labyrinth and the fight with the Minotaur, the show was back on track.

One thing should already be obvious - Atlantis has attracted an incredible cast, especially when you factor in Deep Space Nine's Alexander Siddig as King Minos and Sarah Parish as Queen Pasiphaë.

The Earth Bull
was a flawed but engaging opening to the show (Atlantis is already starting off stronger than Merlin did in its first year), with plenty of mysteries to keep us watching and interesting possibilities raised by The Oracle's mention of this being just one of many worlds (will characters from other worlds or mythologies be appearing at some point?)

While Jason makes a strong lead, I'm not so sure about his two companions but we'll have to see how that dynamic shapes up over the next 12 episodes.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Pilot

Honesty time, folks. The pilot episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was way better than I was expecting.

Sure, the sub-plot about an average Joe (Angel's J. August Richards) turning to unscrupulous scientists to get "superpowers" to support his kid was a bit old hat but really that played a distant second-fiddle to the wonderful "getting the team together" main story.

Full of Whedonesque wit and intelligence, the blend of tight storytelling and humour was reminiscent of the golden days of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly.

Add in the multiple references to Marvel Universe continuity (many nods to "the battle of New York" from Avengers Assemble, Chitauri technology, Dr Erskine's super soldier serum from Captain America, a direct tie-in to Extremis from Iron Man 3 and plenty of other Easter Eggs) that didn't swamp the uninitiated and I think we could be looking at a winning combination.

There were hints at a Big Bad (the rogue police officers in the third act) and the 'mystery' of Coulson's survival after being "killed" by Loki in The Avengers (come on, people, they as good as told us with that "he doesn't know" exchange between Maria Hill and Dr. Streiten - Firefly's Ron Glass - that he's a Life Model Decoy, a fixture of the old S.H.I.E.L.D. comics!) to keep us on our toes.

But to be frank, no matter what I'd thought of the show, the final scene was totally geekgasm-worthy. I may be a middle-aged man, but I had to stifle a squee! I'm now hoping that Lola appears in as many episodes as possible.

Yes, there was more I would have liked to have seen (a mention of Nick Fury would have been nice, but, hey, we got Maria Hill), however the episode was already packed in as tight as possible with all those characters to introduce and a sub-plot to move the action forward.

As to Coulson's team, I'm totally sold on the enigmatic Melinda May (played with kick-ass class by the ageless Ming-Na Wen) and on the fence about the others: I can see myself growing fond of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Skye (Chloe Bennet) because they're the quirky characters I always gravitated towards in earlier Joss Whedon shows but I'm not sure about golden boy Grant Ward (Brett Dalton).

Of course, this is early days and on the strength of this first episode I can see this show running and running. This was a very solid pilot that did its job, now let's see where the show goes next.

My main wish is that it avoids the Lois & Clark/Smallville trap of constantly pitting our heroes against mad scientists, gangsters and uncostumed people who happen to have superpowers or advanced technology.

As the Marvel movies have shown: it's totally feasible to present a modern audience with characters in costumes.

Technology and design has advanced to such a degree that it really is possible to bring comic book action to life on screen.

There's clearly a talented design team at work on this show - just look at all the wonderful S.H.I.E.L.D. toys the stars had to play with - so surely, even on a TV budget, they can come up with supervillain costumes that look like they've stepped out of the pages of a Marvel comic.

Next Time:

I Got Blized!

From late Thursday evening through the early hours of this morning, I was honoured to be the recipient of the latest "Blog Blitz", co-ordinated by author and blogger DL Hammons.

A simple, yet brilliant, idea to help promote and encourage bloggers, every so often DL invites members of the Blitz squad to visit the blog site of other members, post comments and generally check out what they are writing.

This is a great way to discover what other bloggers are up to. The majority of Blitz members that I have encountered so far have been hard-working authors, across multiple genres, which always makes me feel slightly lazy as I sometimes talk about writing a novel - heck, even a short story would be a start - but never seem to actually get around to it.

A massive thank you to all the Blitzers who stopped by and left comments, and especially DL for putting this idea together in the first place.

And a warm welcome to those who have decided to stick around, as new members of my Band Of Brothers (And Sisters). I hope you enjoy the ride and I look forward to reading your comments.

If you think the Blog Blitz is something you might like to get involved in, then pop over to DL Hammons' Cruising Altitude 2.0 and sign up on the linky list. You'll then get notifications from DL of each Blitz, once a target has been selected, and your odyssey around the Internet can begin.

Roddenberry On Patrol...

In this star-studded spoof of the Star Trek series, motorcycle cop/television writer Gene Roddenberry fights crime on the streets of L.A. while fighting a bad case of writer's block that is keeping him from writing his brilliant idea for a series set in space.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Fleamarket Friday: Who Doesn't Like Free Stuff?

Silver Fox Productions has added five new miniatures (four of which are pictured above) to its Airship Pirates steampunk miniatures Kickstarter.

This means anyone who pledges over $50 (Canadian) will get these miniatures in addition to any they were already getting (at no extra cost) - as long as the campaign is funded, of course!

The Kickstarter runs until October 13, so don't hang about - go over to its website and check out the various incentives for investing.

Don't Forget...

I'm looking forward to hearing the views of my fellow Brits once this has aired.

While some news sites have been heralding the show's high ratings in the States, I still picked up on a decidedly mixed reaction from the "man in the street".

And don't forget, Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D is followed on Channel 4 by the last, ever episode of The IT Crowd.

[RPG] A New Face On An Old Favourite...

Been kicking around an idea for some time about reskinning Crypts & Things for a modern day setting.

Barbarians would become "outlaws" (bikers, yakuza etc), fighters would be "toughs" (policemen, firemen, thugs etc), thieves would be "criminals" and wizards would be "street sorcerers".

I'm thinking more Dresden Files and Buffy than post-apocalyptic Reign Of Fire  or cyberpunky Shadowrun but I'm certain Crypts & Things is the way to go with this, especially mixing in some of the houserules I came up with the other year (e.g. thief specialisations, black magic corruption etc) when I was looking at running a reasonably straight Crypts & Things campaign.

I think my "deadlier combat" rules would fit in well and now just need to work on eliminating armour as a defence and maybe swiping some elements from Go Fer Yer Gun! which does a brilliant job of giving Dungeons & Dragons a Western makeover.

It will also give me an excuse to dust off my Knight City setting.

Brothers In Arms: Thor And Loki Featurette...

Fleamarket Friday: Putting The Dee Back In "...And Dee"

Legendary TSR artist, and one of the brains behind Villains & Vigilantes, Jeff Dee has published his first mini-module for "advanced fantasy role-playing games" of dungeon exploration.

Cess-Pit Of The Bog Mother is a nine-page adventure for first to third level characters and the PDF includes a full-page colour map and a black & white cover painting by the author.

Also included are three alternate scenario introductions and five unique creatures specially designed for this adventure, which will set you back the grand sum of $2.49 (£1.56).

Review Round-Up: Insidious; Battle Los Angeles; The Colour Out Of Space

Insidious (2010) - Starting out as a good old fashioned 'haunted house' movie, Insidious spins off into Lovecraftian pseudoscience horror as a family find the ghostly manifestations have followed them to a new house.

Soon after the Lambert family move into a new home, their son Dalton falls into a mysterious coma and his mother starts to see strange apparitions around the house. Eventually, she gets so freaked out the family moves - but the haunting moves with them!

Things get a bit silly in the latter part of the third act, but Insidious scores bonus points with me for one of the most wonderfully over-the-top seance scenes I've yet encountered in a horror movie.

There are a number of telegraphed "jump scares", but the film works best when it's relying on atmosphere (which is why the "monster movie moments" towards the end don't gel quite as well).

Given the ending, I'm rather intrigued as to how they've managed to eke out a sequel.

Battle Los Angeles (2011) - Aliens invade Earth unexpectedly and a detachment of US marines are sent into Los Angeles to rescue civilians.

While there they believe they have stumbled upon a way to take the fight back to the techno-organic invaders.

Battle Los Angeles is a catalogue of war movie clichés, served up with a side order of gung ho!

But it is made so  remarkably well and the conviction of the actors never has you doubting the verisimilitude of the piece.

I'd compare it to a blend of Platoon and Starship Troopers, although it isn't so obviously tongue-in-cheek as the latter or as well-rounded as the former.

Be warned though, Battle Los Angeles is all shot in a faux documentary style with shaky, hand-held cameras so motion sickness is pretty much guaranteed until your brain can adapt to this annoying gimmick.

HP Lovecraft's The Colour Out Of Space - The HP Lovecraft Historical Society has done it again. Its latest Dark Adventure Radio Theatre full-cast adaptation of HP Lovecraft's The Colour Out Of Space is a fantasticly realised tale of creeping horror.

Not exactly one of HPL's more action-packed stories, this is a slowly unfolding tale of the after-effects of a meteor-strike on an isolated farm in 19th Century outside of Arkham, Massachusetts.

The HPLS has given Lovecraft's original story a clever framing device which adds a new twist to the narrative, but doesn't interfere with the central yarn - itself a story-within-a-story.

Given that a key element of The Colour Out Of Space is an alien "colour" unknown to human eyes, this story works particularly well in audio.

Buying the CD also nets you the usual collection of brilliant paper props pertinent to the tale (e.g. newspaper clippings, letters etc)

Thursday, 26 September 2013

How To Make A Superhero Movie In 10 Easy Steps...

Seeing those clips from The Amazing Spider-Man still makes my stomach knot up (the cranes, man, the cranes!) How has this escaped being voted the worst superhero movie of all time? And managed to get itself not one, but two sequels...

Two Weeks In...

It's now two weeks since HeroPress moved into its new home here and I can't believe the site already has 50 Followers (old friends and new) in its Band of Brothers (and Sisters) - and has accrued more than 6,000 hits in just 14 days.

Obviously, that's a long way from the 337 Followers and 2.5 million hits HeroPress had at its old address, but I'm smart enough to realise that this move would result in everything being reset to zero.

I think I've got the new design locked - it's leaner than the old site and got a thumbs up from Rachel for being easier to read (she was never a fan of the white-on-black layout from before).

Now all I need to do is work on some quality blog posts...

American Horror Story: Coven - Title Sequence...

Wrapping Up The Fifth Doctor...

ERA: 3.4

With yesterday's review of The Five Doctors, that finishes my reviews of The Fifth Doctor's televisual adventures and  allows me to calculate - for my own amusement - his Enjoyment Ratings Average (ERA).

This is simply a score out of five, subjectively measuring my enjoyment of each story as I review it.

For The Fifth Doctor, this doesn't include his 2007 Children In Need appearance with The Tenth Doctor (Time Crash) or take into account the rumours that he might also be popping up in The Day Of The Doctor in November.

Much like my assessment of The Seventh Doctor era, looking back at the Fifth Doctor's outings I realised that the bulk of his outings were "better than average", but with only a handful of superb stories (e.g. Enlightenment and The Caves Of Androzani). He was, however, crippled by - in my opinion - the worst Doctor Who story of the Classic run of the show: Time-Flight.

To put this ERA score into some sort of (meaningless) perspective this is how Five ranks against other Doctors whose adventures I've finished:
Six - ERA 3.32
Seven - ERA 3.08
Eight - ERA 2.5
Nine - ERA 3.65
Ten - ERA 4.08
As I said back in 2009, "this isn't a very scientific method as (is obvious to anyone with a basic grasp of mathematics and statistics) The Doctors who appear in more episodes tend to find their ERA's "averaging" out while those who appear in less are more capable of hitting higher scores overall (or lower - in the case of the unfortunate Eighth Doctor)."

Dumbledore Regretted Allowing Harry And Ron Redesign The School Uniform For Sixth Formers...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New Thor: The Dark World Trailer...


Doctor Who: The Five Doctors (1983)

When The Five Doctors was originally broadcast in 1983, to celebrate Doctor Who's 20th Anniversary, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Not only did I love the idea of the current Doctor (Peter Davison) meeting all his past incarnations, but I also fell under the spell of the Raston Warrior Robot ("the most perfect killing machine ever devised").

It was only upon later viewing, with more jaded eyes, that I began to see the ragged, kitchen sink nature of Terrance Dicks' homage to the history of the show he had helped shape.

The Fifth Doctor is chilling on The Eye Of Orion with Turlough and Tegan as his past incarnations are being plucked out of the time stream - along with a selection of companions - and deposited in Gallifrey's Death Zone.

The High Council of The Time Lords nominate The Master to go into this "forbidden zone" to rescue The Doctor (didn't anyone query the idiocy of this scheme?) - which, of course, goes rapidly pear-shaped as The Doctor refuses to believe The Master is there to help, and The Master has his own ideas on what he's going to do anyway.

The whole jumble is really a convoluted plan, by the episode's real Big Bad, to obtain the power of Rassilon (greatest of all Time Lords), who is entombed in The Dark Tower at the heart of The Death Zone.

The story rapidly degenerates into a Dungeons & Dragons quest, with a dose of Monty Python And The Holy Grail, as sundry Doctors confront a variety of challenges on their way to, and inside, The Dark Tower. These vary from random monster encounters (such as the utterly ridiculous dalek versus The First Doctor and Susan sequence) to preposterous mental puzzles ("it's as easy as pi!").

On the other hand, there are some great moments of dialogue, interesting character/continuity observations (for instance, neither Susan nor The First Doctor recognise The Master), and The Raston Warrior Robot wipes out a whole detachment of cybermen single-handed - which is pretty cool whatever age you are.

Richard Hurdnall deserves mention for stepping ably into the shoes of the late William Hartnell and keeping The First Doctor alive.

It was a shame Tom Baker didn't want to appear in this, and so The Fourth Doctor is only used in a couple of clips from the unaired Shada story, but Dicks works this into storyline of The Five Doctors pretty well.

However, that also rather sums up this story: it is more a collection of set-pieces than a single coherent story for The Fifth Doctor.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

I Won't Be Helping To Promote THAT Film Then...

Is this not the most annoying sight to be greeted with when you go to watch a film clip online?

Isn't part of the idea of the Internet to bring us all closer together, knock down international walls and erase arbitrary lines on the map? Isn't the idea of making, say, movie trailers watchable online (and embeddable on blogs) to help publicise them?

Well, screw you, producers of a film that I can't even remember the name of now but wanted to see the trailer for...

The Final Ever Episode Of The IT Crowd...

Coming on-air right after Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., this is a one-off, one-hour special that sees Jen and Roy go viral over some spilt coffee, while Moss learns the secret of success from Douglas.

Rachel and I will be glued to Channel 4 on Friday night then!

The Space 1889 Library - Second Visit...

Continuing the theme from our first visit to the Space 1889 library, this week I present another two books which are replicas of 19th Century publications:

As gamers we all love poring over equipment lists to make sure our characters are kitted out with the best money can buy.

For the games set in the Victorian era America this Montgomery Ward catalogue, and the Sears Roebuck & Co one below, are the ultimate equipment lists.

Telephone directory-sized, softback volumes, they are jam-packed with every single little object (and many not so little, such as ploughs, furniture and wagons) that a person could want.

Fascinating to dip into, even if not looking up a specific item, but perfect for checking comparative prices (and, yes, they include firearms and ammunition) of thousands of mundane items.

What Literary Character Am I?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Monday Night Countdown Preview...

A few glimpses of new footage in this trailer for tomorrow night's pilot episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

After what seems like forever, this show hits the States tomorrow (and the UK on Friday).

Can it live up to the hype?

As If You Didn't Know By Now...

The Elusive Zorcerer Of Zo...

As gamers, we all have our "holy grails", that game we think will answer all our gaming prayers, that game we've never quite been able to get hold of.

Mine is Chad Underkoffler's Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo. I know it's available as a PDF, but I really want to own a print copy.

Unfortunately, print editions appear to be rarer than hen's teeth...

I've never really talked about this before because, honestly, I don't know much about the game mechanics or the setting, beyond the fact that it's a fairytale game and very highly regarded. And like a great many secrets, you have to wonder if voicing it out loud will somehow jinx it.

Oh, and it's a total sidetrack from all my enthusiastic gushing over Space 1889!

I have a rough idea about how the PDQ system works but I believe it's slightly different in each game that uses it. However, I love the idea that this book is largely a guide to Chad's own campaign and features extensive notes on how he ran it for people.

Almost snagged myself a copy of 
Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo on eBay the other month, only to be sniped at the last moment by a seeming nemesis who was bagging all the items I had bid upon at that time. Next time one appears on eBay, I won't be so gentlemanly!

Of course if anyone HAS a print edition of this game they are willing to sell (for a few magic beans) - especially if they are in the UK - I'm sure we could come to some arrangement.

Every time I watch Once Upon A Time, I can't help but think about gaming it with the Zorcerer of Zo.

DVD Of The Week: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope (2011)

If ever you feel in the need of some outside affirmation that it's okay to be a geek then just stick Morgan Spurlock's Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope in your DVD player and kick back for 87 minutes of sheer joy.

This documentary is a celebration of all things "Comic-Con", which, of course, is itself a celebration of all things geek and is a near pitch-perfect example of documentary making: there's no judgement, no snark, just fans and creators talking about their love of pop culture.

We get the usual high profile mavens of geekdom (e.g. Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, Joss Whedon, Seth Green, Harry Knowles etc) as well as comic book artists and writers, film directors etc mixed in with a fascinating cross-section of fandom.

After introducing us to the fact that Comic-Con started in 1970 as comic book convention with about 500 attendees, the documentary switches things up to the 2010 Comic-Con, with its 140,000 visitors and then focuses on the four days of the event.

Primarily the film follows the stories of a number of attendees, which are interwoven with the interviews: a couple of aspiring artists who've come to show off their portfolios, a cosplayer and her friends who are putting on a Mass Effect skit in the costume masquerade, a young couple who met at the 2009 Comic-Con, a very driven toy collector and the owner of a massive comic book chain who isn't particularly happy about the fact that the con has moved away from comic books and now embraces all of pop culture.

On one hand, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope doesn't really say anything new to long-time observers of geekdom, but it is so positive (even the story about the comic vendor ends up-beat) and if you don't have a tear in your eye during the segment from the Kevin Smith presentation then you have a heart of stone.

Even in these supposedly enlightened times, it's rare to come across an examination of geek culture (my culture) that is so balanced and devoid of uninformed prejudice.

However, the main thing I took away from this film (and I knew it really, it's just nice to hear other people expressing it) is what a great bunch of people us geeks are.

Musical Monday: Doctor Who Theme At The Doctor Who Prom...

Sunday, 22 September 2013

So This Is The Week Then...

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. débuts on American TV on Tuesday and British TV (yay, Channel 4!) on Friday.

Here's a couple of interviews with key behind-the-scenes people you may have heard of before...

I was pleased to see Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon kind of address (in passing) the "superhero element" of the show, as my sole concern is that I don't want it to turn out to just be a clone of Nikita, Chuck, Covert Affairs, Alias etc that just happens to be set in the Marvel Universe.

I want costumes and capes!

We'll Meet Again, Don't Know Where, Don't Know When...

Scoop! A couple of '40s journalists. Love their giant cameras!

The "1940s" might be more Rachel's thing than mine, but as usual there was plenty to keep the troops entertained at The Salute To The '40s this weekend, held in the atmospheric surroundings of Chatham's Historic Dockyard.

Our old friends from the War & Peace show, Safe Hands Mobility were renting out scooters for the disabled at the event, for the first time, which allowed Rachel and I to stay far longer than we normally do at Dockyard events as I didn't tire so quickly.

Although there were some military-themed displays, the majority of this event was geared towards the Home Front - with fashion and music being the main thrust of the day.

Here's a film I made of several of the musical acts we saw perform:

One of the many aspects that differentiates Salute To The '40s from War & Peace is at War & Peace almost everyone in uniform is connected to a display of some kind, but here most of the people in uniform or costume were simply visitors "dressing up for the occasion". Yes, you could also call it cosplay!

Fezzes are cool!
'Allo, 'allo, 'allo, what's all this then?
Rachel and her friend Mel got dolled up for the day
It wasn't just humans getting into the spirit of things!
The parade of attendees in period attire

Hubble, Bubble, Toil And Trouble...

Eastwick only lasted a season, The Secret Circle only lasted a season; is the world ready for (or interested in) another American serial about sexy suburban witches trying to fill the void left by Charmed?


Witches Of East End débuts on Sunday, October 6, in the States. As is often the case, no clue as to when we'll get to see it here in the UK.

According to the show's first fansite, the show is:
Inspired by Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times best-selling novel, Witches of East End centers on the mysterious Beauchamp family: free-spirited artist Joanna (Julia Ormond) and her two grown daughters, wild-child bartender Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) and shy librarian Ingrid (Rachel Boston), both of whom are unaware that they are gifted (and cursed) with a magical birthright. Freya is recently engaged to the man of her dreams, wealthy playboy Dash Gardiner (Eric Winter), but when she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Dash’s troubled, enigmatic brother Killian (Daniel DiTomasso), bizarre occurrences begin to manifest in her life. Meanwhile, Joanna’s long-estranged sister Wendy (Mädchen Amick) shows up with a warning that could change the Beauchamps’ fate forever, forcing Joanna to reveal to her daughters they are, indeed, immortal witches who possess great untapped powers. With their idyllic small town East Haven, life now turned upside down, and a formidable and ancient enemy intent on ending the Beauchamp family line, will Freya and Ingrid be able to accept their true potential before it is too late?

Think About It...

This Could Get Hobbit-Forming...

Saturday, 21 September 2013

This Is Not What I Was Expecting...

The first actual clip from the BBC's new show, Atlantis, is not at all what I was expecting.

I'm not sure how I feel about this contemporary angle and how it plays in to the fantastical parts of the show.

Guess we'll find out next Saturday when it starts...

Garden Watch: Building Fences...

Several weeks ago our neighbours approached us about getting together and having the fence between our properties replaced (they were also planning on replacing the fence on the other side of their garden done as well).

We agreed because although our old fence has "character", it also has holes and bows in certain places.

However, we were rather caught on the hop on Monday when our neighbour got a call from the "fence guys" that they were coming the next day.

So Monday evening, Rachel moved all her pots, hangings etc off the fence and we made room for the workmen.

The first day was taken up with removing all the old fences.

Unfortunately, work on the second day was cut short by heavy rain.


But then, after just a few hours, on Friday, the mighty new fence was complete.


I'd thought Barney might have been a bit disturbed by all the work, especially when there was pneumatic drilling into the foundations, but he seemed oblivious to the whole thing and just slept through it all (he's become pretty much nocturnal these days, anyway).

I realise this isn't the most riveting of posts, but should you happen to click either the "decorating"  or "garden watch" tags below, you'll see I like to keep a record of the changes we've made to our house and garden over the years. Come back later for more geeky stuff!

(Carry On) Follow That Camel...

Friday, 20 September 2013

Fleamarket Friday: Pathfinder Enters The Theatre Of The Mind...

Popular roleplaying game Pathfinder takes another step towards world-domination with the revelation that next year Big Finish - the people who bring you Doctor Who full-cast audio dramas - will be releasing a six-episode story set in the game's universe.

Rise Of The Runelords kicks off in January with Burnt Offerings and then new episodes will be published every couple of months.
In the sleepy coastal town of Sandpoint, evil is brewing. An attack by crazed goblins reveals the shadows of a forgotten past returning to threaten the town - and perhaps all of Varisia.
The single-CD releases will be priced at $15.99/£10.99, with digital downloads at $12.99/£8.99, but both Big Finish and Paizo (publishers of Pathfinder) will be offering reduced rate subscriptions.

"We're thrilled to be working with Big Finish," says Paizo Publisher Erik Mona. "Their work with properties like Doctor Who has shown the care, attention-to-detail, and quality we know Pathfinder fans have come to expect, and we're excited to hear the adventures of Valeros, Seoni, and our other iconic characters as they venture through Pathfinder's most famous campaign, the Rise of the Runelords!"

Supernatural - Season Nine Promo...

The gang's all here! Supernatural Season Nine kicks off in the States on October 8, but no clue as to when it will air here in the UK. Unfortunately, we're usually running almost a year behind, so it probably won't be until about mid-2014!

Fleamarket Friday: Gaming With Abney Park...

A new Kickstarter will allow you to bring the members of leading steampunk band Abney Park to your games table... in miniature form!

The campaign is to fund a line of figures inspired by the band's music and the writings of lead singer Captain Robert Brown, primarily for use with the Airship Pirates roleplaying game but obviously suitable for any steampunky game.

The range will be manufactured by well-known miniatures company Silver Fox Productions (formerly RAFM) and will not only include the band's six "in-universe" personas (pictured above), but fellow airship pirates and a selection of monsters and villains as well.

Check out the campaign's Kickstarter page for the full low-down on the rewards structure, as different levels of investment will net you different stretch goal streams, and you can also pick up PDFs of the Airship Pirates RPG core rules, Abney Park music etc

The campaign runs until October 13 and is aiming to raise $16,500 (Canadian). 

Thor: Love & Thunder (2022) + Dr Who (2022)


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