SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 96
Larry Nemecek from the Trekland Blog Storms the Diner
The SciFi Diner Podcast
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Welcome to the Diner.
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Jason’s question: How do you feel about big name actors/actresses in scifi/comic movies?
Our Question: In regards to the Matrix, what are your thoughts about how it has held up, religion and philosophy in the movie, and your favorite moments and quotes?
On the menu tonight:
- We chat with Larry Nemecek from Trekland Blog
- Terry Goodkind, not Terry Prackett
- Kattee Sackoff is in Clone Wars
- M. Night Shyalaman
- This Week In Star Trek
- The SciFi Five in Five:
Trivia for April 19th:
Question: Name two actors from BSG the Guest Starred on Big Bang Theory.
Prize: Signed Tahmoh Penkett photo
You will have until April 19th to answer this question. Please include the Code Word located in the first ten minutes of the podcast. Send your answer with your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 18885084343, or DM us on Twitter at @scifidiner. Make sure you include your e-mail with all entries! Only one entry per person. The SciFi Diner is not responsible for any injuries occurring if you secretly decide to go all shiny and dress in a browncoat and walk into your local bar.
- Larry Nemecek
- Greetings from TREKLAND: the place I’ve lived and worked for over 15 years as Star Trek author, interviewer, editor, commentator, producer, event wrangler. Now I share the folks, fun, fotos and future of it all here at Trekland — so what are you waiting for? Jump in, sound off, geek out.
New ThunderCats trailer sells the savage scope of combat felines
At this past weekend’s WonderCon la-di-da, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network unveiled a deeper look into their updated ThunderCats series, which has an distinct Avatar: The Last Airbendery vibe. And that is not a bad thing in the least.
Given that Avatar is the best—and perhaps only—recent example of long-form storytelling for a young audience, I’d would be thrilled to pieces if these new adventures of Lion-O and his aides de camp managed to approach the depth of emotion and awesomeness of action that Nickelodeon’s long-running series had.
Trerry Pracheet, Terry Goodkind, and Terry Brooks
Holy frak! BSG’s Katee Sackhoff joins Star Wars: The Clone Wars
We love Katee Sackhoff. We loved her stogie-smoking, hard-drinking portrayal of Starbuck in the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, and we loved her brief appearances in the short-lived Bionic Woman reboot. This geek love is about to go to the next level when we “see” her in her next appearance.
Because Sackhoff will be voicing a role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Entertainment Weekly spoke to supervising director Dave Filoni, who was tight-lipped about Sackhoff’s actual role, except to say that she was going to portray “a memorable character.”
But Filoni did dish about the influence of Battlestar Galactica on The Clone Wars:
EW: Actually, there’ve been a number of BSG references on the show lately, like how a Separatist tactical droid said “By your command” a la the old chrome-domed Cylons.
DF: See that’s me being old, because that’s classic Battlestar. The Separatist tactical droids have a similar sounding voice to old Cylons. In fact, the inspiration I had for those tactical droids was a Cylon in the original series called Lucifer. He was Baltar’s adviser. I always like the idea of this really smart droid that could calculate all these possibilities. I thought the Droid Army should have these brainiac droids that could wage battles based on calculations of probability whereas the Jedi are fighting out of heart and commitment to each other.
Interviewer Christian Blauvelt was quick to recall that, once upon a time, 20th Century Fox sued the makers of the original Battlestar Galactica for copyright infringement. “[I]t’s amazing to see how it’s come full circle, with Star Wars referencing Battlestar,” Blauvelt said.
Sackhoff’s role only cements this amazement.
Read the full interview, which includes Filoni discussing why season three is so much darker than previous seasons, here.
Can Will Smith and son get M. Night Shyamalan back on track?
Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has had a rough few years lately, with his three most recent films getting scathing reviews and struggling at the box office. Yet that’s not stopping one of the world’s biggest movie stars from working with him. According to Deadline, Shyamalan will direct an “untitled futuristic science fiction adventure film” that will star Will Smith (I Am Legend). Smith’s son Jaden will star in the picture alongside his dad, and just to make it a complete family venture, Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith is listed as one of the producers, along with her husband. Shyamalan has co-written the script for the movie (with Book of Eli writer Gary Whitta), which was reportedly titled One Thousand A.E. when he first began talking about it late last year. The tale, set in the far future, involves a young boy and his father whose spaceship crashes on Earth 1,000 years after it has been abandoned. Shyamalan said in a newly released statement, “The chance to make a scary, science-fiction film starring Jaden and Will is my dream project.” Will and Jaden Smith have acted together before, in The Pursuit of Happyness, while Jaden also appeared in the ill-conceived remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. His dad, of course, has starred in sci-fi blockbusters like Independence Day, I, Robot and Men in Black (the third MiB entry is now filming again after script problems shut production down for a couple of months). As for Shyamalan, his last two original films, Lady in the Water and The Happening, were both critical and box-office disasters. His adaptation of The Last Airbender did reasonably well at the box office but was panned almost across the board by critics, moviegoers and fans of the TV series. There’s no word yet on when production will begin. Do you think this is a good team-up? Does Shyamalan deserve yet another chance, and can working with Smith bring out the best in him?
14 wild and crazy secret government programs from sci-fi flicks
April 1, 2011 Source Code’s shadowy organization, the one with the technology to send Jake Gyllenhaal bouncing around through time, got us thinking about all the crazy-cool government initiatives that the movies would have us believe aren’t real—but I’m positive that someone’s building giant arks in case of a Mayan apocalypse.
Secret Program: The Source Code The Purpose: To allow agents to inhabit another person’s body and relive the same eight minutes as many times as necessary to avert potential disaster. Unfortunate side effect: falling in love.
Men in Black
Secret Program: Men in Black The Purpose: To liaise with the alien population on Earth and monitor extraterrestrial comings and goings in the immediate galactic vicinity. And to make sure that the world at large knows nothing of anything of this. Hey, look at this flashy-thingie.
Secret Program: The Virgil The Purpose: To drill to the center of the Earth in a penile ship called The Virgil—made of the wonderfully titled Unobtanium—set off a bunch of nukes and get the core of the planet spinning once more.
Secret Program: Pax The Purpose: To eliminate aggression in humans, to make them more docile, more controllable, the Alliance dosed the entire planet of Miranda with G-23 paxilon hydrochlorate. It didn’t work. It killed 99.9 percent of the population. The 0.1 percent of the population that did survive? Well, they got nasty.
Secret Program: Area 51 The Purpose: To study the aliens that landed at Roswell in 1946—and hopefully find some useful applications of their technology. Namely, repelling an invasion by those very same aliens.
Secret Program: Universal Soldier The Purpose: To take newly dead soldiers, preserve them and then reanimate them for use in combat situations—sort of like zombie terminators. Of course, nothing could go wrong.
Secret Program: Giant boats The Purpose: To house the members of the human race who’ve been pre-selected to survive a world-engulfing flood. And a decent amount of dogs.
Secret Program: The Machine. No, the other one. The Purpose: After decoding a signal from deep space and finding that it includes plans to build a massive machine, the world’s governments come together to construct what’s revealed to be an interstellar transport device. And then some religious extremist blows it up. Good thing the U.S. and Japan had built another one that no one knew about.
Secret Program: Snow White The Purpose: To open a time window into the past so that detectives can see every aspect of a crime as it happens. And travel back in time as well, though that bit isn’t recommended.
Secret Program: Project X The Purpose: To train chimps to fly Air Force flight simulators and then expose them to the same amount of radiation human pilots would receive after a nuclear strike.
Secret Program: The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense The Purpose: Well, it’s kind of right there in the title: Fielding agents who, themselves, are rather paranormal—Hellboy, Abe Sapien and Liz Sherman among them—the BPRD protects the world from the things that go bump in the night.
Secret Program: War Operation Plan Response The Purpose: To run simulations of various military scenarios and learn from the outcomes. Taking control of NORAD and bringing the United States to the brink of Global Thermonuclear War was just an unfortunate bit of downloadable content.
Secret Program: The Stargate Program The Purpose: To uncover the secrets of the Stargate itself—a relic that serves as a dimensional door—and explore what’s found on the other side. Namely, alien hotties and androgynous despots.
Colossus: The Forbin Project
Secret Program: Colossus The Purpose: Colossus is a massive supercomputer designed by one Dr. Forbin to control and oversee all of the nuclear weapons in the possession of the United States and its allies. In Dr. Forbin’s defense, he was “born” too early to have seen Terminator.
8 once-amazing sci-fi devices now inferior to real-life gadgets
Of all the many amazing things about sci-fi, one of our favorites is that it sometimes comes true. Fictional tech, concepts that once represented the extreme limits of the imaginations of our greatest sci-fi writers, can become real—but often the reality puts the dream to shame. With that in mind, take a look at some classic sci-fi devices that were once considered unfathomably futuristic technology, but which are now amazingly archaic.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
The amazing device from which the classic book got its name, the Guide has everything an intergalactic traveler could need. (Except a towel!) Just type in pretty much anything in the known universe, and the guide will present sassy, pretty accurate observations. The sheer scope of research involved was often the butt of jokes and scope of subplots. After all, this invention had everything anyone had ever heard of. How could such a device exist, yet still fit into one’s back pocket? Fast-forward a mere 25 years, and the Guide has become reality. From the Internet, one can immediately get sarcastic, semi-accurate information about anything and everything in the known universe. All in a variety of handy portable devices. Plus the level of interactivity far surpasses the capacities of the Guide, which couldn’t even be used to order Chinese food. Based upon the progression of the novels, it would be reasonable to assume that the next-generation PDA will probably turn into some kind of quick-witted bird.
Ziggy from Quantum Leap
One-Upped by: A Modern Supercomputer In the 1980s, Project Quantum Leap created an A.I. supercomputer far surpassing the abilities of any known machine. Ziggy is capable of doing one trillion floating point calculations at once and is often called upon to search through immense amounts of data to find the one news item of relevance to Sam’s particular time-traveling dilemma. Oh, and like every other computer, somebody put porn on it. One trillion floating point operations per second (one teraflop) is a threshold we are on the verge of exceeding. Here is an eHow article about how to achieve this computing benchmark. Ziggy’s power is rapidly becoming outdated. What is already outdated is Ziggy’s ability to retrieve data. A typical command from Al (given to Ziggy through the medium of a bulky, awkward handset) would take Ziggy several minutes’ worth of TV time to execute. That’s Prodigy-level Internet slowness. We imagine a Quantum Leap reboot would have A.l. type something into a laptop and tell Sam, “OK, Google says …” Don’t forget that modern supercomputers come with the built-in feature of not leaping their users haphazardly through time. That was one question Ziggy’s “Barbra Streisand” ego could never answer: “What is going on exactly with the leaping, here … is this God, or what?”
Lost in Space’s Chariot
One-Upped by: A Modern SUV Lost in Space had a lot of cool technology. Suspended animation tubes, atomic motors and a hysterical robot all added to the futuristic feel. So, when it came time to outfit the Robinsons with a vehicle, they made a rover that seemed, at the time, revolutionary. The Chariot has a few quirky features that aren’t standard on any modern car, like an infrared scanner. But a modern driver could probably just push the OnStar button and ask the operator to scan for infrared (or whatever the LiS writers thought infrared scanners did). Curiously enough, the Chariot was amphibious. Considering how impossible it has been to find water on any planet, anywhere, we find this feature a bit extraneous. But the Chariot also contains some features that are remarkably outdated. Clear windows necessitated Mylar curtains, something we haven’t seen on cars since the phrase “If this van’s a-rockin’ …” was popular. Seriously, the show is called Lost in Space, and they’re concerned about people not seeing them? Oh, and it only seated six passengers. In bucket seats. It was never revealed where the Robinson children were conceived, but it sure wasn’t in the back of this thing.
Star Trek’s P.A.D.D.
One-Upped by: The iPad Thanks to people who grew up loving Star Trek as children, and now work for Apple, we got this piece of technology a century early. Since humans made Jules Verne’s dreams a reality by walking on the moon, it never fails to thrill us how fast sci-fi dreams are ushered into the real world. Standard issue for the Starfleet in the 22nd century, the P.A.D.D. had many useful features. It could transmit wirelessly, display schematics and play movies. Like modern electronics, the P.A.D.D. had its own development throughout the series. The 24th-century model was almost solely used by touching a screen. Not bad, but we’re sure the Enterprise captains would’ve probably liked some Freecell while drifting through empty space. How about one of millions of books? The iPad incorporates modern technology into this classic sci-fi design, moving us one step closer to achieving the ultimate dream (holodeck).
One-Upped by: Webcam Video phones are frequently viewed as technology that is cool to have, not so cool to use. A lot of the charm of videophones, as seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, was actually the hands-free communication. Once we mastered that, videophones kind of lost popularity, as calling in sick to work now involves props. Not to totally hate on the idea: videophones do have many uses. Skype is extremely popular, and flirting via webcam is just another modern tool of the single person. One of the clunkiest fictional videophones is the one from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The “phone booth” is about the size of a monolith, compared to the pocket-sized videophones we carry today (oddly enough, on devices shaped like the monolith). Plus, after speaking with his daughter, Dr. Heywood R. Floyd did not have the option of chatting with someone at random (“My God, It’s Full of Justin Bieber!”).
Dick Tracy’s Two-Way Radio
Remaking the classic police detective’s super-cool radio watch has been done in a variety of impressive ways. Tracy would smoothly put his watch to his lips and say something cool to police HQ, like, “Help!” Imagine if Dick Tracy had had a watch like this. FM radio, MP3/MP4 player, e-book reader … probably none of this would’ve helped Dick Tracy get out of a jam, but at least he’d never be bored on stakeouts. They also make cell-phone wristwatches with GPS and television and streaming newspapers, so Dick Tracy could get out of a jam by reading what happens in the next panel. The classic Dick Tracy two-way radio watch has not only been achieved, it has been exceeded in ways he never would’ve detected. The modern sci-fi hero has a host of wireless, tiny communication devices to infiltrate any situation. Or just to watch TV, if it’s the sci-fi hero’s day off.
360-Degree Treadmill from 2001
One-Upped by: An ordinary modern treadmill. The opening scene of that 360-degree treadmill is stunning, not unlike the rest of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The disorienting camera angles brought home the notion that this world was not quite like ours, it was confusingly futuristic. However, it makes zero practical sense. It’s hard to tell if the room is rotating or not, but it looks like it’s designed to move like a treadmill. There’s absolutely no need for the floor to move. The astronauts could just run around the loop; having it move is totally extraneous. Also, this exercise equipment takes up an enormous amount of space. Last time we checked, space stations weren’t exactly known for their roominess. Modern treadmills give the exact same workout without taking up an entire gymnasium’s worth of room. The one thing a 360-degree treadmill might be useful for is zero-gravity training. But NASA’s already got that covered. They have space treadmills that aren’t enormous, and they’ve even developed a sideways treadmill for astronauts to simulate a weightless workout on Earth. Not sure why they just don’t toss a treadmill in a swimming pool, but that’s why we don’t work for NASA.
One-Upped by: Lasers The writers of Star Trek: The Original Series have had to tweak phasers as technology surpassed their capabilities. In its original conception, the phaser was a photon maser. What’s a maser? It’s like a laser, but it shoots microwave beams. Back then, people thought microwaves were the choice tool of the future. It soon turned out that lasers provided much more, and they were cool so scientists loved them. The creators were faced with a unique dilemma: Their “futuristic” sci fi technology had already become rather outdated. So they made the photon shoot lasers; well, not lasers exactly, but a fictional thing called “rapid nadions.” It’s too bad they never came up with something like a crowd-control microwave gun. Phaser has been backronymed to stand for “Phased Energy Rectification.” Since it shoots imaginary particles, you’d think that this version of the phaser would be free from imitation. However, something being fictional doesn’t necessarily stop the Pentagon from trying to make it anyway. And why not? Because chasing the dreams of sci-fi authors and making them reality is obviously not as flighty as it may seem. One by one, the devices from books, movies and TV have been made real … and often made better.
TWIST (This Week In Star Trek):
This one comes from our friends over at treknews.net…
Next Star Trek Film On Schedule for Summer 2012 Release
By TrekNews Staff | March 30, 2011
According to Deadline, Paramount Pictures has “scrapped a tentative plan” to reboot the Jack Ryan franchise which Star Trek’s Chris Pine was set to star in. Instead, Paramount will focus on the sequel to the 2009 Star Trek film. The sequel, according to Paramount, is still set for a June 29, 2012 release.
While Chris Pine is a lock to return as Captain James Kirk, Star Trek 2009 Director, J.J. Abrams is still uncertain whether he’ll return to direct the sequel. With Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof currently working on the script, the film is set to begin production this fall to keep on track with the summer 2012 release date.
Roberto Orci: Trek 2 will react to your criticism of the 1st film
In 2009, J.J. Abrams’ thrilling Star Trek reboot drew positive reactions from critics and fans alike, but the film wasn’t perfect and there were some issues that bugged fans down the line. But writer Roberto Orci promises that he’s listening to them and that they will be addressed in the upcoming sequel.
Speaking at Wonder Con over the weekend, Orci revealed that having spent time reading fan criticism of the first film (in fact, Orci was a frequent participant in those heated discussions over at Trek Movie while the film was playing in theaters) was beneficial to his thought process for the upcoming sequel, and that he plans to address some of the pesky issues that arose in the first Star Trek film.
As an example, Orci addressed the general fan complaints that Kirk (Chris Pine) became captain of the Enterprise a little too fast for their taste. As you may recall, Kirk conveniently became first officer when Capt. Pike (Bruce Greenwood) had to go over the Narada—when Kirk wasn’t even a member of the Enterprise crew in the first place—and then de facto captain when Spock (Zachary Quinto) was relieved of his command in a matter of what could be guessed were mere hours. Kirk was then offered official command of the Enterprise soon after.
Roberto Orci hypothesized a situation where a character goes up to Kirk and says, “You sure became captain fast!”
“I do see what fans think online, very much in Star Trek, it is a sequel that you can genuinely say that the fans are consultants on. Now they’re caught up with us, they know exactly what the first movie was, and any one of them could go out now and generate a couple of story ideas for what this could be. So it’s a fun guessing game, and you do get to incorporate some of the complaints; you cannot just answer them, but voice them in the movie. I enjoy that – I enjoy seeing what people say, even if it’s super nasty.”
CBS Vegas Con Sweepstakes
Set your phaser to “stunned”! CBS Consumer Products and Creation Entertainment are teaming up to offer Trekkies the chance of a lifetime with the ultimate Star Trek getaway sweepstakes.
The contest will give two lucky cadets a chance to win “Gold Weekend” tickets for the most important Star Trek event of the year: The Official Star Trek Convention 2011 along with a $4,000 prize package that includes:
- Two Gold Weekend admission passes to the Convention (SOLD OUT!) that include reserved seats for all major guest appearances, complimentary admission to VIP parties, in-person autographs from 13 Star Trek celebs, a special limited edition collector’s coin and more! Details here.
- Three nights at The Rio Suites Hotel, where the event is hosted. Check in is August 11 and checkout is August 14.
- $2,000 travel and spending money
- $100 gift certificate for Creation Entertainment convention merchandise.
To enter into the contest visit www.Facebook.com/StarTrek
For 2011 Creation is celebrating the 45th anniversary of Star Trek at the big Star Trek con in Vegas. This year the con, which runs August 11-14, is in a new location (the Rio) and the guest lineup is very impressive, including Star Trek stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Sir Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Tim Russ, Kate Mulgrew, Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating, Nana Visitor, Terry Farrell, and many more. There is also an impressive list of guest star actors, including John DeLancie, David Warner, James Darren, Robin Curtis, Clint Howard (Tranya!), and many more.
This one comes from the Daily
AMERICANA: Filming the Nation
Trekkers’ field of dreams Sunday, April 3, 2011
SciFi Five in Five:
Our SciFi Five In Five tonight comes from Miles. He shares the top five movies he is looking forward to this summer:
5. Green Lateran
3. Transformers 3
2. X-Men First Class
1. Captain America