SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 111
Our Interview with Cliff Simon,
the System Lord Ba’al from Stargate;
Mary the DVD Geek’s Televixen Talks About Her Role
As Dehner in the Up coming Star Trek Movie.
The SciFi Diner Podcast
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Welcome to the Diner.
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The Music at the end of this week’s show is from Firefly.
- Parsec Award News
- Our Trivia Winner
- TV News: The Walking Dead, TV Guide’s Tera Nova News
- Movie News: New Riddick Artwork and R Rating Confirmed
- Celebrate Labor Day with 20 sci-fi characters … in labor
DVD/Blu ray news: 10 Responses to George Lucas altering the original Star Wars movies in the up coming Blu Ray release. The Crow release date on Blue Ray.
- Image of the Day: Mego Toys’ Planet of the Apes Float for 1975 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
- TWIST: Mary talks about Make Me Dehner and her time at Vegas Con
- Our Interview with Cliff Simon from Stargate
- Sci Fi 5 at 5: Mary gives her top 5 things she liked/enjoyed at Vegas Con.
The Parsecs Awards:
Best Speculative Fiction Fan or News Podcast (General)
News and commentary podcasts created by and for the fans of speculative fiction. (e.g. Anime, Gaming, General Spec Fic)
Our Interview with Cliff Simon:
Born September 7th 1962 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Of Polish and Lithuanian decent, Cliff was the youngest of 4 children and only son of Emmanuelle and Phyllis Simon. At a very young age, Cliff aspired to be the first South African swimmer to win an Olympic Gold medal. His mother, being a swim teacher, had him in the pool before he could walk and instilled all the confidence he ever needed to follow that path. At the age of 6, he showed talent as a gymnast. By age 15 Cliff had reached a national level in South Africa in both swimming and gymnastics, but to go further in either one, he needed to devote 100% of his time to just one, and he chose swimming. At age 15, with all the turmoil in South Africa, his parents decided to immigrate to the United Kingdom. It was here that Cliff completed his schooling and was chosen to swim in the British International squad. He competed in Olympic trials and qualified for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was offered scholarships to Houston University and Southern Methodist University in Texas, where he would train with the best United States swim team, the Mustangs. This would have culminated in him competing in the 1984 Olympic Games. However, after scraping ice off his car windshield at 5am every morning for 3 years before heading off to swimming training and spending 61/2 hours a day in the pool, Cliff felt waterlogged, burnt out and that he was missing out on his social life as a young man. Half way through a training session Cliff climbed out of the pool, sat on the edge and told his coach that he was leaving and would be returning to sunny South Africa. Back in South Africa Cliff entered the air force where he continued his swimming and achieved the highest athletic award given in the air force, the Victor Ludorum. In 1982 after serving his 2 year term, Cliff took all he owned in one suitcase and headed down to the coast in an old Fiat convertible. He landed a job teaching windsurfing and water-skiing at a resort hotel. As fate would have it, a stage show was in production at the resort and Cliff was informed by one of the performers that the choreographer was looking for a gymnast. Cliff somehow knew that this was going to be the first step towards a career on stage. To cut a long story short, Cliff performed all over the world in various stage productions as a dancer/acrobat, culminating in his dream role as a performer at the world famous Moulin Rouge, Paris in 1989. On his return to South Africa, Cliff pursued his stage career as an actor. Whilst studying drama, Cliff secured himself a modeling agent and enjoyed much success in ramp, print and television commercials. Cliff received major recognition as a model in South Africa and was asked to enter The Mr. South Africa talent and action man competition. On winning this competition in 1992, Cliff was offered an audition on a hugely successful television series, called Egoli – Place of Gold. After guest starring on the show for 3 months, he was offered a permanent contract as a regular cast member in a lead role and would go on to become a household name for his 6 year run. In 1997 he married his longtime girlfriend Colette, in a beautiful game lodge in Southern Africa. After being personally effected by the violent crime in Johannesburg, he decided it was now or never and he immigrated to the USA with the hope of having a better quality of life. This also gave him the opportunity to realize a long time dream of further pursuing his acting career in America. Arriving in 2000 and weathering only 5 months in Los Angeles, Cliff secured an agent and soon landed a guest star role with Don Johnson on the hit TV series, Nash Bridges. A short time after that, he acquired the guest star role of Ba’al on Stargate SG1. Cliff’s combination of charming bad guy charisma and wicked sense of humor made him a viewer favorite antagonist, keeping his character recurring for 5 seasons. In 2007, Cliff was brought back to play Ba’al in the Stargate SG1 movie called Continuum, which will be released in 2008. When Cliff is not working you will find him racing dolphins on his kite board off the beaches of Malibu and leading a quiet life.
The Walking Dead Season 2 to Premiere with 90-Minute Episode
AMC announced today that season 2 of “The Walking Dead” will kick off with an extra half hour on Sunday, October 16 at 9pm ET:
AMC’s critically acclaimed original series, “The Walking Dead,” is back with its much anticipated second 13 episode season. Kicking-off a two week long Fearfest, the network, once again, presents viewers with a 90-minute premiere episode, airing at 9 PM ET on Sunday, October 16th, with six one-hour episodes in the weeks following. The final six episodes of the season commences on Sunday, February 12th at 9pm ET. The 90 minute version is also scheduled to be launched globally on all Fox International Channels, following the US premiere the week of October 17th-23rd. Season two reaches FOX audiences in 122 countries, speaking 35 languages and is seen by over 200 million households globally.
In conjunction with “The Walking Dead,” beginning with the February 12th airing, AMC also announces the unscripted series “Secret Stash” executive produced by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Mall Rats), Charlie Corwin from Original Media (LA Ink, Miami Ink, Storm Chasers and Swamp People) and Elyse Seiden (Red State).
“The Walking Dead” follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln (“Love Actually,” “Teachers,” “Strike Back”), who are traveling in search of a safe and secure home. Jon Bernthal (“The Pacific,” “The Ghost Writer”) plays Shane Walsh, Rick’s sheriff’s department partner before the apocalypse, and Sarah Wayne Callies (“Prison Break”), is Rick’s wife, Lori Grimes. Additional cast include: Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn, Chandler Riggs, Iron E. Singleton and Melissa McBride. Recently announced guest stars include: Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson and Pruitt Taylor Vince.
The mag went Down Under to interview the cast and check out the scenery at the custom-built set in Queensland, describing the set itself as being set in a former cow pasture and about the size of a football field. They also describe it as being very permanent-looking—meaning, hopefully, that Terra Nova will be around for a while!
The scenery in the bushland of Australia’s Gold Coast is primitive and breathtaking, lending itself easily to what you might imagine the world would have looked like 85 million years ago.
“It feels prehistoric here,” comments Kiwi actress Simone Kessell, who recently signed on to play Commander Taylor’s second in command, Alicia Washington. “When you look up at that tree line, it feels like no one has ever been here before. It has this untouched quality.”
Jason O’Mara agrees: “We’re telling this particular story on a scale for television that’s never been done before,” he says. “This set is the kind of thing you would build for The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.”
First spoiler: There will be a meteor explosion above the colony sometime during the short first season, killing the power supply for some time and causing major problems for the Terra Nova colony. How do we know? Because the TV Guide interviewer was there during filming of the episode, catching Stephen Lang getting his office windows blown to smithereens by the “blast.”
“That’s nothing,” Lang says, taking out his earplugs while brushing sawdust out of his hair. “You wouldn’t believe the stuff that happens around here.”
Regarding the stress of working on such a high-profile show, Lang has some perspective, since he played a huge part in the high-stakes gamble that was Avatar. “When you’re dealing with computer-generated dinosaurs, with meteors and forces of nature, you feel like the stakes are raised,” he says, while also naming this the most “challenging production” he has ever participated in.
Really? More challenging than Avatar?
“We’re trying to create a civilization here in the way the pioneers did in the old West.”
Yes, we and everyone else have pointed out that Terra Nova will not just be about dinosaurs and special effects: it will also be about the human factor, the family drama between the Shannon family members, and the pressure and changes that such a major move would put on society and individuals.
But, hey, what about the dinosaurs?
Dino-lovers will be happy: the producers say there will be around one new creature per episode of Terra Nova: some will be peaceful and non-threatening, some will be really scary, but all of them will be amazing. The CGI is cutting-edge, permeating the production with their presence.
“It’s so true when they say the show’s really about the drama, about the people,” comments Stephen Lang. “Except… It is about the dinosaurs! Which doesn’t mean that the dinosaurs have to appear in every frame, but the potential of them coming, the sound of them passing by, always has to be thrilling and possible and when they do come, they just have to be magnificent.”
Second spoiler: Dino Overload! According to what TV Guide saw, some of the examples we’ll see will be a baby ankylosaurus (a well-armored herbivorous dinosaur with spiked armor and a tail that ends in a club-like knob) that is hatched in an incubator after the egg is abandoned. The predatory menace is partially provided by carnotaurus, a horned T-Rex lookalike that rampages and threatens the colonists. There will also be a pack of raptor dinosaurs called nicoraptors, which are described as being like mangy-looking, wild dogs. Now, whether this is another made-up dinosaur for the Terra Nova show (they made up acceraptor, too), or whether the TV Guide journalist got the name wrong (there IS a dinosaur called a microraptor, which may be what they were supposed to put?), we won’t know for a little while.
One episode reportedly will feature a Hitchcock-esque scene where a flock of angry pterosaurs encircles the Terra Nova compound. Stephen Lang puts his two cents in about that:
“Moments like that are not designed to electrify audiences with the beauty so much,” says Lang. “They’re meant to scare the pants off you.”
Still, the producers downplay the dinosaurs, hoping to extend the credibility and appeal of Terra Nova to a wider audience. Brannon Braga, exec producer and writer, says, “The makings of the show are epic, but at the center of it all is this one family.” Braga is currently in LA, writing new episodes, presumably for next season.
New Riddick Artwork and R Rating Confirmed
I hear you…
While I was working on character, the Director and his team of artists have been creating the world and style of this picture. We all know how much I enjoy concept art and storyboards, haha, I am like a kid in a candy shop.
Seeing the early stage of CGI is always fascinating to me, it is a element that usually comes together long after the filming process, so you look forward to seeing it fully realized.
First stop for the Riddick production is Canada, which is where we shot a large part of Chronicles…
P.s. I am grateful to have Universal in such support of this complex character’s journey… not many studios would back an “R” rating. Very cool.
Back in May, Diesel had said that he would have to work for scale upfront if the film was to carry an R rating:
However, there is a catch…in order for us to make a true R-rated film, I must work for scale upfront. Not unlike the Find me Guilty experience (which I wouldn’t have changed for the world). Money is always second to art, integrity and spirit…but the real issue is deeper. Can I suspend my life, to momentarily venture to that dark place…called Riddick. Now, I need to hear from Our collective…you.
Filming is expected to start soon. Here’s a synopsis for Riddick we received a while back:
“Betrayed by his own kind and left for dead on a desolate planet, Riddick (Diesel) fights for survival against alien predators and becomes more powerful and dangerous than ever before. Soon bounty hunters from throughout the galaxy descend on Riddick only to find themselves pawns in his greater scheme for revenge. With his enemies right where he wants them, Riddick unleashes a vicious attack of vengeance before returning to his home planet of Furya to save it from destruction.”
DVD/Blu Ray News:
The 10 best outraged fan comments about Lucas changing Star Wars (again)
Are Star Wars fans done drinking the George Lucas Kool-Aid? Die-hard lovers of the original films are riled up over the latest changes made for the Sept. 16 Blu-ray release. Between Ben Kenobi’s altered Krayt Dragon call, blinking Ewoks and Darth Vader’s overdramatic “Nooooo” being added, fans … are … pissed!
Lucas’ constant tinkering has become a turnoff, and even the most loyal Star Wars fans can’t take it anymore. After the director confirmed to the New York Times that “Nooooooo!” has been added to one of the most pivotal moments in the entire series—it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. There have been rumors of boycotts, petitions and plenty of confirmed web outrage.
We’ve found 10 of the most brutally honest fan comments about Lucas’ latest changes. We know the truth hurts … and in this case, it needs to.
1. “I don’t have a Blu-ray, so I was never going to buy this, but now I wonder if there is a way to ANTI-buy something. Has any filmmaker committed such an aggressive form of reputation suicide worse than Lucas?” – eratliff604 [Badassdigest] 2. “I’ve defended Lucas for years, despite additions that I hated. ‘Well, you may hate his tinkering, but he still gave us the greatest movie trilogy of all time.’ But I gotta say… something so small and so unnecessary and yet so damaging to the scene… I’m starting to understand why so many fans despise Lucas.” – Cris [EW.com]
3. “George Lucas, if you’re reading this: Please, please stop. All the awe, all the respect, all the reverence that was given to him 20 years ago evaporates a little more every time he makes these thoughtless alterations. Instead of going down in history as one of cinema’s greatest movie-makers, he’ll go down as exhibit ‘A’ for when a single person gets too much control over massive IPs and is accountable to no one. Star Wars may be his, but it’s a large part of my youth as well, and I resent his brainless actions.” – James Gray [NY Times]
4. “Anyone else beginning to see Lucas as Mr. Blonde? ‘Look, I’m not going to bullsh1t you, ok? I don’t really give a good f*** what you do or don’t want to see. But I’m going to edit the movie anyway. Regardless. Not to make the movie better. It’s amusing to me to torture the fanboys. You can say anything you want ’cause I’ve heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a cheap retail price…which you ain’t gonna get.'” – Madopal [Boing Boing]
5. “I took my old VHS editions (pre-1997) and transferred them to DVD long ago. What if Picasso saw fit to go back and retouch paintings he had done earlier in his career? They’d be worthless now. I mean, how contemptuous can you get of your fans?” – Eric [The Nerdist]
6. “Okay, this is probably enough now to completely ruin the films for me. That teenager-kicked-in-the-balls sound Obi Wan makes is too laughably bad to believe. I mean, it has to be a joke, right? The obviously re-cycled ‘noooo’ I could buy, I mean they did it before with ‘even I get boarded sometimes.’ At what point does Ben Burtt throw up his hands and say ‘I’m not f***ing doing that, George, I have a reputation to think of.’ I wouldn’t be at all shocked if they dubbed over Lando Calrissean’s lines with Harvey Fierstein.” – Fasciola Hepatica [Badassdigest]
7. “You can volunteer to let George Lucas continue to punch you in the groin if you’d like but this is the proverbial straw that broke for me. Adding Vader’s ‘NOOOOOOOOO!’ over the scene where he pitches the emperor into the shaft at the end of RotJ is just going too far. I should’ve quit buying this stuff years ago on my wife’s recommendation but I was unable to see the light at that time.” – J. Druley [JSOnline]
8. “He is never happy with them, and I get that, but you can’t add new effects every three years to sucker us out of more money. New scenes, characters, effects, ships, and a new way to blow up a star. As a filmmaker, of course you always have slight regrets, and a film is never as good as you wanted it to be, or exactly how you pictured it being, but for Luke’s sake, George, let it be. Spend your days making new movies, Spielberg hasn’t changed the way ET’s ship takes off, or fixed the continuity problems in Jurassic Park. If you need a hobby project, then go back and fix THX, cause that one sucked, and at lease you don’t have any fans to upset.” – Adam Murphy [Deadline]
9. “Lucas is turning out to be Darth Vader himself. At first he was the good guy, but then became the true villain of the Star Wars saga. One can only hope he’ll repent on his death bed, though by then I can’t imagine very many will care anymore.” – Graysmith [Boingboing]
10. “I wonder if with changes every 3 years or so, by 2045 the films will be so different, that they are gonna have to release the original trilogy unedited in Red Ray 3D (Blu-ray will be like VHS by then) all over again, with small alterations here and there, until there’s the final Red Ray 4D Ultimate Mega George Lucas Jr. Edition featuring the 6 original movies + 2011 Blu-ray Re Edition + Post converted 2D director’s cut with 6 bonus features and the theatrical release including deleted 2D scenes post-converted to 3D but with the 2011 Blu-ray alterations… uffffffffff… stop milking it, please. Please.” – DyeLorean [/Film]
After reading that, your computer screen should be hot with rage. The general consensus is that the changes are ridiculous and are hurting the original material. So at the end of the day, will you still cave and buy the Blu-ray edition of Star Wars? Be honest!
All around Sci Fi interest:
Celebrate Labor Day with 20 sci-fi characters … in labor
We decided to celebrate Labor Day by spotlighting one of the toughest jobs on the planet: giving birth. Yeah, we know Labor Day refers to a different sort of labor … but who’s quibbling? So here are 20 sci-fi takes on bringing life into the world.We’ve provided video when available, and images when not. Either way, have a great weekend!
V: The Final Battle
Robin births a half human, half lizard-like alien while in a jail cell. Then some toothy-mouthed green monster finds its way out, too. Don’t drink during pregnancy, folks: This is what happens.
Mork & Mindy
Mork gets pregnant and lays an egg. He delivers it through his stomach, as opposed to the much, much more painful way.
Star Wars III
This was like George Lucas saying, “Wow, this film is really going nowhere. But remember Luke and Leia?”
“Boy, that other film was awesome.” (No clip is available, so we included the Lego Star Wars birth clip, complete with “popping” noises.)
A copy of Cylon number eight gives birth. That’s the problem with Cylons reproducing: Eventually they get really awful names like “1,245,326.”
Village of the Damned
Lots of birthing in this remake of the classic horror film. Tip: Giving birth in a circle with seven other mothers is a good way to get your baby switched.
Moya, the organic spaceship, gives birth to a menacing, weapons-loaded baby ship. The worst part about weapons-loaded baby ships is that they’re always pooping out missiles.
Children of Men
A film entirely about pregnancy deserved a spectacular birth scene. Children of Men definitely delivered, presenting one of the most realistic continuous shots of all time. Clink on this link for a breakdown of how the shot was made.
Here another alien male gives birth, also from his stomach. We can imagine sitting in the Alien Nation writing room, trying to decide which orifice the baby would pop out of.
Scully finally delivers her and Mulder’s anti-love child. After giving birth, the couple actually share one of their first romantic kisses, showing how literally backward their understanding of relationships is.
Lost loved having women go into labor, including Claire/Sun/Ethan’s mom/Claire from a different point of view/Ben’s mom/Locke’s mom/Some dead Other/Claire in an alternate universe/Smoke Monster’s mom. Here are more of our favorites:
Star Trek (2009)
The birth of Spock is pretty cool. The awkward dialogue that follows in the deleted scene reminds us that this is an odd-numbered film.
Cordelia gives birth to a full-grown woman. Now both of them have a horrific memory they’ll never forget.
Star Trek: TNG
Here Worf proves to be a horrible midwife, giving commands like “You may now give birth.”
Star Trek (2009)
Following in the Star Trek tradition of showing everybody getting born, James Tiberius Kirk is delivered in the beginning of this film. We follow Kirk as he ascends to the rank of captain, and gratefully end before he tries to star in ill-fated TV shows.
An alien knocks up a woman with a kiss, and she gives birth a few days later. Despite this incredible reproduction rate, his home population is, somehow, dwindling.
Men in Black
Will Smith delivers an alien Kraken, but not before its tentacles violently toss the agent around. Vagina dentata has nothing on this.
In this super-gross scene, a woman gives birth to a grown man-looking alien thing. A lot of B-movie effort is put into making this look believable, yet it plays out like a foam dinosaur growing out of one of those “just add water” capsules.
Image of the Day: In honor of our friend Dayton Ward
Image of the Day: Mego Toys’ Planet of the Apes Float for 1975 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
This Week In Star Trek:
Yes, you heard that right. I want to be Dr. Elizabeth Dehner in the new Star Trek movie. Yes, I realize this is a cheesy actors’ trick, but the Hell if that will stop me. So, with all the characters in TOS you are probably wondering why Dehner? Well, let me tell you…
Every starship needs an intelligent female officer, particularly one with expertise in psychiatry (more so when there are such conflicted characters as in ST 2009). Plus, who doesn’t love a perfect Hitchcock-esque blonde? Not only does Dehner possess mad psychiatry skills, she’s working with ESP, which could prove to be incredibly helpful when encountering Federation enemies. Any woman who has the guts to stand up to a captain, surely deserves to be resurrected for the 2012 JJ Abrams Star Trek sequel, right?
What most people remember about Dehner (beyond the obvious mirrored contact lenses) is her being called “a walking freezer unit” by Gary Mitchell. Despite her cold exterior, she digs passionate love sonnets and can sass her superior officers like nobody else. Isn’t it time that Dehner becomes immortalized as more than just a “lady doctor?” In 2012, there are no lady doctors, just doctors here. I’d like to see the kind of banter she might have with Bones should she encounter him in the new timeline. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman can do much better than “My assignment is to study crew reaction in emergency conditions. If there was an emergency I’d be interested in how that crew reacted.” I want to see Dehner own her professionalism. She doesn’t need to explain her cool confidence to anyone. Phrases like this need to be updated in the JJ verse, “Woman professionals due tend to overcompensate.” Own it! Own your icy exterior, Dehner!
With this new timeline she doesn’t have to go out the way she did in “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Dehner was driven to see man’s potential for advancement, but had the morality to see that men are inherently flawed and power hungry. She sacrificed herself and went out with the line, “I’m sorry. You can’t know what it’s like to be almost a god.” Dehner gave her life in performance of her duty.
This is compelling stuff, people! If that doesn’t sell you on the idea, we got our first glimpse of “ripped-shirt Kirk” in her episode.
This won’t be the last time you’ll hear me say this, but where are the blondes? The Original Series was full of blondes. In the JJ verse, all we get is one shooting out a baby, a very important baby, but still. Oh and don’t think that one blonde in the background counts either.
Dehner says to Kirk of his relationship with Spock, “I understand you least of all. Gary told me that you’ve been friends since he joined the service, that you asked for him aboard your first command.” This statement falls right into place with the new JJ verse. Let’s make it happen for Dehner in 2012.
SciFi Five in Five :