June 4th, 2012 by Scott
SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 134
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Welcome to the Diner.
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Music at the end of this week’s episode is the song The Final Rewind by Tyrad.
- Interview: Keith R.A. DeCandido
- Trivia: New trivia and a chance to win Michael Hogan
- TV News: Sanctuary Canned, Continuum, Falling Skies Returns
- Movie News: Men in Black #1 in Theaters, Avengers
- PodioBook Review: John Mierau’s “Tools and Means”
- Real Science: Mind Controlled Video Games
- TWIST: Star Trek Movie available on Amazon Prime,Costumed Star Trek Fans Are Poised To Break The World Record At Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention, Las Vegas
- SciFi Five in Five: 5 things we liked about Balticon
Question: Name an actor on BSG who played 2 different characters. Clue. Not a cylon.
Prize: A Michael Hogan signed print.
You will have until June 26 to send us your answers. Please include the code word mentioned in the first 15 minutes of the show. 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.
Syfy’s ‘Sanctuary’ Will Not Return for Season 5 – Rado
The sci-fi drama starring Amanda Tapping wrapped its fourth season in December.
The sci-fi drama led by Stargatealum Amanda Tapping will not return for a fifth season,The Hollywood Reporterconfirmed.
“We’re honored to have been part of this incredible series. In addition to garnering unmatched devotion by fans worldwide, Sanctuary was a bona fide trailblazer, setting new standards with its highly innovative production techniques – including pioneering green screen and RED camera technology – and Emmy-nominated visual effects,” said Mark Stern, president, Syfy original content and co-head, UCP.
“It’s been an amazing ride and we look forward to our next project with Amanda Tapping, Martin Woodand Damian Kindler,” the statement continued.
Tapping took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to address the series’ fans and thank them for their support: “To all the fans of @SanctuarySeries we love and adore you. Thank you for the love and support. Now to the long dark tea time of my soul. :(”
Sanctuary wrapped its 13-episode fourth season in December.
CONTINUUM CRUSHES THE COMPETITION
1.7 million Canadians tuned into the series on Sunday
#1 scripted specialty drama episode this year
TORONTO, May 28, 2012 – The numbers are in and the future looks bright for Continuum. The wildly anticipated debut of the Showcase original series smashed the competition, reaching 1.7 million* Canadians throughout its two airings on Sunday night. The premiere episode garnered a viewership** of 900,000 (2+) and 427,000 (A25-54) in its 9 pm timeslot, becoming the highest single episode ever on Showcase.
The massive premiere was the highest ranked show of the night across all of Canadian commercial televisionfor Adults 25-54, Men 25-54, and Adults 18-49. With this record, Continuum claims the top spot as the #1 scripted specialty drama episode for this broadcast year across multiple demos.
Continuum is a futuristic police drama starring Rachel Nichols (Criminal Minds, Alias) as Kiera Cameron, a cop from the future who finds herself trapped in present day Vancouver. When a group of fanatical terrorists escapes their planned execution in the year 2077, they vault back in time to 2012 sweeping dedicated City Protective Services officer, Kiera, along with them. With unexpected assistance from teen tech genius Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen;Jericho, Scream 4) Kiera concentrates on bringing down the terrorists before they can change the course of history forever. Desperate to get back to her husband and son, Kiera impersonates a local law enforcement officer to expedite her investigation, forming an uneasy alliance with her new partner, detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster; Castle, Melrose Place).
Filmed on location in Vancouver, Continuum is developed and produced by Reunion Pictures in association with Shaw Media.
Thoughts from viewers:
Herne: It was “OK”… your typical time travel show, IMO. The cop angle & the gadgets are a nice touch, but not new…
David Hayes: Yea, have to say it’s not bad looking as of the first show. Looks to be a fair bit of meat to the plot line. Well little these days is “new” so we know going in it’ll be a rehash. Still not bad so far.
Kevin Bachelder from Tuning Into SciFi : a good pilot episode
Lee Kemp: Ok this seems interesting what do you guys think?
Jason: Just watched the first episode. It was okay. Not great just yet. Rachel Nichols is good in the lead role.
Falling Skies Returns
Two-Hour Season Premiere Sunday, June 17 at 9/8c
‘Men In Black’ Shoot Down ‘Avengers’ At Holiday Weekend Box Office
‘Avengers’ finally forced to #2 after nearly a month at the top.
By Ryan J. Downey
It wasn’t Loki, an army of otherworldly Chitauri nor any other super-villain that finally defeated Captain America and his pals. A satiric adaptation of a 1970s soap opera and a big-budget action flick based on a board game tried and failed. Ultimately, it was another franchise with comic book roots that ended the nearly month-long reign of “The Avengers” at the top of the box office, as “Men in Black 3”became the #1 movie in America with an estimated $70 million debut over the four-day Memorial Day weekend.
The third entry in the Will Smith/ Tommy Lee Jones franchise, based on a short-lived comic series from the early 1990s, took in another $133.2 million overseas, giving it a worldwide total of $203.2 million. Box-office prognosticators had predicted a somewhat stronger opening for the 3-D film, which carried a reported production budget near $250 million. Enthusiasm and nostalgia for the 1997 original, about a pair of criminal-alien-busting special agents, remains high. But the 2002 sequel was poorly received by critics, who were a bit kinder to “MIB 3,” which addedJosh Brolin as a younger version of Jones’ character in time-travel scenes. The first “Men in Black” made $589 million around the world. Its follow-up trailed behind with $442 million. The opening weekend for “MIB 3” wasn’t far off from “MIB 2.”
Will Smith, top-billed in hits like “Hancock” and “I Am Legend,” broke a four-year hiatus from the screen with “Men in Black 3.” Critics were not kind (the film had a 67 percent score on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes at press time) and audiences who saw the movie assigned it a D-plus CinemaScore.
“Men in Black 3” was able to do what “Dark Shadows” and “Battleship”failed to do in recent weeks by knocking “The Avengers” to #2, though Marvel’s superhero team-up flick still generated gigantic numbers considering how long it’s been in theaters. “The Avengers” earned another $46.9 million over the four-day weekend (and crossed the $500 million mark on Saturday, making it the first movie to ever do so) for a total of $523.6 million. Not adjusted for inflation, “The Avengers” is now the fourth-biggest movie of all time, behind “Avatar,” “Titanic” and the final entry in the “Harry Potter” movie franchise.
“Battleship” sunk even further at the box office, dropping 57 percent to #3 after a less-than-impressive debut last weekend. The blend of high-seas action and sci-fi made $13.8 million over the holiday for a domestic total of $47.3 million. “Battleship” has made $232.7 million overseas but has earned even less than Taylor Kitsch’s last film, notorious big-budget bomb “John Carter,” over the same amount of time in theaters. “The Dictator” was #4 during its second weekend with $11.8 million for a $43.6 million total.
“Dark Shadows” was #5 with $9.4 million for a total of $64.9 million. The latest Johnny Depp/ Tim Burton collaboration won’t make anywhere near the box-office coin of films like “Alice in Wonderland,” though it did manage to pass “Sweeney Todd” over the weekend. The movie carried a reported production budget of $150 million.
In the limited-release world, “Moonrise Kingdom” collected $669,000 from just four theaters over four days. That estimate puts it ahead of “Dreamgirls” with the highest per screen average debut of any live action film. That number is also higher than filmmaker Wes Anderson’s previous best, “The Royal Tenenbaums.” Also in four theaters over the weekend: “The Intouchables,” a French film that has already made $340 million worldwide, grossed $137,438 through Monday.
One of the stars of “The Avengers,” Chris Hemsworth (Thor), will appear in theaters again this weekend as one of the title characters in “Snow White and the Huntsman.” The movie co-stars Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron as the evil queen. It was directed by newcomer Rupert Sanders.
Some Notes on Avengers:
Total Lifetime Grosses
– Chat about ambiguity of the term
Meet Tom Brogan. An ordinary guy. With a sister in a coma. Seeing visions of a mass murderer. Becoming one himself…. and Tom is the hero.
Mind-Controlled Videogames Become Reality
By TIMOTHY HAY
Picture this: You put on a headset and relax your mind. Soon you begin controlling an object with your thoughts.
Brian L. Frank for The Wall Street Journal
With NeuroSky’s headset, people can manipulate real and digital objects
This mind-power trick may seem far-fetched, like something from a late-night science fiction movie or the back of an old comic book. But several companies are bringing this technology to life with affordable headsets that determine a person’s state of mind.
The gadgets translate brain waves into digital information and beam it wirelessly to computers or other devices.
So far the headsets are confined to mostly digital interfaces—videogames and movies whose plots can be altered with the mind—although in some cases real-world objects have been used, like a pair of catlike ears that move depending on a person’s mood. The technology, still in its infancy, has the potential to not only entertain but to possibly improve education and strengthen mental health, some doctors say.
Behind much of the technology is San Jose-based NeuroSky Inc., which first made a splash in 2009 when toy maker Uncle Milton Inc. used its headset for the Star Wars Force Trainer toy that let youngsters suspend a ball inside a tube. As the child concentrated, a fan would spin and blow the ping-pong ball upward.
The novelty toy was more than a “gee-whiz” moment. It was the first time consumers could see brain waves translated into specific commands in the physical world. And it didn’t make use of skull implants, which for years have enabled patients to control prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs.
Now, about 1,700 software developers are working with NeuroSky’s technology, with the majority of them making mind-controlled computer games for the company’s $129 MindWave Mobile headset, NeuroSky Chief Executive Stanley Yang. He said the company is nearing profitability but declined to provide revenue numbers.
Among the offerings available in the company’s app store are desktop games like “MindHunter,” in which players must focus single-mindedly in order to fire a weapon, and meditation aids like “Mind Labyrinth,” which grants players access to 52 different levels of an ancient temple as their relaxation grows deeper. Most of the games cost between $5 and $20, but other offerings—like the “HocusFocus” attention-building game, billed as a serious educational tool—can cost as much as $150.
“There is going to be a whole ecosystem of new players, and NeuroSky is very well-positioned to be like the Intel of this new industry,” said Alvaro Fernandez, chief executive of SharpBrains, a brain-fitness analyst and consultancy. “They are to be inside a lot of what’s going on.”
London-based MyndPlay Ltd. is using NeuroSky chips inside its own headset to enable viewers to control the outcome of movie scenes by concentrating and relaxing. The company has a production studio that makes short films with alternate plot lines and endings.
Neurosky has developed a headset that people can wear and manipulate objects in the real or digital world. David Chung – Director of Channel Sales models the headset at the Neurosky office in San Jose, CA.
In addition to being a novel twist on the moviegoing experience, the technology has implications in behavior modification, Chief Executive Tre Azam said. Two prisons in England, for example, show inmates a gangster-themed film from MyndPlay that teaches them to stay calm during threatening situations.
NeuroSky faces competition from San Francisco-based start-up Emotiv Systems Inc., which offers a $300 multi-sensor headset. Emotiv sells a variety of software including a package of popular games like “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” that are optimized for the company’s headset, as well as a program designed to let users control a computer with thoughts instead of a mouse or keyboard.
Emotiv is profitable, said a spokeswoman, declining to provide specific figures.
All of the companies vying to emerge in the brain-wave market are using electroencephalograph, or EEG, technology, which measures the brain’s electrical impulses in the forehead and has long been used to diagnose epilepsy and other brain disorders. The headsets contain a sensor that detects various mental states, and a chip converts the signals from analog format to digital so they can travel wirelessly to a computer.
The technology is still limiting, however, tracking mostly the brain’s ability to concentrate and relax but not specific, purposeful actions. Some players of mind games might be underwhelmed that they don’t have total control in the same way they could with a joystick.
But some doctors believe mind-controlled games can provide more than fun and relaxation, by improving mental health. Psychiatrists have long trained the brain’s pre-frontal cortex to fight against acute conditions like anxiety, post-traumatic stress and attention-deficit disorder. Practices like meditation, exercise, and cognitive therapy have shown comparable short-term efficacy to medication.
What if a person could derive the same kind of benefit from a mind-controlled videogame? The attention and focus required to control a game with the mind has the benefit of calming the mind, said game designer Jane McGonigal. Her game studio, SuperBetterLabs Inc., is attempting to introduce cognitive therapy into games optimized for NeuroSky and Emotive headsets.
Michael Brody, a psychiatrist who teaches at the University of Maryland, cautions that mind-controlled games are useful only if they move beyond the novelty stage and become a standard part of patients’ mental health regimens. “Don’t hold your breath for the silver bullet,” said Dr. Brody, who has studied the effects of various media on the brain for the past 40 years.
Other developers are taking a more whimsical approach. Among the various toys and gadgets that run on mind control is the NecoMiMi headset, a fashion accessory that has taken fans of Japanese animé by storm.
Built by NeuroSky and a Japanese partner, NecoMiMi is a set of catlike ears that perk up when the wearer’s concentration intensifies, and flatten out when relaxed. A YouTube promotional video that has received more than 2 million views suggests it could provide a way for young people to express romantic interest.
This week in Star Trek:
Star Trek Movies Headed To Amazon Prime Instant Video
By Captain Pyke
Star Trek Movies Headed To Amazon Prime Instant Video
In breaking news today, Amazon announced a new partnership with Paramount that will roll out hundreds of hit moves to the internet giant’s poplar Prime Instant Video service. According to the press release, Star Trek will be counted among the hundreds. No word on whether that will include all eleven Trek films. Also included in the list are Braveheart, Top Gun, The Italian Job and Forrest Gump, just to name a few.
“We are continuing to invest in building a vast selection for Prime Instant Video and are excited to bring Prime customers some of the most renowned and popular films in cinema history under this new agreement with Paramount,” said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon. “This deal will bring Prime Instant Video customers hundreds of new movies to enjoy on their Kindle Fire or any device connected to Amazon Instant Video, including titles such as Star Trek, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Top Gun, The Italian Job and The Truman Show, and we will remain committed to adding even more great movies and TV shows to Prime Instant Video in the future.”
Costumed Star Trek Fans Are Poised To Break The World Record At Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention, Las Vegas
By Captain Pyke
Costumed Star Trek Fans Are Poised To Break The World Record At Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention, Las Vegas.
It’s that time of year again where the Grandaddy of all Star Trek conventions quickly approaches. The place where everyone knows your name… not cheers… Vegas Khhaaann! Actually, Creation Entertainment’s Official STAR TREK Convention, Las Vegas. The one place on earth where you can hang with all of your Trek friends and family, see four out of the five Trek captains, and play Trek slot machines. Not only will William Shatner, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, & Scott Bakula be in attendance, but over 70 Star Trek celebrities will beam in for the four full days of awesomeness. As many of you know and probably attended, the Guiness Book of World Records certified that the record for having the most people in Star Trek costumes in one place was broken during last years Vegas Khhaaan! 1040 of you gathered and smashed the previous record. This year, Creation Entertainment is setting a time & place to break the record yet again.
“Coming in costume really adds to the fun and we want the world’s record that was made in Vegas to stay in Vegas.” Says Erin Ferries, VP of Creation Entertainment. “Cosplay is a big part of fan convention going, last year we had many attendees coming in different costumes each day.”
The Guinness Book of World Records attempt will take place on Saturday August 11, 2012 at The Las Vegas Official STAR TREK Convention. All ticketed attendees can participate provided they come in full costume. You can get more information by visiting the Star Trek Las Vegas convention website here or check out the official press release below.
STAR TREK COSTUMES: GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT ANNOUNCED!
The Official STAR TREK Convention returns to Las Vegas for the 11th year on August 9-12, 2012 at The Rio Suites Hotel. For most of the thousands of attendees the big draw is the on-stage appearances of over 70 Star Trek celebrities including “The Four Captains”: William Shatner (Kirk), Avery Brooks (Sisko), Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) and Scott Bakula (Archer). For many others the chance to come in Star Trek costumes and make-up is the ultimate way to enjoy a vacation from reality.
At the 2011 convention 1040 fans broke the Guinness Book of World Records achievement of having the most people in Star Trek Costumes in one place. In 2012, attendees will attempt to break their own record in response to internet chatter that other fan conventions are preparing to vie for the title.
Erin Ferries, VP of Creation Entertainment, the producers of the convention, said, “Coming in costume really adds to the fun and we want the world’s record that was made in Vegas to stay in Vegas. Cosplay is a big part of fan convention going, last year we had many attendees coming in different costumes each day.”
The Guinness Book of World Records attempt will take place on Saturday August 11, 2012 at The Las Vegas Official STAR TREK Convention. All ticketed attendees can participate provided they come in full costume. Information about the gathering, which is expected to draw over 16,000 fans from all over the galaxy, is available at: www.creationent.com
5 things we liked at Balticon.