young ones

Young Ones Is An Ambitiously Artsy Story Of Survival And Desperation

Even if you’ve got apocalypse fatigue, this one is worth your time.


Star Wars Rebels Ignites A Legacy In These New Clips And Featurettes

Star Wars Rebels is the first new addition to the canon since Disney bought Lucasfilm a few years back, and it certainly appears that people were hungry for new adventures in that far, far away galaxy. Along with positive reviews, the series debut garnered record ratings, and in advance of tonight’s new episode, we’ve got a couple of new clips and two new behind the scenes videos to fill the time between now and then.

Rebels actually premiered a few weeks back with the hour-long “movie” episode “Spark of Rebellion,” but the series proper didn’t truly start until last Monday with “Droids in Distress.” The episode scored 1.03 million viewers, making it Disney XD’s highest rated series debut since the network began back in 1999. Half of these viewers fell in the target 6-14 demographic, but there were quite a few older folks watching as well, as one of the things Rebels has been praised for is capturing not only the look, but the feel of the original trilogy.


The Walking Dead Post-Game: Strangers Carves Off A Significant Chunk

Despite having drastic ups and downs over the course of the series, the last half of season 4 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was, by far, the best run in the series, giving me hope, guarded as it was, going into season 5. And thus far the young season hasn’t let me down. After starting with last week’s high-paced, action-centric season premiere, “No Sanctuary,” the massively popular zombie drama returns with “Strangers,” a quiet, moody, contemplative episode that continues to ratchet up the tension and build towards something even bigger.

If you haven’t watched the episode, stop reading now, because we’re going to talk about it, in depth, and this will include a great many SPOILERS.

The Walking Dead


Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: Week of October 20, 2014

As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

AbyssBeyond“The Abyss Beyond Dreams: A Novel of the Commonwealth” by Peter F. Hamilton

The wait is over. Bestselling science fiction master Peter F. Hamilton is back with the first of a new two-book saga set in his popular Commonwealth universe. Distinguished by deft plotting, a teeming cast of characters, dazzling scientific speculation, and imagination that brings the truly alien to life, The Abyss Beyond Dreams reveals Hamilton as a storyteller of astonishing ingenuity and power.

The year is 3326. Nigel Sheldon, one of the founders of the Commonwealth, receives a visit from the Raiel — self-appointed guardians of the Void, the enigmatic construct at the core of the galaxy that threatens the existence of all that lives. The Raiel convince Nigel to participate in a desperate scheme to infiltrate the Void.


Extraterrestrial: You’ve Seen This Alien Thriller A Million Times Before

extraterrestrialWatching Extraterrestrial, the latest horror offering from the Vicious Brothers, I found myself at one point debating whether or not this movie looked good for a low-budget sci-fi thriller. It certainly looks more polished—if you can call it that—than other films in a similar subject vein, but the camerawork is too frenetic to make proper use of the sets. It was around this point in my train of thought that I noticed a scene had changed without my realizing it. But I spent not a moment feeling like I’d missed anything, since Extraterrestrial tells a story that falls somewhere close to The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol on the originality scale.

I don’t even know where to start with this thing. The beginning? Okay. Extraterrestrial starts off with a distressed woman getting turned away from a convenience store by a complete douchebag, only to get zapped up into a spaceship. It’s vaguely atrocious, but not so much so that it felt like an immediate waste of time. It quickly gets to that point, however, by the time the main story kicks in and the group of generic young wastes-of-space enters the picture.


X-Men: Apocalypse Is Looking At Tom Hardy For This Major Role

Tom HardyAll the current superhero casting hype lately has revolved around who is going to play Doctor Strange in director Scott Derrickson’s upcoming version of the character for Marvel. And that’s justified, fans have been clamoring to see Stephen Strange onscreen for years. Damn near every actor in Hollywood has been rumored in connection with the part (I feel like eventually I’m going to be linked to the role), but buried under all these reports and speculation, there’s another interesting superhero casting rumor. Fox reportedly wants Tom Hardy could play a villain in the next X-Men movie.

Continuing down their timeline-tweaking, not-quite-a-reboot path that started with X-Men: First Class and picked up this summer with X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse is up next. According to reports, the studio is after Hardy to play the role of the titular villain in the Bryan Singer-directed mutant adventure. Right now he’s being “courted,” and what that means remains to be seen—he could be in talks, or maybe he’s just at the top of the wishlist, we don’t really know.


This MIT-Developed Yogurt Detects Cancer

YogurtScientists have used all kinds of brilliant and unexpected methods to detect cancer, such as a mantis-shrimp-inspired polarizing light scanner, nanodiamonds, and the sniffing power of bees. Of course, science has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to a disease that changes as it spreads to new organs and adapts to—and often bests—the chemotherapy and radiation treatments designed to stop it. Now, thanks to MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia, there’s another hot new weapon in cancer detection: yogurt.

We’ve covered some of Bhatia’s work before on GFR, and her contributions to science garnered a prestigious $500,000 prize. Lately, she’s been turning her attention to colorectal cancer, which according to the American Cancer Society afflicts 5% of Americans. Early detection is tough with this variety of the disease—typical approaches include MRIs and colonoscopies. Despite Katie Couric’s televised attempt at making a colonoscopy seem not that bad, everyone knows that the procedure sucks, including the guzzling of nausea-inducing quantities of barium the night before. And even when people undergo colonoscopies at the prescribed intervals, they’re not foolproof. (Unfortunately, I know that from experience. )So an cheap, painless, and accurate way to screen for colorectal cancer is just what we need, and just what Bhatia has delivered.