Gale Anne Hurd Bringing Area 51 To Television

Gale Anne Hurd and Valhalla Entertainment have optioned the book Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base in the hopes of bringing it to television.  If those names sound familiar to you, it’s probably because Hurd and her company are the ones who brought The Walking Dead to the small screen.  Deadline reports this new possible series would be an hour long drama centering on “two men working on the base who are thrust into danger when they uncover secrets that the government will protect at any cost.”

Area 51 is actually a bestselling non-fiction book by Annie Jacobsen, and it focuses much more heavily on the crazy happenings at the titular military base that have nothing to do with little grey men: nuclear testing and development, (sometimes horrifying) Cold War experiments, the War on Terror.  Jacobsen got her information from interviews with 19 men who had lived and worked in Area 51, sometimes for extended periods.  Jacobsen does eventually address the alien conspiracy theories, but her hypothesis lands more on the side of “Cold War government experiments” than actual alien cover-up.  Her theories are intriguing and the information her sources revealed is fascinating, though, so the book certainly offers a lot for a television series to work with.


On National Unfriend Day, William Shatner Presents Steps To Unfriending Recovery

A year ago late night host Jimmy Kimmel launched “National Unfriend Day”. His goal is to get people to use that one day every year to unfriend all the people on their Facebook friends lists who aren’t really their friends. It was a smashing success last year, and so they’re doing it again this year. Except…

What about the people who are being unfriended? How will they deal with that sudden severing of Facebook friendship? Luckily, William Shatner’s here to help with his new PSA on the steps to unfriending recovery. Watch…


New Score For The First Sci-Fi Film, A Trip To The Moon

Long before Transformers, Jedis, or flying saucers on the National Mall, there was Georges Méliès.  The French magician-turned-filmmaker was a highly prolific and influential early cinematic figure who harnessed his background in theater and illusions to pioneer special effects on film.  He also happens to have created the first science fiction film, A Trip to the Moon (Le voyage dans la lune)“.  The 1902 short silent film is loosely based on works by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and tells the story of a turn of the century trip to the moon via rocket.

Although it was made over a century ago, A Trip to the Moon remains highly iconic and influential.  So iconic, in fact, that this year’s Cannes Film Festival opened with a newly restored (color!) version of the film with a new score by the French electronic duo Air.  The hand-painted color version of “A Trip to the Moon” was long thought lost before a badly damaged print was discovered in 1993, and now digital technology allowed Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage to reassemble all the little fragments into a complete version.  Here’s a brief clip from the new restoration with the score:


Sci-Fi Speed Dating TV Show Coming To TLC

I’m of the opinion that it’s kind of a bad idea for nerds to marry each other. You’re probably better off with a tolerant, non-nerd girl who can give you a reality check, now and then. But for every nerd who dreams of one day finding that all too rare and elusive, super hot nerd girl… TLC is ready to fulfill your fantasies.

The network is planning a new reality dating show, entirely for geeks. Unlike Beauty and the Geek, which tried to pair nerds with non-nerd girls, this show combs the world for top of the line geek-girls to pair with your average, wookie-lovin geek dude.

Here’s the trailer for the show, called Geek Love, in which the nerds do a round of Sci-Fi Speed Dating:


Dragonriders Author Anne McCaffery Dead At 85

Beloved science fiction author Anne McCaffery died this week at the age of 85. It happened on Monday, November 21st at her home in Ireland, and other details beyond confirmation of her passing have not been forthcoming. Her publisher Random House, has however, issued an official statement confirming her death.

McCaffery’s writing career began in 1967 with the publishing of Restoree. But she will be forever remembered, most of all, as the Dragonriders of Pern author. The series, which told the story of a far flung human colony where dragons are created with genetic engineering to fight a deadly lifeform which falls from space, spawned dozens of books which have captured the imagination of readers for decades, and will continue to do so.

Her 1967 Pern novel Weyr Search won the prestigious Hugo Award and in 1968 Dragonrider won the Nebula Award. She’s subsequently won or been nominated for more awards than I can count, ensuring her place in science fiction history as one of the great SF masters.

Born in the United States, she emigrated to Ireland in 1970, where she lived until her death in a home she designed herself. She called it Dragonhold–Underhill and from there Anne interacted and talked with fans right up until her death, communicating regularly through her blog.


Watch Yoda Use The Force To Sell Cup Noodles In Japan

Like a lot of people, I wasn’t happy with George Lucas’s decision to replace the Muppet Yoda with a CGI Yoda in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. I guess it enabled him to do all those crazy lightsaber tricks in Clones, but he never looked quite as alive in CGI. Yoda just seemed wrong.

Worse, rendering him in CGI means it became extremely easy to loan Yoda out to, well, pretty much whoever was willing to pay for him. Apparently the ease with which Yoda could now be digitally inserted into anything resulted in this embarrassing commercial, in which the Force master is forced to sell soup in Japan. Watch…