Michael Crichton Would Have Turned 71: Today In Science & Science Fiction

CrichtonMichael Crichton is one of those writers in the same camp as Philip K. Dick or Stephen King. It’s not that their style or material is similar at all, but rather that Hollywood has gone gaga over it throughout the years. How gaga? Here’s a list of movies and miniseries adapted from Critchton’s books: The Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man, The Great Train Robbery, Jurassic Park (and its sequels), Rising Sun, Disclosure, Congo, Sphere, Coma, The 13th Warrior, and Timeline. And I’m sure I missed a few. Just as with Dick and King, most of those adaptations are forgettable, with a few true gems sprinkled among them. Still, Crichton is definitely one of the writers who had a huge impact on movies in the latter half of the 20th century, and without him we wouldn’t have gotten Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, so we’ve got to thank the guy for that. Hell, he even wrote and directed Westworld in 1973. Crichton was born on this day in 1942, and passed away on November 4, 2008.


The Walking Dead Adds A New Threat: Today In Science & Science Fiction

Zombies“Infected” (AMC, 9/8c)
“The group faces a new enemy; Rick and the others fight to protect their hard-won livelihood.” That’s the brief official synopsis for “Infected,” tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead. Last week’s season premiere was a mixed affair, as the show has been all too often. It did set up what looks to be a new element that will make the beleaguered survivor’s already unhappy lives that much more difficult. Then again, they exist to amuse us with their suffering, so dance, jesters! Dance!

And while “30 Days Without an Accident” definitely wasn’t the best episode ever by any means, it did manage to keep me interested for another week…and brought in 16 million viewers. If the ratings keep up like that, we may wind up with more than one Walking Dead spinoff before all is said and done. Let’s get a buddy road-trip comedy starring the Governor and a new fishtank of zombie heads as he crosses the country in hopes of making it big in show business. Just remember to add the laugh track.

Tonight’s episode was written by Angela Kang, a former story editor turned writer/producer, who previously penned episodes such as “Secrets,” “Say the Word,” and “I Ain’t a Judas.” You can check out a gallery of images from the episode right here.


Star Trek: Khan Explores The Character’s History: Today In Science & Science Fiction

KhanFeatStar Trek: Khan #1 (IDW Publishing)
This new series takes a look at the backstory and history of one Khan Noonien Singh. Some fans will be less excited to learn that it’s the Abrams/Cumberbatch Khan, but it should still be interesting. It actually opens with Khan on trial for his crimes against Earth and Starfleet but soon transitions to his younger years and rise to power. If nothing else it should be interesting to see how the Abramsverse deals with the Eugenics Wars (which were supposed to have happened during the ‘90s) and the period after Admiral Marcus and Section 31 awoke and recruited Khan for their nefarious purposes.

Writer Mike Johnson also pens IDW’s ongoing, in-canon Trek series, so he’s a veteran of playing around in the new movies’ tangent timeline. Claudia Balboni is handling the art chores, and Paul Shipper created the cover art. As with the ongoing comic series, movie Trek writer Roberto Orci is overseeing the five-part Khan miniseries. The comic runs 32 pages and lists for $3.99. You can check out some pages in the gallery below, courtesy of StarTrek.com.


Pacific Rim Stomps Onto Blu-Ray: Today In Science And Science Fiction

PacRimPacific Rim was one of my favorite films of the summer. The movie was a blast, that rare cinematic outing that knows exactly what it wants to be and then puts every last ounce of energy and gusto into being that thing in the very best way possible. Pacific Rim is like eight-year-old Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham invited us over to their house to play robots vs. monsters, but their parents gave them a $200 million “afternoon fun” budget. That should put a giddy little smile on your face, and as I’ve often said, if you can’t find joy in giant robots punching giant monsters, then you, my friend, are already dead. Pacific Rim is, succinctly, a blast.

If you didn’t check Pacific Rim out in theaters, it hits Blu-ray, DVD, and digital formats today. In addition to the movie itself being a damn good time, the combo packs include an audio commentary with del Toro, a ton of behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel (you can actually see some of that right here). Hell, the collector’s edition even comes with a replica of Gipsy Danger’s the Jaeger piloted by Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Make Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Sadly, it’s not life-sized and functional, but that’s what you people get for not going to see it on opening weekend and driving up the box office. I did and they gave me mine, but then the police confiscated it after I tried to pilot it solo and flattened a neighborhood birthday party.

Bring on the rocket punches!


Star Trek Could Return To The Small Screen

star trek tvFor many fans, Star Trek belongs on the small screen, rather than spread across a movie theater. After all, the franchise started on television in 1966, so it seems fitting that there should be some iteration of Star Trek on TV. Now that Marvel has found success on the boob tube with Agents of SHIELD, and Lucasfilm is looking to branch out into the business with Star Wars, will Paramount and CBS bring the series back to television?

While J.J. Abrams downplays the possibilities of Star Trek returning to TV, one of the writers and producers of the reboot film series is taking meetings with the broadcast network that could make this dream a reality. Roberto Orci recently told reporters, namely Joe Michalczuk of Sky News in England, that Star Trek on TV is at least a possibility with “America’s Most Watched Network.”


The Walking Dead Returns: Today In Science And Science Fiction

30Days“30 Days Without an Accident” (AMC, 9/8c)

It’s October again, and that can mean only one thing…I mean aside from the increasingly absurd “sexy” Halloween costumes. No, I’m referring to the return of AMC’s hit zombie drama, The Walking Dead. Based on Robert Kirkman’s long-running comic series, the show launches its fourth season later tonight. As the season begins, Rick and company are still holed up the same prison they were all last season, but now they’ve got a ton of new guests, whether they want them or not. The decision not to shift setting was a surprise, as the show has done so pretty much every season so far, but I guess that lets them keep using some of the same sets. Let’s just hope the writers manage to make good use of it since we’re still going to be hanging around the prison for a while. Maybe they can discover that a zombified Andy Dufresne has damaged their security by tunneling through to the outside world.