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Sci-Fi Happy Meals That Are Too Good To Be True

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BladeRunnerHow come adults don’t get meals that come with prizes? Some of my favorite rituals from childhood involved being elbow-deep in a box of cereal, feeling around for the prize, or dumping all the food out of my Happy Meal just so I could get to the toy. So how come we don’t get a grown-up equivalent? After-dinner mints and fortune cookies don’t count, damn it. I want to be able to finish my snazzy, five-star meal, and then have the waiter bring me out a Rocket Raccoon action figure on a silver platter. Sadly, I will probably never live in such a world, but at least pretending is a little bit easier thanks to these faux Happy Meals that were ripped right out of my Happy Place.

These awesome fake Happy Meals are the work of Los Angeles digital artist Newt Clements. (He mostly comes out at night. Mostly.) His Pinterest is full of a wide variety of crazy projects, but his Happy Meals collection is one of the most extensive. He’s got over 100 of the things by my count, and they’re all incredibly well done. Designing Happy Meal boxes to tie into Doctor Who, Aliens, or Escape from New York would have been worthy of a story in and of itself, but Clements goes the extra mile by imagining what toys might be included with each meal as well. And I don’t care what bounty McDonald’s has on offer, there’s no way it’s cooler than an action figure of Firefly’s River standing atop a pile of Reaver corpses.

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The Twilight Zone’s Eighties Incarnation Is Now Available As A Full-Series DVD Set

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TZRod Serling’s original Twilight Zone is rightly recognized as one of the finest genre series of all time, an anthology of terrifying tales that used metaphor to address the real-life problems of the day, but which still holds up wonderfully today. Part of that timeliness can be traced to the fact that, in addition to Serling’s masterful talents, the series featured writing by some of the most talented science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers of its era, a lineup that includes names like Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, Ray Bradbury, and Damon Knight. But while you are almost certainly familiar with the original, you might never have seen the also excellent ’80s revival of The Twilight Zone, and if that’s the case, a new full-series DVD box set is the perfect excuse to remedy that problem.

Airing three seasons on CBS between 1985 and 1989, the Twilight Zone revival is, just like the original, a who’s who of familiar names, with a cast that includes the likes of Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Martin Landau, Frances McDormand, and Giovanni Ribisi, just to name a few. Things are even more impressive behind the cameras. Check out this jaw-dropping line-up of writers: Harlan Ellison, J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5), Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape), George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones), Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, David Gerrold, Theodore Sturgeon, Joe Haldeman, Robert Silverberg, Roger Zelazny, Ron Cobb, George Clayton Johnson, and Arthur C. Clarke. It’s the genre writer equivalent of the freaking Expendables.

The mere involvement of those names should make the ’80s Twilight Zone a must-have for any serious sci-fi fan, and the series includes some genuine classics, such as two particularly noteworthy Ellison adaptations, “Shatterday” and “Paladin of the Lost Hour.” And if you’ve still got bad memories of Richard Kelly’s The Box, check out this Twilight Zone’s “Button, Button,” a superior adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story of the same name.

The new Twilight Zone box set packages together all three seasons of the show, 65 episodes in all. Bonus features include a photo gallery, a video interview with Wes Craven (who directed five episodes), and over a dozen audio commentaries. The Twilight Zone: The Complete ’80s Series lists for $59.98, but you can currently grab a copy “on Amazon for only $49.98, a discount of 17%.

On top of all the other reasons to buy the Twilight Zone set, it put a genuinely creepy twist on the original series’ opening narration. I love that ghostly image of Serling flashing past on the smoke.

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Twilight Zone, Doctor Who, And More Are Delightfully Square In Pop Culture Art Show

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TwilightZoneWe’re big fans of the Los Angeles-based Gallery 1988 here at GFR. The gallery is dedicated to celebrating pop culture in all its forms, and over the years they’ve hosted exhibits honoring Ghostbusters’ 30th anniversary and Joey Spiotto’s awesome “Golden Books” twists on beloved movies such as Back to the Future and Alien. Now they’ve got a new show highlighting another talented artist with a love for some of our favorite stuff. If you’re in LA looking for a good time, consider hitting up Gallery 1988’s “Squares 4 Squares” show, featuring Philadelphia artist Dave Perillo’s delightful takes on things like Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, as seen in the above piece, dubbed “Your Next Stop.”

Perillo’s solo show at Gallery 1988 is already quite the success, with Blurppy.com reporting that a bunch of his original artwork sold out almost immediately. The show itself kicked off on August 22 and runs through September 20, so you’ve still got plenty of time to check it out. Just resist the urge to grab Perillo’s “Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey” print off the wall and take off running. They’ll catch you, it’s just a matter of time.

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Under The Dome Returns For Season Two: This Week’s Sci-Fi TV

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DomeI wasn’t one of the folks who stuck with CBS’ Under the Dome last summer, as it shaved off my limited interest pretty quickly. Just for the sake of being informed, however, I sat back down and powered all the way through the first season a few weeks ago, so I can now honestly say: well, that was a mess. Just how much of a mess is doubly frustrating since that first season was under the guidance of Brian K. Vaughan, the otherwise brilliant comics writer behind Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, and Saga. Frankly, I expected better from a show he was heading, and now this season he’s left to do other things. So the chances I’ll make it all the way through season 2 probably aren’t very good. Unless I get stuck under a mysterious dome and have nothing better to do. At any rate, Under the Dome returns tonight on CBS, so tune in and see what those pink stars are all about. (I’m presuming future seasons will address the question of green clovers, purple horseshoes, and and blue diamonds.)

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Twilight Zone Comic-Con Exclusive Action Figures Are Submitted For Your Approval

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TZToysThere are a lot of reasons to go to San Diego Comic-Con. Getting to see footage from all the hottest upcoming movies and TV shows. Maybe getting to meet some of your favorite celebrities and stage the perfect Instagram shot. The sheer spectacle of the massive Hall H presentations. But for collectors of various stripes, there’s one other irresistible bait: exclusives. If you fall into that category, or you’re just a fan of Rod Serling’s classic The Twilight Zone, these exclusive action figures from Bif Bang Pow! and Entertainment Earth may well have you salivating.

If you’re a regular GFR reader and these look familiar, it’s because we originally reported on these figures back in March — one version of them, anyway. That incarnation of them has them rendered in stark black and white, just as they originally appeared in Serling’s creepy creation. You can still pre-order those, and they’re due for release in August. These colorized versions will be available exclusively at the Entertainment Earth booth on the Comic-Con floor (booth #2343). Aside from the whole “exclusive” bragging rights, they’ll also let you reveal to all your friends that, whaddya know, that gremlin on the wing was green all along! Which doesn’t make it any less goofy looking, but there you are.

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The Modern Twilight Zone Twitter Drags Rod Serling’s Classic Series Into The 21st Century

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SerlingSubmitted for your approval: your average social media experience takes on a strange new reality as Rod Serling’s poltergeist starts sending you new Twilight Zone pitches in 180 words or less. These aren’t just recycled plotlines from Serling’s seminal science fiction series, mind you. No, these are entirely new twists on our modern world, a world of Instagram and Netflix and Starbucks lined up two or three per block. You are entering a world of The Modern Twilight Zone on Twitter, which is regularly serving up 21st century twists on Serling’s iconic anthology series.

The Modern Twilight Zone Twitter has been up and running for several months now, and what’s interesting is that it’s not just the simple punchline farm you might expect. It would be easier to just parody the storytelling style and trademark twists of Serling’s beloved Zone, but TMTZ doesn’t seem to be interested in just going for the laughs. Some of the tweets are funny, but for the most part they are earnest attempts to imagine Zone-style stories grounded in the realities of modern day-to-day life. What spin would Serling have put on Facebook, for instance?

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