Guillermo Del Toro Celebrates A Birthday, Probably With Giant Robots: Today In Science And Science Fiction

Plus, find out what's new on TV and the comics shelves!

By David Wharton | Updated

Guillermo del ToroThe movie landscape is depressingly free of originality these days. While there still plenty of amazing, well-written scripts out there, Hollywood will almost always stick with a known quantity when it comes to greenlighting movies. This is how you wind up rebooting Spider-Man twice within a 10-year period. This is why they remade Total Recall and RoboCop and every other damn movie you’ve ever heard of. With all that being true, it’s refreshing when a truly creative talent with a unique vision manages to succeed in spite of all the obstacles Hollywood puts up. Guillermo del Toro is at the top of that list for me.

Over the past 30 years or so, del Toro has made some of the most unique, unforgettable movies of all time. 1993’s Cronos put him on the radar for many, and marked the beginning a long history of collaboration between del Toro and actor Ron Perlman. From there he went on to several more traditional Hollywood flicks, Mimic and Blade II. While they’re easily his least interesting movies, they still bear the stamp of his fevered, brilliant mind. Since then he’s served up two Hellboy movies and this summer’s insanely fun Pacific Rim. Honestly, I can’t imagine anybody getting those last three movies made, at least not anywhere near as well as del Toro managed. He turns 59 today, and we wish him a giant freakin’ birthday!


Nature: Earthflight (PBS, 8/7c) — “Flying High”

What would it be like to see the world from a bird’s perspective? To experience riding on the backs of bald eagles and snow geese or flying alongside a flock of brown pelicans as they scan and dive for fish in the ocean below. State-of-the-art technology and sophisticated camera techniques have now made it possible to do just that and more as EARTHFLIGHT, A Nature Special Presentation takes viewers on a breathtaking aerial adventure over six continents.

It took EARTHFLIGHT series producer John Downer and his team four years to film more than 100 bird species in 40 different countries. Using strategically placed cameras, including tiny HD cameras placed on the backs of trained birds, this six-part series captures amazing viewpoints that have never been seen before.

Nova (PBS, 9/8c) — “Megastorm Aftermath”

In October 2012, Megastorm Sandy cut a path of devastation across the Caribbean and the East Coast, killing hundreds and doing tens of billions of dollars in damage. To many, it was a wake-up call. Now, one year after Sandy’s deadly strike, NOVA follows up on the 2012 film “Inside the Megastorm” with a fresh investigation of the critical questions raised by this historic storm: Was Megastorm Sandy a freak combination of weather systems? Or are hurricanes increasing in intensity due to a changing climate? What can we do to prepare ourselves for the next Sandy, and what progress has been made toward making our urban infrastructure more resilient? Much of Sandy’s wrecking power was due to an extreme storm surge that left large swaths of New York and New Jersey underwater. And with sea levels on the rise, flooding will only become more frequent. NOVA examines the role of climate change in driving these rising seas, and looks at some of the latest extraordinary engineering employed in other areas, as well as what it may take to make cities like New York more resilient in the future.

Revolution (NBC, 8/7c) — “Love Story”

BRUSHES WITH DEATH PAINT THE BIG PICTURE IN WILLOUGHBY, WHILE DARING RESCUE ATTEMPTS ARE MADE — Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell) makes a valiant attempt to rescue Miles (Billy Burke) and to escape with an ailing Tribesman’s wife, while Neville (Giancarlo Esposito) and Jason (JD Pardo) are caught off-guard, assaulted by violent refugees. Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Adam (Patrick Heusinger) are at odds over what to do with Monroe (David Lyons). Legions of Tribesmen threaten all of Willoughby but with questionable leadership and Aaron (Zak Orth) faces death, yet again.

The Tomorrow People (The CW, 9/8c) — “Pilot”

THE UNKNOWN — When Stephen Jameson (Robbie Amell) begins hearing voices and waking up in strange places, he starts to question his sanity. In desperation, Stephen decides to listen to one of the voices in his head, and it leads him to his first encounter with the Tomorrow People — John (Luke Mitchell), Cara (Peyton List) and Russell (Aaron Yoo) — a genetically advanced race with the abilities of telekinesis, teleportation and telepathic communication. The Tomorrow People inform him that they are being hunted down by a paramilitary group of scientists known as Ultra, led by Dr. Jedikiah Price (Mark Pellegrino). Meanwhile, Stephen gets another surprise that leads him down his own path, which he hopes will help him uncover the truth about his father’s (guest star Jeffrey Pierce, “Alcatraz”) mysterious disappearance.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 8/7c)
The week-long Walking Dead marathon shambles on. Tonight you’ll be able to see the episodes “Chupacabra,” “Secrets,” “Pretty Much Dead Already,” “Nebraska,” and “Triggerfinger.”


HaloInitiationHalo: Initiation #3 (Dark Horse Comics)

The conclusion of this three-part series reveals the story of how Commander Sarah Palmer became a Spartan-IV and leads directly into the exciting new mobile game from 343 Industries, Halo: Spartan Assault. Sarah Palmer and her new comrade Spartans are thrust into action when a violent insurgent group attempts to seize the UNSC flagship Infinity. Is their Spartan cunning a match for the insurgents’ brilliant guerrilla tactics?

Judge Dredd #11 (IDW Publishing)

Into the Cursed Earth,” part 3 — It’s tough living in irradiated flyover country. But it’s even tougher to fight your way through it — especially when a mutant hillbilly gang is after your Lawgiver, your Land Raider, and your multi-eyed precog partner, and well… your hide. (“It’s almost supper time, Paw!”) And what that’s rumbling in the hills? Something 250 million years old, and just itching for a comeback?

StarWarsStar Wars #10 (Dark Horse Comics)

Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles have infiltrated an Imperial Destroyer. But now nine thousand stormtroopers are searching for them, and Darth Vader is aware of their presence. Completing their mission and escaping with their lives may be an either/or proposition!

Meanwhile, the Rebel fleet prepares for an Imperial assault!

Walking Dead #115 (Image Comics)

”All Out War” breaks out on October 9, 2013 with the release of THE WALKING DEAD #115, part of the celebration of 10 years of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s epic comic book series… THE WALKING DEAD #115 is the first issue of the monster event ALL OUT WAR, which will pit Rick Grimes and his group of Survivors in a fight for their lives against the other factions in THE WALKING DEAD universe: The Saviors, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom… THE WALKING DEAD #115 is available for pre-order now, in advance of its release on October 9th, 2013, and features 10 individual connecting covers.


Guillermo del Toro may have got the top slot today, but we’ve still got to send birthday wishes to Scott Bakula, who turns 59 today. It’s rare that a performer lands a major role in one iconic science fiction franchise, but Scott Bakula managed to land two of them. For ‘80s kids like myself, he’ll always be Dr. Sam Beckett, who spent five seasons leaping throughout history, setting right what once went wrong. More recently, he played Captain Jonathan Archer, commander of the Enterprise in the Star Trek prequel of the same name.