Before there was Firefly, after there was Star Trek, in between there was… Blake's 7 (previously). The BBC's dystopian space opera ran for four series, ended with arguably the bleakest finale in sci-fi TV, yet never achieved popularity in proportion to its influence. To accompany its DVD release, documentary filmmaker Kevin Jon Davies prepared making-of videos for the first three series, which he has now posted YouTube: Series 1, Series 2, Series 3. Learn the origins of Blake's dysfunctional band of freedom-fighters, the secrets of the show's horrible SFX, watch the cast read aloud their worst reviews, and much more!
A month after its release, Naughty Dog's sweeping interactive epic The Last of Us is being hailed as one of the best games of all time, with perfect scores even from notoriously demanding critics. Inspired by an eerily beautiful segment from the BBC's Planet Earth, the game portrays an America twenty years after a pandemic of the zombiefying Cordyceps fungus (previously), leaving behind lush wastelands of elegant decay teeming with monsters and beset by vicious bandits, a brutal military, and the revolutionary Fireflies. Into this bleak vision of desperate violence journey Joel, a gruffly stoic Texan with a painful past, and his ward Ellie, a precocious teenager who may hold the key to mankind's future. Boasting tense, immersive gameplay, compelling performances from a diverse cast, a movingly minimalist score from Oscar-winning Gustavo Santaolalla, and an array of influences from Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, it's already being slotted alongside BioShock Infinite and Half-Life 2 as one of modern gaming's crowning achievements. And while it's hard to disentangle plot from action, you don't have to buy a PS3 to experience it -- YouTube offers many filmic edits of the game, including this three-hour version of all relevant passages. And don't miss the 84-minute documentary exploring every facet of its production. [more inside]
Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch. Variety reports Harry Potter director David Yates wants to reboot Doctor Who. Topless Robot reacts.
In other words, months before The War Games, The Mind Robber has quietly given us an origin story for the Doctor that is almost, but not quite, what we eventually get from the later "official" version. - Philip Sandifer discusses an alternate origin for Doctor Who.
Meanwhile in the TARDIS - two bonus ‘mini-episodes’ from the fifth season of doctor who. Can't wait to see the next season? If you're overseas it may get to you a bit quicker, as the BBCs iPlayer goes international. Bonus link: Amy Pond by way of Alphonse Mucha, by Bill Mudron.
The Martians And Us a BBC documentary series on the history of British science fiction. Part 1 - 'From Apes To Aliens' (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Part 2 - 'Trouble In Paradise' (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) Part 3 - The End Of The World As We Know It (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) [more inside]
With Matt Smith making his US debut as Doctor Who tonight, showrunner Steven Moffat gives an interview to Tor.com. Meanwhile in the UK viewers have just had their first sight of a controversial new Dalek redesign.
Doctor Who Alignment Chart (single image link)
"My exact words were: I’d like to overthrow the government. I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I’m delighted that came into the show." - former Doctor Who script editor Andrew Cartmel on the shows 80s political stance. Terrance Dicks and Andrew Cartmel on Newsnight. Meanwhile former Doctor David Tennant gives his veiws on the Master-like characteristics of Tory leader David Cameron.
Over the Christmas holidays the BBC is showing a double episode of the television series Doctor Who... [more inside]
On The Outside It Looked Like An Old- Fashioned Police Box - Mark Gatiss presents a Radio 4 documentary on the Target novelisations of Doctor Who stories. Free Doctor Who eBooks.
"A frail old man lost in space and time. They give him this name because they don't know who he is. He seems not to remember where he has come from; he is suspicious and capable of sudden malignance; he seems to have some undefined energy; he is searching for something as well as fleeing from something. He has a 'machine' which enables them to travel together through time, through space, and through matter." The Genesis of Doctor Who.
The Kneale Tapes (1, 2, 3, 4) documentary about British science fiction screenwriter Nigel Kneale. [more inside]
The Doctor is set to regenerate once again as David Tennant calls time on Doctor Who. "When Doctor Who returns in 2010 it won’t be with me" Tennant, widely acknowledged as one of the most popular actors ever to play the Doctor, said. "Now don’t make me cry. The 2009 shows will be my last playing the doctor.” [more inside]
The Russell T. Davis papers – As he prepares to leave the role of Doctor Who show runner (previously) he’s releasing a book of email exchanges with Doctor Who Magazine writer Benjamin Cook about his time on the longstanding British SF series, revealing the younger face of Who he’s like to see, and plans for a Doctor Who/Harry Potter crossover which never materialized.
A Day In The Afterlife of Philip K Dick - An Arena documentary first broadcast by the BBC in 1994 (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
First it was Blake's 7, now another Terry Nation cult classic sf television programme is to return. The BBC have announced they are remaking Survivors. Telling the story of the survivors of a plague that wipes out most of Britain, the original was famed for its gritty and somewhat controversial story-telling.
As of 2010 Steven Moffat will be replacing Russell T. Davies as lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who. In 2005 Davies revived the series, which had been dormant (bar the odd US co-production or audiodrama) since 1989, for BBC Wales. It won awards and was successful enough to spawn the spin-offs Sarah Jane Adventures and the popular-in-America Torchwood. He is replaced by Moffat, one of the regular writers on the show, whose highly acclaimed episodes have won a number of awards and nominations. "I applied before but I got knocked back 'cos the BBC wanted someone else. Also I was seven. Anyway, I'm glad the BBC has finally seen the light and it's a huge honour to be following Russell into the best - and the toughest - job in television. I say toughest 'cos Russell's at my window right now, pointing and laughing."
Behind the Dark Door [Google cached copy] might prove a valuable resource to science fiction aficionados, or interesting to fans of quality television drama. It provides insight into the mind of Nigel Kneale, writer of The Quatermass Experiment. Last Saturday's gripping and technically impressive update was based largely on his original scripts, and was the BBC's first live TV drama in more than twenty years. Another chance the pimp David Tennant, The Quatermass Experiment 2005 was much more satisfying than the BBC's other science fiction drama with which Tennant has been linked.
Doctor Who returns in a few months, here's a teaser for those of us übergeeks who cannot wait. (Realplayer warning on the link!). The "new" Doctor Who returns to BBC sometime in the first half of next year. While this topic was discussed several months ago, more new details have surfaced on the new series. What other TV series have you seen 'resurrected' that you once loved, and what success do you think there was in that resurrection? What made the revived series work or not work?
The trailer for The broadcast of The Tertiary Phase of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (by Douglas Adams). It doesn't just sound great, it doesn't just sound amazing, it sounds amazingly amazing! [via]