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]
"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed." - of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated is Moviedrome, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox and then film critic Mark Cousins. [more inside]
British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults, and a live-to-viewers BBC production, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels and a radio drama-documentary, along with movie re-makes of the first three series by Hammer Films. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group. [more inside]
The BBC has released the trailer for the new season of Doctor Who and revealed the title of Neil Gaiman's episode. .
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]
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]
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."
The Two Doctors: "David Tennant's Tenth Doctor is set to meet Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor in a special scene commissioned for BBC One's Children in Need." [more inside]
Doctor Who fun and games. While you wait for Series 3 to start - and toss and turn wondering who the next Doctor will be - blow a little bit of time with K-9, the Daleks and the Slitheen.
The Doctor is in! After passing on the series last year, the Sci-Fi Channel has decided to bring the BBC's new version of Doctor Who to American viewers. Neither the Beeb's news release or Sci-Fi's explain the turnaround. In any case, good news for stateside Whovians, as well as those who have not yet made the good Doctor's acquaintance.
Great 'The Prisoner' site - I just recently got into this BBC sci-fi/paranoia classic on my local PBS affiliate, so I was glad to find this lovingly done fan site. Anyone else have a pet obsessive fan site for a favorite TV show? SNPP.com comes to mind, of course, but I'm interested in the less famous and less frequented places.