Christmas 2011 – Zombie Marionettes and Lego Browncoats!

Ah, Christmas. What a wonderful time for children and non-cynics. Every year my Amazon wishlist is loaded up with highly desirable items (most of them DVDs) while I too begin to purchase presents for members of the Osborne tribe. I was so excited with what I got this year that I just had to blog about it. After all, 2012 is our last year according to the Mayans (a “possibility”, dictated by a highly respectable and intelligent CeX employee) and perhaps this could act as a time capsule for the future, in which Fox Mulder’s ramblings are proved true and aliens come down. Or maybe I’m being ambitious. Just keep checking your neck.

Here we go…

Motorhead - "Ace of Spades"

This was a spontaneous addition after somehow coming across the title track which always featured, I remember, at the end of classic Saturday morning show Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow. What an intellectual piece of art that was. I haven’t listened to the CD yet, but I imagine from the large amount of profanity in the inside cover it will be reasonably awesome.

Marvin Gaye - "What's Going On"

A world away from Lemmy and his gang is Marvin Gaye with his utterly compelling and beautiful concept album What’s Going On, written from the point of view of a Vietnam war veteran who is devastated to return to a country filled with injustice and hatred. I’m new to soul but this is brilliant. In fact, I’m listening to it now.

Lego Harry Potter - years 5-7

I loved the original game! It was so vast and fun to play. I hope this will be as fun – I’m just relishing the opportunity of being able to control a Lego Voldemort.

Thunderbirds Complete series

Don’t shrug your shoulders and pass this off. It’s actually a very intelligent, suspenseful, exciting show. The art direction is just superb and the vehicles brim with ingenuity. The marionettes don’t move very smoothly but they still act better than Keanu Reeves.

The Walking Dead

As soon as I heard that this show was created by The Shawshank Redemption‘s Frank Darabont, I was in. Yes, it has zombies and plenty of gore but also strong performances, especially in British actor Andrew Lincoln. Only six episodes in the first season but undoubtedly one of the best shows of recent years.

Firefly Complete Blu-ray Series

Now here’s something to get excited about. I already spoke about Firefly in a previous post and I don’t need to repeat how damn good it is but I will add that it’s a show that’s beautiful enough to look good on blu-ray. Roll on the marathons.

So that’s it, then. 2011 has been a year of great things. There was an inquiry into press standards, the Arab Spring, flooding in Thailand, a Japanese earthquake and many other natural disasters among the equally apocalyptic release of New Year’s Eve. Bin Laden got shot after the Playstation Network went down (a coincidence… or not?) and the United States officially announced the end of the Iraq war. Also, Kim Jong-Il died. What a loss – his role in Team America: World Police was truly masterful.

Anyway, I’ll stop boring you with useless bits of information and wish you a very happy new year, if anyone’s actually reading this. Here’s to another year of blogging!

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From Kirk To Buffy: a beginning in sci-fi TV

Ever since my foray into the realm of geekdom, I have made a particular effort to consume as many classic science fiction television series as I can. Granted, I haven’t got very far, but my journey into the furthest reaches of outer space, the deep and mysterious Vancouver forests and the endless danger of Sunnydale High School has both excited and exhilarated me. Theme tunes have forever emblazoned themselves in my mind alongside wonderfully written characters and dialogue. This addition to my fast-growing blog, then, will keep you up date with all the television shows I’ve been watching as of recent, with stunningly composed commentary on all of them. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you will undoubtedly lap this up. If you’re not interested in this sort of thing, you’d better lap it up or my phaser won’t be set to stun.

Star Trek: The Original Series – While I find it hard to remember when I got curious about Star Trek TOS, I do recall sparing no time in ordering the remastered season 1 box-set after watching a preview trailer. What a show this is, full of real fictional science and great characters. Granted, it’s very hit-and-miss, with a large number of episodes featuring planets mirroring earth and Kirk seducing alien women in short skirts, but when it hits it is fantastic. The City on the Edge of Forever, Star Trek’s classic time-travel episode, has taken the spot of my favourite episode of the two seasons I have watched so far. I now quote Spock in everyday life and find it frustratingly difficult to stand in an elevator without boldly exclaiming “Bridge”.

He's dead, Jim.

The X-Files – While I’ve only really scratched the surface of the highly-praised second and third seasons, the first bout of Mulder and Scully’s investigations into paranormal phenomena has gripped me throughout. It’s just such a well-crafted, mysterious, frightening show that never fails to impress as the two FBI agents seek to uncover the government’s mysterious secrets while regularly encountering a “monster of the week” – the episode Squeeze in particular had my mother leaping into a paroxysm of fear. Judging from what I’ve seen, undoubtedly one of the best TV series I’ve seen so far.

The new way of burgling.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I was coaxed into this by a few of my friends. I was surprised to find that I actually very much enjoyed it. The story of Buffy, a sixteen year old girl who just happens to be prophesied by ancient texts to kill vampires (and her school is at the hellmouth) was infinitely amusing to me and I began to connect more and more with the characters as I went along. I’ve only seen season 1, but so much has happened I’m wondering how much content Whedon actually packed into 6 further seasons (which all had twice the amount of episodes as the first). What will Angel do to Buffy? Will Xander ever be cool? What has happened in the past of Giles, my favourite character (I honestly have no idea, I’m just speculating)? Whatever happens, it’s very well-done, with a large amount of jump-scares, plenty of humour, quotable lines and teenage angst alongside weapons of stakes and crossbows.

RAAAAAAAAAAAAAWRRRRR!

Firefly – now here is something outstanding. Joss Whedon’s eternally charming space western which sadly ended before its time (damn you, Fox, for cancelling it) has the most enduring cast of characters I’ve yet seen (each with their own individual appeal), a vivid and believable world and some very impressive writing. What Whedon does here is make a series that is anti-establishment, anti-government and anti-war, demanding a huge amount from the viewer as the nine-strong crew of the ship “Serenity” hurtle across space, taking any job they can in order to put fuel in the engines and food on the table. It’s a show you can sit and just lose yourself in, and the dialogue is instantly quotable:

Zoë: Preacher, don’t the Bible have some pretty specific things to say about killing?
Book: Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps.

Three of the Serenity crew

Game of Thrones – I’m not sure I could call this strictly sci-fi, more medieval fantasy, but the first season of Game of Thrones is suitably epic and is as brilliantly cinematic as the book series on which it is based. It has 162 speaking roles, several vast kingdoms and landscapes and, being an HBO series, a substantial amount of sex and violence. Those who can’t stomach some of the series’ more gruesome moments, however, are missing out on one of the greatest TV productions of recent years. It stays as faithful as it can to the book (which in itself totalled around 800 pages, depending on the edition) which was full of suspense, distrust and great dialogue. The acting is impressive, particularly in the child actors, and in Peter Dinklage who undoubtedly stole the show in every scene he was in as Tyrion Lannister. Filmed predominantly in Northern Ireland and featuring a large cast of British actors, the epic scale is just overwhelming. I will definitely be getting the blu-ray.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

So there you go. I hope this has enlightened and (hopefully) entertained you. There will, of course, be further posts on this matter even if you’re not interested in the slightest.

Oh, and you know in the first post I said I’d express my views on Gaddafi? Well, he’s dead now, so I see no reason to.