ellestra: (slingers)
The one good thing about CW shows killing many cool secondary characters is watching the actors go for better things.

I was very happy to learn Tracy Ifeachor is going to be on new ABC show Spark (since it's only been written about on Deadline and for some reason Livejournal hates that site and flags any link to it as spam you have to just believe me - or replace @ with a in this url http://de@dline.com/2016/02/tracy-ifeachor-cast-abc-pilot-spark-brianne-howey-the-exorcist-1201708583/). But there is finally a little more known about the show and io9 picked up the story so I can link to that. The lead will be played by Antonia Thomas (Misfits) and the show is to be set in alternate Steampunk universe.

Set in an alternate history where gas and coal fuel the world, the drama centers on the battle for power between two rival families and a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires.
...the drama centers on the battle for power between two rival families and Pin (Thomas), a rebellious young woman with a spark of invention that could level both their empires. Thomas’ Pin is the smart, driven, fiercely independent young woman whose mission it is to bring back electricity to the masses no matter the cost.

Lincoln is still alive but Ricky Whittle has been announced to be the lead on Starz's adaptation of American Gods so his death can't be far off (it seems like the actor actually quit because he was fed up of being sidelined to 5 seconds in prison every 2 episodes and disagreements with the producer). Ian McShane has been cast as Mr. Wednesday. He was pretty popular fan choice and I can see his Kings character when I think about this.

In more news about British actors finding work - Finn Jones, the guy who plays Loras on Game of Thrones, has been cast as Danny Rand the title character in Iron Fist. This of course means a great disappointment to everyone who hoped they would change his race. Hard not to agree - it's not like MCU has a shortage of white guys from all over the English speaking world so one less wouldn't make a difference. On the other hand, while there are some Asian women in MCU the only male, non-evil one is also an alien. Marvel seems to want to placate fans by adding supporting characters some of whom are Asian. Also Mike Colter has announced the premier date for Luke Cage - it's coming to Netflix on September 30. Daredevil is of course dropping this Friday.
ellestra: (tiger)
Finally a trailer for Civil War showing new Spiderman. That read is very bright - probably why he needs to squint.

All their movies are great but Kubo And The Two Strings looks better than anything they did so far. I can't wait.

I like this Ghostbusters trailer much better than the last one. Except for that cringe worthy bit at the end.
ellestra: (winged)
The first pilot for the new Ghostbusters dropped today. I don't like it much - it seemed to be designed to show off similarities to the old one and that was kind of boring. I want one more plotty and with some more character highlights instead of rude gags. Still it looks more interesting than most of the Batman vs Superman.

ellestra: (tiger)
So I have some awards to catch up on.

The Nebulas' nominations for last year were announced last week. As they are voted by professionals they are not subject to internet ballot stuffing as Hugos were and it shows. The only thing I miss is The Man in the High Castle for the Ray Bradbury Award but this was a good year for SF&F and that includes screen version and you cannot nominate everything. I'm happy for Nimona - a graphic novel - to be nominated for Andre Norton Award.

Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
The Bone Swans of Amandale, C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
The New Mother, Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
Waters of Versailles, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)

Rattlesnakes and Men, Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead, Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds, Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society, Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
The Deepwater Bride, Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
Our Lady of the Open Road, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story
Madeleine, Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
Cat Pictures Please, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
Damage, David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
When Your Child Strays From God, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
Today I Am Paul, Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)


Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

The other awards that just announced nominees are the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards. I never really got into horror so I can't really say anything about any of those but it's interesting to see self-published entries in both novel categories. It also looks like Alyssa Wong's Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers might be the it short story this year. And I like how the categories are all Superior Achievements.

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Clive Barker – The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martin’s Press)
Michaelbrent Collings – The Deep (self-published)
JG Faherty – The Cure (Samhain Publishing)
Patrick Freivald – Black Tide (JournalStone Publishing)
Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Courtney Alameda – Shutter (Feiwel & Friends)
Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)
Brian Kirk – We Are Monsters (Samhain Publishing)
John McIlveen – Hannahwhere (Crossroad Press)
John Claude Smith – Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Jennifer Brozek – Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press)
Michaelbrent Collings – The Ridealong (self-published)
John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
Tonya Hurley – Hallowed (Simon & Schuster)
Maureen Johnson – The Shadow Cabinet (Penguin)
Ian Welke – End Times at Ridgemont High (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Cullen Bunn – Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints (Dark Horse Comics)
Victor Gischler – Hellbound (Dark Horse Books)
Robert Kirkman – Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him (Image Comics)
Scott Snyder – Wytches, Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Gary A. Braunbeck – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
Lisa Mannetti – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)
Norman Partridge – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
Scott Edelman – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Kate Jonez – All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck (Black Static #47)
Gene O’Neill – The Algernon Effect (White Noise Press)
John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)
Damien Angelica Walters – Sing Me Your Scars (Sing Me Your Scars) (Apex Publications)
Alyssa Wong – Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine #37)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins – Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: And Hell Itself My Only Foe (Showtime)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Nightcomers (Showtime)
David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)
Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement – What We Do in the Shadows (Unison Films)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
Ellen Datlow – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
Christopher Golden – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
Jonathan Maberry – The X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
Joseph Nassise and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Gary A. Braunbeck – Halfway Down the Stairs (JournalStone Publishing)
Nicole Cushing – The Mirrors (Cycatrix Press)
Taylor Grant – The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Gene O’Neill – The Hitchhiking Effect (Dark Renaissance Books)
Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks (ed.) – The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
Michael Knost – Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth (Seventh Star Press)
Joe Mynhardt & Emma Audsley (editors) – Horror 201: The Silver Scream (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Danel Olson – Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Centipede Press)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Bruce Boston – Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Ann Schwader – Dark Energies (P’rea Press)
Marge Simon – Naughty Ladies (Eldritch Press)
Stephanie M. Wytovich – An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Also announced - the nominations for Philip K. Dick Awards. Here's the shortlist:

Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper (Pyr)
After the Saucers Landed by Douglas Lain (Night Shade Books)
(R)evolution by PJ Manney (47North)
Apex by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books)
Windswept by Adam Rakunas (Angry Robot Books)
Archangel by Marguerite Reed (Arche Press)

There seems to be a trend for one word titles.

And finally - today Oscar winners were announced. They look mostly very predictable - Mad Max: The Fury Road swept the more technical, behind the scenes categories (I was very happy for Ex Machina to get the visual effects) and most of the big ones went to the most likely choices. Except for the Best Picture. It felt nice to be surprised and for me anything was a better choice than The Revenant. But all the documents were great and I was so happy for Chileans.
ellestra: (lightning)
Yesterday, was a beautiful, sunny and warm day. After a week of frosty mornings and then rain it was perfect. But it didn't last. It's cold again and it's about to get even colder. Neither Monday nor Tuesday is going to go much above freezing and nights are suppose to be something like -10oC (17oF). It's just slightly warmer than Poland now but Poland also has snow so it at least looks pretty (I got photos from my mum - it's a prefect postcard winter because snow was wet when it was falling and then it got cold so it froze on branches and fences) and you can do all the snow stuff. Here the worst part about cold weather is that it comes with the cold wind and this kind of chilly air that goes through most of clothes like cold needles. My parents refuse to believe it's necessary this far South but I keep telling them that when the weather gets like this I wear all my warmest jackets - the ones I use for -15oC days in Poland and sometimes that air still gets through. The feel of around 0oC or just below temperatures here is almost always like it's much colder. In Poland it's often still feels OK or even warmer than it is - especially when it's snowing. Of course the forecast says there might be snow next weekend here too. And that's always like a small apocalypse.

Meanwhile in today's Glavant episodes Richard got himself a dragon. A real one unfortunately (the lizard looks like bearded dragon). He bought it for the Crown Jewel of Valencia. This leads to another fight that ends up in war when they both join to opposing fractions of identically sized men - Dwarfs and Giants (the latter led by Nick Frost) and abandon Bobbie. I'm starting to like Bobbie - she never looses the sight of how ridiculous the whole conflict was and fixes it all by herself.

Meanwhile the jewel is still gone and they still don't have the army. Isabella won't be happy once she finds out. Especially since she is finally free from her wedding spell thanks to a visit to an improper Princess Jubilee. No that Izzy is back to her normal self and free from her engagement to cousin Harry (for the price of a bra) I wouldn't mind if she and Jubilee spent more time together. They could practice sword fighting.

Speaking of swordfighting - Galavant has found his father again. And the sword fighting school for lost boys he runs. And to add insult to injury Unfortunately he was recasted so no Anthony Head for us but they do make up and play cabbage. Meanwhile Roberta and Richard bond over valuing food over pity. Who care about bad parenting when there is meal in sight?

So Wormwood is exiled and Syd has escaped and they coincidently they meat in the Forest of Coincidence where everyone gets what they need - cart, horse, sword and information. Syd gets to meet with Galavant again and Wormwood gets his war-mad king and queen. After Queen Madalena has been unable to give Gareth a proper fight for birthday (poor Gareth - no one wants to brawl with a king) she is happy to give him a war. That’s all he really wanted. Awww, those two give each other perfect gifts - cut off ears, wars and sometimes flowers. I'm kind of starting to feel this relationship.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
I'm continuing to watch the pilots but I'm not sure about the Second Chance (it had so many better titles in past few months). Here is my reaction.

It was predictable but the tech design looks pretty and there is a potential in crime solving with Cinderella superman (his super strength turns into pumpkin after 12 hours) and the twins’ spyware lookingglass (good thing all those tech billionaires violate our privacy only to fight crime).

I like the twins. So far they were the most interesting. My main reason to watch next episode is their private language and Arthur.

The main hero is kind of unlikeable. They laid his”sheriff” person so thick it was hard to see anything but asshole (I’m sure he is supposed to have heart of gold in there somewhere). And the conflict between him and his son based on how they treat work/family thing was also shown in very simplistic, broad strokes (the son values family time and makes police work wait for later and dad makes disappointed noises *eyeroll*). Right now I don’t care for any of the law enforcement or family drama there.

I was also bothered by the way Rob Kazinsky spoke. I don’t think it was bad accent (I don’t feel like I can judge his American accent) but it was like he was pretending to speak like an old person for a prank call. Very unconvincing and kind of ridiculous sounding. Your vocal cords got regenerated too - you don’t have to speak like 70-year old smoker.

I give it 3 episodes to see if I care.

American Horror Story: Hotel had a very happy ending. I was surprised.

The iZombie is back and it looks like Blaine is finally may be getting what he deserves. If you start to forget how awful he is (because David Anders's charm) there is always that one reminder that show gives us. Like the mention of that woman he was forcing to prostitute herself for brains. So I didn't even feel sorry about him getting the news (or being recognised by the FBI agent).

Major on the other hand - it's just piling on the break-up so it's lucky that FBI agent has been distracted from finding he's "killing" zombies by Blaine. Major also learned not to be so gullible and didn't fell for the pretty obvious loyalty check (mostly because he now has tapped Vaughn). Obviously no one enjoys work on this show the way Steven Webber enjoys being evil and skeevy. Vaughn doesn't even care about deaths he causes or abandoning his kid (no hassle of raising a daughter and all the advantages of having someone to help with evil plans). All he cares about are his abs, ass and money. It's fun to watch but I can't wait till Major makes him pay.

But the best part of this episode was how the show poked fun at itself, the CW and TV production in general. The Zombie High had all the too pretty cast, stunt deaths and the location switch (Seattle pretending to be Portland when in iZombie and so many, many other shows it's British Columbia pretending to be Seattle). They also made fun of an idea of zombie protagonist and zombie science. This doesn't bode well for Ravi search - neither the one for tainted Utopium nor the one for the cure. At least Babineaux let Liv come back to help.
ellestra: (big gun)
I don't know what is it with the TV program planners. Do they have special meetings when all the channels head of programming meet and decide which day they will use for specific type of shows and then everyone piles up everything in that one day? When did they decide to move everything genre on Tuesdays? I thought it was bad in the fall with The Muppets, The Flash, iZombie, Agents of SHIELD and Limitless but that was still manageable. This month it got ridiculous.

This Tuesday saw the return of Limitless (YAY) but The Expanse (with the spaceships and battles and all the real SF) is already running in that time spot and I have to choose (The Expanse obviously but it's still hard). But now MTV has also switched to Tuesdays and put their new fantasy series - The Shannara Chronicles - out on Tuesday at 10 pm. They also moved Teen Wolf (my favourite guilty pleasure) to Tuesday at 9 and it was the only one yesterday but next week the new ABC Family show is coming - Shadowhunters (looks cheesy but may also become a guilty fun so I wanted to at least try). And iZombie is coming back (YAY). And then a week after that Agent Carter (AWESOME ♥) comes back and takes over this time slot completely (actually first week is double episode so both 9 and 10 pm will be taken). And The Flash is back too but at least there is nothing else to watch at 8 (well except for that first week when they'll show Captain America 75 Years Anniversary Special). I'm running out of DVR simultaneous recording capacity.

Luckily, I watched the next two episodes (after the 2 hour premiere yesterday) of The Shannara Chronicles today so I'm done with it for another 2 weeks and can figure the other stuff out. I wanted to hate it because that would be one less thing to watch but it was actually pretty fun. It's not like Game of Thrones (for some reason people wanted to compare the two even though they only have high fantasy genre in common) but that's not bad thing. It's a little cheesy and very clean and everyone is so pretty and the main male protagonist has this perpetual surprised, pouty look on his face but it was fun. I ended up disappointed when I run out of extra episodes as I became pretty engrossed in the story (even though it's the most standard fantasy quest you can imagine - which is why I never managed to get through the books it was so repetitively boring. But it's easier on film. New Zealand is very pretty, although it's a little funny how the show takes place in Northwest of North American continent where almost all the other shows are filmed but this one is filmed in New Zealand. Vancouver is everywhere but when you need post-apocalypse, fantasy Vancouver - you get New Zealand. At least that means some new background actors. John Rhys-Davies and Manu Bennett bring some real acting and some gravitas to the whole thing (and Allanon gets to b pretty awesome). And I loved Eretria (although I wish they didn't pronounce her name like the country). She is my favourite character (even with her ridiculously evil father) and the fact that she is played by Ophelia from Pan's Labirynth makes me love her even more. This is not high art but it is pretty entertaining. I missed fantasy that is not gritty but pure adventure. This is going to be fun.

Also I love new ♥ look.
ellestra: (galavant)
Sherlock - The Abominable Bride. The episode was fun. It was great to see all the classic Holmes and Watson imagery - from hat to pipes to dr. Watson moustache.

I realised pretty quickly it was an illusion (all those little elements that didn’t fit - from "he" instead of "she" to "virus in the data" to wobbliness that happened now and then) so I was happy they admitted it pretty early. After all Sherlock says at the beginning that to solve current case sometimes one must first solve an old one. I also expected from the end of season 3 that Moriarty was dead and somebody else was using his image (apparently following one of his plans). Of course we won’t know why for another year or more so no need to get too excited.

But I loved Mary - both as Mycroft’s secret agent and pain in his ass. I generally love Mary and Sherlock clearly ships her and John - he did everything to keep them together even after he exposed her evil past. And in his mind place she is clearly under appreciated but loved very much by her husband. And she is the smarter one. Just like Mycroft is the cleverer one (especially in MP). The best part of this Sherlock episode, for me, was Mycroft having his own Watson. I would watch Mycroft Holmes and Mrs. Watson.

I loved that Mycroft cares - I’m a sucker for their little sibling moments. Although I’m really afraid now Mycroft is dying.

And I loved Terry Pratchett’s shout out.

Oh, Galavant, how I missed you. For the whole hour I kept making those weird dolphin noises. Everything was perfect. Thank you ABC for making it happen.

King Richard as always have completely no useful knowledge. Poor pirates - not only were they tortured with the Galavant song but they also lost their ship. At least Pete can go back to being Earl Grantham next - last season of Downton Abbey finally reaches this far away shores now.

That dig at Once Upon a Time got even better when Enchanted Forest turned out to be a gay pub. With Kylie Minogue as the Queen. And Jean Hamm was there. And we all could admire Galavant abs. At least King Richard finally realised his uncle Keith is gay. I don't think it stretches to anyone else though.

Meanwhile the real evil queen Madalena does not like the realities of ruling. At all. But at least Gareth bothered her into making him King.

In second episode King Richard gets a stoker unicorn due to being sexually pure. At least he’s One True King who pulled sword out of the stone.

Even magical Skype keeps freezing and it led to some really bad miscommunication. Poor Isabella - it’s almost as heartbreaking as Richard learning about Gareth. I think we can all agree that those are both examples of true love. And both Galavant and Richard will have to go through many trials to get theirs back. Galavant/Isabella is obvious and we know Richard and Gareth only ever really cared for each other. Gareth reacted to Madalena's declaration of sexual prowess with "I prefer beer" and if Richard wasn't so clueless he would know what his uncle noticed. And the only thing Madalena and Gareth have together is their homicidal tendencies.

We are left with the mystery of Moving Castle. They even took the dungeons.
ellestra: (anomander rake)
This is the New Year so let's look ahead at what is coming. All the things I'm most excited so far. It will change - some things will disappoint and others I don't know about yet. But this is what I'm waiting for:

Movies - Deadpool, Ghostbusters, Civil War and Story of Your Life (I’m big fan of Ted Chiang so I’m very excited about this).

TV - X-Files, obviously, and The Magicians (loved the first episode), Luke Cage, You, Me and the Apocalypse (I know it's already has been shown in UK but only Doctor Who crosses Atlantic fast - he can travel in Time and Space) and BrainDead - for new ones. I also, of course, eagerly await the return of Galavant (tomorrow!!!), Limitless (Tuesday!!!), Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, iZombie, Daredevil, Orphan Black, Sense8, Humans, Mr. Robot, The Man in the High Castle and, most of all, Person of Interest. Here's a list of what is coming and when in next few months so you can make your own schedule.

Books - Steven Erikson’s Fall of Light - the 2nd book in Kharkanas Trilogy and Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Dancer Lament because I’m a big Malazan fan.
ellestra: (root and shaw)
Happy New Year!

It's time to look back at the 2015. It wasn't the best of years - with terrorism rising and the weather going all wonky - but at least entertainment was good.

My top films of the year (it's SFF because that's what I see in cinemas - I usually prefer to see other films at home without people talking and looking at their phones and the smell of popcorn - but for genre I usually want the big screen experience):

The ones I was most entertained by - mostly in order: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unlike almost everyone I had fun watching Jupiter Ascending (it was pretty and I liked Terry Gilliam parts more than the whole of Zero Theorem). I remember liking Age of Ultron but can't quite recall the plot - something, something, killer robots, something Vison, city falling from the sky, new Avengers - so in retrospect the story wasn't that interesting and I was distracted by how shiny it was. I was underwhelmed by all the YA adaptations.

The TV was pretty awesome. I need to cut back on stuff but I really, really like so much nowadays. There are all the awesome new shows. The year started with the joy that was Galavant which to surprise of everyone (and my great joy) is coming back on Sunday.The summer came with Humans and Mr. Robot. And Syfy brought some entertaining space shows - Dark Matter and Killjoys and the beautiful, high quality The Expanse series (already renewed). And Amazon has finally made SF worth watching with the wonderful The Man in the High Castle. It's certainly became my favourite show of theirs (it used to be Alpha House). I also loved Sense8 - from the get go and didn't find it hard to follow at all. I'm very excited to know they are all coming back this year. I never expected to like Limitless (I finally watched the film and it was OK but I'm glad I didn't see it in the cinema) but it turned out to be the most wonderful thing and I'm so happy it's back on Tuesday.

In another controversial view I admit that my favourite Marvel show is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's probably because I generally prefer assemble shows but I also have most fun watching it. Then it's Agent Carter (incredibly awesome and coming back in few weeks) and then Netflix ones - Daredevil and Jessica Jones (I don't have preference here so they are in chronological order). I know it makes me an odd one and I will make it even worse by admitting I like all Marvel shows more than anything DC. And that my favourite CW comic book based show is iZombie. I like Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and and I liked Constantine but this is my order of preference.

I said good bye to Continuum, Defiance and Dominium. Haven ended too but Lost Girl still has episodes to burn in US. I gave up on Gotham and Sleepy Hollow and everyone gave up on Minority Report. There were things like Falling Skies and Hemlock's Grove where couldn't get through last season - just watched last episode (still painful). I just read spoilers for Game of Thrones and watched dragons parts. I liked the miniseries - both Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Childhood's End. I also finally binged Black Mirror over the holidays and it is as awesome as everyone says it is. Luther would've been great too but I don't know if I can get over Alice.

There were all my old favourites. I watch The Librarians for pure fun and Doctor Who has improved this year. Person of Interest - still no one want to let us know when it'll come back but it might become a summer show (in place of the horrible Under the Dome and Extant that CBS finally cancelled) and get couple more seasons and I cant wait when our favourite psychopaths will be back. Orphan Black - Helena became true MVP this season and RIP monitors. Also have you seen the new trailers? Creepy.

My guilty pleasures included The Originals and Teen Wolf (so many pretty people in both). And I kept following my favourite dramas - The Good Wife, Major Crimes, Suits,Switched at Birth, The Fosters, The Americans, Halt and Catch Fire, The Blacklist, Elementary (Morland is a joy) and kind of keep track of Shondaland. I don't really watch sitcoms but I watched The Muppets and sometimes Blackish.

In books dragons stay my weak spot - I fell in love with Rachel Aaron's Heartstrikers books. There was more Laundry - from Mo's PoV and with superheroes. I read The Martian and The Magicians trilogy before seeing adaptations and loved both. I've read Raising Steam but I haven't touched The Shepard's Crown because if I don't then I still have one more book by Terry Pratchett to read.
ellestra: (telamon)
I was to write about the Expanse (and other new Syfy series) but I just read Rhianna Pratchett's obituary for her father and the screen is a little blurry. If you didn't read it go now. Space battles can wait till tomorrow.

And in the background +GNU Terry Pratchett keeps being sent.

Binge on

Dec. 19th, 2015 11:48 pm
ellestra: (winged)
Outside there is a second night of freezing temperatures in my 3 day break from heat wave but from Monday the temperatures are to rise again and the Christmas weather forecast says 24oC (75oF). My family asks if I'm going to spend it by the pool and I just roll my eyes but I do plan wearing summer clothes (after all if not for short days and bare trees that's just like Poland at the end of August). And they don't have much of a winter either. There was snow for 15 min on Tuesday but from now to the end of Christmas weekend it's going to be 10o and no chance for white Holidays. This is just an El Nino year here but climate change underlies the frequency of this. We are all doomed no matter how well the guys in Paris were able to lie to themselves (I'm just too old and cynical to believe they'll actually fulfil their promises).

On the short scale we binge on whatever resources we have left and stream the TV. And I'm as guilty as anyone and it doesn't look like it'll stop any time soon. It was just announced that The Man in the High Castle (along with some other shows) has been renewed for the second season by Amazon (best present from Amazon this year). Then there is all the Netflix MCU stuff coming (I'm pretty sure Jessica Jones will get second season 2 so add 1 more thing to that). And all the other stream series (I'm also big fan of Alpha House for example).

And then there is the regular TV. TNT just gave me a Christmas present by announcing the renewal of Major Crimes and The Librarians for another season (they also cancelled bunch of shows I didn't care about so whatever). Let's party as if electricity comes from renewable source.
ellestra: (galavant)
Galavant is coming back in January. The first season was full of squee and joy and I loved everything about it but especially Gareth. Vinnie Jones made a career of playing thugs (apparently followed him from his footballing days) but I never expected he had such perfect comedic timing. And Madalena story was the most perfect deconstruction of damsel in distress. She ends with all the power and I can't not love to hate her for it.

The show had poor ratings and the miracle of it getting renewed shocked (and delighted) everyone including all the people involved in the show so here's the opening number from the A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear episode (and season 2) celebrating that:

ellestra: (big gun)
And I mean bad in both senses - the bad because the story was lousy and the bad ending opposite of happy ending.

The first one is much more upsetting. I was so angry at the Once Upon a Time winter finale. I liked the Dark One storyline. It went back to the first season format but it worked well with the story and I loved Emma's Dark One. I loved Regina in the saviour role and Merlin was great (but I'm still upset they just killed him off like that). I rolled my eyes at Emma did it for love but Killian's Dark One was fun and I sat through worse story lines in OUaT. However, the way they went and undid everything with Gold. The way he just went back to being Dark One and lying to Belle and how Emma lets her stay with him for her own ends - it all made me fill like I just wasted the last several months on nothing. We are right were we where a year ago just before Belle found out his last betrayal and kicked him out of Storybrooke starting this whole thing.. They keep going back to status quo - with Regina and especially Gold - but this one really pissed me off. I'm on the edge of quitting this show. I'm just so annoyed that we just went through half of season for nothing. And the pairing off of Mulan and Red doesn't help. I understand they give fans the lesbian love story they asked for but they do it by putting spares together. And they do it by making them go on a quest together in a story that is so side that it's a side story to Mulan's side story. But for me the most annoying thing is that's another repeat. It was strongly implied when Mulan shown up the first time that she fell for Phillip when they were searching for Aurora. Then she fell for Aurora when they were searching for Phillip. Now she's off searching for more werewolves with Red. It's like she falls in love with whomever she happens to help in a quest. That's kind of offensive (to the character and viewers).

Then there is the whole slate of CW shows that decided to end on depressing note.

The iZombie winter finale took everything that was good and turned it to dust. They've been amping the side effects of brains this whole season and it finally fully hit. Liv was so happy when she and Major got back together but it tried to be the same thing it used to be and they are not the same people and their relationship cannot be the same again. This wasn't that bad since I was really upset by Major this season and he is still lying to her (for her own good - just like she did to him last season - those two need to quit with this abuse or quit each other for good). I would not be able to forgive if he was really killing all those people but this is barely better - he basically kidnaps people and stores them for later hoping the problem (Max Rager evil owners and zombies) will go away. This is not a real solution (neither was his weirdly short dip into addiction that he just quit when Liv gave him the right pep talk). And we now also know that there is no real solution. At least not long term. And that both he and Blain can turn back into zombies at any moment. So both Liv and Major relationship and search for cure goes back to square one but at least, unlike OUaT, the emotional and scientific journey actually progresses and that makes iZombie much less frustrating. Here people at least learn something.

The Originals made me the most aggravated because they gave me Rebekah (my precious, evil ray of sunshine) back and then took her away. Making her crazy evil along the way. She is once again staked and put in a box somewhere. The even worse alternative to her being put on a bus again. I understand that Claire Holt doesn't want to commit full time and Maisie Richardson-Sellers is in Star Wars now but I still wish there was a better way to disappear her character (I liked the previous reasons for Rebekah to leave so much better). And then they go and kill Cami after Klaus pretty much admits he loves her (at least to himself). I can't say if they just fully fridged her or is she coming back as vampire or whatever but she is going to e another excuse for him to go on a murder rampage anyway. What even worse she gets murdered by Klaus' psycho ex-girlfiend. They even gave her actual mental illness and then made her into the most ridiculous psycho ex-girlfiend stereotype. Ughhhh.

The Arrow has been teasing us with death of one (or several) members of Team Arrow the whole episode. Then we get some pretty impressive display of teamwork and nicely outsmarting the bad guy while not giving away Oliver's secret identity. But then Felicity gets shot anyway. This is why I didn't want Olicity. It's because I hate Felicity becoming The Girlfriend. This is what always happens to The Girlfriend - kidnapped, shot, at least not killed (but if she was pregnant and lost the baby I will need to hurt someone). Writers just love this trope - two CW shows ended with this one.

At least The Flash was mostly happy. The big secret is out and Joe got to meet his son and Iris her brother Wally. There is only that little issue of them setting up Harrison Wells as traitor. I think we are supposed to think - again - but my main pet peeve with this season is that they keep blaming Harrison Wells for what happened last season. But they never met real Harrison Wells. Not a single one of them. Just an impostor. Real Harrison Wells got the worst deal of them all. Not only he, and his fiancée, got murdered by Eobard Thawne. He also gets blamed for all that guy did. From devastating the city and creating metahumans to killing Barry's mum. And even the people who know he wasn't guilty blame him instead of at least trying to clear his name. Would it really be so hard to convince people a guy took over his face in a world full of people with superpowers (one of them actually even had that power)?

And now that I thought about it Agents of SHIELD also had a bad ending. I mean Fitz and Coulson are back but Will is dead, all the imprisoned Inhumans are dead and Lash and Maveth parasite are on the loose. HYDRA got everything they wanted and our heroes only managed not too die. Well, at least Ward is dead. That’s one good thing that came out of all of this.
ellestra: (anomander rake)
Sometime next year (probably end of Febuary in UK and end of May in US) a new Malazan book is coming out. Ian Cameron Esslemont's Dancer's Lament will take us back to the very beginnings of Malazan Empire - the meeting of Dancer and Kellanved.

It was once a land ravaged by war, minor city states, baronies and principates fight for supremacy, and then the rival cities of Tali and Quon formed an alliance and so Quon Tali came into being.

However that was generations ago, that dynasty has collapsed and the regional powers are now clawing at each others throats once more. But at the heart of Quon Tali lies the powerful city state of Li Heng which has for centuries enjoyed relative stability under the guidance of the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress”. She is not someone likely to tolerate the arrival of two particular young men into her domain: one is determined to prove he is the most skilled assassin of his age; the other is his quarry - a Dal Hon mage who is proving annoyingly difficult to kill. The sorceress and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions, so how could two such trouble-makers upset her iron-fisted rule?

And now, under a new and ambitious king, the forces of Itko Kan are marching on Li Heng from the south. His own assassins, the Nightblades, have been sent ahead into the city, and rumours abound that he has inhuman, nightmarish forces at his command. So as shadows and mistrust swirl and monstrous beasts that people say appear from nowhere, run rampage through Li Heng's streets, it seems chaos is come - but in chaos, as a certain young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity . . .
ellestra: (tiger)
I haven't done one of these in a while and now I have 2 of them - the fantasy awards.

Couple of weeks ago the 2015 British Fantasy Awards winners were announced at the awards banquet at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham:

Best anthology: Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue, ed. Christie Yant (Lightspeed Magazine)

Best artist: Karla Ortiz

Best collection: Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)

Best comic/graphic novel: Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

Best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award): Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Best film/television episode: Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Marvel Studios)

Best horror novel (the August Derleth Award): No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)

Best independent press: Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)

Best magazine/periodical: Holdfast Magazine, ed. Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee (Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee)

Best newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award): Sarah Lotz, for The Three (Hodder & Stoughton)

Best non-fiction: Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)

Best novella: Newspaper Heart, Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)

Best short story: A Woman’s Place, Emma Newman (Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets)

The Special Award (the Karl Edward Wagner Award): Juliet E. McKenna

I'm happy about Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue winning as I was one of the people crowdsourcing it. I also find it amusing that Guardians of Galaxy got the fantasy award. It plays well into that space fantasy label people argue about with films like Star Wars.

And today the winners of World Fantasy Award were announced

Winner: The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Random House; Sceptre)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway; Jo Fletcher)
Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy, Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
My Real Children, Jo Walton (Tor; Corsair)

Winner: We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)
Where the Trains Turn, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Translated by Liisa Rantalaiho (Tor.com 11/19/14)
Hollywood North, Michael Libling (F&SF 11-12/14)
The Mothers of Voorhisville, Mary Rickert (Tor.com 4/30/14)
Grand Jeté (The Great Leap), Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’14)
The Devil in America, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com, 4/2/14)

Short Fiction
Winner: Do You Like to Look at Monsters?, Scott Nicolay (Fedogan & Bremer)
I Can See Right Through You, Kelly Link, (McSweeney’s 48)
Death’s Door Café, Kaaron Warren (Shadows & Tall Trees 2014)
The Fisher Queen, Alyssa Wong (F&SF 5-6/14)

Winner: Monstrous Affections, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, ed. (Candlewick)
Fearful Symmetries, Ellen Datlow, ed. (ChiZine)
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Rose Fox & Daniel José Older, eds. (Crossed Genres)
Shadows & Tall Trees 2014, Michael Kelly, ed. (Undertow)
Rogues, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Bantam; Titan)

Winner: Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (ChiZine)
Winner: The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus)
Mercy and Other Stories, Rebecca Lloyd (Tartarus)
They Do the Same Things Different There, Robert Shearman (ChiZine)
Death at the Blue Elephant, Janeen Webb (Ticonderoga)

Winner: Samuel Araya
Galen Dara
Jeffrey Alan Love
Erik Mohr
John Picacio

Special Award – Professional
Winner: Sandra Kasturi & Brett Alexander Savory, for ChiZine Publications
John Joseph Adams, for editing anthologies and Nightmare and Fantasy magazines
Jeanne Cavelos, for Odyssey writing workshops
Gordon Van Gelder, for F&SF
Jerad Walters, for Centipede Press

Special Award – Nonprofessional
Winner: Ray B. Russell & Rosalie Parker, for Tartarus Press
Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Matt Cardin, for Born to Fear: Interviews with Thomas Ligotti (Subterranean)
Stefan Fergus, for Civilian Reader (civilianreader.wordpress.com)
Patrick Swenson, for Fairwood Press
ellestra: (anomander rake)
I walked a lot on Halloween and then it rained for the first 3 days of November (oscillating between rain and drizzle) and finally was mostly cloudy today with only late night drizzle. In other words exactly how I imagine November only warmer. But all of this combined with the time change made me want to sleep all day long (which I would if I didn't have to go to work . But today I saw sunshine for few moments today and it looks like we get summer for couple of days (tomorrow 26 oC) so I'm trying to at least write down the important things.

Because I am kind of excited. Underneath that sleepy thing. This is because of some films coming in 2017.

Luc Besson is making a Valerian and Laureline movie - Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It's based on the French science fiction comics series by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres about temporal agent Valerian and Laureline (name they made up but now it's pretty popular in France) who originally was peasant from middle ages but became an agent tooafter being rescued by Valerian. They travel through time and space and have a lot of adventures - the movie is to be based on two of them Bad Dreams and The Empire of a Thousand Planets. The series has really nice graphics and a lot of cool ideas. Some of them can be easily recognised by any Star Wars fans as the movies have some striking resemblances to the comics.

There is also a new The Witcher film coming. You probably don't know it but there was already a movie (and a TV series) based on the books in Poland (it's translated as The Hexer to make it more confusing*) but it wasn't very good. They tried to put together too many of short stories to make any coherent plot. This one is supposed to be based on only two of them - The Witcher and Lesser Evil which means no supporting characters from the books. The film will be produced by Sean Daniel Company (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The Expanse TV series and the upcoming remake of Ben-Hur) and Platige (polish computer praphics and advertising company behind Ambition and Witcher games animations) and will be directed by Tomasz Bagiński (who is also behind the intros of to the game and you can see his short movies in the tag).

*Well, it was Sapkowski's preferred translation but everyone else liked Witcher better and here we are.

And for something closer - there is an all female Ocean's Eleven film coming next year staring Sandra Bullock.

And a new trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass
ellestra: (anomander rake)
The second book in Steven Erikson's Kharkanas trilogy - Fall of Light coming out in April. Here's the cover and the blurb:

It is a bitter winter and civil war is ravaging Kurald Galain. Urusander’s Legion prepares to march on the city of Kharkanas. The rebels’ only opposition lies scattered and weakened - bereft of a leader since Anomander’s departure in search of his estranged brother. The remaining brother, Silchas Ruin, rules in his stead. He seeks to gather the Houseblades of the Highborn families to him and resurrect the Hust Legion in the southlands, but he is fast running out of time.

The officers and leaders of Urusander’s Legion, led by the ruthless Hunn Raal, want the Consort, Draconus, cast aside and their commander to marry Mother Dark and take his place at the side of the Living Goddess. But this union will be far more than simply political. A sorcerous power has claimed those opposing Mother Dark: given form by the exiled High Priestess Syntara, the Cult of Light rises in answer to Mother Dark and her Children.

Far to the west, an unlikely army has gathered, seeking an enemy without form, in a place none can find, and commanded by a Jaghut driven mad with grief. It seems Hood’s call has been heard, and the long-abandoned city of Omtose Phellack is now home to a rabble of new arrivals: Dog-Runners from the south, and Jheck warriors. From the Western Sea strange ships have grounded upon the harsh shore bearing blue-skinned strangers to offer Hood their swords. And from mountain fastnesses and isolated valleys of the North, Toblakai arrive to pledge themselves to Hood’s seemingly impossible war. Soon, they will set forth – or not at all – under the banners of the living. Soon, weapons will be drawn, with Death itself the enemy.

Beneath the chaos of such events, and spanning the realm and those countless other realms hidden behind its veil, magic now bleeds into the world. Unconstrained, mysterious and savage, the power that is the lifeblood of the Azathanai, K’rul, runs loose and wild - and following its scent, seeking the places of wounding and hurt where the sorcery rushes forth, entities both new and ancient are gathering . . . and they are eager to feed. Understanding at last what his gift of blood has unleashed, a weakened K’rul sets out, in the company of a lone guardian, to bring order to this newborn sorcery and in the name of order seeks its greatest avowed enemy…
ellestra: (winged)
Syfy announced the fate of the other two shows that just recently finished their seasons - Defiance and Dominion - and they are both dead. As I mentioned before Defiance had a great series ending. In fact it's hard to imagine how they would reset that if there was a next season so I'm OK with that. Dominion on the other hand left me angry and I kind of wish for a movie that would solve that but then I don't trust it to do it right. So I imagine it turned out Noma wasn't evil, Uriel is alive and was scheming with Rafael (her sister) and they took over Gabriel's army and they actually know what to do with Alex.

These two, of course are joining the other cancelled shows - the ones going through the soft death with one last season - Continuum, Haven, Lost Girl. It's nice that they have this ability to give the series an ending. It's a nice thing of Showcase and Syfy to do that for their shows. I would be sad but I have high hopes for the replacements - The Magicians, The Expanse, Hunters and The Childhood End mini are coming and the trailers look good.

In more happy news we now know that Under the Dome has been cancelled but now CBS announced it did the same thing for Extant. Luckily for us even Amazon money wasn't enough to save these two. Also cancelled - Rookie Blue (I used to like it a lot but it went downhill in the last season), Graceland (couldn't care enough to keep up with it) and Proof (nice characters, awful concept).

It also looks like Minority Report isn't long for our TV screens - the production has been halted. But it looks like Quantico and Blindspot are doing pretty well if you care. And proving once again that I know nothing about TV - Rosewood is getting full season pick-up.
ellestra: (big gun)
I liked Dominion this season much more than the last one but today's season finale left me pissed off.

They killed off Claire and turned Noma evil. While David and Risen are still alive. I was already about Uriel being killed off of screen. Now we only have Arika left and just as she and Claire became friends. I quit shows for shit like that. I give them an episode next season (if it happens) to explain themselves.

May 2016

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