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Strange Worlds Travelogue
49 minutes | Dec 24, 2014
Show 017 — Bring on the Lens Flare!
We're not ready for the shiny new Star Wars movies as presented by Backup Geek God J.J. Abrams*. Now that Disney has control of the franchise and has cast off the three decades of history and lore, we can start anew with....what, exactly? What can we expect from the Disney/Abrams team? Tania and I kick around that question, plus a few others (such as: "Star Wars: Forcenado": best title or BESTEST title?). And mind you all, we recorded this show before the release of the trailer, so we didn't know about the fridge-shaped speeder and the rolly-ball droid. We probably have even more questions now. But before all that, we had to talk about how humanity landed a spacecraft on an asteroid just as surely as we would have bulls-eyed a womp rat back home. Philae is a truly remarkable achievement by any reasonable measure and we took a few minutes to rave appropriately. If you're not into that, at least tune in to make fun of my pronunciation of Philae. Since this is the show released before Christmas, not that we knew that for sure when we recorded it, Merry Christmas everyone! May your Wookiee's get all the combs they want.*** *The One True Geek God, presently, is Joss Whedon. At some point, either Whedon or Abrams, or perhaps Nathan Fillion, will ascend as the Geek Archetype.** Then, a new religion will spring forth, if it hasn't already. **What? I'm the only one who's played Unknown Armies? ***Surely you get that one. If not, Google "What Do You Get a Wookiee for Christmas".
48 minutes | Dec 10, 2014
Show 016 — Let there be BRAAAAAWWWWWWM!
They very first thing you notice about Star Wars is the music. It thunders at you from the very first chord, sets you up for the amazing "flyover" scene in the opening shot, announces Darth Vader's unforgettable entrance, and tugs at your heart as Luke stands before the setting of the twin suns on Tatooine. John Williams' score is what set the hook for me and made me a constant lover of science-fiction. Since then, I've watched perhaps hundreds of sci-fi and fantasy movies and fallen in love with their soundtracks and composers more often than not. John Williams was the first to win my teenage admiration, but beside him I put Queen and Toto, Jerry Goldsmith and Craig Safan, Danny Elfman and Bear McCreary. It didn't hurt that I'm a musician myself. I love music and a well-done soundtrack will turn a good movie great (hello, The Shadow, I'm looking your way). On the other hand, music can be overdone. Or a particular sound. A particularly loud sound. A particularly loud sound that seems to be in every movie trailer released in the past few years, whether the sound is actually appropriate or not. I kid you not, I'm sure I heard this particular sound in a trailer for a rom-com. I wish I had written down which one, so I'd remember the title right now. We have a couple surprises for you in this episode, which we hope will delight you. They sure as heck delighted us. Oh, for those of you who asked about the special guest in the last show, his name is spelled Glaggznorp. At least that's how I wrote it when he showed up. I'm pretty sure he'll show up again at some point, as will the Strange Worlds Travel Symphony Orchestra. (Photo Credit: Matrixsynth.com and before you ask, yes, I did own this album. I own it right now in digital form.)
50 minutes | Nov 20, 2014
Show 015 — Got a Few Minutes for a Good Short Story?
Remember in the post for the last show when I gave you a little homework? How'd you do? Did you find a good story or three in that list of links? Well, if you didn't get to watch the stories linked in the last post here's the list again. Take a few minutes and watch a couple or three of them, then listen to the show! Here’s the list! AirLords of Airia LOOM Azarkant Souvenir H.A.V.E.N. Tempus Mis-Drop Closer Seed Star Trek Continues SMPMike brought most of these to our attention and there are some fantastic videos there. There are also a couple that aren't quite as good, but which are amazing technical feats pulled off by solo filmmakers who don't have long Hollywood pedigrees or a well-funded studio to back their efforts. You may see some of the folks again if their work gets the attention of the right people, or just the attention of enough people willing to fund their work. Who knows? Maybe you could be that person.
48 minutes | Oct 24, 2014
Show 014 — How About a Good, Adaptable Book? (Also, Homework!)
There are risks, as we discuss in this episode, to a movie adaptation of a book you love. On one hand, you get to see your book realized on the big or small screen (such as The Stand or the Lord of the Rings trilogy). On the other hand, if the adaptation is bad, there's a good chance that will be the only one you ever get (as in Starship Troopers, or The Hobbit "trilogy). A movie or television adaptation of a beloved book is a crapshoot. On the gripping hand, I think most of us would rather see our favorite stories adapted to the various screens than not, despite the risk. Did I mention Tania was back? She's back with a tale or two or her heroic mission, into which we delve briefly. After that, though, we talked about some of our favorite adaptations and some movies that you might not have known were adapted from stories (Hello, Mr. Dick!). As with everything in the sci-fi world, we find some good, some bad, and some tentacular horrors from beyond space and time that will devour your sanity and leave you a drooling husk. Does that tantalize? How about a second half full of dreams and wishes for stories not yet adapted? James S.A. Corey is there (are there?) as a coming feature as is show favorite Jim Butcher. What other wonderful stories have we envisioned? Come and listen, then leave us your thoughts right here in the comments! We left a lot on the table. (Photo Credit: Timothy Anderson, whose original art you can buy right here) But wait, there's one more thing for you to do! Our next show will be about short sci-fi films made (mostly) by amateurs. We're going to discuss a few of our favorites, off a list compiled by SMPMike, and we thought it a cool idea if you watched the films before the show. That way, you'll know what we're talking about and can add your own ideas in the comments as you listen along, instead of having to go back and watch the movies after the fact. Also, we'll avoid that whole unpleasant spoiler business. Sound good? Good. Here's the list! AirLords of Airia LOOM Azarkant Souvenir H.A.V.E.N. Tempus Mis-Drop Closer Seed Star Trek Continues Most of these are less than 20 minutes long, which makes them eminently watchable if you're waiting somewhere in line (with headphones, of course. Politeness counts!) or only have a few minutes to consume some interesting goodness. See you next show!
46 minutes | Oct 10, 2014
Show 013 — I Have a World All To Myself…
As I mentioned in the show, Tania was away for this episode. I can't say for sure she was saving the universe, but she returned with a medal, so that's a pretty safe bet. Anyhow, I was on my own and, as usual, a Jimmie alone means a Jimmie just a little bit goofy. It's been a while since I handled a show all by myself, could you tell? This week, the Travelogue takes us into the intersection of horror and sci-fi, which turns out to be a rather large intersection. I was a bit surprised by how often the two genres merge, and what good stories you can tell by throwing the unknown of horror into the unknown of science-fiction. In fact, I'd be willing to bet "the unknown" is what makes both genres such good companions. On one hand, sci-fi gives us stories of conquering the unknown but on the other, horror gives us stories of the unknown conquering us. When you blend the two, you throw everyone a curve ball. Who knows how the conquering will go down? And that may be why fantasy and horror have so rarely mixed. Generally, the fantasy genre takes the known and mixes it into occasionally unexpected ways. Most often, though, fantasy is a blend of history and tropes we already know. Horror has little purchase in a genre of mostly-knowns. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
50 minutes | Sep 25, 2014
Show 012 — Sequel or No Sequel!
If it seems we talk a lot about sequels on the Strange Worlds Travelogue, that's only because we do. Hollywood has embraced the sequel as a sure way to make a giant truckload of cash and, it seems to us at least, every studio wants a franchise around which to hang three or four summer blockbusters. That doesn't mean every movie which could get a sequel should get a sequel, as those of us who still drink to blot out the memory of "Highlander II: The What the Hell is Going on Here" can attest. On the other hand, sequels aren't by themselves a bad thing. Some movies might just lend themselves to a sequel quite nicely. Our intention this week was to flip the theme of Show 010 and talk about movies that could probably handle a good sequel. Instead, we created a new game: Sequel or No Sequel! We coaxed SMPMike from behind his Mighty Board of Production and to a microphone, from where he lobbed a few movie titles at us. We played Studio Honcho and decided, on the spot, whether we'd green-light a sequel or not. Unfortunately, we forgot to score the game or come up with any rules, so you'll have to decide who won. I think I did. What do you think? Remember, you can get the show on iTunes or Stitcher Radio on Demand. We'd love if you rated us at either place and shared the links with your friends. One final note. Our plan, as I've written a couple times, was to settle into a regular bi-weekly schedule so you could mark us down on your calendars or set reminders to listen. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has not exactly cooperated over the last couple months. A regular schedule is still part of our plan and life is settling down for each of us, so that regularity should soon commence. Please continue to bear with us!
47 minutes | Aug 20, 2014
Show 011 — The Newbie’s Guide to Doctor Who!
Doctor Who is, in my opinion, the cornerstone science fiction television show. I, like a lot of its current fans, came to it late when the BBC brought it back from its 16-year hiatus. Christopher Eccleston is my Doctor and if you don't know what that means, this episode of the Travelogue will get you a long way toward understanding. We geared this whole show for those of you who don't know much about Doctor Who, and especially for those of you who've never seen the show before. The first half of the show is explanation and the second is recommendation. We couldn't possibly introduce you to all the wonders of a show that's run for 36 seasons in 45 minutes, so we served up the basics and hope very much you will dive into those wonders yourself. You can begin with the episodes -- some of our favorites -- we talk about in the second half and explore further from there. No matter how you come to Doctor Who, we hope you'll come to like it as much as Tania and I do. Heck, if you like it even half as much, that's an awful lot of like. Any show would be proud of that much like. (Photo Credit: ComicBookCovers on Tumblr)
47 minutes | Aug 13, 2014
Show 010 — Time-Travel, Romance, and DON’T SEQUELIZE ALL THE THINGS!
What is it about time-travel movies that scream "love story"? That's a question into which Tania and I stumbled while talking about time-travel movies and television shows we like. Somewhere in Time, About Time, The Time-Traveler's Wife, and the new Outlander series are all essentially love stories wrapped up in a time-travel shell. We have seen good time-travel adventures (the Back to the Future series and Sliders are good examples) but romance seems to dominate this particular section of the sci-fi world. That's not a bad thing, by the way. As I said in the show, if a good story brings people to sci-fi that wouldn't get there another way, and gives them a real to explore the genre more, I'm happy. The more sci-fi fans, the better. What do you all think? Sound off in the comments! We started something in the second half that we'll continue in Show 12, two shows after this one. Why the interruption? Why, because our next show will be entirely dedicated to introducing you to the Doctor Who universe (the Whoniverse? Nah.). The new season, with a brand-new Doctor, premieres on August 23rd on BBC America, and we want to give the curious a little leg up on who The Doctor is and what the hoopla is all about. That show will land next week, so be ready! This week, however, we returned to the subject of sequels and discussed which well-loved movies should not get a sequel, for whatever reason. Sometimes a movie simply stands on its own. Sometimes the movie is so dreadful that we're better off forgetting it ever existed. Sometimes a movie ought to have a sequel but was written in such a way that a sequel would be impossible without a ridiculous amount of retconning and rewriting. Come play along with us and be sure to come back in a couple shows when we flip the question and talk about movies that didn't get sequels that probably should have. (Photo Credit: Comicvine)
46 minutes | Aug 7, 2014
Show 009 — Stop Making it Hard for Us to Love You!
There are a few recurring themes at the Strange Worlds Travelogue, like holodecks and Benedict Cumberbatch. None can wind either of us up, though, quite as much as the habit televisions networks have of killing science-fiction shows before they have a chance to develop. We returned to that topic and gave it a good airing-out, especially in the second half, yet somehow we didn't mention Firefly or The Dresden Files (Why, SyFy...WHYYYYYYYYY?!). Not to worry, we have a couple other shows in mind, along with a hand full of other network tricks that irk us. Before that, though, we celebrate a couple things the networks, especially the cable nets, are doing right. There will be angels and naval ships, plagues and aliens. I want to be clear, here. Television can still do science fiction very well when it wants to; that is, when the writers stay on task, the director focuses on the characters and what drives them, the network doesn't get all wobbly halfway into the first season when the ratings aren't sky-high, and when the scheduling minions keep the show in one place for a year. We don't often get all those things in the same show, which makes being a sci-fi television fan such a frustrating experience. Perhaps this year, at long last, we have a small basket of good shows that will stick around longer than your average snowball on the sunward side of Mercury. We'll see. I'm still bitter about Dresden. At least the books are still fantastic. (Photo Credit: Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool)
47 minutes | Jul 30, 2014
Show 008 — Does Tania Dream of Electronic Cumberbatch?
*sigh* Remember all that stuff I wrote about the last show and timeliness and schedules and stuff? Well, the universe decided to laugh loudly and throw some rather large events in our path. I had a family crisis that took me out of town for most of July and Tania's computer bit the wax tadpole. We lost two weeks of planning and posting and one week of show recording. Fortunately, we were able to make up a significant chunk of real estate in the past week and, once I tack down a coupel small thing, we'll be back on a regular schedule next week. Unless the universe decided to be disagreeable again. Tania is the show's Futurist. She loves new tech and gets very giddy about all the things she can do with all the new gadgets she sees. Many of those things involve Benedict Cumberbatch and fine liquors, but still, excitement is good! We got into a few of the new things coming down the Wicked Cool Invention Pipeline and imagined how they might work in our House of Tomorrow. More movie news in the second half as I get a little giddy myself over the coming celebration of a famous movie birthday and the impending arrival of a shark-related weather system. Seriously, I can't get enough of the combined efforts of The Asylum and SyFy to deliver a constant supply of delightfully cheesy movies. Sharknado? Please! Sharknado 2? YES! ALL THE -NADOS!! Here is Show 008. Please, if you find the show as wonderful as we do, share it with your friends as you please, including (but not limited to) Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, tight-beam transmission, droid-smuggling, inter-cranial memory chip, infectious touch, mind-meld, or brain slug.
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