Friday 26 April 2024

Alien bursts back on Alien Day

It's Alien Day officially celebrating all things xenomorph on LV-426.

The original Alien is back on the big screen and Alien: Romulus arrives in August.

Nick Smith, our resident US-based bug hunter, grabs an M41-A Pulse Rifle, flameflower and motion tracker. Stay frosty and watch out for dark corners...

Guest post by Nick Smith

In the caves, in the infancy of our race, we were warned by our parents to be cautious of the dark, venomous beasts that slithered and hissed in the night. One bite from a slug with teeth or a spray of acid blood from a horned lizard could incapacitate us, and spell our doom.

Now we are civilized, sophisticated, kings and queens of our concrete jungle. But the caution remains, the fear that one wrong turn in a dark alley will lead to an encounter with a harmful creature, something unfathomably alien.

H.R. Giger, along with director Ridley Scott and his team, tapped into these primal fears in the 1979 movie Alien, incorporating body horror, carnality, believable and likeable characters, and a lived-in environment.

James Cameron expanded the mythos in 1986 with Aliens, placing gung-ho action heroes in an untenable horror movie scenario. This double cinematic whammy contained enough richness and depth to resonate today, resulting in spin-offs in numerous media that don’t feel like soulless cash grabs worthy of the franchise’s fictional, heartless Weyland-Yutani Corporation.

The most-anticipated new part of this long-running saga is Alien: Romulus, directed by Fede Álvarez and starring Cailee Spaeny (Civil War and Pacific Rim: Uprising). Set between the first two classic films, Romulus is apparently a return to Alien’s roots; Álvarez’s track record (2013’s Evil Dead, Don’t Breathe) is impressively dark, tense, and creepy.

Filming of an FX TV series began in early 2024 in Bangkok; this earth-set drama has multiple seasons planned, focusing on corporate executives and their plans to exploit the xenomorphs. Fargo’s Noah Hawley is the creator and executive producer, and the cast includes Timothy Olyphant (The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett). While an Alien TV series was first proposed to ABC in 1980, this is the first small screen live-action iteration to reach production. The series should arrive on Hulu on Disney+ in 2025.

Marvel Comics has published consistently readable Alien mini-series over the past few years, including Thaw and Descendant. If you like your stories bleak and your characters ruthless, these are the comics for you. Just don’t get too attached to any of the heroes as they are graphically dispatched on the icy moon LV-695.

Aliens: What if…?, co-written by Paul Reiser (Stranger Things), wonders what would happen if Reiser’s slimy character Carter Burke survived the second movie, with entertaining results. There’s also Alien: Black, White & Blood, an experiment in minimalism that highlights the aliens’ horrible beauty.

Beauty or beasts, the xenomorphs will be around for years to come, lurking in ducting, stalking their way down shadowed metal corridors, always giving us something to scream about.

How are you celebrating Alien Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Nick Smith's new audiobook, Undead on Arrival, is available from Amazon (affiliate link).

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Playmates’ Power Rangers

Hasbro has previously inked co-branded deals with Mattel and McFarlane Toys. Now Playmates Toys is producing licensed Power Rangers products beginning in 2025.

“We are honored to work with Hasbro on the reimagination of this iconic franchise’s toy line for long-time fans and a new generation of children. Playmates and Hasbro speak the same toy language and share a passion for POWER RANGERS, a multi-generational phenomenon that has stood the test of time,” said Karl Aaronian, Playmates’ SVP of Marketing.

The fan-favourite live-action superhero franchise has been relatively dormant outside the adult collector market. In the early nineties, Power Rangers merchandise ruled toy aisles causing shopping chaos for families at Christmas.

"Playmates’ ability to interpret character-based storytelling in highly detailed, innovative, and affordable products has revitalized several iconic brands, they are the perfect fit to fully expand the POWER RANGERS franchise,” said Casey Collins, President of Licensed Consumer Products at Hasbro. “While we’ll continue to provide oversight and direction on future POWER RANGERS product ranges, Playmates will leverage its action figure and accessory design, development and marketing expertise to create an entirely new play and collecting experience for fans of all ages. With two powerhouse companies coming together to support a powerhouse brand, the potential is limitless!”

Are you looking forward to Playmates' Power Rangers? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 21 April 2024

For All Mankind spin-off Star City

For All Mankind, an alternate reality sci-fi series created by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), has been renewed for a fifth season and a spin-off series has been announced.

Star City.

“Our fascination with the Soviet space program has grown with every season of ‘For All Mankind,’” said executive producers Wolpert and Nedivi. “The more we learned about this secret city in the forests outside Moscow where the Soviet cosmonauts and engineers worked and lived, the more we wanted to tell this story of the other side of the space race. We could not be more excited to continue building out the alternate history universe of ‘For All Mankind’ with our partners at Apple and Sony.”

Read the description of Star City:

"A robust expansion of the “For All Mankind” universe, “Star City” is a propulsive, paranoid thriller that takes us back to the key moment in the alt-history retelling of the space race — when the Soviet Union became the first nation to put a man on the moon. But this time, we explore the story from behind the Iron Curtain, showing the lives of the cosmonauts, the engineers and the intelligence officers embedded among them in the Soviet space program, and the risks they all took to propel humanity forward."

The first four seasons of For All Mankind are now available to stream on Apple TV+.

Are you watching For All Mankind? Are you looking forward to Star City? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 19 April 2024

Fallout renewed

Fallout is a spectacular success on Prime Video. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi series has been renewed for a second season.


Fallout was originally announced in 2020 during the pandemic and has exceeded all expectations.

The live-action adaptation of Bethesda's video game franchise from the showrunners of Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, is prestige television on par with HBO's The Last of Us. Like The Last of Us, viewers do not have to have prior knowledge of the Fallout games, but fans (myself included) can have fun spotting all the Easter eggs. The amazing Ella Purnell (Lucy MacLean) looks like a live-action Battle Angel Alita!

However, unlike The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, all episodes of Fallout dropped on Prime Video on 11th April. I refuse to binge-watch and wish to savour the story weekly. This is an era of curated content and it's great that audiences can decide on how and when they consume media.

In related news. Following the release of the Fallout live-action series, Fallout 4 is the best-selling video game in Europe. I haven’t played Fallout 4 since the heyday of the PlayStation 4 (PS4). Somehow Codsworth, a robot butler, was MIA in the wasteland and my character, named Sarah Jane Smith in homage to the fan-favourite Doctor Who companion, failed to find him in shades of losing Lydia in Skyrim. Fallout 4 is getting a next-gen update next week and I’ll begin a new playthrough on Xbox Game Pass.

Fallout is streaming exclusively on Prime Video (affiliate link).

Have you watched Fallout on Prime Video? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 18 April 2024

Transformers One is an origin story

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Transformers. To celebrate, Paramount Pictures has released an official trailer for Transformers One.

Read the official synopsis:

"TRANSFORMERS ONE is the untold origin story of Optimus Prime and Megatron, better known as sworn enemies, but once were friends bonded like brothers who changed the fate of Cybertron forever."

In the first-ever fully CG-animated Transformers movie, Transformers One features a star-studded voice cast, including Chris Hemsworth (Orion Pax), Brian Tyree Henry (D-16), Scarlett Johansson (Elita-1), Keegan-Michael Key (B-127), Steve Buscemi with Laurence Fishburne and Jon Hamm.

In 1986, Transformers: The Movie traumatised a generation of fans (myself included) with the death of Optimus Prime. Will history repeat itself in Transformers One?

Transformers One is only in cinemas on 20th September.

What did you think of the trailer? Are you looking forward to Transformers One? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Alien returns to cinemas on Alien Day

Alien: Romulus bursts onto the big screen this August and the groundbreaking original Alien, the first sci-fi movie to traumatise me as a child on home video, returns on Alien Day.

Read the official synopsis:

"One of the most influential sci-fi/horror films of all time, “Alien,” which was released in June 1979 and won an Oscar® for best visual effects, stars Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Yaphet Kotto. It is the terrifying tale of a crew aboard a commercial spacecraft that lands on an alien planet to investigate a mysterious transmission of unknown origin and encounters the deadliest lifeform in the universe. “Alien” is directed by Ridley Scott, with a screenplay by Dan O’Bannon and a story by Ronald Shusett, and the producers are Gordon Carroll, David Giler, and Walter Hill."

Alien is back in cinemas to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Sir Ridley Scott's masterpiece on 26th April.

Will you be seeing Alien on the big screen? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 16 April 2024

LEGO Star Wars Day

LEGO Star Wars celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and there are exciting new sets for May the Fourth.

“May the 4th be with all LEGO Star Wars fans! We are excited to continue our 25th anniversary celebration with an exciting line-up of new sets, events, and experiences for fans to enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing how fans choose to celebrate all things LEGO Star Wars on this iconic day around the world,” said Mike Ilacqua, Head of Product, LEGO Star Wars products at the LEGO Group.

A new LEGO Star Wars UCS TIE Interceptor has been announced for fans (myself included) to recreate the Battle of Endor from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

“Finally making the UCS TIE Interceptor again after so many years was so exciting for me," said Henrik Andersen, design master at the LEGO Group. "Compared to the last time I designed [it], I was now able to create a close-to-perfect replica of the movie prop. It's always been one of my favourite Star Wars ships.”

Throughout 2024, the LEGO Star Wars team plans to celebrate with fans front and centre of it all.

LEGO Star Wars content is coming to LEGO Fortnite.

There's still time to submit an entry to the LEGO Star Wars 25-second film festival.

From May 1st to 5th, LEGO Star Wars fans will receive all three gift with purchases when purchasing the new LEGO Star Wars TIE Interceptor: including the Battle of Yavin collectable depicting Darth Vader’s cockpit view, the Trade Federation Troop Carrier set commemorating the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and the AAT building set while stocks last.

Discover LEGO Star Wars on LEGO AU, CA, UK and US (affiliate links).

What are your favourite LEGO Star Wars sets from the past 25 years? How will you be celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 14 April 2024

Dark Matter on Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is home to prestige sci-fi series and Dark Matter is the latest adaptation on the Cupertino-based tech titan's streamer.

Read the official synopsis:

"Hailed as one of the best sci-fi novels of the decade, “Dark Matter” is a story about the road not taken. The series will follow Jason Dessen (played by Joel Edgerton), a physicist, professor and family man who — one night while walking home on the streets of Chicago — is abducted into an alternate version of his life. Wonder quickly turns to nightmare when he tries to return to his reality amid the mind-bending landscape of lives he could have lived. In this labyrinth of realities, he embarks on a harrowing journey to get back to his true family and save them from the most terrifying, unbeatable foe imaginable: himself."

The sci-fi thriller stars Joel Edgerton (Star Wars) and Oscar-winner Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind). Like His Dark Materials, the multiverse theme profoundly resonates. What if I hadn't had a life-changing head injury in primary school, what if I hadn't survived?

Dark Matter is exclusively on Apple TV+ on 8th May.

Are you looking forward to Dark Matter on Apple TV+? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Star Wars Outlaws this August

Ubisoft has released an official story trailer for Star Wars Outlaws.

The upcoming single-player open-world Star Wars video game from Massive Entertainment, set between Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, will be released on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and PC on 30th August.

As much as I'm excited about Star Wars Outlaws, Ubisoft's strategy of paywalling content behind season passes means I won't be playing on day one. As with the excellent Assassin's Creed Odyssey, I'll wait for a post-launch sale.

Pre-order Star Wars Outlaws from Amazon (affiliate link).

Are you looking forward to Star Wars Outlaws? What are your thoughts on the story trailer? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday 6 April 2024

The world of Fallout

All episodes of Fallout, the live-action adaptation of Bethesda's video game franchise from the showrunners of Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, drop next week on Amazon Prime.

Read the official synopsis:

"A nuclear war breaks out across Earth in the year 2077—an era of robots, hover cars, and a deep and abiding nostalgia for the America of the 1940s. After the incendiary mushroom clouds, the story flashes forward 219 years. How did humanity fair over those blighted two centuries? Lucy (played by Yellowjackets star Ella Purnell) has no clue. She has lived her entire life inside a subterranean vault, where every need and want has been satisfied while generations and generations await the day when it is safe to surface. When a crisis forces Lucy to venture above on a rescue mission, she finds that the planet above remains a hellscape crawling with giant insects, voracious mutant animal abominations, and a human population of sunbaked miscreants."

Fallout premieres exclusively on Prime Video (affiliate link) on 11th April.

Are you looking forward to Fallout on Prime Video? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire

Long live the Empire.

Lucasfilm has dropped an official trailer for Star Wars: Tales of the Empire, a companion piece to Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, on Disney+.

Read the official synopsis:

"Star Wars: Tales of the Empire is a six-episode journey into the fearsome Galactic Empire through the eyes of two warriors on divergent paths, set during different eras. After losing everything, young Morgan Elsbeth navigates the expanding Imperial world toward a path of vengeance, while former Jedi Barriss Offee does what she must to survive a rapidly changing galaxy. The choices they make will define their destinies."

The talented voice cast includes Diana Lee Inosanto (Morgan Elsbeth), Meredith Salenger (Barriss Offee), Rya Kihlstedt (Lyn aka Fourth Sister), Wing T. Chao (Wing), Lars Mikkelsen (Thrawn), Jason Isaacs (Grand Inquisitor) and Matthew Wood (General Grievous).

Dave Filoni (Star Wars Rebels) created the series and is the supervising director. He is also an executive producer along with Athena Yvette Portillo and Carrie Beck. Josh Rimes serves as co-executive producer and Alex Spotswood is the senior producer.

Star Wars: Tales of the Empire launches exclusively on Disney+ on Star Wars Day, 4th May, with all six episodes.

What did you think of the trailer? Are you looking forward to Star Wars: Tales of the Empire on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 1 April 2024

Doctor Who trailer on Easter Sunday

A second trailer for Doctor Who season one dropped on Easter Sunday.

Season one episode titles were announced:

Space Babies
The Devil’s Chord
73 Yards
Dot and Bubble
The Legend of Ruby Sunday
Empire of Death

Doctor Who season one premieres 11th May on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and 10th May on Disney+ outside the UK and Ireland.

What did you think of the trailer? Are you looking forward to season one of Doctor Who? Let me know in the comments below.