Just Like Grandma Used to Replicate!

Back in April of 2008, a bunch of friends and I started the Sci-Fi Cast. It was designed to be a podcast where we could get together and chat about geeky stuff like Battlestar Galactica and science fiction in general. Now a year later, the Sci-Fi Cast is going strong, although the same cannot be said for BSG.

In recording our podcast over this past year, I’ve found that are most interesting and funny episodes are the ones where we pick a topic and just discuss it. These are the times when our geeky brains float unfettered in the deep reaches of sci-fi space. Episodes like 13.5 where Dave and I discussed the age-old question of Kirk vs. Picard, or episode 22.5 where Jen, Dave & I picked our most over and underrated sci-fi movies.

I’m happy to report that our latest recording is just such a journey. In episode 27 we talk about our favorite science fiction technology, how we’d use it in our day-to-day lives and the potential pitfalls that would crop up. I have to say it’s one of our funnier outings and I think you’ll really enjoy it. If you love sci-fi, then beam on over and check out episode 27 of the Sci-Fi Cast today.

PS – Don’t forget to nominate your favorite moments of Battlestar Galactica for our “Toastie Awards” which we’ll be recording this coming Tuesday. Time is running out and we need your help. Thanks!

The End of Galactica

I’ve been an avid fan of Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica for over four years, and with good reason. I consider BSG to be one of, if not the best weekly dramatic show on television. I’ve also spent the last year picking apart season 4 with my good friends Dave Caolo and Jen Segrest over at The Sci-Fi Cast. But after watching the first part of the finale last night, I’m starting to have my doubts that the show will end how it has lived. If you’ve watched Daybreak Pt.1 of Battlestar Galactica and are interested to know why I’m worried, then head on over to my post – “Walk with the Prophets, Ronald D. Moore” at The Sci-Fi Cast and check it out.

We’re Huge In Germany

Another week of Battlestar Galactica and so I’m please to present another episode of The Sci-Fi Cast for your enjoyment. This time around Jen, Dave and I discuss the week’s sci-fi news and of course episode 15 of BSG, The Oath. Along the way we learn Jen’s theory of how the new Star Trek movie relates to Muppet Babies, hear a pretty decent Adama impersonation from yours truly and vie for the love and affection of irony loving Germans everywhere. Head on over to The Sci-Fi Cast and check out episode 19 today. As always, the podcast contains major spoilers for the series, so just remember, you’ve been warned. Enjoy!

Frak You, Sci-Fi Channel

Just sent this off to The Sci-Fi Channel. I encourage you to do the same at feedback@scifi.com:

•••

As I’m sure you are aware, my favorite show on TV, Battlestar Galactica will be ending in just seven short episodes. After making me wait almost a year between the first half and the second half of season 4, you are once again demonstrating your utter disrespect for fans of this incredible series.

I have no idea why you insist on destroying the drama the series works tirelessly to build each week, but you do. For some reason, you insist on adding spoiler-filled previews directly at the end of each week’s episode before I even get a chance to change the channel or turn off my TV.

This week’s episode, “The Oath” was possibly one of the best in the entire run of BSG and yet you and your network slug-heads seem to need to pander to non-fans of the series by packing as much plot spoiling information into the 15 second previews as possible. Why?

I beg you, for Galactica fans everywhere, stop it. We don’t need to be teased to tune in next week. There are only 7 episodes left. We’ll be there anyway. Here, at the end, just once give us the respect we deserve and smarten up about next week’s previews. So say we all.

Ged Maheux
Galactica Junkie and Sci-Fi Geek

Oh My!

We’re back in the space saddle again this week with another installment of The Sci-Fi Cast. This time around we discuss the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica – “Sometimes A Great Notion” with Dave, Jen and a very special guest, my friend from the Iconfactory, Corey Marion. We discuss BSG, the latest sci-fi celebrities to join Twitter and find out just how good Dave’s George Takei impression really is. If you’re all caught up on season 4 of Battlestar Galactica and have about 20 minutes to kill, then head on over and catch episode 17 of The Sci-Fi Cast today. The podcast contains major spoilers for the series, so just remember, you’ve been warned. Enjoy!

For the Geek Who Has Everything

While I was surfing around looking for some last minute Christmas presents, I came across a little piece of Star Trek heaven. This new Seven of Nine 7″ figure, sculpted by Rudy Garcia is just one in a set but it’s a pretty good likeness and who wouldn’t want a little Seven on their desk? The clincher however is the incredible marketing text that accompanies the item:

“Seven of Nine’s grimly pallid countenance is moderately contradicted by the voluptuousness with which she occupies her form-fitting sculptured chassis.”

Sold and sold! I think “form-fitting sculptured chassis” is the most elaborate way I’ve ever heard someone say “nice rack!”. If you have a Trek fan on your Christmas list, this might be just the thing the holographic doctor ordered. Then again at this late stage in the game you’ll probably need a temporal anomaly to get it to your doorstep on time. Oh well, there’s always next year!

Enhance Section 324!

Want to know a sure-fire way to get three geeks all hot and bothered faster than warp 9.5? Easy, just ask them what specious scientific principals are abused most often by sci-fi authors! Dave, Jen and I tackle this topic whole-heartedly in Episode 15 of The Sci-Fi Cast and the results are funny indeed. We also review the week’s news including a nerdy discussion of the new Enterprise, the latest rumors about Doctor Who and just why you have to be naked to travel through time. Head on over to The Sci-Fi Cast and check out episode 15 today!

Bidi-bidi-bidi, Sucka!

Since Dave and I had so much fun theorizing about Kirk vs. Picard in last week’s episode, and the ladies were not available this week, we decided to go all-out geek this time around. Episode 14 of The Sci-Fi Cast is a rapid fire discussion of classic science fiction “Versus!” scenarios including such timeless classics as Twiki vs. Bender and the Borg vs. Aliens. I’m not ashamed to say that if you are a geek like we are, then this is your episode. I can practically hear the imaginary phasers getting set to stun right now! Any sci-fi nut will really have fun with this one so don’t miss it. Head on over to The Sci-Fi Cast and check out episode 14 today!

TV’s Chicken & The Egg

Last week IO9 reported that rumors of the death of FOX’s Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles were greatly exaggerated. Don’t watch The Sarah Connor Chronicles? That’s okay, neither do I. I know nothing about the show, who stars in it or even what it’s about other than it has something to do with the Terminator movies and Wil Wheaton auditioned for a small part. I know that last bit because I used to follow him on Twitter. I stopped because he never, ever responded to any of the @replies I sent him (and I sent him a few). Seems to me you could at least try and answer your fans every now and then Wil. Where was I? Oh yeah, I don’t watch the SC Chronicles.

I also I didn’t watch FOX’s much-hyped “Drive”, or the X-Files rip-off Fringe, nor the lame-ass Sci-Fi Channel remake of Flash Gordon. I’m a total science fiction fan and these shows are made for geeks like me, so why didn’t I watch these shows? The answer is simple. I didn’t want to get hooked because I knew they had about as much of a chance of surviving as a Red Shirt on a routine away mission. Ratings for Fringe are nowhere near what FOX wants, Drive lasted a grand total of 2 episodes and Flash Gordon got cancelled after one season. And although IO9 reports that T:SCC has another 13 episodes coming, somehow I don’t believe it anymore than I believe Knight Rider will survive to make its first turbo jump.

So herein lies the problem. Viewers don’t want to emotionally invest in shows they don’t think will last. But if no one tunes in, then nothing ever becomes successful enough to survive and flourish. I didn’t watch the first season of Heroes partly because I thought it was all hype. Of course the hype was deserved and season one became a mega-hit. When the DVD’s were released, I plunged in and enjoyed season 1 from start to finish. Sadly, season 2 was a waste and I’m starting to get a sinking feeling about season 3 as well.

Given the fact that science fiction shows usually have life spans of Tribbles instead of Trills, how do you as the viewer, decide which series get your attention? I never watched Firefly when it aired, but fans often tell me that it was one of the best sci-fi shows on television. Despite the piss-poor treatment FOX gave it at the time, they say it was well worth the abrupt cancellation to enjoy the few episodes that aired. I find this very difficult to believe.

Often, the fatal flaw for these series are networks that disintegrate them before they have a chance to develop and grow their core audience. What TV shows have you passed on for fear of having the remote snatched away? There’s no guarantee, for example, that the historic ratings success of Battlestar Galactica will translate to the new spin-off series Caprica. But if I know the Sci-Fi Channel, viewers may not even get a chance to set a season pass for Caprica before it’s blasted out the nearest airlock. A note to trigger-happy network executives: if shows like Sarah Connor or Caprica are to earn a place on my TiVo, you have to learn to say “I’ll be back”, and not “Hasta la vista, baby.”

Geeky Pastimes

Sometimes you have to take a break from the big stuff and just enjoy the little things in life. For me, one of the things that gives me pleasure is spotting flubs in television and movies. Called continuity errors, they are gaffes made by the filmmakers that are antithetical to the story or the staging. Today I spotted one such error in one of my all-time favorite episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Take Me Out To the Holosuite.

In the episode, the crew of Deep Space Nine is challenged to an old-fashion baseball game by a group of smug Vulcans. Captain Sisko spends two weeks getting his fellow crew members up-to-snuff on the Great American Pastime. At one point we see Colonel Kira coming off the field and her jersey reads “Kira”. But a little later in the episode, her jersey magically changes to read “Nerys” (her birth name) and remains this way for the rest of the episode.

Like any die-hard Trekkie (yes, I’m a Trekkie, not a Trekker) I’m more interested in why this costuming error occurred in the first place. All the other Niners with surnames and birth names have their surname embroidered on their DS9 baseball jersey. Captain Sisko’s is “B. Sisko” as opposed to “J.Sisko” which we see on Jake’s back. Doctor Bashir’s is simply “Bashir” as you would expect. But in the Star Trek universe, Bajorans traditionally list their family name first, then their birth name (like Asian cultures). So although Kira’s character is called “Kira Nerys“, Nerys is really her first name and Kira is her family name.

Given this, which jersey in the episode is the wrong one? It seems to me that the character should indeed be wearing the “Kira” jersey, and not “Nerys” that she wears for the majority of the game. Then again, they are in an informal setting and so she might have opted to use Nerys among friends. Memory Beta, one of the numerous Trek Wikis simply says “In a costuming error, Kira’s uniform says “Kira” early in the game, and “Nerys” later.” but it doesn’t explain which is which.

Strangely enough, this is the kind of question that geeks like myself can spend all day debating, so if you’re a Star Trek fan, I’d love to know which name you think should be on Kira’s uniform. And if you happen to think this entire post was a waste of time, I know some friendly folks that are dying to meet you.

Less invasions, more equations!

Back in March I wrote about the latest direct to DVD feature for Futurama, The Beast With A Billion Backs and said I couldn’t wait to see it. My how time flies! Beast came out last week and unlike Bender’s Big Score, this time Fry and gang didn’t disappoint. Dave Caolo and I had a literal ball researching this week’s episode of the Sci-Fi Cast as we watched Beast and then got together for an auditory Futurama fan fest. We cover the new film as well as our favorite moments from the TV series with a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure. If you love Futurama, then don’t miss Beast With A Billion Backs, and once you’ve watched it, be sure to tune into episode 12 of the Sci-Fi Cast. You’ll neither rue, nor lament it!

“The Prisoner” Returns

Wonderful news for sci-fi fans today as the Guardian reports that Ian McKellen has signed on to star in a remake of one of my all-time favorite TV shows – The Prisoner. Opposite McKellen in the leading role made famous by Patrick McGoohan, is Jim Caviezel of The Thin Red Line. Both Caviezel and McKellen will star in all six (no pun intended) episodes of the mini series that tells the tale of a kidnapped British spy trapped in a mysterious place known as The Village.

The enigmatic series originally aired in the UK the 1960′s and instantly became a cult hit. The show employed clever dramatic devices and an intricate plot arcs that were the forerunners of shows like Lost and Twin Peaks. Says writer Bill Gallagher of the new series:

“will reflect 21st century concerns and anxieties, such as liberty, security and surveillance, yet also showcase the same key elements of paranoia, tense action and socio-political commentary seen in McGoohan’s enigmatic original”.

With such big name stars as Ian McKellen, I have high hopes that this new remake of The Prisoner can recapture some of the mystery and surreal qualities of the original. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before the series is shipped to the states. The Guardian piece says The Prisoner will air on AMC, which is fine by me, as long as it’s just not the Sci-Fi Channel.

I Miss MST3K

Although Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is best known for the lampooning of various B-rated sci-fi movies and horror flicks, I always enjoyed their roasts of public service short films best. These self-righteous reels from the 40′s and 50′s, always did take themselves too seriously and made perfect fodder for Crow, Tom Servo and Joel’s witty zingers. The clip below is classic MST3K as the trio firings on all cylinders. I’ve tried to get into Michael J. Nelson’s new take on MST3K, called RiffTrax, but it just isn’t the same. Thank goodness for YouTube so we can sit back, relax and enjoy “A Date with Your Family”. Just don’t enjoy it too much, after all, the dinner table is no place for emotion!

Battlestars, Betrayals & Boobs

Well, the final episode of Battlestar Galactica aired this past week on the Sci-Fi Channel and to mark the occasion, Krystyn, Dave, Jen and I have once again clunked geeky heads to bring you an all new episode of Sci-Fi Cast. This week the podcast covers all manner of topics including our favorite comic book movies, appropriate synonyms for “extravaganza” and awkward theatre experiences with your parents. If you’re caught up through episode 10 of BSG, then head on over to Sci-Fi Cast and subscribe today. Even if you’ve never heard of us before today, this would be a good time to check Sci-Fi Cast out. It’s going to be a loooong 9 months.

Ridley Scott Breeds New “Strain”

I’m pleased to report one of my favorite science fiction films of all time is the latest flick to get the Hollywood make-over treatment. Airing over two nights, beginning tonight at 9pm est on the A&E network, The Andromeda Strain, tells the tale of a particularly nasty alien microbe that threatens to wipe out all life on earth. Director Ridley Scott’s new version of the classic 1971 picture promises to be full of action, suspense and smart science and features a solid cast including Benjamin Bratt, Viola Davis & Andre Braugher.

Based on the best-selling novel by Michael Crichton, the original version of Andromeda gave audiences of the 70′s a realistic look at what just might happen if an alien microorganism fell to earth. The movie’s deliberate pacing, cold electronic soundtrack by Gil Mellé and use of multiple simultaneous shots (spoofed in Austin Powers and made famous today by FOX’s 24) builds suspense and impending dread even when viewed today. If the original Andromeda Strain had a weak point, it was surely the rushed ending which bottled things up neatly, without deliberate action from Wild Fire’s team of sequestered scientists. Somehow I doubt Scott will let his version go out with a whimper, and if he plays his cards right, this new version just might be a classic for the ages. High hopes to be sure, but coming from the director of Black Hawk Down, Blade Runner and Alien, I would expect nothing less. Should be a fun couple of nights, check it out.

UPDATE: After having watched both parts of the new version, I can see my hopes were sorely misplaced. Ridley Scott should stick to directing real films instead of producing made for TV movies cause this version couldn’t hold a candle to the original. The plot gets wrapped up in the meaningless exploits of an addict reporter whose actions ultimately don’t amount to squat. The effects were second rate and all of the great scientific detective work at Wild Fire felt rushed. Save yourself four hours of your life and don’t bother to tune in to the repeats OR purchase the DVD. Go buy the original 1971 version instead. At least Andromeda is actually creepy in that version.

List Our Pet Peeves, We Will!

I’m pleased to report that episode 008 of Sci-Fi Cast is now online and is truly one for the ages. Dave Caolo and I participate in the geek version of Fesivus and “air our grievances” with the Star Wars prequel films. We cover a wide range of important nerd-esqe topics such as GCI sets, the less than deadly Nuisance Battle Droids, poor casting decisions and how a high school biology lesson managed to suck the life out of the Star Wars universe. This one’s our longest episode yet, clocking in at 47 minutes, so if you’re looking for the Cliff Notes version of this episode, simply skip forward to the 39′ minute mark to avoid all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace. If you love Star Wars however, tune in for the whole cast, I think Dave and I do a fairly good job of putting into words what was so frustrating about ep I-III. Don’t forget to post your own prequel pet peeves (or favorite bits) in the comments over at theSciFiCast.com! Next week we return you to our regularly scheduled program of BSG. See you then!

Sci-Fi Cast Gets New Digs

What started out as a fun idea born on Twitter has evolved into a full-fledged gig. How do I know this? The answer is easy young Padawan! Dave Caolo has been working overtime to get Sci-Fi Cast, our informal chat of all things science fiction, a new home and now it’s ready. Point your browser to www.thescificast.com and you’ll be on your way to a geek love-in not seen in these parts since the Pasadena Star Trek convention of aught ’05.

To mark the occasion, this week I had the humbling honor to edit episode 007. I always knew editing a podcast was important, but after listening to the three of us ramble for an hour and a half, and somehow getting that down to just 20 minutes, I have a new found respect for those who choose to separate the wheat from the chaff and take the editing plunge. I hope you enjoy the result as we talk about Battlestar Galactica’s seventh episode of season 4 – Guess What’s Coming to Dinner? You can head on over and bookmark thescificast.com or download episode 007 right from here:

Download or listen to Sci-Fi Cast Episode 7 (19 min) here.

Currently, the ability to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes is broken while we wait for Apple to resolve the new site’s URL. Just hang in there, it should be available soon. Since there is no BSG this week, episode 008 will be a very special “What we hate about the Star Wars prequels” episode. If Jake Lloyd, midi-clorians and Jar Jar Binks keep you up at night, this will be the episode for you!

“Life here, began out there.”

We’ve taken our first steps into a larger world with episode IV of Sci-Fi Cast. Our weekly podcast discussing season 4 of Battlestar Galactica and all things geek, has made the jump (sorry, had to do it) to Apple’s iTunes. You can now subscribe to the show by visiting the podcast section of iTunes.

This week’s episode is sadly missing Krystyn, but we have high hopes she’ll join us for episode V next week. In the meantime, Jen, Dave and I theorize about the internal temperature of Colonial garbage scows, what makes for the perfect BSG episode (according to Jen, it’s all about the act-ion!) and how bad it would suck to have Admiral Adama disappointed in you.

The usual spoiler warning applies, so don’t listen if you’ve not watched “Escape Velocity” yet. It’s kinda like opening your eyes at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you do, and you’ve not watched BSG episode 4 yet, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Well, maybe not that long.

Download or listen to Sci-Fi Cast Episode 4 (21 min) here.

PS – On a personal note, I promise never to download a show from my TiVO while using Skype ever again, which is what I was doing during this episode. If you ever want to sound like you’re speaking through a piece of digital cheesecloth, then this technique works great, otherwise ABORT! ABORT!

Futurama & Fracking Airlocks!

Looks like Sci-Fi Cast is now officially a podcast, I mean we’re at episode three right? How many more do we have to do before I consider this a real “gig”? This week’s episode catches us up with events in the season 4 BSG episode “The Ties That Bind” including how the Sci-Fi channel apparently lets 3rd graders edit next week’s previews, Captain Ahab, I mean Starbuck and why Futurama just might be the greatest show in the history of television. Sadly we were missing Krystyn Heide this week (something about having an actual life, I dunno) but Jen Segrest, Dave Caolo and I did our best to be sufficiently geeky to take up the slack.

A bit of a warning, this episode is full of fracking spoilers for BSG’s 3rd episode, so don’t listen if you’ve not watched “The Ties That Bind” yet. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, because once you listen, you can’t un-listen!

Download or listen to Sci-Fi Cast Episode 3 here.