October 07, 2015

Media Matters

by Alan Beatts

As much as I love books, SF, horror, fantasy and mystery as a whole are still my first and greatest love.  Which means that movies, TV shows, and even video games within our field have a place very close to my heart.  The last few months have included some good news and neat discoveries that I thought I'd share with you.

The Expanse TV Series
James S. A. Corey's excellent Expanse novels, which begin with LEVIATHAN WAKES, is one of my favorite SF series in recent years.  So I was concerned and pleased in equal parts when I heard that Syfy was going to be producing a series based on the books.  But, I've seen both the regular trailer < http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse/videos/the-expanse-season-1-trailer > and the background trailer, which includes interviews with the cast, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydKmedH336Q >.  I've got to say that it looks pretty darn good and the casting also seems impressive.  Of course, it's hard to tell from such limited information, but I'm hopeful that we'll be getting a big treat this December.

And, regardless of whether the series is any good, we fans of the books win at least a little bit because there's an original prequel story, Drive, available on line as part of the promotion for the show < http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse/drive/prequel.php >.

Kingkiller Movie, TV Show, and . . . Game?
A bit further out than the Expanse series, we can also look forward (probably) to a combined package of movie(s), a TV series, and even video games based on Patrick Rothfuss' renowned Kingkiller novels (THE NAME OF THE WIND, THE WISE MAN'S FEAR and, the forthcoming THE DOORS OF STONE) < http://www.ew.com/article/2015/10/01/kingkiller-chronicle-lionsgate >. Like the preceding project, there's a little bit of "oh, I hope they don't blow it" fear, but Pat's blog post < http://blog.patrickrothfuss.com/2015/10/hollywood-news/ > makes it clear that he's being very careful, and will be in a position to exercise some control over how it is all developed.

(Of course, the possible downside of his involvement is that it may further delay subsequent books, though hopefully not THE DOORS OF STONE.)

Ultraviolet, for Free
Looking back rather than forward, I found something damn neat on Hulu.com last week.  Hulu, if you aren't familiar with it, is a site that is primarily geared to letting you watch recent episodes of TV shows (with commercials, of course).  They also have a limited selection of movies available.  And, if you want to pay, you get access to a bunch more stuff.  But, one of the things that I like best about Hulu is that they also host full seasons of a lot of older TV show for free viewing (like all the episodes of The Twilight Zone, for example).

In 1998 there was a short-run British TV series called Ultraviolet (no relation to the pretty terrible 2006 movie).  It's always been pretty hard to find, so I was excited to discover that all six episodes are available on Hulu . . . for free < http://www.hulu.com/ultraviolet >. That show is the most intelligent modern treatment of vampires that I've ever run across.  If you've never seen it, I really suggest that you check it out.  As an added bonus, it is one of Idris Elba's early gigs, long before he worked on The Wire, Prometheus, or Pacific Rim.

Here's hoping that both the Expanse and Kingkiller projects work out well.  Given the quality of shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, I have much more hope for books being turned into series than I used to have.  I think that viewers, producers, writers and directors have gotten much more sophisticated over the past decade.  For example, I'll bet that, if Firefly were to be aired now, it would be a huge success.  So, let's cross our little digits and see what December and 2016 bring us.

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