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Geeky Songs for the Discerning Nerd’s Playlist

geeky songs

Geeky Songs

Considering that geeks are the driving force behind technological and scientific advancement, and such avid consumers of sci-fi and fantasy TV shows,  movies, computer games, novels, comics and all their associated merchandise, it is difficult to fathom the reasons why geeks and their areas of interest are so under-represented in the music industry.

Where are all the geeky songs about science, computing, gaming and sci-fi?

Well, the good news is that they do exist, and that there are even artists making a whole career out of geeky songs!

Here is a small selection of some of the best and geekiest geeky songs we know.

 

Geeky Songs About Science

While there are plenty of well-known artists that might mention science in a song or two, it is often in a very ungeeky way.  Thankfully there are a few seriously scientific geeky artists out there who aren’t afraid to express their scientific knowledge in song.  Here are some of our favourite geeky songs based on science.

 

 They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants are such a band.  For in excess of 30 years, TMBG have been a prolific surreal alternative band with a fondness for science.  In 1994 they released Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass Of Incandescent Gas), an uptempo and verbatim cover of  a 1959 song from a Tom Glazer album, Space Songs, which described in basic terms the science of the sun (at least as far as was known at the time the lyrics had been written).

 

Due to advancements in scientific knowledge the lyrics became obsolete, so in 2009 on their fourteenth studio album (and fourth “children’s album”) Here Comes Science, TMBG included the song again, but this time followed it with a new song on the same topic, entitled Why Does The Sun Really Shine?

 

 

Johnathan Coulton

Johnathan Coulton is a geeky singer-songwriter who releases all of his geeky songs under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license rather than being signed to a label, allowing anyone to use it in their own noncommercial works.  This approach has spawned numerous unofficial music videos for his songs that have gone viral on YouTube.

At the start of his career he spent some time as an opening act for They Might Be Giants live shows, and was famously involved in a dispute with American TV show Glee.

The story goes… In the Glee show, there was a cover version of the Sir Mix-a-Lot song Baby Got Back, but using a melody and adlib lyrics that Coulton had written himself for his own cover years before, without any acknowledgement to Coulton or permission to use his rewritten parts of the song for commercial use.

After receiving an insulting response from the show’s lawyers, Coulton rereleased his own version of the song, renamed Baby Got Back (In The Style Of Glee), which he described as being “a cover of Glee’s cover of my cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s song, which is to say it’s EXACTLY THE SAME as my original version” and vowed to donate a certain amount of the proceeds to two Glee-related charities.

Here’s JoCo performing one of his geeky songs, That Spells DNA…

 

 

A Capella Science

A Capella Science is is the brainchild of Tim Blais, a physics masters degree graduate who creates science-based geeky songs using only sounds that he makes with his mouth – all drums and other “instruments” that you hear are all just his voice (albeit overdubbed).

With a wealth of science-based geeky songs to choose from, it’s hard to pick only one for a list like this, but everyone likes Bohemian Rhapsody, right?  What about Bohemian Gravity?

 

 

Monty Python

Obviously Monty Python need no introduction, having graced our screens since the 1960’s with their original, revolutionary, and oft-since-copied brand of surrealist comedy that forged the careers of members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and the late Graham Chapman.

Python caused a bit of a stir with their 1979 movie Life Of Brian, the story of a Jewish man born on the same day as Jesus in the building next door, who is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.  The movie was banned in a number of countries including Ireland for eight years and Norway for a year, and also by many town councils in the UK.  Some of those UK bans extended into the 21st century, such as in Torbay in Devon, where the ban was only lifted in 2008.

This is Galaxy Song, performed by Eric Idle, one of Python’s more geeky songs, which first appeared in their 1983 movie, The Meaning Of Life

 

 

Geeky Songs About Gaming

Gamers, like science geeks, have every right to feel aggrieved at the music industry for the distinct shortage of gaming-related geeky songs available in the mainstream.  Thankfully the Nerdcore Rap genre has its fair share of representatives of this topic, and a few of the bigger MMO games have such large and dedicated communities that music about their favourite games have become subgenres in their own right.

 

Andrew Volpe

Andrew Volpe is the vocalist/guitarist in alternative rock band Ludo.  In 2012 under his own name he penned this geeky song for gamers, Gaming Ain’t No Game, expressing the passion that many of us have for this so frequently misunderstood pasttime…

 

 

MC Frontalot

No geeky songs list would be complete without some MC Frontalot, the Godfather of the Nerdcore Rap scene, and his practically inimitable style of highly punctuated geeky rap.

With six studio albums to his name and lyrics covering geeky topics from retro gaming to TV and movie references, computing, science, role-playing, philosophy and the zombie apocalypse, Front has been at the fore of the geeky music scene since the release of his debut album Nerdcore Rising in 2005.

It Is Pitch Dark is a satirical and philosophical song with heavy references to the Zork text-adventure game series from the earliest days of home computing.  Watch out for the cameo by legendary game designer Steve Maretzky…

 

 

MMO Fan Music: EVE Online

EVE Online in a space-based MMO created by Icelandic software company CCP.  The game is infamous in MMO circles for its steep learning curve, providing a level of difficulty that separates the geek from the chaff to cement a dedicated global nerd-heavy fanbase.

Such are the levels of commitment from the playerbase, an entire underground genre of geeky songs has arisen, created by EVE players purely for EVE players.

I could fill an entire article like this one with just EVE-referencing parody cover versions of famous songs, let alone original songs by fans and CCP staff alike. such is the wealth of EVE-related music available on the internet.

 

Cearul

Cearul is one of the artists at the forefront of the EVE-fan-written geeky songs scene, having created a number of professional quality parody cover versions of famous songs set in the EVE game-world of New Eden.

Like many aspects of the game itself, the ingame references in the lyrics are almost certain to fly over the heads of anyone that isn’t a hardened EVE player, but even non-players will be able to appreciate the time and effort that have gone into creating geeky songs about this most geeky of online multiplayer games…

 

 

 

Geeky Songs About Computers And Programming

Computers have rarely been seen as sexy topics for songwriters, except for perhaps in a few key moments in the history of the industry.  Still, one or two artists have written some pretty geeky songs about the internet and even about coding, like these…

 

Jesus Jones

Jesus Jones were an indie/alternative band that were most famous in the late 80’s and early 90’s, who weren’t afraid to utilise the latest music technology into their rock-guitar-laden sound.  One of their earliest hits was the geek anthem Info Freako, a musical manifesto of the singer’s endless desire for more knowledge.

The following song, Zeroes And Ones from their third album Perverse (1993) is one of their more geeky songs, and is a statement of wide-eyed wonder at the birth of the internet and a prophetic vision of how computers were about to change the world forever…

 

 

Dale Chase

Dale Chase arrived on the geeky music scene in 2010 with his eclectic album Limit Break, and is known for his in-depth coding-related lyrics and geeky songs that cover a number of geeky topics from TV show Breaking Bad to online content management system WordPress.

Here are a few of Chase’s geeky songs for programmers…

 

 

Star Wars

I could hardly write an article about geeky songs without at least giving a mention to Star Wars.  There have been so many geeky songs written about the Holy Trilogy (and those other three movies that we try not to talk about) that the list of songs that reference the Star Wars universe that can be found on one particular Star Wars wiki site is longer than this whole article, and that list doesn’t even mention the wonderful grunge track Chewbacca (What A Wookiee) by Supernova

 

 

“Weird Al” Yankovic

Last but not least, the legend that is “Weird Al” Yankovic.  With 14 albums to his name, Weird Al has been prolific in his three decade career of covering famous songs but changing the lyrics either in parody of the original song or to make reference to some hilarity-inducing aspect of modern times.

Occasionally, Weird Al has written some pretty geeky songs, none more so than in the exceptional The Saga Begins, a play-by-play retelling of the story of The Phantom Menace from the point of view of Obi Wan Kenobi…

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this article about geeky songs.  Follow us on our Facebook page and our Twitter page, and let us know what your favourite geeky songs are!

Stay geeky!

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X-Wing Playmat and Star Wars Armada Playmat rules and sizes

X-Wing Playmat and Star Wars Armada Playmat Matters

X-Wing playmat

X-Wing Playmat and Star Wars Armada Playmat Sizes

The official tournament rules for Star Wars X-Wing and Star Wars Armada state that the area of play should be 6×3 feet for a Star Wars Armada playmat or 3×3 feet for a Star Wars X-Wing playmat.

In the comfort of their home, many players prefer to use different sizes of X-Wing playmat or Star Wars Armada playmat that better reflect the size of game they are playing and the size of the table onto which they will be placing their space battle mat.

The title image for this article shows a game of X-Wing taking place on a Something Geeky 6×4 X-Wing Playmat, made from a textured PVC material that is less slippery than a standard PVC X Wing play mat.

This larger surface area allows players of the “Fly Casual” variety to field larger fleets and makes it easier to host multiple separate players within a single game, like if you wanted a third player to play Scum And Villainy while the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire are both also part of the engagement, or if you want to play 2v2, 3v3 or even 4v4 encounters.

 

X-Wing Playmat and Star Wars Armada Playmat Tournament Rules

The official tournament rules for using a third party Star Wars Armada playmat or XWing playmat have changed a number of times.

In March 2015, FFG announced that third party X-Wing playmats and Star Wars Armada playmats would no longer be allowed in tournaments, in case they gave an unfair advantage to a player that was familiar with the particular mat and could judge distances and turning circles based on the layout of the playmat.  The rule didn’t last long.

Within days, the uproar from the fanbase forced FFG to rethink the ruling, and so the official rule for third party space gaming mats in tournaments is now as follows:

In events where players provide their own playmats, only official FFG X-WingTM Playmats are allowed. This is to guarantee a consistent experience for all players and prevent any advantage players may gain from familiarity with a particular playmat that is not widely available. FFG playmats are widely available for examination and play. If a venue provides playmats for their event, they may use third-party playmats. Players may replace third-party playmats if they provide their own FFG playmat to use.” Source: FFG website, Tournament FAQ page.

While many players are still outraged that FFG have given players the option to bring their own FFG X-Wing playmat if they want to automatically veto the venue’s use of third party mats, at least now the tournament organisers no longer have to go out and buy huge numbers of official FFG X-Wing playmats or Star Wars Armada playmats themselves.

 

X-Wing Playmat and Star Wars Armada Playmat Options

Whatever size of X-Wing playmat or Star Wars Armada playmat you decide is best for your own needs, Something Geeky has a number of spectacular space gaming mat designs that have been cropped artistically to best fit the sizes of playmats that are most sought after by players.

Take the Star Birth X-Wing Playmat design shown in the featured image at the top of this article.  Like all Something Geeky playmats, the Star Birth gaming mat is available in tournament-friendly 3×3 and 6×3 sizes, and also the home-use-only sizes of 4×3, 4×4 and the epic 6×4 shown in that image.

 

X-Wing Playmats: 3×3

Here are the 3×3 versions of all of the tournament-legal non-FFG third party X-wing playmats that we have available at Something Geeky at the moment. (Click an image to visit the product page for that design).

x-wing playmatX-Wing playmatX-Wing playmat

X-Wing playmatX-Wing playmatX-Wing playmat

X-Wing playmatX-Wing playmatX-Wing playmat

 

 

X-Wing Playmats: 4×3

Here are the 4×3 versions of those same designs:

X Wing play matX Wing play matX Wing play mat

X Wing play matX Wing play matX Wing play mat

X Wing play matX Wing play matX Wing play mat

 

X-Wing Playmats: 4×4

Here are the 4×4 versions of the same designs:

space gaming matspace gaming matspace gaming mat

space gaming matspace gaming matspace gaming mat

space gaming matspace gaming matspace gaming mat

 

X-Wing Playmats / Star Wars Armada Playmats: 6×3

Here are the tournament-legal 6×3 versions of all of the non-FFG third party Star Wars Armada playmats that we have available at Something Geeky at the moment:

Star Wars Armada playmatstar wars armada playmatstar wars armada playmat

star wars armada playmatstar wars armada playmatstar wars armada playmat

star wars armada playmatstar wars armada playmatstar wars armada playmat

 

X-Wing Playmats / Star Wars Armada Playmats: 6×4

And finally, here are the epic 6×4 feet versions of the same designs, which we thoroughly recommend for your largest fleet battles:

x-wing playmatX-Wing playmatX-Wing playmat

X-Wing playmatX-Wing playmatX-Wing playmat

X-Wing playmatX-Wing playmatX-Wing playmat

 

Of course, there are plenty of other space battle tabletop miniatures games that these space gaming mats would be suited to, such as Star Trek Attack Wing, Battlefleet Gothic, and Firestorm Armada, so whatever your space battle game of choice, we hope you’ll enjoy playing on one of our lovingly-created space gaming mats as much as we do ourselves!

 

Stay geeky!

 

 

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Upcoming Sci-Fi Movies in 2015

2015 is shaping up to be a big year for sci-fi, with additions to a number of established sci-fi movie franchises and a wealth of other new sci-fi movies set for release.

We thought we’d take a look at some of the most anticipated new sci-fi movies of 2015.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Release date: December 18th

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ll already be well aware of the upcoming release of the latest movie in the Star Wars saga, Episode VII – The Force Awakens, which is set approximately 30 years after Return Of The Jedi.

Between the mixed reception of the prequels trilogy, George Lucas’s sale of Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, J. J. Abrams being given the director’s chair, and the announcements that they would be using models for special effects like the original trilogy rather than being purely CGI-reliant and would be returning to the original concept art for inspiration, it’s fair to say that the pre-release feelings of fans of the franchise range from excitement to dread, with a great deal of ambivalence in between.

Little has been revealed of the plot, other than that the New Republic are in the process of finishing off the last remnants of the Galactic Empire and that a new enemy is rising.

The movie will feature most of the original main cast members, although it is still unclear how prominent their roles they will be, and the movie will contain at least a few characters that are already established in the expanded universe.

It’s without a doubt one of the most eagerly-anticipated movies of the year, so let’s hope it lives up to expectations.

Jurassic World

Release date: June 12th

Fourteen years after the release of Jurassic Park III, and after a protracted early development stage that saw a number of complete story and script rewrites, the fourth movie of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World is due to hit our screens in 2015.

Franchise alumni Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum will not be appearing in the new movie, despite Dern saying she’d been contacted about reprising her role in 2007 and Goldblum announcing that in 2003 he’d been asked to stay available for a possible return.

The movie is said to be set at the original location of Isla Nublar, where a fully functioning Jurassic Park has been in operation for some time.  Attendance has begun to decline however, and so the park’s geneticists decide to create a new genetically-modified hybrid dinosaur to boost visitor numbers.  Meanwhile a member of the park’s staff is conducting behavioural research on a group of velociraptors.

The movie has been alternately described as “A big reboot, a total rejig” by Sam Neill in 2013, “essentially the beginning of a the second Jurassic Park trilogy” by Jurassic Park III director Joe Johnston, and “something a little bit less arbitrary and episodic, and something that could potentially arc into a series that would feel like a complete story” by Colin Trevorrow, the director of the latest instalment.

The original Jurassic Park was created using all of the latest knowledge of dinosaurs at the time, but the latest movie has received criticism from the scientific community because of the decision to stick with the franchise canon of the scientific knowledge of 1992 rather than using more recently discovered knowledge of dinosaurs, specifically feathers and proto-feathers being neglected, and velociraptors’ arms not being realistically poised.

Paleontologist Jack Horner has returned as a technical advisor, a position he held for all three of the previous movies in the franchise.  In 2013, he said in an interview that a new previously extinct creature would rise to stardom in the film, and continued “I can’t actually tell you who that will be, but you’ll want to keep the lights on after you see this movie.”

Terminator Genisys

Release date: July 1st

Terminator Salvation was intended originally as the start of a new trilogy of Terminator movies, but this idea was thwarted by legal troubles and The Halcyon Company needing to sell the rights to the franchise in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy.

With the franchise under new management, the fifth instalment is said to be simultaneously a prequel to, a sequel to, and a complete reboot of the series.  Confused?  So were we.

As with the previous movies, Terminator Genisys sees John Connor continue to fight the machines in 2029, and on discovering that Skynet will attack him both in the past and in the future, sends his trusted lieutenant Kyle Reese back in time to save his mother Sarah Connor.

This time however, Reese discovers that the past has changed.  Sarah Connor had been orphaned at age 9 by a T-800 sent to kill her as a child, and had then been brought up by another T-800 programmed to protect her and guide her to face her destiny.

The three of them work together in an attempt to escape from a number of different model Terminators, and try to prevent Judgement Day from happening.

In 2014, it was announced that this would be the beginning of a whole new Terminator trilogy of movies, with two sequels scheduled for release on May 19th 2017 and June 29th 2018.

Arnold Schwartzenegger has stated that he’ll be back for the first sequel at least.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Release date: May 15th

Franchise creator George Miller returns at last with the fourth film in the Mad Max franchise, 30 years after the release of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and following a quarter of a century in “development hell”.

Mel Gibson had originally been interested in reprising his role for more films in the series, but was said to have lost interest around 2000, and so the part of Max Rockatansky is played by Tom Hardy of Star Trek: Nemesis, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises fame.

Miller has described the film as “a very simple allegory, almost a western on wheels”, having stated previously that he had wanted the movie to be almost a continuous chase, with very little dialogue, and to have the visuals come first.

If the explosive trailer is anything to go by, his descriptions certainly seem accurate.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Release date: March 20th

Insurgent is the second movie in the Divergent series, based on the trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth.

Set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic Chicago, where people are divided into factions based on the virtuous traits of their personalities: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent).  The Factionless are given no status or privilege in society, and those that show traits of multiple factions are considered Divergent.

Divergents are considered a threat to the social order, because they can think independently, meaning the established government can’t control them.

The first movie, Divergent, charts the coming-of-age of (and therefore categorisation of) Tris, who must hide that she is Divergent whilst finding a faction to join.  Insurgent picks up the story three days after the events of the first film.

The final book of the series is being split into two movies, Allegiant parts 1 and 2, scheduled for release in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Tomorrowland

Release date: May 22nd

Disney’s tale of a girl that finds a pin-badge that transports her to a place somewhere beyond time and space, where her actions affect her own world.

Lazer Team

Release date: unannounced

Crowdfunded tale of four hapless idiots that inadvertently become attached to pieces of unreleasable futuristic armour and weaponry designed to help against a forthcoming alien invasion, and must become heroes to defeat the alien attack.

The Encounter

Release date: June 5th

Blair Witch Project with aliens?

Robot Overlords

Release date: March 27th

British sci-fi movie about a group of kids trying to save the world from their robot oppressors, with the aid of Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson.

Ant-Man

Release date: July 17th

Marvel comic book adaptation about a con-man who must embrace his inner hero to pull off a heist that will save the world, whilst wearing a super-suit that shrinks him in size but increases his strength.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Relase date: May 1st

Marvel Comics’ Avengers return to battle evil and save the world…. again.

Which of these movies are you most looking forward to?  Let us know on our Facebook page!

Stay geeky!

 

 

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OMG! The Official Merchandise Giveaway!

omg official merchandise giveaway

The Official Merchandise Giveaway is here!

This winter at Something Geeky, we’ve got a very special offer to help you fill those stockings and satisfy all the geeks in your life! We’ve bought a huge stockpile of American Dad, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mighty Mouse, Crysis 3 and Angry Birds Star Wars official merchandise, and boxes and boxes of novelty musical Christmas ties that we’re going GIVE AWAY FOR FREE to our customers that spend over £35 in a single transaction in the leadup to Christmas! The more you spend, the more FREE STUFF you will receive!

THE RULES

Spend £35 or more, and you will receive a FREE novelty musical Christmas tie.

Spend £60 or more, and you will receive 2 FREE GIFTS of your choice from the gift pool, which at this stage will include the novelty musical Christmas ties and a selection of official t-shirts.

Spend £100 or more, and you will receive 3 FREE GIFTS of your choice from the gift pool, which at this stage will include an official sweatshirt in addition to the novelty musical Christmas ties and selection of official t-shirts. *

Spend £125 or more, and you will still receive 3 FREE GIFTS of your choice from the gift pool, but the gift pool will now include an official hoodie in addition to the novelty musical Christmas tie, the official t-shirts and the official sweatshirt.  **

…and a partridge in a pear tree***.

This offer will run WHILE STOCKS LAST, so be sure to DO ALL OF YOUR GEEKY SHOPPING NOW if you want to avoid disappointment.

*At the £100-£124.99 level, you are restricted to ONE sweatshirt.
**All restrictions removed if you spend £125 or over, so if you want three free hoodies or three free sweatshirts, you can!
***We will not actually be sending you a partridge or a pear tree.

 

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Fall 2014 US Sci-Fi TV Schedule: Adult Sci-fi And Fantasy Fans Spoiled For Choice This Season

Jericho

Fall 2014 US Sci-Fi TV Schedule: Adult Sci-fi And Fantasy Fans Spoiled For Choice This Season

 by Phil Plumpton

 

Warning, this article contains one or two spoilers (if you’ve been hiding under a rock and still haven’t watched some of the “classic” sci-fi TV shows of the last few decades, that is).

On the other hand, it also contains an insight into what’s in store in the world of TV sci-fi this season, and more than a little bitching about the sci-fi we’ve been served up in the last 10 years or so.

After years of poor quality saturation of the sci-fi and fantasy genres on TV, this season promises greater numbers of “watchable” geeky shows than ever before.

While many of the series’ synopses may seem familiar, the actual finished products are raising the bar, finally making the future of sci-fi and fantasy look bright.

Before I discuss the new arrivals (and the new seasons from old favourites), a quick word about how I’ve felt as a sci-fi and fantasy fan, for the last decade or so.

The last generation of sci-fi and fantasy was disturbingly hit-and-miss for me.

Does anyone else hear Hendrix?From the pseudo-scientific jibberish of the likes of Fringe and Lost, the “God Did It” slap-in-the-face endings to previously-loved and supposedly sci-fi shows like Battlestar Galactica and again, Lost, to the habit of creating an excess of new shows and movies about topics that are only popular because of there was a current show or movie about the subject matter that was highly rated by viewers, knowledgable sci-fi fans have been seemingly punished for years with substandard hacks in charge of the sci-fi output.

It’s like somewhere in the world there’s a think tank; a group of ex-business students analysing data from questionnaires given to sci-fi fans after the screening of a movie at a convention, asking what their favourite subject matter is…

Anna...“Zombies!” scream the fans of The Walking Dead; “Vampires!” scream the fans of True Blood; “Post-apocalyptic survival!” scream the fans of Jericho; “Aliens!”  scream the fans of the V reboot, (while fans of the original miniseries cry into their facepalms), to be followed by seemingly endless reams of turgid new shows arriving, based on similar ideas.

Meanwhile, in a situation that echoes the music industry’s grab-copy-and-clone treatment of, well, EVERY non-mainstream genre that ever got popular beneath their radar, nobody seems to stop and ask why these shows were actually popular in the first place.

Newsflash, TV industry, IT’S NOT THE SUBJECT MATTER; STOP CLONING POPULAR TV SHOWS ALREADY!

Incidentally, this criticism goes further than just the main topic of the shows.  The growing popularity of drama series with a soft (and sometimes not so soft) porn focus in shows like True Blood and Game Of Thrones has seemingly spun out of control, to the extent that I’m actually getting bored of seeing naked people on TV.

It seems like the writers have run out of plot ideas and are using sex to fill the gaps where we might have had actual story in the past.  It’s getting tedious.  Watching the otherwise-worth-watching Penny Dreadful recently, “Oh they’re at it again?  OK I’ll make a cup of tea – maybe something important will actually be happening by the time I get back.”

Isn't this just The Emerald Forest with CGI people?It’s the “SFX porn” situation all over again, from the days of ID4 through to the Star Wars prequels, and even Avatar, Prometheus and the Star Trek reboots, when the emergence of realistic computer-generated graphics meant that movie makers no longer cared about whether the acting was wooden, the script unbelievable, the plot scientifically impossible or the ending utterly unsatisfying; as long as the special effects were shiny enough they just seemed to not care at all about anything else about the film.

Anyway, I digress.  The idea of taking a very popular show and using aspects or concepts found therein to decide which other shows to air certainly isn’t a new phenomenon.  When The X-Files arrived on TV, it caused such shockwaves due to nobody expecting a non-Star Trek-based untested sci-fi show to become as popular as it did.  With the promise of all the video sales and merchandising that came with it, all of a sudden we had First Wave, Earth 2, Sliders, Space: Above And Beyond, Dark Skies, Earth: Final Conflict, Crime Traveller, Space Precinct, The Outer Limits reboot and scores of others, some of which had merits, granted, as TV channels desperately tried to tap into this previously-hidden market.

It became quite difficult to find the shows worth watching, as we were being bombarded with so many pretenders that just rehashed the same old ideas but with a substandard cast, substandard writers, substandard everything.

Just don't lose it like you lost Babylon 4That era did produce some genuinely incredible shows that are worth rewatching over and over again, some of which have been often overlooked by newcomer sci-fi fans looking to the past for shows to watch, due to their first impressions of the special effects.  Babylon 5 springs instantly to mind; the effects, by today’s standards, were atrocious, particularly at the start of season 1, but plot-wise it was unprecedented.   The creator of the show had the full 5 seasons’ worth of plot written before they’d even shot a single episode – although the threat of cancellation followed by sudden renewal threw a spanner in the works, as season 5 of the original script had to be shoehorned into the end of season 4, followed by a completely new season needing to be written at short notice when the TV executives eventually changed their minds and gave them a season 5.  Way to go, guys.

Another great example of a show that is worth looking past the makeup is Farscape; Jim Henson’s Muppet Show legacy was clearly visible in the main characters Rigel (a talking frog) and Pilot (a talking turtle-lobster hybrid), and many, myself included, found this offputting at a time when Star Trek was setting the bar for how aliens should look, and they set it HIGH.

My side, your side, my side, your side!That is not to say that the effects of Farscape were poor; anything but, however when you’ve been told what Klingons look like and act like already, Luxans can seem distractingly derivative at first glance.  Oh, and “what, she’s a plant?  We’re all of plant descent, how can she still be a plant when she has a functional digestive system?!”

Nowadays, Farscape is one of my favourite shows from the 90’s.  Once I had a chance to sit through it from beginning to end, I couldn’t believe I’d missed out on it for so many years.

My heart leapt for joy when I heard the recent news that they were making a new movie based on the series.

With so many sci-fi and fantasy shows on TV over the last few years, for many of us it has been a case of “watch an episode or two, stop watching due to boredom or imminent cancellation”, but US-based sci-fi fans (and sci-fans around the world if all of these shows make it over the pond) are going to have to find time to squeeze in a huge number of shows this season, to distract them from mourning the passing of Revolution, The Tomorrow People, Almost Human and Intelligence, and take our minds off needing to wait until 2015 for more Helix, Penny Dreadful and yes, for many (sigh), Game Of Thrones.

The Fantastic FourIn addition to brand new seasons of old favourites Supernatural and True Blood, and the hit-and-miss-but-maybe-they’ll-get-it-right-this-year Falling Skies, we also have continuations of the quite-new-but-popular Defiance and Under The Dome, and newcomers Dominion, Extant, The Last Ship, The Leftovers, The Lottery, and The Strain vying for control of our TVs.  And of course, don’t forget the long-awaited return of Britain’s sci-fi legend, Doctor Who.

 

 

In alphabetical order…

Dominion:

DominionIn the not-too-distant future, the archangel Gabriel is waging war against mankind , following the disappearance of God.  Fellow archangel Michael sides with humanity, holed-up in Vega, the fortified city that was once Las Vegas, against the “eight-balls”, which are Gabriel’s black-eyed lower angels – the “dogs of heaven”.

If this sounds familiar, that may be because it is a 25-years-later sequel to the 2010 movie “Legion”.

The effects are stunning, the scenery captivating, the plot twisted and the cast… well, Christopher Egan (Kings, Eragon, Resident Evil: Extinction, Home & Away), Tom Wisdom (300, Coronation Street),  Anthony Head (Giles from Buffy, Uther Pendragon from Merlin, and “The Guy From Those Gold Blend Adverts In The Late 80’s And Early 90’s”), and the legend that is Alan Dale (Star Trek: Nemesis, 24, The West Wing, Neighbours, The X-Files and a hundred other shows you know him from).

The pilot is gripping.  Let’s hope the rest of the series can follow such lofty beginnings!

Extant:

ExtantHalle Berry (yes, that Halle Berry, the one with the book in Swordfish, you know the scene, guys) is an astronaut that arrives back on Earth after a 13-month solo mission on the space station Seraphim, inexplicably pregnant.  To add to the confusion, she had previously believed herself to be infertile, and she sees dead people.   Also, her husband has created an artificially-intelligent android “son”, Ethan.

It opened on CBS to massive numbers of viewers, and won the Critics Choice TV Award for “Most Exciting New Series” during the 2014 awards.

With Steven Speilberg as an Executive Producer, and being a product of Amblin Entertainment, the show was given a 13-episode straight-to-series order for the first season, completely bypassing the usual pilot stage of the process.

High hopes.

 

The Last Ship:

Nobody ordered the fish?Post-apocalyptic drama, in which a virus has killed over 80% of the world’s population.  A paleomicrobiologist (yes, you read that right), is trying to find a cure, aboard a US Navy guided missile destroyer that was stationed in the Arctic when the virus struck.

Arctic, virus, scientists, military… this is all sounding very Helix so far, but it’s ON A SHIP!

Already renewed for a 14-episode 2nd season once the current 10-episode first season is over, this novel-turned-TV-show is definitely worth checking out.

Oh, and did I mention that Adam Baldwin (the man they call Jayne in Firefly/Serenity, and the funny one that grunts a lot in Chuck) is in it?

 

The Leftovers:

The Leftovers2% of the world’s population vanish without a trace and without warning.  The series focusses upon the 98% that remain in a fictitious town of Mapleton, New York, 3 years later.

Another familiar-sounding synopsis, and again it’s a show based on a novel (of the same name), but this show has a cast that would make Joss Whedon jealous.

Iconic actor/writer/director Peter Berg takes the director’s seat for the pilot and 2nd episode, and takes an executive producer’s role for the remainder.

The show stars Justin Theroux (Mulholland Drive, Inland Empire, Tropic Thunder and many more), Amy Brenneman (NYPD Blue, Heat, Daylight, Judging Amy, Private Practice), Christopher Ecclestone (Doctor Who, Shallow Grave, Let Him Have It, Gone In 60 Seconds, 28 Days Later and many more), Liv Tyler (I think her dad was in a band or something, oh and she was in Armageddon, the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and appeared in the dreams of many a young boy/man over the last decade or so), Emily Meade (My Soul To Take) and Michael Gaston (24, Rubicon, Terriers, Jericho, The West Wing, The Sopranos, Last Resort, Mad Men, Fringe, The Mentalist and many more).

With such an all-star cast, this show is a sure-fire hit in the making.

 

The Lottery:

It's no good, I can't find our show on GoogleCreated by Children Of Men author, Timothy J. Sexton, this Lifetime-housed show has a similar theme.  Set in a dystopian future where humanity has become mysteriously infertile, scientists have developed a way to produce fertilised embryos, and so a lottery is held to determine which 100 women are to be allowed to give birth.

Supposedly, not everything is as it seems.

The pilot was screened in the US yesterday, and I’ve not seen it yet.  This one could go either way, but it is being advertised as a “post-apocalyptic conspiracy thriller”, which when combined with Tim Sexton at the helm is enough for me… sign me up!

 

The Strain:

Nobody ordered the fish?An ancient virus has killed… almost everyone on a plane that has landed at JFK airport.

This time, though, it’s not just killing them… (The Last Ship)… it’s turning them into… (Helix)… VAMPIRES (oh, it is different?!)!!!!

As much as I’ve ragged on the concept, the pilot was gripping.  It is a dark and atmospheric show based on a trilogy of novels of the same name.

Both the novel trilogy and the show itself were created by Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Blade II, Hellboy III, and Pacific Rim) and Chuck Hogan (who also penned the novel that Ben Affleck’s The Town was based upon).

Del Toro pitched the idea as a series in 2006, but talks fell apart as the channel wanted him to make it as a comedy, whereas Del Toro wanted a more procedural feel to it.  Eventually talked into making it into a novel, he enlisted the help of Hogan to cover the CSI-style technological side of things.

After the release of the first novel, TV and movie offers came in abundance, but Del Toro and Hogan decided that they should hold off until the novel trilogy was finished, so that the TV executives didn’t influence the plot of the novels.

Let’s see if the remaining episodes of the 13-part first season hold up to the lofty standards set by the pilot.

With so much choice this year, which of these shows are you most eager to see?  Which of them have you seen that impressed you or disappointed you?  Which shows are you disappointed at the cancellation of?  Which ones are you most eagerly awaiting the return of?

Let us know on our Facebook page!

 

 

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Jason Momoa confirmed as Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

Jason Momoa as Aquaman

Last week’s rumour about Jason Momoa being cast as Aquaman in the forthcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice movie have been confirmed as true by The Hollywood Reporter.  Here’s a pic we knocked up in Photoshop, showing Jason Momoa as he might look in his Aquaman costume.

In other DC Comics movie news, a list of forthcoming intended DC comics movies has been leaked, along with the expected release dates.  Writer/Director/mostly-silent-actor Kevin Smith was probed with regard to the leaked list on his Hollywood Babble On podcast, prompting him to confirm that it’s the same list that he’d been told about by “people”.

Smith said, “Yeah that’s what I heard.  That’s what I was told.”

When questioned about how he’d heard, he replied “‘Cause I know people, mother****er!”

When asked how he felt about the list, he said, “That just gave me a reason to live, man. Like, who’s that chick who don’t wanna live? Lana del Ray? Show her this f***in’ list. This is a list that would make f***in’ grumpy cat smile, dude. Everything about this list is perfect.”

Here’s the list in full:

May 2016 – BATMAN v SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

July 2016 – SHAZAM

December 2016 – SANDMAN

May 2017 – JUSTICE LEAGUE

July 2017 – WONDER WOMAN

December 2017 – FLASH/GREEN LANTERN

May 2018 – MAN OF STEEL 2

 

Stay geeky!

 

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ZX Spectrum replica bluetooth keyboard

Sinclair ZX Spectrum and tape deckLoad “”

Press play on tape.

Elite Systems Ltd. of Lichfield, UK, have announced a kickstarter project to create the ultimate geeky addition to the home computer setup or tablet of any self-respecting retro-gamer.  A bluetooth ZX Spectrum replica keyboard.

The keyboard will work with most smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs, and is a perfect replica of the legendary rubber-keyed 48k Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer.

ZX Spectrum Bluetooth keyboard mockupWhether you’re looking for the authentic experience of 1980’s button-mashing while playing Daley Thompson’s Decathlon, or are pining for the days of Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Chuckie Egg, Skool Daze, Paperboy and Horace Goes Skiing, or even if you’re just looking for a bluetooth keyboard that’s a bit different and geeky, for your everyday tasks like answering emails and surfing the web, this is the keyboard for you.

When the 8-year production of the original 8-bit 48k Sinclair ZX Spectrum ceased in 1990, over 5 million units had been sold worldwide.  Over 10,000 games were made for the platform.

With 16 days to go, the kickstarter project is two thirds of the way towards their goal.

Bluetooth-zx-spectrum-kickstarter-project

Bluetooth ZX Spectrum

GOTO 10

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50 years of Doctor Who

Doctor Who 50th anniversary special: Day of the DoctorToday is the day!  The day of The Doctor.

Doctor Who fans worldwide are united in their excitement, for in only a few short hours, the 50th anniversary special episode of one of the world’s favourite ever sci-fi TV shows will air simultaneously in 90 countries.

The BBC, crew and cast (for the most part) are being notoriously tight-lipped about the plot, although the Radio Times listing for the episode indicates that events will take place in modern day London, Elizabethan England, and out in space, and that “all of reality is at stake – and the Doctor’s own dangerous past comes back to haunt him.”

Cast members include Doctors David Tennant, Matt Smith and John Hurt, (and possibly also Tom Baker, although he isn’t mentioned in the listings), companions Billie Piper and Jenna Coleman, while Jemma Redgrave reprises her role as UNIT’s head of scientific research, Kate Stewart, and Gavin & Stacey’s Joanna Page appears as Queen Elizabeth I, and Watson & Oliver’s Ingrid Oliver as Osgood (who incidentally has been seen sporting Tom Baker’s Doctor’s scarf).

We at Something Geeky can’t wait for tonight.  Are you excited?  Tell us now on Facebook or Twitter.

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And while you’re waiting for 7:50pm (GMT) to come around, why not check out our official Doctor Who merchandise, and other time travel related designs?

somethinggeeky.com/doctorwho

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Ender’s Game

Ender's Game 1

Today, the long-anticipated movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel Ender’s Game, was released in the US amidst a haze of controversy.

Since the original release of the novel, Card has received many offers to make the book and its counterparts in the Ender series into a movie or series of movies, but until the late 90’s he rejected all approaches, due to fears of the movie failing to convey the themes of the novels, specifically the large amounts of plot that occurs within the mind of the titular character.

In the fourteen years inbetween decided to start writing a screenplay in earnest, and the start of the eventual movie shoot, Card rewrote the screenplay several times, but what should have been the amongst the most highly-awaited sci-fi movies of the year has been tarnished by comments from the author that have stirred objections from certain groups.

These objections relate to the fact that Orson Scott Card is openly against gay marriage and has spoken publicly of this.

In 2004, he said, “So if “my friends” insist on calling what they do “marriage”, they are not turning their relationship into what my wife and I have created, because no court has the power to change what their relationship actually is.”

“Instead they are attempting to strike a death blow against the well-earned protected status of our, and every other, real marriage.”

“They steal from me what I treasure most, and gain for themselves nothing at all. They won’t be married. They’ll just be playing dress-up in their parents’ clothes.”

And then in 2008 he stated, “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.”

Unsurprisingly, these comments have led to a backlash from the gay community, some of whom have threatened to boycott the movie and are campaigning that others do the same.

Ender's Game 2

If you visit the Geeks Out protest website skipendersgame.com you will be greeted by the headline, “Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card is more than an ‘opponent’ of marriage equality. As a writer, he has spread degrading lies about LGBT people, calling us sexual deviants and criminals. As an activist, he sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and campaigned against our civil rights. Now he’s a producer on the Ender’s Game movie. Do not let your box-office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda. SKIP ENDER’S GAME.”

They acknowledge that Card’s personal views are in no way reflected in the movie or the novel series, but beseech that the reader spend their money on something else rather than seeing the movie, as they believe that Card will receive more money if more people go to see the movie, a point that has been disputed (some will say, conveniently) by the studio, who claim that Card received a flat payment for use of his screenplay, and that he will not be receiving “back end” “points” payments based on box office takings, home media sales or rental fees, and that despite being given a producer credit, Card had no creative input on the production of the movie.

Lionsgate Films, and various cast and crew members have since renounced Card’s personal views, with Harrison Ford stating in an interview that “There is nothing in the film or the book addressing [Card’s] current dispositions, or prejudices”, and Lionsgate publicising that they plan to stage a benefit for the gay community, though again this has been met with disdaining voices who claim that this is nothing more than an empty marketing gesture, one that would not have happened organically without the controversy threatening to overshadow the release of the movie.

Enders Game 3

Controversy aside, initial reviews of the movie itself have been mixed at best.

While some have praised Ben Kingsley’s convincing New Zealand accent and Maori face-tattoos, many have described Harrison Ford’s performance as wooden, the plot as being derivative of The Last Starfighter and Harry Potter meets Full Metal Jacket, the CGI as being “unconvincing”, and the final sequence as being transparent sequel-bait, typical of many modern mainstream big budget teen adventure movies.

In The Wall Street Journal, reviewer Joe Morgenstern said “Not only does “Ender’s Game” have many scenes in zero gravity, but this zero-sum fiasco has zero drama, zero suspense, zero humor, zero charm and zero appeal.”

On AZCentral.com, reviewer Kerry Lengel says “Character development, dramatic tension and emotional resonance all get short shrift in the checklist exposition by writer-director Gavin Hood.”

All in all, it sounds like this movie may be a bit of a disappointment, to fans of the novels and movie aficianados alike, but for those that are still considering going to see the movie, here’s a trailer for it…

Have you seen Ender’s Game yet?  What are your thoughts?

Tell us NOW on our Twitter and Facebook pages:

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Man Forgets About Bitcoin Account, Becomes Millionaire

Bitcoins

A Norwegian man has discovered he is a millionaire (in Norwegian kroner) after reactivating a long-forgotten Bitcoin account.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, Bitcoin is a digital peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that can be generated by anyone with a computer, an internet connection and the correct software, in a process known as “mining”.

Mining Bitcoins involves your computer receiving large amounts of data from the internet, using your computer’s graphics card (a very powerful information processor) to perform calculations, and then sending the newly-processed information back to the internet.

It is a highly resource-intensive process that uses a lot of internet bandwidth, but with the right equipment can be highly lucrative.  The processes performed by a mining computer are the very processes required to make the currency work – the verification process of each transaction.

In addition to mining, it is possible to buy and sell Bitcoins with “real” money.

Kristoffer Koch - Bitcoin millionaire

Kristoffer Koch bought 150 kroner (£17.25p GBP / $27 USD) worth of Bitcoins in 2009 while researching encryption for a thesis.  At the time, the digital currency was in its infancy, and not long afterwards, Koch forgot all about it.

Years later, following recent media coverage of the online currency, he suddenly remembered his account, and eventually also his login details.

Once successfully logged in, he was shocked to discover that due to the huge increase in the value of the currency, his 5000 Bitcoins were now worth 5 million kroner (£574,000 GBP / $920,000 USD).

Bitcoins aren’t just for trading for real money.  Many items in the real world can be bought with Bitcoins.  You can buy t-shirts, hoodies and other clothing and accessories on this very website using the cryptocurrency.

bitcoin millionaire t-shirt

Elsewhere, there are pubs in London that accept Bitcoin, and there is even a Bitcoin ATM in Canada, from which you can buy and sell Bitcoins for real money.

Koch has since traded in 1000 of his Bitcoins, and bought a plush apartment in Toyen, a prestigious area in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Maybe someone should tell him he needs one of our Bitcoin Millionaire t-shirts?

We have a wealth of other Bitcoin t-shirts, hoodies and other apparel and accessories available.

To see our full range, click here… Bitcoin t-shirts

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