Weekend Free To Air Scifi TV

Friday’s TV is basically Agents of Shield (C4) or Atlantis (bbc3)…. I’m suspecting that as far as science fiction is concerned, TV land has thrown in the towel on fridays. Although if you are staying up super late, you’ll find The Vampire Diaries on ITV2 at 1.25am.

Saturday goes a long way to make up for this. Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (2007) brings us Natalie Portman and Dustin Hoffman on CITV, but at 9.25am. We then get Star Wars (retitled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. (1977)) on ITV1 at 3.15pm, with ITV2 showing The Borrowers (1997) at 5.40pm followed at 7.30pm by Dragonheart (1996) – in which the dragon is voiced by Sean Connery. The evenings scifi offering is Predators(2010) at 9pm on Channel 4 – inevitable, but OK sequel with Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne; marooned on the alien planet as prey in a big game hunt.

The Golden Compass (2007 – known to us as Philip Pullman’s book Northern Lights) is worth a look on Sunday – 4pm on Channel 4; later sees an offering from E4: 8pm, The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) a remake of the earlier 1951 classic; but the performances from Keanu Reeves and Kathy Bates do make it worth seeing.

But for sheer exuberance and fun, and a host of those famous and not so famous then or since (inc. former chief scout Peter Duncan, and the voice and the body that is Brian Blessed!) I’m going to suggest sofa, duvet and popcorn are utilised at 3.45pm where ITV4 are showing Flash Gordon (1980).

Break out the Queen!! Heres to the weekend

Pre Halloween Weekend TV.

Dear scifinders and fiends: We have ourselves a whole pre-halloween weekend of TV, plus an extra hour! I hope you can make the most of it, and don’t waste it on silly things like sleep


If you can get yourself early to the TV, Film4 at 6.25pm is showing King Kong (1976) – the glorious 70’s meme rich version starring Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges. Oh the Dresses! The Flares! The Pathos!

For those of us glued, of course Shield is on Channel4 at 8pm. But you could hot foot it over to Film4 at 9pm for Terminator: Salvation (2009). Personally I’m heading for BBC4 and Tommy (1975). More Flares, Power Cords and, well yes, Pathos. (sorry)

Saturday sees a warning shot – ITV is showing Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002) at 2pm.

I’ll give afternoon preference to Channel5, who bring us the (nominally) 2nd World War drama Run Silent Run Deep (1958). Yes, its a war film, but its also a brilliant psychological speculative drama, touching on the same interpersonal conflicts common to combat based science fiction. It also stars Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Brad Dexter and Don Rickles.

Evening viewing? We suggest The Phantom (1996) for swashbuckling fantasy, with a dose of Catherine Zeta Jones and Billy Zane. Its on Film4 at 4.55pm, and we should warn you that its been edited for broadcast.

9pm on Channel 5 sees my pick of the day: Stephen King’s Bag of Bones. Although with its post midnight finish, it might be wise to find something light and fluffy to settle you back down for bed… you have an extra hour after all

Sunday, sunday…. so good to me…

Grab some nachos, and settle in as Ghostbusters gets a Halloween outing on Channel 5 at 6.55pm. Also on Channel5 later, Scream 4 (2011). Terrestrial premiere for this schlock flick. 9pm.

If you’d rather not, then there is David Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980) on ITV3 at 10.35pm. The classic film starring a host of fashionable society. Fact-based drama, directed by David Lynch, and starring John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller and Freddie Jones. Also features Hannah Gordon and Michael Elphick.

To close the day beautifully, Just Like Heaven (2005) is on BBC2 at 11.45pm.

Week End TV

This week, I’m assuming that you have your early evenings all sewn up with Channel 4, so its launching into a Late Start to Friday – Bowfinger, a director intends to use low-fi reality footage to create a scifi film, but inadvertently films the incurse of some inept aliens to earth  – ITV1 at 10.35pm.  If you prefer your scifi less ‘reality TV, you can go for The Bourne Identity on ITV2 at 10pm.

Saturday sees a choice between the original Die Hard (1988) at 9pm on Channel4 or The Naked Gun (1988) at 11.10 pm on E4. If you’d rather keep it family friendly – try the Jaden Smith starring remake of The Karate Kid (2010) at 6pm on Film4.

The Late late offerings are slightly ‘better’ – post pub is served well with Phil Tippet’s Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004), 1.40am on Movie Mix; or horror flick Beneath (2007) at 1.20am on Film4.

Sunday is more varied.
Comedy fantasy horror Black Knight (2001) is at 7.10pm on Film4,  whilst the talons of star trek are seen in the Jonathan Frakes directed thriller Clockstoppers (2002) on Viva at 9pm. Later fare includes the original Highlander (1986) on Channel5.

Short, sweet and to the point. Have a great weekend, the last before the clocks go back!

Weekend Scifi TV

Scifind Weekend TV
Scifind Weekend TV
Hello sci fiends!, sorry sci friends. Or, take which ever you wish. Another weekend is upon us, and though a sparse selection, there is indeed free to air tv for us to watch, companionably or sat with a big thick blanket to throw over our collective heads when the scary bits come along. Something like that anyway!

Friday has become SuperHero day. 8pm on Channel 4, sees episode 3 of Marvel’s Agents of Shield. Will it continue to live up to the rollicking pace of earlier episodes? Or have you already fallen by the way side. This household remains split, but I’m probably going to hold out for Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010) on Film4 at 9pm, or The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) on ITV2 at 10pm

Saturday is rather light for Fantasy and Scifi – but does at least have The Adjustment Bureau (2011) at 9pm on Channel 4. Its the terrestrial premiere for this scifi thriller, which sees Matt Damon and Emily Blunt as politician and dancer, fighting to determine their own future directions against a shadowy state. Also featuring the divine Terrence Stamp, in a character role that leaves us wondering just who is on which side, and whether this is fantasy or scary reality. Its followed at 11pm by horror flick The Hole (2009).

Sunday makes up for saturday with a good selection of family fantasy fare. ITV2 has a run starting at 2.30pm with Richard E. Grant in The Little Vampire (2000), Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004 – the live action version starring Sarah-Michelle Geller) at 4.25pm, and director Ang Lee’s The Hulk (2003) at 6.15pm.

These all wrap up in time for alien invasions in Skyline (2010) on Film4 at 9pm. Although my pick of the day goes to ITV at 10.20pm, and the terrestrial premiere of Senna (2010). Whilst not SF/F this documentary contains technical detail, new (to UK eyes) footage and contributions from Prosr, Stewart, Williams and Dennis; as it looks into the on track achievements of Aryton Senna and his untimely death in the 1994 San Marino GP.

Agents, Superheroes, Dinosaurs, Super cop and IT support. This is your weekend tv

It’s the weeeeekkkkkeeennndddd…

OK, sorry. I’m just going to go back to the server room. Its over here. But I’m taking the television with me.  Of course I am, else I’d miss the last ever IT Crowd.

Channel 4. 9pm. A whole hour of Roy, Jen and Ross, plus special guests. It could be awful (not possible, surely?), but then its following Agents of Shield (C4 8pm) so who knows. Basically channel four is the choice for the evening.

And when that is done, The Punisher (2004) is on Channel five at 10pm. Based on the Marvel comic of the same name, this version stars Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Will Patton, Rebecca Romijn and Roy Scheider

I’m also told I should take a look in on 5USA, and the series Person Of Interest. Its at Midnight. (12am).

Saturday I’m sticking with the 4 franchise and suggesting Film4 for your family viewing, with Eddie Murphy in Meet Dave (2008) at 5.15pm, followed by My Super Ex-Girlfriend (Luke Wilson, Uma Thurman and Eddie Izzard) at 7.05pm. 10.55pm sees the classic Alien (1979). But maybe not bedtime viewing, eh?

Sunday is when Channel 5 should rule your daytime with 3.40pm Close Encounters of the Third Kind: the directors cut (1977) at 3.40pm and Superman (1978) at 6.20pm. Alternatively you could choose another classic over on ITV2 The Lost world: Jurassic Park (1997) is on at 2.10pm instead.

To take you out of the weekend, assuming that you don’t have to get up super early on Monday, our last Channel 5 choice is the 1994 romp Time Cop. The line up includes Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ron Silver, Bruce McGill and Mia Sara. Its on at 11.25pm. Have at it, Monday!

Weekend’s TV Grey, Gremlins, Gaiman And More Starting With Other Letters

The weekend is upon us. TV for the duration, sans Sky or Virgin? Have at it scifindians!

Friday opens with Dorian Gray (2009) on More4 at 9pm. Whilst recognisable as the classic tale of the portrait in the attic, this one comes with added CGI, the use of which adds a beautiful etherial light to the piece.

However, Gremlins (1984), ITV2 at 11.35pm is probably far better for easing us into the weekend. If you’ve never seen the tale of furry creatures, just make sure all your eating is ended by midnight!


Mirrormask. 11am, Film4. Seriously, do get up for this. The Gaiman/McKean penned tale of a circus owner’s daughter transported to an alternative reality. Bit of a who’s who of British Actors; McKean directs.

Classic film lovers are catered for as well this afternoon, with War of the Worlds (1953) on More4 at 1.50pm;

Family films  – James and the Giant Peach. Film4 3.15pm; Dragonheart on ITV2 at 7pm.

Later evening offerings are:

I Am Legend (2007) is on ITV1 at 10pm. Whilst the film changes the ending from that of the book (hollywood’s need for sequel potential?) its still worth watching for the story that it does choose to tell.

X-Files (film) on Channel 4 at 11pm. Feature length exposition on the classic series.

Mirrors 12.45am (Sunday) on Film4. Is he going mad, or just on drugs?  Brit psych-drama that has more than a twist of fantasy tucked inside its real world settings.


King Kong (1933) on BBC4 at 9pm. The classic black and white presentation, complete with the special effects of its time.

Pick of the day (and for me the weekend) is Paul (2011) on Channel 4 at 9pm.The Freeview premiere for this comedic romp through sci-fi tropes. Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and the voice of Seth Rogen.  Lots of cameo appearances by the great and the OK of science fiction classics of times past.  I’d love to make this the family film of the day too, but maybe only if you’ve got teenagers eh?

Instead I’m suggesting that you sit the family down in front of Eragon. Based on the Christopher Paolini book, (the first of a trilogy although I’m long past given up on seeing the rest of these wonderful books made   ) there’s plenty of CGI and stunning backgrounds, plus the story has all the traditional good/bad/evil/last of its kind and the humanity of fantasy creatures. Its on Channel4 at 5.30pm

Spiderman, Star Trek and SG1 Head This Weeks UK Freeview Scifi Viewing

The weekend starts here! So without ado we’ve got our pick of the freeview channels science fiction offerings for the weekend ahead! Get your popcorn at the ready guys!

Friday 6th September 2013

Friday kicks off bright and early on Pick TV with Star Trek: Enterprise and Stargate SG1 at 7pm and 8pm respectively. Then 5* offers up Spiderman 3, alongside M Night Shyamalan’s scifi horror The Happening on More4, both at 9pm.

Treat of the evening is The Tempest (2010) on BBC2 at 11pm – all star cast in this classic Shakespearean fantasy with Helen Mirren at the centre of a gender twist; and including small parts for Alan Cumming and Russell Brand.

Saturday 7th September 2013

Its Wolfbound Catch up weekend on the CBBC channel, with series one episodes one to seven being shown from 10am to 2.55pm Saturday, and the remaining episodes 8-13 shown on Sunday from 11.35am to 4.30pm. Aiming to spend your weekend on the sofa doesn’t get much better than this, definitely *not* ‘childrens tv’. Series two starts on CBBC next week. Its worth following the shows writing team on twitter, as they have been known to live tweet along

Classic cgi heritage shows up on Challenge at 11.30am. Perfect post friday night viewing, whilst you get yourself together for the day.

Our evening picks are:

Android Apocolypse – Movie Mix, 9pm. Dystopian future run by robots, check. Penal colony escape, check. Man and machine work together to defeat a plan to wipe out all human life, check! This was a ‘limited release’ in 2006, but undeservedly so. Rambunctious saturday nachos and pizza film.

Hellboy II:The Golden Army. ITV1/HD 10.15pm. Enjoy!

Sunday 8th September 2013

To be honest, I’m probably going to be watching the Formula one Grand Prix from Monza (BBC1 from 12.10pm, with the highlights show on bbc3 at 7pm). But there is still a dose of less, well loud, television in the offing. If you would rather you could try Channel 4; with Stardust at 5.20pm or the Gary Oldman remade Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, at 9pm.

Star Trek The Next Generation – Hive

Comic Book Review – Star Trek The Next Generation – Hive

Star Trek The Next Generation – Hive is the full story (all four issues of HIVE, as originally published), weighing in at a hefty 106 pages.

Star Trek TNG - HIVE Comic Book
Star Trek TNG – HIVE Comic Book

We first meet Locutus of Borg, for he is what Jean Luc Picard has become. No sooner do we learn he has a mission, than the story skips 500 years back to the time after he first returned to the federation as Jean Luc.

We are taken into memes more commonly seen in fantasy than SF – alternative timelines, parallel worlds, other realms (and the demons who live within); all far beyond that seen in the Q days, and further still than from within the likes of Babylon 5.

Swiftly reintroduced are a range of familiar characters – seven of nine is the Borg Ambassador, Riker is a Captain, Data is reborn as Borg; and the ubiquitous Dr Beverly Crusher. A fresh character appears, a Lieutenant whose brother was also assimilated at an unspecified time in the past.

The sequence flips back and forth in time, with clever use of parallel panels and cross break speech bubbles to show the same character spilt across two different time streams, and to visually and verbally smooth the passage between the two. It soon emerges that there has been a massive Borg ‘trick’ and we move into the realms of concurrent time streams where the future intervenes & uses temporal anomalies to time travel and destroy themselves as the strip hops back and forth, with fewer panels between.

The result is a balancing of worlds, and a return to the expected past and future, thus preserving the space-time continuum and the canon of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a whole.

Star Trek The Next Generation – Hive has artwork, by Joe Corroney and David Messina (with colours by Ilaria Traversi and Hi Fi) which is superb and makes good use of the verve and pace supplied by writer Brannon Braga. However this is firmly aimed at the 18+ end of the comics market, and contains themes that might be considered unsuitable for a younger person.

Doctor Who – Prisoners of Time. Issue 3

Doctor Who - Prisoners of Time. Issue 3
Doctor Who – Prisoners of Time. Issue 3, Written by Scott & David Tipton, art by Mike Collins. IDWv

Featuring the third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith, Prisoners of time is set in the UNIT era. Amidst unusually fierce and pan-global storms, the emergency call goes out to recall The Doctor to UNIT. He and Sarah Jane arrive to find The Brigadier is acting very strangely, deploying troops all over the globe without wit or reference to others, and refusing to listen to any sort of reason. Eventually he makes one decision too far, and is able to be relieved of duty.

During restraint and treatment for apparent madness, the doctor spots the tell tale signs that the brigadier has been infected and is acting as host for an alien species. Following its expulsion from its host, The Doctor, Sarah Jane, and The Brigadier set about repelling the alien invasion force…
At the time this was a trail blazing strip, and part of what eventually became the modern Doctor Who Magazine.  As a protagonist, the 3rd Doctor is interesting in how little he uses the TARDIS to achieve access to places and solve issues.
This is issue three of the series, with more to come, and part of a slew of Doctor Who reprints that IDW is issuing in the run up to the 50th Anniversary.  Each issue contains information on this, and on the history of the strip to date. At $3.99 (UK pricing varies according to the conversion rate used by your local comic shop) for the paper issue, its a worthwhile spend; story and artwork both being of an excellent standard.
From your local comic shop, digitally, or online at IDWpublishing.com

Pilgrim – Audio Review

Pilgrim - Available from AudioGo
Pilgrim – Available from AudioGo

“Of all the tales told on these islands, few are as strange as that of William Palmer. Cursed apparently, on the road to Canterbury in the spring of 1185; for denying the presence of the other world, by the King of the Greyfolk, or Fairy, Himself. And compelled to walk from that day to this between the worlds of magic and of men. and subsequently known in all the strange and wonderful lore attributed to the mysterious William Palmer, as Pilgrim.”

It is a strange thing to turn on a recording, expecting a single voice narrator reading from a book; and hear a fully formed piece of theatre unfolding before your ears.

After the initial surprise, I did indeed settle in and just listen. No notes, no book, no random surfing; all became unnecessary and would have been a distraction, have gotten in the way of this glory that flipped between myth and magic, and the modern day. For this was the realms of BBC radio drama, that mysterious entity that is best known by the driver or the daytime listener; and Pilgrim, created by Baczkiewicz (who was the bbc’s first writer in residence in 2000) is up there with the classics of an earlier age.

In Pilgrim, this immortal (played by Paul Hilton) has reluctantly taken the mantle as protector and saviour of mankind. Series one consists of four separate plays: Summoned to retrieve a stolen dragons egg; return a lost son to his mother; resist the clutches of a collector of occult things and beings; and finds himself on a mission to save Joseph of Arimathea. Along the way we meet Puck, a teen aged were wolf, a trapped demon, and a wise, but strangely modern, woman.

It’s curious it has taken so long to release this to the audio book audience, unless it was that it was first a complete collection and the series by series breakdown is subsequent to this? A recognition perhaps that the audience for spoken word books is a rather different group to those who chose radio four or four extra as their background listening, and different again to those who find iplayer to hear and re-hear things broadcast in the short space of time they remain available on that platform?

These episodes of Pilgrim were directed by Jessica Dromgoole and Marc Beeby. They have a total running time of 2 hours and 56 minutes; and can be purchased for £2.99 as MP3 files from Audiogo –

The New Ghostbusters #2 IDW ComicBook

The New Ghostbusters #2 IDW ComicBook
The New Ghostbusters #2 IDW ComicBook
So there has been an inter dimensional accident and the ghostbusters have disappeared. But all is not lost – the state of New York has found some funds and recruited a new team, but this time they are trained and (mainly) women! Following a rather degrading costume change and photo shoot the team, consisting of Staffer Janine Meinitz, FBI Agent Melanie Ortiz, Occult bookstore manager Kylie Griffin and returning tech support Ron Alexander, set off in search of a ghost in central park…

… in the meantime, in a dimension not actually that far away, the original Ghostbusters Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon are consulting their kit, and working out if its going to be possible to ‘get home’.

A nice little B strip looks at the lives of ghosts captured and trapped in the prison dimension, plus the wordy bit makes mention of Dr Who, Sandman, and Miyazaki.

This series looks to be suitably true to the Ghostbusters we all know, and is written by Erik Burnham, with art by him and Dan Schoening, and colours by Luis Antonio

Ghostbusters #2 Is released 13th March 2013

The ghost of a notorious killer has begun to haunt New York, and The New Ghostbusters have to stop him before he can pick up where he left off! Meanwhile, the Original Ghostbusters compare notes—trying to figure out where they are, and how to get home… 

Full Colour • 32 pages • $3.99

Features all-new REAL GHOSTBUSTERS 2-page back-up stories written and drawn by Erik Burnham in every issue!

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs – Stage Play

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs
The Boy Who Kicked Pigs – at Jacksons Lane, Highgate N, until 16th March 2013

It may be March, but its still dark by seven pm, and all alone I climb off the Northern (black) Line and walk down the hill to the glowing gothic building astride the crossroads. Inside there is a bustle and a hustle, and a surprisingly spritely audience all waiting to go into the theatre space for this evenings performance of The Boy Who Kicked Pigs, based on the book by Tom Baker; and dramatised by Kill The Beast, this evenings presenting company.

The play opens ‘in the pub’ and it’s quickly clear that the bizarre and macabre are going to play a central role – the overly generous, elderly, blind old man is quickly revealed to have (unknowingly) murdered a child, and then he is quickly despatched himself. After this opening ensemble, the play ‘flash backs’ and we start to meet the characters one by one; Robert, his sister, the local police; and then onto the local newspaper office, a particularly accurate portrayal of the rural newsroom – right down to the keen but bored work experience boy. From here the play proceeds at a rollocking pace, through mono and duologues, character and ensemble pieces, and ‘almost’ musical numbers. Costumes (Caligari is a particularly manic menace-a-like) and make up blend to enhance the grotesque, surreal and bloody nature (and oh yes, there is a fountain of blood and a *lot* of nasty, dirty, nature. But ‘spoilers’!). The story lifts and elevates whilst borrowing beautifully from the structures of classic horror and scifi. But with Tom Baker as the author, who would expect anything else?

In its ‘mix’ of genres The Boy Who Kicked Pigs perfectly suits the book and I suspect reflects the original vision of Baker. Using busy physical theatre and aspects of dance alongside the music, and as tools to create ‘crowds’ is frankly brilliant and works beautifully. The foley is particularly fine, and their sound designer and composer deserve long careers on the back of this play alone. As do all the Kill The Beast company. It helps that, young as they are, the company are scarily talented (all have other performance projects as well as day jobs) but for four individuals to successfully portray a villages worth of characters, (in the climatic disaster scene almost everyone in the story was there) is above and beyond mere ‘talent’. This is not, however some have chosen to portray them, amateur theatre. Kill the Beast – David Cumming, Natasha Hodgson, Clem Garritty, Oliver Jones and Zoe Roberts – are a fully fashioned, professional company. Follow them on twitter @kill_beast and watch out for them bringing this to your area, if you cannot get down here to see it.

A glorious romp through the dark, surreal side of human nature, with a cackle and a leer, and a salutary telling tale depicting just why one should never, ever, listen to your imaginary friends. Especially those with murderous intent.