Quote of the Day

"We're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it."
- Amy, Her.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

2012: The Year of The Web Show?

When the internet started way back in the 90s, they had one goal in mind: to connect people. Plain and simple. Now, fast forward almost 20 years, and that goal has been surpassed in every way possible. I need not remind you all the ways in which this happens, because we live it everyday, nearly every moment of our lives, thanks to the implications of Internet technology.

     And every so often, it evolves, absorbing elements of physical being and rebooting them with far greater capabilities. Radio Shows became Podcasts, allowing anyone with a mic and PC to make their own, Journals and Articles became Blogs, enabling an easy way to get writing and get your name heard (believe me, I know), and now our good friend TV, having served for 8 decades, is slowly succumbing to the ways of the Web.
The Guild's even moved on
 to it's very own
line of comic books

  But I'm not talking about streaming sites like Hulu, iPlayer or Netflix, although they do dabble in the creative aspect of which this is focused. For my point here is that this year just may well see a real overhaul in terms of the way shows get made, produced and distributed among the masses (that's us!). Sure, plenty of web series' have been made and released up until this point, such as The Guild (which I'll be coming back to) and animated comedy/sadistic slaughter show, Happy Tree Friends, to name but a mere ounce of their slice in the internet market

 Because what's really happening now is individual platforms are being created for the sole purpose of providing original web content - like networks and studios in their own, un-messed-with right. Basically, it's what every creative type dreams of, finally coming to a reality near you.

   Specifically, this comes on the news that two giant geek personalities, made famous largely thanks to the web, are launching such platforms. Felicia Day, creator and star of The Guild as well as tons of other internetty stuff, has lifted the veil on the much anticipated Geek & Sundry, which will play host to a number of indie-geek-culture shows, ranging from Felicia and her buds doing awesome things in "The Flog", to the one and only Wil Wheaton doing his own show where he and special guests play classic board and card games in "TableTop", and there's even kids ad libbing their own stories to get brought to life by a slew of directors in "Written by a Kid". Here's a trailerific overview:

Meanwhile, stand-up comedian and founder of The Nerdist site and podcast-network, Chris Hardwick, has announced The Nerdist Channel - taking his nerd-branded sensibilities to the next level with the proposed menagerie of crazawesome shows on offer. Want Chris bowling with famous people? Check. Want an entire Weird Al show? Check. Want Neil Patrick Harris playing with puppets? Check. Whatever your unearthly desire, it's sure to be addressed in what these guys have in store:

But this is not just a bunch of new shows coming. This is not just an exercise in the entertainment business "branching out". And although awesome, this is not just  Nerd culture being fully realised and implemented. Because this is more. This an opportunity. And this, my friends, is the future.

  Imagine it; a world where the majority of the things we love to watch exist purely on the web - made exclusively for the web with platforms like this to get it out there. Originality levels are going to sky-rocket, as we get to see things just as the creators intended, as well as tsunami of newbies emerging who've never had the big-budget chances of network and production institutes.

A Brand New Day for Dr Horrible
  And even those who have made it big realise the potential, and I mean REALLY BIG. Take Joss Whedon, who's work on Dr Horrible 2 begins tantalisingly soon, with a possible release of this Summer. Would you ever see a Superhero musical, with the villain as protagonist, featuring stars like Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion AND Felicia Day on traditional network schedules? And further more, would you see a sequel of that there? Plus remember that Joss is literally going to be fresh off The Avengers; possibly the biggest superhero movie to date, and yet he goes straight back into a humbling, low budget web project.

   Or how about a show about Gay Marriage Equality in Brad Bell and Jane Espenson's Husbands, also heading toward a second outing for a season 2 later this year. I need not remind how I've supported the show before, and now they even have their own KickStarter to help fund the new episodes, which in itself is extraordinary seeing how they've reached the $50,000 goal in merely a week. You can still donate yourself here (regardless of location) and walk away with some nifty incentive rewards and the feeling that you've just contributed to the world of tomorrow (and we may even see some of these come to fruition) . Because the world is ready for this stuff, even laying down money for external web-content to feed their needs of innovation and revitalisation.

  In years to come we could see that the greatest actors/writers/directors of that future generation did in fact have a breakthrough via the web, a la Neill Blomkamp of District 9 fame. What does this mean? More deserving talents coming forward, previously unheard and unnoticed stars getting an opportunity to break in and become something amazing. And it all starts here, 2012, where the web-ground will be pushed to new heights and be recognised as being just as big a market for entertainment as TV and Film.

So, are you ready?


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Doctor Who Series 7

Remarkably, a trailer for Doctor Who's 7th series has already been released, teasing a menagerie of intrigue and spectacle for this year's 5 episodes (out of the entire 14). So once more, like last year, the series will be split in two, with the Christmas special after those 5 in Autumn, and the remaining 8 in 2013 some time. More on the logistics of all that later, so let's get on with the surprisingly big-budget looking trailer:

And finally, for the first time in months, a breakdown!

  • 0:06 - The third episode of this series, currently called "Gunslinger", will take place in the good ol' Wild West, and is written by Being Human creator, and previous Who contributor, Toby Whitehouse. Yet again branching into some other genres, it will be exciting to see Sci-Fi and Western meld together in a DW fashion, especially since that combination is just a gold mine to fans ever since Firefly.
  • 0:12 - Of course, this being Doctor Who, it's not just the gun-toting cowboys the gang are going to be wary of, as this cyborg, maybe-human-maybe-alien lone ranger suggests. 
  • 0:17 - Obviously the desolate shoot-out staple was going to make its way in somewhere, but quite how the Doctor will overcome this without a gun (as is his code) may be a challenge...
Don't blink... Again!
  • 0:19 - Hooray, Amy and Rory make their triumphant return this series, accompanying the Doctor for five more, final adventures. Will it end in heartbreak, tears and sorrow? Showrunner Steven Moffat has promised "Not everyone will get out alive - and I mean it this time!", in the midseason finale which will see the Weeping Angels make a horrifying return...
  • 0:21 - Guess they weren't lying when they said we'd be getting "Fourteen big, blockbuster-movie episodes" in the press release, as these explosions will testify.
  •  0:26 - Why yes, that is Arthur Weasley running with Doctor and co, or as he's preferably known, Mark Williams. He, along with a number of other guest stars, will be appearing in the second episode of series 7, which also sees the show's biggest set ever. Speculation: BEGIN!
  •  0:31 - So about that code... Care to explain why the big D's got a gun in his hand, anyone? 
  • 0:33 - Oh yeah, Amy's definitely back...
  • 0:44 - Is this the Doctor being accused of Witchcraft, mayhap?
  • 0:50 - Trademark wit and humour: check.
  • 0:52 - Robots will be making an appearance in episode two it seems.
  • 0:54 - As will David Bradley, another Harry Potter alumni, once portraying grumpy caretaker Argus Flinch. Oh yeah, and he's also going to have a badass, wristy-sword thing. Villain: most certainly.
  •  0:55 - Very briefly here you might recognise Rupert Graves (Sherlock's Lestrade) taking up arms alongside Amy. Again, supposedly from the second episode.
  • 0:58 - Let me guess, you thought it was Mickey, right? Well, me too, but unfortunately not, although this new character does appear in what I believe will be the series opener, which Moffat has teased as being called "[Something] of the [Something]", having a Die-Hard-esque tone AND containing Daleks. Expect big things... 
  • 1:05 - Be careful what you wish for: Daleks ahoy! Also, anyone else getting a Jabba's Palace vibe from that eye?

Autumn, please hurry? Mind, this is all from the first 5 episodes (maybe only the first 3 for those keeping count), so no look at The Doctor's newest companion, Jenna-Louise Coleman. She'll be arriving in this year's Chirstmas Special, and has been quite the rising star here in Britain, finding regular spots on both Emmerdale and Waterloo Road. While we'll all miss Karen (Amy) and Arthur (Rory), new blood will be an exciting prospect, especially with the acting talents of Matt Smith's to compliment her. 

  And notice the distinct lack of James Corden in this trailer... Never fear, him and Moffat are trying their damndest to fit loveable Craig back into the plot-lines, and let me stretch my Corden-Speculating abilities once more...

Anyway, until Autumn, let us eagerly anticipate more DW awesomeness.


*Tiny Reels Actively Illustrating Lots of Entertainment Rich with Spoilers

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Pledges

What? Google Images was lacking today...
Over the past few weeks or so, I've made some pledges to myself for the sake of integrity within my very own mindset. Whether it's to avoid spoilers, honour a piece of work or just stay sane, these act as little bite size rules for the very dangerous life as a teenage writer/geek/swimwear model.

Avoid Second Trailers
Movies are awesome; there's no argument in that. Therefore with the oncoming arrival of a hotly anticipated release comes the slew of media coverage and trailers that give us a glimpse of how the film's going to look, sound and feel. But sometimes, when you watch all the trailers released before a movie's opening, the film gets a bit "When is that line going to come?" or "I wonder how they'll work that scene from the trailer into the unfolding plot..." .
    To counteract this unyielding wave of destructive spoilers, I've decided that second trailers are a no-no. Half the time I know I'm going to watch the movie anyway, so what's the point on getting more sold on it? I know some go entire blackout on stuff like this, which I'm sure works out great, but I seriously don't have the will power to give up trailers altogether, and that very first glimpse is all too desirable to forget. After all, what would happen to our beloved Trailer Tuesdays if I went ultimate cold turkey on those good ol' three minute peeks? No, so it's first trailers only from here on out.

Reject "Follow Backs"
So Twitter; that huge social networking, micro-blogging, up-to-date powerhouse that fills up (usually unproductively) a good part of the day. In some minds - the ones which I like to call the clever minds - it is a media tool to both share your experiences/thoughts/feelings/work and feel a part of someone else's, be it celebrity, friend or web-outlet. But then there are those who see it as a popularity contest: high school on a global scale. And so the "I follow back" is born.
   I'm sure you savvy Twitterees know what I mean, you may even do it, which isn't such a bad thing if that's your thing. But I cannot get my head around the phenomenon: why would I want to clog my timeline up with a bunch of people's useless tweets about football or food or whether they just showered, just so I can gain a few more people to view mine within the same degree? If I'm following someone it's because I respect them, admire them, or socially know them and do it in a show of friendliness, not because I merely want their follow. Seriously, a few extra numbers on a pixelated web page is hardly worth the compromise of truly earning followers who want to follow you for you.

Read The Book First

These days, it's getting increasingly harder to find a film that wasn't based on an existing franchise before its production, typically focusing its literal lenses on a previously successful novel. Now in an entirely hypercritical notion against the trailer rule, whereby spoilers are the aim of the game, I'm going to try and understand the issues of "Why'd they miss that chapter from the film" and what-not, by reading the book before hand when possible.

   Obviously this can't happen for every single film with literary roots, but it's the least I can do to get the most out of a film, and perhaps appreciate it and the original author's work a little better. There's actually an existing scheme in place online here, where you can "Take The Pledge" yourself to "Read First" wherever humanly possible. You may even notice that new widget down the sidebar expressing the promise, just as my friends over at He Said She Said have done too.

Watch The Proper Airing
It can be inexplicably frustrating to discover that one of your favourite shows is going to take a number of months to reach your own airing shores. So much so that unfortunately many of us turn to unofficial internet streaming (outside of iPlayer, Netflix, etc) to get our fix, neglecting the show of its all important ratings to keep it afloat in the ruthless age of television. Sure, you may think my one viewing won't really matter, but if everyone thinks that then they've just lost out of an extra .5 million rating.

Which is why I'm taking this pledge, to support our shows and keep them on air. Here's the rules for it:

New Show That Takes A Few Months: Wait for it.
Beloved Show That Takes A Few Weeks: Wait for it.
Beloved Show That Takes A Few Months: Wait, unless absolutely necessary to stream, i.e. To talk about with friends.
Beloved Show That Takes Indefinite Periods of Ridiculous Time: Stream

As you can see, I'm not perfect on this, because some shows just take too long to get here *Cough*Community*Cough so I feel literally forced by my need for this. To balance this out, I make sure I pick up the boxset when it releases or just re-watch them when they eventually do air. It worked for Heroes, which is why it managed to still get 4 seasons; yep, that was all me.


Well, there's my pledges for you. Why not think up some of your own and stay more disciplined for it, or carry on living the happy-go-lucky, do-as-I-please lifestyle that you've already got going on, you untameable beast, you.