Here’s Your Saturday Links! 10-25-14

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Why AMC’s ‘Humans’ Is A Safer Bet On British Sci-Fi Than ‘The Prisoner’ Was

“Next year, AMC will air Humans, a sci-fi series whose casting (including William Hurt and Katherine Parkinson) was announced yesterday. Humans (which is to be made by UK producers, and is a co-production with the UK public service broadcaster Channel 4) has the ingredients to be another big hit – even if AMC’s history with transatlantic productions isn’t quite so stellar.”

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William Hurt to star in AMC and Channel 4 sci-fi series Humans

“The show chronicles a family and the dangerous consequences of owning a refurbished robotic servant.”

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Colin Morgan joins cast of new US sci-fi drama

” Merlin star Morgan will play Leo, a young man on the run, while Utopia’s Neil Maskell, Will Tudor (Game Of Thrones), Emily Berrington (24: Live Another Day) and Rebecca Front (The Thick of It) will all feature in the show.An adaptation of the Swedish TV series Real Humans, Humans will start shooting later this year and is due to be transmitted in 2015.”

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Sci-fi book is mission accomplished for author Jonathan

“A LYMPHOMA sufferer has written a science fiction novel as a means of helping him cope with the disease. Jonathan Taylor, 41, from Darlington completed his sci-fi novel, The Forgotten Mission: The Return while undergoing chemotherapy. Written over an 18 month period the 130,000-word book has received five star reviews on Amazon and reached the top 70 in the sci-fi charts.”

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Why watching Lynda Bellingham’s Doctor Who appearance is the only thing Whovians should do this evening

“While the late Lynda Bellingham is so often mentioned in the same breath as Loose Women and those brilliant Oxo TV adverts, Doctor Who fans will always remember her performance in the Trial of a Time Lord. She played an Inquisitor, a sort of Gallifreyan Judge Judy who summoned the Doctor to a spaceship and judged him on his time travelling antics – which were largely meddling in the affairs of aliens, and, er, genocide.”

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Doctor Who (series 8) Ep6

DOCTOR WHO GAME WILL TEACH KIDS HOW TO CODE

“Children will be learning these increasingly important new skills while being actively entertained,” said Jo Pearce, from BBC Wales’ Interactive. “The idea behind it is simply to use one of our biggest, most popular brands to inspire children to find out more about programming.”

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Utopia: Episode 1 (2013)

The Question is: “Who is Jessica Hyde?”

In America, Channel 4 is normally known for their exported edgy comedies such as Spaced, so it’s cool to see buzz on the internet happening for Utopia, a new conspiracy thriller from Dennis Kelly. My Facebook page was alight with messages of people talking about this show today, so I figured I better take a look at it. While Utopia seems to lack the tried and true science fiction trappings of other shows, I’m going to look at it for this site as it seems to be cut from the cloth of a show like The Prisoner or Twin Peaks – too weird to be just a drama in the strictest sense. According to the main Channel 4 website: “The story follows a small group of people who find themselves in possession of a manuscript of a cult graphic novel called Utopia, which is rumored to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. This leads them to be targeted by a government organization known only as ‘The Network’, whom they have to avoid in order to survive.”

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First and foremost, Utopia is not for the kiddies! There is gratuitous cursing, brief nudity, torture, and blood, tons of blood. The very first scene, involving a group of killers ransacking a comic book store, immediately got my attention for its audacious, almost Tarantino-like, murder spree. The cinematography alone, as it concentrates on pooling blood around a man’s head, definitely shows that this isn’t your typical TV drama. In fact, a lot of the cinematography in this episode seems to be similar in nature to another recent UK show, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock, that isn’t a criticism either, as I love how both shows look.

The cast includes a few familiar faces such as Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Ian, who previously appeared in Misfits, Paul Higgins from The Thick of it as Michael, and Alexandra Roach as Becky, who previously appeared in minor roles in The IT Crowd and Being Human. The cast also includes Fiona O’Shaughnessy as Jessica, Adeel Akhtar as Wilson Wilson, Neil Maskell and Paul Ready as Network assassins, and finally 11 year old Oliver Woolford as Grant, a juvenile delinquent.

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As of episode one, I have very little of a clue as to what’s going on! Shows like this like to pile on many layers of seemingly unrelated plot points, only to swoop in at the end and tie the whole thing up. We established that the main plot centered on a group of comic enthusiasts and their passion for an infamous graphic novel that led to its creator’s suicide. At a near 180 degree change, the secondary plot in the episode includes a high level Health Department civil servant named Michael and his troubles with a blackmailer. He’s at wit’s end, and near the breaking point from being used up as a cog in the government machine. I’m not sure how his dealings with a Russian flu vaccination and Tamiflu reserves tie in with the main plot regarding the comic, but I’m incredibly interested to find out. As long as we don’t have mystery upon mystery with no payoff ala ABC’s Lost, I think the revelations will be exciting.

I’m definitely intrigued with what episode two has in store. Since this has (so far) only been commissioned as a six part miniseries, I assume that the revelations will be fast and if the rest of this show is any indication – crazy. I know that the show may go completely away from being anything related to a science fiction show, but six episodes shouldn’t be too much for this site as I’ve covered horror and other genre TV. With all the lines blurring in these anyway, it’s hard to tell how it will go!

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