Nov 242014
 
Starfall3
Starfall3

Damien Puckler as Captain William Hunter

Who’s ready for a new science fiction TV series? A good one. Yes, we are, too! So, we’re excited to discover the Starfall project, which has already filmed its pilot. The series stars Damien Puckler (Meisner, from the hit series Grimm), Ellen Dubin (Giggerota from the series Lexx, as well as roles in Earth: Final Conflict, and Abraxas), Andrew Jackson (Stargate SG 1), and Daytime Emmy-award-winning actor, Bill Oberst, Jr. (Take This Lollipop and Criminal Minds).

The series, created by John Ellis, is set in a post-apocalyptic version of our Sol system. The apocalypse came in the form of a race of aliens who conquered Earth and raided humanity (and some other alien races) for slaves. Eventually the alien Empire underwent political reform, choosing to style itself a benevolent republic, rather than a conquering empire, so the slaves are declared free. In practice, however, this “freedom” is anything but complete, as both humans and other

John Ellis, creator and producer of 'Starfall'

John Ellis, creator and producer of ‘Starfall’

alien races who were formerly enslaved are now tossed haphazardly back into the world as freedmen, and the world doesn’t quite know what to do with them. Humanity is more or less divided into three sets at this point: the ones who wish to revolt against the republic and get the conquering aliens out of the Sol system altogether; the ones who are content to assimilate into this new, blended society; and the ones who just have no idea what to do.

Krypton Radio got a chance to ask Ellis and Puckler a few questions about the project. Ellis told us, “Starfall will offer fans a new sci-fi space epic, intimately told through real people, not always doing the right things. Flawed actions with real consequences, against an infinite backdrop. Too, we’re striving for a higher production standard that hasn’t been seen before in independent streaming content.”

The action is set on a ship, the Ardri Jennet, which patrols the boundaries of the Sol system and tries to ensure that the freedmen are actually, you know, free. She is captained by William Hunter (played by Damien Puckler). Puckler told us, “Hunter is a tormented soul who began his life with true ideals and has seen them challenged and destroyed. He would easily chose to live in solitude, far away from any other beings, but life always throws him back into the position of responsibility … to be a leader, to take charge and make vital decisions. It’s that inner conflict between his idealistic compassionate heart and his experience of the real world and how to approach it, that makes the character truly captivating.”

His crew are an assortment of races and ideologies, which makes for plenty of potential for drama and excitement. Ellis gave us a sneak peek at the personalities. “Hanso Baash (played by Bill Oberst Jr.) is a brilliant engineer with extremely low self-esteem. Throughout the show he will come up with solutions to insurmountable problems, never once thinking

Andrew Jackson as Lorr T'vek & Ellen Dubin as Shingh-ah

Andrew Jackson as Lorr T’vek & Ellen Dubin as Shingh-ah

they’ll work — even after they do. This lack of confidence comes from being raised among a people (he’s of a race called the Quulsa) dominated by females, where males have no rights and are little more than sperm donors. He’s a bit of a rebel by even being aboard the Jenny, but constantly frazzled by self-doubt.

“Shingh-ah (played by Ellen Dubin), is one of the last members of her race (the Selsky), who have been hunted to extinction because of a singular ability they have (no, I’m not going to tell you!). She’s aboard the Jenny to hide in plain sight–she’s determined to stay off everyone’s radar for her own protection. Yet she is bonded to the crew, and will fight for them and with them against every foe.”

We asked Ellis what inspired him in writing Starfall. He said, “I take inspirations from almost anything. Tolkien to Alien; Dumas and Verne; Michael Connelly and Elmore Leonard. Pink Floyd, Rush and the Moody Blues. My own life has been a wealth of insight and thematic ideas. And my faith is always present and guiding me.”

Puckler said, “I have always been a huge fan of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, and the like. Starfall embodies all of these and more. It’s the ultimate sci-fi opera with deeply developed characters … each battling their own

Damien Puckler and Andrew Jackson on set

Damien Puckler and Andrew Jackson on set

inner conflicts while dealing with life as a crew member of the Ardri Jennet. It’s a fascinating scenario with fascinating stories!”

What’s it like to go from working on a network series to an independent production? What’s the biggest difference? “Money! Network series simply have more money available.” Puckler replied. “That, however, also puts them in a chokehold of what’s popular. Smaller productions always strive for a bigger budget, but the financial  shortcomings are overcome by creativity. More and more smaller shows are being made that are challenging what is out there. Smaller productions are able to create characters and storylines that are not always politically correct and/or are pushing the envelope! It think that is extremely exciting as an actor and even more as an audience.”

Where will Starfall be available? Ellis says, “Our original plan is to self-distribute online, and build a fan base large enough to support our continued independence. Even should a deal Starfall 1be offered by a third party, we’re determined to maintain creative control.”

Starfall has already succeeded in completing filming on its pilot. It’s currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the post-production work needed to make Starfall the masterpiece it’s meant to be. Now that principal filming is complete, the episode is awaiting editing, music and special effects. Ellis says that crowd-funding the work will allow greater creative control, and will also get the series in front of fans in half the time of a traditionally funded project. Donors get some pretty cool perks, including a walk-on role (at the $10,000 level), an Ardri Jennet uniform (at the $3,000 level), and loads of other goodies for smaller donations! The Starfall Kickstarter ends on Sunday, December 21, 2014.

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Nov 172014
 
People's Choice Award Trophies, 2014.
People's Choice Award Trophies, 2014.

People’s Choice Award trophies, 2014.

by Aly Runke, contributing writer

The People’s Choice Awards, arguably the most audience inclusive awards show ever, has begun its voting period. The People’s Choice award ceremony has been a televised event for the past forty years. In its efforts to showcase the who’s who and what’s what of popular culture each year, People’sChoice.com opens voting in a huge variety of different categories for fans of every persuasion. People’s Choice began in 1975 with only fourteen categories. Winners in that first year included The Sting in music and Barbra Streisand. Since then, it has grown exponentially to include over 40 categories, and its winners include such Hollywood elite as Katy Perry and Robert Downey, Jr. All of the winners are nominated and voted upon by the people who love them, not some organized franchise, which is the point after all.

To add your own voice to this melee of fan voting wonder, check out the various categories and nominees, picked by fans just like you. Some of the categories up on the site include Favorite Sci-Fi show, actor, and actress; Favorite movie, movie actor, and actress; Favorite tv duo; Most Missed character; and favorite music artist, album, and song of the year. Among these categories are tons of swoon-worthy nominees including the cast of shows such as Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.;  cable-network sci-fi and fantasy series like Doctor WhoOutlander, and Game of Thrones; and artists such as Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Ed Sheeran. Best Movie nominees include Guardians of the GalaxyMaleficentX-Men: Days of Future Past, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This final round of voting ends on December 4, 2014,  at midnight Pacific. So go vote for your favorites now!

Also available on the site is entertainment news, mostly light and fun stuff about different actors,  interviews, and features on each of the finalists in the categories. Tune in for the People’s Choice Awards 2015 on CBS, on January 7, 2015, live from Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California.

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Who are your picks for the winners? Sound off in comments, or on our Facebook page!

Nov 122014
 
Insurgent-poster-tris
Last summer’s Divergent was just the first in a series of films based on the popular young adult books by Veronica Roth. In this new teaser for Summit Entertainment’s The Divergent Series: Insurgent, we’re dropped into a post-apocalyptic landscape with Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), who is suddenly thrust into a seemingly impossible sequence of surreal events as she tries to save her mother, played by Ashley Judd. We can’t tell much of anything about the plot from this short clip (good thing we’ve already read the books!), but there’s plenty of action and the surreal situation points to a much deeper, and threatening, reality.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent also stars Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Miles Teller, Octavia Spencer and Mekhi Phifer, and is due to open March 20, 2015. There are two more movies on the way, based on Allegiant, the second book in the Roth series.  They’ll be filmed simultaneously and released on the same March weekend in 2016 and 2017.

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Nov 102014
 
Krypton Radio logo

Krypton RadioIt’s happened again, Faithful Fans:  Krypton Radio is Editor’s Pick on Windows Media Guide!  The first time this happened was March of this year. Four stations are chosen each week, and that week one of the other picks was BBC One, so we considered ourselves in good company.

Now that we’ve won this accolade a second time in a single year, we know we’ve been going about all this the right way.

We started in 2009. We and our friends were all geeks and we wanted a radio station to listen to that satisfied the true geek in all of us. We couldn’t find one, so we made our own. By 2011 we realized that we were the still the only ones doing it, and we decided to turn it into a business. Today we have thousands of fans on Facebook, Twitter and TuneIn. We’re listed on iTunes, Stitcher, Windows Media Guide, Roku Radio and a host of other services, and of course here on our own web site and on our own Android app.

You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram.

Krypton Radio is currently heard all over the world and offers the finest in audio geek entertainment. Tell your friends about us. They’ll thank you. And so will we.

Krypton Radio: it’s Sci-Fi for your Wi-Fi!

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Nov 082014
 
Our heroes facing space surprises.

Interstellar

by Nur Hussein, staff writer

Interstellar is Christopher Nolan’s latest film, in which he tackles space travel, dystopian futures, and the fate of humankind. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon and Michael Caine (whose appearance in any given Nolan film is almost a running gag at this point). It is set in the near-ish future, when the Earth is struck by a disaster that threatens its food supply: a blight that is slowly wiping out all crops on the planet. Without crops, famine will kill us all. Humanity’s only hope for survival is to head to the stars and perhaps, find another home. At the forefront of the story is McConaughey’s character, Cooper, a former engineer and NASA-pilot-turned-farmer who is recruited for the deep space mission. Throughout the story, we are treated to sci-fi ideas brought to life in creative ways on screen, such as wormhole space travel, the effects of relativity, and some far-out black hole shenanigans.

Nolan’s film is ambitious. The buzz surrounding the movie had it pegged as “serious” science-fiction. It’s also an original sci-fi film, not adapted from any existing properties, nor is it a sequel or reboot. So, first off, I applaud Nolan for having the vision to make such a film in a climate where sci-fi is frequently manifested as mindless CGI-fests based on some existing property. It’s also commendable to try and put more science into cinematic science fiction. Perhaps if this film is financially successful, studios will be interesting in financing more “serious” sci-fi dramas. Original stories and more science in science fiction? Those are always welcome.

Interstellar is also a beautiful film, and the space scenes were glorious to behold, especially the black hole that was rendered based on meticulous notes and real data from noted physicist Kip Thorne, who served as consultant and executive producer. During the production of the movie, the computer simulations that were used to render the black hole based on Thorne’s notes unexpectedly led to a new discovery about the real-world phenomena known as accretion disks and gravitational lensing, which will be published as scientific papers.

All that said, how well does Interstellar pull off its ambition to address weighty themes like human survival and the real challenges of space colonization? I would say “unevenly.” When seeing a film like this, one can’t help but think about 2001: A Space Odyssey, the gold standard in space sci-fi movies. In fact, there are very deliberate nods to 2001, from the premise to some of the space sequences, and there’s even an AI that jokes about throwing one of the astronauts out an airlock. I was also reminded of Contact (which also co-starred McConaughey). However, unlike 2001 or Contact, Interstellar relies a little too much on what I like to call “movie science,’ which are science-ish things that work on-screen because it looks cool or is convenient for the plot, but makes no sense in any scientific or technical capacity. This is a shame because of the film’s close association with Thorne, although he probably couldn’t do much about it; practicality from a storytelling point of view demands certain concessions, even of sci-fi.

Our heroes facing space surprises.

Our heroes facing space surprises.

With that in mind, how well does the movie work as a movie? It was entertaining. The core cast of characters do give solid performances, and there are genuine moments of heartfelt emotion. The film does a great job of exploring how such a deep space mission would affect interpersonal relationships between friends and family, both from the separation from Earth aspect and the crew interaction. However, between those moments, there are also some pretty ridiculous lines that feels jarringly cheesy. Also, with a run time of 169 minutes, it feels plodding at times. Ultimately, it is not as insightful or profound as it could have been, which feels like a missed opportunity. There are some moments which take you right out of the movie, thanks to the occasionally cheesy moments. The wormhole is explained by means of folding a piece of paper and poking a hole through it with a pen, which is basically every science magazine infographic on wormholes brought to life as a little demonstration. This part amused me.

Space is trippy.

Space is trippy.

The film’s climax is where I felt the scientific plausibility was stretched even thinner than when I watched Guardians of the Galaxy (and that movie had a space raccoon). The gravitational forces plus the heat from the accretion disk would destroy anything trying to approach the black hole. It would be stupid and suicidal to even contemplate doing this, yet the film’s protagonists of scientists seem to think it’s a good plan.

Should you go see it? Yes, especially if you’re a fan of Nolan. It is still a beautifully-done film. Despite the numerous flaws, I was still caught up in the movie’s premise most of the time. There are little touches such as soundless space, which gives the same nice, eerie effect as in other “hard sci-fi” space movies. The CG black hole is a fantastic work of art and is probably worth the price of admission (especially if you’re going to go IMAX). And even though there is some occasional cheese, the emotional response from the film is often sincere, especially the father-daughter scenes between Cooper and Murphy. I give Interstellar three and a half out of five stars.

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Nov 082014
 
johnnysteverson

Johnny Steverson

Larry_Nemecek_640x960

Larry Nemecek

Join us this evening at 9 p.m. Pacific for a special edition of The Event Horizon as your hosts Gene Turnbow and Susan Fox speak with none other than Larry Nemecek and Johnny Steverson. They’re hear to talk to us about a special project called Enterprise in Space, the multi-pronged mission of which is to design, build, fly, and eventually return to Earth an orbiter containing student experiments.

Larry Nemecek is well known as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Star Trek, and is author of numerous books on the subject, and a producer of documentaries about Star Trek as well. He’s also an actor, most recently having portrayed Dr. McCoy in Vic Mignogna’s Star Trek Continues.  

Johnny Steverson is Chief Development Officer for the Enterprise in Space project, and he and Nemecek are both on the board of directors for the Hollywood Sci-fi Museum.

This episode will air at additional times throughout the coming week.  Consult our What’s On When page for show times in your area.

The Event Horizon – it’s Sci-Fi for your Wifi.

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