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Winter is coming.... The cold winds rise in Westeros April 1st on HBO.

That’s right, the highly anticipated second season of Game of Thrones will premier on April Fools Day?

I hope that isn’t foreshadowing of some sort. I know there’s some concern among the fan community that HBO might not maintain their level of commitment to A Song of Ice and Fire, but according to Richard Pleper’, co-president of HBO:

 “We told George we’d go as long as he kept writing.”

Hopefully that means the budget will be there into the third and forth seasons and beyond so that we can see the story that George RR Martin wants to tell.

At any rate, the first of 10 episodes kicks off on April 1st, with returning cast members Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Emmy winner Peter Dinklage (yay!), Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey and Kit Harington.

Here’s a little tease to whet your appetite.

Well, we’re finding ourselves about halfway through another television season. In terms of ‘geeky’ new series there have been a few hits (Grimm, American Horror Stories), a few misses (Terra Nova), a few questions (Once Upon a Time – why are you still here?) and a few merciful deaths (Charlie’s Angels – Thank the Gods!)

So, now that we’re at the midpoint, it’s time for the networks to fill in the spaces left by those series that crashed and burned. I don’t usually get excited about television. I don’t watch that much network TV, it has to be something pretty different for me to give a new series a whirl. The last series I think I got excited about was Glee – I’m old enough to remember a show called Cop Rock from 1990 which was the last time a musical themed show was put on a network and it bombed so bad it made the nuclear tests in the Bikini Islands look like a hiccup. At any rate, the concept for Glee was interesting enough for me to take a look and I loved what I saw, for the first half of the first season.

So now it’s 2 years latter and I find myself with the time again in the evening to watch the occasional offering from the boob tube. Luckily with the mid-season replacements coming out soon there looks to be a fresh batch of shows with a  ‘geeky’ bent. The question is, if I don’t want to squander my very limited TV Time Budget, which shows should I watch.

Here’s my first round of choices:

COMIC BOOK MEN
Premiers: February 12
Network: AMC

Anyone who’s had any interest in comic books knows that film maker/writer Kevin Smith is not only a major comic ‘fanboy’, but also a  comic book store owner. Comic Book Men is an unscripted series set in Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, Smith’s store located in, where else? Red Bank, New Jersey.

It looks like it could be fun, but I’m a little worried the premise could wear out it’s welcome real fast. And where are the fangirls, hmmmmm?

SMASH
Premiers: February 6
Network: NBC

NBC desperately needs a hit and it looks like it might have one with Smash. Reviewers and critics have been drawing the unenviable comparisons with Fox’s Glee, but from what I’ve seen the only thing these two shows have in common is that people sing. Boasting a powerhouse cast, Smash will definitely be one to watch for fans of musical theater. Katharine McPhee is already getting rave reviews for her performance.

Definitely some soapy goodness going on here.

MISSING
Premier: March 13
Network: ABC

I hesitate to put Missing onto this list. Frankly it seems like a retread of Taken, with Ashley Judd instead of Liam Neeson, and frankly, I’d rather look at Liam Neeson. But then I found out that Sean Bean was going to in the series and I decided to watch. After Sean lost his head in Westeros last season, I was considering taking bets as to whether he would make it through a full television season. Don’t take that bet, he doesn’t make it through the first episode. Turns out his character, Paul Winstone, has been dead for the past 10 years, murdered in front of the now missing son at the age of 8.

Here’s the official trailer, try not to yawn:

For Sean Bean’s sake, I’ll watch two episodes and pray that he finds a series that isn’t intent on killing him off!

THE FINDER
Premier: January 12 -> AACK! That’s tonight!
Network: Fox

I liked Bones, and when they introduced Walter Sherman last season, I had to admit I was entertained. Now that Bones appears to have jumped the shark, I figure I’ll give The Finder a whirl to see if Hart Hanson has it in him to create another endearing, quirky show. But does Walter and his team have it in them to keep me entertained for more than one episode?

I’m not sure. It’s too bad Saffron Burrows didn’t make it to the series. I thought her character Ike was hilarious, but I also love Micheal Clarke Duncan, so again I’ll give it a couple of episodes to hook me, but I can’t say I’m feeling too optimistic.

THE RIVER
Premier: February 7
Network: ABC

From what little I’ve seen of this show, The River has me intrigued. Filmed as a documentary, The River follows a the wife and son of a famous television explorer and their team as they search for dear old dad who has gone missing in the Amazon jungle.  From what I’m reading online, The River is part Paranormal Activity and part Lost, which I admit, captures my attention. Plus it’s from Steven Spielberg, so what could go wrong….. oh, wait a minute…..

A few thrills, a few chills, a little Can-Con (Bruce Greenwood – nice to see him get some love) to spice things up definitely means I’m in.

TOUCH
Premier: January 12 -> DAMN where’s the TV?
Network: Fox

The promo for this made me cry, so of course I’m going to have to watch. Touch follows the journey of a dad (Kiefer Sutherland), who is desperately trying to communicate with his severly autistic son, who neither speaks or allows himself to be touched. Things begin to spiral out of control as the boy begins to act out in strange ways, climbing cell phone towers and tearing apart electronics. It is only when the father realizes that his son is communicating via numbers and mathematics that he begins to forge a connection with his child.

The idea that the world or fate if you will is predicated by mathematics is nothing new. Numb3rs is probably the most recent show to deal with this, but there’s a whole emotional angle to this series that shows promise beyond the premise. Plus the cast is great.

ALCATRAZ
Premier: January 16
Network: Fox

1963: Three hundred plus inmates disappear from the notorious Alcatraz prison without a trace.

Present Day: They’re coming back. And they have a purpose.

JJ Abrams? Jorge Garcia? Sam Neill? Am I there? Hellz yes!

AWAKE
Premier: February sometime….
Network: NBC

I mentioned earlier that NBC needs a hit and I think they have one if the audience is able to wrap their heads around the premise. Jason Isaacs plays Michael Britten, a police officer that survives a horrible car accident that kills his wife and son. Tragic, yes, but here’s the twist: depending on where he falls asleep, either his wife or child is still alive. In one reality, his wife survived the crash and when he goes to sleep next to her, he wakes up in another reality, only it’s his son who survived the crash. And he has to keep both realities straight, because he isn’t willing to give either of them up.

It actually makes sense once you watch the trailer:

How can you not want to watch this? This is definitely going to be my must watch show of the year. Now if only NBC would let us know when the premier is.

So, which show are you going to watch:

Sometimes Toronto surprises me. The city has a reputation of being fairly uptight, self-satisfied and more than a bit arrogant. But every now and then a little something shakes loose and we get a glimpse of something really wonderful beating behind the Hogtown façade. This is one of those things:



I’ve been by Type (883 Queen Street West) a few times but haven’t had a chance to stop in. I’m thinking it’s about time I do, especially if I can manage to hide out until after closing time.

The Adventures of TintinThe Adventures of Tintin – 3D

Studio: Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures
Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones
Rating: Rating System!Rating System!Rating System!/ 5 Handbags

I wanted to love this movie. I really, Really, *REALLY* wanted to love this movie. I had seen the mixed reviews, but I was hopeful. I figured The Adventures of Tintin might have been too European for North American tastes. But no, I was wrong. It wasn’t a *GREAT* movie. It was a good movie, don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, but the magic just wasn’t there.

You have to understand, I grew up on Hergé (Les aventures de Tintin), Goscinny and Uderzo (Astérix et Obélix), Peyo (Les Schtroumpfs) and Chaulet  and Craenhals (Les 4 As) – yes, I read them in French. As a matter of fact, I remember getting in fights because some idiot guy would try to take them away from me. Girls weren’t supposed to be interested in such things, at least not good Catholic school girls.

A black eye and a bloody nose took care of that misconception.

At any rate, I was really looking forward to sharing this movie with my kidlets, particularly 5 year old Goober who loves all things pirates.

The movie starts out with a clever conceit, a young man in a market place is having a portait done of himself. Oh look, it’s Hergé and he’s drawn Tintin in cartoon form. Yes, how cute, chuckles all around.

Tintin thanks the artist for the drawing and begins to meander through the crowd, spotting an old model ship, which he buys from the salesperson for half the asking price. This sets off a bidding war between two men who simply *must* have the model. Tintin politely, but firmly declines, taking his model ship home with him. The result is an escalating series of episodes involving dire warnings, break-ins, shootings, kidnappings, a car chase, cows, break-outs, escapes and plane crashes.

So why is it all so boring?

Yes! You heard me! BORING!

*SIGH* Unfortunately, I have to lay all this at the feet of Thomson and Thompson, the two incompetent detectives from Scotland Yard. The Thom(p)sons are in “hot pursuit of a wily pickpocket named Silk, and their escapades interrupts  the flow of the mystery swirling around Tintin and his new friend Capitain Haddock. While the interlude works well in the book, and is quite entertaining, it only slows down the action in the movie. And while those familiar with The Secret of the Unicorn and Red Rackam’s Treasure are probably happy to see a familiar face, to those who have had limited exposure to Tintin’s universe would probably find the action horribly, horribly contrived. Omitting The Thom(p)sons would be akin to an act of heresy, however I’m sure that the entire plot device could be wrapped up in such a way as to not drag down the action all the while allowing Thomson and Thompson the opportunity to make an appearance in Bagghar in time to save the day.

Once this thread is dealt with, the pacing of the movie improves exponentially. When you finally get the back story of what happened between Captain Haddock’s ancestor, Sir Francis  and Red Rackam does the movie finally pick up steam and move to a satisfying conclusion. The sea battle between the Unicorn and Red Rackam’s ship is definitely worth the price of 3D admission and is as thrilling as any I’ve ever seen.

Technically the film is gorgeous, everything from the color palette, to the design details are, in a word, sumptuous. Nothing has been overlooked, including the scene wipes which rank up there with my favorites from Brotherhood of the Wolf and Highlander. The world that these characters inhabit is so rich and exquisitely rendered that you feel you can reach out and really touch what’s on the screen.

As great as the 3D and CGI are, The Adventures of Tintin does suffer for the technology on occasion. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that I swear are included only because the movie is shot in 3D. I HATE that. 3D should serve the story and enhance the experience, not the other way around. If at any point in a movie, the viewer is taken out of the story to think: “Oh hey! Cool 3D effect”, the director has failed as a story teller. Thankfully,  this only happens briefly once or twice in the movie, but it is an unfortunate faut pas.

The truth of the matter is I can sit back and nitpick this movie to death, but it won’t change the fact that Goober, my little 5 year-old adrenaline junkie sat through the entire 107 minute runtime. Once The Adventures of Tintin was over, he walked out of the theater proclaiming: “This is the best movie ever!” and is now curled up, snug and cozy in his bed with a copy of The Secret of the Unicorn tucked under his pillow where he thinks I won’t find it.

And at the end of the day that’s probably all that Peter Jackson and Steven Speilburg are going to care about.

Me too for all it matters.

This should clear things up:

Via: Geeks are Sexy

We all know that George Lucas is perfectly willing to pimp out Star Wars to all and sundry, but I’m beginning to think he’s gone too far.

To ‘celebrate’ the release of The Phantom Menace’ in 3D (why? I have no idea), he’s allowed France’s / Benelux’ fast food chain Quick to create and market a Jedi Burger and a Dark Vador Burger.

No, you read that right, DARK VADOR!

What do these Force injected nummies look like?

Oh God! Make it stop!Do not adjust your monitors, you’re seeing it right. That’s a pitch black burger bun.  Nothing screams ‘Delicious’ like a bun that’s indistinguishable from a charcoal briquet.

And guess what? There’s also the Dark Burger just in case the Dark Vador is too emo for you.

No, please stop!

Dear Gods, please make it stop! Next thing you know, Quick will announce that’s the patties are made with bantha fodder.

Whatever happened to collectible cups?

Via: Mintinbox and BuzzFeed

Clark and Cumberbach, to boldly go......

Great news for BBC fans. The cast of J.J. Abrams new Star Trek film has gotten a little more british.

Noel Clark, formerly Micky Smith of Doctor Who fame is set to boldly go where no companion has gone before. Very few details are squeaking their way off the Paramount lot, but it has been reported that Noel will be playing a ‘family man’ with a wife and daughter.

Gee Paramount, could you possibly be any more vague? Huh?

In other news, Sherlock’s Cumberbatch (a series I really need to start watching) has also been cast, which has fangirls and boys everywhere speculating if Abrams has found his KHAAAANNNN!  Reports are conflicting, with Deadline saying there’s no word as to whether he’s on the side of the angels or the devils, while Variety is saying he’s definitely going to be the big bad of the film. Devin Faraci of BadAss Digest speculated earlier in the day that Cumberbatch could play Sybok, Spock’s half brother – an intriguing possibility.

I’m not sure I want to see Abrams bringing Khan into the rebooted Star Trek universe just yet. I would really like to see them develop their own canon first, but I went to the first Star Trek movie under duress and really enjoyed it – so much so I went again with my mother – so I’m going to trust J.J.’s vision on this one for the time being.

What is bothering me is that I’m hearing some negative buzz about the addition of Noel Clark (I’m looking at you Mario!). For those of you who never venture beyond these shores for your television entertainment, Noel Clarke is an award winning actor, writer and director. He’s incredibly accomplished and I for one am stoked to see him get such a huge break on this side of the Atlantic. He’s a fantastic addition to the cast.

Noel’s latest film, The Knot, which he also wrote is going to be out later this year, while you can see Benedict Cumberbatch in War Horse, Tinker, Tailer, Soldier, Spy, and the second season of BBC’s Sherlock which started on January 1st. They will join fellow brits Simon Pegg (Scotty) and Alice Eve who was cast late last month.

Via: Badass Digest, Deadline and Variety

JRR Tolkien

Caricature by gaumgospel

Today would have been JRR Tolkien’s 120th birthday.

To celebrate, Tom Hawking, the contributing editor over at Flavorwire has put together a gallery of beautiful and strange editions of Lord of the Rings  and The Hobbit from around the world. The list includes Professor Tolkien’s *least* favorite cover art as well as bizarre interpretations from Poland (which really should surprise no one who has seen CHUD’s extensive coverage of Polish movie posters) and other international editions.

To see an exhaustive listing of Tolkien cover art, please visit the Tolkien Book Covers Gallery and The Tolkien Library

Here are my personal favorites, some from Tom’s list and others from The Tolkien Book Covers Gallery.

The original | Polish Edition | British Folio Edition | 2005 Houghton-Mifflin set | Finnish Edition

So, please join me in raising a glass and toasting the author of one of the most enduring and beloved books in the English language:

“THE PROFESSOR!”

And we’re over-run by the zombie hordes, I want to be on this guys team.

Wonder if Kirk Cameron would like to share a slice.