2015’s a Science Fiction year for Hollywood

I’ll admit that when it comes to entertainment, I watch television series and movies more than read. Becoming a writer has seemingly destroyed my ability to completely envelop myself in a book; I’m either dissecting the work or becoming side-tracked by my own stories. When it comes to movies and tv, however, I can sit back, relax and become obsessed.

In 2015 there’s some tremendous sci-fi movies coming out and these are a few of the ones I can’t wait for!

Jurassic World

Seriously, no matter how bad it may eventually end up (I’m hoping it’ll actually be good), I can’t wait for Jurassic World. I’ve seen the original AND the crappy sequels over and over again, so I can’t wait to have something new to get excited about. The trailer looks incredible, and it seems they’re tackling an old story but adding some updated scientific gadgets and theories to give us something really great.

Snowpiercer

Now, I know that Snowpiercer has already made its way to the US, but here in the UK we’re still eagerly awaiting it – will it ever actually get a cinema release date? I love Tilda Swinton, and her characterisation looks awesome as always. I’ve read a lot of fan reviews, many of which say Snowpiercer is one of the most surprisingly brilliant science fiction films to have been made in the past few years.

Jupiter Ascending

This movies has had its release date pushed time and time again, so now we’re looking at a 2015 launch. It has all the makings of cliche movie; good vs bad, a forgotten princess, the chosen one. However, if it all comes together well, I’ll doubt I’ll care about these common tropes and instead enjoy it for what it is; a YA Science Fiction Blockbuster.

Tomorrowland

If you’re a fan of Under the Dome, then you’ll recognise this little lady; Britt Robertson. Hollywood has obviously come a-knocking as this looks to be a big budget film and it looks as if it might be rather interesting…

Project Alamanac

Time travelling teens having a blast as they go back and correct all the wrong doings in their lives…..until the consequences of changing the past start to catch them up. Looks like it could be a surprisingly good movie.

Terminator Genisys

Okay, I’m sure it’ll probably be bad, but I’m a Terminator fan, from the first three movies through to the Sarah Connor Chronicles. From one GoT actress to another, we’ve got Emilia Clarke in the role of Connor this time, over Lena Headley. There’s also the awesome cameo of Arnie which I’m going to love regardless of what else happens.

Finally, I can’t finish this post without mention of Mockingjay: Part 2 and Star Wars; Episode 7, both of which are likely to be phenomenally big movies that take over the coming year….despite the fact they’re not out until December. But, whilst we’re waiting, at least there’s some potentially winning entertainment on the cards.

Hemlock Grove Season 2 Trailer

Okay, so a few weeks I ago I posted that the fantastic Netflix series, ‘Hemlock Grove’ was soon to make a return. Now, with only very little time until there’s a WHOLE SEASON to watch again (I LOVE how Netflix does that), I’ve just found this season 2 trailer. I’m thrilled to see that many of the cast are back – despite the ending of Season 1.  One of the reasons I like this season so much is because it’s just plain weird. These are fantasy creatures and characters we’ve seen so many times before but they’ve been given brand new life – an important step seeing that True Blood’s about to finish (though, judging on the opening episode for the last season, it’s about time for Sookie and those vamps to say goodbye – it was pretty poor). Watching these series really inspires me to write new and interesting takes on traditional themes – something I think is important for writers to do so we’re not rehashing the same thing repeatedly.

So, without further ado, here’s the new footage for Hemlock. You’ll see it’s pretty extreme and wacky – puuuurfect, in my opinion! Netflix really do seem to be breaking boundaries with their series investment, and with news they’re about to start developing films, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Mass Effect 4 and World Building

If there’s one modern franchise I love, it’s Mass Effect. Several years ago, when only the first title was out, I was searching for something on a rainy day to amuse me. I needed an instant fix, something downloadable, and I hopped onto EA, did a search and found this title called Mass Effect. I hummed and hawed for quite some time about whether to spend £10 on it – yep, it was only a tenner. A few minutes later, it was downloaded and I was cast into a new world of raging wars, alien races, the threat of extinction and incredible characters, species and storylines. I’ve played all the trilogy constantly ever since, have several figurines (including a Shepherd signed by Mark Meer) and keep a watch out for the latest reports on upcoming titles.

Of course, as E3 opens, we now know that Mass Effect 4 is most definitely coming – albeit under that name or something a little less obvious. The trailer (if it can be called that; it’s more of a production piece) outlined some interesting concepts. Firstly, that the instalment is likely to have new characters and reveal parts of galaxy never seen in the original trilogy. It’s long been believed that Shepherd’s story has ended, and though there was no definite agreement, the video suggests that we’re moving onto fresher pastures in ME4. It was implied that world maps are likely to be far more extensive too, possibly something more akin to MMO territory rather than territories based around specific routes characters have to traverse. In addition, it seems weather, seasonal and time-of-day factors have been brought in too, so that as you play, the world around you changes.

One fact I especially liked was when Casey Hudson (executive producer) talking about world-building. It’s what us writers do to; develop a story and create a compelling world. Mostly, for me, it’s the character that comes to mind first. The world-building aspect comes later as my cast comes to life and starts needing a place to live. The Mass Effect crew seem to have stripped everything right back to the beginning, and as well as considering their characters, are thinking about how cities looks and how worlds appear. It’s a slightly different angle; develop an alien world and city, and THEN think about who’d live there.

Of course, my world for CRYO is pretty much created – it’s Earth after all, just slightly different. However, as John and the crew start to traverse the stars in a bid to find answers, particularly from other alien races which have had only a mere mention in the books, I might take a new approach. Create a world, create a city and then think about the complex characters who might be found within. This, of course, will be alongside scouring the Internet for every conceivable piece of info on Mass Effect 4! I better get writing because as soon as this new game hits, I’ll be disappearing into its incredible and involving universe.

It’s nearly time for more Netflix ‘Hemlock Grove’

HemlockI’m currently writing the Inside Evil series finale – To Kill A Curse’, and besides being chained to the computer, I’ve discovered Netflix in a BIG way. One of the stand out series I’ve found is Hemlock Grove. Why do I love it? Because it’s damn weird!

I hate trying to put Hemlock into a box, but if I had to, I’d describe it as Twin Peaks meets X Files with a sprinkling of the Vampire Diaries (don’t shriek at the latter – all I mean by that is that it’s a small town, a few teeny boppers thrown into the mix, a high school setting…you get the idea). I’ve always loved entertainment that doesn’t feel the need to explain itself. Some of my favourite Star Trek episodes are those that are so weird you spend 45 minutes wondering what the hell’s going on and it’s only in the final few minutes that everything finally becomes clear. X-files liked to do this too, and then there was Twin Peaks; a series which never gave too much away and took weird to an entirely new level without apology. I like weird, and gruesome, and surprising, and it’s something I try to emanate a little in my own work. I know that some readers don’t like it. That’s just people; some like things tied up in nice little conclusions – which is completely fair enough. But I sometimes feel the need to write something odd without having to explain the intricacies of who, what, where or why.

I’m not posting any spoilers on Hemlock here, but I will say I was a little disappointed in the series finale. Everything seemed to get sewn up rather neatly; perhaps the executives hadn’t yet had confirmation of a second run. There were some obvious end-of-the-line moments for a few favourite characters too. I’ve had quite enough of that from George R. R. ‘I’ll create some great characters and then kill them all‘ Martin, thank you very much. There’s a steller cast, with X-Men, Six Feet Under and Battlestar Galactica alumni all appearing throughout the series. And, even better, with it being a Netflix Original Series, ALL the episodes air at once – YIPPEE, that’s TV junkies like myself happy.

With the entire new season ready on July 11th, I’m excited to see what’s in store for this series with iconic creatures presented in an entirely new way. But, for now, I better get writing because in just a few short days I’m sure to be glued to my television!