Fringe is just starting up and I loved the pilot. It's JJ Abram's next-gen X-Files, cut with a little Silence of the Lambs and Warren Ellis' miniseries Global Frequency.
It's like the dark mirror universe of the Venture Bros, where all this crazy super science isn't fun at all. "We're supposed to protect a world where one breath of the wrong air can incinerate you from the inside" whines an FBI agent, and they mean it: 130+ die in the first 2 minutes.
It wanders into science fiction subtly. The show is decidedly modern day, but a visit to a corporation reveals walls that are animating billboards, exectives with robotic arms and offices straight out of the Tyrell corporation, all which remind you this isn't our universe. It's buried geekiness doesn't trip your nerd radar until you're already caught up in the adventure.
In HD it's a sight to behold, vividly shot with real inspiration. They lift the Panic Room/GTA IV credits sequence for their establishing shot supers, so "St Claire's Hospital" hovers in the world along the frozen road, even casting its own shadow. They go so far to actually shoot a helicopter scene in Iraq through the B in Baghdad after an overhead shot established the text over the city's roof tops. There's also there's none of the usual TV director's fear of long shots, which allow the action sequences to hang together far better than most stuff lensed for the small screen.
I've always felt that Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers all existed in the same universe. The Verhoeven-verse where every shot was a headshot, the TV spewed jingoist propaganda, and starkly black humor boiled forth in a smash-mouth whirlwind of kinetic science fiction action cinema. As a huge fan of both Frank Miller and Verhoeven, when I learned Miller would be scripting the sequel, I was giddy...until I saw incomprehensible wreckage that was Robocop 2.
It had its moments, but for the most part was not a movie for fans of the original. Well, it turns out that the script that Miller wrote was butchered in production. THAT script has actually made it into my brain though via the awesome adaption by Avatar Press.
It's got a sarcastic and media weary tone of the original (the fake-OCP ads are straight-Verhoeven), the over the top carnage of a dozen ED-209s, and even introduces true to Robocop form villains in the shape of shell-shocked special forces covering for the striking cops.
It's an interesting read after eye-rolling my way through the actual movie. You can see little peeks of Miller's vision in the film, but having rewatched it after the comic, it's a roadmap of missed opportunity and misunderstanding what Robocop was all about.
Available in a trade paperback, I couldn't recommend it more highly.
THQ continues to represent for the Warhammer 40k licenses with an up close and personal melee game set around space marines. Looks like God of War meets Space Hulk. Not a huge fan of the format for this video (too many buzzwords and why not edit out the loading screens?), but sign me up!
It's the first 3D game in a browser that I've played and I'm pretty amazed at how well it works. Garage Games was founded by some ex-Dynamix guys, who worked on the first two Tribes game. They've revisited a lot of the same territory here, including jet packs and cool floating bases. Hyper bleeding edge features like party-system matchmaking make a great first impression.
Bodes well for other upcoming browser games like Quake Live. PC gaming might not be dying, but it's retail presence most assuredly is. If this model works for developers, I think we could be glimpsing the future of gaming on PCs.