The Nerd Factor

Jim Henson's Creature shop challenge Logo

If your looking for some fun talent shows that are actually worth watching then today we have something for you….

Jim Henson and the company he founded are most famous for the creation of the Muppet’s but also for being the foremost puppeteering company in known history. In the new show created by the Jim Henson company, “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.” A group of Creature Creators compete against each other to create puppets and animatronics such as those found primarily in science fiction and fantasy. Actress Gigi Edgley who played Chiana on Farscape, serves as the show’s host. The judges evaluate the creature designs on the Henson Sound Stage every week and the contestants are eliminated one by one by Brian Henson. The winner getting $100,000 and a contract for working at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Brian Henson and Rigel puppet

The judges are made up of Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company, writer, film director, and puppeteer most notably to us the puppeteer that brought Hoggle to life in Labyrinth. Fabrication specialist Beth Hathaway who worked on Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and The Walking Dead
and Production designer Kirk Thatcher  who worked on Return of the JediE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and Gremlins. Throughout the series the contestants are also Mentored by Peter Brooke, Julie Zobel, John Criswell.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge - Season 1

The contestants at the start of the show are as follows:

Robert Bennett – Sculptor for Walt Disney Imagineering from Orlando, Florida.
Chaz Vance – Special-effects and entertainment designer from West Falls, New York.
Tina Roland – Freelance effects artist from Hollywood, California.
Josh Smith – Creature costumer and prop builder from Minot, North Dakota.
Ivonne Escoto – Freelance special-effects artist from Los Angeles, California.
Lex Rudd – Puppet and creature costume-maker from Guerneville, California.
Russ Adams – Special-effects artist and creature creator from Ogden, Utah.
Jake Corrick – Student and sculptor from Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania.
Melissa Doss – Housewife and freelance special-effects artist from Fort  Wainwright, Alaska.
Ben Bayouth – Freelance special-effects artist from Woodland Hills, California.

skeksis

There appears to be no sensible way to watch the show in the UK at the moment. Although it may air on Syfy a lot later at some point. If somehow you are unaware of Creature shop at Jim Hensons work be sure to check out Farscape, Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal for awesome examples of their work!

For more info check out the show’s page here: http://www.syfy.com/creatureshop

strip search logo

If your in the mood for more nerdy talent show stuff you can always try the penny arcade comic version, strip search. Available entirely on their YouTube channel here. While living in a large pineapple-themed house, a group of artists are given a series of challenges in each episode ranging from creative to legal to physical, with the winner(s) of each receiving a prize. The winner of the last challenge each day must choose two of the artists to go head-to-head and compete to stay in the game. The chosen must then meet the Penny Arcade creators, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, and before them they draw two random ideas written on scraps of paper then have to create an original comic strip based on the selected concepts. The winner goes back to the house to continue competing while the loser is eliminated.

strip search cartoons

If you would like to get an idea for the contestants work before or after watching the series, the contestants for this show are as follows:

Abby Howard, Junior scientist power hour webcomic artist.                                  
Alex Hobbs, Wanderlust Kid.                                                                                
Amy T. Falcone, CLique refresh.                                                                        
Erika Moen, Freelance cartoonist.                                                                      
Katie Rice, Skadi.                                                                                    
Lexxy Douglas, Freelance illustrator.                                                          
Mackenzie Schubert, Webcomic artist.                                                                
Maki Naro, Sci-ence.                                                                                  
Monica Ray, Phuzzy Comics.                                                                              
Nick Trujillo, Mynt condition comics.                                                                  
Tavis, Thunder skull press.                                                                              
Ty Halley, the secret life of a journal comic.

Gabe and TychoHopefully we have given you a new worthwhile replacement for the other seemingly talentless, talent shows that plague television these days. If you have any suggestions of similar concepts that we or others may be of interest as always you may leave a comment or send us an email at contact@nerdeyesonly.com.

 

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The Tomorrow People Today!

The Tommorrow People Opening Credits

When the rumors surfaced that an American network was going to do a remake of the classic 70’s children’s TV show “The tomorrow people” the first thing to come to mind was shock, then excitement, and then dread. Now the first few episodes have aired in the UK (Broadcast by E4) and a bunch more state side (Broadcast on the CW), It seemed only fair to sit down and write about and compare the new series with its older progenitor.

The original Tomorrow People was a children’s television program that ran on the ITV from 1973-1979. The Story followed Stephen an ordinary schoolboy who collapses on a London street under the mental strain of “breaking out”. A process where the powers of an evolutionary advanced strain of people (Called the tomorrow people/Homo-superior) start to develop. Existing tomorrow people John, Carol and Kenny help him through this process and then they come up against the mysterious villain of the piece Jedikiah, who serves the even more malevolent and enigmatic Cyclops.

Tomorrow People Cast

The trailers for the new season looked painfully like One tree hill/The OC with super powers, luckily it’s not as bad as all that. Again the lead character is Stephen older and with his own new rag tag bunch of tomorrow people rallied against Jedikiah. But this new series clearly aimed at the teen/twilight market as opposed to being children’s TV like the original.

During the pilot I wondered why the lead had been cast whose acting rises to only passable in all that I’ve seen of the series so far. But i guess when only five minutes in to the first episode one sees the pretty boy hero shirtless and tied to a bed Its a case of looks over substance. As we’ve started talking about some of the bad i’ll get all of that over with and then we can talk about what is good about the series.

In the pilot their is a painful Darth Vader force choke scene of a school bully by Stephen as he “broke out”. The scene just felt like a giant cliche not helped by serious overacting. Also not a fan of the clumsy love story so far, the obligatory love triangle of the twilight generation is telegraphed from episode one and is horribly predictable. Early on our protagonist, Stephen, who I guess we are supposed to route for makes it hard to do so. The Stupid “I’ve known about all this powers thing for three seconds but i’m gonna start giving dumb orders” is just annoying and typified by a decision join super crazy death squad ultra by pilots end. 

Now that were done with the bad, here’s the good, and there’s a lot of it actually which has kept me from dropping the series, thus far. The idea of having the Tomorrow people learning focus for powers through martial arts was very cool. A scene within the pilot of two new recruits going against each other until one accidentally teleports made me sit up and pay attention and ultimately stop from turning over. However while this is a cool premise that is held up throughout the series so far the caliber of martial arts ability in the cast is very mixed.

Tomorrow People Jedikiah

Aaron Yoo who plays Russel Kwon the more anarchic member of the Tomorrow people is easily a favourite character and stands out both in his performance and in the writing of his character. I also quite liked the female lead Cara Coburn played by Peyton List but my appraisal of her performance may be biased by here being insanely attractive. The jewel in rough is Mark Pellegrino who plays Jedikiah, probably best remembered for his awesome portrayal of Lucifer within Supernatural. Although to date we haven’t seen too much character progression for him. His performance is another reason to give the series chance.

Gone are the flares and dodgy haircuts of the original, a word you could definitely use to describe the new series is “slick”. Done away with, are the much more theatrical sets and costumes, and the low production values that typified the original and other productions of the era like Doctor Who. TIM is back as the Tomorrow people’s fix all A.I. computer and as Russel Kwon puts it “he’s like our Hal but not evil.” Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we will see TIM whipping up Steak chips and ginger beer from thin air, but i think that was only important to me anyway.

Personally I find the CGI shimmer when characters are using Telekinesis off putting, and would be better if it didn’t exist at all. But otherwise the three powers of the original Tomorrow People (Telekinesis, Teleportation and Telepathy) come across well. “Breaking out” seemed a much bigger deal in the original series like mental/brain static. Where as in the new series, it seemed they just needed to give Stephen his powers as quickly as possible so as to move on with other parts of the plot. Which I imagine as the series continues will be more complicated and similar to other contemporary shows.

In summary the new Tomorrow People is not the original by any stretch of the imagination, but then that is to be expected. Although there is plenty to grumble about, it also has a lot of potential as well. It’s not a new Heroes and it probably won’t rank in the league of Firefly, but it is definitely worth a watch. It will be interesting to see if the series can hold the attention in the long run and whether they will throw in any references to the original. Talking of which I leave you with a video of the cool seventies opening credits of the original, which sadly do not make a return, so you can bathe in the nostalgia. 

All thanks go to TheRageTV on YouTube, for this video.

Check out the original again on DVD from Amazon: The Tomorrow People – The Complete Series [DVD]

Pan-Galactic Cursing dictionary

Pan Galactic Cursing Dictionary

WARNING: THIS POST WILL CONTAIN SWEARING, CURSING AND NAUGHTY WORDS YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

A-Z

B

Babylon 5

Frag noun, verb, expl 1 Oh Frag! 2 Frag you 3 Go Frag a Dog, It maintains all usages of “fuck,” be it expletive, noun, verb, or adjective.

Shrock noun, verb, expl, adj 1 Oh Shrock! 2 This is Shrock 3 I’m going to take a Shrock.        
additional Information: It maintains all usages of “shit” be it expletive, noun, verb, or adjective. It is used universally in the Babylon 5 universe but is actually a word in the Narn language.

Battlestar Galactica

Frak noun, verb, expl 1 Frak you 2 Anybody wanna Frak 3 Oh Frak! 4 You’re nothing but a worthless frak! It maintains all usages of “fuck,” be it expletive,noun, verb, or adjective.            
See also:                                                                          
Fraking verb,adj 1 I can’t get this Fraking thing to work 2 They were busy Fraking That’s just frakking great… now the Cylons know exactly where we are!                                                                          
additional Information: Popularized by Battlestar Galactica in 1978 with the original spelling of “frack,” changed to the current spelling in the re-imaginedminiseries in 2003.

Toaster noun,adj A racial epithet for Cylons 1 That damn toaster just shot out my engines 2 It’s Toaster tech      
additional Information: Popularized by Battlestar Galactica.

D

Defiance

Stacko noun, verb, expl, adj 1 Oh Stacko! 2 This is Stacko 3 Go eat Stacko!           additional Information: It maintains all usages of “shit” be it expletive, noun, verb, or adjective. It is used universally in the Defiance universe But is a word from the Votan languages.

F

Farcape

Frell adj,noun,verb,expl  1 Frell you 2 Oh Frell                                                    
See Also:                                                                                          
           I  Frelling verb,adj Your favourite coat has just been ruined by a stray shot from a pulse pistol. “Frell! You’ve destroyed my frelling favourite coat.
                II   Frelled                                      
       
additonal Information: The “F” word substitute for the TV series Farscape. Using “Frelling” allowed the characters to swear at will making it seem natural.

Dren adj,noun,verb,expl 1 you frelling piece of dren 2 Oh Dren!                                        
additional Information: Meaning excrement used much as the word Shit is in context and meaning.


additional Information: Farscape (1999–2003) is a science fiction television series, featuring a present-day astronaut who accidentally travels through a wormhole to a distant galaxy on the other side of the Universe.

Firefly

Gorram  adj Those gorram feds are after us A homonymstic conjuction of the words “God” and “damn. additional Information: Popularised by Joss Whedon’s Firefly. 

Rutting vern, adj 1 The Rutting Chain of command 2 Fox was really rutting stupid to cancel Firefly! They were rutting all night long                                      
additional Information:  Used in place of fucking.

G

Game of Thrones

Graddakh expl, adj Refers to waste or refuse can be used to insult or when you want to exclaim but not necessarily insult somebody else, you would say graddakh.

Ifak adj Meaning foreigner (one who walks, walker). Used as a derogatory term for anyone who isn’t a Dothraki, especially insulting therefore to any member of the Dothraki.

Vikeesi adj slang for an annoying woman. Works in a similar way to “Bitch” in English.

H

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Belgium In Douglas Adams’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” he at one point mentions that this word is the worst profanity in the entire galaxy.

L

Lord of the Rings

Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul! Dwarvish insult meaning “I spit upon your grave!”              
additional Information: Often mistaken for elvish however, it is Dwarvish since it uses the Khuzdul(Dwarvish) preposition “ai” – on or upon the same as in “Baruk khazad,khazad ai menu ‘Axes of the Dwarves, the dwarves are upon you’. 

R

Red Dwarf

Smeg noun, adj, expl 1 Smeg for brains 2 Smeg-Head. Used In reference as meaning waste, possibly derived from the term “Smegma” Also smeg-head is an insult which can mean ‘idiot’ or basically ‘bastard.’                                      
See Also:                                                                                    
Smegging adjYou Smegging Idiot!

Goyt noun, adj Im surrounded by goyt’s!Holly You’re a goyt! Used to refer to or describe a person whom you dislike. Used most effectively in the place of the word Cunt.

Gimboid adj Lister you Gimboid! A derogatory term meaning an idiot or incapable person.

S

Star Trek

P’Tok adj, Klingon insult meaning “spineless Human Child.”

Pahtak adj, Klingon Insult meaning “lowly slave”

Pronunciation video: Pan-Galactic cursing dictionary Archive: Chapter 4: sub-Section 27: Pronunciation

Timings for pronunciations:
0:14 Belgium
0:20 Dren
0:25 Frag
0:30 Frak
0:35 Fraking
0:40 Frell
0:45 Frelled
0:50 Frelling
0:55 Gimboid
1:00 Gorram
1:05 Goyt
1:10 Graddakh
1:15 Ifak
1:20 Ishkhqwi ai durugnul
1:25 Pahtak
1:30 P’tok
1:35 Rutting
1:40 Shrock
1:45 Smeg
1:50 Smegging
1:55 Stacko
2:00 Toaster
2:05 Vikeesi

Defiance (AKA Tony Curran Space Badass)

Defiance

If you have been following the twitter feed you are probably aware of the recently started television series Defiance. Starting with it’s two-hour pilot here’s our thought’s on what was good, what was bad and what we hope to expect in the future.

Joshua and Irisa

Defiance if you happened to miss the memo, is an American-Canadian science fiction television series developed by Universal Cable Productions, in collaboration with Trion Worlds, who are also producing an MMO video game of the same name. Breaking it down to its bare bones it’s the story of an ex soldier and his adopted alien daughter living on earth after a war that began after first contact with extraterrestrials. A war that ended with the permanent changing of the planet by some Terra-forming event during the war. Now you must see how after an armistice the different factions and the races can deal with each other, focused around the town of defiance. If you are not fond of spoilers you should stop here and return once you’ve watched the pilot….

Spoiler Alert

Starting with the beautiful visuals seen in the trailers for defiance and the stellar cast including Stephanie Leonidas, Jaime Murray, Tony Curran, Mia Kirshner as well as others. Defiance had a head start, it seemed that it was going to be fantastic and if the pilot is anything to go by it will be. Tony Curran in and of himself lent instant credibility to the series and as Mr Daytak Tarr (or tik tak toe as he shall be affectionately known) he is a cosmic bad ass and a thoroughly gripping character. The dynamic of the Tarr family versus the McCawleys drives the pilots plot and is a wonderful take on Shakespeare’s Montagues and Capulets all be it with a significant twist.

daytak bad ass

One thing I find goes in the series favour as well as possibly against it is the more than passing resemblance to other sci-fi, an issue always tackled within the genre. More than others it particularly reminded me of firefly the gritty feel and even the existence of one famous battle that changed the world. In defiance, the aptly name battle of Defiance marked for acts of compassion as Serenity was for acts of horror. It also for me had a splash of The Tribe and Terra Nova, it would seem amongst this heady group of influences a high bar is already set for the series. One must definitely not mistake this to be a condemnation of the series or an indication that it is lacking in originality. To mention but a few aspects the diversity of alien cultures for example the Castithan dancing. As well as  things such as the Wolf bugs creatures in forests(very weird-looking) were wholly new and interesting.

Doctor and Irisa

I cannot deny that another massive draw for the series for me was Stephanie Leonidas who is playing Irisa Nyira(pictured above with the blade). Harbouring crushes on her since the first time seeing Mirrormask at 15. Luckily she is also a very accomplished actress and only adds to the good in this show including a very cool looking alien make up. We were also pleasantly surprised to see Julie Benz as the new mayor of Defiance, of course memorable for her performance as Darla in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the vampire slayer. Even if it took us a few moments to get through the discontinue of Darla being one of the good guys.

In the pilot among many comedic moments by far the most laugh inducing character was the sassy no-nonsense Doctor Yewell portrayed by Trenna Keating. Her statement “Good Human” after the mayor agrees to do what she says, evoked a chorus of laughter. Other funny moments included  the “grass hopper”, kung fu joke by the former mayor (seemingly future baddy). As well as the defeat of the bio-man 2037 model, by hitting an off switch located in its butt (somehow seems even sillier writing that out).

The Old mayor twist at the very end of the pilot caught us off guard and looks set to create an interesting dynamic for the future. Also watching for the second time her supportive words to her replacement seem much more duplicitous. With all that said it seems set to be very good and for us an added bonus of being the first thing we will be watching on a sofa, on an actual television as it comes out, for a very long time.

This is gonna be good….

If you want to find out more information check the links below :

Scyfy website : http://www.syfy.co.uk/defiance

Defiance Tv show/Computer game website : http://www.defiance.com/en/

RED DWARF X(No, it’s not Porn)

Red Dwarf X

That’s right smeghead the best show in the verse is back after an uncomfortably long time and it’s nothing but awesome. The new tenth season is the first full series in 13 years and looks set to bring about a comeback. After the end of season 8 in 1999 shooting had paused in favour of a feature film, which unfortunately never materialised, and subsequently the new head of the BBC chose not to bring it back for a ninth season. The three part mini series that has been the only thing to come out in the mean time drew the ire of many. We personally found the mini-series enjoyable despite its problems never the less our approach to the new series like many Dwarfers was filled with trepidation.

Costume/No Costume

Luckily we needn’t have worried. Before the start of the new series we had the added enjoyment of the countdown of the show so far leading up to the new episodes on Dave  which rekindled even more of our love for Red Dwarf. From the first rendition of “It’s cold outside….” which we cheerfully sang along to, to the last “Aoooow Yeah” from Cat we were hooked. Despite Craig Charles protestation that he is the only young looking member of the cast, funnily enough they have aged. Luckily this does nothing to detract from the show in any way and they still have the wonderful chemistry that made the show great in the first place. Rumours have also surfaced that in a new series “Red dwarf XI” Norman Lovett the original Holly may return to the show. Making us ecstatic as one of our only issues with the original show was probably the periods of his absence.

You can get access to the show in a number of ways, If your in the UK it is currently showing on the Dave channel. It is also available from iTunes, Netflix and Love Film, as well as a number of less reputable places…..I’m guessing. Loads more Information can be found on the Red Dwarf Website but to wet your appetites below is the series trailer. So what are you waiting for Smeg for Brains get off your arse and start watching.