Star Wars Rebels Experience

24 November 2014 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Star Wars, TV

Mid Valley Megamall held a Star Wars Rebels Experience exhibition last Sunday, commemorating the debut of the series on local TV.

I didn't think I was going to make the exhibition because college assignments had to be submitted by midnight. I had one more to complete and submit. But when it was announced that the deadline was pushed back 2 days, we headed for Mid Valley at Point Five beyond lightspeed.

I wonder if the MFTAS is to scale as well.

I saw the big helmet at the South Court all the way from the Centre Court. Irfan poses before it for posterity's sake.

Stormtrooper on the prowl

The Five-Oh-First was on site to ensure no rebel agents disrupt the proceedings.

The Inquisitorious also do mall appearances

The Pau'an Inquisitor was also around being all Lucius Malfoy-ish.


The Lawless

03 February 2013 | Hisham | | Star Wars, TV

The Star Wars The Clone Wars episode "The Lawless". Best Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back? Hyperbole?

Guest starring Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan

No spoilers here.

At about minute 9, I was stunned at how the story went. The entire series and the tone it started with in the beginning was a feint. Despite some pretty juvenile episodes, most of the series has been an exercise in solid storytelling in the Star Wars universe. We expect the filmmakers to pull their punches because of several issues: this series is on Cartoon Network, and the prequel movies had Jar Jar Binks.

However, it has shown us violence that provided emotional release at some parts, like when Commander Jet's troops burned dozens of Geonosians alive... onscreen... and we see the Geonosian aflame and shrieking in agony; we've seen innocents shot with blaster burning right through their torsos; we've seen Ahsoka leap, spin and decapitate four Mandalorians.

We've never seen the emotional rollercoaster brought on by "The Lawless". If what happened in the episode not at the same emotional level as "No. I am your father..." then it should be pretty close, based on what has come before beginning with the introduction of Mandalore and Death Watch in season two, and the return of Darth Maul in season four.

As a bonus cherry on top, we get the best choreographed lightsabre fight ever on the series, Darth Sidious versus Maul and Savage Opress.

Let me say that if there is no executive network meddling and the such, I am confident that Supervising Director Dave Filoni will not disappoint us when he ends this series and segue into Revenge of the Sith. I really don't expect the story of Ahsoka Tano to end well.

Check out the first official Star Wars The Clone Wars Google Hangout that took place right after the first airing of the episode, featuring Filoni and some of the voice cast of the series.


Space Ghost

07 June 2012 | Hisham | | Artwork, TV

I has some time to spare one morning and thought I'd draw one of the old classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons. I was then torn between two characters: Space Ghost or Tundro of the Herculoids. Ultimately I thought I'd give Space Ghost a try.

Using brush and ink, I tried giving Space Ghost a dramatic central shadow. The illustration was scanned and coloured digitally using GIMP. Finally, the colour layer was run through GIMP's Ziptone filter to give it a comic book feel.

But without the two kids and the monkey

Click here for a bigger image on DeviantArt.

Space Ghost, I've since learnt, was designed for Hanna Barbera by famed cartoonist and comic book artist Alex Toth.


The Mysterious Mystery of Alcatraz

24 February 2012 | Hisham | | TV

J.J. Abrams' new show Alcatraz is sort of interesting. The premise is that on the day Alcatraz was shut down in 1963, everyone on the island disappeared into thin air from inmates to guards. In the present day, one by one the people who vanished are reappearing in and around San Francisco. And the returnees haven't aged since 1963.

A team led by Emerson Hauser (played by Sam Neill) is tasked with stopping the crimes perpetrated by the returning inmates, finding out where they've been for 50 years and who took them.

However I do believe the show can be improved by having the intro monologue end differently each time, like a Simpson couch gag.

On March 21, 1963, Alcatraz officially closed.

All the prisoners were transferred off the island. Only that's not what happened.

Not at all.

In lieu of "Not at all", the producers can also insert "Not by a long shot!", "This is what happened!", "Something else happened!", "No no no!", "Oh hell naw!", "No way, man!", "Nuh-UH!!!", "The island did it!" and "WAAAALT!"


The Zombie Apocalypse with Microlite20

19 November 2010 | Hisham | | Role Playing Games, RPG Actual Play, RPG Irfan Plays, TV

After three episodes of The Walking Dead on AMC, I thought I'd try a zombie game scenario with Irfan. I was itching to try out the free Microlite20 system, so I adapted it the M20 Modern plug-in to come up with a simple zombie apocalypse scenario.

M20 Pocketmods!

Irfan wanted to play a sheriff, he rolled up his three characteristics, chose a Smart Hero class (which gives him +1 to Knowledge) and took a Law Enforcement starting occupation (which gives him another +1 to Knowledge and a +1 to Physical). The game began with Irfan coming back to town from a three-day campout in the woods. He had with him a sniper rifle.

As he walked up the road to town, he spotted a car at the roadside. Upon a closer look, he noticed a figure slumped back in the seat.


Phineas and Ferb

26 March 2010 | sila | | TV

One of the cool things about having a kid is that you get to check out all the children's TV shows that are out there. Well, you know. It's got to be vetted before Allie is allowed to watch it. ;-)

This is one of our new favorite shows:

Mom, Phineas and Ferb are making a title sequence!

It's just awesome. It's on the Disney Channel. We love it. Phineas and Ferb spend their days creating cool things while their sister Candace tries to bust them. In the meantime, Perry the Platipus (their pet slash secret agent) goes around foiling the evil plans of Dr Heinz Doofenschmirtz.  You can read all about it here.

And they have really amazing and clever song and dance routines. Well, just check out their theme song.

Vin and I are certainly addicted to this show. We even DVRed it when we were out of town. Yes. For us. Seriously, watch this show! Adults will love it. We do. :-)


Death On The Outpost Moon

23 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 5

Commander Cody and friendsThis week, the GM decided to try out a one-shot scenario. He assigned no-name clone troopers for the players. A sergeant and a bunch of rookies who were tasked with housekeeping of a listening outpost on a Rishi moon. He made it clear that they were the first to know if a Separatist invasion force was on its way to sneak up and bomb the crap out of the clone trooper production world of Kamino. The outpost was descibed nicely by the GM: it was a small drab gray installation with a landing platform and large communication dishes, perched at the edge of a rocky cliff filled with holes.

Initially the players did great in giving each trooper a distinct personality despite their common appearance. They picked out quirky names for their PCs like "Sergeant O'Niner", "Cutup", "Echo", "Hevy" and "Fives".

Then, a meteor storm occurred. Someone rolled a shields skill to raise shields around the listening outpost. Easy enough; the meteors slammed harmlessly against the invisible barriers.


Riders of the Malevolence

12 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 4

Padmé finds herself smack dab in the middle of things blowing up... againThe GM announced that this week was going to be a standard dungeon crawl, to which everyone shrugged and went, "Meh." However, after recapping last week's session, he started out with a bang by shifting the scene to two new PCs. Senator Padmé Amidala of Naboo and her protocol droid See Threepio were both on their way to a secret meeting with the Intergalactic Banking Clan, an enemy faction, when suddenly they reverted back in normal space right in the middle of last week's closing skirmish.

The PCs asked the GM why "Intergalactic" when they were only in a single galaxy? The GM reminded them of the map in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which displayed a main spiral galaxy and at least one dwarf satellite galaxy. So, "Intergalactic" was technically correct. Anakin's player thought they'd better update all the official sources with this tidbit of information.

Failed space transport piloting rolls allowed the Malevolence's tractor beam to grab onto the Nubian H-type yacht and pull them into a hangar bay. Quick communication rolls allowed Padmé to contact the Resolute, alerting the rest of the PCs, Anakin and Obi-Wan to her plight.


Strikeforce: Shadow Squadron

11 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 3

Y-wing hotdogger acesAfter the last adventure, in which the party gathered intel on the Malevolence, the GM now changed the flavour of the campaign from a rescue to a starfighter combat scenario. It was a straightforward mission. A squadron of fighters will take off from the Resolute, take a shortcut through a nebula, then attack the Malevolence targeting its command tower at the other end of the nebula before it can destroy the Kaliida Shoals Medical Station, with its load of hospitalised clone troopers and cadre of doctors and medics.

There were supposed to be only four players this session. The PCs snapped up by the players this week were Anakin Skywalker, Ahsoka Tano, and two of the clone pilots named Broadside and Matchstick. The GM thought it would be awesome to give everyone a fighter from the original movies, like the Koensayr Y-wing. But since this was twenty years prior to the movie Episode IV: A New Hope, the GM tweaked the Y-wing stats a bit and renamed them the old-timey BTL-B variant Y-wings. The group was named "Shadow Squadron".

However Plo Koon's player from last week had a cancelled dentist appointment, so he was back this week as Plo Koon. He insisted on tagging along in his Delta-7B starfighter.


The Orbital Debris Field Manhunt

03 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 2

Clone troops in vacuumObviously last week had merely been the gaming group's test run using a stand alone scenario in a single session. This week, the GM brought out the big guns. Literally.

The Republic fleet has been under attack by a colossal capital ship, known as the Malevolence. Which is why this scenario was titled "Rising Malevolence". Incidentally the Malevolence is a 7.9 km-long Subjugator-class heavy cruiser, which means the first ship of the line, the Subjugator, was still floating about somewhere in the galaxy. Great job by the GM, cause this gives the rest of us another ship to play with in our own campaigns.

There were seven players around the table. And the GM split them up into two groups. The first group's PCs consisted of the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, his Togruta padawan Ahsoka Tano and the trusty astromech droid Artoo-Detoo. The second group played the Kel Dor Jedi Master named Plo Koon, an unarmoured clone commander named Wolffe, and a pair of suited-up clone troopers named Boost and Sinker.


Battle At The Coral Moon

02 April 2009 | Hisham | | Star Wars, The Clone Wars Review, TV

Clone Wars Episode 1

Lieutenant Thire, later Commander Thire in Revenge of the Sith, and palsThe scenario titled "Ambush" was designed so that the Player Characters (PCs), on the side of the Galactic Republic, set down on the moon known as Rugosa in a diplomatic mission. Rugosa's terrain was a thick forest of a multitude of hard, gigantic coral structures. If there was a sea once, it probably had dried out a long time ago. Tiny airborne subspecies of the neebray, like little sparrows, flit between the coral branches. Quite an exotic setting described by the Game Master (GM).

The PCs task was simple: Land on Rugosa and make the planned rendezvous with the Toydarian King Katuunko, then persuade the good king to actively support the Republic in the war against the Separatists.The lead PC was Yoda, a Jedi Master with a fair amount of dice in his Force skills. He was aided by a trio of clone troopers, Thire, Jek and Rys.

However, the GM made sure that the main enemy NPC, the treacherous Sith Adept known as Asajj Ventress under orders from the Sith Lord Count Dooku has arrived ahead of them, turning the mission into bigger challenge.


There Is A Hole In The Bucket Dear Liza Dear Liza

26 March 2009 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

First things first: SPOILER ALERT... This entry will be discussing the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, the double-length episode entitled "Daybreak, Part 2". But before the day breaks, there is nothing but utter darkness and despair. Death and destruction. As ably illustrated by Tricia Helfer below:

When things get bad, Head Six goes nuts


It's been dark for quite a while now. First there was that extinction of the Human race with only less than 40,000 survivors being pursued by genocidal robots thing. Then there is facing the reality of having to live out their entire lives in space boxed up in small ships with dwindling resources... if they don't find Earth. Finally, just before the mid-season break they find Earth and it's a radioactive wasteland. So, after the darkness, when does day break for the story?

A Universe Ahead To Explore

24 March 2009 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

Coming to television this fall is the third series to be set in a very well known, visual-media-based science fiction universe. This time instead of having a proper base of operations (in this galaxy or another), the characters are trapped on a automated ancient starship travelling out of and away from the Milky Way galaxy. That's one way to put your characters in a spot and have them undergo weekly adventures, I guess.

Recently the teaser trailer of this upcoming series was released, showing us a glimpse of some actors involved in the pilot episode.

Here's Robert Carlyle.

Holy crap! It's Begbie!

Here's Lou Diamond Philips.

The Aquaman pilot got flushed... here's hoping for a hit series

The Lunatic Fringe

13 February 2009 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

Both Sila's and my household have been following J.J. Abram's brand new TV series Fringe. As per Alias and Lost, I had a feeling it's not what it advertised itself to be, which would have been about international spies and counterspies, and surviving a plane crash on a deserted island.

Warning: SPOILERS, and I'm serious. SPOILERS!

Is the tank an application of the alt universe tech?

What Fringe advertised itself was about a department within the Department of Homeland Security, with agents on secondment from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which deal with fringe science to solve their cases. Naturally this caused a lot of people to draw similarities between it and The X-Files. (And having Darin "Flukeman" Morgan as a producer helped accentuate this fact.)

The story starts with a pair of FBI Agents Olivia Dunham and John Scott, who gets involved in a case concerning bio-terrorism aboard an airliner. An airborne agent was released on the plane, which caused the skin of everyone on board to melt away from their bones. Agent Scott gets gravely injured during the investigation, causing Agent Dunham to get help from someone one Dr. Walter Bishop, a researcher who did work into fringe science for the government in the 70s and 80s but was locked away in a mental institution on manslaughter charges. To release Dr. Bishop, Agent Dunham needed the help of Peter Bishop, his estranged son with an IQ of 190, a high school dropout and a con artist with a lot of "weird connections". In some instances, Peter is the only person who is able to translate Walter's semi-lucid statements.

John Noble's perfomance as Walter Bishop is one of the highlights of this series.


The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father

09 January 2009 | Hisham | | Comics, TV

Roll call for the members of Green Lantern Corps that appeared in the pre-credits teaser of the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Day of the Dark Knight!"

Sector 2814 & Sector 674

Deconstruction of Falling Stars

31 December 2008 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV
Year Three

It was the year of fire,
The year of destruction,
The year we took back what was ours.
It was the year of rebirth,
The year of great sadness,
The year of pain,
And a year of joy.
It was a new age.
It was the end of history.
It was the year everything changed.
The year is 2261.
The place: Babylon 5.

Year Four

Happy New Year! A hearty welcome applause to the year 2261... er, I mean the years 1430 and 2009.


They Come From The 31st Century

22 December 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, Trawling The Net, TV

Every year since season 4 of Smallville, I used to check out the first few episodes to see if it grabbed me. But the novelty was gone, and even the inclusion of Kara Zor-El in season 7 wasn't enough to sustain my attention.

Season 8 however is a whole new ball game. I've not missed a single episode.

Inclusion of new character Davis Bloom that eventually turns out to be Doomsday - which reads terribly as a concept on paper, but is pulled off adequately. A new job at the Daily Planet and a burgeoning romance with Lois - including humorous lively banter instead of the unbearable melodrama with Lana. More DC Comics characters as guest stars like Plastique and Maxima.

And after the mid-season break, for the first time ever: the live action appearance of none other than the founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, flight rings and all:

Garth, Imra and Rokk!

... with apparently Persuader of the Fatal Five in tow, complete with his signature weapon the Atomic Axe.

Watch the promo here.


Diedrich Bader Takes Over The Cowl

04 December 2008 | Hisham | | Comics, TV

There is a new Batman animated series in town, and since I'm still not back from lunch and I agree with every word written by Shane about it, I'll just hand over the microphone to him:

Ollie and BruceSherman, set the wayback machine to circa 1985, and a 4 year old Shane is taken to a local department store. Now, it's lost to the ages, but he must have been aware of Batman via The Superfriends, or the deal Shell had with giving away DC Superhero figures with a fill up (I think I had 2 of everyone). But this fateful day, Shane got his very first Batman comic. It was complimentary that day, and involved 2 stories I can barely remember. One had him facing a fake Wayne Manor, full of androids created by Hugo Strange. The other was the one that sticks more in my mind. Simple grunt work, crime solving. The panel I will never forget that is Batman chopping either side of some punk's neck and dropping him like a bad habit. And thus, an infatuation began.

We've gone through some rough times with Batman. Michael Keaton turned out to be very brooding. However, Val Kilmer and George Clooney's time at the helm kinda....screwed him, big screen wise.  Only recently have Batman Begins and Dark Knight pulled his bum from the fire.


Where Do These T-888 Infiltrators Go To Eat?

29 October 2008 | Hisham | | Humour, Misc Sci-Fi, TV

These different models of Tee-Triple Eight infiltrators below: they're a different series of endoskeletons from the T-800 and the T-850 (model 101) from the Terminator movies. 

Bunch of Metals

I might have found the exact place where they all go to eat out.


Fighting Evil So You Wont Have To

28 August 2008 | Hisham | | Misc Sci-Fi, TV

The Middleman is the funniest show on TV right now... if you're a geek like me.Watch it on ABC Family (only one more episode left... Monday night)

But I'll get to that in a minute.

Created by former scribe of Jake 2.0 and Lost, Javier Grillo-Marxuach, The Middleman reveals to us that there is one Middleman in existence in the world from a still-indisclosed point in time in the past. His job is to take care of extraordinary and highly bizzare problems, which usually involves incidents related to aliens, demons, mad scientists and mixes or variations thereof. The Middleman is also responsible for training an apprentice Middleman to take over one day because of the lethal occupational hazards.

And they work for a secret agency so secret and so efficient (their equipment gets replenished and upgraded almost immediately from unknown sources) and nameless that the Middleman himself has to give it his own acronym OTS2K, which stands for Organisation Too Secret To Know.