• Nikita episode 1

    Last night I watched the début episode of the new television series Nikita. I’m intrigued how the core concept of this story has persisted and been remade. Its first incarnation was as a French action film in 1990, also called Nikita, which was written and directed by Luc Besson. The plotline is that Nikita is a young criminal sent to prison. French intelligence fakes her death, takes her to a secret facility and trains her to work as an assassin. After a significant test of her ability she is released into society with a cover story, but she can be activated for any job at any time. Nikita meets a nice…

  • good and stupid news

    Last night I heard from Amal El-Mohtar and Jessica P. Wick, the editors of Goblin Fruit, that they are buying my poem, “The Solace of Dark Places”, for their Spring 2010 issue. I will also do a recording of the poem for the web site. I’m pleased to sell another poem to such a fabulous market. I also want to mention a subject that is flaming across the twitterverse at the moment. The Sci Fi channel has decided to rebrand itself as Syfy. Want to know why? Dave Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel is clear in his prejudices: “The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and…

  • the Force won't prevent ladders in your tights

    Another Thursday, another piece of fiction in exactly 140 characters. Today I’m feeling the science fiction vibe: You gasp, “So close!”, as your ship explodes. Only your words return from the dark. Your remains are scattered across stars, your true love. I was watching an episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars recently, which is pretty decent juvenile fare. There was a space battle above a planet, and as lasers removed chunks of battleships, and little nippy fighters slipped among them, canons blasting, I experienced a feeling of contentment. There is something about a good space battle that just satisfies some amoral craving in my heart. I remember the first time…

  • Screenwriting the Future

    During my blogging duties for the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild I posted the following piece, which I figured would be worth replicating here for those who follow this blog: De Montfort University in Leicester is hosting a one-day seminar on TV screenwriting on Saturday 7th March 2009 at the Leicester City campus, and the focus will be on Fantastic Writing – science fiction, fantasy and magic: Writing the future, the past and other worlds. Confirmed guests include James Moran (Doctor Who, Torchwood and Spooks), Phil Ford (Sarah Jane Adventures, Dr Who and Torchwood), Stephen Volk (Afterlife) and Graham Joyce – winner of the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy…

  • Winter Cheer

    I started writing this blog post a week ago, but then I became happily distracted by the visit from a dear friend of mine. October and November are busy months for me. It’s when the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild organises its annual screenwriting awards, the ZeBBies, and it generates a lot of extra work. On November 25th we had the ZeBBie Awards Ceremony in the Sugar Club in Dublin, and it was a fun night. I put on a frock and shiny shoes. People were bewildered but complimentary. I spent all of that Tuesday at the Arts Council’s conference, New Media, New Audience? The panel I participated on was…

  • 'tis the season to be creepy

    It’s the first of October, so 2008 is already on the way out. The shops are groaning (and wailing) with Halloween gear, which makes me smile. I love seeing oozing eyeballs, skeletons, and ghosts for sale, and happy little children waving a zombie head at their parents and demanding, “Buy me the Wizened Skull of Lord Shambles!” The parents sigh dramatically as if over-burdened, until they spot the lopsided inflatable Frankenstein monster, and superstitiously add it to the shopping cart. I spot its face jammed against the window as the car trundles out of the car park, and it waves its plastic hand at me in glee. A new generation…

  • "I feel trapped like a moth, in a bath."

    Irish screenwriter Graham Linehan (co-writer of Father Ted and Black Books, and the creator of The IT Crowd) has a blog – my cool discovery of today. In his latest entry he discusses his progress on the third season of The IT Crowd, which has kept him rather busy. Too distracted to enjoy his usual research into a cool look for the set and the cast. He says: How would you like to help in designing the look of series 3? Specifically, you’d be helping us choose the stuff that litters the main set. I’m talking about posters, comics, fanzines, T-shirts? anything you’ve seen in the last few months that…

  • behind the curtain

    08/08/08 – pretty cool eh? Of course, it is just a made-up number, an arbitrary system to mark the days. There are plenty of other calendars where today is not special at all. It all depends on your point of view. The Olympics opening ceremony was a beautiful spectacle, and there are many admirable ideas buried in the core of the games. Of course, everything is politics. The clothes the athletes wear, who carries the flag, who bears the torch, what diplomats turn up, who lights the flame – these are all political decisions designed to make an impact, to say something about each country’s agenda. And while I admired…

  • a horrible analysis

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog since it debuted this week. The first thing I did yesterday morning after I sat down in front of my computer was watch the third episode. So, that’s a good sign of the show’s success. Yet, I have reservations. The following is a rather in-depth critique. If you haven’t watched the show yet, or if you don’t go in for this kind of analysis, then you might want to ignore this entry. First off I should note that the three-act show has a lot of strengths considering it was shot in a tight timeframe (seven days I believe), and…

  • the Depp Effect

    At the weekend I watched the MTV Movie Awards, and marvelled at how low the awards show has fallen. At one point it was the satirical edgy ceremony that appreciated the value of popular entertainment cinema, which the higher brow awards often ignored. Now, it’s just a way to promote summer movies. Mike Myers was the host this year, and didn’t do a bad job, but how can you elevate a show in which every presenter pimps his or her latest film or DVD? It’s sheer bad taste masquerading as amusing self-mockery. It’s an event bankrupt of credibility or class. Even the fun “bits” are tainted. Again, each one was…