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By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 05:17 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, Television | With 0 Comments

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Ah Star Trek, the wagon train to the stars that has endured since the 60’s. It is a series that brought many firsts for television and movies and broke barriers. However, a realization occurred to me while re-watching episodes recently. That realization is that above everything else, Star Trek is a rejection of everything Lovecraft wrote and believed in.

It is difficult for many to understand now, just how H.P. Lovecraft was. While the racism in his work is still apparent, many don’t realize just how it fuelled his work along with his fears and paranoia’s.  Lovecraft’s work was deeply personal and from a dark place. The monstrous half human hybrids for example, were inspired by his fears of miscegenation, and his great old ones and cosmology in general were inspired by his fear of the unknown. Lovecraft came from an old New England family and was horrified by the changing culture, especially his brief time in New York  when he interacted more with other ethnic groups. His own family problems left him with many psychological issues, such as a fear of intimacy and openness.

But what does this have to do with Star Trek? Very simply, Star Trek rejects each and every aspect of Lovecraft’s work. Racism is attacked, black women are shown in positions of power, and interracial relationships are shown. Different cultures working together is shown as a good thing and even Spock can be seen as another rejection of the monsters of Lovecraft’s work, given that he is half human and half alien. But it is the opening of Star Trek that truly shows the power of idealism vs giving into fear.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Star Trek is about rising above fear and hate and daring to explore. There is no fear of the unknown but instead a desire to learn more and see what has not been seen. Yes there are dark moments, such as in Deep Space Nine, but with one or two exceptions, the victories achieved are done by rising up above hatred, fear and paranoia. The entities that are above human comprehension are seen differently as well. In the episode ” The Squire of Gothos”, such an entity is shown to be a child ultimately, and then there is Q. Q is an omnipotent entity, yet the Enterprise crew is able to best him more than once, and even learn from him.

There are times that the unknown truly is terrifying, but these are not the norm ( and ultimately that makes these instances stand out better). The message of the show is ultimately a simple one, but one that needs to be heard time and again. If we work together we can grow as people and fear is something that can be overcome. Humanity has potential, and we must work to use it to its fullest and best.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 3 Jan, 2018 At 09:29 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Old School Otaku, Opinion, ROG News, Television | With 1 Comment

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25 years ago, the world of science fiction changed forever. Star Trek was already an established franchise, with Star trek The Next Generation having become a juggernaut in its own right. But January 3 1993 saw the premiere of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, a series that truly helped move the franchise forward. I have so many fond memories of this series, and I do not hesitate at all to call it my favourite of the Trek franchise. I will do my best not to give spoilers so people can experience this for the first time themselves, but I will in some instances.

DS9 stands out above the other Star Trek series by doing something that had not been done before, and that is developing long running character and story arcs. This was possible thanks to the series being set on a space station instead of a ship travelling to different locations, and the recurring elements this enabled ended up creating some of the best storylines.  There is so many great storylines that can be mentioned such as the Dominion War and the rebuilding of Bajor, but for many the best storylines were the ones that delved into showing both character growth and the darker side of Star Trek.

Ferengi culture was explored far beyond what was done on TNG, and so were the Klingons and the Cardassians. This was done thanks to great characters who showed off the different parts of the cultures. The Ferengi gave us Quark, the traditionalist Ferengi, his “failure” brother Rom, who was actually a genius engineer, and Rom’s son Nog who joined Starfleet. The Klingons of course gave us Worf once again, but also Martok. Martok was a traditional Klingon, and one who showed off the best aspects of the culture in contrast to Gowron, who showed the negatives. And the Cardassians? We received two of the most iconic non main cast members in all of Star Trek: Gul Dukat and Elim Garak.

The main cast went through many changes in terms of personality and growth. They were not the same characters at the beginning that they became at the end and the best example was Captain Sisko himself. When he came to the station as Commander Sisko, he was a reluctant appointee and had a lot of hostility in him due to the death of his wife during the Battle of Wolf 359 with the Borg. However, he grew into his many roles and became perhaps the greatest of the captains. Sisko was willing to do things no one else would and realized that if it got the results he needed, then he could live with himself. The infamous episode “In the Pale Moonlight” is often considered either the best or the worst episode in all of Star Trek, due to this.

The aforementioned Dominion War story arc that took up the later seasons also proved to be a triumph of storytelling. There were episodes that truly showed war to be hellish and the consequences to be long lasting, and this mention of darker content wouldn’t do well without mentioning the fact that the series also took a darker look at the Federation. For the first time, we got to see that some consider the Federation to be just as bad as some of the people they fight, albeit these comments tended to come from those who had betrayed the federations.

Characters like Doctorm Bashir, Odo, Chief O’Brien, Major Kira and more showed that this was a series willing to tackle deeper subject matter. Odo faces discrimination t times due to his species and Kira is a former terrorist ( this definitely would have been different if made post 9/11). the infamous O’Brien must suffer episodes are some of the most well known, and Doctor Bashir was forced into situations he wouldn’t have anticipated.

The show was not without humor though and the lighter episodes were extremely welcome. These often involved the Ferengi and did a great job, as a I said before, of expanding them as a people. If I can sum up Deep Space Nine in one word, it would be “growth”. This was a series where the characters grew, but so did Star Trek as a franchise. So Happy 25th anniversary Deep Space Nine, you were amazing!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 3 Dec, 2017 At 10:29 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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Dark Horse Comics has new details about the upcoming Netflix adaptation of The Umbrella Academy, the comic from Gerard Way and Brazilian born artist Gabriel Ba. The comic, inspired by the Grant Morrison run on Doom Patrol, received critical acclaim and received the Eisner Award for best limited series. Dark Horse has now revealed more about the cast, and noted there would be more casting announcements later.

 

 

The Umbrella Academy will be produced by Universal Cable Productions. Steve Blackman (Fargo, Altered Carbon) will serve as executive producer and showrunner, with additional executive producers Bluegrass Television and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Gerard Way will serve as co-executive producer. The pilot script was adapted from the comic book series by Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist).

Tom Hopper (Luther)
“Luther” was groomed by his father from an early age to be the leader of The Umbrella Academy – a responsibility that has always weighed heavily on him. He is resilient, a workaholic, and possesses the ability of heightened physical strength. Upstanding to a fault, Luther always tries to do the right thing, even if that means putting others before himself.

About Tom Hopper
Hopper just wrapped shooting a starring role opposite Amy Schumer and Michelle Williams in Voltage/STX’s comedy I Feel Pretty, written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. Most recently, he played “Dickon Tarly” in Season 7 of HBO’s explosive hit series Game Of Thrones. Hopper also starred as “Billy Bones” in Starz’s Black Sails, produced by Michael Bay, and has appeared in numerous other television series and film projects over his career including Netflix’s Kill Ratio, The History Channel’s event series Barbarians Rising, and the hit TV series Merlin for BBC1/Syfy Channel.

Emmy Raver-Lampman (Allison)
“Allison” is beautiful, elegant, and a formerly world-famous movie star who possesses the power of suggestion – anything she says aloud comes to pass. Her life seems perfect from the outside, but her ability has undermined every relationship she’s ever had. With her career on the decline and her marriage in shambles, she refuses to use her power as she seeks a more authentic life.

About Emmy Raver-Lampman
Emmy Raver-Lampman is the breakout star of the 1st National Touring Company of the Tony-winning phenomenon, Hamilton. After being a part of the original Ensemble on Broadway, Emmy was promoted to the coveted role of “Angelica Schuyler” for the West Coast run. Previous Broadway credits include Jekyll & Hyde, Hair and the National Touring Company of Wicked. The Umbrella Academy marks her very first television role.

David Castañeda (Diego)
“Diego” is a skilled, intense vigilante who has a real problem with authority. He isn’t as naturally strong or smart as his siblings, so he’s worked three times as hard for everything. Believing he should have been the leader of his family instead of his brother, he carries a massive chip on his shoulder that makes him hostile to just about everyone.

About David Castañeda
David Castañeda is currently shooting the Billy Crystal/Ben Schwartz comedy, We Are Unsatisfied. His recent work includes a lead role in the independent feature El Chicano, opposite Raul Castillo and George Lopez. He also stars alongside Benicio Del Torro and Josh Brolin in Lionsgate’s forthcoming Soldado, the sequel to the smash hit Sicario.

Aidan Gallagher (Number Five)
“Number Five” appears to be a thirteen year old boy, but in actuality he is a fifty-eight-year-old man trapped in the body of a child. He doesn’t suffer fools and is the smartest person in the room. He’s haunted by the things he’s seen and done, and is on the verge of losing his grip on reality.

About Aidan Gallagher
Aidan Gallagher starred as “Nicky” on Nickelodeon’s Emmy-winning series Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, which just wrapped shooting a fourth season. For his performance, Aidan was nominated “Favorite Male TV Star” at the 2017 and 2016 Kids Choice Awards.

Robert Sheehan (Klaus)
“Klaus” is a drug addict and lovable mess of a human being and yet, if you ask him, any day now his life is going to turn around. He’s a classic “middle child” – a disarming pleaser who is seemingly everyone’s friend, but will rob you blind without thinking twice.

About Robert Sheehan Robert Sheehan (Misfits) next transforms into an East European, non-gender specific character in Mute on Netflix, the second part of a planned trilogy from writer/director Duncan Jones that began with Moon. Next year, Sheehan also stars opposite David Tennant in Dean Devlin’s thriller Bad Samaritan. In December, he’ll star in Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines, a sci-fi/fantasy movie co-written and produced by Peter Jackson. For television, Sheehan is currently shooting the second season of Genius (National Geographic), which chronicles the life and work of Picasso

 

This author is excited for more details about the series due to being a big fan of the comics. We will be publishing a review of both Miniseries this week.

 

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No GravatarI recently got the chance to speak with composer Anthony Willis about his work in cinema as well as discuss his work on the Knack 2 soundtrack. Please take a look below.

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JB: How did you first get into composing? Was there any specific thing that inspired you?

AW: I actually grew up singing music as a chorister of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in England, which was a very inspiring time in my life. Windsor Castle is a popular residence for the British Royal Family, and so I was constantly surrounded by some of the world’s greatest choral music.

That experience at Windsor taught me to understand how music in built, and definitely instilled the desire to write my own music! That early training has been of immense value to my life as a composer.

 

JB:  Who are some of your influences as a composer?

AW: There are probably many more than I even realise..I suppose that potentially anything and everything that’s I’ve loved hearing has rubbed off in me in some way..and I have a pretty broad taste for what I like! Alongside my classical background, I’ve always been wowed by artists like Bjork, Sigur Ross, Radiohead, and then of course there’s Eminem.. In terms of film music, I grew up loving the scores of my childhood, Hans Zimmer’s The Lion King and Gladiator. James Horner’s American TaleBraveheart and Titanic. Patrick Doyle’s Henry V & Basil Poledouris’s Free Willy,  Harry Gregson Williams & John Powells Shrek- It seems obvious, but the biggest influencer of a given score is the story for which it’s created. No matter our desires as a composers, we must search to find the best way to bring that to life.

 

JB:  You have composed music for a wide variety of movies, including Despicable Me 2, Rio 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, as well as The Martian, The Birth of a Nation, and Jason Bourne just to name a few. These are very different films requiring a very different style, so how do you find that different sound needed for each film? Where do you begin the process of composing?

AW: I think most composers really enjoy the variety that each project brings. It’s a chance to turn our hand to something that calls for different musical colours and devices, and the best composers are able to bind these together for each project with a consistent dramatic and musical instinct.

In the case of some of the films you’ve mentioned, because they are sequels, a lot of my involvement has been supporting the lead composer in creating variations and additional material, helping them to produce each cue in the score to the best standard possible. While the overall tone has been established, most sequels will introduce an exciting new element and or characters to the story. And so the challenge is to bring something fresh to the score to support those new elements musically, while making sure that it it feels part of the whole.

Finding the right tone for a new project is always a challenge, and that moment in the film’s creation is a very definitive one. In my experience the director has always had a critical role in that process, helping to steer the score towards it’s target. As a starting point, I’ve always been taught that a great tune, and an interesting set of chords to go with it, is the most impactful way to reach your audience.

 

JB:  What are some of your favourite films to compose for?

AW: I’ve really loved the experiences I’ve had in animation and adventure films. They allow you to really wear your heart on your sleeve in supporting the emotions of the film. The sky is very much the limit. I also love period dramas. They often have such important and timeless messages, and an intriguing sense of location. From a musical point of view, they have a wonderful way of focusing you stylistically, and the results can be very pure and honest.

 

JB:  What is a movie series you would love to work on?

AW: I absolutely love fantasy, adventure and magic, and so I’d love to compose on something like the Chronicles of Narnia. Those stories were so inspiring to me when I was growing up, and as a composer, the musical and dramatic opportunities are as good as they come.

I would also love to score more contemporary dramas. These can offer the opportunity to be quite musically minimal, but incredibly focused emotionally. I saw Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River at Sundance last year and was blown away by his command of that genre.

 

JB:  Moving to your work on Knack 2, I have to ask what interested you in this project?

AW: I was definitely looking for an opportunity to compose on a video game! Knack presented such a great wealth of musical possibilities that it seemed like the perfect project to enter the gaming world. There are adventures, heroics, great locations and environments, mystery.. the kitchen sink!

The developers were looking for a new sound for this second installment, something more akin to an animated movie experience, and so I was delighted to come on board.

 

JB:  How have you found working on composing for video games to be? Its obviously very different from movies, but what has stood out to you the most?

AW; In the case of Knack 2 specifically, the needs of the ‘in game’ music itself, were quite different to a typical film score. The music’s function is largely designed to energize the player, while adapting to their environment as they progress through the levels. The music is therefore very modular in design, there’s no definitive arrangement or sequence in which the music will unfold, and not really an opportunity for extended melodies. However, I really enjoyed this more minimal and percussive approach, which I think brought a more contemporary flare to the score.

That said, in many ways writing the music to Knack 2 was very similar to an animated movie, especially in the creation of themes and scoring of cinematic sequences.

Overall, you want to approach every varying project with your best work, which hopefully will resonate with an audience. In most games, there are upwards of 10 hours of game play experience, and so that offers an even greater opportunity for the audience, in this case player, to interact with the score. There’s a huge support for Video Game music by the gaming community, and perhaps even more pressure to live up to their expectations!

 

JB:  What goes into your process specifically for how you approached the video game music? Any specific influences that you wanted to pay tribute to?

AW: The music team and I started by trying to find some strong musical themes to support Knack and his world. I tend to write themes at the piano, in my head on a walk, or even at the sequencer itself, it depends very much on the situation. It’s so helpful to have these themes established as I approach the cinematic and game play cues. I’ll then try to find the best possible structure and appropriate arrangement for each moment in the game. It’s hard to pin down specific influences as it all gets put in the washing machine, but I grew up loving the music for Zelda, the use of themes, and the way the music supports the mystery and problem solving throughout the game. The Knack 2 score also has a definite nod in places to the classic adventure feel of John Barry.

 

JB:  What are some other video games you would like to work on in terms of composing?

AW: There is such a wealth of video games being developed at the moment we live in an amazing time of innovation. Being able to wake up every day and have a game to work on is a real privilege. I would love to lend my hand to a VR experience, with a lot of space to draw the player in and immerse them emotionally. I would love to work on something like Ori and the Blind Forest. The developers did such an amazing job, together with their composer Gareth Coker, at bringing that world to life. So it might have to be Ori’s distant cousin for me!

 

JB:  Did you enjoy the experience of working on Knack 2?

AW: Absolutely! Like any project it had it’s challenges, but I’m so proud to be attached to the game, and to have been able to make a musical contribution to support Knack. I’d like to make special mention of my producers at Sony Playstation, Peter Scaturro and Keith Leary, who brought me on to the project, expertly guided me through the process, and supported my vision for the score. The whole music team at Playstation and JStudio were wonderful collaborators.

 

JB:  Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

AW: Well first of all, thank you for reading and for taking an interest in the Knack 2 score!

If you’d like to hear the score, the full album is available on the PlayStation Network- and will soon be available on itunes!

 

There are some preview tracks available here

 

JB: Thank you again

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Sep, 2017 At 02:26 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, News, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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Who remembers the TV show Sabrina the Teenage Witch? If you do, you may be interested in knowing that a new Sabrina series is in the works at the CW. Except, this is not Sabrina as you remember her.

 

The hourlong drama reimagines the story of Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age tale that traffics in horror, the occult and witchcraft, naturally. The new iteration is described as in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist and finds Sabrina wrestling to reconcile her dual nature as a half-witch, half-mortal while fighting the evil forces that threaten her, her family and the daylight world humans inhabit.

Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is penning the adaptation, which is being eyed as a companion for Riverdale that would potentially debut in the 2018-19 TV season. He will exec produce with Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jon Goldwater and Lee Toland Krieger, who will direct the pilot should the project move forward. Berlanti Productions will produce in association with Warner Bros. TV.

 

 

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The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina also represents a homecoming of sorts for the character of Sabrina Spellman. Melissa Joan Hart memorably played the character in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The half-hour, produced by Viacom Productions, ran on ABC for four seasons before moving to The WB its final three seasons. The comedy wrapped in 2003, three years before The WB would merge with UPN to become The CW.

In recent years, Archie has been playing up the horror aspects of Sabrina in various comics. This TV show has a lot of potential, and is one to keep your eyes on.

 

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By Sebastian Marco On 30 Aug, 2017 At 06:46 AM | Categorized As ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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With Defenders just released the other week (I really need to finish it) Netflix is already has more Marvel shows in the works. Now Daredevil’s best introduced the walking dead’s Jon Bernthal’s Punisher into the Marvel Netflix Uniniverse with his own series. His disregard for the law and crime alike slowly crawled into our favorites on the show. By the end of the season 2 we were defiantly wanting more, I think what did it was, the jail scene. Early this week before the teaser trailer was released the Punisher twitter account tweeted this out.

Fans recognized the Morse Code and dechpired them into what seem to be episode titles.  Which are as follows:

  1. 3am
  2. Two Dead Men
  3. Kandahar
  4. Resupply
  5. Gunner
  6. The Judah’s Goat
  7. Crosshairs
  8. Cold Steel
  9. Front Toward Enemy
  10. Virtue of the Vicious
  11. Danger Close
  12. Home
  13. Memento Mori

The Punisher is possibly set to come out this year or sometime early the beginning of 2018

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 May, 2017 At 04:54 PM | Categorized As Animation, News, ROG News, Television, Videos | With 0 Comments

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Netflix and Konami have released the first trailer for the upcoming animated Castlevania series. The series debuts on July 7 of this year.

 

The series looks dark and violent and like a Castlevania series should. Check out the trailer below

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 4 May, 2017 At 07:10 PM | Categorized As Animation, News, News, NINTENDO, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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Russia is a country that does not seem to like Pokémon Go. They previously arrested a man and charged him with inciting religious hatred for playing Pokémon Go in a church. He faces 3 years imprisonment if found guilty.

It seems the Simpsons have also run afoul of the country for this same reason. A recent Simpsons episode say the show spoof Pokémon Go and had Homer play a similar game inside a church. This angered Russian clerics and the episode has been held back in the country as a result.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Feb, 2017 At 11:21 AM | Categorized As International News, NINTENDO, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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Toyota has been promoting their car, the C-HR with “crossover” commercials. One recent commercial shows Ryu from Street Fighter driving the car through the other stages before battling M Bison in the car. I am not doing it justice and this needs to be seen.

This is the car commercial for me. If I saw this on TV, I would be very interested in the car. What about you all?

I like how gaming is becoming more entwined with advertising for products like cars and such. It helps make gaming feel more accepted than it has been in the past.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 12 Jan, 2017 At 12:58 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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Actor Tony Rosato died Monday of a heart attack at 62 years old. He was known in the world of Nintendo as the voice of Luigi in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Super Mario World cartoon,

Rosato had a lengthy career in Canada and in the US. He was part of both SCTV and SNL and worked on other programs with people such as Bea Arthur. While video game fans may morn the death of the voice of Luigi, he was also a beloved actor in his other roles and will be missed.

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