Friday YouTube Bonus Edition: Yatta!

In today’s Tube Bits, there is a story about how Masi Oka, via his character Hiro, introduced the Japanese word ‘Yatta’ to American TV viewers. He uses the phrase a lot in Heroes, but the iconic image is of Hiro, with arms raised and outstretched, in Times Square. Below is a short clip of this scene:

Well, awhile back my brother had sent me a music video link to a Japanese group whose song is ‘Yatta’. I found the link again on YouTube, and I thought I’d give you a look at how the Japanese use the word in pop culture. Warning: Those of you with easily upset stomachs or weak constitutions may not want to view the clip. It’s disturbing in a uniquely Japanese way..

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[via TV Squad]

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SF Tidbits for 9/21/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Tube Bits For 09/21/07

  • Sy Fy Portal is reporting that the looming writers and actors strikes are the reasons behind the possible split of Galactica into two seasons. The same thing could happen to Eureka and other shows speculates their source. If this is true, we should be seeing repercussions throughout TV land. With the wealth of entertainment options available, the networks simply can’t afford a huge strike. Expect a resolution in favor of the writers and actors before all is said and done.
  • The Daily Yomiuri Online has a short article on Masi Oka concerning his use of the word ‘Yatta!’ and its apparent introduction into the American lexicon. Originally, Kring wanted to use the word ‘banzai’, but Masi lobbied against it for its war-like connotations, and ‘yatta’ was selected. The rest is history.
  • Entertainment Weekly has taken the time to go back and grade all 23 episodes of Heroes. They gave the pilot a B+, while the season finale rates a C+, which seems a tad bit high for me given the disappointing showdown.
  • Fresh on the heels of NBC’s announcement of NBC Direct yesterday, ABC gets in on the act by announcing their deal with AOL to allow users to download ABC shows for free on AOL’s portal. Details are sketchy, I’m not sure how long you can keep them, if they are in standard def or high def, if you need a special player, or anything else. Apparently the service starts today. You’d think an article about this announcement would point to the web site. But noooo, we’re forced to try and find it ourselves. I think it’s at IN2TV.
  • From the Did You Know Department: Several episodes of James Burke’s The Day The Universe Changed is available on YouTube. If you’ve seen the outstanding Connections series, you know how good Burke is at explaining science. It’s a shame he isn’t as well known as Carl Sagan was. Follow the links to see more of the episodes.

Filed under: Tube Bits

Tube Bits For 09/20/07

  • Starz Media, in conjunction with Microsoft, will be bringing many of their anime series to Xbox Llive Marketplace. With titles like Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Gig 1 & 2), Noein, Astro Boy and Appleseed, among others, they have a nice library of titles to download and watch. In fact, Xbox Live Marketplace seems to have quite a bit of anime available.
  • The Sci Fi Channel may resurrect their talked about series, Caprica, from development hell to help buffer themselves from the loss of Galactica. Also, trying to milk Galactica for as much advertising dollars as possible is, of course, the reason they are thinking of splitting the last season into two parts, hacking off fans everywhere.
  • NBC has announced a new service to all fans to download their favorite shows up to one week after broadcast. Called NBC Direct, the service will launch in October, and will eventually allow fans to pre-select shows to automatically download to their PCs. This sounds similar to the BBC’s program, and is a welcome step in using the internet to reach fans.
  • It seems that Cavemen executive producer Will Speck isn’t discouraged by the savaging his show has received from critics. And he shouldn’t be. He should be concerned by the number of people who won’t watch the show. Seriously, is anyone even thinking of watching this?

Filed under: Tube Bits

Science Fiction for People Who Hate Science Fiction

We’ve talked before about “gateway” science fiction; that is, accessible science fiction that you would recommend to people who do not normally read it. I was in a used bookstore this weekend – What, you don’t spend your weekends trolling used bookstores? – and found an anthology of gateway short stories: Science Fiction for People Who Hate Science Fiction edited by Terry Carr.

Here’s the list of stories that Carr thought would be good introductions to sf:

  1. “The Star” by Arthur C. Clarke (1955)
  2. “A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury (1952)
  3. “The Year of the Jackpot” by Robert A. Heinlein (1952)
  4. “The Man with English” by H. L. Gold (1953)
  5. “In Hiding [Timothy Paul]” by Wilmar H. Shiras (1948)
  6. “Not with a Bang” by Damon Knight (1950)
  7. “Love Called This Thing” by Avram Davidson & Laura Goforth (1959)
  8. “The Weapon” by Fredric Brown (1951)
  9. “What’s It Like Out There?” by Edmond Hamilton (1952)

Carr’s book appeared in 1968. I wonder what a more current list would look like?

For more on gateway books, see:

Filed under: Books

SciFi Scanner Post Roundup #1

As previously mentioned, yours truly is currently guest-blogging at AMC TV’s SciFi Scanner blog. Here’s a roundup of the posts I did there so far.

  1. The Last Starfighter, Now With 100% More Music!
  2. 40 Years of AFI
  3. David Cronenberg’s Sci-Fi Roots
  4. Sci-Fi Memories: Terminator vs. 2010
  5. Trek Caskets
  6. The World’s First Open Source Sci-Fi Movie?
  7. Finally…Galactica 1980 on DVD!
  8. Remake of the Week: Fantastic Voyage
  9. 33 Sci-Fi Movies That Rate Worse Than DragonWars
  10. Robinson Crusoe on Mars
  11. Star Wars Chess
  12. And Now The Latest Uhura News…
  13. Heroes Heads to the Bookstore Shelves
  14. 5 Superheroes With Memorable Logos
  15. Steampunk

Filed under: Web Sites

SF Tidbits for 9/20/07

Filed under: Tidbits

Pilot Thoughts: Chuck

Taking a cue from Scott’s posts on the pilots for Bionic Woman and Journeyman, I thought I’d avail myself of Amazon’s Unbox service and download the pilot for Chuck.

I won’t really comment on the service itself, other than to say it was really slow, and the UI could use some work to make it easier to use, but it gets the job done and I got the free preview.

Chuck is the story of one Chuck Bartowski, who works for the Nerd Herd at the local Buy More store. He receives an email from his old college roommate that just so happens to contain all the information that both the NSA and CIA have gathered on terrorist activities worldwide. Soon he is being chased by a ruthless NSA assassin John Casey, played by Jayne, err, Adam Baldwin and by CIA operative Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski).

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Wednesday YouTube: 3D Rama Fly-Through

The maker of the Rendezvous with Rama student film wasn’t the only one inspired by the science fiction classic. Here’s Eric Bruneton’s 3-dimensional fly-through of a Rama-like object. Also, check out his website for some higher resolution images from this animation.

[via Interesting Links]

Filed under: Books

Tube Bits For 09/19/07

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SF Tidbits for 9/19/07

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REVIEW: Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan

REVIEW SUMMARY: Trying to put my finger on the magic ingredients that go into a good fantasy story.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Ten short fantasy stories aimed at the young adult reader.


PROS: Interesting premises; touches on numerous themes.

CONS: Odd language used at times, which slowed reading; some stories simply not that engaging.

BOTTOM LINE: Red Spikes offers a variety of themes that should appeal to fans of fantasy.

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SF Tidbits for 9/18/07

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Tube Bits For 09/18/07

  • We’ve mentioned that DC Comics is creating a hardcover novel of NBC’s online Heroes comic, but now we have a release date: Nov. 7, 2007. I actually like the online stuff, even though they do sometimes cover stuff that isn’t on the show.
  • Wil McCarthy at Sci Fi Weekly takes a look at the science behind the BBC mini-series Jekyl. I’ve never seen it, but the guy who plays Dr. Jekyll sure look psychotic in his Mr. Hyde mode. Yikes.
  • Michael at Left Cheek Sneak cautions the Sci Fi Channel that they are missing a huge opportunity to use the Internet as a medium for distributing shows and such. Its not just Sci Fi. None of the old media takes full advantage of the Internet.
  • Have you always wanted to fly through the air like Batman? Well German researchers are working on a strap on wing, called the Gryphon, that will allows its wearer to travel at up to 135 MPH. Bring. It On!
  • And from our own Tim, we learn that there is an adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s The Colour Of Magic in the works for TV broadcast in 2008. I’m guessing you lucky Brits get to see this first. Go go gadget Bittorrent!

Filed under: Tube Bits

SF Tidbits for 9/17/07

Filed under: Tidbits

John Is Guest-Blogging at SciFi Scanner

Starting today, I’ve got a temporary guest-blogging gig over at SciFi Scanner. That’s the science fiction blog at AMC TV‘s website.

I’ll be bringing my vast knowledge of supermodels – er…I mean, science fiction – to the movie watching masses. My postings will most likely be more frequent over there for the next several days, so if you need a bigger dose of me – and who doesn’t? – then stop by and check it out!

Filed under: MetaWeb Sites

Here are the results of the latest SF Signal poll.

Which of these new Fall TV shows are you most anticipating?


(150 total votes)

Like a boob, I left off Moonlight, which Kevin brought to my attention which much name-calling. One of these days, I’ll get poll building figured out. As it is, though, nearly 40% of respondents found nothing to get excited about. That does not sound promising for the new shows.

Comments this week:

“Isn’t Journeyman about time travel? Nuff said. :-D” – Rich

“None sound too exciting. ‘Dancing With the Stars’ may win by default.” – Richard Novak

Be sure to visit our front page and vote in this week’s poll on the remake of Tron!

Filed under: Polls

RIP: James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (Robert Jordan)

Sad news…

James Oliver Rigney, Jr., who wrote under the pen name of Robert Jordan, has passed away.

From Andrew Wheeler:

According to a post this evening on his blog, bestselling fantasy author Robert Jordan died this afternoon at his home in Charleston, South Carolina after a long battle with a form of cancer. He had been diagnosed with primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy in March of 2006 and had received several rounds of chemotherapy treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for his condition.

Jordan was best known for the still-unfinished “Wheel of Time” series: eleven novels and a prequel had been published before his illness. The status of the projected final novel, A Memory of Light, is unknown at this time. Jordan had also written a number of well-received “Conan” novels and a number of historical novels under the name Reagan O’Neill.

See also:

Official Robert Jordan website

Robert Jordan’s Wikipedia entry

Internet Speculative Fiction Database listing for Robert Jordan

Filed under: Books

Frazetta: Painting With Fire

Frazetta: Painting With Fire is a 2003 documentary on one of the genre’s most influential artists. As per the YouTube description: “This is the trailer for a documentary film on the life and art of legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta…More info can be found at

For more Frazetta info, see:

[via sneakpeektv]

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