Cara Gee (Drummer) is Hazel James in BIRDLAND, the story of ex-cop Sheila Hood (Kathleen Munroe), who hides cameras in her home to observe her ornithologist husband’s affair with Hazel’s older sister Merle (Melanie Scrofano). When Merle falls to her death from a bridge and another of her lovers, Ray Starling (Joris Jarsky), is found dead in his own hotel, Hood is pulled into a dark world of corruption, sex and death and her surveillance footage forms the backbone of a police investigation that threatens to incriminate her and destroy her marriage. Directed by Peter Lynch (who Norm Wilner of Toronto’s NOW Magazine once said was “a director fascinated by obsessive outsiders”), BIRDLAND will be released on VOD in both Canada and the US on 26 January (Amazon, Google, Xbox, and iTunes). It will begin showing at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto on 26 January as well. Continue reading →
THE EXPANSE – Season 2 Episode 5 – SPOILERS
Joe Miller (Thomas Jane), sitting on a catwalk on the surface of Eros, says two very interesting things. First he says: “If Eros stopped rotating that quick, I’d be dead as a bug on a windshield.” Then later: “If Eros isn’t spinning anymore, then how can I still have gravity?” Eros is roughly cylindrical, so Miller must be on a circular catwalk on the end of the cylinder where the docking ports are located. Otherwise, he would not feel the effects of pseudo-gravity on the outside of Eros, even if it was spinning.
Here’s a theory. It is possible that the protomolecule absorbed and redirected the spin of Eros. If the energy of rotation along with the orbital momentum were somehow channeled into a propulsive force, some of which could be stored for future acceleration, that process might generate the waste heat described by Naomi and would likely be sufficient to account for the asteroid’s acceleration. It would work kind of the way Star Trek‘s inertial dampers work, only on a much larger scale. It would also explain why Miller doesn’t feel any acceleration when Eros speeds up. He is inside a giant inertial damping field.
Having dodged The Nauvoo, protomolecular Eros puts itself on a collision course with Earth. We get a hint of Earth’s total population when estimates of casualties from the projected impact are 7 to 10 billion immediately, and another 10 billion from lingering environmental effects. That means there are more than 20 billion people on Earth and to sustain that level of population one might speculate that they must be using some Soylent-Green-like approach to the food supply.
Earth fires half of its planetary defense missiles at Eros. We learn from how quickly they get out of the Earth’s gravity well that those missiles must be equipped with fusion drives. Eros decides not to reflect radar anymore, and the missiles become useless, unable to track the target.
As a last resort, Miller does the sensible thing. He carts his pet nuke (long story not worth telling) inside Eros and finds what’s left of Julie Mao. He has reasoned out that Julie’s intelligence, being the first absorbed, is serving as the control center for the protomolecule. He locates proto-Julie and finds out that she is steering the asteroid to Earth because she is homesick. When Miller tries to get her to stop, she says: “We can’t stop the work.” Miller quickly adapts, saying: “Ok, we can’t stop the work. But we don’t have to go to Earth, right? Why don’t we go to Venus?”
Proto-Julie makes a course correction. Earth is saved. Venus, which has apparently been completely ignored by humans in their colonization of the solar system, is selected as the place for the protomolecule to do its “work” (whatever that might be). Miller and Julie kiss, and Eros crash-lands.
Jean Yoon (Captain Theresa Yao in episodes 1.3 and 1.4) received an ACTRA Toronto award for outstanding performance by a female for her role as Umma in the CBC comedy KIM’S CONVENIENCE. Accepting the award, Yoon said, “I’m really proud to be working on a show about immigrants in a time of nationalist intolerance.” Cara Gee (Drummer) tweeted that “For all my new pals from The Expanse, @jean_yoon (Captain Yao) once played my mom on stage in The Rez Sisters. And I love her.” (“The Rez Sisters” is a 1986 play by Tomson Highway.)
Shawn Doyle (Sadavir Errinwright) is Police Chief Peter Welland in the TV drama BELLEVUE In the first episode, (which aired 20 February), a transgender teen, who is also the best hockey player in town, goes missing. Co-showrunner Jane Maggs, speaking to Stephanie Beaumont of Sea and Be Scene described the series as: “a complex human drama dressed up as a thrilling mystery. It’s about loss, pain, rage, mistakes and outsiders. And at its core it’s about love – desperate love and the way that love can take us over, can drive us to our most extreme selves and can blind us.” BELLEVUE airs Mondays at 9pm on CBC.
Doyle is also Owen in AWAY FROM EVERYWHERE, which co-stars Joanne Kelly and Jason Priestley, and is about a love triangle involving a struggling writer, his brother, and his brother’s wife. The film will be in theatres in St. John’s, NL (Scotiabank Theatre) on 1 March, Ottawa on 3 March, and Toronto on 4 March. A trailer is available on Vimeo.
THE EXPANSE – Season 1 Episodes 2-4 – SPOILERS
The main characters of this story, Jim Holden (Steven Strait) and Detective Miller (Thomas Jane), have yet to meet. Miller is on Ceres Station acting all Phillip Marlowe and looking for Julie Mao (Florence Faivre), the rebellious daughter of a wealthy Lunar family. Holden has been captured by Martians after publicly accusing them of destroying his ship (they didn’t). Holden was not on the ship when it was destroyed because he was on a mission to rescue the Scopuli, a freighter on which (Miller finds out) Julie had booked passage. So they will probably run into one another soon. once the audience has been sufficiently educated in the ways of 23rd century human civilization.
The vision of the future presented by THE EXPANSE may be a bit depressing, but the show does present a scientifically accurate view of what it would be like to live and work in space. It is not boring and does not, as a rule, insult the viewer’s intelligence. A previous post questioned how an approximation of earth-normal gravity was maintained on Ceres Station. It is now clear that the station creates the effect of gravity by rotation. (Miller pours booze into a glass from a distance at one point in the episode and the liquid descends in an arc.) Most of the time, the pouring of liquids is done with the two containers in contact.
Some interesting characters turned up in these three episodes. One wonders if Julie Mao is supposed to represent the 23rd century’s version of a Maoist. We shall see. Jean Yoon was very effective as captain of the Martain flagship Donnager, but alas, she is no more, having gone down (up?) with her ship. Greg Bryk of BITTEN entered the cast as Lopez and he was the only crew member of the Donnager to survive.
The science in THE EXPANSE is handled pretty well, but some things are bothersome. The magnetic boots, for instance, have what appears to be an LED display on the heel. Whatever this is supposed to indicate, why put it there, where the wearer cannot very easily see it?
One of the bits of tech we’ve been shown (in episode two) is a portable voice synthesizer that can mimic anyone’s voice print. (Miller uses it to get into Julie Mao’s computer files.) That is probably the reason that the Donnager‘s self-destruct sequence was not activated by the voices of Captain Yao and her First Officer, but instead by plugging physical keys into a console and activating them with thumbprints (not a very secure procedure. One of the command officers might lose the key, or have it stolen, and thumbprints are easy to fake even in the 21st century). No system is perfect, but STAR TREK’s system of three separate voice prints coupled with three distinct passwords seems superior to keys and thumbprints.
BOUILLOTTE DEALER: “They’re trying to thirst us out. Mars and Earth.
The water shipment’s not late. They’re holding it back.”
DETECTIVE MILLER: “You seem pretty sure about that.”
BOUILLOTTE DEALER: “Water means life. One shipment late, you got protests.
Two shipments late, you got dead people in the street. And it’s gonna get worse. Mark my words.”
Here’s what is hard to understand about the street hustler’s theory. Ceres Station is (or should be) a closed system. All the water must be continuously recycled. For a fixed population, a fixed amount of water in the system should be necessary. Once that amount of water is delivered to the station, only minimal augmentation should be required to compensate for loss due to system inefficiency, or to an increase in the station’s population. What are they doing with the water that makes them need continual shipments? They could be electrolyzing the stuff to make oxygen, but the cultivation of plant life is a much more efficient way to replenish the oxygen supply. Even if someone did steal some water, as long as they used it on the station, it would be recycled back into the system.
OBSERVATION:Craig Henry‘s character is credited as a bouillotte dealer. Clearly, that 18th century precursor to poker is supposed to be a futuristic substitute for Three-card Monte, but how the rules of bouillotte can be adapted to this purpose is unclear.
Sara Mitich (Gia) was Lillian Moss, Dr. Grace’s lover for ten episodes of MURDOCH MYSTERIES until she was killed off in episode 9.3. She will be Tina in the science fiction drama SYNCHRONICITY, about Lou, a struggling punk rock photographer, and a brilliant physicist named Alan who claims to have solved the time travel paradox. Lou gets caught up in her budding flirtation with Alan, until she realizes Alan’s future self has been manipulating them both.
Craig Henry (bouillotte dealer) worked as a stunt guy in the Killjoys episode Enemy Khlyen, and was one of the zombies in LOST GIRL episode 4.11 (End of a Line). He is The Beast in THE FRENCH DRAGON, an action-oriented romantic comedy due out next year about a good-natured French stuntman who travels to Toronto for the first time to meet his backpacking Canadian girlfriend, only to find her in serious trouble. Director Chris Power described the film as a cross between BLOODSPORT and RUSH HOUR, but would elaborate no further.
Andrew Rotilio (Diogo) stars as Luke in THE HOTEL DIEU, which has been winning film festival awards since its premiere last May at San Tropez. Luke’s world is turned around by an accident that nearly kills him and takes away his sight. With the help of the people he meets at The Hotel Dieu hospital, he begins a long road to recovery. A trailer is available on YouTube.