Launching back onto the scene after her hit Greatest Hits single “3”, Britney attempts to stay ahead of the curve. While the majority of her new track, “Hold It Against Me” is par for the commercial course (dance beats, crowd-pleasing sing-along lyrics), there is a deep growl to the production that belies the impending apocalypse that is the bridge. The verse/chorus relationship swaps between growl and glimmer, but the bridge descends into mainstream dubstep for a whole new spin on your typical Britney song. Love it or hate it, the track tackles the hurdle well, overlapping the section with smacking kisses and coy conjectures from the pop princess, sounding miraculously like Kylie Minogue (especially during the spoken-word section that heralds the end of the bridge). The bottom line is that Britney is bulldozing her way back onto the charts and she is taking no prisoners. Is this a sign of things to come, however, or a novelty track prepping us for the second single success? Only time will tell, but if “Hold It Against Me” introduces dubstep to the world at large, I won’t hold it against her.
For those who have yet to be introduced to the artist knows as Marina and the Diamonds, here is a little info. The name is purely a change on her actual name, Marina Diamandis, which is Greek for (you guessed it) diamonds. There are no other members, although she refers to her fans as the diamonds. Her style is varied but genuinely UK and something that would be incredibly difficult to introduce to the American market at large. However, to those who appreciate the style (like us), Marina’s music can be a breath of fresh air. Take “Shampain” for example. To sum it up briefly, it is like Yaz with Kate Bush on vocals instead of Alison Moyet. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, maybe she’s not for you. The track is effervescent, fun, and honest. The video feels like an attempt to recreate the zombie dance, and mostly it comes across as an odd mix of Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” for this reason (with a little Lady Gaga “Paparazzi” thrown in for good measure). This is a perfect slice of UK pop and something you should definitely tell your friends about.
This prequel to Graceling, Cashore’s smashing debut, may initially frustrate readers wanting more about Katsa and Po. Fire takes place long before Katsa’s birth in an adjacent kingdom called the Dells and shares only one character. But its themes—embracing your talents and moving out of your parents’ shadow—are similar, as is the absorbing quality of Cashore’s prose. The Dells do not have gracelings; they have beautiful creatures called monsters that are like normal animals except for their exquisite coloration. Seventeen-year-old Fire, who can read and control minds, is the last human monster. Her father, a corrupt adviser to a debased king, recognizes the dangers of her powers and exiles her to the hills, where she is raised by an out-of-favor military commander and befriended by his son, Archer. Many twists propel the action, and although astute readers will suspect who the eventual lovers will be from their first hateful meeting, the buildup to their romance provides tension that keeps the pages turning. Cashore’s conclusion satisfies, but readers will clamor for a sequel to the prequel—a book bridging the gap between this one and Graceling. Ages 14–up
Winner of the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award
SF novelist Bacigalupi (The Windup Girl) makes a stellar YA debut with this futuristic tale of class imbalance on the Gulf Coast. Teenage Nailer scavenges ships with his crewmates, eking out a poverty-filled existence while avoiding dangers that range from giant “city killer” hurricanes to his vicious, drug-addicted father. When a storm strands a beautiful shipping heiress on the beach (earning her the nickname “Lucky Girl”), Nailer manages both to infuriate members of his camp (including his father) and to become embroiled in upper-class trade disputes that he barely comprehends. As Nailer and Lucky Girl escape toward the drowned ruins of New Orleans, they witness rampant class disparity on individual and international levels (tribes whose lands were flooded have taken to the seas as pirates, attacking multinational shipping firms). Bacigalupi’s cast is ethnically and morally diverse, and the book’s message never overshadows the storytelling, action-packed pacing, or intricate world-building. At its core, the novel is an exploration of Nailer’s discovery of the nature of the world around him and his ability to transcend that world’s expectations. Ages 12-up.
Syfy has officially announced that they’ll be renewing the TV series Sanctuary for a fourth season. The show has consistently averaged 1.5-2 million viewers per episode according to various ratings sites and with the smaller budget compared to some larger shows that have had similar ratings numbers recently that were given the axe, it’s an easy pick-up for the channel. Additionally, it helps that the show has a relatively short season to it as well. Production for the 13-episode season will begin production this spring with a possible fall premiere. Sanctuary stars Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne, Agam Darshi, Ryan Robbins and Christopher Heyerdahl. The series, shot mostly on green screen, is the first North American show to exclusively film with the RED camera. Plot Summary: Sanctuary blazes a trail across the TV landscape with never-before-seen production technology. Starring Amanda Tapping, best known to fans as the brilliant Col. Samantha Carter on Stargate SG-1, Sanctuary is the first series to shoot extensively on green screen, using virtual sets and extraordinary visual effects. Sanctuary follows the adventures of the beautiful, enigmatic and always surprising Dr. Helen Magnus (Tapping), a brilliant scientist who holds the secrets of a clandestine population – a group of strange and sometimes terrifying beings that hide among humans.
That untitled Steven Spielberg post-apocalyptic TV show about alien invaders starring Noah Wylie, and scheduled to run on TNT? It now has a name: “Fallen Skies”, and it’s set to debut on the basic cable net in 2011.
“Fallen Skies” is scheduled to premiere sometime in mid-2011 on TNT, and will star Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood as the leads, and co-star Jessy Schram, Seychelle Gabriel and Maxim Knight, with Steven Spielberg producing.
The pilot is from Robert Rodat (“Saving Private Ryan”), and will follow human resistance fighters led by Wylie as they hide out int he mountains and strike back at the invaders in the aftermath of a successful alien invasion that nearly wipes out the human population.
Sky1 HD today announces Mad Dogs, a new four-part drama serial for transmission in Spring 2011.
Written by Cris Cole Mad Dogs centres around the reunion of a group of old friends. Woody (Beesley), Quinn (Glenister), Baxter (Simm) and Rick (Warren) have been mates since sixth form. The fifth member of the gang, Alvo, lives in Majorca, having made his fortune in property. Now in their 40s; a mix of single, married and divorced; they’ve been invited out to Alvo’s villa to celebrate his retirement. However, their trip does not work out as planned and takes a dark turn when the holiday becomes a labyrinthine nightmare of lies, deception and murder. Mad Dogs is a darkly comic twisted tale of friendship put to the ultimate test as an inconceivable chain of events unfolds. Four ordinary blokes faced with a set of extraordinary circumstances and not handling it!
On the eve of the start of filming John Simm said: “I feel very lucky to be involved in such an exciting project. It’s always a joy to work with Marc and Phil of course. With Max and the brilliant Adrian Shergold also involved this promises to be a wonderful experience.
Writer Cris Cole added: “As well as enjoying writing for such a fantastic cast, I was also delighted to be able to attempt such an ambitious and cinematic thriller drawing on influences like David Lynch and the Coen Brothers as inspiration for the kind of storytelling that is never quite what you think it is going to be.”
Four fantastic and highly competitive guys going head to head in a brilliant new drama – its going to be a real treat on Sky1 HD.