Fans, colleagues remember 'Dark Shadows' star Jonathan Frid
Jonathan Frid played vampire Barnabas Collins on "Dark Shadows" from 1967 to 1971. Frid died Saturday at age 87.
April 20th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Fans, colleagues remember 'Dark Shadows' star Jonathan Frid

Before "Angel," before "Vampire Diaries'" Damon and Stefan, and before "True Blood's" Bill, there was the original television vampire: Barnabas Collins.

Jonathan Frid, who portrayed the character on the soap opera/horror series, "Dark Shadows" from 1967 to 1971  - the film adaptation of which hits theaters on May 11 - died on Saturday at the age of 87.

Many fans first heard about the loss of Frid on Thursday, when his "Dark Shadows" co-star Kathryn Leigh Scott paid tribute to him on her website:

"I am so grateful to have worked with Jonathan, and to have known him as the charismatic, entertaining, complex and plain-spoken man that he was. What fun we had working together! He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable and thoroughly professional, and in the end became the whole reason why kids 'ran home from school to watch' 'Dark Shadows.'

"I am so grateful that nearly five decades later, Jonathan, David Selby, Lara Parker and I were invited to play cameos in the new 'Dark Shadows,' directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. How wonderful for the four of us to work together again and celebrate the legacy of 'Dark Shadows.' I won’t ever forget the moment when the two Barnabas Collinses met, one in his late 80s and the other in his mid-40s, each with their wolf’s head canes. Jonathan took his time scrutinizing his successor’s appearance. 'I see you’ve done the hair,' Jonathan said to Johnny Depp, 'but a few more spikes.' Depp, entirely in character, replied, 'Yes, we’re doing things a bit differently.'"

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'So You Created a Wormhole' authors combat bad pop culture time travel
A diagram from "So You Created a Wormhole" illustrates the danger of traveling through time and killing one's own grandfather.
April 17th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

'So You Created a Wormhole' authors combat bad pop culture time travel

Let's be upfront about it: Phil Hornshaw and Nick Hurwitch aren't scientists.

But the friends definitely have a love of the science of time travel, which they poured into their new book, "So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler's Guide to Time Travel."

Hornshaw and Hurwitch have seen way too many bad time travel movies and they have the same questions as other sci-fi fanboys and fangirls: "It’s hard to walk out of a time travel movie and not go, 'How do these things sync up?'" Hornshaw told CNN Geek Out.

"Phil and I are longtime geeks," Hurwitch said. "The atrocities of time travel plot devices began to stack up. We simultaneously came up with an original time travel show [still in 'drawing board phase'] and a guide book on how to do it properly."

Hornshaw said that their interest in theoretical physics and astronomy came from a lifelong interest in science fiction; the pair have been friends since third grade in Novi, Michigan.

"We read Michael Crichton’s 'Timeline' back in high school, and both of us were into the concepts from that book," he said. "What we wanted to do with the guide was to make it as simple as we could because it can get so expansive. We pay a lot of attention, but we don’t study up on anything more than what we’re interested in."

"In the book we’re more concerned with how science affects plot, as opposed to how it affects science," Hurwitch said.

Read more about their research and the best and worst moment in pop culture time travel after the jump:

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The evolution of on-screen sci-tech nerds
Brian Dietzen (left) portrays Jimmy Palmer on "NCIS." Simon Pegg portrays Benji Dunn in "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol."
April 16th, 2012
01:43 PM ET

The evolution of on-screen sci-tech nerds

Almost every crime show has one: the nerd that the “muggles” need to help solve the mystery. Whether hackers or science nerds, they've become a key part of the story.

For years, one of the best-known tech nerds on television was the incredibly awkward yet lovable Marshall Flinkman (Kevin Weisman) on "Alias," the cult favorite ABC spy series. Flash-forward to today's former hacker, the almost-as-awkward Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), who often steals scenes on "Criminal Minds," sometimes with boyfriend Kevin Lynch, played by Nicholas Brendon. And there's no forgetting "NCIS" forensic specialist Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette), who's not afraid to flaunt her goth style while working in the lab.

Here's a breakdown of on-screen geeks and how they're changing.

Documentary reveals career fair at Comic-Con
Holly Conrad, center, and her "Mass Effect" cosplay team in "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope."
April 9th, 2012
12:53 PM ET

Documentary reveals career fair at Comic-Con

How exactly does one make a documentary about an event that attracts hundreds of thousands to San Diego, with dozens of events going on at one time?

"We had a 150-person crew over the course of filming," said director Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me"), who took on the challenge of shooting a movie about San Diego Comic-Con in 2010, his biggest film yet.

Lucky for him, geek icons Stan Lee, Joss Whedon and Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles soon signed on to produce the documentary, "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope." After an arduous casting process, Spurlock chose to follow several attendees, all of whom had a goal to accomplish at the convention.

“I love Anthony Calderon, racing to Comic-Con just to get the 18-inch Galactus he can only get at Comic-Con," Spurlock told CNN Geek Out. Another favorite of Spurlock's is Mile High Comics owner Chuck Rozanski, whose struggles to sell comic books at Comic-Con are chronicled in the film.

"(He) represents this crossroads of the old guard and the new guard. How do you remain relevant and parlay that into this next generation?" he said.

However, the thing that stood out the most to Spurlock was that Comic-Con also functioned as a "geek job fair." He followed artists Skip Harvey and Eric Hanson and costume designer Holly Conrad, who sought to break into the world of comics, film and gaming.

“Originally, you think (Comic-Con is) a geek shopping mall," Spurlock said. "There’s so much more going on, with the panels where people can go and learn about breaking into the business, to the portfolio reviews, where you can show your work and get hired to work on comic books, to and creating costumes for the masquerade, and people in the costume business could hire you to work in the costume department."

"I love that whole side of Comic-Con. I think 90% of the world has no idea that actually exists there," he said. FULL POST

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Geek celebs give up on TV, make YouTube even nerdier
Felicia Day, Chris Hardwick (center) and Wil Wheaton see YouTube as the future of nerd-centric programming.
April 3rd, 2012
06:15 PM ET

Geek celebs give up on TV, make YouTube even nerdier

While broadcast television continues to develop shows that revolve around nerdy characters, the actual nerds in Hollywood have turned their backs to the establishment.

Two of Los Angeles' geek community ringleaders, Chris Hardwick (one-time host of MTV's "Singled Out" but better-known for his "Nerdist" podcasts) and Felicia Day (of "Dollhouse," "Eureka," "Dr. Horrible" and "The Guild" fame), chose YouTube as the destination for their newest programming ventures.

Hoping to create entertainment hubs that appeal to geeks, nerds and other fans of niche programming, Hardwick launched the Nerdist Channel on Monday, and Day launched Geek & Sundry.

The Nerdist Channel's lineup, which includes "Face to Face With 'Weird Al' Yankovic," "Neil Patrick Harris’ Puppetopia," "Ain't It Cool With Harry Knowles" and "Weird S#!t from Japan," is an extension of the Nerdist brand and philosophy that began with Hardwick's website, and then podcast, in 2008.

"I noticed that traditional nerd culture had really taken over pop culture," Hardwick said.

He calls this cultural movement "nerdism," which is the advent of nerds that do not only voraciously consume any media having to do with gaming, science fiction or fantasy but who also create the media they want to consume.


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