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Resistance if futile! All hail the Hypnotoad! SF on TV and streaming 2013

Science Fiction Fans

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1DugsBooks
Edited: Apr 12, 2013, 12:26pm Top

Oops! Resistance is futile! darn new monitor. Any way to change that?



Futurama is coming back according to iO9 in the summer of 2013.... and it is possible to cut the cable and still jellyfy your mind with TV.

I saw the premiere of "Touch" and while the product placement was not so obvious I don't think I will go out of my way to catch any episodes.

Warehouse 13 is coming back, I lost interest in it last year but I am sure they come up with a good episode or two. I never watched much of "Revolution" and was never drawn into the series.

Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome I have not seen yet, I read where it is out on blue ray dvd now and would like to view it at some time. I cut the cable so I did not catch it on SYFY network. I see where Fringe has 3 episodes left to end the series but I have not seen any to date, I lost interest early on but there are many fans of the show.

Defiance looks like it could be interesting, as described on i09 below:

" Part science fiction Western, part post-apocalyptic drama, Defiance is set on future Earth in a little city that's trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild after a massive alien war".
Hmm.., The same theme as Falling Skies, which I like and am still catching up on by streaming online.

...Or then again maybe not. I just watched the {Defiance} blurb online and it looks like Mad Max might have some high school sorority girls for neighbors. It will be very tough to surpass the Aussies at Road Warrior.

2DugsBooks
Edited: Feb 26, 2013, 10:36pm Top

I thought I would mention that The Guild has a new season of its online clips. The endeavor by Felicia Day has been extended another season and I watch one at a time in order to make it last longer. ;-)


:: edited the image size::

3sf_addict
Feb 23, 2013, 5:45am Top

Hmmm part western...not again!

4DugsBooks
Edited: Mar 5, 2013, 11:01pm Top

I just watched "Zeta One" online and found the movie to be a time capsule of the British psyche. Here incredibly suave English secret agents risk "their all" in order to fight an invasion of heinous aliens obsessed with world domination.

The movie was made in the late 1960's but, even having never visited the area, I am sure that every "posh" scene in London has similar terribly slick personalities lurking in those environs today! Kind of a slow start but watching it in short segments during down time does not seem to lessen its impact. ;-)

5DugsBooks
Edited: Mar 11, 2013, 3:10pm Top

Revolution is due to start again on March 25th according to their website.  Also for a short time you can watch all the current episodes online.  I think I have seen maybe 2.


6iansales
Mar 11, 2013, 4:39pm Top

Is that the one where electricity just magically stops?

7DugsBooks
Edited: Mar 11, 2013, 5:55pm Top

Yes! but it gets very complex because a magic amulet can make it start!

Or I am guessing it magically stopped, I just caught part of a couple of episodes and never really got a feel for the plot line. Perhaps watching the first episode might help but, as I infer from your question, I was also kind of dubious about any scientific premise for the disaster so I have been thinking kind of huh??....wha...? through the stuff I have seen.

::edit:: I keep changing the size of the images , I have a new monitor and it has a better resolution but sometimes the images look a bit huge..... although to get the detail to make them worthwhile they have to be a certain size.

8pjfarm
Mar 11, 2013, 8:59pm Top

I gave up on Revolution about 4 episodes in. I never bought in to the world building or the science, I found the "Lost"-like flashbacks and reveals annoying, and I thought the main girl character should have been killed at least once every other episode from sheer stupidity. The camera work and production values seemed fine though. :-)

I'm still on the fence about Continuum over on Syfy. The whole "corporations take over the world" thing seems dated, and I wonder just how many more Mexican stand-offs the two sides can manage before the main character gets killed. I also have a problem with this whole Americanada thing going on. If it's set in Vancouver in the present, they should be Canadian and proud of it not obscuring it. The thing I find interesting about it is the amount of grey as compared to black and white with the future government. A number of rights have been taken from the citizens in the future, and the writers haven't provided enough details for me to decide how sympathetic I am to the bad guys even if they are stone cold killers.

9psybre
Mar 14, 2013, 10:09am Top

Hollywood continues to regurgitate the same old dystopian tropes. I'd love to see a series based on The Door Into Ocean or More Than Human or Stranger in a Strange Land or Butler's Xenogenesis series.

10justifiedsinner
Mar 14, 2013, 10:55am Top

Revolution has some truly dreadful acting, even by normally good actors.

11Britlost
Mar 14, 2013, 12:00pm Top

Have been watching Revolution but it strikes me as eerily similar to S.M. Stirling's novels but I didn't notice any credits mentioning him at all.

12gilroy
Mar 14, 2013, 1:58pm Top

Okay, don't skip over Continuum on SYFY (still hate that rebranding). Rather curious time travel type show. But it picks on modern issues. Kinda a cross between Time Cop and Battlestar Galactica...

Can't wait for Defiance.

Blood and Chrome never aired on SYFY, it is slated for this fall, I think? Have to go research it.

13majkia
Mar 14, 2013, 2:10pm Top

Looking forward to Defiance. Continuum annoys me. I like Revolution. Also love love love Arrow.

14justifiedsinner
Mar 14, 2013, 3:02pm Top

Inconsequential stuff to what's coming on BBC America end of March!

15majkia
Mar 14, 2013, 4:23pm Top

Oh, you must mean Orphan Black ;)

16iansales
Mar 14, 2013, 4:37pm Top

I still like Fringe.

17brightcopy
Mar 14, 2013, 6:13pm Top

#12 by gilroy> Are you sure about that? Everything I googled seemed to act like it aired in February.

I'm actually a little behind on it. I remembered vaguely it being talked about but forgot about it. It's going to be a long, hard wait before it gets on netflix. Would have thought the dvd would already be there as it was released a month ago. Don't know what their typical lag time is. Wife is going to go nuts when she finds out, as she just did a rewatch of BSG and happily discovered Caprica (would have mentioned it but didn't think she'd be interested) just yesterday.

18tottman
Mar 14, 2013, 11:46pm Top

>12 gilroy:, 17 Blood and Chrome did air on SyFy. I have it on my DVR but haven't watched yet. It's available on Amazon right now on DVD and instant video.

Gave up on Revolution long ago. I can't root for people that stupid. Wanted to like Continuum, but just couldn't. High hopes for Defiance.

19gilroy
Mar 15, 2013, 7:59am Top

Wow, if it aired, they did it without the usual hoopla that SyFy normally would. I completely missed it on their schedule.

I am kinda enjoying Continuum. Must be something to do with politics and me being as close to DC as I am. :)

I couldn't get through the first episode of Revolution. Actresses were cute. That was all I could get from it.

Curious to see Orphan Black and Dr Who...

20DugsBooks
Edited: Mar 28, 2013, 11:03pm Top

The Wachowski ...ahh...umm brothers { The Matrix } are going to create an SF series for Neflix - news announced this week. "J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5" will be involved in the project according to this article. The show is anticipated in "late 2014".

I am surprised by the amount these shows cost, I read that the first Neflix series House of Cards was $100 million. I was thinking they would pick up Terra
Nova
. The existing episodes of the canceled series are available online for streaming.

21DugsBooks
Edited: Apr 7, 2013, 9:31pm Top

Anyone read Under The Dome novel by Stephen King that the new TV series is based on? I read the whole darn plot on wiki so no surprises for me I guess. From what I gather the series will be about the interactions of the people under the dome and how it changes their lives - A kind of Lord of the Flies with adults it looks like.

22iansales
Apr 8, 2013, 3:12am Top

Didn't that happen to Springfield in The Simpsons?

23gilroy
Apr 8, 2013, 9:09am Top

That was the whole Simpsons movie, I believe...

24iansales
Apr 8, 2013, 10:16am Top

Good to know Stephen King hasn't run out of original ideas yet, then...

25brightcopy
Apr 8, 2013, 10:32am Top

I imagine it was quite annoying to King:

http://www.stephenking.com/library/unpublished/cannibals_the.html

As most of you know, I have a novel coming out in November called Under the Dome. My first effort to write it came in 1978, or thereabouts. That seventy-page manuscript (actually titled Under the Dome) was lost, but after reviewing the stuff I said about it in Douglas Winter’s book, The Art of Darkness (1989), I got thinking about my second effort to write that story, which, as you will find out, deals with people trapped in an increasingly lethal environment.

...

There’s another reason for publishing this on the website. Several Internet writers have speculated on a perceived similarity between Under the Dome and The Simpsons Movie, where, according to Wikipedia, Homer’s town of Springfield is isolated inside a large glass dome (probably because of that pesky nuclear power plant). I can’t speak personally to this, because I have never seen the movie, and the similarity came as a complete surprise to me…although I know, from personal experience, that the similarity will turn out to be casual. Unless there’s deliberate copying (sometimes known as “plagiarism”), stories can no more be alike than snowflakes. The reason is simple: no two human imaginations are exactly alike. For the doubters, this excerpt should demonstrate that I was thinking dome and isolation long before Homer, Marge, and their amusing brood came on the scene.

26RobertDay
Apr 9, 2013, 7:07pm Top

Of course, King had never read Clifford Simak's All flesh is grass, Robert Charles Wilson's Mysterium or the Jerome Bixby short 'It's a GOOD day', all of which deal with small communities suddenly and mysteriously cut off from the outside world...

27brightcopy
Apr 9, 2013, 9:01pm Top

#26 by RobertDay> Unless those stories feature a giant dome encasing the communities, I think you're stretching it a bit. That's the reason why the Simpsons/King connection is interesting.

28Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 9, 2013, 10:48pm Top

Deliberate divergence

I don't even watch TV shows anymore (anything I like gets canceled anyway) but there's also Manhatten Transfer (the touchstone won't work) http://www.librarything.com/work/23170, only that was a city stolen in a dome...

29brightcopy
Apr 9, 2013, 10:57pm Top

Probably because that's not how you spell "Manhattan". :D

(Don't worry, I didn't notice either until my browser put a red squiggly line under it.)

30majkia
Apr 10, 2013, 7:49am Top

Of course Cities in Flight is the definitive city in a dome.

31iansales
Apr 10, 2013, 8:16am Top

A bunch of Chinese get domed at the end of The Execution Channel.

32gilroy
Apr 10, 2013, 10:02am Top

Star Gate Atlantis had a dome like shield they used from time to time...

33brightcopy
Apr 10, 2013, 11:01am Top

Greek hoplites carried dome shaped shields.

Ancient temples often had domed roofs.

I think we're drifting again...

34anglemark
Apr 10, 2013, 11:19am Top

#33 by brightcopy> Greek hoplites carried dome shaped shields.

When they were burdened thus, they were usually referred to as hopheavies.

35Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 11:26am Top

Ugh -- I'm getting more and more glasses dependent to see ANYTHING, Brightcopy. Envy me not my combination of myopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. Frickkin' D's and T's look alike. I am trying to get used to reading with glasses ON.

36GwenH
Apr 10, 2013, 11:29am Top

"The Starlost" was domes, domes, and more domes. Although they were biospheres, not cities. :-)

37Murphy-Jacobs
Edited: Apr 10, 2013, 11:33am Top

Here's a question of a TV-ish nature.

My favorite TV show of recent years (which just ended last year, dammit) is Leverage, which was in essence a show about con artist/Robin Hood types trying to right the wrongs of the world with a few well placed wrongs of their own. Many of the writers of the show came out of geekland, SF and comics, and often talked about the "Leverageverse", or the slightly alternative world where the show was placed. They did a lot of research to underpin the show (and damned scary stuff, too!). The show was tech-heavy as well.

In fact, in my mind, it was a near-future or alternate universe SF show. While I really enjoyed the character interactions and development, and the show had tons of humor (as well as TONS of Star Trek references, a sprinkling of stuff for Whovians, and even WoW hat tips, among other things it was the tech and the science that made it interesting to me -- the ways con men can play on human weakness, which requires a lot of knowledge about how the human mind works.

So, the question is -- have any of you seen Leverage (I think episodes are available on iTunes, and of course the DVDs are in the wild -- waiting for the last season here) and do you agree that it is, indeed, science fiction in, say, the manner of The Stainless Steel Rat ? Why, or why not?

38Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 11:33am Top

Also -- futility is resistance, because that just popped into my head.

39gilroy
Apr 10, 2013, 11:36am Top

Oh, I loved Leverage! First season took some getting used to, but the last few seasons were wonderful fun. Especially liked the episode where they went after a Wal-mart like corporation. ;)

Based on the description of the referenced book - I think this is more alternate universe SF, but that's just me. :)

40Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 11:39am Top

I watched the first season on DVD (due to my TV curse, I try not to watch episodes as they air) and so fell right into the show, but I never really enjoyed watching it with commercial breaks -- too much to remember!

Alternate universe SF, yeah, that makes sense to me, although I still think Nate has some DNA from Slippery Jim ;)

41majkia
Apr 10, 2013, 11:53am Top

I loved Leverage too. And yeah, alt universe.

42Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 11:55am Top

Did either of you think about it being SF while you were watching it? What made you -- or what didn't? Was the element subtle? Where did you see it most?

43gilroy
Apr 10, 2013, 1:34pm Top

To be honest, I never got a SF feel to the show as I watched it. If it had enough elements, it was very subtle. Hardison was technoguru, but he seemed mostly with modern tech, not really advanced beyond modern.

Personally, I watched for the blonde.

44Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 1:37pm Top

Well, Parker was cool. But Hardison always seemed to have techo gadgets that worked just a wee bit better than stuff we see. It was all reality based (for the most part) but just a few steps beyond.

I didn't really feel the SF components until the third season, with the EMP bomb and the EMP gun. THAT did it for me.

45suitable1
Apr 10, 2013, 1:43pm Top

The way Leverage ended, there may be plans for a spinoff.

46gilroy
Apr 10, 2013, 1:57pm Top

Missed too much of the third season to say for sure. (darn schooling.) EMP gun... ME wants! and now I'll have to work something similar into one of my stories. Drat.

47Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 2:27pm Top

I'd heard something about a possible show with Parker and Hardison, maybe Eliot, but dunno...

Oh yes, the EMP gun played an important role in season 3 -- very VERY important. Prop looked cool, too.

48TLCrawford
Apr 10, 2013, 4:56pm Top

I can see the alternate reality possibilities with Leverage but for me, and this could be because of my age, it always reminded me of the original Mission Imposable series.

49Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 5:16pm Top

Oh, the writers drew heavily on Mission Impossible. The commentary tracks for the DVDs are as much fun as the episodes themselves. They talk frequently about the old shows that inspired them, and own quite honestly to using ideas.

Mission Impossible could be slid into the SF circle, too, I think, as can Wild Wild West (original steam punk!)

50brightcopy
Apr 10, 2013, 6:04pm Top

Well, no, not in my opinion. There's more to science fiction than having elements of science fiction. SF is greater than the sum of its parts. Otherwise, James Bond would be SF. When something like James Bond is SF, then you dilute the term so much that it stops being meaningful.

51TLCrawford
Apr 10, 2013, 8:35pm Top

Wild Wild West was certainly early steam punk as was a short lived series from 1982 called Q.E.D. that stared Sam Waterston. For alternate reality you can't beat and earlier series with Timoty Hutton, "A Nero Wolfe Mystery" detectives that dressed like Dick Tracy, grow orchards, eats gourmet food, is literate and well spoken and does not get into car chases.

52Carnophile
Apr 10, 2013, 8:45pm Top

The discussion about the domed city reminded me of a short SF story in which that happened. I think it was a long time ago, perhaps even in the 1940s, and I'm pretty sure it was New York City that got the treatment. It was impermeable to air, so was bad news indeed.

Does anyone remember this?
I'm going to mention it in Name That Book too.

53ChrisRiesbeck
Apr 10, 2013, 9:32pm Top

Another domed city novel: Happy Policeman by Patricia Anthony from 1994.

54Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 10, 2013, 9:38pm Top

Brightcopy -- so how many SF elements would something have to have to be considered SF?

55Vvolodymyr
Edited: Apr 10, 2013, 11:17pm Top

Catacomb Years ?
EDIT: this is something to do with domes

56Vvolodymyr
Apr 10, 2013, 11:17pm Top

>54 Murphy-Jacobs: - what you're asking sounds closer to mental disease diagnosis: depression - tick, delusions - tick, withdrawal - tick, etc - 9 ticks and it's a schizophrenia :(
I've seen someone write somewhere on LT and would agree that I view SF as an extrapolative/speculative anthropology. Well, that can slide down to a plain adventure in less burdened works, but still recognizable.
And of course the technological/scientific states are at the core of change/difference (social and whatnot) in SF - providing grounds for speculation.

57brightcopy
Apr 10, 2013, 11:19pm Top

#54 by Murphy-Jacobs> Well, my whole point was that it's not a mechanical thing like just adding up this bit and that bit and saying "hey, it has a bunch of SF elements so it's SF".

Now, as far as defining it any more clearly, it's hard enough to put your finger on what separates SF from Fantasy:
http://www.librarything.com/topic/150138

:D

To me, if someone said "Hey, what section of the video store should I shelve Mission Impossible under?", I'd never say scifi (probably "action movies"). If they asked where to put Wild Wild West, I'd also probably say "western" and not "science fiction."

To me, it's more of a gut instinct than anything else. These other things just don't feel like science fiction.

But I will say that it's all pretty subjective. It's not like it's a the atomic weight of uranium or something.

58gilroy
Apr 11, 2013, 7:21am Top

Of course, then you also get into the who discussion of does SF stand for "Science Fiction", "Science Fantasy", or "Speculative Ficiton"?

59anglemark
Apr 11, 2013, 8:51am Top

San Francisco!

60brightcopy
Apr 11, 2013, 10:16am Top

Salsa frijoles.

61Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 11, 2013, 2:13pm Top

Brightcopy -- I hope I didn't sound like I was challenging you. I was eliciting your opinion -- some people have clearer definitions than others. I'm thinking back to some of the earlier fledgling stories that are considered the ancestors of Science Fiction, before the genre developed the complexity and variety it now has, and how many more modern (mostly post 1960s) works have been pushed out and then pulled back under the umbrella.

For me, Wild Wild West is more SF than Western -- it's a Western in that it uses the post Civil War US and the territories as a setting, and various historical events as catalysts, but if you really go back and look at the episodes, they are almost always about that staple of Golden Age SF -- how technology affects mankind and the relationship of man's technology to the world. Almost every villain (at least in the first three seasons) has some device or drug or weapon they are using to reach their ends, and the heroes not only use technology to win the battle, but have to deal with the ideas behind the bad guys' inventions and schemes to win. It's simplistic, but really, it can be fairly compared to Star Trek:TOS in a lot of ways (It was a bit earlier and much less socially progressive, but themes exist).

I wouldn't have called it out as SF until I sat and watched a couple of seasons, episode after episode. Then it practically jumped out at me.

62brightcopy
Apr 11, 2013, 2:16pm Top

#61 by Murphy-Jacobs> I get what you're saying and as I said I fully admit that it's a subjective thing. It's also been a while since I watched WWW, but I did watch it every week and have probably seen every episode multiple times. I just never remember it "feeling" like SF to me. There were almost no frijoles and they were never covered with salsa.

63Murphy-Jacobs
Edited: Apr 11, 2013, 3:04pm Top

>62 brightcopy: -- I, too, watched it regularly when I was younger and it didn't strike me. It was seeing all the first three season episodes in one marathon run when it hit me. In particular, an episode with a haunted house and a mad scientist's left over traps and tricks that brought it home. That's just not common in Westerns.

And, yay for no frijoles. They give me the worst gas. ;)

Of course, I suspect there are some TV shows that were slated to be SF but were just soap opera or mystery or something else with rocket ships.

Edit: You can find the Season 1 episodes on YouTube. I grabbed one at random and hit a scene with Dr. Miguelito Loveless standing in his laboratory, ranting and raving to his collection of creatures about how he plans to wipe out mankind and man's technology to save the natural world.

64brightcopy
Apr 11, 2013, 3:10pm Top

#63 by Murphy-Jacobs> It's a shame Netflix doesn't have it for streaming. That might actually make me catch up on it (Roku box hooked up to TV makes playing stuff from netflix a breeze). Don't think I'd really be up for the pixelated youtube eps.

65Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 11, 2013, 6:29pm Top

Yeah, although they might have the DVD if you have that in your account. When we cut the cable/satellite line, we also got TV internet boxes and upped our Netflix account. We figured $20 is far better than $90. I don't really miss TV that much -- I miss seeing new Mythbuster episodes, but I can patiently wait. THOSE, at least, stream on Netflix. Which reminds me I must check....

66brightcopy
Apr 12, 2013, 9:52am Top

Yeah, the DVDs are less appealing. Streaming sets a really low bar of hassle for just turning on the tv and clicking.

It's funny sometimes what's on streaming and what isn't. It's all about paying for the rights, of course. I wish netflix would get the bug to make good scifi shows like they have for Arrested Development and House of Cards. There was originally a plan for them to buy the rights to make a new season of Jericho but it sounds like that fell through. The problem with scifi is that it so often has higher production costs than "mundane" sets, scenes and makeup.

67Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 12, 2013, 10:08am Top

Yup, although you'd think that the rise of CGI would have cut some of that. But I suppose there's more build costs -- it's not just tossing up three walls, a couple of doors, and raiding Good Will for furniture...

Although I guess it could be.

68brightcopy
Apr 12, 2013, 10:15am Top

Yeah, it's a misconception that CGI reduces costs. Monsters, Inc. cost $115 million to make, and that was a completely CG animated movie. Terrible CGI can be cheap, but the tolerance for that disappeared rather quickly. Good CGI is very expensive.

69Murphy-Jacobs
Apr 12, 2013, 10:52am Top

True, true. I should have considered that. Then perhaps it is the high demand of viewers -- although, really, some of the most popular shows aren't exactly spending bucks on even practical effects and builds. I dunno.

Maybe it's the instant gratification model of TV production that seems to rule now. If a show isn't a "hit" within three episodes, it seems, they cut the cord. Short attention spans and all, which I think is one of those vicious cycle things. Perhaps it will be companies like Netflix who take the risk and build up a whole season of episodes before release (which, really, I would think would be more cost effective than making three episodes, planning the next while the whole time waiting on the ratings and fearing the guillotine is about to fall). They might be thinking in terms of the broadest appeal first, seeing SF as more of a niche market.

Really, I have no way of approximating the thoughts of the brains in TV land. They operate with a different reality and logic than any I know.

70DugsBooks
Edited: Apr 16, 2013, 3:52pm Top

I see where you can stream The Hunger Games at Netflix now. I did not realize the book was a "early reviewer" item here at LT. I never saw a lot posted about it here, must have been discussed in a YA section or was before my time.

71brightcopy
Apr 16, 2013, 4:08pm Top

#70 by DugsBooks> Thanks for the heads-up on that. My wife will be quite happy to see that in the instant queue!

I thought it was a decent take on a basic story that's been done many times. Never read the book. My wife did and her assessment (which I've seen echoed plenty of places) was that it was a very good adaptation.

72iansales
Apr 16, 2013, 5:05pm Top

Watching the pilot episode of Defiance, and it's really bad. Every television sf cliché is in there.

73KAzevedo
Apr 16, 2013, 6:29pm Top

@72 Oh bummer, I recorded it, knowing it would probably be awful. Is it as bad as Revolution? Not sure anything could match that level of garbage.

74majkia
Apr 16, 2013, 6:45pm Top

I enjoyed DaVinci's Demons. Have fingers crossed for that. But then I like revolution.

75GwenH
Apr 16, 2013, 7:23pm Top

>72 iansales: well, shoooot. I couldn't watch Defiance yet, but I was hoping. I trust your assessment.

76ChrisRiesbeck
Apr 16, 2013, 9:19pm Top

Defiance combined SyFy's version of TV SF with standard video game tropes. You would think somewhere something novel might crop up from that, e.g., some TV envisioning of a game reset, but I gave up hope after 10 minutes.

77iansales
Apr 17, 2013, 3:21am Top

#73, #75, #76 It looked like an attempt to do a science fiction western, so every cliché you could name was in there. There are ten alien races but they behave just like human beings - they just have funny foreheads, etc. The main character is a rugged bounty hunter turned sheriff, the local mine owner effectively runs the town, the local casinos are run by a (alien) criminal alien who randomly changes the house rules to prevent anyone winning, the mine owner's daughter is in love with the criminal boss's son, the local doctor (who charges, of course - this is a US future, with no public healthcare like in present-day civilised nations) would be Doc Holliday except for being a female alien, and there are bands of "spirit riders" (ie, Injuns) marauding about the local countryside. Stick in a past war with aliens, a bunch of semi-destroyed spaceships, some magical tech that glows a nice blue colour... and you have Defiance.

78andyl
Apr 17, 2013, 4:28am Top

#76

Maybe the inclusion of video game tropes is because of the video game crossover. The stories are supposed to cross-over between show and game. What happens in the game is supposed to be able to influence the direction of the story (in season 2 if it gets that far).

79gilroy
Apr 17, 2013, 9:25am Top

You know, I enjoyed Defiance. But then I enjoyed Falling Skies as well. Both deal with similar issues.
Honestly, I expected nothing less than cliche tropes in a pilot. It's too busy trying to establish setting, background, character, et al, to have time to really focus on the true plot of the series.

I'll give it a couple episodes before I write it off.

80Vvolodymyr
Edited: Apr 17, 2013, 9:37am Top

Love all the Stargates, enjoyed Fringe (even ignoring the multitude of inconsistencies and pseudoscience)
BUT couldn't stand V, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and probably won't like this Defiance and others mentioned :(

Is it really that much to ask, to have at least one science fiction series instead of at least one monster / supernatural stuff?
I mean - take this "Tasmanian Devils" feature for example - are you kidding me? Is it really more profitable than the ... less embarrassing truly science fiction features (or series)? I seriously don't get it :(

Oh, also, I heard about this Canadian series (last year I think) - called Continuum (i think - about terrorists from the future who came into this time to change events) - anyone seen that? Is it still running?

81gilroy
Apr 17, 2013, 9:38am Top

Continuum is decent. SciFi (Not using their trash) does run it. But it only had I think 12 episodes for its first season. it has been renewed.

I enjoyed it, even if I normally hate time travel shows.

82iansales
Apr 17, 2013, 9:38am Top

I've tried watching Continuum, but the main cast seem a bit charisma-free. Warehouse 13 is cheesy and terrible. Have not seen any of the new V - unfortunately, I still remember the original series.

83iansales
Apr 17, 2013, 9:39am Top

I did like the Flash Gordon series though, but it only lasted a single season.

84whiten06
Apr 17, 2013, 10:00am Top

I've lived in St. Louis my entire life so I plan on giving Defiance a chance no matter what reviews it gets. Having said that, my expectations are not too high.

85andyl
Apr 17, 2013, 11:13am Top

#82

The initial mini-series was much better than the TV series that followed it.

86GwenH
Edited: Apr 17, 2013, 11:19am Top

>77 iansales: What? No hooker with a heart of gold???

Anyway, looks like I can watch the pilot at the SyFy channel website so I'll be able to cringe first hand. We will see how far I get....

87rgurskey
Apr 17, 2013, 11:41am Top

>86 GwenH: Actually, there is a hooker with a heart of gold.

88gilroy
Apr 17, 2013, 12:56pm Top

#87

Who's related to the mayor

89TLCrawford
Apr 17, 2013, 1:26pm Top

#82 "I've tried watching Continuum, but the main cast seem a bit charisma-free. Warehouse 13 is cheesy and terrible."

I agree 100%. Of course for me those are the reasons I watch them. You can say the same about Alphas. I can't understand how anything with David Strathairn in it can be so bland.

90iansales
Apr 17, 2013, 1:32pm Top

Unfortunately, I'm dairy-intolerant :-) And I agree re Strathairn.

91pjfarm
Apr 17, 2013, 9:43pm Top

I finally got around to watching Defiance and thought it was decent. I've always been of the opinion that the biggest change in a series is between the pilot and episode two so I'll see what future episodes bring. It's a shame that they didn't go with aliens that didn't look like made-up humans but I also realize that it costs money to do that so it's one of those things I can accept. As Ian said above, it's a shame that the aliens also act human, but oh, well.

What bugged me the most were the scenes that looked like they came out of a video game. I realize that it is marketed with a video game but I really hope they minimize, or end, that.

As to Continuum, after watching the 12 episodes, I'm still not quite sure where they want to take it. Some of it I've liked and some not so much.

92weener
Apr 17, 2013, 10:44pm Top

Most of what I watch on Netflix is original Twilight Zone episodes. Amazing.

Original Star Trek was a little before my time, but my boyfriend loves it and is making me watch it with him. I wouldn't call it "good" but it's generally entertaining. I get back at him by making him watch Red Dwarf, which was more my thing.

93TLCrawford
Apr 18, 2013, 8:37am Top

The Original Star Trek and Red Dwarf are both classics. I was in my early teens when Star Trek first aired and was only slightly aware at the time how game changing it was. One of its major firsts is showing the first interracial kiss on US television. Many of the cultural issues the show addressed are no longer issues in part because Roddenberry and crew took them on.

Roddenberry was not the first television producer to depict cultural issues in science fiction. Rod Serling attempted it a decade earlier. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2008-03-27/news/36921344_1_rod-serling-unname...

Shows are better when they are relevant to our lives. Does anyone else see a link between "The Walking Dead" and conservative politicians concerns about the "47%"?

94andyl
Apr 18, 2013, 9:15am Top

#93

That episode didn't get shown in the UK until the 90s - although not due to the kiss (we had our first TV inter-racial kiss in 1964 on a hospital soap) but due to the sadistic violence.

95TLCrawford
Apr 18, 2013, 9:36am Top

IN the US we have all sorts of issues with race and sex, combine the two and it really can become contentious. For a nation that is supposed to be founded on freedom it took until 1967 for interracial marriage to become legal, same sex relations were illegal until 2003, and same sex marriages are still in dispute.

Violence? I can't remember an instance of censorship over violence. We seem to love violence, some of us still drag other people behind cars until they come apart, shoot up elementary schools, and plant bombs in crowds. I don't see any signs of the United Stated embracing either freedom or civilization in the near future.

96psybre
Apr 24, 2013, 1:48pm Top

I recently found a gem: The commentary by writer Kenneth Johnson on the first disk of The Bionic Woman (rented from Netflix) is exemplary. Not only does he speak at length about the formation of the story/screenplay, he granted me all sorts of trivia knowledge about television history. The commentary was recorded in 2010, so there's relatively recent recounts included. Recommended!

97pjfarm
May 6, 2013, 8:58pm Top

I'm really enjoying Orphan Black on BBC America. Part of the fun is watching Tatiana Maslany playing so many characters, six to date, and doing such a great job of differentiating between them even though they all have the same face and body. It's very easy to think of them as different people. It also seems like there is a plan as to where the story is going, which I hope is true, since it usually makes for better story telling.

This week's episode, number 6, seemed like a classic British theater comedy with characters popping in and out of doorways at opportune and inopportune times and totally misunderstanding what was going on. It seemed a bit staged, but I relaxed and enjoyed it after I figured out it was just going to be that way.

My only criticism, and it's a minor one, is that though it's set in New York City, it doesn't really feel like the US but more like a Brit version of it. Of course, I've only visited NYC twice, so maybe I don't know what the area is really like. :-)

98andyl
May 7, 2013, 12:29pm Top

#97

You can't blame us for Orphan Black. It is a Canadian show not a UK show.

99pjfarm
May 7, 2013, 7:37pm Top

>98 andyl: OK

Every tv show or movie has at least a few things that don't feel real to me. If it breaks my willing suspension of disbelief, I'm obviously going to quit watching it, and that isn't the case here. With Orphan Black, the things that don't feel real seem more British to me than they do Canadian and I don't think that it's because I'm influenced by the first B in BBC.

Not that it really matters. :-)

100andyl
May 8, 2013, 4:12am Top

#99

Well I am not sure if we will get it here even though the BBC have the international distribution. I hope so. I would also note that the Wikipedia entry does not seem as confident as you that the show is set in New York.

101pjfarm
May 8, 2013, 2:03pm Top

100) I looked at the wiki article. As it said, NYC is referenced as the location of the show in the first episode. The current iteration of the wiki article is wrong in that it's claiming a flub with Allison living in Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. It's actually Scarsdale, a VERY expensive area on the north side of the NYC.

102DugsBooks
Edited: May 20, 2013, 9:25pm Top

Teetering on the end of a limb and calling Zombies SF maybe, I streamed George A. Romero's Land of the Dead on Netflix and enjoyed the movie. Everyone else has probably already seen it but the first time for me. It was well put together with the cuts from scene to scene and they resisted the temptation to be a "splatter" movie or however you term that. There was a lot of gore here and there but not dwelt on for undue amounts of time. I think they threw some money at this, the sets were convincing and a slightly "noirish" tone to the movie gave it a nice edge.

I noticed they had some "cameo" appearances of characters from other movies, like one of the heavies Tom Savini, the guy with the whip, in From Dusk Till Dawn . And because I can't get it out of my mind, a 5 minute clip link to Selma Hayek's {caution erotic!!} table dance in From Dusk till Dawn - the best scene ever in any vampire movie.

Link to IMDB listing for Land of the Dead http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418819/

103DugsBooks
Edited: May 25, 2013, 12:39am Top

I streamed the first episode of Continuum, the TV series that has a group going back in time to correct a world wide corporate dominion government. I like the first episode but I think some of the acting was a little stilted with unconvincing reactions to heinous situations, almost "voguing" for the camera {trying to express angst?} after the home base police station and several friends were shot up for example.

However real life is even stranger as they say. Who would have believed what the scout leader lady Ingrid Loyau-Kennett did in London when she calmly tried to talk down the two who murdered/decapitated the serviceman while she was standing an arm's reach distance away from the jerks.?{::edited in an attempt at clarity::}

The storyline of Continuum works for me however and so far the special effects are convincing. I see there is a second season ongoing at Syfy - does the show get better, about the same? :::After reviewing the above comments on the show again it appears the perceived lack of execution {due to budget?} may be typical throughout.

104andyl
May 24, 2013, 6:27am Top

#103

I thought Continuum got quite a bit better as the series went on. Certainly gets less black and white.

105psybre
Jun 3, 2013, 11:48am Top

Prophets of Science Fiction is now streaming on Netflix. I believe all eight episodes of the first "season" are available.

106DugsBooks
Jun 3, 2013, 12:51pm Top

#105, Yep I have that on my list at Netflix. I just finished watching the first season of Continuum and it got better as it went along mainly because of interest in the plot line I guess. Still a lot of cliches coming into play that can make you cringe at times - like guessing passwords in 30 seconds etc.

107pjfarm
Jun 11, 2013, 9:22pm Top

I've seen a couple of articles about Under the Dome. From what I've gathered reading them, it doesn't follow Gene Roddenbury's dictum for Star Trek, "No major dissension among the crew". Instead it sounds much more like Lord of the Flies and Darwinian, "May the strongest, smartest, best connected, and/or most ruthless survive!"

Apparently they changed the ending, but other than that were reasonably faithful to the book. Anyone read it and remember if I'm describing it at all closely? Frankly, I'm not going to bother watching it if that's the case. Thanks.

108DugsBooks
Edited: Jun 12, 2013, 8:37pm Top

#107 Yep, I think we broached that subject above at around #22 or so. {I have a tough time scrolling past the Land of the Dead photo }. I got the same impression of the upcoming series but good execution can make it enjoyable. Steven King's stuff intrigues a lot of people, big fan base.

109pjfarm
Jun 12, 2013, 9:25pm Top

108) That commentary was over two months ago. Sometimes I'm lucky to remember two days ago. :-) Thanks for the reminder.

110DugsBooks
Edited: Jun 25, 2013, 11:39pm Top

I happened to watch the first episode of Under The Dome and enjoyed it. A lot of social complications were introduced which I am sure will take some time to sort out. I was surprised that one of the main characters with apparent redeeming qualities was killed off near the end of the first show. It helps the interest I guess that a lot of the characters were pretty screwed up {psychotic kidnappers, murderers, drug dealing officials} before the appearance of the dome. No one has tried to tunnel under it yet. You can watch the first episode online at the link below - at least for a while it appears.

http://www.cbs.com/shows/under-the-dome/



111AlanPoulter
Jun 26, 2013, 4:42pm Top

Far and away the best new TV series I have seen this year is The Returned, a French production now on Channel 4 in the UK, set in a town in which some dead people return to life, with no inkling that they have been dead. Reminds me of Twin Peaks or Lost.

112mart1n
Jun 26, 2013, 5:42pm Top

>111 AlanPoulter:
Wot he said. Intriguing, creepy, v. high quality stuff. All 3 episodes so far are still available on 4OD.

113DugsBooks
Edited: Jun 27, 2013, 9:03pm Top

Aha, I found a link for The Returned. I may stream an episode or so when time permits:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-returned/4od

Is it in French or subtitled? All I can say in French is "it seems I have lost my wallet" ;-)

Ah rats, I get a "not available in my area" flag when I try to stream.......Later...I found several free streaming sites but they are not in the HD range I would like - I got a "1080" monitor recently and it looks good on some stuff "but" my chair is uncomfortable!

Aha, I did find and stream the first episode - pretty spooky. The flashback at the end of the first episode was an unexpected twist. Instead of any explanation of the "returned", I had expected the series to continue linearly in some existential fog. I hope everyone is not suddenly run over by a big truck with bright lights at the end, like in "Lost".

114DugsBooks
Jun 30, 2013, 11:31am Top

"The Wrath of Khan' Director Nicholas Meyer Is Writing a Cold War Space Race TV Series" Is the title and topic of the article linked. The article infers there will be a lot of research involved {for authenticity I assume} so it could be interesting. I wonder if it will be presented as a drama or documentary?

http://www.indiewire.com/article/television/the-seven-per-cent-solution-writer-n...

115iansales
Jun 30, 2013, 12:18pm Top

Um, the BBC did that a few years ago. It was called "The Space Race".

116DugsBooks
Jun 30, 2013, 2:44pm Top

#115 Here in the USA we call the British production "A customer feedback survey" ;-)

117DugsBooks
Edited: Jul 30, 2013, 3:48pm Top

Missed the last episode of The Dome and went to the website to view it there but free episodes are available no more it seems. I read a couple of reviews that said it was the worst so far, hard to believe it was that far off. I do have time to catch it tonight, see if the series is headed downhill.
::edit later:: The Dome still moves along ok for me after watching the most recent episode. Some very providential occurrences allow the Big Boss to stay in charge more or less it seems after some heinous felonies.

I just started watching the latest season of True Blood that has become available on Netflix....some people let that pass for SF ;-)
I have enjoyed the series so far, good mindless entertainment for me at least.

118DugsBooks
Aug 1, 2013, 9:30am Top

Well Cramer, one of CNBC's resident stock gurus, just pumped The Dome. He said he watched the episodes and is reading the book, which he described as "terrifying". He mentioned the publisher I wonder if his books are published by the same? ;-)
http://www.cnbc.com/id/15838459

119DugsBooks
Edited: Aug 9, 2013, 6:26pm Top



I thought I would make mention of the new Dr. Who {below}, Peter Capaldi . Here in the USA Dr. Who was frequently the only place to get an "SF fix" on traditional TV. There were many lapses in in Star Trek and other SF TV show series but I remember there always seemed to be repeats of one incarnation or another of Dr. Who on educational TV or elsewhere. Netflix has quite the collection of Dr. Who available {see above}. I think they have the entire BBC series.

120anglemark
Aug 9, 2013, 6:31pm Top

#119 by DugsBooks> Netflix has quite the collection of Dr. Who available

Not where I live, unfortunately. We only have the ones from 2005–2010.

121Kellswitch
Aug 10, 2013, 12:07am Top

Being able to get classic Who on Netflix in the States would make it worthwhile for me to get it.

122anglemark
Aug 10, 2013, 4:03am Top

Oh, that would be awesome. Getting classic Who here in Scandinavia.

123strung_out
Aug 10, 2013, 6:10am Top

As far as I know, you can get a decent selection of Doctor Who stories on Netflix in the States. I'm in the UK, but have a Chrome extension allowing me to view US Netflix, and I can see 18 full stories of classic Doctor Who, as well as most of new Doctor Who

124TheDivineOomba
Aug 10, 2013, 8:14am Top

Do a search for Dr. Who in netflix. You will find some, but not all the episodes. Or, it was there a few months back.

125DugsBooks
Aug 10, 2013, 2:54pm Top

I just did a search on Netflix and found these two interesting inclusions along with dozens of others:

Classic Doctor Who 1963 NR 5 discs / 81 episodes
Since 1963, the Doctor and his companions have been traveling through time and space in a miraculous police box called the TARDIS. These early seasons of the show develop the character of the Doctor, and introduce familiar villains like the Daleks.


and this one available for streaming or dvds:

Doctor Who 2005 TV-PG 35 discs / 119 episodes
After more than a decade off the air, this epic sci-fi series returns with an all-new look -- and the ninth (and beyond) incarnation of everybody's favorite time-traveling Doctor, who promptly sets about fighting nefarious aliens and other foes. Doctor Who2005TV-PG 35 discs / 119 episodes

126DugsBooks
Edited: Aug 21, 2013, 11:14pm Top

I watched Done the Impossible: The Fans' Tale of 'Firefly' and 'Serenity' (2006) , a documentary on how the "brownshirts" brought back the Firefly series from the dead {a short respite}. I did not anticipate watching the whole movie on Netflix but found it interesting and did. I never realized that the pilot episode of Firefly was not allowed to be released first on the TV. The series started without any background on the characters thanks to the TV suits, a shot to the leg for sure. I watched the pilot episode of Firefly a day or so afterwards of the Done the Imp. and appreciated it a little better.

Worth a watch if you have not seen it before and enjoyed the series, you can watch it at Amazon also {link} and it is probably available somewhere for free on the net.

127DugsBooks
Edited: Sep 4, 2013, 12:02pm Top

I recently streamed Safety Not Guaranteed and the low energy, slacker like, plot thread of bored indie news magazine reporters developing a story from a classified ad for a "fellow time traveler, safety not guaranteed" was very comfortably wound with an outcast girl meets outcast guy story. The ending is a pleasant surprise however and is not quite what most would expect. No big explosions and just does make it into SF territory when you suspect it is only another slacker love story.

I also saw Journey to Planet X which is a documentary about a couple of guys who make cheapo SF films in their spare time. At 76 minutes in total length I expected to watch maybe a third but I saw it through and was intrigued by the learning process they went through. The directors of the documentary about the two dilettantes are pretty slick with their production and in the film are there only through the lenses they are filming the events with. A 3 of 5 stars to me for both flicks.

Official web site: http://journeytoplanetx.com/

128wifilibrarian
Sep 9, 2013, 9:03pm Top

Has anyone seen Black mirror?

It's a UK show and I don't know if it was broadcast in the U.S or available streaming, but it's worth checking out if you can. Every episode tells a different story, seemingly set in a different world, told by different actors. The common element is how technology will change our lives in the near future, often in dark or untended ways. They do vary in quality of the idea, sometimes overly heavy-handed satire, but the production values are good and the acting is not bad. I'm glad there is a show imagining where our current technologies are heading and exploring how that will effect us.

The 2nd season was broadcast this year.

129DugsBooks
Edited: Sep 13, 2013, 6:12pm Top

I have not seen Black mirror but it looks sounds interesting.

We would like to announce the expansion of Hypnotoad's territory to extraterrestrial as documented by this photo from NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft launch last Friday. Link to article which misinterpreted the photo evidence

130tottman
Sep 12, 2013, 2:38pm Top

I actually watched the first episode of season 1 of Black Mirror online. Interesting. A few roll your eyes moments, but interesting enough to check out another episode or 2. Reminds me a little of The Outer Limits, but less "out there".

131DugsBooks
Sep 26, 2013, 7:28pm Top

Anyone else see the premiere of Agents of SHIELD ? I am not sure if I want to put it in my schedule, I liked the first episode but a long way from being mesmerized by it. Everything is so stylized and squeaky clean on the sets & location shots everywhere, it reminds me of the first Batman series but without the "BAM" "POW" lettering. { I liked the first Batman series}. I saw on the webpage where it will be Friday before it shows in the UK.

132DugsBooks
Edited: Oct 11, 2013, 8:48pm Top

I watched the SF movie Primer on Netflix recently and was pleasantly surprised.  The plot is a Byzantine web of time travel paradoxes but how complex is not evident until the
end.  I had read in some blurbs that the flick was shot on the cheap but I did not know how cheap until after watching the film and checking on wiki - which gives a total of $7,000.  I am sure this does not include the years of labor that Shane Carruth put into the endeavour.

The movie unwinds like a well written short story with tension and conflict but no explosions or special effects, definitely worth a watch. My opinion echoes other posts in Sf done closer to the 2004 release date of the movie.

List of awards ripped from wiki:

Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival in 2004.
Alfred P. Sloan Prize for films dealing with science and technology, the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Best Writer/Director (Shane Carruth) at the Nantucket Film Festival in 2004.
Best Feature at the London International Festival of Science Fiction in 2005.

133artturnerjr
Edited: Oct 11, 2013, 9:19pm Top

Not SF, and not 2013 (it came out in 2011), but definitely cosmic (with jaw-dropping special effects by the great Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, etc.), and definitely award-winning, The Tree of Life still has me feeling equal parts awestruck and bemused after viewing it this morning. Has anyone else here seen this? It's not for everyone, but I think it is probably one of the best films I've ever seen. (PS It has dinosaurs in it - always a plus in the Turner household. :))

ETA: IMDb link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/

134whiten06
Oct 17, 2013, 11:46am Top

#132

I also recently came across Primer on netflix and was blown away. It's a purposely vague and confusing time-travel story that keeps you thinking you're close to figuring it out until about 3/4 of the way through, where you find out it's far more complicated than you thought. I hightly recommend it.

Shane Carruth's other film "Upstream Color" is also available on netflix and is also an excellent film, IMHO.

135guido47
Oct 17, 2013, 12:13pm Top

Hi #132, Is This the 'Primer' you are thinging of? I am tempted to buy it :-)

136iansales
Edited: Oct 17, 2013, 12:20pm Top

Primer is excellent. I've yet to see Carruth's new film but I've heard it's also very good.

Incidentally, check out Brit Marling's films - Another Earth, Sound of My Voice, and The East.

137DugsBooks
Edited: Oct 17, 2013, 3:19pm Top

#132 Yep guido, that is the flick I watched on Netflix. It is an example of how being very clever can trump a lot of money IMOHO

BTW guido I posted this 4 minute link I came across recently to Kaku explaining why there are 11 dimensions in String Theory in the science section, where we had an exchange about multi dimensions many months ago. It's very concise and interesting.

http://video.answers.com/dr-michio-kaku-on-why-the-universe-has-11-dimensions-51...

Thanks for the tips, Ian & whiten06....I will search netflix for those titles.

#133 Never seen that, I will have to check it out sometime. The "trippy" section where there is no dialogue and the flick floats through dinosaurs and other surreal scenes etc. sounds interesting.

138artturnerjr
Oct 17, 2013, 8:32pm Top

>137 DugsBooks:

Never seen that, I will have to check it out sometime.

If you do, please drop me a line; I've been itching to discuss it with someone ever since I saw it.

139whiten06
Oct 21, 2013, 2:18pm Top

#136

Thanks for the suggestions. I will have to check those out soon, they sound great!

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