athelind: (Default)
The replies to my previous post have pointed out a few shows that have eluded my notice -- or that I simply forgot about. I'm listing this partly so I remember what timers to set!

Defying Gravity is a 13-episode British/Canadian/USian co-production, following 8 astronauts on their six-year mission around the Solar System in the year 2052.

It started 02 August 2009 on ABC, and I didn't hear word one about it until this morning. This suggests that there's some glitch in the Buzz Network. Episodes are on Hulu, but.. gaaaah. Space stuff needs big screen. I won't watch postage stamps.

(Technically, it's a summer show, so it doesn't quite count toward the "dead fall" issue. But it's SF, and, crap, we all MISSED it!)

Flash Forward is one that I had heard about, and forgot: it revolves around an event in which everyone on Earth blacks out for over two minutes, and in the aftermath, it turns out that everyone has had a vision of their future, six months down the road. (It'll be interesting to see what they do after the show's been on for six months, and the visions either have or have not come true.)

It starts 24 September 2009, once again, on ABC.

ABC seems to be the go-to place for network SF this year: on 03 November 2009, they'll be treating us to a remake of the miniseries, V. I was never a fan of the original series, so my initial reaction was "meh" -- but then I remembered how everyone reacted to the news that they were remaking the velour-jumpsuit-and-robot-dog epic of the same era. One of the minds behind this revival also gave us The 4400, so I'm definitely tuning in.

Since I'm now watching everything else on ABC, I'm also going to tune into The Forgotten on 22 September 2009. It's "science fiction" in the same way CSI and Numb3rs are: it's fiction, about science. I'm going to give it a try just because it has Christian Slater, and I still miss My Own Worst Enemy.

(Hey, Quel and I started watching Castle just because it had Nathan Fillion in it.)

This is odd. It's not so much that Geek Chic has run its course -- it's just moved to a network that hasn't had much of anything to show in the SF genre in a long while.

(Of course, that could be evidence in and of itself that a trend is on its way out -- when the lowest-rated network finally jumps on the bandwagon.)

Did I mention that Eastwick is on ABC, too?

Over on NBC, Day One is going to start in the Spring, following good ol' Chuck. I don't know if it'll find any more success than NBC's last post-apocalyptic drama, but we'll give it a shot.

On Cable, BBC America has given us the summer show, Being Human. Quel and I have been enjoying it thoroughly, even though the premise sounds like a bar joke: "a vampire and a werewolf rent an apartment with a ghost..." It's only 6 episodes long, but a marathon's coming up this weekend, and it's also available On Demand for those who have access to such things.

And coming up on AMC:

A six-episode remake of one of my all-time favorite shows, The Prisoner. What this one lacks in pennyfarthing bikes and surreal Welsh architecture, it makes up for with Ian McKellan. I've seen an extensive trailer, and since I'm not particularly vulnerable to knee-jerk aversion to radical changes, it looks like it has potential.

Can't find a specific premiere date on that one, sorry.

athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia arranged for a long weekend for her birthday, and so, on Friday, we went to see District 9, and today, we finally wended our way to downtown San Jose to see Moon.

We are two for two on Smart, Well-Done, Thought-Provoking SF movies this weekend. The previews indicate several more are on the way -- and a few smart, thoughtful non-genre flicks, as well.

I was tempted to do a blog entry castigating District 9 for being an uncredited remake of Alien Nation, Moon for being a rip-off of all those '70s SF movies, right down to the rip-off set designs, and The Time Traveler's Wife for being based on a novel and thus proving Hollywood has to steal all their ideas from someplace else -- but I don't think the target audience would get the sarcasm.

If Generation Rape-My-Childhood thinks that Hollywood can't do anything new or non-derivative, maybe they should expand their horizons beyond the latest formulaic blockbuster or the remakes of 30-minute toy commercials from the '80s.

Sure, movies like this are in the minority, but they always have been. Sturgeon's Revelation holds, and has always held. If it seems that there was a higher percentage of good movies in decades past, that's because people prefer to remember the stuff they liked -- and because TV stations and cable channels seldom run the real crud.

athelind: (Default)
I've spent the day being melancholy about the Apollo 11 launch, which happened when I was 5. So I come home from work, and what do I find on my Friends list, courtesy of the [livejournal.com profile] retro_future community?



The cover to my very favorite book from childhood.

Please keep me away from any mention of Major Matt Mason or the Colorforms Outer Space Men for the next 72 hours or so, or I'm just gonna curl up into a Schwartzchild Radius of nostalgia and never be heard from again.


Those of you participating in [livejournal.com profile] tealfox and [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi's Star Wars Saga game this weekend who read the linked review will see a particular irony in this particular book impinging on my consciousness at this particular juncture.
athelind: (Default)
Almost every library I've patronized in the last four decades has used the same basic set of icons to delineate the various genre ghettos: a skull for mysteries, a stylized atom or a rocket ship surrounded by "atomic" rings for SF, and so forth. Most of them even seem to use the same company, with red ink on yellow stickers.



Why can't I find these icons on the web? I find several places selling library genre stickers, but not the classic old red-on-yellow designs.

I know they're OUT there -- I see them at my local library all the time, on brand new books.
athelind: (Default)
I find myself amused by some of the "new entries" in the "Canonical Glossary of Slang for Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0".

Current slang such as "Cobweb Site" and "Dead Tree Edition" has infiltrated "future" slang as as the "bleeding edge of the One-And-Twenty" slips toward the Present Day and into the Recent Past.


athelind: (Default)
It occurs to me that Your Obedient Serpent has been remiss in his duties; despite having seen Mr. Abrams' Star Trek twice, I have yet to give my loyal readers any semblance of a review.

The short review:

Hooray! I'm 10 years old again!

I'm ten years old, and Star Trek is once again new and fresh and exciting. It's full of action and adventure. It's optimistic and bright without being smug and self-satisfied. It's dangerous and exciting without being a dark, dismal, Crapsack World.

When Mr. Abrams said, over the last year or two, that he "wasn't really a Star Trek fan", he was, evidently, lying through his teeth. And I applaud him for it.

The movie is wonderous. It hits every note perfectly. The funny parts don't slow down or cheapen the genuine urgency; the shout-outs and continuity nods are quick and casual. [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia missed some that I caught, and I missed some the first time that I caught the second time around.

I got choked up at the very beginning; Quel got choked up at the end.

The cast is splendid, simultaneously hearkening to the original portrayals of the characters, yet making the roles entirely their own. Zachary Quinto manages to do this with Leonard Nimoy standing right there.

For those poor, benighted souls who have not yet seen this spectacle on the big screen, I shall politely put the remainder of this behind a spoiler cut. )

If you haven't seen it yet, go now. Boldly.


athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty huhs. "That's weird. I can receive Roadrunner mail, but not send it.
[livejournal.com profile] pyat prefers Blade Runner mail!
[livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte says, "I've read things that you wouldn't believe. Free Diplomas burning off the shoulder of Orion. Enlarged penises glittering by the Tannhäuser Gate. All this will be lost, like spam in the rain."


Please credit [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte for this. He deserves all the blame credit.

athelind: (Default)
Watchmen, in brief:

Both [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I really enjoyed it, demonstrating that it worked both as a movie, for someone unfamiliar with the story, and as an adaptation, for someone who's read it a dozen times or more since it came out.

There's a lot more I can say about it, but it only seems to come out in conversation. When I sit down to try and just write, I come up blank. That's why it's taken me two weeks to present even this much.

I will say that, in my estimation, Snyder made a good stab at examining the superhero movie in his own way, just as Moore and Gibbons scrutinized the superhero comic book all those years ago.

The Battlestar Galactica finale, also in brief:

Whoa.

Again, Quel and I both loved it -- and yes, we both cried. Long-standing questions were answered -- and others weren't. As far as I'm concerned, though, they picked the right questions to leave unanswered.

I also suspect that this ending may be close to the one that Glen Larson really intended for the original series.


athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I just watched the first 45 minutes of Dollhouse.

We didn't bother with the last 15.

The MacGuffin for the pilot episode was a hostage negotiation. If they'd done the same "engagement" on Burn Notice or Leverage, there would have been a lot less twiddling, and a lot more Smart People Doing Smart Things, quite possibly punctuated by explosions. Even a fairly mundane police procedural like Law & Order would have mustered more tension.

Sure, this was a pilot, and had to spend some time to establish the premise -- but My Own Worst Enemy hit the ground running in its opener, while presenting an equally-complex, somewhat less "arty" premise in a way that should be the textbook chapter of "show, don't tell".

Our combined assessment: Joss is too in love with his Brilliant Idea to actually tell a story with it.

I, on the other claw, have been "meh" about that premise since I first heard about it months ago.

I keep thinking that maybe I'm just disappointed because it was so hyped up, and didn't measure up to the hype -- but, frankly, if Joss Whedon's name hadn't been attached to it, I wouldn't have bothered to tune in in the first place.

And now I won't.


Oh, and I'm sorry if I was too busy being bored to notice if Dollhouse was "sexist".
By the way, you can watch all 9 episodes of My Own Worst Enemy at NBC's web site. Ding DING ding.

athelind: (Default)
I'm finding it hard to get excited about Joss Whedon's new show, Dollhouse.

The premise is very, very close to the recently-canceled Christian Slater vehicle, My Own Worst Enemy -- without the promise of that show's continually-evolving character dynamic, and the wonderful interaction (via cell-hone video messages) between Slater's two personas.

Yes, everyone's sure that the Dollhouse story arc will involve the system breaking down, and "Echo" slowly retaining memories between downloads. Enemy started with the breakdown, dropping you right into the middle of things as poor schlub Henry finds himself in the middle of his super-spy alter-ego's anarchic existence.

Please note that I was somewhat "meh" about Dollhouse's premise even before I'd started watching Enemy.

[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia and I will give Dollhouse a try, but I may find myself in the unlikely position of wishing I was watching Christian Slater instead of Eliza Dushku.


Yes, I know, after snarking on the shows we DROPPED, I never got around to posting about the new shows we LIKED this season. And now one of them's gone.
athelind: (Default)
Posting this so I don't lose the link: d20 Modern, The Full Monte

They have a zipped, downloadable version right there on the front page.

For those baffled by this, geeky prattle follows. )
athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's favorite movie is the 1951 classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still.

This Saturday, we went to see the 2008 version, starring Keanu Reeves.

Here is her review -- it's sort of our review, since it summarizes our post-cinema conversation.

I may elaborate on this further, if I get motivated -- but hers is so succinct and to the point.


athelind: (Default)
A recent thread in [livejournal.com profile] chrissawyer's LiveJournal discussed the "decline" of SF Fandom. In particular, [livejournal.com profile] shockwave77598 said,

"The young who would have found their way into SF and SFantasy a generation ago have instead moved into Anime and Manga. DragonCon and Project Akon are huge, even by Worldcon standards (5000 people or so). The result of this is that there's less new blood coming in and SF is growing increasingly older and smaller.

A couple of us have wondered what the cause is without pointing blame; a small answer is that SF doesn't appeal much to a generation that has never known a world without a computer on their desk or been unable to call someone with their pocket telephone. They've been handed the future on a silver platter and don't seem to care much about what's ahead for them anymore.
"

"SF is growing increasingly older and smaller"?

Now, wait a minute.

  • You rarely see a Top Ten Bestseller's list that doesn't include an SF or Fantasy novel anymore, even if you don't include Horror as part of the "Speculative Fiction" supergenre (and Old Time Fen like Forry Ackerman certainly would).

  • It's no longer a wait of three to five years between big-budget, A-List F/SF films -- now you get three to five of them every year. And this time, I am leaving out horror.

  • The current television line-up is crammed full of shows SF/Fantasy shows, and has been since the early '90s. Not a lot of them are Star Trek-style Space Opera, but I can think of at least two that are, even if I don't watch either of them. Almost every broadcast network has fielded an SF/Fantasy show that has done well in the ratings and enjoyed a run of several seasons.


Sure, SPACE OPERA is taking a downturn in popularity, at least on the large and small screens, but I think that has as much or more to do with the excreable quality of recent entries in the Star Trek and Star Wars mythoi. Enterprise and Episodes 1 and 2 have driven people away from Space Fantasy.

SF isn't "growing smaller". Exactly the opposite is happening: SF has grown larger. It's no longer an isolated little fandom -- it's MAINSTREAM. As [livejournal.com profile] normanrafferty likes to say, "The Underground Has Become The Establishment". And that means that it no longer suits the psychological needs of the alienated and disaffected outcasts who need some sense of identity to distinguish themselves from the people who alienated them in the first place. "Fans Are Slans" holds little comfort when everyone's a Slan.

To find that same sense of Unity In Persecuted Superiority, Those Who Would Be Fen must delve more deeply into the fringes of Fandom. They hook into Anime and Manga, though even those have become increasingly mainstream. They go Goth. They become Furry.

(I'm speaking as a Fan, by the way. As a teenager, I comforted myself that I Was Fan and They Were Mundane, that I had the imagination and the creativity and the insight to look at the future and dare to imagine its shape, to ask questions and make speculations that Mundane minds wouldn't consider, and as such, I was better prepared to face the World That Was Coming. When I hear some Furries talk about how cruel and narrow-minded "humans" are compared to the animal-in-spirit, it all sounds so familiar.)

Yes, I, too, have always enjoyed tales of an optimistic future, that innocent faith that Progress Will Save Us All. Despite the current popularity of dystopian settings, I don't think that kind of optimism is gone from the genre. Most of those dystopias show people struggling to improve things, to challenge the rotten establishment, to undermine the oppressors.

We live in the future, now and today. Reality has caught up with speculation, and in some ways, sped ahead. SF has changed its focus accordingly: rather than dreaming of a wonderful tomorrow... it depicts the struggle to create the future of those dreams.

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