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  • Showing only topics with the tag "science fiction". Back to normal view
    1. 'The Stranger' was Australia's first locally-produced science fiction television show and one of the first Australian series to be sold overseas.

      ABC's media release: 'The Stranger' was Australia's first locally-produced science fiction television show and one of the first Australian series to be sold overseas. (Ignore the references to...

      ABC's media release: 'The Stranger' was Australia's first locally-produced science fiction television show and one of the first Australian series to be sold overseas. (Ignore the references to 'Doctor Who'; the only connection they have is that they were both science fiction shows made in the mid-1960s. I suspect that show is name-dropped just to get people's interest.)

      I've been watching this show. I'm 5 episodes in, which means I'm up to the last episode of the 1st season, with another 6 episodes in the 2nd season (only 12 eps in total).

      It's bad but also good (not in the "so bad it's good" way). The production isn't great: the special effects are low-grade, the sets are ordinary, the acting ranges from hammy to wooden, and the writing is clunky. However, despite all that, I find myself hooked. I want to know what's going to happen next. It's an interesting premise: the remnants of an alien species eking out an existence inside a rocket-equipped moon, having left their home planet after an unspecified ecological disaster, to seek out a new home. The plot is good enough to drag me along with it. It also has historical curiosity value.

      I doubt it's available outside of Australia, but here's the streaming link. Be warned: it's very slow-paced to start with. The first episode doesn't even mention aliens, and the second episode only has hints.

      7 votes
    2. Star Trek fans: what's your position on the amount of technological mumbo jumbo?

      I'm (re)watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and after a few episodes I started to tune out every time they detail how some specific solution is possible. There's little care with consistency,...

      I'm (re)watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and after a few episodes I started to tune out every time they detail how some specific solution is possible. There's little care with consistency, everything is bent to fit the story. "Oh, I get it, if I reverse the trusters and focus the beams using a microwaved non-Euclidian logarithmic abstraction, we can get the shields back and fix the time distillation!".

      I know Star Trek is soft sci-fi, but come on! If it's all meaningless, at least keep it to a minimum. Focus on the interesting bits: the politics, the culture, the philosophical exploration, the juicy paradoxes.

      I still love Star Trek and I definitely don't want it to become hard sci-fi, but sometimes it feels like /r/VXJunkies/...

      9 votes
    3. What to watch: Recommendations from the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend binges

      Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let...

      Needing a down weekend, the spouse and I settled in to watch TV, and discovered that Starz' series, Counterpart - spoiler warning, is one of the better series we've seen in quite a while, let alone among science fiction stories. Though The Expanse wins for sheer SFX pyrotechnics and breadth of technical scope, it's wonderful to sit in for a deep, thoughtful drama like Counterpart. The series focuses on character, story, world-building, plausible plotting, and avoidance of the usual alternate universe cliches. Counterpart is a genuine Cold War Noir spy thriller which happens to occur in a science-fictional setting, and the writers have managed to avoid or refresh the tropes of both genres in ways that ask interesting philosophical questions. It's quiet, slow, and meticulous in a way that most current television writing seems to have abandoned. There's tense action, but no primary colored-supersuits, no scary aliens, no gaudy laser beams, just... a split of history that leaves two distorted mirrors, reflecting each other.

      J.K. Simmons' performances in the roles of Howard (Prime) and Howard (Alpha) are mesmerizing in a way that outmatches Tatiana Mazlany's Orphan Black characters. There's a slow unveiling of the respective parallel worlds' history, with continuing evolution and interplay of characters and relationships, which brings to mind the best of series like The Wire or The Americans.

      To the extent that Counterpart borrows from literary canon, the most significant underlying influences are John LeCarre's find-the-mole games in the Smiley series, China Mieville's The City and the City, and Philip K. Dick (particularly, The Adjustment Team).

      The really guilty pleasure, and the lightweight pressure relief from the grimdark of Peaky Blinders or Counterpart, was a spit-and-giggles Canadian production called Letterkenny. I didn't have high hopes, but the 22-minute episodes are exactly what my brain needed to get over the daily doses of blah.

      The opening credits of each episode refer to the fictional rural Ontario town of Letterkenny as follows:

      There are 5,000 people in Letterkenny. These are their problems.

      The plots are barely coat-hangers, with most of the comic tension spent on interactions among the Hicks (farm people), Skids (creative-but-disaffected Internet subculture wannabes), hockey players and Christians - a/k/a small-town tribes recognizable anywhere in North America. The portrayals are caricaturized enough to be both humorously offensive and humorously sympathetic simultaneously. [Could be some toxic racial/gender meta, but mostly, the treatment of women and minorities is in keeping with the setting.]

      The banter, and the utter Spock-like deadpan of Wayne (the toughest guy in Letterkenny)'s Hick character are the stars of the show. Some people have complained that the rapid-fire use of heavy dialect in the dialogue is impenetrable; that actually helps with comic timing. When your brain catches up to what was actually said, it's like receiving a two-by-four between the eyes of funny. I've got a bit of home-team advantage in the midwestern North American dialects area, and usually get it on the first run, but it's good enough to re-watch happily if the spouse needs a do-over. Transcripts are available, but watch the show before looking.

      We now have a new battery of in-jokes and gag lines to add to our secret spousal language - "Hard no.", "That's what I appreciates about ya", "...and he was never the same after that."

      There's really nothing quite like Letterkenny, and it's exactly smart/dumb enough to make fantastic comedy. Two seven-episode seasons are currently available on Hulu.

      5 votes
    4. 'Star Trek: Discovery' teaser for Season 2 released.

      From CBS: New details, trailer from "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 2 From Gizmodo: In The First Trailer For Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, The USS Enterprise Boldly Arrives As someone outside the...

      From CBS: New details, trailer from "Star Trek: Discovery" Season 2

      From Gizmodo: In The First Trailer For Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, The USS Enterprise Boldly Arrives

      As someone outside the USA, the videos in those articles didn't work for me, but this one from Netflix UK & Ireland does work for me: Star Trek: Discovery | Season 2 Trailer [HD]

      7 votes
    5. [SPOILERS] Are you following Westworld? What did you think of the way they tied up the second season?

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Just finished watching Westworld S02 Finale, and while it creates more questions than it answers I found the whole experience exhilarating. It's been an amazing ride all the way from S01E01 and to the post-credits scene in the finale. I'm glad they left room for another season (or 2, or more who knows) because an AI story shouldn't end when all the fun is just beginning.

      There are a ton of things and references to explore and I'd love to hear what all of you have to say while waiting for that Alt+Shift+X video to drop to clear everything up.

      16 votes
    6. I just started watching The Expanse

      And holy crap this is well made. I hear it gets better in the later seasons, too! It makes me upset that we don't have more science fiction television of this quality, but also glad that I finally...

      And holy crap this is well made. I hear it gets better in the later seasons, too! It makes me upset that we don't have more science fiction television of this quality, but also glad that I finally found this show. Hopefully I can get caught up quickly and join in with the rest of the world for the season finale. How do you all feel about The Expanse and other contemporary science fiction television?

      18 votes