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  • Showing only topics with the tag "scifi". Back to normal view
    1. You should watch Years and Years

      Years and Years is a British political near-future soft SF programme. Being British it's one short series - 6 episodes, 1 hour per episode. Mainstream broadcast SF isn't going to push all the...

      Years and Years is a British political near-future soft SF programme. Being British it's one short series - 6 episodes, 1 hour per episode. Mainstream broadcast SF isn't going to push all the boundaries, but this has some neat ideas. The political stuff feels realistic enough to work.

      Emma Thompson is always impressive and she does excellent work here as a populist, fascist, politician. Jessica Hynes plays Edith with suitable intensity.

      Here are a bunch of links:

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8694364/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

      [spoilers] https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/years-and-years-1220415

      [spoilers] https://variety.com/2019/tv/reviews/years-and-years-review-emma-thompson-hbo-1203243714/

      [spoilers] https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/may/14/years-and-years-review-a-glorious-near-future-drama-from-russell-t-davies

      17 votes
    2. When does Person of Interest start to get good?

      I have watched the first season, and started the second season. I have been told a few times, it gets better once they get more into the AI aspect behind "the machine". So far the episodes are...

      I have watched the first season, and started the second season. I have been told a few times, it gets better once they get more into the AI aspect behind "the machine". So far the episodes are pretty formulaic, so I am wondering if there is a specific episode or season where these little plot bits about this machine everyone is trying to find come to fruition and the series pivots to more of a sci-fi sub-plot.

      Also, how come nobody calls him out for talking to himself all the time?
      I do like the dog, good addition to the second season.

      EDIT: I am now on season 2 episode 10, and yeah its starting to get a lot better. It seems to be a slow transition but they are getting my attention with all this hacker history talk.

      11 votes
    3. Love, Death, and Robots: A Hit-and-Miss Anthology (Mild Spoilers)

      Love, Death, and Robots is an animated scifi anthology on Netflix. Season 1, which released earlier this month, comprised of 18 short films, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes in length. The episodes...

      Love, Death, and Robots is an animated scifi anthology on Netflix. Season 1, which released earlier this month, comprised of 18 short films, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes in length. The episodes also vary wildly in quality. While most of the shorts have promising concepts, very few of them actually reach their potential. Some, like "The Dump," are awful in every way. A handful are excellent.

      The show bills itself as "adult animation," but most episodes are "adult" in the same way many video games are rated as "mature;" they're filled with nudity, violence, and blood, but little of any mature substance. Some of the episodes don't feel like they're aimed at adults, but rather teenagers who want to think they're watching something made for adults.
      In more than one episode, the characters speak like they've just discovered swearing. In "Sucker of Souls" for example, an otherwise entertaining and fun short, they make two jokes revolving around the concept that "pussy" can be slang for a cat, or for a woman's vagina, in the span of thirty seconds. It's an attempt at comic relief that falls very flat, as if someone went through the script once it was done, looking for a place where they could insert vagina jokes. It's jarring.

      Some episodes are fantastic, without having to rely on excessive violence or nudity. Both of those things have a place in fiction, but they should generally be handled with a maturity that most of the shorts lack. "The Secret War" is a fairly violent short, but it is rarely excessive, and the violence usually serves the plot and theme.
      A couple episodes have neither, my favourite being "Zima Blue," a quiet episode with a Camus-esque message. The art style may take some getting used to, but it is one of the more beautiful of the series. "When The Yogurt Took Over" is also a fun short, narrated by Maurice LaMarche, voice of The Brain.

      Overall, I'd say if you're a fan of the genre and have some free time, give the show a watch. Be warned though, binge-watching the show can cause some serious tonal whiplash.

      19 votes
    4. Recommendation: Person of Interest (2011-2016)

      I want to talk about Person of Interest. A CBS series created by Jonathan Nolan, more famously known for his work on Westworld (and brother of "that" Christopher Nolan, talent runs in the family)....

      I want to talk about Person of Interest. A CBS series created by Jonathan Nolan, more famously known for his work on Westworld (and brother of "that" Christopher Nolan, talent runs in the family). This is a spoiler-free post.

      Premise: An ex-military badass is hired by a rich ex-usgov genius who built an AI that is plugged into the NSA's spying supernetwork, and can predict crime based on all the datapoints.

      Strong similarities with: Westworld, Mr. Robot.

      Person of Interest is a series that really took me by surprise. I didn't really care for Season 1, which I left running in the background after it was apparent to me that this was a very run-of-the-mill CBS police procedural. I gave it a chance based on a friend's recommendation, and because IT/sec references were accurate and didn't make me cringe. It also had an interesting premise which was written pre-snowden and raised some interesting philosophical questions on privacy and crime prevention.

      Then towards the Season 1 finale, the music got pretty good, the scenes were very action-packed and the series started feeling like it was getting very entertaining. So I kept watching.

      Without spoiling: throughout Season 2, the series actually completely shifts genre almost unnoticeably, from "generic police procedural" to "long-arc Westworld-style tech scifi".

      I was stunned by how smooth the genre transition was. Of all the series I watched, it's something truly unique to that one, which is one of the reasons I rate it as one of the best TV series in my catalogue. It's also, from what I heard, Nolan's strategy from the get-go in order to get a very unique show greenlit on a "safe" network like CBS.

      By the end of the series, Person of Interest had inspired me. Made me extremely interested in AI and data. It affected my work and the way I think about the world. POI really toes the scifi line by taking concepts which are possible, but not there yet and explores the possibilities (again, Westworld); unlike most other Sci-Fi shows which take abstract ideas of what we may want to see in the future, regardless of how possible/reasonable they are.

      POI does require some suspension of disbelief. You have to accept the trope of a "supergenius" who can build an AI like this all on his own, for example. I think that's fine, and I found that the show was very rigorous at taking only practical shortcuts with very little fridge logic.

      I keep mentioning Westworld and that's no accident. POI predates WW and it feels that WW was a continuation of Nolan's ideas about the implications of AI, in a much higher budget setting. (And as an aside, if you haven't watched Westworld, you should)

      Tag spoilers in comments :)

      21 votes
    5. Some thoughts on "Humans"

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      So I've spent nearly the entire weekend watching Humans and I wanted to share what I think of it and maybe get some discussion going.

      For those who are not familiar with it, the basic premise is an alternate reality present day where "synths" - robots that replaced humans in most menial tasks - are part of everyday life to the point of being a common household item. Within the first episode we learn that there are a handful of synths that are sentient - thinking, feeling individuals. The show explores the implications of that - how previously-servile machines becoming sentient would impact society. There are many parallels to contemporary issues around racism, xenophobia, fear, and I think the show does good job of handling the topic. It is a smart, well-written sci-fi drama.

      So, did anyone else here watch it? What do you think of it?

      PS: While the post itself doesn't have any spoilers, the comments do.

      9 votes
    6. Struggling to find a new TV show to watch? Check out my Google doc detailing shows I've watched, shows I'm currently watching, and shows I want to watch. All with IMDB links and ratings.

      Link to Google doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Hc-Ti6Pff_qUZLAfzzL7WjhFNh2m_XPvMkdYBL6mLzI/edit?usp=sharing I created this document a while back and update it every couple months....

      Link to Google doc: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Hc-Ti6Pff_qUZLAfzzL7WjhFNh2m_XPvMkdYBL6mLzI/edit?usp=sharing

      I created this document a while back and update it every couple months. There's an Introduction tab with guidance on how to browse the spreadsheets, which I've copied below for reference:

      (1) This document outlines various TV shows and is broken up into 3 tabs: Watched, Watching, and Want to Watch.

      Watched: Shows I've completed through series finale or given up on. Some of these were canceled early.

      Watching: Shows I'm actively watching day-to-day or shows in between seasons that will air new episodes in the future.

      Want to Watch: Shows I haven't started and want to watch. Many of them are recommendations I jotted down to avoid forgetting, so this list will sometimes be unalphabetized.

      (2) Certain columns of information were exported directly from IMDB, and the page for each show is linked in the rating from the IMDB column.

      (3) On the Watched and Watching tabs, there are columns for Recommend? and Notes to provide background that will help decide what to watch. Don't let any of my negative comments stop you from watching a show you're interested in.

      (4) The Recommended? column is divided into the following categories: Must Watch, Yes, Maybe, No. These are all based on personal opinion with extra discussion/information in the Notes column.

      (5) I've shared this with most people using View Only permissions, so download the Excel file (or copy to your Drive account) to filter columns by genre, rating, and personal recommendation.


      Disclaimer: not everyone will have the same tastes as me - that's okay. I welcome any disagreement about how I've rated shows and hope to get some discussion going.

      • What shows have I missed that I need to watch?

      • What shows did I strongly recommend that you didn't like?

      • What shows did I give up on too early?

      I expect to take some heat for quitting Brooklyn 99 around season 3.

      • What shows haven't come out that I should keep an eye out for?

      Like Jack Ryan which debuts this month.

      • How can I improve the document?

      I considered including a column with the show's network or where it can be legally streamed, but this is pretty tedious given the nature of broadcast rights.

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

      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...

      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