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27 August 2009 @ 09:18 am
The Hoard Potato: SF isn't dead; it's just moved to ABC.  
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.

Tubetoob on August 27th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
Jericho was CBS, fwiw.
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"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."circuit_four on August 27th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Ah, have they got a plot again? *grin*

Nah, I'm just teasing, mostly deflecting my own shame for not having sat down and watched the damn thing beyond a couple episodes of Season 1. I've heard they've largely gotten back on track, and from plot summaries I've heard (I know, I know, they were non-con -- just stuff like Dharma Initiative icons and whatnot), there's no questioning this is a brilliant work.

I mean, for fuck's sake, they still hail Twin Peaks (rightly) as a work of genius, and will you just LOOK at how aimless it was?! Lost could have devoted three seasons to the adventures of Locke as a wacky sous-chef in Manhattan, intercut with scenes of boxing kittens and yacht races, and it would still be more coherent than Twin Peaks. :D
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Rikoshi Kisaragi: Numbersrikoshi on August 27th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm gonna have to second this. Season Four of "Lost" more than made up for some of the meandering of Season Three, and Season Five was set to HOLY SHIT the entire way through.

It's a time investment to get caught up from the beginning, to be sure, but definitely worth it, in my opinion.
"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."circuit_four on August 27th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Hmm, yeah. The only one from that list that truly excited me is The Prisoner. This is the first I've really known about a trailer, so I rushed straight off to find it.

I dunno. The acting didn't quite grab me -- except for McKellan, who was excellent of course. This is a tiny point, but just as an example, the shopkeeper who sells 6 his Village map was a little too... smirky. Maybe it's just that I'm used to The Prisoner being acted in more British emotional pigments -- subtler pastels like "chipper" and "arch."

I didn't see any really sterling signs that it meets my #1 criterion for loving it: awareness that it's a social allegory and a potentially damned trenchant one, truly updated for 21st century and the things that hinder human freedom now in particular.

And I really do miss the surreal architecture. The Mod stylization of The Prisoner isn't absolutely vital to me, but it was a vital part of the original's success. There are enough other good, recent models for filming a show like this -- Lost comes to mind, obviously -- but I really think the flat abstraction of The Village '67 helped life there feel mediated. You'd think that in the post-Cronenberg, post-CG era, they could be a little bolder at making the place seem truly unreal. "Gritty" worked beautifully for Battlestar; it's not right for The Prisoner, IMHO.

On the other hand, I am really intrigued by some of the new premises, like the total amnesia about the outside world. It could go either way, but the subplot with Number 2's deluding his own son about the outside world could be pretty gripping.

I'm probably investing way too much hope in the line "He only wants to do the right thing, and that's what will give him to me." There's some fantastic potential for critique of modern Britain and America and their global roles, there. I'm concerned that the lack of Cold War context will weaken the power of the show, but I also admit it's a big challenge for any writer and could be really rewarding if they pull it off. The Guantanamo subtexts should be obvious; I won't write the show off if they don't want to touch that, but there had better be something equally sharp in its place. [Aah, just got to 8:06 on a closer viewing. Hmmm...]

I do dig the new Village logo.

And wow, is that an actual minority or two? Neat! :D

Intrigued by the reference to "God" late in the trailer. I would have mad respect for these guys if they turned in elements of spiritual/mystical allegory -- again, like Lost.

Yay, they kept Rover! If my sweet, darling murder-bubble survived the executive vultures, it's entirely plausible that so will the libertarian spirit and grand surreality of the show.

If the show turns out to be remotely good, I want to start a betting pool on the ending. Seriously, I really do. My money's gonna be on "The Village is a purely mental/virtual construct." It's the shortest path to making it agonizingly contemporary. :)
A.R.M.: dapperkinkyturtle on August 27th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
"Chipper" and "Arch"
You mean these chaps?
"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."circuit_four on August 27th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
Re: "Chipper" and "Arch"
You are a genius. <3

(And as of today, courtesy of Australia post and a very kind and sweet benefactor, I am a freak with an inflatable head. But not at this very moment -- that would be silly and I'm not THAT good of a touch-typist... n.n; )
A.R.M.: Big Sciencekinkyturtle on August 27th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Re: &quot;&quot; &quot;&quot;
(Ooo! Glad you like it.)
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"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."circuit_four on August 27th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
Now, now, phooki. *pets your tail and refreshes your coffee* You know that there will ALWAYS be a place for Rover. If the Village won't take it, any of about 39 of my characters alone would be happy to give it a loving home and all the unmutual mind-nodes it can eat. ^_^
"And I realized I did want a drink, after all.": Tarvuistcircuit_four on August 27th, 2009 09:04 pm (UTC)
(Ooh, somehow it's never come up before... Have you seen any of the old British kids' sci-fi series The Tomorrow People? There was an very silly episode about "bubbleskin jumpsuits" that I think you might appreciate...)

(Heard things have been rough. Stay shiny, darlin'. **big hug** )
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"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."circuit_four on August 27th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
I've got it on DVD, thanks to the kindness of growf a few years ago. It's AWFUL but it's lots of fun. (Example: Optional drinking game: every time you see a 14-year-old boy in his knickers, DRINK. :D ) I've been meaning to break down and learn how to rip and encode video properly--I'll see what I can do, or better yet, point you to a Torrent link if I can dig one up? I think it's called "The Living Skins."
ebony14 on August 27th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
Defying Gravity looked, from all the commercials, to be something like NASA 90210 or Melrose Place in Space. No thank you.
Moonfire: pissedmoonfires on August 27th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
And yet ABC killed 'Life on Mars'.
"And I realized I did want a drink, after all.": bridgetcircuit_four on August 27th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. I didn't really follow the US version for very long, nor Ashes to Ashes, but I was a big fan of the original, so I could be biased. (Yes, I've heard the Big Spoiler for the American version: I was actually not horrified. :) )

But one thing I've always admired about British series is that they're often so concise. A lot of classic series (Spaced comes right to mine) only ran for a six-episode season or two, which kept them from dragging on and engaging in shark-jumping behaviors.

Life On Mars had one of the coolest premises TV's seen in a while, but is it really one that could've gone on for, say, six or seven years? If it had been left hanging without an ending, I'd say you should be absolutely livid about it. And if you feel they rushed it, that's totally legitimate -- I mean, look at what happened to Babylon 5 when they told JMS, "Oh, yeah. You're outta here. Wrap it up." But still, a lot of my favorite series got to remain favorites because the executives (who are still twits, I'll grant you) gave them a peaceful death before they could start running out of ideas.

I just kinda wish they'd make more good, risky, weird television in general. :/
Rikoshi Kisaragirikoshi on August 27th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, the second season of "Ashes to Ashes" was much better than the first, and the lead-in they've left for the third (and presumably final) season has me tingling in anticipation for next spring.
"And I realized I did want a drink, after all."circuit_four on August 27th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
Ooh, that's good to hear, thanks for the tip! Odd that it would run longer than Life on Mars itself, but I can kinda see that working out for the best -- it felt like they were having a little trouble establishing their premise compared to the original, and that's why I kinda drifted away. I'll have to check it out again!
Rikoshi Kisaragirikoshi on August 27th, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the second half of Season One is definitely better than the first half (and, as I said, Season Two is then much better than Season One).

I like it because it's definitely fleshing out the universe established by "Life on Mars" while at the same time not stepping on its toes, and I think that's important.
Moonfire: justmemoonfires on August 28th, 2009 07:00 am (UTC)
More and more hints and clues were starting to show up as the season progressed, but because of the cancellation, they had to rush it all up, and it felt that way. If they had the time to properly build up some more story, the series might have ended better.
Tombfyretombfyre on August 27th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
They must have not been advertising Defying Gravity all that much or something. I was seeing ads for it every day on the CTV broadband network and whatnot. They've been airing it online usually the same day as the new episode comes out on TV. :3
Terminotaurterminotaur on August 27th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was wondering about how one DIDN'T hear about Defying Gravity, but then again I watch The Comedy Network a lot, which is another division of the same media entity so I've been bombarded with ads.
Tombfyretombfyre on August 28th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
Yep, it was definitely all over the various CTV sites and outlets. :3 Eh, might have only gotten coverage on those channels.
Terminotaur: curiousterminotaur on August 27th, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm, what to say about Defying Gravity...

I'm still waiting to be really pulled into it. The premise is OK, but I think what Moore had planned would have been better.

That said, ummm, they tackle some things, but for a crew that's going to be out soo long, and that would have undergone a rigorous screening process they have a lot of hangups. Seriously, the ads for the next episode appear to have the ship's doctor unable to do his bloody job because he's having some serious PTSD stuff going on. No psych tests picked that up? Other are hallucinating (quite a bit for so early in), or have serious baggage. It seems also as if 1/3rd of the show is flashbacks to training/selection. It was OK for a while, but its starting to grate on me. If so much is "5 years ago" why not just start the show THERE? Then again maybe they have.

Of course there is a sinister undercurrent going on which I suppose will be what they start using to drive plot. Obviously something is odd, and a few at the top are aware of this, and it appears to be part of the reason for the mission. None of this aspect is clear so saying it gives away nothing. I'm betting on a version of extraterrestrial contact requiring they do something.

Overall, so far it doesn't really seem like you missed much.
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leonard_arlotte: Mwa ha hah!leonard_arlotte on August 28th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
Actually, they described that in the pilot. They are wearing suites with nanotech infused into it that is pulled toward the electromagnetic plates in the floor. Anything without the nano, such as a tomato, or vomit, will float free.

I have watched just two episodes on Hulu so far, and I really like the series. I'm going to try to catch up this weekend.

Of course, since I like it, I know the series is doomed.
Your Obedient Serpent: Warning: Nanoparticle Hazardathelind on August 29th, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
Everyting has to be nano these days.
They couldn't just say "metal shoes"?

Edited at 2009-08-29 02:49 am (UTC)