Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

4 of the Weirdest Alternate Realities – Friday Four

D'Argo JoolOne of the most interesting opportunities presented by science fiction shows is that of the alternate universe. It gives us a glimpse at another version of our heroes, in a reality where things turned out slightly differently. Perhaps they lost the climactic battle, or maybe someone died early on and caused the group to splinter. Sometimes the differences in these alternate universes (or realities, or timelines, or any other different world from the primary) can be absolutely huge–entire characters might be missing or new ones exist in their place, or worse, the entire landscape of the setting is changed, like with Star Trek‘s Mirror Universe. But there are also these, alternate universes where one can’t even quite imagine how they got to the state they’re in.

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4 Upcoming Sci-fi Shows to Watch – Friday Four

AscensionWe know now that Defiance has been renewed, and there’s still 19 episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to go (with Agent Carter in the middle, too), but what about new shows? Are there any upcoming sci-fi series that fans should be keeping an eye out for? On the immediate horizon, there’s Syfy’s Ascension, which, while just a miniseries, is looking pretty good (and being a miniseries didn’t stop Battlestar Galactica from getting a full pickup). It’s set to premiere November 24 (UPDATE: It’s been pushed back to December 15. Bummer), and deals with a generation ship secretly launched in the 1960’s. Better still, it’s an original property, not an adaptation or tie-in to something bigger. If we look a little further out, beyond 2014, there are these shows, (hopefully) making their way to our screens next year. So here are 4 new series that are currently in development.

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4 Awful TV Dystopias You Wouldn’t Want to Live In – Friday Four

AvengersWatching TV can be a very enjoyable experience, but have you ever considered what it would be like to live a life like your favorite character’s? While we tend to look up to our heroes and hope to emulate them, if most people really thought about it very few would want to be them. The kind of world that TV protagonists live in is often an awful one full of crime, corruption, enormous alien threats and facing death on a daily basis. Take Agent Coulson, for example–he got stabbed by a Norse god and forcibly brought back to life, forever changing who he is. The organization he dedicated his life to is in shambles, and now all the responsibility for trying to rebuild it is on him, including the lives of both the people under his command and of the innocents caught up in the crossfire. But it wouldn’t just suck to be Coulson, or part of SHIELD; imagine being an ordinary Joe in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, left powerless while gods and supersoldiers do battle for the fate of the planet. It’s downright horrifying, when you think about it.

And while there are some exceptions (I think we all want to live in the Star Trek Federation. Replicators and holodecks, anyone?) TV is littered with these kinds of unpleasant worlds. So here are 4 of the worst universes to live in that have ever been shot on camera.

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4 Strange Sci-fi Crossovers – Friday Four

Doctor Who Dimensions 2Crossovers are a funny thing; as I alluded to earlier in the week, most early crossovers were between popular shows on the same network that weren’t necessarily meant to be in continuity with each other when they were created. That’s how we end up with things like Adam West’s Batman and the original Green Hornet in the same universe. This tends to have some strange consequences, where previous in-jokes (like Batman watching Green Hornet on TV) no longer make sense or cause outright contradictions when trying to combine the two continuities. And while a main character crossing over is by far the easiest, most obvious, and hardest to deny of all the crossover types, there are many, many other ways for two shows to imply that they coexist in the same universe–some of which don’t even necessarily require permission from one of the shows! And that’s how we end up with these, some of the weirdest crossovers seen on TV.

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4 of the Most Frustrating Unresolved Cliffhangers – Friday Four

SGU Destiny FirefightAs a television viewer, odds are you’ve had a show you enjoyed canceled prematurely. Sometimes this is okay; the last episode of Almost Human is probably the best ending it could have realistically asked for. But other times, especially for shows that had orders for a full season upfront, the producers were fairly confident they’d get renewed, and chose to end their season finale with a cliffhanger (like the rebooted V). And then, for whatever reason, the show wasn’t renewed, and… oops. Fans are left with a finale that placed their favorite characters in a trap of unavoidable death, the bad guy in command of the starship, or with hundreds of killer robots surrounding their base, giving a nasty implication about the fate of the heroes and their world. So this week, we’re going to countdown some of the most aggravating unresolved cliffhangers in sci-fi TV history. (Obvious spoilers ahead.) Read more

4 Films Unnecessarily Adapted for TV – Friday Four

Logan's Run Ape CameoSo, there’s been talk recently of a Minority Report TV series, and it looks like it’s moving ahead at full steam. While I’m highly skeptical that the show can succeed (it’s almost like someone forgot to tell the producers this is supposed to be a horrible dystopia), it would hardly be the first film needlessly adapted to fit television. This is a little different from something like Agents of SHIELD, which is still in continuity with an ongoing film series; instead, it’s trying to take a plot that worked for one film and turn it into a long running TV series. In the past, this has occasionally been successful, with Stargate SG-1 as by far the best example. In that case, the show took the loose premise of the film–that there exists a network of stargates, established by ancient aliens, that can be used to travel interstellar distances instantaneously–and ran with it, going places the film would never have dreamed of exploring. It’s such an open premise that the possibilities for stories in this universe are almost endless. And then there are these, films which barely had enough plot for 90-120 minutes that someone tried to stretch out far beyond what it could support.

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4 Doctor Who Spinoffs You Didn’t Know Existed – Friday Four

K-9When people like something, they want more of it. It’s a fairly simple concept, and one that lies at the heart of the franchise phenomenon. Doctor Who is, of course, no exception to this. Its varying levels of success over the years have led to the creation of a large number of spinoffs throughout its 50+ year history. Modern ones like The Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood are fairly well known and popular in their own right. Some are strangely specific, like the K-9 spinoff that ran on Disney X D in Australia. Hardcore fans are likely familiar with older attempts, such as the Peter Cushing film Dr. Who and the Daleks, which is about a human male named Dr. Who, who creates a time machine and proceeds to go on adventures strangely similar to those from the series. And then there are these, spinoffs that have all but fallen off into the abyss of time.

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4 Shows That Wasted Their Premises – Friday Four

Kennex expresses the way most viewers seemed to feel.

Kennex expresses the way most viewers seemed to feel.

Pilot season is always an interesting time for me. There’s a huge amount of new shows every year, and so few of them will actually end up being aired, and of those even fewer will get to finish out their season, much less get renewed for a second. Reading over the press releases, each show has its little elevator pitch-like description beneath it, designed to hook you on the premise as quickly as possible. And often times, it’s easy to see how that pitch could convince someone to produce the show. For example, here’s Defiance‘s press description:

Set in the near future, Defiance introduces an exotically transformed planet Earth, its landscapes permanently altered following the sudden – and tumultuous – arrival of seven unique alien races. In this somewhat unknown and unpredictable landscape, the richly diverse, newly-formed civilization of humans and aliens must learn to co-exist peacefully. Each week, viewers will follow an immersive character drama set in the boom-town of Defiance, which sits atop the ruins of St. Louis, MO, while in the game, players will adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? I remember being very excited when it was announced because I honestly hadn’t seen a sci-fi show like that before. And Defiance has, more or less, lived up to its premise, even if the focus can be a little narrow sometimes. Not every show is so fortunate, however; the television landscape is strewn with the husks of sci-fi shows that failed to live up to their high concept promises. And it’s always a real shame, too, to look back on these wasted premises and imagine the amazing shows that could have come out of them. With that in mind, here are a few shows that fizzled out early on, leaving behind a premise unfulfilled.

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