Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

What Almost Wasn’t: 4 Near Misses in Sci-Fi History – Friday Four

StarkOn here, one of my most popular topics is “What Could Have Been,” where I go over the now-public plans for seasons and shows that never developed. But what about those times when these major losses were narrowly averted? Once in a while, things align just right, and looking back, it’s hard to imagine how the show could have continued without this one aspect. And yet, there were many moments of serendipity that ended up playing a huge part in these shows’ success. So today, we honor just a few of those close calls by looking at “What Almost Wasn’t,” with 4 near misses from the annals of Sci-fi history, focusing today on casting and characters.

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4 Finales That Ruined The Show – Friday Four

BSG EarthSometimes writers make missteps in their shows. They make a move, be it killing off a character, or retooling the show, or what have you, that enrages the fans. A lot of the time, this will kill the show, but not always. If not, the writers will backpedal, returning things to the way they were in the hopes of maintaining the show a little longer. But once in a while that misstep just happens to be right at the end, when the show was scheduled to finish anyway, and there’s no chance to correct it. And when that happens, the lackluster finale can be enough to, in retrospect, ruin the entire experience of watching the show. That’s what happened with these four, finales and final seasons that so radically changed what we knew about the work that it’s no longer enjoyable. This is a highly subjective thing, so I’m sure that plenty of people will disagree with my list, but all I can do is describe it from my perspective.

With that said, here we go. Naturally, it’s nothing but spoilers past this point.

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4 Installments that Killed their Franchises – Friday Four

ZillaIn their quest for creating profitable franchises, sometimes companies can get a little shortsighted. They push movies through before they’re ready, make dumb changes, and approve all kinds of things that never should have been approved. When enough of these mistakes come together, they can add up and start dragging down the resulting movie. Sometimes that means the film gets canceled, and sometimes it’s too late to cancel. They have to put out what they’ve got. And what they’ve got… is shit. The franchise the film was supposed to continue is shot dead in its tracks. While they might not stay down forever, these 4 films certainly did a number on their parent franchises.

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4 Films Ruined by Studio Interference – Friday Four

Venom Spiderman 3So, earlier this week I discussed the dark side of franchises, and how all that corporate ownership isn’t always a good thing. In that post, I mentioned Iron Man 2, a film that was burdened by its shared universe connections because of its place in the franchise as a launch point for The Avengers. It had to include flashback scenes with Howard Stark, Black Widow had to show up and bring all of S.H.I.E.L.D. along with her, and Nick Fury evaluating Tony’s potential. And then the post-credits sequence for Thor… Suffice it to say, it didn’t leave as much room for the main plot as most people would have desired, and Whiplash ends up coming off as a silly second-tier threat, at best. But while Iron Man 2 still has plenty of enjoyable scenes to it, not every film is so lucky. Here are 4 films ruined by studios in their quest for franchise creation.

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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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