Archive for the ‘Opinion/Analysis’ Category

What Could Have Been: The What-Ifs of The Arcology–Friday Four

The ArcologySomething different comes our way this week–as I’m running low on TV shows I can actually scrape up some research on, I thought it might interest some of my newfound readers to learn the alternate paths the story of my novel, The Arcology, could have taken. It went through a lot of revisions, some of them radically different. It seemed like a better way to present this was in the list format, so why not do it that way? I swear I’m not just trying to kill 3 birds with one stone…

Buckle in as we move through some possible versions of The Arcology and I give a bit of an idea as to why I didn’t go with them.

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What Could Have Been: Defying Gravity Season 2+

Defying Gravity Season 2Yet another show coming to us by special request, Defying Gravity was basically doomed from day 1 due to network mismanagement and a (frankly baffling) mix of genres that failed to find an audience. However, the show’s creator, James Parriott, had plotted out several seasons worth of material that would’ve been covered in subsequent seasons, and as is so often the case, what was coming was far more interesting than what we saw. The answers to Beta, Gamma, and the fates of these horrifically incompetent and immature characters were left hanging when the show was canceled. Here’s what I’ve found for Defying Gravity season 2 and beyond.

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A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: Defying Gravity

Defying GravityAfter a few months off, the Obscure SF Primer returns with a more recent show than most. Defying Gravity is a 2009 series that aired on ABC for a few weeks, and was pretty much doomed from the start by network mismanagement. Only 13 episodes were made, with some of them never being shown in the US until the DVD release. Defying Gravity is a bit of an odd bird, another genre crossover (like Century City) between the soap opera-esque antics of hospital shows like Grey’s Anatomy and ER and “relatively” hard sci-fi. As you might expect, these two radically different genres share very little in the way of fans; the mere mention of “Grey’s Anatomy IN SPACE” was enough to turn off your average sci-fi fan, while people who tune in each week for the ups and downs of character relationships couldn’t care less about the “science” and exploration that was supposed to be involved. But given all that, is there any redeeming value in this show for those of us no the sci-fi side? Let’s find out.

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Doctor Who Series 9 Retrospective

Capaldi Doctor Who Series 9Doctor Who undergoes its periodic changes from time to time, and our last big change was the arrival of Capaldi’s version of the Doctor last year in series 8. Series 8 was very much a mixed bag, and unfortunately it often seemed like the bad outweighed the good. And in a lot of ways, Doctor Who Series 9 has been much the same, but a clearer vision emerged as it went on. This season has been made up almost exclusively of 2-parters with running subplots, continuing the trend established last year. And there were also huge revelations and things we the fans have been waiting for appearing at last–but was it all done in a satisfying way?

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What Could Have Been: The Doctor Who TV Movie

McGann Doctor Who TV MovieAs we’ve done once before, instead of a season for a show that was canceled, this month we’re going to look at the plans for a series that never actually materialized at all. In this case, we’re looking at the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. The series was a co-production that aired on Fox, and was passed on for really stupid reasons that we’ll not get into here. But, given that it was essentially a pilot movie that was intended to lead into a full continuation of the classic BBC Doctor Who, there were quite a lot of plans as to where the show would’ve gone and what it might have included. How does it stack up to the eventual modern Doctor Who? Let’s find out.

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4 of the Least Effective Sci-Fi Rebellions — Friday Four

Chakotay Star Trek Voyager Sci-Fi rebellionsEvil empires are a sci-fi staple, and every evil empire is going to have its own sci-fi rebellions to deal with. The only problem? Well, the bad guys are way better organized and equipped. This isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, but for some of the resistance movements out there, it may as well be. Not every Rebellion has the Force on their side, after all, and some of them can barely agree that they’re all on the same side. When you add infighting, tactical missteps, and poor planning to the mix, it’s a miracle they ever even accomplish anything at all. With that in mind, here are 4 of the least effective rebel groups ever to show up in sci-fi.

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What Could Have Been: Max Headroom Season 2.5? Animation? The Max Headroom Movie?

Max CityEarlier this month I introduced Max Headroom, the fictional show starring the computerized celebrity of the same name. If you’ve read that you know I had a pretty high opinion of the series itself, a fine example of 80’s cyberpunk on its own and one of the only TV programs to venture into that territory at the time. However, it seemed the world wasn’t quite ready for the dystopian adventures of Max, and the show met with cancellation after two exceptionally short seasons. Production was still in full swing at the time, though, so what did we miss out on by this abrupt ending? or Max Headroom season 3? And hell, even in spite of the cancellation, their plans for Max’s world weren’t done–a Max Headroom theatrical movie, anyone?

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A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: Max Headroom

Max Headroom TitleMax Headroom occupies a weird spot as it relates to the Primer. Hell, everything about him and his origin is complicated. If you’re old enough to remember the 80’s (and I’m not), you’ll probably recognize the eponymous character, at the very least. He was a pop cultural icon for a while–a witty, irreverent “computerized” character that appeared in everything from Sesame Street to New Coke commercials… and yet the 1987 cyberpunk TV show that starred the character barely eked out 2 abbreviated seasons (14 episodes total) and is all but unknown as a result. I find him fascinating, a fourth wall-straddling fictional star who kind of became the thing he was originally designed to satirize. But is the show worth watching, or has it been rightfully forgotten?

Buckle up, this is a long one.

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What Could Have Been: Earth 2 Season 2

Earth 2 SettlementSo last week I introduced Earth 2 in the Primer, a series about colonizing an alien world with a heavy dose of environmentalism mixed in. Earth 2 had a strong start in the ratings but gradually crashed; the production company, however, wasn’t quite ready to cancel it yet, and decided to investigate the possibility of a retool first. With a change in showrunners, an Earth 2 season 2 continuation was pitched. While it ultimately didn’t get that renewal, we do have the leaked plans for what that second season pitch looked like. Big changes were certainly in store, but were they good ones?

Needless to say, a few spoilers for season 1 follow.

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A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: Earth 2

Earth 2Star Trek Voyager is often cited as the first sci-fi show with a female lead, and it was definitely touted as a selling point before it premiered. But as it turns out, Voyager was beaten to the punch–by this show, Earth 2. Premiering in 1994, Earth 2 focuses on–you guessed it–colonists trying to survive on an Earth-like planet after Earth has become unlivable. It’s very much in the vein of a space western, but it’s also a family show, and these two aspects clash from time to time. Lasting only one season, Earth 2 started off popular but plummeted in the ratings as it went on. Is that a sign of its quality, or did it die right as it was getting good?

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