Posts Tagged ‘Aliens’

A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Dark Skies

The Primer is back, unexpectedly as it may be, to cover little known 90’s UFO series and X-Files coattail rider, Dark Skies. Set in the 60’s with the backdrop of the cold war ever-present, Dark Skies poses an alternative to what you thought you knew about that time. But is being a period piece and limiting yourself primarily to UFOs instead of the SFF kitchen sink approach enough for this series to stand on its own, or was it right to be so quickly forgotten? It’s time to find out.

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4 Alien Species of Earthly Origin–Friday Four

Voth EarthOne of the more interesting ways to introduce “alien” creatures into a science fiction world is to reveal that these apparent extraterrestrials are a lot more… terrestrial… than you’d think at first glance. Earth is an ancient planet, with 4.5 billion years checked off already, and that’s a tantalizing prospect for a writer. After all, who’s to say there wasn’t a civilization present for the early days of Earth, so long ago that no trace remains? There are a lot of human civilizations that have been lost to the ages as it is, so the thought of a nonhuman one disappearing isn’t exactly outlandish. From a scientific perspective, there are plenty of reasons to think there wasn’t one–no sign of resources having been extracted from the Earth prior to us, for example–but we can always fudge this for the sake of the story. That being said, here are four alien species who are a lot less alien than you might guess.

Spoiler warning–the reveal that these aliens are actually from Earth is sometimes a plot twist, so proceed with caution.

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A Quick Intro to the Aliens of Defiance

Diversity of DefianceIf you’re not into Defiance quite yet, but you’re wondering what the deal is, you’ve come to the right place. While the official site does indeed contain brief overviews, they’re a bit dated, and not as comprehensive as they could be. And after all, it’s the well-developed backstory that really gives Defiance its potential; it’d be a shame to bury it all. So, I’d like to take a moment to introduce any newcomers, or even those casual viewers wondering about the background of Defiance, to the various alien species we’ve come to know collectively as the Votan.

UPDATED: Season 3 Information added!

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6 Degrees of Science Fiction–Friday Four(-ish)

Kevin Bacon X-MenEver heard of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?” It’s a little game people like to play with celebrities, based on the idea that you can get from any one actor to another (typically the aforementioned Kevin Bacon) by naming someone who was in a movie with another actor, who starred alongside a third in a different movie, and so on, until you make it to an actor who appeared on screen with Kevin Bacon. Today’s Friday Four (well, six, this week) is going to engage in some fun trivia by pulling the sci-fi version of this–counting each jump from universe to universe, how many jumps away are some of the biggest Sci-Fi heroes from each other? Let’s find out!

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Why “It’s Just Science Fiction” is No Excuse for Bad Science

Shuttle on the MoonIf you’re not a fan of Doctor Who, you probably wouldn’t know it, but the recent episode “Kill the Moon” has been divisive, to say the least. Most of the disagreement hinges on one thing: the believability of the plot. Scientific accuracy in science fiction is often a sticking point for fans. Some enjoy very “hard” sci-fi, kept extremely realistic by using only technology that is plausible today. These kinds of shows are rare, since that means no faster-than-light travel, no artificial gravity (which is very hard to film), no humanoid aliens, etc. The alternative is “soft” sci-fi, which bends the rules of reality for the sake of storytelling. On TV, this is often not just story-influenced, but influenced by the budget, as well. Star Trek didn’t use human-like aliens because they wanted to; they didn’t have a choice, as puppetry or stop-motion would be too expensive, and CGI wasn’t an option in the 60’s (and barely an option for TNG in the 80’s). Even today, CGI often breaks the budget, so having CGI aliens in every episode isn’t possible. So why are some deviations from real science okay, and some not?

While I don’t want to focus too much on “Kill the Moon,” some discussion of it is necessary, so spoilers for that episode ahead, if you care. Read more

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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ANALYSIS: What “Putting the Damage On” Revealed

Doc Pottinger AmandaAs a character-focused episode, the events of Defiance‘s Season 2 Episode 5, “Putting the Damage On,” give us an interesting glimpse into the psyches of three of the main characters. Since this is likely to have big ramifications moving forward, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at just what these revelations mean for each of them.

Spoilers for episode 5, if that’s not already obvious.

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