Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Otherworld

Otherworld Title CardThe Primer is back with another odd, forgotten series: Otherworld. Originally debuting on CBS in 1985, Otherworld tells the tale of the Sterling family, who get lost in an alternate, dystopian world called Thel after being ditched in a pyramid by their tour guide during a once-in-10,000-years planetary alignment. Stranded in a world of androids, beastmen and authoritarian rule–how did they get there, and how can they get back? Given its short, 8-episode season, the odds are against them, but let’s find out. Read more

A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Legend

Legend 1995 TV title cardThe Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer returns for the new year with another unusual genre crossover. We’ve done the SF legal drama; we’ve looked at a sci-fi soap opera; and now, it’s time for the Western genre to have a taste of science fiction goodness. While we often hear about the Western influence on the sci-fi genre, through shows like Star Trek with its “Wagon Train to the Stars,” or most obviously in Firefly, it’s not too often that this influence flows in reverse–but 1995 UPN series Legend is one such example. There have been others, and more notable ones, too, like The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., so what makes the brief, 12-episode Legend worth a look first? Come along and learn why.

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A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Space Rangers

space rangers title cardThe Obscure Sci-Fi Primer is back once again, this time looking at the shortest show we’ve ever seen, clocking in at only 6 episodes. Space Rangers was a 1993 military/action series, following a team of part-police, part-military Rangers on their adventures out of the growing colony of Fort Hope on the planet Avalon. Space Rangers was created by Pen Densham (the 90’s Outer Limits) and originally aired on CBS, right at the time where numerous other amazing scifi series got their start on other networks (or in Star Trek‘s case, no network at all!). Did Space Rangers get the short end of the stick, or was it just as bland and generic as its name implies? Let’s find out.

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A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Star Trek: The Animated Series

star-trek-tas-titleIn keeping with the theme of celebrating Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary recently, I’ll be looking at the most obscure show within that universe: Star Trek: The Animated Series. You might say it’s not that obscure, to which I would point at the “subjective” part of the title. With its odd art style, kid-friendly nature, and dubious canonicity, it’s undoubtedly the least watched and least appreciated of the various Star Trek shows. But does it deserve a second look, and is it worth watching for an adult viewer today? Or should it be tossed in the discontinuity bin alongside such “gems” as Stargate Infinity? Let’s find out as I watch it for the first time.

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A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Cleopatra 2525

Cleopatra 2525 titleA most unusual show appears this month as the subject of the Obscure Sci-Fi Primer in the form of Cleopatra 2525, from the same production company that brought us M.A.N.T.I.S. This 2000 series pretty much hits all the boxes on our obscure sci-fi bingo card: it was originally syndicated; it had a format change, moving from a half hour to hour-long in its second season; a campy, zany premise; low production values; abundant fanservice; and it debuted right at the tail end of the sci-fi boom that hit during the 90’s. It’s sort of got a “Charlie’s Angels after the robot apocalypse” vibe to it. We all know that shows with any one of those problems aren’t necessarily bad, but is there anything to be said for Cleopatra 2525 if it has all of them? Let’s find out.

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A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: M.A.N.T.I.S.

MANTISLike an eclipse in the dark night sky, the Obscure Sci-Fi Primer makes its periodic reappearance. And speaking of things that emerge in the night, our subject this month is a vigilante-by-night superhero series M.A.N.T.I.S. A 1994 series, it debuted on Fox and, surprise of all surprises, lasted only one season. That might not sound like a recipe for success, especially given that better known superheroes had been failing to find an audience on TV for years at the time, and M.A.N.T.I.S. followed an original character that no one had any preexisting reason to care about. But this show had some interesting creative forces behind it–namely Sam Hamm (writer for Batman 1989 and Batman Returns) and Sam Raimi (known at the time for Evil Dead, but who would go on to spark the modern Superhero Movie craze with Spider-Man 2002). While it’s largely remembered today for being one of the first film or TV productions to focus on a black superhero, this aspect was… well, a big part of why the show struggled to find an audience, unfortunately. This didn’t factor into the plot or character as much as the creators wanted it to, which leads one to ask: did the show that made it to air deserve to find an audience? Let’s find out. Read more

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Retrospective

ReentryAs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. draws its third season to a close with the promise of a fourth already secured, it’s coming into its own as a quality production within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there are quite a few people who, these days, might question where SHIELD really is within the MCU at all any more. The stakes are always getting higher, and the question becomes harder to deny than ever before: how are these events not catching the attention of the Avengers?

Let’s take a look at how SHIELD season 3 developed and what it means for the MCU as a whole, and the connection between TV and film projects within it.

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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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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S3E3 Review: A Wanted (Inhu)man

Sparks FlySHIELD is back at full force in an episode that’s probably among the most grounded they’ve ever had. Keeping a world full of superpowers relateable is tough, but the best way to do that is to focus on emotion and relationships, and that’s where this episode shines.

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