This Week in Sci-Fi, February 22-28, 2015

color_nimoy_headshot[1]It’s a sad weekend for sci-fi fans. Leonard Nimoy has passed away, making him the third member of the Star Trek TOS cast to be lost after DeForest Kelley and James Doohan. His character of Spock has meant a great deal to me, and likely to you as well. He’s become a pop culture icon, one of the few figures to transcend genre and possess an almost universal popularity, due in no small part to Nimoy’s talents and contributions. And as we the fans mourn, let’s not forget the loved ones he left behind.

Still, there’s other news out there. So let’s continue on, heavy hearts or otherwise.

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Trope Teardown: Crazed A.I.

Hal9000Time for another new experiment here at RetroPhaseShift. I’m going to take a whack at disassembling some of the overly common tropes in sci-fi (or dare I say it–cliches). For our first entry, we’re going to go with the crazy robot/AI trope, looking at where it came from, how it has effected the genre in the time since, and possibly even its effects on the real world. Let’s get into the teardown, shall we?

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What Could Have Been: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 3? Shared Universe?

Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 3 Young and DogThe Terminator franchise has always been a bit scattered, to say the least. Each new installment tends to take what it wants from what came before, and ignore the rest, something that it was uniquely capable of due to the mechanics of time travel it used. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles was one of these, drawing from the first two films while ignoring all but a few select points (like Sarah’s cancer) from the third. It also ended up in the particularly strange situation of having a film come out during its run that subsequently ignored its continuity AND most of Terminator 3‘s. The show actually got off to a great start, with high ratings and critical praise, until it had the bad luck of getting caught up in the 2008 Writer’s Strike. The first season was abbreviated, but fans were reassured that it would return for season 2. And it did, but without Fox’s confidence this time. Finding itself in the Friday Night Death Slot after the mid-season hiatus, it languished there until cancellation. While the showrunner, Josh Friedman, has absolutely refused to give any clues as to how the show would’ve ended or where it would have gone after that agonizing cliffhanger it signed off with, other people involved in the show have been willing to share what they knew. From these threads, let’s piece together The Sarah Connor Chronicles season 3 that could have been.

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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.) Continue reading