Futurama Gives Bender A Baby This Week In Science Fiction
Comedy Central, Wednesday 10/9c
Strap on your fing-longerers and set the TV to Comedy Central Wednesday night, everyone, because Futurama is returning with a double-dose of social commentary and occasional interstellar package delivery! Yes, the show that just wouldn’t die…no, that’s not right…the show that totally died but which is feeling much better now returns for another season with back-to-back episodes entitled “The Bots and the Bees” and “A Farewell to Arms.” The former finds Bender becoming a dad-bot after having a fling with the Planetary Express soda machine, while “Farewell” looks to take on the whole Mayan 2012 nonsense as the crew faces an ancient prophecy that predicts the world will end in 3012. (Well, if we’re all still here in 2013, I wouldn’t put it past the Mayan doomsday contingent to suggest they got the math wrong by 100 years…) Despite chugging into its seventh season, Futurama is still fresh, funny, and razor-sharp, and is definitely aging more gracefully than its other animated former Fox compatriots. Plus, it’s got celebrities’ heads in jars and it once made this joke. Here’s hoping Futurama is as long-lived as The Simpsons, but without the precipitous drop in quality. I’d hate to have to escort the show into the nearest Suicide Booth a few years down the line.
Eureka (Syfy, 9/8c) – “Smarter Carter”
For some reason, Carter’s intelligence begins to spike. Hence the name. Yes, it is a little on the nose. Will he exclaim the show’s name while stepping into a bath? Tune in to find out.
“The Devil Delivered and Other Tales” by Steven Erikson
Collects three different standalone takes by Erikson. Descriptions via Amazon:
“The Devil Delivered” tells a story set within the near future, where the land owned by the great Lakota Nation blisters beneath an ozone hole the size of the Great Plains. As the natural world falls victim to its wrath, and scientists scramble to understand it, a lone anthropologist wanders the deadlands, recording observations that threaten to bring the entire world to its knees.
“Revolvo” takes place in an alternate Earth where evolution took an interesting turn and the arts scene is ruled by technocrats who thrive in a secret, nepotistic society of granting agencies, bursaries, and peer-review boards, all designed to permit self-proclaimed artists to survive without an audience.
“Fishin’ with Grandma Matchie” is told in the voice a nine-year-old boy, writing the story of his summer vacation. What starts as a typical recount of a trip to see Grandma quickly becomes a stunning fantastical journey into imagination and perception in the wild world that Grandma Matchie inhabits.
“Existence” by David Brin
The Hugo and Nebula Award winner returns with a tale about garbage collection. That might sound dull at first, but the garbage collection is occurring in orbit about the Earth, as a man named Gerald Livingston discovers something new amongst the debris of decades’ worth of space launches. It’s an artifact, it’s not from our neck of the woods, and it seems to want to communicate…
Fake or Faked: Paranormal Files (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Into the Vortex/Tavern Shapeshifter”
The team examines the “Oregon Vortex,” an infamous roadside attraction where the laws of physics are said to go all wonky. (Or they’re just a series of optical illusions, but far be it from us to play the cynic…)
Hollywood Treasure (Syfy, 10/9c) — “X Marks the Prop”
Props from X2: X-Men United are on the block, and George Takei stops by to let them have a look at his Star Trek phaser prop.
The Invisible Man: Complete Series (Blu-Ray)
Not the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel version; this is the 1975 series starring David McCallum as a scientist accidentally rendered invisible and now fighting crime for a secret government agency while trying to discover a cure for his condition. The series hit DVD a few months ago, but for some reason the Blu-Ray version is only now arriving according to Amazon.
“The Long Earth” by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Pratchett and Baxter launch a new collaboration set in a world where a simple device has unlocked “Stepping,” the ability to travel across parallel worlds. A man named Joshua Valiente, who has the ability to “Step” without external help, is hired to explore as many of these divergent realities as possible. It sounds like this is planned as the first of a series, so if the premise intrigues you jump in on the ground floor(s).
Project X (Blu-Ray & DVD)
No, this isn’t the godawful-looking found-footage teen party flick from earlier this year. This is the 1968 SF thriller directed by the legendary William Castle. Here’s the official Amazon description, since I somehow missed this one during my weekly DoubleShock Theater viewings as a kid:
A secret agent, Christopher George (TV’s The Rat Patrol) is brought back from cryogenic suspension after surviving a plane crash during a mission. Through a complex scientific charade he is convinced that he’s a gangster living in the year 1968, the plan is for George to uncover a secret germ formula that had been hidden away years earlier. But the vital memories are being suppressed, so the authorities use ultra-advanced technologies to uncover the secret.
Space Children (Blu-Ray & DVD)
Another old-school SF flick finds its way to Blu-ray, this one directed by Jack Arnold (The Incredible Shrinking Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon). After a mysterious alien force begins communicating with the children of a top-secret California Air Force base, their parents must work to discover just what the hell is going on.
Saga #4 (Image Comics)
If you’re a comics fan and haven’t checked out Saga yet, it’s well worth tracking down the first three issues to catch up. Written by comics uber-genius Bryan K. Vaughn (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina), Saga is described as “Star Wars meets Game of Thrones,” but it’s actually much, much weirder than that. Set in a sprawling universe where SF tropes mingle with magic and the paranormal, Saga is gloriously odd in the very best way, featuring things such as an aristocrat with a television for a head, a lie-detecting cat, and dirty, dirty robot sex. Check it out.
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (Science, 10/9c) – “What Makes Us Who We Are?”
Via Science’s website: “What is it that gives each one of us a unique identity? As we move through life our outer appearances transform almost entirely. Our opinions and ideas change. Are we all born with a permanent sense of self or can our identities be altered?”
TRON: Uprising (Disney XD, 9/8c) – “Blackout”
Beck tries to destroy an energy drill that could destroy Argon City. That reminds me, you want to know which element is beloved by pirates?Beck tries to destroy an energy drill that could destroy Argon City. That reminds me, you want to know which element is beloved by pirates?
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (In Theaters, Focus Features)
What could be funnier than the end of the world? Steve Carell stars as a man on a road trip with his quirky-cute neighbor to find his high school sweetheart, which would be typical indie-film fodder if not for the looming asteroid that will soon destroy all life on the planet.
Arachnoquake (Syfy, 9/8c)
I just…I can’t even…just watch the trailer. (But hey, Eddie Furlong is still alive!)
Falling Skies (TNT, 9/8c) — “Compass”
Last week’s two-part season premiere offered up more of the same, but will the show flourish and strive for more than “just good enough?” In this ep, the group moves into an airport hanger that may hide unseen dangers, and Pope and the Berserkers scheme to overthrow Tom.