Guy Pearce Channels Snake Plissken In Lockout This Week In Science Fiction
(On Blu-Ray & DVD Tuesday)
Let’s be honest right up front: Lockout is not a great movie. It is, however, an entertaining guilty pleasure if you’re in the mood for a bit of sci-fi action that doesn’t remotely take itself seriously. Based on an idea from Luc Besson, who also co-wrote the screenplay, Lockout stars Guy Pearce as sardonic badass Snow, wrongly convicted of espionage and offered a pardon if he can infiltrate an orbiting maximum security prison and rescue the President’s daughter, now held captive after a convict-lead takeover of the station. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s pretty much the plot of Escape from New York. And in a world where outright remakes and reboots are the norm, I have to give Lockout credit for at least relocating the action to a location that is slightly less nonsensical. The main attraction here is to watch Pearce chewing the scenery and Lost‘s Maggie Grace playing a more capable distressed damsel than she did in Taken. Lockout won’t be finding its way into many people’s collections, but if you don’t mind your SF with a generous helping of cheese, it’s a fun way to kill a lazy afternoon.
Eureka (Syfy, 9/8c) – “Just Another Day…”
“Wormholes randomly materialize around Eureka as the Department of Defense is set to shut the town down in the series finale.” Syfy’s long-running series finally reaches its conclusion tonight, with what sounds like a long-overdue case of the DoD deciding that funding a secret town of mad scientists whose work regularly threatens the nation/planet/space-time continuum maybe isn’t the best of ideas.
Lost (G4, 8/7c) – “Pilot”
Love it or hate it, Lost was one of the most controversial, most talked-about, and often most-compelling series of recent memory. If you’re looking to revisit the Island and don’t own the series, G4 will be airing the entire series, four episodes at a time, each Monday night.
Alphas: Season One (DVD)
As one of Syfy’s series is bowing out (Eureka), one of its best newcomers is about to return. Working from the same “superheroes without spandex” template as the late Heroes, Alphas follows a group of powered individuals lead by a scientist (David Strathairn) and working for the government to investigate those who use their abilities for nefarious purposes.
Destination Truth (Syfy, 8/7c) – “Ghosts of Cannibal Village/Capre”
Josh Gates and company go hunting cannibal ghosts and water monsters. Presumably not at the same time. Although I do think it’s long past time somebody got to the bottom of our nation’s cannibalistic ghost water monster problems.
“Earth Unaware” by Orson Scott Card, Aaron Johnston
Set in the same universe as, but a century before, Card’s Ender’s Game books, Earth Unaware centers on humanity’s first contact with an alien species. Via Amazon:
The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth, in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Pluto. Other mining ships, and the families that live on them, are few and far between this far out. So when El Cavador’s telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, it’s hard to know what to make of it. It’s massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light.
But the ship has other problems. Their systems are old and failing. The family is getting too big. There are claim-jumping corporates bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt. Worrying about a distant object that might or might not be an alien ship seems…not important.
They’re wrong. It’s the most important thing that has happened to the human race in a million years. This is humanity’s first contact with an alien race. The First Formic War is about to begin.
“Energized” by Edward M. Lerner
Set in an all-too-believable future where the Earth’s oil supplies have dwindled to critical levels, Energized sees our planet’s inhabitants turn lemons – an incoming asteroid named Phoebe – into lemonade – capturing the asteroid to be farmed for resources. Naturally, we then find some way to turn that amazing accomplishment into a source of discord, power struggles, and treachery. Go team!
Eureka: Season 5 (DVD)
Talk about a quick turnaround! The day after Eureka wraps up its final season on Syfy, that selfsame season releases on DVD. The show’s fifth season finds the inhabitants of Eureka searching for the members of a lost space mission, trying to avoid weekly disasters, and rubbing elbows with geek-royalty guest stars Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Blu-Ray)
There have been countless versions of the Body Snatchers tale made over the years, but this one is still the best. Kevin McCarthy stars as a doctor in a small California town who begins to suspect that something strange is going on after multiple patients have breakdowns and claim that their loved ones have been replaced by imposters.
Sanctuary: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-Ray & DVD)
Despite having run nearly as long as some of Syfy’s other shows, for some reason I always forget that Sanctuary exists. The show isn’t returning, so if it’s been flying under your radar as well, now you’ll be able to watch the full run. Amanda Tapping stars as the 157-year-old head of a team that investigates powerful creatures and individuals known as “Abnormals.”
Futurama (Comedy Central, 10/9c) — “The Butterjunk Effect”
Amy and Leela begin participating in a sport called “butterfly derby,” and then decide to make themselves even better with a performance-enhancing substance known as nectar.
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (Science, 10/9c) – “Can We Eliminate Evil?”
I have no idea, but eliminating the cast of Jersey Shore would be a good start. Tonight’s episode examines “brain research concerning efforts to neutralize evil and stimulate altruism.”
Misfits (Logo, 10/9c) – “Episode One”
Alphas isn’t the only “down-to-Earth superheroes” show in town, and tonight this acclaimed, BAFTA-winning British series premieres exclusively on Logo. Described as “the mutant offspring of True Blood and X-Men, Misfits‘ band of super-powered youths sport the old standards such as invisibility and time-distortion but also throw in a wild card with a girl who can “send others into sexual ecstasy with a mere touch.” Does that include herself? Because that could get awkward out in public.
The Dark Knight Rises (In Theaters)
Do I even need to say a word? Who cares whether it’s science fiction; you’re not going to find a more anticipated movie in theaters this week. Or probably for the next six months or so. Let’s hope Nolan and company finish strong.
Dark Matters: Twisted But True (Science, 10/9c) – “Resurrection Row, Operation Brainwash, Rabid Roulette”
Hosted by none other than Walter from Fringe (John Noble), this week’s installment of Dark Matters looks at Louis Pasteur’s rabies vaccine, secret CIA experiments, and Frankenstein-ish attempts to raise the dead.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9/8c) — “Molon Labe”
I’m liking where this show has been headed in recent weeks, with the revelations of a brewing rebellion within the ranks of the Skitters making them more than just a two-dimensional villain. Here’s what TV Guide says we’ve got to look forward to on Sunday night: “Ben falls into a dangerous situation, thanks to a person he trusted. Meanwhile, Tom ensnares another captive; Weaver offers Matt a job; and the unit face a new enemy when they’re trapped in the basement of a building.”