Syfy Celebrates 20 Years (For Good Or Ill) This Week In Science Fiction
Syfy 20th Anniversary Special
Monday night, 9/8c
Like many a science fiction fan, I have mixed feelings when it comes to the network known as Syfy, formerly the Sci Fi Channel. Its current incarnation often caters to the lowest common denominator and seems disinterested — at best — when it comes to actually airing any original science fiction. The fact that Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome premiered as a web series while shows such as Haunted Collector get prime-time real estate sums up the sorry state of Syfy quite nicely. If the network once was a haven for geeks like us, now it’s trying hard to become one of the cool kids and refusing to take our phone calls.
But still, we had a lot of good times with the Sci-Fi Channel, didn’t we? Back before it got the stupid name change and started cluttering its schedule with awful “reality” programming. The Sci-Fi Channel brought us Battlestar Galactica and Farscape and Stargate and even a pair of pretty decent Dune miniseries. I’m thankful for the times when the Sci-Fi Channel actually lived up to that name and celebrated the genre we all love. There was a time when Sci-Fi genuinely did invite us to look upward and share the wonders. It’s just a shame the network was killed so young, only to be replaced by an unconvincing doppelganger that doesn’t seem to have a clue what it wants to be.
At any rate, if you can sit through it without being stirred to anger or dragged down into a deep depression, you can check out Syfy’s anniversary special tonight. Or you could just rewatch Farscape instead.
Doomsday Book (Blu-Ray/DVD)
We got a short glimpse at this odd-looking Korean flick nearly a year ago. It’s an anthology film featuring robots, zombies, meteors, and…well, just watch the trailer and see for yourself.
Futurama: Volume 7 (Blu-Ray/DVD)
The seventh “volume” of Futurama — not the same thing as the seventh season of Futurama — includes 13 episodes featuring “ancient prophecies, Presidents’ heads, robot gangsters, angry butterflies, and of course, sausage-making.” You’ll also get the usual array of bonus features, all trapped inside the adorable, medically incompetent head of Dr. Zoidberg.
In Search of… The Complete Series (DVD)
I’m a bit too young for this show to have been a staple of my childhood, but for those of you who remember it fondly, you can scoop up the whole run for a little over a hundred bucks. A precursor of shows like Syfy’s surprisingly entertaining Destination Truth, In Search of… had Leonard Nimoy hosting six seasons’ worth investigation into subjects like “lost civilizations, extraterrestrials, myths and monsters, missing persons, magic and witchcraft, unexplained phenomena.” What’s not to like?
“Peace” by Gene Wolfe
The SF book landscape is barren this week, but if you’re looking for something to read you might want to check out Peace, which is getting a snazzy new reprinting. Here’s the Amazon description:
Originally published in 1975, Peace is a spellbinding, brilliant tour de force of the imagination. The melancholy memoir of Alden Dennis Weer, an embittered old man living out his last days in a small midwestern town, the novel reveals a miraculous dimension as the narrative unfolds. For Weer’s imagination has the power to obliterate time and reshape reality, transcending even death itself. Powerfully moving and uncompromisingly honest, Peace ranks alongside the finest literary works of our time.
Dark Matters: Twisted But True (Science, 9/8c)
Speaking of shows hosted by iconic science fiction scientists, Fringe’s John Noble is back with more explorations of the weird, obscure corners of scientific history. This week, the show explores “Pavlovian experiments performed on orphans, red rain that fell in India, and a glow-in-the-dark paint from World War I that had a deadly ingredient.”
Person of Interest (CBS, 9:01/8:01c) — “Shadow Box”
“Reese’s latest case becomes personal after he realizes that he’s going after the sister of a soldier who was killed in action. Meanwhile, the FBI closes in on Reese.” Presumably that’s implying that Reese served with the aforementioned dead soldier, hence the personal connection.
Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) — “Black Blotter”
Only four episodes remain after this one! Tonight finds Walter doing a very Walter kind of thing: downing some LSD to try and remember something that could help defeat the Observers.
Dead Season (Syfy, 9/8c)
In case you’re so into zombies that you can’t already find your fill of them across multiple different media, here’s a Syfy movie where a pair of zombiepocalypse survivors seek shelter on a remote island. It doesn’t go well for them, obviously.
Tron Uprising (Disney XD, 12 a.m./11c)
Wow, somebody on this show must have pissed off somebody at Disney, because the show just got shifted from Friday nights to the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning. Maybe the MCP is behind it…
Beck falls into a trap and discovers a shocking secret that will annihilate all of his assumptions about his role as Tron’s mentee. While Beck is missing, Able helps uncover a plot to build a super-weapon.