Yesterday was officially the first day of fall, and here in GFR land that means one thing: new science fiction series seeking eyeballs, and returning shows hoping to hang on to the ones they already attracted. NBC’s Revolution falls into the latter category, returning for a second season after a freshman year that struggled to find its footing until around the halfway point. Once the show ceased to be a road trip in search of an incredibly annoying and unlikable character, it turned the focus on explaining the mystery of the blackout (which they did) and showcasing the broader scope of the world 15 years after everything electrical on the planet simply stopped working. It left off with an explosive cliffhanger — literally — and set up a new faction that will surely throw the geopolitical landscape of the Once-United States into even more chaos. Both Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape, Defiance) and Ben Edlund (Supernatural, Firefly joined the writing staff this season, so we’re hoping Revolution finally lives up to its potential this year.
World War Z was one of the biggest surprises of the summer, proving damn near everybody wrong and taking in half a billion dollars worldwide. The movie that many predicted to be an utter train wreck was such an unexpected success that there’s a very real possibility that it will get a sequel a few years down the line. It definitely deviated from Max Brooks’ brilliant novel, but it’s still up for debate whether it succeeded on its own strengths or not. And who knows, maybe the sequel will be more faithful to the spirit and tone of Brooks’ work.
- “Origins” — The filmmakers discuss collaborating with renowned actor/producer Brad Pitt to create a zombie film the likes of which have never been seen.
- “Looking to Science” — Explore the scientific realities of zombie behavior in nature and learn more about zombies in literature and film.
- WWZ: Production
- “Outbreak” — Go on set with Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster for a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s breathtaking first attack in Philadelphia.
- “The Journey Begins” — Delve deeper into Gerry’s fight for survival during the dramatic escape in South Korea.
- “Behind the Wall” — Explore the epic scene in Jerusalem and discover the incredible logistics of creating the elaborate stunts and crowd sequences.
- “Camouflage” — Experience the final confrontation between Gerry and the zombies and discover the phenomenal scope of the film’s production.
Here’s what’s new This Week in Science Fiction!
There seem to be two different types of people: on the one side, the people who enjoy J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies; on the other, people who want to fiddle with Abrams’ transporter pad so he gets turned inside out like that poor bastard in ST: The Motion Picture. The latter group probably won’t care that Star Trek Into Darkness is coming to home video this week, but if any of you out there are planning to burn a copy in protest, you should at least know your options.
As with most high-profile releases, STID is arriving in the usual options: a 3D Blu-ray version that also includes a Blu-ray copy, DVD copy, and a digital copy. Next down the rung is the regular Blu-ray combo pack, which includes all of the above except for, you know, the 3D disk. If you loved Into Darkness enough to want to sink some serious cash into it, there are multiple retailer-exclusive versions, which include everything from extra bonus footage to a snazzy phaser replica. The release has earned some (more) controversy in recent weeks owing to the fact that you can’t actually get all the available bonus content unless you buy multiple different copies of the movie from different retailers. That’s certainly not unheard of in the home video market, but it’s still kind of a dick move to penalize people who are willing to throw down their hard-earned cash to buy your movie in the first place.
This week marks both a major return and a major departure on the science fiction landscape. Riddick, which opens this Friday, resurrects a franchise that seemed to be well and truly dead after 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick. Now director David Twohy and star Vin Diesel have conjured a second chance for Riddick, and if the movie is a success, they still have big plans for the character and the detailed universe they’ve created. Riddick definitely looks to be more of a return to basics, but plot hints suggest they haven’t entirely abandoned the Necromongers, Furyans, and the rest of it. Time will tell whether Riddick serves as the character’s big-screen swan song or a brave new beginning for a revived franchise.
Meanwhile, one of the more beloved genre shows of our time is taking its bows this week. Wednesday night Comedy Central will air the final episode of Futurama, wrapping up seven seasons, 14 years, and two separate cancellations. It’ll be bittersweet to see the final adventure for the time-lost Philip J. Fry and the rest of the Planet Express crew, but the show’s had a hell of a run. The final episode will have Fry proposing to Leela and one of Professor Farnsworth’s inventions mucking up the space-time continuum. I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up destroying all of reality, but I have a feeling they’ll once again demonstrate the writers’ talent for making us laugh and cry at the same time. So long, Futurama…
Here’s what’s new This Week in Science Fiction!
You wouldn’t expect it as August closes out, but there’s actually a lot going on across the science fiction landscape this week. Syfy’s Continuum, which has gotten surprisingly good, wraps up its second season this Friday, but fear not! Continuum has already been renewed for a third season by its Canadian home network, Showcase, so expect it to make its way down to the States sometime next year. GFR boss Josh Tyler has been raving about the show as of late, so we’re tentatively marking a vaguely summer-ish bit of our calendar in excitement.
Saturday night Doctor Who fans can tune in to yet another Doctors Revisited special on BBC America, this time looking at the Doctor who never really got his due…at least not on TV. The latest special will reminisce about the Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann in a single Fox TV movie that attempted to get American audiences hooked on the British classic, but which seemed to have arrived too early by, oh, ten years or so. Still, given the early buzz about what we’ll learn in the upcoming Who 50th anniversary special, now may be the perfect time to brush up on Eighth Doctor history…
We’re reaching the end of the summer movie season. We’ve already seen and judged flicks such as Star Trek Into Darkness, After Earth, World War Z, Pacific Rim, and Elysium. The fall still holds Riddick, Ender’s Game, Gravity, and The Zero Theorem. But for now, we’ve got time for one last bit of summer sci-fi. It’s last call, and The World’s End looks to be exactly the right flick to take in before you hop into a cab and leave the summer movie glut behind you.
The final installment of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto/Blood & Ice Cream Trilogy, The World’s End follows up on the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead and the action/buddy-cop satire Hot Fuzz. Once again, Wright and Pegg are skewering a popular genre, and this time it’s our very favorite one: science fiction.
You’ve got Pegg starring as Gary King, an alcoholic trapped in perpetual arrested development, gathers his friends in their hometown to complete The Golden Mile, an epic pub crawl they never finished in their youth. In spite of having grown up in ways Gary clearly hasn’t, Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andrew (Nick Frost) agree to come along, but they soon discover that The Golden Mile will pit them against more than nostalgia and potential alcohol poisoning. Their hometown has been overrun by a robot invasion, and it’s up to Gary and the boys to…well, saving the planet seems unlikely, but at least try and figure out what the hell is going on.
The World’s End hits theaters this Friday. Here’s what else is new This Week in Science Fiction!