The Avengers Assemble This Week in Science Fiction

Earth's mightiest heroes assemble, and Fringe begins its two-part finale.

By David Wharton | Updated

The Avengers
In Theaters Friday

If you’d told me ten years ago that an Avengers movie would actually someday make it to theaters, I would have called you crazy. Much less a high-profile Avengers movie directed written and directed by the Buffy the Vampire Slayer guy. If you suggested that it would be one of the biggest movies of the summer of its release, I’d give you a sound thrashing for talking malarkey and send you on your way. Nevertheless, here we are in 2012, and all of those things are true. When Marvel announced their plan to link their upcoming super-hero movies, all leading up to the Avengers movie, not even the surprise success of Iron Man could quiet the naysayers. Against all odds, against the fundamental underlying rules of reality, we’re about to see the release of a star-studded Avengers movie, written by an honest-to-gosh geek who loves the source material. (And by most accounts, it’s really damn good.) I haven’t been this excited to see a geek fantasy fulfilled since somebody decided to cast Scarlett Johansson as a character that constantly wears a black catsuit. Between the already released and awesome Cabin in the Woods, and with both The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus to follow this summer, it’s a damn good time to be a geek. And if you’re not a life-long Marvel fanboy, here’s a handy-dandy primer of things it would be helpful to know before diving into The Avengers.

Eureka (Syfy, 9/8c) – “Force Quit”
After last episode’s revelation that the Astraeus crew’s return home was not what it seemed, this week focuses on those who remained behind in Eureka as they continue their search for what really happened to the Astraeus.

Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Vanishing Victim/Sky Serpent”
On the docket this week: an alleged UFO abduction and a strange, fiery object spotted in the sky.

Invincible (Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier Series #2)” by Jack Campbell
Campbell continues the adventures of Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary and company. If you’re a fan of militaristic hard SF, Campbell – actually the pseudonym for retired Naval officer John G. Henry – may be right up your alley. Here’s a bit of the synopsis from Amazon:

Having defeated — or at least fought to a standstill — the alien “enigmas” in the previous book, Geary has taken his battered fleet through hyperspace only to run headlong into a second hostile alien race. While attempting to unravel the politics behind the Alliance’s orders that has brought him here, Geary must contend with a race that numbers in the tens of billions; worse, they have super-battleships vastly larger than anything he can bring to bear–and they have technology that can divert kinetic energy weapons.

The Invisible Man: Complete Series (Blu-ray & DVD)
To clarify, this is the 1975 series, not the more recent Sci-Fi Channel version. This incarnation stars David McCallum as Daniel Westin, a scientist experimenting with molecular disintegration. After learning that the corporation he works for plans to use his research for military purposes, he destroys it, in the process rendering himself permanently invisible. He dons a mask to appear visible and fights crime under the auspices of the KLAE Corporation, while also trying to find a cure.

Men in Black/Men in Black II (Blu-Ray)
With an unlikely third sequel arriving on May 25th, a full decade after the previous film, it’s no surprise to see the first two Men in Black films getting a new Blu-ray release. Both discs include special features such as audio commentary and extended scenes.

Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley,” by Robert Sheckley
This collection of Sheckley’s stories was edited by Jonathan Lethem (The Fortress of Solitude) and Alex Abramovich, but unfortunately neither Amazon, Barnes & Noble, nor the publisher’s site bother to list exactly which stories are included.

Awake (NBC, 10/9c) — “Slack Water”
Britten and Bird begin to investigate a gang-violence case, but clues in Britten’s other reality suggest there may be more to the case than it first seems.

Person of Interest (CBS, 9/8c) — “Many Happy Returns”
Finch gives Reese a day off for his birthday, but the Machine’s latest number may bring up painful memories for Reese.

Touch (Fox, 9/8c) — “Zone of Exclusion”
Jake tries to help reunite a woman with her mother and twin sister, while an Italian woman frets after her astronaut husband goes out of contact while on a mission.

friday sci-fi

Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) — “Brave New World, Part 1”
The show’s two-part season finale begins tonight…but it’s coming back next season! A case of spontaneous combustion forces Walter to confront his past as the team prepares for a confrontation with David Robert Jones.