Ground Control to major streamers, we are a go. There’s no reason to cancel all of your Maypole parties this week, as this isn’t the most prolific time for streaming releases. Nothing wildly popular here, but we’ve got a few things that have particularly strong fanbases, so here’s hoping there’s something you guys like.
Alphas (Amazon Instant Prime)
When this Zak Penn and Michael Karnow-created superpowers drama first hit Syfy, it was discarded by many as just a rip-off of NBC’s Heroes, though the fact that it wasn’t Heroes should have brought viewers in droves. It didn’t take long for this show’s decent blending of character drama with powers and special effects to catch on, and the show avoided its predicted early cancellation…only to get cancelled later on, but still. Dr. Lee Rosen (David Straithaim) leads a team of five hero types with interesting abilities who fight crimes committed by Alphas of the villainous variety. The show also stars Ryan Cartwright, Warren Christie, Malik Yoba, Laura Mennell, Erin Way, and Azita Ghanizada. All 24 episodes are here for you to dive into, so get started. Don’t make me get Nina to tell you to do it.
Warehouse 13: Seasons 1-4 (Amazon Instant Prime)
Another entry into the world that is Syfy’s shared universe, Warehouse 13 has for years been the only show on TV that falls under the sub-genre of “treasure-hunting procedural,” though it’s more complicated than that. The titular warehouse is a top secret establishment that houses tons of supernatural artifacts. Initially it was just Secret Service agents Myka (Joanne Kelly), Pete (Eddie McClintock), and the Warehouse’s Special Agent in Charge, Artie (Saul Rubinek), finding lost artifacts and discovering new ones, but the cast gets a little larger as time goes on, and their world opens up a bit. Secrets? Maybe. Conspiracies? Probably. I could watch Rubinek in anything, I think. The guy just nails this character so well. Warehouse 13 doesn’t sit so well with me, but its clever blending of mystery-adventure and science fiction has driven it through four seasons, with a fifth and final one coming later this year. It’s the best time to start watching, no?
What the Bleep Do We Know!? (Hulu Plus)
A fascinating film that presents a wealth of ideas about a theoretical connection between quantum physics and human consciousness, What the Bleep follows actress Marlee Matlin, whose world view changes throughout the film as she meets new people with different ideas about what the mind is supposedly capable of. The movie also splices in interviews from scientists and other people. Granted, critical thinkers will spend a lot of the movie calling “bullshit” on those “other people” for straying far outside the boundaries of hard science. But if you can keep your judgments at bay for 90 minutes, you’ll come out of it thinking about at least one aspect of your life differently. Possibly. What do I know?
The Revisionaries (Netflix Instant)
I missed this 2012 documentary popping up on Netflix last week, but I’m making up for my mistake. This highly frustrating doc takes on the growing rift between proper education and what the Religious Right thinks is a proper education. The Texas State Board of Education rewrites the teaching and textbook standards every 10 years, and due to the state’s ridiculously high number of students, the Board’s decisions unofficially become the standard for many other states. During Don McLeroy’s reign as Board Chariman, he completely retarded the educational system by keeping his Creationist beliefs and evolution disbelief at the forefront of his decision-making. Luckily for him, the film is subjective enough to humanize McLeroy as he goes through a tough re-election process, but it sickens me anytime people who don’t understand science control what science is to be taught. My blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.
Moonbase (Netflix Instant) and Dark Planet (Netflix Instant)
Finally, we now have two space action flicks from 1997, neither of which is actually worth much of your time. Moonbase deals with off-world prisoners who gain access to nuclear warheads, and it’s like what Alien 3 would have been if David Fincher or anyone with sense had nothing to do with it. And then Dark Planet, with a premise involving two opposing groups who work together once a mysterious planet is found on the opposite end of a wormhole. There was definite potential that was lost as soon as anything began happening. Why are we remaking classics when there are malleable shit storms like this to rework?
Thanks for joining me for this week’s Cross the Streams guys! A lot of pseudo-science on this list, which is never a good thing, considering two of them are documentaries. But hey, that’s a lot of TV to watch. Syfy TV, but still. See you next week!