Hot town, streaming in the city. The back of my neck isn’t getting dirty or gritty, and it’s because I’m able to lay back on a pillow and watch some of the things that Internet streaming has to offer. If you’re looking for hard sci-fi, this is not your week. But there’s a pretty good selection otherwise, both for learning and entertaining. And for cops on dinosaurs.
Axe Cop and Animation Domination High-Def Shorts (Hulu Plus)
Fox recently began their Saturday night line-up of animated shows to further their Sunday night “Animation Domination,” opting for shorter fare rather than full half-hour episodes. This is where you can find such clips as “Scientifically Accurate Ninja Turtles” and “Future Travel.” And while those are definitely worth the few minutes’ time it takes to watch them, the big draw here is the small-screen adaptation of Axe Cop, the comic created by Ethan Nicolle based on surreal ideas that his then-five-year-old brother came up with. Voiced by Nick Offerman, animated Axe Cop wields an axe much like his comic counterpart, in a huge world filled with zombies, dinosaurs, and robots. It’s a total blast, and makes me wish this were on when I was a kid. Offerman is joined in the voice cast by Ken Marino, Patton Oswalt, Megan Mullally, and Peter Serafinowicz, along with a slew of guest stars.
AE: Apocalypse Earth (Netflix Instant)
So you know it’s a slow week when a movie from zero-budget powerhouse The Asylum gets second billing on this list. And this one is pretty, pretty terrible. Made to mimic M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth, AE features Hollywood “greats” Adrian Paul and Richard Grieco and a team of Earth refugees fighting aliens on strange planet. I probably would have saved this for a Giant Freakin’ Queue Review, but I just ran out of cyanide pills. Example dialogue: the above image was pulled just as a character was saying, “I thought an antimatter power cell was good for a thousand years.” All it’s missing is Jaden Smith’s acting face.
Your Bleeped Up Brain (Hulu Plus)
Think you’re so smart? Well your brain is meant to make you think that. Your brain thinks all kinds of things that aren’t necessarily true. This currently airing H2 series features debunking genius Richard Wiseman — seriously, go read his book Quirkology right this minute — and others using tricks such as optical illusions and sleight of hand to prove that these tricks have, on a global scale, led to some of the most important moments in history. This first episode tackles Hitler and the idea that NASA staged the moon landing. Big ideas for a pretty cool show. If you’ve ever watched Brain Games on NatGeo, it’s like that just with real-life examples. We are prisoners to how we conceive things. Yipes!
Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (Netflix Instant)
Admittedly, sci-fi anime gets the short stick here on GFR, both because I’m completely ignorant of most series, but also because the actual science fiction is often mixed in with fantasy and mythology. But this series features a group of women called the Knight Sabers who pilot robotic exoskeletons in an effort to rid this futuristic Tokyo of rogue artificial organisms called Boomers that threaten society. It’s not a classic of the genre, but “women in exoskeletons” was probably enough to sway you already.
A Monster in Paris (Netflix Instant)
Don’t get me wrong, this animated French film from director Bibo Bergeron is first and foremost a comedy adventure with some music involved. But it takes its plot cues from monstrous sci-fi stories such as Frankenstein and The Fly, as it involves a creature created after a disaster in a lab. The creature then goes on to develop his beautiful singing voice and falls in love, all requisite plot points for a children’s film, but don’t let the sappy implications keep you away from this wonderful film. The English dub features actors such as Adam Goldberg, Danny Huston, Catherine O’Hara, and the creature is played by Sean Lennon.
OHM: Science and Nature (Hulu Plus)
Finally, we get back to reality for this series, which was released some years ago on the web-based OHM network. Like similar series, this one takes a look at different aspects of science, both historical and futuristic. Computers, water, light, energy, space, and the animal kingdom are but a few of the subjects detailed in full by this interesting show. Granted, an episode devoted to life in the Vatican seems out of place, but it isn’t a waste of time. The best episode to me is the final one, “The Catacombs of Palermo: Rosalia’s Secret,” because I tend to like mysteriously morbid subject matter like this.
Let’s all hope that August is a magical month when it comes to streaming sci-fi. It’s a fall/winter genre anyway. Thanks for reading, guys!