Has the March Madness kicked in for any readers? Or does it make you crazy in a different kind of way? Know what I mean? That’s my schtick for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. There aren’t a lot of top quality choices like there were last week, but we make do, especially when Gattaca is back on Netflix. Here’s what’s new in streaming science fiction.
Gattaca (Netflix Instant)
Easily the best film of Andrew Niccol’s career so far — his upcoming reteaming with Ethan Hawke for the drone thriller Good Kill sounds intriguing — Gattaca is just about as good as sci-fi gets, with a depressingly prescient story of genetic perfection performed impeccably by Hawke and Uma Thurman. (As well the rest of this packed cast.) Niccol and cinematographer Slawomir Idziak’s visuals still feel fresh today, and science is getting closer to making eugenics a disturbing reality, which means future generations may indeed see a Vincent Freeman rise up…or sit down in a wheelchair, as it were.
The 100 (Hulu Plus)
The CW isn’t exactly known for creating amazing science fiction, and The 100 has not become the exception just yet. But the story it’s telling is large in scale, centering on 100 teenagers dropped onto an Earth that was abandoned for almost a century following a nuclear apocalypse. Up in the air, a space station containing the remnants of the human race is having problems of its own, both within the politics of its citizens and the logistics of surviving up there for much longer. The characters and their actions will need to be ironed out, but as long as the expectations for Emmy-winning acting are at a minimum, this could either be the best genre show The CW has ever given us, or maybe just a shameful guilty pleasure.
Undead (Showtime Anytime)
This decent 2003 zombie horror comedy is the writing and directorial debut of German-born Australian brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, best known for 2010’s Daybreakers, with the upcoming Robert Heinlein short story adaptation Predestination among our more anticipated features of the year. That said, Undead doesn’t bring anything new to the table in its tale of a girl (Felicity Mason) trying to leave her hometown for the big city, only to have a meteorite-spawned zombie panic block her path. Did I mention there are aliens, too?
Contracted (Netflix Instant)
Speaking of movies that could have been better but are still enjoyable enough to sit through, Eric England’s body horror Contracted tells the story of Samantha (Najarra Townsend), a young lesbian who is raped at a party and contracts some kind of a virus, which she initially thinks is sexually transmitted, but finds out it’s something a little more complicated than that. The low budget is often apparent through the direction and iffy plot, but Samantha’s journey is still unnerving, and the make-up did a good job of conveying that. Think of this as a student film David Cronenberg might have made during his first week of puberty.
Bang Goes the Theory – Season 6 (Hulu Plus)
This science education series from the BBC is like the older brother to the silly-but-informative Brainiac: Science Abuse, with a team of young presenters taking viewers into the science of our everyday lives. I’m not sure why we only get the eight-episode sixth season here, which aired in 2012, but you can expect to see segments covering the healthy benefits of hot dogs, homemade airplanes, Wi-Fi, the footsteps of a centipede, creating your own fuel, and traffic jams. Learn something this week.
UFOTV Presents: Pulp Fiction: The Golden Age of Storytelling (Hulu Plus)
And look, there’s even a documentary to add into our collective “feeling smarter” thoughts. This doc comes to us from UFOTV, more widely known for their conspiracy-and-UFO-driven catalog, but this is less about conjecture and more about the crazy early years of pulp fiction. Crime and adventure stories are covered, but a good amount of time is given to bug-eyed aliens and other worlds.
Have you watched Divergent yet? See you next week, folks.