(Affects best possible British accent ever) “‘Ello, luvs. Just popped by to let you streamers know that Hulu got pissed on Old Fashioneds the other night and dropped a bunch of U.K. sci-fi round for everyone to get a gander at. While some episodes listed below are available on Hulu, most need the Hulu Plus subscription, but they’re the only place doing the job this week, so how’s about a pat on the bum for them?” That all fell apart before it got started. Get out your spare time for TV marathons, because you’re going to need it this week.
Doctor Who: Various Episodes, Seasons 1 – 26 (1963-1989)
There’s not too much that I can explain about the great Time Lord that 75 episodes won’t. What’s available is a seemingly random assortment of storylines. You’ll find that Colin Baker’s two seasons are absent, though most of Tom Baker’s seven seasons are here. If anything, I’m assuming this is a good crash course for people who never kept up with the classic era of Doctor Who. (Like me.) Take note that most of these are probably the same ones that Netflix has.
Doctor Who: Season 1 – Season 7, Part 1
Fans of the modern era will be glad to know that all seven seasons are available, plus the specials. Well, except for the final part of Matt Smith’s last season. Why does Hulu want to give people incomplete seasons like that? Somebody oughtta smack the wibble-wobble off their faces.
Torchwood Seasons 1 – 3
Caught up on all your Doctor Who and you need a more serious spinoff series? Time Agent Captain Jack Harkness and his band of alien-hunters will definitely do the trick. Assuming you haven’t watched this show to death already. It’s the kind of series that people either adore or think is sexed-up hammy shit. Unfortunately, the fourth season (Miracle Day), which was co-produced by Starz, didn’t make it here. So we’ll have to get our crazy Bill Pullman fix from somewhere else.
Red Dwarf: Seasons 1 – 9
After all that time travel and heightened seriousness, you might need some nerdy jokes and smegging awesome spacey situational comedy to spice up your Earthbound life, and Red Dwarf almost never fails. It helps that some of the seasons were produced years apart, so the intergalactic comedy doesn’t ever become achingly generic. The Red Dwarf crew goes through every kind of over-the-top sci-fi plotline, all while dealing with a fashion-hungry humanoid cat. And you guessed it! The tenth season, aired in 2012, is not available.
The Day of the Triffids (1981)
In this day and age where post-apocalyptic fiction is all the rage, The Day of the Triffids stills stands out as a unique take on society falling apart, as it comes at the result of a blindness-causing meteorite shower and a bunch of carnivorous plants — the titular Triffids. Starring John Duttine as potential savior Bill Masen, this miniseries certainly looks of its time, but is a refreshingly calm and unpretentious step back from the flashy “siss-bang-pow” that projects like this usually put forth. Another modern adaptation of John Wyndham’s 1951 novel has been in the works for years, and you can bet it won’t look anything like this one.
Survivors: Seasons One and Two
And speaking of post-apocalypses where the entire world has turned into a corpse-filled madhouse, there is Survivors, a not-terrible show that should have been better. Loosely based on the novelization of the 1970s project of the same name, this series follows a group of people who survive the European flu, a worldwide pandemic that leaves most of the earth’s population dead, crumbling society at large and making life quite dangerous. It’s nice to have a show where the lead character is a strong female (Julie Graham), but the story isn’t as strong as the actors putting it forth. However, at least you can watch the whole series, as all 12 episodes are available.
Invasion: Earth (1998)
Now how about some honest-to-goodness space action? Invasion: Earth may not be the best thing out there, but rare is a six-episode series this fully thought out and well delivered. It’s about a group of humans who have to stop an alien plot to destroy Earth, natch, but it works in some cool mystery elements involving a military man who went missing in the 1940s, and it’s a much darker take on the story than is often seen. And you’re free to make Tremors references any time Fred Ward is onscreen.
Life on Mars
While this crime drama doesn’t wallow in the science fiction, it tells the story of police officer Sam Tyler (John Simm), who gets into a car accident in 2006 and wakes up in 1973, working the same job in the same place. He can’t tell if he’s crazy or dreaming, and neither can his commander Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) or the audience. It’s a solid show, and worlds better than the American remake.
Outcasts: Season One
Well, Outcasts involves a colonized planet called Carpathia and deals with its citizens living during a nuclear conflict on Earth, five years away. It’s certainly got more sci-fi than Life on Mars, but it’s also one of the most dreadfully long and unexciting experiences you’ll have with a computer or TV. I’m just posting it for completion’s sake.
Perhaps next week, Amazon Prime will give us all the Japanese science fiction we’ve been craving. Hope these mostly doubled-up shows will keep you guys busy though. Is anybody else looking to an October full of scary sci-fi? I am. See you then, and thanks for reading!