Some days there’s just not much going on in the world of science fiction, a fact that occasionally makes it hard to come up with enough interesting material to fill out this column. Today…is not one of those days. The TV schedule is packed to bursting with notable science fiction, including a Thor: The Dark World tie-in episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a marathon of the Ninth Doctor’s episodes on BBC America, a new futurism/technology show hosted by James Woods, and more.
You can also help fill out your video shelves quite easily today. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End hits Blu-ray today, so plan your very own “Three Flavours Cornetto” marathon, but don’t forget to stock the bar first. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s snazzy, remastered fifth season comes to Blu-ray today as well, bringing high-def versions of some of the show’s best episodes, including “Darmok,” “The Inner Light,” and the “Unification” two-parter. Are your tastes a bit more cultish and eclectic? Both Night of the Comet and Tank Girl are getting new collector’s editions today as well.
Here’s what’s new Today in Science & Science Fiction!
Today in Television
Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Marathon (BBC America, 10 a.m. / 9 a.m. Central)
BBC America kicks off its series of Who marathons with the adventures of Christopher Eccleston as the (still) Ninth Doctor. Moffat already pulled off one big surprise, so who knows, maybe Eccleston will pop up in The Day of the Doctor after all.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 8/7c) — “The Well”
It’s a Thor tie-in! “A crossover episode with Thor: The Dark World (2013) finds the agents dealing with the aftermath of the film’s events, which pose a danger to one member of the team.” Scuttlebutt says they’ll be scouring the scene of The Dark World’s impressive climax in search of any wayward Asgardian artifacts.
Black Mirror (DirecTV, 9/8c) — “15 Million Merits”
In a bleak,automated future Britain Bing is one of millions who pedal exercise bikes to create energy as a living. Their currency is merits, tokens with which to buy food from vending machines and which can be increased or decreased according to which shows one watches on giant television screens. A popular choice is ‘Botherguts’, which humiliates over-weight citizens. But Bing uses his merits as entrance money to get sweet-voiced fellow worker Abi onto the TV talent contest ‘Hot Shot’. Unfortunately, despite her talent, she is but one of a glut of singers and ends up on the porn channel ‘Wraith Babes’. An enraged Bing saves up another lot of merits and gets onto ‘Hot Shot’ to denounce its falseness. But will he be seen as a new Messiah or a voice crying in the wind and forced to sell out?
Face Off (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Naked and Painted”
McKenzie Westmore hosts the hour, which brings in the cast of Naked Vegas and former Face Off contestants to explore the art of body painting.
Futurescape (Science, 10/9c) — “Robot Revolution”
What if you could read minds using a Bluetooth device, or have your own personal superhuman Iron Man-style suit? How about curing cancer by inserting a “super chip” into the human body? What was once considered science fiction is more of a reality than you may think. A future that once existed solely in the human imagination is beginning to take shape. Science Channel and celebrated actor James Woods take an unprecedented look at the next breakthroughs in science and technology.
Person of Interest (CBS, 10/9c) — “The Crossing”
TODAY IN BLU-RAY/DVD
New to DVD! Digitally remastered Doctor Who classic The Tenth Planet! The TARDIS arrives in December 1986 at a South Pole Space Tracking station where the personnel, under the command of General Cutler, are engaged in trying to talk down a manned space capsule that has got into difficulty. The Doctor realizes that the problem stems from the gravitational pull of another planet that has entered the solar system and is now heading for Earth. His words are borne out when the base is invaded by a force of alien Cybermen. The Cybermen’s world, Mondas, is draining energy from Earth — once its ‘twin planet’ — and the situation will soon become critical.
‘Drew: The Man Behind The Poster‘ is a feature-length documentary highlighting the career of poster artist Drew Struzan, whose most popular works include the Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Back to the Future and Star Wars movie posters. Telling the tale through exclusive interviews with George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Michael J. Fox, Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg and many other filmmakers, artists and critics, the journey spans Drew’s early career in commercial and album cover art through his recent retirement as one of the most recognizable and influential pop culture artists of all time.
Night of the Comet: Collector’s Edition (Blu-Ray Combo Pack)
It’ s the first comet to buzz the planet in 65 million years, and everyone seems to be celebrating its imminent arrival. Everyone, that is, except Regina Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart, The Last Starfighter) and her younger sister Samantha (Kelli Maroney, Chopping Mall), two Valley Girls who care more about fashion trends than the celestial phenomenon. But upon daybreak, when the girls discover that they’re the only residents of Los Angeles whom the comet hasn’t vaporized or turned into a zombie, they do what all good Valley Girls do…they go shopping! But when their day of malling threatens to become a day of mauling, these gals flee with killer zombies and blood-seeking scientists in hot pursuit!
Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Five never looked more stunning than it does on Blu-ray with 1080p high definition picture. Experience enhanced visual effects rebuilt from the original elements and surround yourself with the digitally remastered 7.1 sound (or choose the original broadcast audio). You’ll feel like you’ve plunged into the 24th century for some of the series’ most thrilling moments, including the epic two-part episode ‘Unification’ as Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) pursues a rogue Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) into enemy Romulan territory. Discover all-new, never-before-seen bonus features as you join the USS Enterprise on the ultimate voyage.
The epic two-part story seamlessly unified into one feature length presentation! Leonard Nimoy reprises his iconic role as Spock and joins the crew of the Enterprise in this fan-favorite double episode! When the Federation calls for help in locating an ambassador suspected of defecting, Picard is troubled to learn that Spock is the one who has vanished. Seeking information from Spock’s ailing father, Sarek, and unlikely help from the Klingons, Picard and his crew find the ambassador pursuing a personal mission on Romulus: a Vulcan/Romulan reunification. But though the Romulans claim to support the same goal, their motives are not what they seem.
Tank Girl: Collector’s Edition (Blu-Ray Combo Pack)
The year’s 2033 and since a humongous meteor hit earth, the world just hasn’t been the same. No movies, no cable television, no water! A mega-villain, Kesslee (Malcolm McDowell), the leader of Water & Power, holds the world in his grasp since he controls all the water…or so he thinks. Two colossal enemies stand in his way: (1.) The Rippers, an army of half-men/half-kangaroo people whose sole purpose is to bring down Water & Power and (2.) a chick with a tank and tons of attitude: aka Tank Girl (Lori Petty). Kesslee had better get a grip on reality and his water jugs because not even a run in her stockings is going to stop her from saving the world!
The World’s End (Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital)
20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hell bent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by mate Gary King, a 40-year old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their home town and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub, The World’s End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind’s. Reaching The World’s End is the least of their worries.