Robot Combat League Brings Bot-On-Bot Violence: This Week In Science Fiction

By David Wharton | 8 years ago


Robot Combat League
Syfy, Tuesday 10/9c

We tend to give Syfy a hard time here at GFR. Whether it’s their seeming aversion to actually airing science fiction, or the fact that they clutter their schedule with one godawful paranormal “reality” show after another, there’s plenty for die-hard science fiction fans to criticize when it comes to the former Sci-Fi Network. But damned if they don’t know how to hit us square in the weak spot when it comes to a new series that involves robots beating the ever-loving crap out of each other for our amusement. Bring on the bread and circuses, baby!

Syfy’s Robot Combat League is exploring territory already covered by earlier shows such as BattleBots and Robot Wars, with one crucial difference. Taking a page from the movie Real Steel, RCL’s robots are semi-humanoid in design, and are controlled by two-person teams consisting of a fighter (or “robo-jockey”) and a robotics engineer (“robo-tech”). The ‘bots mimic the movements of the fighters, just like Hugh Jackman in the aforementioned movie. Syfy’s version isn’t nearly as advanced, of course, but the similarities are there. In essence, it’s a life-sized, more advanced version of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Fortunately, the concept of a life-sized, more advanced version of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots sounds kind of awesome. Check out a teaser for the show below.

Continuum (Syfy, 8/7c) — “The Politics of Time”
The show takes a spin for the political after an investigative reporter is murdered during a high-stakes election. Let’s be honest: “The Politics of Time” probably won’t be nearly as fun as “The Politics of Dancing.”

Cult (The CW, 9/8c) — “In the Blood”
Given the involvement of Farscape’s Rockne O’Bannon, I’m inclined to like this show, but last week’s pilot was a mixed bag. This is obviously going to be a mythology-heavy series in the vein of Lost or The X-Files, much will depend on how they develop that as the show progresses. I’ll be keeping my fngers crossed. “A tech expert aids Jeff in his search for his brother. Meanwhile, Skye voices concern about hidden messages in the ‘Cult’ TV show.”

Face Off (Syfy, 8/7c) — “Howl at the Moon”
Tonight the contestants are tasked with creating werewolves. But not your average, ordinary, everyday werewolves. Oh no. They must create alien werewolves.

The Master (Blu-Ray & DVD)
While the events of The Master unfold here on boring old Earth, they were partly inspired by pulp sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard’s founding of Scientology, a religion that incorporates ideas perfectly at home in the realms of space opera. (And if you’re as fascinated by the inner workings of Hubbard’s do-it-yourself religion, this book is well worth checking out.)

TelepThe Teleportation Accident” by Ned Beauman
As geek culture further invades mainstream pop culture, you’ll occasionally get a mainstream book that adorns itself in the science fiction trappings but still manages to be considered “respectable literature,” and The Teleportation Accident looks to be just that. Beauman’s book involves a man’s search for an ancient teleportation accident. Pick up a copy and see if you can sneak it past any genre-averse friends and relatives. Then you can leap out after the finish reading it and shout, “Boom! You just read science fiction!”

When you haven’t had sex in a long time, it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen. If you’re living in Germany in the 1930s, it probably isn’t. But that’s no consolation to Egon Loeser, whose carnal misfortunes will push him from the experimental theaters of Berlin to the absinthe bars of Paris to the physics laboratories of Los Angeles, trying all the while to solve two mysteries: Was it really a deal with Satan that claimed the life of his hero, Renaissance set designer Adriano Lavicini, creator of the so-called Teleportation Device? And why is it that a handsome, clever, modest guy like him can’t—just once in a while—get himself laid? From Ned Beauman, the author of the acclaimed Boxer, Beetle, comes a historical novel that doesn’t know what year it is; a noir novel that turns all the lights on; a romance novel that arrives drunk to dinner; a science fiction novel that can’t remember what isotope means; a stunningly inventive, exceptionally funny, dangerously unsteady and (largely) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, time, and how the best way to deal with history is to ignore it.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #2 (IDW Publishing)
The year-long series celebrates the show’s 50th anniversary by exploring incarnation of the Doctor. This month, the focus is on the Second Doctor, originally played by Patrick Troughton.

Superheroes” by Peter S. Beagle, Kelly Link, and more
Via Amazon:

Superheroes: modern gods and goddesses, remote, revered, but like the pantheon of heroes and heroines of ancient myth, great power tempered with flaws. And now, find within these pages tales by gifted and award-winning authors who move superheroes from the four-color panels of comic books to fiction… reminding every adult of the child within, who ever wanted to wear a cape and cowl!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network, 9:30 a.m. / 8:30c) — “The Wrong Jedi”
The show wraps up its fifth season today as “Jedi feel the tide shift, Ahsoka reaches a crossroads and Palpatine and Tarkin make their next move.” The show’s future is somewhat up in the air in the aftermath of the Disney/Lucasfilm buyout, with rumors that the show may move from Cartoon Network to Disney XD for any future seasons.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) — “Clear”
Last night’s episode was almost entirely setting things up, so hopefully this one will pick up the pace a bit as Rick, Carl, and Michonne hit the road in search of weapons and supplies for their impending war with Woodbury.

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