The Science Channel Hunts E.T.: This Week In Science Fiction

By David Wharton | 8 years ago


Aliens: The Definitive Guide
Science Channel, Tuesday 10/9c

People have been speculating what extraterrestrial life might be like pretty much as long as we’ve had any concept that there was anything extraterrestrial. Given the size of our universe, it seems a given that there is more life out there somewhere, even if not in our cosmic neck of the woods. With more exoplanets being spotted by scientists all the time, the prospect of alien life is more timely than ever, and the Science Channel is exploring the subject with gusto this month, premiering multiple alien-themed specials including this two-parter, which continues next week.

While the title might be a bit audacious on the Science Channel’s part, examines what we currently know about conditions on exoplanets both discovered and theoretical, and what those discoveries tell us about the prospect of extraterrestrial life. In addition to a bunch of smart talking heads dropping knowledge on us, the special will also venture to remote locations here on our homeworld, places that could also give us hints as to where and in what form alien life could exist. They could have just grabbed a copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and saved themselves the shooting budget.

Continuum (Syfy, 8/7c) — “Endtime”
Tonight is the first-season finale, but if you’re a fan fear not: a second season of the Canadian sci-fi series is already in the works.

Kiera gets wind of a plot to bomb a significant corporate target, but that’s the least of her worries. When Alec finds out one of his own extended family has been recruited to Liber8, before he can warn Kiera, Kagame and company kidnap their arch-enemy’s enabler in the present.

Gizmodo: Gadget Testers (BBC America, 10:20/9:20c)
The gadget website gets a TV spinoff courtesy of BBC America! As the title suggests, the show will be testing out all manner of technological thingamabobs. What manner of tests? According to the press release, they’ll see how a camera’s sound quality holds up while being smothered by a sumo wrestler, and they’ll compare vacuum cleaners to see which brand can clean up a filthy chicken coop.

The Curve of the Earth” by Simon Morden
Summary via Amazon:

Welcome to the Metrozone — post-apocalyptic London of the Future, full of homeless refugees, street gangs, crooked cops and mad cults. Enter Samuil Petrovitch: a Russian émigré with a smart mouth, a dodgy heart and a dodgier past. He’s brilliant, selfish, cocky and might just be most unlikely champion a city has ever had. Armed with a genius-level intellect, extensive cybernetic replacements, a built-in AI with god-like capabilities and a plethora of Russian swearwords — he’s saved this city from ruin more than once. He’s also made a few enemies in the process – Reconstruction America being one of them. So when his adopted daughter Lucy goes missing, he’s got a clue who’s responsible. And there’s no way he can let them get away with it.

Face Off (Syfy, 9/8c) — “Alien Apocalypse”
The show revels in cross-promotion again, with the contestants visiting the set of Syfy’s Defiance, and challenged to create an alien that would fit into the show’s universe.

NASA – Mission to Mars (Science, 9/8c)
This new special examines NASA’s current golden child, the Mars Curiosity rover. Expect much discussion of whether Mars may have once been home to life, as well as theorizing about whether it would make a hospitable home for colonists at some point down the road.

Pandemonium” by Warren Fahy
Via Amazon:

Deep beneath the Ural Mountains, in an underground city carved out by slave labor during the darkest hours of the Cold War, ancient caverns hold exotic and dangerous life-forms that have evolved in isolation for countless millennia. Cut off from the surface world, an entire ecosystem of bizarre subterranean species has survived undetected—until now.

Biologists Nell and Geoffrey Binswanger barely survived their last encounter with terrifying, invasive creatures that threatened to engulf the planet. They think the danger is over until a ruthless Russian tycoon lures them to his underground metropolis, where they find themselves confronted by a vicious menagerie of biological horrors from their past—and by entirely new breeds of voracious predators. Now they’re rising up from the bowels of the Earth to consume the world as we know it.

Robot Combat League (Syfy, 10/9c) — “The Fight of Your Life”
It’s robots punching each other. That’s what it was last week, that’s what it’ll be next week. If you enjoy watching robots punch each other, this should be your cup of tea, or possibly motor oil.

Rise of the Continents (Science, 10/9c) — “Africa”
Long before Toto was blessing the rains down in Africa, the continent was part of the ancient Pangea supercontinent. This special looks at how Africa was formed by a massive volcanic event some 180 million years ago, and how “the same forces that created it are tearing it apart.”

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman (Science, 9/8c) — “Is There a God Particle?”
Presumably this will be more involved than just having Morgan Freeman come on camera, say “Yep,” and then exit stage right.

Scientists have hunted for a particle to explain how matter came to exist in the universe. In 2012 they found it — the Higgs Boson, the God Particle. But the discovery raises many questions. And what if we owe our existence something else?

Forecasting the End (Weather, 9/8c) — “Rogue Planet”
Because I guess Weather’s key demographics demanded more than just, well, weather, the network has been branching out with several new shows lately. This one will examine various doomsday scenarios, with this week exploring the possibility of a rogue planet wandering into our solar system.

What the Family Needed” by Steven Amsterdam
Via Amazon:

In this incandescent novel, a family’s superpowers bestow not instant salvation but the miracle of accepting who they are.

‘Okay, tell me which you want,’ Alek asks his cousin at the outset of What the Family Needed. ‘To be able to fly or to be invisible.’ And soon Giordana, a teenager suffering the bitter fallout of her parents’ divorce, finds that she can, at will, become as invisible as she feels. Later, Alek’s mother, newly adrift in the disturbing awareness that all is not well with her younger son, can suddenly swim with Olympic endurance. Over three decades, in fact, each member of this gorgeously imagined extended family discovers, at a moment of crisis, that he or she possesses a supernatural power.

But instead of crimes to fight and villains to vanquish, they confront inner demons, and their extraordinary abilities prove not to be magic weapons so much as expressions of their fears and longings as they struggle to come to terms with who they are and what fate deals them. As the years pass, their lives intersect and overlap in surprising and poignant ways, and they discover that the real magic lies not in their superpowers but in the very human and miraculous way they are able to accept, protect, and love one another.

Cult (The CW, 9/8c) — “The Kiss”
Given the ratings, I’ll be very surprised if this show actually airs all the produced episodes. And much as I love creator Rockne O’Bannon, I can’t say I’ll be too broken up to see this one go. “Jeff and Skye attend a costume party, where Skye’s drink is spiked with a hallucinogenic drug.”

Chupacabra vs. The Alamo (Syfy, 9/8c)
Chupacabra vs. The Alamo. Starring Erik Estrada. Let me just say that again. Syfy presents Chupacabra vs. The Alamo. Starring Erik friggin’ Estrada. Somebody at Syfy turn off the lights on the way out. It’s not going to get any better than this, so it’s time to lock up and go on your way.

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) — “This Sorrowful Life”
Only two episodes remain in the season, so we can only hope there will no more “filler” episodes at this point. If this one is just 45 minutes of the Governor playing sad records and crying while clutching a picture of his dead zombie daughter, I’m out of here. “A possible truce with the Governor comes with strings attached for Rick and the group.”