It’s hard to believe that Star Trek Into Darkness is finally almost here in the States. We’ve been writing about this movie for several years now, and I can’t even speculate how many words we’ve dedicated to dissecting the hints and rumors and rumors of hints. For those of us here at GFR, it seems almost doomed to be anti-climactic, but the early word from overseas has been largely positive, and at this point I’ll buy a ticket just to watch Benedict Cumberbatch chew the scenery. And for the Abrams haters out there, think of it this way: there’s a very good chance that Into Darkness is the last Star Trek movie you’ll ever see Abrams direct. See? Silver lining!
If you couldn’t care less about the latest big-screen Star Trek outing, fear not. There’s still plenty of other sci-fi goodness happening this week. We’ve got new episodes of Defiance, Revolution, Warehouse 13, Doctor Who, and Orphan Black. The Wachowskis and Tom Twyker’s divisive Cloud Atlas hits home video, and it’s worth watching if you haven’t seen it. You may love it, you may hate it, but it will likely provoke a strong reaction one way or another.
Here’s what’s new This Week in Science Fiction!
Defiance (Syfy, 9/8c) — “The Serpent’s Egg”
Taking a page from 3:10 to Yuma, Nolan and Amanda attempt to escort a prisoner out of town but run into serious trouble on the way. On a lighter note, Irisa runs into a guy she’s pretty sure tortured her when she was a little kid.
Going Ape (National Geographic Channel, 10/9c)
Hopefully this new series will help us avoid a terrible Planet of the Apes future.
Do apes and humans have the same way of flirting and trying to hook up? Do men meeting for the first time look classically like chimpanzees establishing dominance? And do children sneaking candy parallel chimps deceiving their alpha male? Six million years ago, we branched off from the family tree we share with our ape cousins and monkey uncles. We may have evolved since then, but there’s still an ape in all of us…. Going Ape, premiering on Monday, May 13, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel (NGC), following the new hit series Brain Games, looks to our primate predecessors to understand human interaction and social dynamics. Not only do humans share 98 percent of our genetic code with our closest ape relatives, we also share some of the same inherent basic instincts. This revealing, often comic three-part series explores humans’ daily battles for power, territory, sex and allegiance with that of our monkey cousins through humorous experiments, hidden camera footage, wildlife footage and expert analysis.
Revolution (Syfy, 10:01/9:01c) — “The Longest Day”
Miles and Nora get their romance on, somebody’s trying to assassinate Monroe, and Georgia’s President Foster is thinking of surrendering. Grow a spine, Foster, you used to be Jack Bauer’s special lady!
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 10/9c) — “The Big Snag”
The show drains all the color out for a black-and-white noir episode that drops Pete and Myka into a 1940s detective thriller.
Cloud Atlas (Blu-Ray, DVD & Digital Download)
The Wachowskis and Tom Twyker teamed up for this ambitious, extremely divisive flick that unfolds across many characters and centuries. So far everyone I’ve talked to either loves this flick or hates it passionately. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth checking out to see which camp you fall into.
Doctor Who: The Visitation – Special Edition (DVD)
The Fifth Doctor and his companions visit plague-ridden 1666 England — because why not? — and uncovers an alien plan that could wipe out humanity. This special edition re-release packs in bonus features including a commentary track, documentaries, and more.
“The Human Division” by John Scalzi
Scalzi was serializing this new novel in recent months, but now the follow-up to The Last Colony is out in a handy collected edition. Can’t go wrong with a return to the Old Man’s War universe! Summary via Amazon:
Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race.
The people of Earth now know that the human Colonial Union has kept them ignorant of the dangerous universe around them. For generations the CU had defended humanity against hostile aliens, deliberately keeping Earth an ignorant backwater and a source of military recruits. Now the CU’s secrets are known to all. Other alien races have come on the scene and formed a new alliance—an alliance against the Colonial Union. And they’ve invited the people of Earth to join them. For a shaken and betrayed Earth, the choice isn’t obvious or easy.
Against such possibilities, managing the survival of the Colonial Union won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning…and a brilliant “B Team,” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson, that can be deployed to deal with the unpredictable and unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.
Being published online from January to April 2013 as a three-month digital serial, The Human Division will appear as a full-length novel of the Old Man’s War universe, plus—for the first time in print—the first tale of Lieutenant Harry Wilson, and a coda that wasn’t part of the digital serialization.
Metro: Last Light (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)
The follow-up to Metro 2033 returns to post-apocalyptic Russia, based on the novels of Dmitry Glukhovsky.
MythBusters: Collection 9 (DVD)
They’ve made it damned difficult to find any specifics about this collection, so suffice to say things will be tested and things will explode.
“Nebula Awards Showcase 2013,” edited by Catherine Asaro
This collection brings together both the Nebula winners and the nominees. You’ll get fiction from Connie Willis, Jo Walton, Kij Johnson, Geoff Ryman, John Clute, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Ferrett Steinmetz, Ken Liu, Nancy Fulda, Delia Sherman, Amal El-Mohtar, C. S. E. Cooney, David Goldman, Katherine Sparrow, E. Lily Yu, and Brad R. Torgersen.
Weird or What? (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Freaks of Nature / Paranormal Mysteries”
The first episode investigates bizarre natural phenomena such as “a loud boom heard off the east coast of Canada; a strange fog over Lake Michigan; and a blinding flash of light over the Indian Ocean.” The second episode is, well, exactly what it sounds like.
MythBusters (Discovery, 9/8c) — “Down and Dirty; Earthquake Survival”
The ‘busters test myths about hand-dryers and earthquakes. Presumably as two different segments, although I would like to know if I can safely use a hand-dryer in the midst of an earthquake.
Star Trek: Secrets of the Future (History Channel, 10/9c)
Described by sci-fi writer David Brin, who puts in an appearance, as “A fun romp through the range of speculative sci & tech that serve as foundations and help propel the fabulous Trek franchise to realms of vast imagining and hopeful possibility.”
Discovery Special: Zombie Preppers (Discovery, 9/8c)
Pretty much self-explanatory, I should think.
Da Vinci’s Demons (Starz, 9/8c) — “The Devil”
Da Vinci meets…Dracula?
The Turk’s clue about the Book of Leaves leads Leonardo to Wallachia and an encounter with Vlad Dracula, while Lorenzo and Piero have a meeting with the Duke of Urbino. Later, the spy search intensifies.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 8/7c) — “The Name of the Doctor”
Will we really find out the Doctor’s true name? I’m betting no, but hopefully there will be some major revelations about Clara.
The Nerdist (BBC America, 10/9c)
Chris Hardwick welcomes Firefly’s Morena Baccarin, True Blood’s Joe Manganiello, and comedian Paul F. Thompkins
Orphan Black (BBC America, 9/8c) — “Entangled Bank”
“Sarah’s actions pit the Orphans against each other as she tries to plan her next move. As Paul tries desperately to cover up Sarah’s existence, Alison takes vengeance on her suspected monitor, which could cost her everything she holds dear.”