Now available on Netflix Instant Watch
Despite my lifelong science fiction fandom, and even my fondness for the original Stargate movie, I never really got into the Stargate series. Out of Farscape love alone, I gave it a shot when Ben Browder joined the cast, and then again a while back via Netflix, only to be derailed when Netflix removed all the Stargate series from their Instant Watch catalogue. Now it appears I’ll at least get a chance to marathon through the franchise’s most recent installment, because Stargate Universe is now, once again, available via Netflix Instant Watch. So far, it’s the only Stargate series to have been restored, however.
By all accounts, Stargate Universe may prove the ideal entry for SF fans who want to give the Stargate universe (little u) a chance, beginning with its interesting setup. While investigating a mysterious Stargate, a mix of civilian scientists and military personnel are forced to flee through the wormhole, only to find themselves aboard an Ancient starship called Destiny. Unfortunately, it will take some work to figure out how to gain control of the ship. In the meantime, the reluctant crew of the Destiny find themselves boldly going on a pre-programmed course from world to world, seeing what’s out there while also trying to figure out how to return home to Earth.
So yeah, it’s sort of Stargate: Voyager. It also took a few notes from Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica revamp, featuring a darker, more mature tone than the Stargate series that came before. While it’s unlikely the scorned fans of Universe will ever get the series resurrection they crave, they can take comfort that it’s now once again easily accessible via Netflix. And for the rest of us, it’s a nice, two-season in a time that is depressingly lacking in starship-based televised science fiction.
Revolution (NBC, 10:01/9:01c) — “Ties That Bind”
“Nora runs into a close relative, forcing her to make a tough decision; a ruthless militia member tracks Miles, Charlie and the gang; Monroe gives Neville a stern warning.” Really? A stern warning? Because just from what we’ve seen, Monroe doesn’t seem like a “stern warning” guy. Unless that’s code for “snipping off your fingers with a cigar cutter.”
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (Blu-Ray)
Excellent! The adventures of Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan arrives in high definition. Not that it was a movie that really demanded high definition, but this will make it easier for you to pretend that George Carlin is still alive. Aww nuts, now I’m depressed.
Doctor Who: Series Seven – Part One (Blu-Ray & DVD)
If you missed the first five episodes of Who’s latest season, or if you’ve been eager to add them to your collection, this set will feed your craving and give you some snazzy bonus features as well. Here’s the rundown of the features:
- The Science of Doctor Who
- Doctor Who at Comic Con
- “Pond Life”
- “Asylum of the Daleks” Prequel
- The Making of “Gunslinger”
“The Inexplicables (Clockwork Century)” by Cherie Priest
Priest returns to the Steampunk “Clockwork Century Universe” she introduced in 2010’s Hugo-nominated Boneshaker. Here’s what Amazon has to say:
Rector ‘Wreck ‘em’ Sherman was orphaned as a toddler in the Blight of 1863, but that was years ago. Wreck has grown up, and on his eighteenth birthday, he’ll be cast out out of the orphanage.
And Wreck’s problems aren’t merely about finding a home. He’s been quietly breaking the cardinal rule of any good drug dealer and dipping into his own supply of the sap he sells. He’s also pretty sure he’s being haunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know—Zeke Wilkes, who almost certainly died six months ago. Zeke would have every reason to pester Wreck, since Wreck got him inside the walled city of Seattle in the first place, and that was probably what killed him.Maybe it’s only a guilty conscience, but Wreck can’t take it anymore, so he sneaks over the wall.
The walled-off wasteland of Seattle is every bit as bad as he’d heard, chock-full of the hungry undead and utterly choked by the poisonous, inescapable yellow gas. And then there’s the monster. Rector’s pretty certain that whatever attacked him was not at all human—and not a rotter, either. Arms far too long. Posture all strange. Eyes all wild and faintly glowing gold and known to the locals as simply ‘The Inexplicables.’
In the process of tracking down these creatures, Rector comes across another incursion through the wall—just as bizarre but entirely attributable to human greed. It seems some outsiders have decided there’s gold to be found in the city and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get a piece of the pie unless Rector and his posse have anything to do with it.
“Katya’s World (Strange Chemistry)” by Jonathan L. Howard
Howard’s new novel is set on a world that is entirely covered by ocean. So think Dune, except the exact opposite of that.
The distant and unloved colony world of Russalka has no land, only the raging sea. No clear skies, only the endless storm clouds. Beneath the waves, the people live in pressurised environments and take what they need from the boundless ocean. It is a hard life, but it is theirs and they fought a war against Earth to protect it. But wars leave wounds that never quite heal, and secrets that never quite lie silent. Katya Kuriakova doesn’t care much about ancient history like that, though. She is making her first submarine voyage as crew; the first nice, simple journey of what she expects to be a nice, simple career. There is nothing nice and simple about the deep black waters of Russalka, however; soon she will encounter pirates and war criminals, see death and tragedy at first hand, and realise that her world’s future lies on the narrowest of knife edges. For in the crushing depths lies a sleeping monster, an abomination of unknown origin, and when it wakes, it will seek out and kill every single person on the planet.
Lockout (Netflix Instant Watch)
Depending on who you listen to, Lockout is either a guilty pleasure or just a lousy Escape from New York ripoff. At the very least, Guy Pearce seems to enjoy chewing the scenery as a wrongly convicted government agent offered a pardon if he can rescue the President’s daughter from a penal space station overrun by violent criminals.
Mankind: The Story of All of Us (History Channel, 9/8c)
Think of it as a memoir of the species, both our greatest successes and our most catastrophic failures. Which is a nice summation of host Josh Brolin’s resume, now that I think of it…
Millennium (Netflix Instant Watch)
This hadn’t ever occurred to me until just now, but the story of Millennium is basically the current season of Fringe in reverse, is it not? Admittedly, Fringe has fewer mid-air abductions.
Robotech (Netflix Instant Watch)
Ah, Robotech. Much as I devoured all things science fictional as a kid, I never really got into anime. Robotech was the notable exception. My memories of it are fond enough that I’m probably never, ever going to rewatch it. Some things are better as nostalgia.
The Watch (Blu-ray & DVD)
So, what’s the word on this “neighborhood watch vs. aliens” flick? Well, back in July GFR head honcho Josh Tyler called it “cloying and desperate.” And that was one of his nicer comments. Then again, given the commercials, does that really surprise anybody?
Nova (PBS, 9/8c) – “Ultimate Mars Challenge”
Mars has been back in the news a lot lately thanks Curiosity (the rover, not the cat-killer). Now Nova takes a look at the travails of getting Curiosity there, and what NASA scientists hope to learn.
Why go back to Mars? Far from dead, Mars holds untold potential. Nearly half a century of Mars exploration has yielded tantalizing clues that Mars may once have harbored life—and may harbor it still. The extraordinary landing of a revolutionary rover named Curiosity—which successfully touched down inside the Gale Crater—means we have wheels down on the planet once again, in the form of the most sophisticated robot ever to rove the Mars surface. Will NASA’s bold mission and this marvel of technology answer some of our biggest questions and usher in a new golden age of exploration? NOVA goes behind the scenes on NASA’s quest to solve the riddles of the red planet.
Nova: ScienceNow (PBS, 10/9c) — “What Will the Future Be Like?”
Assuming we get one, I hope it’s like WALL-E. I really want one of those levitating Barcaloungers.
Person of Interest (CBS, 9:01/8:01c) – “Critical”
“Finch and Reese must look to an unconventional source for help after the Machine gives them the number of a successful surgeon.” Is the unconventional source Batman? Don’t tell me if isn’t, I want to pretend it’s Batman.
Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) – “Five Twenty Ten”
“A Fringe event is created by a member of the team as the rebellion reaches a new level of intensity.” Any early guesses as to what the title refers to?
Tron: Uprising (Disney XD, 7:30/6:30c) – “We Both Know How This Ends”
While Able is away on a mysterious trip, Mara is put in charge of the Garage and must prove her leadership skills when Pavel orders her to complete a nearly impossible task. If she fails, every one of her co-workers, including Beck and Zed, will be sent to The Games. Able’s trip reveals a previously unknown relationship between Able and a powerful figure on the Grid.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network, 9:30 AM/8:30 AM) — “Bound for Rescue”
“The younglings attempt to rescue Ahsoka from Hondo’s pirates.” But will it have more David Tennant? Because I’m afraid that’s the only reason I would care.
MythBusters (Discovery, 8/7c) — “Surreal Gourmet Hour”
Is there any combination of “MythBusters” and food that <I>wouldn’t</I> involve some level of surreality?
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9/8c) – “Hounded”
“As Andrea grows closer to The Governor, Michonne makes a decision about Woodbury. Glenn and Maggie go on a run. Rick struggles.” I should think so…