It probably says a lot about the cynicism of modern life that apocalyptic tales are so en vogue right now. The Walking Dead is a massive hit on AMC, and just in the past few months, we’ve seen two different interpretations of a post-human Earth in Oblivion and After Earth. The massive, massively troubled World War Z hits later this month, but first we’ve got two very different looks at the end of the world arriving this week: This Is the End in theaters and The Last of Us on the PlayStation 3.
This Is the End is definitely the lighter of the two forays into Armageddon. It’s a comedy the begins in a hip, celebrity-packed party at the house of James Franco’s (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Unfortunately, the party takes a sour turn when some unspecified apocalypse breaks out, leaving the likes of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson to try and figure out what the hell — or should that be Hell? — is going on and attempt to survive to see the next day. Already we’ve seen Michael Cera murdered in a brutal and amusing manner, and Emma Watson losing her shit as the world collapses around her. As with any comedy, it will all come down to execution, but so far the trailers have looked solid and it’s hard to go wrong with this many funny people filling out the cast.
On the gaming front, we’ve got The Last of Us hitting the PlayStation 4 this week, and this has the potential to be amazing. It’s the latest from Naughty Dog, the folks responsible for the excellent Uncharted series. Those games are the whole reason I bought a PS3, so this one will definitely be on my birthday list. The Last of Us is a survival/horror game set in — you guessed it — the post-apocalyptic landscape of the United States, circa 2033. Players take control of Joel, a survivor escorting a young girl named Ellie to a safe location. Unfortunately, they must face both ruthless humans and “the Infected,” people stricken with a fungus that turns them into violent beasts. The game has received tons of positive buzz, and looks to be a blast, and absolutely brutal.
Here’s what’s new This Week in Science Fiction!
Defiance (Syfy, 9/8c) — “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”
“Nolan and Tommy encounter an American astronaut who has been in hypersleep for several decades.” I kind of love this concept, sort of the Farscape/Buck Rogers idea in reverse. It’s a way to see the world of Defiance through the eyes of somebody like the audience, who is an outsider to its all. It will also be intriguing to see if the astronaut character becomes a regular part of Defiance or if this will just be a one-off tale.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Runaway”
“Pete, Myka and Steve team up with a U.S. Marshal to recapture two inmates who escaped from a prison in Arkansas during a volcanic event.” Syfy recently announced that Warehouse 13 will be coming back for a fifth season, but that will also be the last one. Enjoy ‘em while you can!
Doctor Who: Inferno — Special Edition (DVD)
The Third Doctor investigates a secret project that’s drilling down to the Earth’s core. Unsurprisingly, this could cause some serious problems.
Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil (DVD)
Another Third Doctor adventure, The Mind of Evil has the Doctor witness a demonstration of a new machine that’s supposedly able to pacify dangerous criminals. Things go pear-shaped, and it seems the Doctor’s old enemy, the Master, may be involved.
“Love Minus Eighty” by Will McIntosh
Summary via Amazon:
In the future, love is complicated and death is not necessarily the end. Love Minus Eighty follows several interconnected people in a disquieting vision of romantic life in the century to come.
There’s Rob, who accidentally kills a jogger, then sacrifices all to visit her in a cryogenic dating facility, seeking forgiveness but instead falling in love.
Veronika, a shy dating coach, finds herself coaching the very woman who is stealing the man she loves.
And Mira, a gay woman accidentally placed in a heterosexual dating center near its inception, desperately seeks a way to reunite with her frozen partner as the years pass.
In this daring and big-hearted novel based on the Hugo-winning short story, the lovelorn navigate a world in which technology has reached the outer limits of morality and romance.
The Philadelphia Experiment (Blu-Ray & DVD)
The sole survivor of the titular 1943 time travel experiment teams up with his own granddaughter to save the day when the government decides it’s time to give that whole Philadelphia Experiment another shot.
The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius (Discovery, 7/6c) — “Catching Cars”
The contestants have to brainstorm new ways to stop a speeding car. No word whether the car is being driven by those dadgum Duke boys.
Guardians of the Galaxy #3 (Marvel Comics)
If you’re curious about Marvel’s upcoming space epic, dive into this new series exploring the adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s being penned by comics maestro Brian Michael Bendis, and even brings Tony Stark (Iron Man) along for the ride. And hey, it’s got a space raccoon on the cover!
MythBusters (Discovery, 9/8c) — “Hypermiling/Crash Cushions”
Could a guy sandwiched between two big guys in the backseat of a car survive the car being T-boned by a truck? The MythBusters also hit the road to test three more hypermiling myths. Can these simple techniques really double your car’s fuel efficiency?
Star Wars #6 (Dark Horse Comics)
The series set in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back continues!
When he and Chewbacca are cornered by Imperials, Han Solo resorts to an improvised plan—with the most dangerous results imaginable! Meanwhile, half a galaxy away, Princess Leia and Wedge Antilles prepare for certain death, unaware that Luke Skywalker has an improvisation of his own. And Darth Vader is watching . . .
This Is the End (In theaters)
Funny people being funny while navigating the apocalypse and occasionally being killed in horrible, hilarious ways. Sign me up.
Walking Dead # 111 (Image Comics)
This issue is all about leaders and leadership. Check out a preview of the issue right here.
Continuum (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Split Second”
“Liber8’s hijacking of a prison transfer makes for a bumpy reunion between Kiera and Carlos; at the same time, Kellog approaches Alec with a tempting partnership proposition.”
The Last of Us (PlayStation 3)
It’s from the folks who made Uncharted, so they’d have my money regardless. But it doesn’t hurt that it looks amazing (see above).
Primeval: New World (Syfy, 10/9c) — “Sisiutl”
“Evan and Mac investigate the sighting of a prehistoric sea serpent near a disputed First Nations territory, while Dylan considers Evan’s offer of a job.” Is it Nessie? Maybe she’s on vacation.
Wizards vs. Aliens (The Hub, 7:30/6:30c)
If you’re interested or think your kiddos would like this series, you can watch the full first episode right here.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9/8c) — “Badlands”
“The Charleston denizens prepare for an offensive just as the two-year anniversary of the alien invasion approaches. Meanwhile, a sniper attack is scrutinized; Hal zeros in on the mole’s identity; and Anne’s concern for her baby escalates.”