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A Ninth Doctor Marathon And A Cool Glass Of The World’s End: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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WorldsEndSome days there’s just not much going on in the world of science fiction, a fact that occasionally makes it hard to come up with enough interesting material to fill out this column. Today…is not one of those days. The TV schedule is packed to bursting with notable science fiction, including a Thor: The Dark World tie-in episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a marathon of the Ninth Doctor’s episodes on BBC America, a new futurism/technology show hosted by James Woods, and more.

You can also help fill out your video shelves quite easily today. Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s The World’s End hits Blu-ray today, so plan your very own “Three Flavours Cornetto” marathon, but don’t forget to stock the bar first. Star Trek: The Next Generation’s snazzy, remastered fifth season comes to Blu-ray today as well, bringing high-def versions of some of the show’s best episodes, including “Darmok,” “The Inner Light,” and the “Unification” two-parter. Are your tastes a bit more cultish and eclectic? Both Night of the Comet and Tank Girl are getting new collector’s editions today as well.

Here’s what’s new Today in Science & Science Fiction!

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Farscape’s Raelee Hill Celebrates A Birthday: Today In Science & Science Fiction

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SikozuIt’s no secret that we’re big Farscape fans around here, and I am forever frustrated that series leads Ben Browder and Claudia Black haven’t gone on to have massive careers after their stellar performances on the series. But my Farscape love doesn’t stop and Ben and Claudia — it’s hard to find a weak link in that cast. Aussie actress Raelee Hill joined the show late in the game, first appearing in the fourth season episode “Crichton Kicks.” She played Sikozu, a “Leviathan expert” whose loyalties seemed to be forever in flux. She eventually even started up a relationship with Scorpius, and let me just say: eww. Fun fact: Hill had actually auditioned for the role of Commandant Mele-On Grayza, which eventually went to Rebecca Riggs. Exec producer David Kemper liked the actress but thought she was “too likeable” for a straight-up villain, so created the role of Sikozu specifically for her. Hill turns 41 today.

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The Walking Dead Marathon Begins: Today In Science And Science Fiction

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DeadInsideThe Walking Dead (AMC, 7/8c) — “Days Gone Bye”

We’re only a week away from the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead, which kicks off its fourth season Sunday night with an episode called “30 Days Without an Accident.” We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it builds on the successes of the third season while jettisoning its failures. If nothing else, it should be interesting for fans of the comic series as it continues to diverge from its source material. If you have never given the show a chance and want to catch up in time for the season premiere, or if you’re just in the mood to rewatch the episodes and you don’t own them, AMC will be marathoning the entire run of the show beginning tonight with the very first episode, “Days Gone Bye,” followed by the rest of the first five. AMC will follow suit for the rest of the week, airing five per night through Friday. Saturday at noon they’ll begin a final push, where the third season episodes will air straight through until the fourth season premiere Sunday night.

Just remember: “DON’T OPEN. DEAD INSIDE.”

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Happy Birthday To Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Today In Science And Science Fiction

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TysonWith the rampant anti-intellectualism and distrust in science that continues to plague our country these days, we need passionate, well-spoken defenders to cut through the B.S. and speak the truth. In the 1980s, Carl Sagan filled that role very well, with his Cosmos series capturing the imaginations of many young people who went on to pursue careers in science. Sagan passed away in 1996, but the torch has been passed in recent years to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York and the go-to guy whenever a news agency needs somebody to provide easily digestible sound bites for a new science story. Tyson turns 55 years old today.

The Sagan parallels will become even more direct in the not-too-distant future, with Tyson set to host a new incarnation of Sagan’s Cosmos, set to air on Fox sometime in 2014. Tyson has the knowledge and the passion to be a great host for a new Cosmos, but he also shares one other quality with Sagan that makes him even more ideal. He’s got a touch of the poetic about him, a way of speaking about the universe that elicits excitement and wonder in the listener. Compare two of our favorite videos below: Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech, and Tyson’s “Most Astounding Fact.”

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Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Fifth Season Brings Spock And Darmok To Blu-Ray In November

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By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation’s fifth season premiered in September of 1991, the show was in its prime. Now the fifth season set is scheduled to hit Blu-ray this November, and it’s pretty much a must-buy for fans of the show. While the Blu-ray releases of the first few seasons improved the show’s visual quality and effects, all the high-tech polishing in the world couldn’t put a shine on episodes such as “The Naked Now” or “Samaritan Snare.” (Try as they might, the Pakleds could not make that interminable episode go…fast enough for my liking.) With the season five Blu-rays, you’re getting tons of top-notch television, now made all the more enjoyable thanks to a high-def upgrade.

Season five includes the beloved “Unification” two-parter, which has Sela, the daughter of Tasha Yar from the alternate timeline of “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” front and center in the midst of Romulan intrigues. Thankfully, Leonard Nimoy is on hand as now-Ambassador Spock. Season five also includes not one, but two of the show’s best episodes ever, and two of the finest hours of scripted science fiction television period.