2014 may be in the rearview, but all around it was a damn good year for science fiction. We got fantastic movies big and small, new and interesting additions to the literary side of the genre, and we’ve even got three, soon to be four, Doctor Who comic books. There was also a ton of great stuff to watch from the comfort of our very own couch and tune into week after week on ye olde boob tube. There are some definite gaps in my viewing for the year, but here are some of my favorite sci-fi shows of the past 12 months. In retrospect, this is actually kind of a sad list, as multiple entries have already been cancelled or are definitively on their way out.
Here in the States most of us are winding down a day spent eating too much, drinking too much, and likely experiencing more than a little family-related drama. Far be it from us here at GFR to play humbugs, so, as we’ve done in previous years, we sat down to ponder what science fiction developments we were most thankful for this year. So before you collapse back into a turkey-induced coma, take a moment to look back at the things that put the biggest smiles on our faces in 2014. And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Everything About Edge of Tomorrow
How is it that a movie involving an alien invasion and a weird form of time travel joined forces with polarizing megastar Tom Cruise and became one of the year’s most guiltlessly enjoyable movies? Whether the credit for the sci-fi magic goes to director Doug Liman, screenwriters Jez and John-Henry Butterworth and Christopher McQuarrie, or even Cruise and co-star Emily Blunt, the film’s sense of sheer fun and darkly comedic whimsy are undeniable.
Based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow could have easily crumbled beneath the weight of its time-looping narrative, but manages to steer clear of weary repetition. By sticking Cruise back into a learning recruit role instead of having him start the film as the almighty hero, Edge of Tomorrow gives its lead one of the weirdest character arcs in all of fiction, which can’t be derailed by the likes of co-stars Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson. By far the airiest, funniest, and most exciting blockbuster of the year, Edge of Tomorrow is arguably the only must-see tentpole film of the year for sci-fi fans. (That’s right, Godzilla and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I said it.) – Nick
Tags: Ascension, childhood's end, doctor who, Edge of Tomorrow, Foundation, guardians of the galaxy, interstellar, old man's, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, thanksgiving 2014, The 100, the expanse, The Flash, The Martian, The Purge: Anarchy, westworld
Track or trout, streamers. (I think I said that wrong.) Is everyone getting ready for a candy-filled Halloween, or are the New Years diets still kicking? Basically, I’m asking if I can have your candy. In return, I give you these five streaming options to make your week go by a little easier. But only if it’s good candy.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Netflix Instant and Amazon Prime)
The highest domestic grossing movie of 2013, Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a stellar follow-up to the first film, despite covering 3/4 of the same ground. (It was bigger and more extravagant, guys.) Watch Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) act as if they love each other despite having contrary feelings. Watch as Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz pull off outfits that you or I would look suicidal in. Watch Stanley Tucci reprise his role as the best host of anything ever. And most importantly, watch Philip Seymour Hoffman playing one of his final big screen roles.
Even though I’ve been a fan of some of The CW’s shows for a while now– specifically Supernatural and Arrow — I was genuinely surprised when The 100 actually turned out to be decent, and improved over the course of its first season. Based on the YA novel of the same name by Kass Morgan, The 100 is set 97 years after a nuclear war nearly wipes out mankind. Our species survives thanks to the people who were occupying a group of space stations orbiting the planet. A century after the nuclear hellfire, a group of 100 juvenile offenders are dropped Earthside to see if the planet has become habitable. Suffice to say, they find a few surprises on the surface…including the fact that they aren’t alone…
The 100 kicks off its second season Wednesday night at 9/8c on The CW. The premiere carries the ominous title of “The 48,” which obviously doesn’t bode well for at least 52 people.
SEASON TWO BEGINS IN A DANGEROUS NEW WORLD — Picking up where the season one finale ended, Clarke (Eliza Taylor) is still alone in the white room, frantically trying to make sense of her bizarre surroundings, while the fate of Bellamy (Bob Morley), Finn (Thomas McDonell) and Raven (Lindsey Morgan) is still unknown. Lincoln (Ricky Whittle) and Octavia’s (Marie Avgeropoulos) daring plan is thwarted and an enemy returns. Meanwhile, Abby (Paige Turco), Kane (Henry Ian Cusick) and the survivors of the Ark must face physical and moral dilemmas in their dangerous and beautiful new world. Finally, Jaha (Isaiah Washington) makes a heroic decision. Devon Bostick and Chris Larkin also star.
One of the pleasant surprises of the last year of television was The CW’s teen-centric sci-fi series The 100. I know, we were as surprised as you. What looked like an attempt to create their own Battle Royale–Hunger Games–Lord of the Flies-light totally defied our expectations. Not only was it inventive and full of strong, well-crafted characters, it managed to avoid taking the easy way out of tough situations. Rarely in season 1 do you follow a predictable path. Now that the inaugural voyage has come to a close, our attention can turn to season 2, which was a topic addressed at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend.
We didn’t venture to the sunny Southern California environs, but our lovely older sibling Cinema Blend was all over that mother, and had the opportunity to sit and chat with some of cast and crew, including creator Jason Rothenberg. Here’s what they gleaned about season 2. If you’re not entirely caught up, or want to avoid such things, there may be some minor
I’m a huge Rob Thomas fan, with Veronica Mars and Party Down in my upper echelon of favorite TV series. I am, however, a little wary about his next project, the horror-tinged dramedy iZombie, due to the major changes made to the comic book source material. That said, I’m still going to feast on it like nobody’s looking, but I won’t be one of the first to see it, as Warner Bros. Television will debut the pilot/premiere episode at the San Diego Comic-Con 2014 later this month. Brainy move, Warner Bros.
iZombie will play a part in Warner’s Preview Night, set to occur on Wednesday, July 23, and also includes the pilot screenings of The CW’s The Flash, NBC’s Constantine, and Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans Go!. Fans will be pleased to know that Thomas and co-executive producer Diane Ruggiero-Wright (Veronica Mars) will host a Q&A session on Friday, July 25, which will also include stars Rose McIver (Once Upon a Time), Robert Buckley (One Tree Hill), Malcolm Goodwin (Breakout Kings), and Rahul Kohli. The press release says that there’s a screening before the Q&A, but the schedule only allots an hour, so maybe it’s a short Q&A presentation.