Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone has been through several incarnations over the years, some good (the ’80s revival that featured writers such as Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski, Harlan Ellison, Farscape’s Rockne S. O’Bannon, and Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin) and some not so good (UPN’s 2002 version). There are new versions in development as we speak, one for television (from Bryan Singer) and one a movie, and there’s even a comic series (penned by none other than the aforementioned JMS). But regardless of how any of those turn out, this summer you’ll be able to take home the Zone in action-figure form.
February, being the shortest month of the year, is expected to have fewer streaming releases than other months. But even given that, the selection is rather dismal. Thankfully, enough has come out to give Cross the Streams something to do besides wish that aliens would show up in the second season finale of House of Cards. (Spoiler alert: they don’t.) But how good a week can it be when the most high-profile release features a character as dumb as Elizabeth Shaw? Let’s take our half-full glasses and head into space with Idris Elba behind the wheel-thing.
Prometheus (HBO Go)
As a pseudo prequel to one of the greatest sci-fi thrillers of all time, Prometheus features “Ridley Scott the visual artist” more than “Ridley Scott the master storyteller.” The script from Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof starts with promise, with a team of scientists discovering an ancient message that leads them across the universe to a planet that holds many secrets. Then they discover some of those secrets, and it’s clear that everyone was more interested in spectacle than making a coherent narrative. It’s not a complete wash by any means. The production design is quite literally out of this world, but Michael Fassbender is the only actor who looks like he knows what kind of movie he’s in. It works as a midnight movie more than a Hollywood blockbuster, especially if you have a space helmet bong handy.
There are a lot of folks having a lazy afternoon right about now, enjoying a vacation day and nursing that hangover from the New Year’s Eve celebrations last night. If that hangover is substantial enough that you’re having trouble even deciding how to while away your time, GFR has got your back. Syfy is continuing the second day of their Twilight Zone marathon, airing classic episodes such as “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” where William Shatner has a nasty encounter with a gremlin on the wing of his passenger plane. The marathon runs into the wee hours of the night, so set the DVR for eps you might wanna watch later. (Or just watch them on Netflix or Hulu.)
Meanwhile, The Twilight Zone is also infiltrating the comics page. Today sees the launch of Dynamite Comics’ new TZ comic series, penned by no less than Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. TZ creator Rod Serling is one of JMS’ idols, and Joe also has some experience in the Zone, having worked on the underrated ‘80s relaunch of the series. You can find out more, and purchase the issue, right here. Here’s the official synopsis:
Many of our readers are getting ready to ring in the New Year in style tonight, whether that means hanging with friends while downing champagne, dancing the night away with a signifcant other, or something even crazier. But if you’ve got the day off and nothing to do in the meantime, we’ve got some viable TV alternatives to twiddiling your thumbs for the next 12 hours. New Year’s marathons are a long-standing tradition in the TV world, and today you’ve got three excellent options to choose from.
First up, BBC America kicked off a Doctor Who marathon earlier this morning. They began with several Who specials, and as I write this they’re in the middle of the 2008 Christmas episode “Voyage of the Damned,” with “The Next Doctor” due at the top of the hour. If you missed the big Who events of the past few months, they’ll be airing “The Day of the Doctor” and “The Time of the Doctor” back-to-back tonight beginning at 9/7c.
Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski has been all over the place recently, but very soon he’ll step through a door—a very specific door whose knob is the human mind and whose peep hole is an eyeball that can only see inwards—a door that takes him into…The Twilight Zone. (My written Rod Serling impression is second to none, I’m aware.) Just in time for the new year, Dimension Comics will release issue #1 of Dynamite Entertainment’s rebooted Twilight Zone comic series. To pump up they’ve put out a trailer and released some pages. Hopefully you don’t break your glasses before watching, because that’s not fair…that’s not fair at all!
This is a pretty interesting clip, mixing images from the pages with lighting and movement in ways that most motion comics present things. It appears to be introducing potential readers to the debut issue rather than the first handful, and while it’s a pretty solid way to advertise the issue. I could go for something a bit more exciting with some clever wordplay, or at the very least, someone could have raised Serling from the grave and made him narrate it. I mean, they want people to buy the issues, right? Make the effort.
It seems like we’ve been waiting forever to see Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, but today it’s finally here. Even better, the movie is receiving damn near universal praise, currently sitting at a ridiculous 98% Fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes. James Cameron called it “the best space film ever,” and that’s high praise from a director so focused on pushing forward the technology of filmmaking. I’ve heard some complaints that the story itself isn’t amazing, but the visual splendor more than makes up for it. This is one you’ll definitely want to see on the biggest screen. And remember, in space, no one can hear you scream. But the people next to you in the theater can, so try and control yourself.