Coming Soon to a Television Near You

Are you getting tired of all he Supernatural-only coverage here?  Well, September is almost here, and that means a slate of new television shows. This year many shows fall under the science fiction genre, and there are five that I’m especially looking forward to watching.   I listed them (and two others) on my personal blog yesterday, as part of my Sunday Seven series.  Some will become hits, and some will be misses—only time will tell.  All of these shows appear on Wired’s top 10 list, with varying degrees of endorsement.

Let’s discuss.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:  Who doesn’t want to watch this??  The pilot was shown at Comic Con, but I haven’t been able to wade through the thousands of terabytes of Comic Con data to find any specific reviews.  I did find one headline which said it was as awesome as expected.   But can I find that site again?  Nope.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland:  It wasn’t at the up fronts, therefore it’s not been reviewed.  But its OnDemand preview is very appealing, even if Wired puts it in the possible car crash category.

Dracula:  It too looks lavish, but gave it a 3 (on a scale of 10).  Hopefully Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s talent will make up for Katie McGrath’s (Merlin’s weakest link) lack of it.

Almost Human:  The Huffington Post gave it mostly negative reviews.  The Daily Beast was a bit more forgiving.  And Wired said it’s “Must-See TV.”  (Wasn’t that phrase coined by NBC?  And they didn’t trademark it?)  One of the problems with pilots is there’s so much to set up and so much exposition, it’s often not a fair indicator of the the series itself.  I never judge a show by its pilot.  Well, except for Do No Harm, which was so awful, I couldn’t even force myself to watch the entire episode.

Sleepy Hollow:  It’s received crappy reviews all ’round.  Even though it’s on Wired’s top 10 list, it too is in the potential car crash category.  It doesn’t appear to have the high style of S.H.I.E.L.D., Wonderland or Dracula; nor the star power of Dracula and Almost Human. But you know us sci fi geeks. You can never tell what will float our boat.

Honorable Mention:  The Tomorrow People has received limited good reviews. Both The Daily Beast and Wired both give it higher marks than Sleepy Hollow (Wired also rates it higher than Wonderland), so I might check it out, even though I’m far beyond the CW’s targeted age group.

I won’t be watching The 100, Star-Crossed, or The Originals; so don’t ask.  One show on the CW is about all I can handle.  Maybe two, max.

How am I going to cover all these shows?  I likely won’t.  It’ll depend on which shows I find the most appealing and going from there.  Any suggestions?

A SciFi Sunday Seven

[Note:  Awhile back—ok, 2 years ago, I started a “Sunday Seven” meme at Stream of Conscience.   It was supposed to be like the old “Thursday Thirteen” only shorter.  And on Sunday.  🙂  Like all things me, I wasn’t consistent.  But let’s try again, shall we?]

I adore How to Train Your Dragon, both the movie and the books.  And now I get a weekly dose of Toothless and Hiccup and the gang on the Cartoon Network.  The series has proven to be a true little gem.  The animation is excellent, the lovely music is familiar while having its own nuances, and the stories have been exciting, humorous, and heart-warming.  (More on that in a later post.)

Toothless watches Hiccup draw him

Toothless the Night Fury and Hiccup the Viking begin their epic friendship in “How to Train Your Dragon”

My favorite episode is “The Terrible Twos.”  In it, Hiccup finds a small injured dragon, unlike any he’s ever seen before.  He brings it home and much of the story revolves around finding out the dragon’s characteristics.  Oh yeah, and Toothless is not happy about it.

There were so many laugh-out-loud moments, I decided to do a Sunday Seven around the episode.  And so, I give you:

Seven Great Lines from Dragons: Riders of Berk “The Terrible Twos”
  1. Stoic:  He’s not staying here.  I’ve got a one dragon limit.
  2. Stoic (after naming the new little dragon):  Well, can’t throw him out now.  We just named him.
  3. Fishlegs:  You know what’s next, don’t you?  Only the most important test to determine a dragon’s reaction to eels. (pause)  The Eel Reaction Test.
  4. Hiccup:  It’s like Toothless is jealous. My first girlfriend is a dragon.
  5. Gobber (confronting an angry Toothless):  You want to dance, big boy? ‘ Cause I’ve got my dancing shoe on.
  6. Gobber (having been thrown to the floor in a dragon chase):  My panpipes!  Now I can get the band back together!
  7. Hiccup (to Toothless):  I should have known you were just trying to protect me.  That’s what you do.  (Toothless regurgitates half a fish.) Then you do that.

Supernatural S08, E02

What’s Up, Tiger Mommy

I give it 4 out of 5 starsJared Padalecki’s hair aside, Supernatural appears to be heading in a good direction.  Granted, two episodes does not a season make, but still, I’m optimistic.  Kevin is proving to be a resourceful and street-savvy character.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with him last season, but he’s survived on his own for a year, outsmarting Crowley and the Winchesters.  Not bad for a kid from upper-middle class suburban Michigan.

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The forgotten show

Robert Carlyle as Mr Gold from Once Upon a Time

Robert Carlyle as Mr Gold, Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time premiered its second season Sunday.  I’d forgotten to list it on the page of shows covered here because I’d forgotten I watched it, having not watched the reruns this summer.  (Were there reruns?)  It’s one of those Sunday evening shows I would watch to mentally unwind before Monday.  (ABC is even advertising it as such now!)  Along the way last year, there were some mighty enjoyable episodes.

In reading the Television Without Pity recap and some of the forum, I realized how few season 1 details I remembered.  Like the name of Rumpelstiltskin’s son.  And Snow White’s one night stand with Dr. Whale (and Dr. Whale’s name).  And exactly how the chipped cup became chipped, even though “Skin Deep” was one of my favorite episodes.  (Robert Carlyle so deserved an Emmy nomination for it.)

Season 2 has elevated a couple of my favorite recurring characters (and cast members) to regular status, most notably Belle (Emilie de Ravin) and Ruby/Red Riding Hood (Meghan Ory).  We were introduced to Mulan (my favorite line from the movie Mulan?  “You’re da man.  Sort of.”), and are promised Captain Hook, Lancelot, and a host of others.

Once Upon a Time isn’t “must see tv” for me’ and yet the premise intrigues me.  Before last fall I couldn’t comprehend how the fairy tale world and the real world could be simultaneously depicted, but the dichotomy was handled nearly seamlessly the first season.  Given the new circumstances of the show, with the characters remembering their pasts (as well as their presents), where would the drama come from?  There’s only so much Evil (Regina/Queen & Gold/ Rumpelstiltskin) vs Good (town/everyone else)  I can take.

I shouldn’t have worried. The powers behind Once Upon a Time appear to be great story tellers.  They take much of what we loved about our childhood fairy tales, but have added enough modern day twists to surprise us.  The annihilation of most of Fairy Tale Land, the separation of Snow White and Prince Charming, and what looks to be the Battle of the Princesses (Show & Emma vs. Sleeping Beauty & Mulan) should keep us entertained for more than a few weeks.  I just hope Phillip isn’t dead forever.

What is Sci Fi?

Question mark

What do you think?

With the new tv season in full swing, I decided to take a look at a couple of highly recommended (by Television Without Pity) shows which have already premiered.  Now I’m trying to decide if they’re sci fi or not.  TWoP classifies one of the shows, Revolution, as sci fi; the other, Last Resort, as simply drama.

Wikipedia defines science fiction as the genre of fiction that depicts imaginary but plausible content.  While fantasy and the supernatural are not technically considered sci fi (because they’re not plausible), several web sites/people/groups include them under the sci fi umbrella because 1) they are based on an alternative reality, and 2) the genres often overlap. Also, a lot of the fans of one genre are fans of one or both of the others.

I understand TWoP’s classification.  Revolution depicts an imaginary future, in which no electrical or motorized power exists.  In Last Resort, the technology and geography exist today; but the political environment is so fantastic, it’s hard to call it simply fiction.  Both shows begin with huge mysterious events that have long-term, possibly permanent ramifications.  The question of why these events occurred will likely be the overarching theme for at least the first season of each series.

For now, I’m going to include both of them here at SciFi Chick(s).  Do you agree?  Take the poll.

On final note:  the Washington Post wasn’t as generous with their praise as TWoP.

W13: Did not see that coming!

Warehouse 13:  The Ones You Love
Mrs Fredrick and Leena

CCH Pounder and Genelle Williams and Warehouse 13’s Mrs Fredrick (no first name) and Leena (no last name?)

The proverbial “they” say one is entertained not only when the story takes a surprising turn, but also when you predict the outcome. For the most part, I agree.  I usually enjoy an unexpected plot twist; but am equally pleased when I predict it (probably because I think I’m so smart).  That’s not to say it’s 100% accurate—it depends on how good the plot is.  But for the most part, it works.  That said:


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Warehouse 13: Season 4

[From now on, abbreviated W13. Just because I’m lazy.]

I’m not a big fan of this show.  I like it, but apparently not enough to watch it live or soon after it airs. For example, I finally watched the Sep 17th episode, “Second Chance” last night.  (Only 5 days late.)  And yet, I tend to enjoy most of the episodes (to varying degrees).  With “Second Chance” I actually enjoyed the B Team (Claudia and Steve) more than Pete and Myka.  Probably because their “investigation” was much more personal and poignant.  And Laura Innes (from ER) played Steve’s mother.  Good casting!

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Are you ready for 8?

TV Guide‘s “Returning Favorites” issue (Sep 24-30) is out.   I picked it up mainly to see what they had to say about Supernatural, the show that got me hooked on sci fi tv in the first place.

Scene from Supernatural season 8 premiere

A scene from Supernatural’s season 8 premiere

I admit I haven’t kept up with the Supernatural news over the summer, other than knowing Sera Gamble left and Jeremy Carver is taking over as show runner.   I think that may be a good sign.  I never cared for Gamble, while Carver wrote a couple of my favorite episodes (“A Very Supernatural Christmas” and “Mystery Spot”).

There was a time when I couldn’t wait for a new episode to air.  I would even watch the summer reruns to savor the goodness.  That died with season 5 (the first season I stopped buying the DVDs), and although I still record the prime time repeats, I seldom watch them.  The exceptions this year were “Time After Time”  (with Elliot Ness !) and “Party On, Garth.”

I am concerned that the show is beginning to repeat itself.  Dean was left in purgatory at the end of season 7 (akin to his stint in hell at the end of season 3); and Sam has moved on and is out of “the life,” mimicking Dean’s foray into normalcy when Sam sacrificed himself to hell in order to prevent the apocalypse (end of season 5), which in turned mimicked Dean’s time in hell. Nor am I particularly enthusiastic about the Kevin and “word of God” storyline.  But I’ll keep an open mind.  In the past I’ve often been pleasantly surprised by episodes that initially sounded so-so.  (Perhaps because my expectations were not high.)

A couple tidbits that do excite me?  The Impala is back!  And Garth returns.

Season’s End, sort of

With this  post, I’m adding a new category called Hahaha! since I’ve fallen in love with a couple of comedies.  And now, heeeere’s the post:

About a month & a half ago, Television Without Pity, that website I love to hate, had a blurb on the best and worst season endings this year.  They gave four different ratings:

  • Best
  • More good than bad
  • More bad than good
  • Worst

The article inspired me to write my own reviews, but I waited since a few of the shows I watch hadn’t finished their seasons yet.  Now that Merlin has ended, here’s what I think.  (TWoP’s ratings are in parentheses).

  • Supernatural:  (More good than bad) Agreed.  Not the best season ending they’ve ever done , but then no season finale has been among my all-time favorites.  While TWoP poo-pooed the idea that Metallicar saved the day, I think it was fitting.  After all, for 3 years the car was the 3rd character.  (It was replaced by an increasingly useless trench coat-wearing angel in the last 2 seasons.)
  • FlashForward:  (More good than bad, I think.  It might have been More bad than good.)  I didn’t watch the series consistently enough to get too be engrossed in it.  But it did get better as the season progressed.  As for the final episode, I didn’t hate or love it.  It felt rushed.  Everyone’s flash forward had to be resolved, and the cast is way too large.  Nonetheless, I would have preferred FlashForward getting renewed over V.   (As a side note, I did not recognize Annabeth Gish.  She’s come a long way since her  Mystic Pizza and Shag days.)
  • V:  (Don’t remember this one, either)  Hated, hated it!   Ryan turned (or did he?) and Joshua (whom I totally loved) was killed only to be brought back to life.  Probably to be tortured next season.  I’ll probably watch next season for the same reason it’s hard to look away from a wreck.  I doubt it gets a 3rd season.
  • Modern Family:  (More good than bad, I think)  I agree with TWoP here.  It wasn’t bad, but I’ve come to expect better of this show.  The episode with Benjamin Bratt is still one of the best from this season.
  • Cougar Town:  (Best)  Absolutely agree!  Remember when I said I thought it sucked?  Once they changed the focus of the show (from being about a 40-something woman bedding 20-something dudes) to the wacky family and friends, it got good.  The cast, for the most part, is superb.  And the season finale has  many great moments:  Travis learning to deal with a raging girlfriend by becoming the “yes man” (Dan Byrd is delightful!), the Cheeto shaped like Bruce Willis, the “Relationship” remix tape, and “An Ewok!  He wants to make love to an Ewok!”
  • Parks and Recreation: (More good than bad)  Again, I agree.  While maybe not as funny as “The Possum” (my favorite of the episodes I’ve seen—I didn’t start watching until about 2/3 of the season had passed), it was funny enough that I kept it on my DVR to rewatch.  The addition of Ben as a possible love interest for Leslie (or so I’ve heard), is definitely working.  Amy Poehler and Adam Scott work very well off each other.
  • Community:  (I think TWoP said it was “more good than bad.”)  I give it an F.  (Ok, maybe a D).  I so wish they hadn’t gone to Britta being in love with Jeff.  About mid-season, I thought they’d abandoned the idea because there wasn’t much chemistry between the actors.  But they did go there.  I figured Jeff would end up with Annie, especially after their debate team kiss.
  • Legend of the Seeker:  (I don’t know if TWoP even rated this show.)  Much like the entire 2nd season, it was forgettable.  So much so, I almost forgot to include it here.
  • Stargate: Universe:  (The season hadn’t yet ended when TWoP did their thing.)  I give it a D.  I hate cliffhangers.  Not only was the season finale one, so were the previous two episodes.  I was going to say it was overkill, but that was the season ender—literally.  It’s like the writers couldn’t come up with a good ending, so they left everyone’s life in the balance.
  • Merlin:  (Same as SGU)  I loved it!  A+!  Easily the best episode of the season.  I have so much love for this episode, I think it deserves its own post.

Leverage has started its new season, Warehouse 13 starts this week, and several others next week.  So much for waiting for all “my” shows to end.

Your thoughts?

What I’m watching now

The hacking of my website has given me renewed interest in (almost) all things web.  Including posting more regularly.  So, I thought now would be a good time to talk about some of the (other than Supernatural) scifi shows I’ve been watching.

  • Stargate: Universe—I’ve never watched any of the other SG shows, except for an occasional SG-1 episode, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to.  It’s one of those shows I watch on the DVR, so I can fast-forward through the stuff I don’t like, like the “3 stooges” (I didn’t think up this term, but it’s so appropriate!) who are currently lost from Destiny because they didn’t stay in one place.  What I do like is the juxtaposition of the military vs. the civilian scientists.  I’ll get into my thoughts on that in a later post.
  • Merlin—I’ve always been a fan of the Arthurian legend, so I’m glad I found this show.  I don’t know why I never found it on NBC.  And I’m ok with the changes in the mythology.  After all, we already know the outcome of the legend, so something new and original is always welcome.
  • FlashForward—yep, I’m still watching it, but only via DVR.  I do think it’s gotten better since its hiatus, and last week’s episode with Janis’s back-story was great.  I don’t think I hit the fast-forward button at all.  (I knew Janis  had to be a double-agent! )   But I still think it might be uneven.  I say this from a cursory look at this week’s episode.  It doesn’t look as compelling to me.  But I could be wrong.
  • V—another series that warrants viewing by DVR only, although I do think it, too, is getting better.  I’m particularly enjoying all the double & triple lying going on, particularly with Lisa, whom I never thought I’d like.  I missed the introduction of Hobbs, again failing to realize the show had come back from hiatus.  So he’s still an enigma.  But my favorite character is Joshua.  He really needs to be made a regular.  Perhaps he can replace Chad the reporter.  (Don’t like him, don’t trust him.)
  • Legend of the Seeker—I’ve already written about my mild enthusiasm for it this year.   And I got a comment that said my love life must suck because I criticized the show.  Hee!  I deleted the comment rather than post it because it violated not one, but two of my comment policies.  It was a personal attack (which actually made me laugh rather than bothered) and used “u” instead of “you.”  I still have access to it in my trash.  Perhaps I’ll pull it out one of these days to use as an example.
  • Warehouse 13—ok, it hasn’t started its second season yet, but I’ll be there when it does!
  • True Blood—the jury’s still out on whether I’ll watch the 2nd season or not.  I want to support Raelle Tucker, but I’m just not that into the series.

So, what shows are you watching?  Caprica?  Something else I’ve missed?  I’d love to know.