It is widely agreed that shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica ended on a low note. I’ve also heard more than one person say the same for Quantum Leap. Although these shows were good overall, they shared endings that kinda sucked.
Which begs the question: Which SciFi shows had the best endings?
What’s you take? Sound off in the comments…
Awhile ago we looked at the current state of SF TV and I discussed what I thought of several different SF shows. The U.S. Spring television season has just come to an end (and what a vast wasteland of nothingness we are in right now) and with it, several of those SF shows gave us their last, best shot until next year (or never again).
A quick look at the earlier article shows us several shows that wither haven’t ended their current run yet (Stargate Universe) or haven’t started their ‘summer’ season, thanks to SyFy’s bizarre scheduling (Eureka, Warehouse 13). But all of the big network shows have ended, one way or another, and it’s those we will look at. One quick administrative note: Heroes has been canned and it’s about damn time and about three seasons too late. Still, when you’re NBC, you don’t have much else to fall back on.
Special word of warning: There will be spoilers below so proceed at your own risk.
In reverse order:
Courtesy of Atom Films..
From looking at the number of science fiction(ish) shows on television, you might think we’re in a renaissance of sorts for SF on TV. I listed all the SF shows that I watch regularly, irregularly, or have watched but quit. I was surprised at the quantity of shows that are out and when you add in the ones I don’t watch or never have, there is a lot of SF/F on TV.
But are we inundated with quality shows? Let’s find out! In no particular order:
What if LOST where a cheesy 1960’s sci-fi show? What would the opening credits look like? The following video answers those questions in spades:
That’s some good stuff right there!
[Voice Of The Fans is a weekly feature on SF Signal where we post an interesting item, handcrafted by the Secret Masters of Fandom, specifically for the fans of science fiction and fantasy to voice their opinions and be heard. If you have a topic (and incidentally be inducted into the SMOF via an embarrassing yet strangely compelling secret ceremony), drop us a line at voice (at) sfsignal (dot) com.]
WARNING: There will be spoilers below, if you haven’t seen the latest episode, or want to stay otherwise unspoiled, read no further!
The greatest SF show currently on TV began its final season this past Tuesday. In case the post title didn’t give it away, I’m speaking of LOST,of course! Sure it was slow to start, with the SF elements safely tucked away and only hinted at, but by the middle of the third season LOST cranked up the science fiction to 11. Not just content with someone’s consciousness cavorting up and down the time stream, the writers have given also given us time skipping heroes, vanishing islands and much, much more, culminating in this seasons dueling realities, plus smoke monster!
I’m very curious and a wee bit excited to see where the LOST story will end up. Which is where you come in. What do you think will happen at the end of LOST? Will the realities merge to form a new one or they will they be destined to duke it out a la Fringe?
One thing I know for certain: I’ll be very sad to see LOST hang it up. It’s been a constant for me for the past six years and it’s only gotten better the past two and a half season. I’m confident it will end on a high and not disappoint. Although, if the writers could find some way to use our end of LOST idea, I think that would put it over the top…
As I write this, I just finished watching the latest episode of LOST, called ‘The Constant’. To all those who poo-pooed the idea that LOST was not science fiction, watch this episode. After hinting and teasing, the writers finally pulled out the stops and gave us a full-bore science fiction episode.
‘The Constant’ is a Desmond-centric episode, which is great because Desmond is a great character, but what set it apart was that, depending on how you look at it, it was either a flash-forward episode, or a flash-back. Why? Because, due to forces only hinted at (of course), Desmond becomes unstuck in time, and oscillates between 1996 and 2004. He must find Penny in both periods (she is the constant) to ground him, or else he will die as his consciousness will be unable to handle the ever increasing time shifts. Yes, we get the paradoxical infomational loops, but they are handled pretty well, although there were a couple of areas that were glossed over. But that’s ok, because:
Not only do we get some heavy duty SF tossed into the show, it only took the writers 4 seasons to smack people over the head with it, we also got a terrific character story centered on Desmond and Penny. Now we see what prompted Penny to start, and continue, her search for Desmond. We see the lengths Desmond will go to try and reconnect with Penny, ultimately ending with a very emotional, and powerful, reunion. This was, by far, the best episode this season and might be the best overall. An awesome job by all those involved.
I won’t say much more then you simply have to watch it for yourself. If you gave up on LOST, I think you owe it to yourself to catch up (fulls eps available on ABC’s website). If you’ve never seen it, all seasons are online at ABC, what are you waiting for? It should be one incredible run to the series finale in 2010.
And I don’t just mean back on the air. After the awesome ‘second-half’ of season 3, we were left wondering whether the LOST writers could keep up the great storytelling going into ‘the end is in sight’ season 4. We needn’t have worried. The premier episode ‘The Beginning of the End’ picked up right where ‘Through the Looking Glass’ left off, both in terms of time (no time has past) and story (still as engrossing as ever).
First off, the obligatory ‘flash’ section is a flash foward, but how far forward we don’t find out until later. I think it was Lindeloff who described the story of LOST as a mosaic, with each episode and ‘flash’ sequence adding a piece to the picture. Now that we have flash forwards, we can see the genius of this strategy. With each ‘flash’, we’ve learned how the survivors came to be who they are, and now we’re seeing what they became, all the while keeping the main mysteries cloaked in uncertainty. The writers have found a way to tell a linear story in a non-linear manner, while giving us just enough to keep us going.
Not only was the writing stellar in this episode (snarktastic Ben was a highlight), but Jorge Garcia’s Hurley was the star. We see Hurley trying to come to grips with Charlie’s death on island, and we feel his grief and despair. Combine that with the island apparently taking an interest in Hurley makes his choosing between Ben and Jack bittersweet, poignent and powerful. His speech detailing his reasons was strong and moving. Contrast that with Hurley’s apparent descent back into mental instability in the future flash and we see Hurley grappling with possibly making a wrong decision back on the island and we see just how much Garcia has become Hurley. But of course, the writers give us even more questions, chiefly, just what are those who were rescued hiding? And if Hurley is hallucinating, how is it that others can see his hallucinations? Terrific stuff. I can’t wait to find out the answers.
The only thing I had an issue with was the whole ‘would be rescuer’ Naomi sub-plot. I found it very contrived that she would be able, after being knifed in the back and lying on the ground, to get up unnoticed, run off into the woods, lay a fake trail for Jack to follow, double back, climb a tree and lay in wait for Kate, then drop onto Kate and wrestle with her for the satellite phone. (As an aside, what is it with Kate wrestling other women? First Juliette, now Naomi. I’m not complaining mind you, just wondering.) This whole thread was there for the sole purpose of Naomi resetting the sat phone to a clear channel for the ‘rescuers’ to home in on. Afterwards, she conveniently dies. Again. Possibly. I didn’t buy it.
Still, that was a minor thread in this Hurly-icious episode. If you’ve been wondering if LOST is worth coming back to, I say ‘Yes!’ Get thee to Netflix or iTunes and catch up.
LOST is back.
It seems like forever since LOST was last on the air, but that’s about to change in a hurry as season 4 starts tomorrow night, at 9pm ET. When we last left our survivors, rescue seemed immanent, thanks to Charlie disabling the Looking Glass hatch, allowing communications with the outside. Of course, being LOST things aren’t what they seem, and the ‘rescuers’ may not be looking for the Losties at all. Cue end of season 3. So that brings us to season 4. There is a wealth of unanswered questions out there. But we’d like to know what you want to see from Season 4. Keep in mind that, with only 16 episodes this season (if we’re lucky) you can’t get all the answers. And just for Trent, I’ll go ahead and place ‘less clothes‘ (see accompanying picture) on his list.
Some of the things I want to see are:
- Why is the island hidden from the outside world and how is that accomplished?
- Where did the ‘native’ others come from and who don’t they appear to age?
- Who, exactly, is Jacob?
- What is the smoke monster?
I know theres a lot more, but these are the ones foremost in my mind. Although, from what I’ve read, the smoke monster may remain a mystery for awhile longer. What say you?
I’ve been collecting a few links of interest for LOST fans, like me, and I thought I’d share them with you. Note that there may be potential spoilers here so read at your own risk.
First up, Buddy TV, via Sci Fi Wire, has Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff dropping some information on season 4. Things that are already well guessed at, if not know: flash backs and flash forwards will be mixed throughout the episodes, Michael is back, and we’ll get to ‘see’ Jacob in some form of fashion. I’m intrigued to see how the flash backs/forwards will work and how they’ll add to the show’s story. Reading the actual story at Sci Fi Wire, we learn that Walt will make an appearance during the show, and that Lindelof and Cuse had already planned for Malcom David Kelley’s inevitable aging during filming. In other words, Walt will look older and the producers have already taken that into account for the story. This leads some credence to my theory that the island is behind some sort of event horizon, and time runs slower for those on the island.
While pimping the Season 3 DVD set of LOST, L&C let it be known that, yes, they do listen to the fans and they do make changes to the show based on that feedback. As evidence, they point out the expanded role of Niki and Paolo last season, and their untimely burial, all as a result of fans reactions (read: whining). As for this season, Cuse played the smart @$$ card: “Yes, got any?”
And finally, Lindelof says he’s always known how LOST will end, and even has the final shot in mind, and no, it’s not a black screen. Thank goodness. Cuse also stated, “it would be wrong to think that the flash-forward you saw is the end of the series.” My take: the future can be changed, the flash forwards are possible outcomes given the current island situation. Mark your calendars for Feb. 6th for LOST‘s return.
After the strong finish to last season, I can’t wait for this season!
- Apparently, the DVD sales for Jericho are low. Maybe everyone is at home, trying to watch it when its broadcast, just like the network asked them to? I think CBS made the right decision in canceling the show to begin with, but a bunch of crazy fans convinced them there was a larger audience out there than there actually is. I don’t see this making it past its 7 episode trial. If you’re interested, there will be a live chat with executive producer Dan Shotz tonight 8pm EST on the show’s home page.
- Buddy TV speculates on how LOST will end. I’m sure the series will wrap everything up, but how nicely?
- In keeping with the Dr. Who theme around here, the Dr.’s assistant, Sarah Jane Smith, will get her own TV show, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Elisabeth Sladen will reprise her role as Sarah Jane in this series aimed at the younger set.
- Kevin Falls and Kevin McKidd, creator and star of Journeyman, held a press conference to discuss the show. We learn that the romantic dimensions of the show are the core of the story, and that any SF elements will be downplayed. Yeah, I’m out.
- NEXT.TV announced an agreement with HP for a ‘revolutionary new Internet television service’ that enables users to ‘enjoy hit TV shows, movies, music videos, shorts, documentaries and much more’. Initially, only HP Pavilion and Compaq Presario PCs and notebooks running Vista will be able to access this ‘revolutionary’ IPTV service. But you can sign up for the beta if you wish. I don’t know how revolutionary this really is, as services like Joost and Babelgum are already doing this, and not tied to any one brand of computer.
- The Saucer News tells us that
SF is alive and well… just not on the SF channel. Well, we knew that about the Sci Fi Channel. But where does it live on? Why on Discovery and Animal Planet. After reading his thoughts, I tend to agree. They are doing lots of fascinating science shows that can be construed as having some sort of SF element to bring them to us.
- And now for some good news for Sci Fi: A Think Tank Of One watched Sci Fi’s original movie, Black Hole and decided it was actually pretty good. I never saw it so I can’t comment, other than to say, whenever I see Judd Nelson, I think of Barry Manilow.
- Over at TV Jab, they have posted their Top 10 SF Shows of All Time. Wow, that is heavily populated with recent SF shows. Heroes better than Babylon 5? Um, no. Wait, who even knew that Heroes, or LOST were even SF?? And ST:TNG is NOT the best SF of all time.
- The Modesto Bee gives us their take on the new Fall schedule. Looks like Chuck might be pretty good after all.
- Screen Head wonders if ABC is deliberately trying to kill Pushing Daisies. Saying that full episodes won’t be placed on the web for later viewing tells me ABC doesn’t ‘get’ the Internet, or the people who use it. The idea is to build interest. How can you do that if people can’t even see the show? Once again, stupid decisions by a network is bittorrent’s gain, even if it kills the show.
- Buddy TV has a rumor that Sci Fi plans to split Battlestar Galactica‘s final season into two, 10 episode mini-season, one to air in 2008, the other in 2009. Hopefully this won’t be the case, but being the network that brings you wrestling on a SF channel, you never know. Much hate will ensue if true. Well, more hate.
- Henry Ian Cusick, Desmond on LOST, may be set to star as Mandy Patinkin’s replacement in the upcoming direct to DVD Dead Like Me movie.
- Revelations has a differing Christian take on Firefly/Serenity. Far from being put out as a previous blogger, Father Oakley finds much to like about it. Who knew?
- Did you know that Doctor Who has been scheduled through 2010? Now you do! Good news for Who fans.
- Cinema Blend gives us their preview of NBC’s Journeyman. They aren’t excited. We’ll have to wait and see.
- Accordian Guy points us to Shaenon Garrity’s interpretation of “The Trouble With Tribbles”, done in the style of illustrator Edward Gorey.
- It seems that the love affair between Heroes and Nissan will continue in season 2. Nissan will again be the sole automotive advertiser as they try to hawk their new mini-SUV, the Rogue.
- From a survey, 55% of America’s South Asian population prefers to get their entertainment online than from anywhere else. This is a trend that I see continuing and spreading to include everyone. Sadly, the media companies today are not ready for this.
- A new online broadcast channel launched yesterday, and will focus on science fiction and fantasy films. You can find them at Sci-Fi-London. You will need the Adobe Flash player installed to watch the films. Their awesome exclusive for this month? Done The Impossible, the documentary about Firefly fans. Sweet!
- Speaking of Firefly, you can find a gallery of super cutie Jewel Staite here. Almost certainly SFW.
- John Muir has an incredibly long, incredibly detailed article covering the classic MST3K classic episode “Manos, The Hands Of Fate“. You haven’t lived till you’ve seen this one. Then you’ll be glad you never saw the movie without Joel and the bots. (“Manos!” “The hands of fate?” “Uh-huh”).
- The TV Addict defends his earlier post Heroes: Most OverHyped Show Ever? He has some interesting points, and I agree the hype for it has been everywhere. Can it live up to the hype? Sure. Will it? We’ll see.
- Buddy TV has their time slot analysis for Moonlight up. They compare it to Angel, which might be good, except no Joss Whedon, which is bad. Oh, and it isn’t SF, which is bad.
- For all you LOST fans who happen to be High Def snobs, you’ll be glad to learn that Season 3 of LOST will be available on Blu Ray in full on 1080p. Hmm, might be time to get a larger TV.
- Not TV related, but Live365 has an Internet radio station dedicated to SF&F soundtracks. Cool.
- Kevin Smith is all over TV this season. Now he’s signed on to direct and episode of Battlestar Galactica. Hopefully Matt Damon or Ben AFFLACK! won’t appear.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer has a short piece on the book What’s Science Ever Done For Us: What The Simpsons Can Teach Us About Physics, Robots, Life and the Universe (what a long title). I always like it when The Simpsons foray into science and all I can say is, “Mmmm. Forbidden donut.”
- Despite the horribleness that is Flash Gordon, it still managed to pull in a 1.5 rating, which isn’t bad for a cable show, but doesn’t come close to Galactica‘s premier. It should be very interesting to see the second episode’s ratings. Can you say disappearing faster than Ming’s masculinity?
- SciFi Chick (hi Angela!) has a couple of nice NBC items: a Heroes clip and a link to the Bionic Woman related website, Ethical Bionics. NBC really seems to have its internet act together. Now if they would just put the HD versions of shows on their website for later viewing, like ABC.
- How much of a SF fan are you? Are you man, or woman, enough to name your child after a SF character, but can’t figure out the right name? Well Sci-Fi Baby Names offers 500 names to choose from, including Jabba. Seriously. That’s just asking for trouble. Greedo is a much better name.
- Chris Weigant offers 4 things Hollywood gets wrong about SF. I will say I think people are catching on to the ‘no sound in space thing’. I’d also like to add ‘There’s no up or down in space.” Why do all spaceships seem to face each other and all have the same orientation? Just once, I’d like to see a ship attack at an angle from below. Which points out that the best shape for a warship in space should be a sphere…
- Buddy TV offers us two shows that evoke similar feelings to LOST, and then asks for your recommendations. If Nowhere Man is on DVD, I may have to check that out. Another canceled Fox show I think.
- Televisionista discusses the pilots with the most buzz among potential viewers. The winners? Bionic Woman and Cavemen. You decide how good that is…
- To help you decide, Star Trek and Media Science Fiction Blog points us to some mixed reviews for Bionic Woman. Is anyone planing on watching this one?
- The San Jose Mercury News has the critics’ take on the new fall shows. Is it surprising that it differs from the viewers?
- TV Buddy tells us that Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell maybe headed to LOST to play one of the ‘boat people’. As long as they don’t pull a Nikki and Paolo this should be fine.
- As we all learned from Yogurt, the way to success is ‘merchandising’! So it shouldn’t come as a shock that the Heroes merchandising onslaught is set to explode just in time for the second season. Seriously, who buys all this stuff?
- NBC is going old school. I remember the networks broadcasting specials that highlighted the upcoming fall tv series. Now, NBC is resurrecting the idea on Sept. 8th to highlight their upcoming programs. Takes me back, it does.
- TBO.com has an advance review of Sci Fi’s Flash Gordon (which premiers tonight, by the way). Without knowing the reviewer’s tastes, I can’t really tell whether a bad review means the show is really bad or not. Of course, my hopes aren’t that high to begin with. We’ll see tonight. (Ah-ah!)
- That explosion you heard last Saturday night was Masters Of Science Fiction tanking in the ratings. But then again, what did ABC expect after putting the show in that time slot and bad mouthing it as much as they did?
- Amazon.com has a podcast with Joss Whedon where they discuss Firefly, Serenity and more.
- Monsters and Critics has three streaming video clips for Sci Fi’s upcoming show Flash Gordon. Don’t forget, Flash airs this Friday night! I hear he’ll save everyone of us.
- Speaking of Flash Gordon, Slice of Sci Fi has an interview with Karen Cliche, who plays the bounty hunter Baylin on Gordon.
- Sci Fi Weekly has a review of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex-Solid State Society. Whew.
- TG Writer has a nice post about the best episodes of Trek. He names quite a number of decent episodes, but leaves out my favorite TNG episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise”.
- Heroes news: Buddy TV covers the Heroes conference call held on 08/02 with Tim Kring and Masi Oka, which covers wide range of things, including tidbits about the villains for Season 2. MovieWeb has a more in depth article on the Heroes Season 1 DVDs. Remember, the DVDs are released on August 28th. And now you can check out the Heroes Comic-Con 2007 panel for yourself, courtesy of NBC (nice job NBC). [via TheTVAddict.com]
- Speaking of Comic-Con 2007 panels, over on DarkUFO, you can view the entire LOST panel. Dang, Lindelof and Cuse are funny guys. When does 2008 get here again? And Buddy TV has a short article on the rumored addition of two new cast members.
- The San Jose Mercury News has a pre-post-mortem on the sure to canceled show Caveman. Wondering if the show will actually air, they say, ” Me? I putting my money on ‘never sees the light of day.'” Now that’s an observation so simple, even a caveman could make it.
- HubPages has an interesting article on How 5 Science Fiction Series Were Destroyed, that is, how they stayed on too long and spiraled into a grisly end. The only one I ever watched any of, and I’ve seen every episode, is Star Trek. The others never did much for me.