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SF and the Fall TV Season

John posted this link earlier that lists the upcoming mid-season SF shows. Its part of SciFi Weekly’s two part SF TV Preview. There’s a lot of stuff here. I didn’t realize how much SF is on TV, or how much of it is crap. Let’s take a trip through the upcoming season and see what’s what.

Canceled Shows

Gah, there is only 1 show here, and 1 potential show, which I am sad to see go. Futurama has been hosed and horked on by Fox TV for all of its run. I love Futurama. Its a very funny show filled with SF in-jokes and geeky humor. What’s not to love? Even with the SF based humor, which probably hurt the show ratings-wise, I still think a stable time slot and routing showings would have helped the show. At least you can get the series on DVD. I have Volume 1 and will be getting the rest. Of course, I have to ration my spending between the Babylon 5 Season DVDs too. The other show that potentially shouldn’t have been canceled, is Firefly. I saw the second episode, I think, and was decent enough. At least it was really different from other SF on TV and the Captain wasn’t necessarily always a good guy. At least, not in the Jean Luc Picard sense. How can you be when you kick a defenseless bad guy into your ship’s engines? Sweet. Anyway, its coming back as a movie and all of the shows, including those not aired, will be released on DVD. Again, Fox horked with this one too. What’s with Fox, do they just suck? Perhaps Firefly should have been re-made as “When Aliens Attack!” or “Galaxy’s Worst Out of Control AI Moments!” or perhaps even “Its Goo for You! – When Nanobots Go Bad”. Stupid Fox. All the rest on the list

of canceled shows is crap.

The list of new shows is really thin, and also full of crap.

  • 1-800-MISSING – Please. You get hit by lightning, and instead of getting dead, or at least some really cool scorch marks, you become clairvoyant and can find missing people? What’s the story here? Each show will be: Person goes missing. Much angst over where person is and FBI called. FBI asks main character to ‘dream’ the missing persons whereabouts. Missing person found. End of story. Wow. Exciting. Plus its on Lifetime which pretty much guarantees I won’t watch it. Even if I wanted to.
  • Carnivale – does look somewhat interesting. At least I like the premise that things aren’t always black and white. Plus it has the Kurgan, I mean Clancy Brown in it. As an aside, did you know Mr. Brown is the voice of Mr. Krabs on Spongebob SquarePants? Heh. You learn something new every day. Anyway, Carnivale is on HBO, which guarantees I won’t see it, since I don’t get HBO.
  • Jake 2.0 – is about a computer technician who is infected with nanites. Yay! A nerd boy with superpowers! (How nanites give you superpowers is beyond me). Whaa! The nanites may kill him. My guess is UPN will kill this show faster than the nanites can kill Jake. I’d like to see the nanites as the bad guys. That would be a different take.
  • Joan of Arcadia – Oh I see! Joan of Arc, Joan of Arcadia! How subtle! Really, is a show where the main character actually talks to God and does his bidding really SF? Unless God turns out to be some mind controlling alien who uses nanites to control others, I think not. Hey, I think that’s a cooler premise.
  • Tarzan – An updated version with Tarzan being brought to the concrete jungle (see? I’m sticking with the Tarzan theme!) of New York City. Its billed as a romantic action/adventure series, which pretty much translate to: its crap. I find it interesting that the shot for the show that SciFi Weekly used doesn’t show Tarzan but the babes in the series. Can you say chick TV? I knew you could. Not SF either.
  • Tru Calling – looks like its just Early Edition with a better looking lead and no need to subscribe to the newspaper. I don’t know, it could be interesting. Limited time travel seems to be involved. And it has talking dead people. That’s always a good thing. And its cheaper to get someone to play a corpse and do a little voice over than it is to get them actually act. Of course, that theory goes out the window the nanosecond Tru uses her time travel ability and those actors actually get to act. Whatever. As I said, it may be good. I’m not going out of my way to see this one. It won’t even make me get off my lazy @#$ and setup my computer version of Tivo.
  • Unexplained Mysteries – The only unexplained mystery is why this show is being made. Come on! A “reality series featuring paranormal investigations” sounds oxymoronic (with emphasis on the moronic bit) to me. It gets better though. It make liberal use of old footage from other oxymoronic shows and add new interviews with backwoods hicks who’s sister was taken by ‘dem ‘dere aliens and probed relentlessly. Anally even. I seen it! Arrgh. Crap.

Call me crazy, but none of the new shows sounds terribly exciting or even interesting. Some have a bit SF trappings (nanobots, time travel) but nothing jumps out as being overly SF-ish. Too bad. Why can’t there be a really good new SF show that isn’t based on Star Trek? It can’t be that hard to make, can it? I’d go on with the kids shows, but, well, they’re for kids. Although, Cartoon Network’s Star Wars:Clone Wars micro-mini series could be interesting. I’m guessing Lucas won’t have a hand in writing the dialog or plot so it could be good….

The returning series aren’t that exciting either. In fact, I’ve never seen most of them and the others I’ve seen only rarely. BTW, anything I don’t comment on, you can safely assume its crap.

  • Alias – There are two reasons to Alias, the same two reasons for watching this season of Enterprise, and I can find that on many web sites. Ok, three, counting Sydney’s propensity for wearing low cut, tight-fitting clothes. While that’s good and all, the actual story just doesn’t do anything for me. I know there is the whole Rambaldi thing, but they lost me after the first 3 shows and I haven’t kept up with it.
  • Crossing Over with John Edward – How this exercise in cold reading is as popular as it is baffles me. Why is it that the dead never want to take revenge against those in the audience or even have something bad to say? Now that would be good TV. SF, no, TV, yes. Actually, the fact that John Edwards has a TV show doing this borders on SF….
  • Enterprise – See Alias above. It looks like T’Pol has taken a page from Sydney’s wardrobe, but still, the stories have to get better before I’ll watch again. And I hear they changed the theme song and gave it a more country feel. I weep.
  • Stargate SG-1 – I’ve seen a few episodes of these and, while entertaining, I just don’t have the desire to watch this on a regular basis. The only SF show that kept me coming back each week was Babylon 5, well, the first 4 seasons anyway. SG-1 doesn’t do it either. Don’t know why.

The mid season shows look to be movie oriented with a few series sprinkled in. Again, the caveat that, if I don’t make a comment here, I think its crap.

  • 10.5 – Save us from network SF TV movies. A seismologist risking everything to stop an earthquake? How would you do that exactly? Stop the plates from moving? Its like trying to get Homer to stop eating donuts. It ain’t happening. This one sounds excruciatingly bad. Which is why its here and not relegated to the default ‘crap’ pile.
  • Anonymous Rex – Oh boy. SciFi, fresh off the ‘success’ that was Riverworld, takes another crack at adapting a book for the small screen. But really, a secret society of dinosaurs disguised as humans? How exactly does that work? You’d think the local McDonalds would know something isn’t right when the same guys keeps ordering 50 big macs, patties only please, and a diet coke. Right. This makes me think of that awful Theodore Rex movie. At least this show doesn’t have Whoopie Goldberg.
  • The Forever War – The good news, this is a great SF story. The bad news, its being made by SciFi Channel. If they actually stick to the book, this could be a good show. Otherwise…Riverworld?
  • Game Over – Now this one looks amusing. A family living in a video-game universe could be entertaining, plus it has Patrick Warburton. I’ll at least watch it when it comes on. Now if only they have Pac Man clearing out rush hour traffic…
  • Hef’s Superbunnies – Err, huh? If this was live action, that’s one thing. But animated?
  • Life on Mars – Survivor on Mars! Way to go SciFi! Woot! I’d like to see the contestants handle the ‘simulated atmospheric pressure of Mars’ test! Hopefully they’ll handle it better than Arnold did in Total Recall.
  • Tripping the Rift – Another CGI animated show. However, this one, at least the episodes I’ve seen, is actually funny. Its amazing its on SciFi. Hopefully SciFi didn’t ruin it.
  • A Wrinkle in Time – Finally, a good SF story brought to the screen. Hopefully ABC doesn’t dumb it down into something stupid.

Is it just me or does Sci Fi Channel need help? They have a ton of things on this list, very few actually sound good let alone interesting. Add in the fact that Sci Fi Channels seems to use comics as an inspiration source and I’d say they need to get new programming people and some real writers. Not that comic books can’t be interesting, I’d like to see quality, original SF, not something adapted from a comic.

The last section deals with movies, mini-series and specials. Again, this list is dominated by the Sci Fi Channel with its odd reliance upon the monster movie. Sci Fi seems to think that mutated insects equals SF. Bah!

  • Battlestar Galactica – Well, given the fact that this re-imagining has enraged the fanboys, I’ll have to watch it. Hopefully it will turn out better than the original series (it wasn’t that good! Admit it, you know its true!). But, since this is Sci Fi…..

You know, looking at the rest, I can’t get excited about any of them. I’m going to stop now before I get all depressed….

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

1 Comment on SF and the Fall TV Season

  1. And the winner for longest post….JP!

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