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First Impression: Masters of Science Fiction

There have been a lot of mixed reviews for Masters of Science Fiction. I caught the first episode, “A Clean Escape“, and thought it was pretty good. As expected, it reminded me of The Outer Limits episodes of the 90’s. (Sam Egan was involved in both productions.)

In a nutshell, the episode (based on a short story by John Kessel) concerns the meetings between a man (Sam Waterston) who is having memory problems and a psychiatrist (Judy Davis). The acting was top-notch. The story they had to work with – a slowly unwrapped plot that’s pure world building – gave them something to sink their teeth into, and they leveraged it well.

My only complaint with the episode was that it felt a bit too long. They probably could have done it in 30 minutes. There were parts where I tried to move the story along by sheer force of will. That didn’t work, so instead I focused on the world building and the acting; it worked much better then.

I’ll tune in for episode 2 of this limited run series. Or at least my DVR will be tuned in. It isn’t bad enough that ABC is only showing only four of the six episodes, but they also squirreled it away to summertime Saturday nights.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

6 Comments on First Impression: Masters of Science Fiction

  1. Matthew Sanborn Smith // August 6, 2007 at 11:04 pm //

    You know, I wasn’t crazy about the ending or the whole reason he was in therapy, but I liked the rest of the show enough to keep tuning in. Mostly good writing and good acting.

  2. I found it to be a bit too preachy, and not a very good choice for the premier episode of a new series. The theme seemed like something we’ve seen many times before. I’ll give the series another chance, though. Next week’s episode looks interesting.

  3. I dunno, this left me cold. The acting was seriously overdone, and I just couldn’t bring myself to care about the story situation, probably because it felt just like a bad episode of “The Outer Limits.” That this is on the network that foisted “According to Jim” on an unsuspecting world should’ve been enough of a warning to keep away, but I’m a masochist. I’ll watch the next round.

  4. It was horrible, in only the way that Showtime Outer Limits-class shows can be horrible: Pick up a large jagged-edged piece of allegory in the first act, repeatedly telegraph that you are going to pummel the viewer with it in the second half, then proceed with said pummeling. Just awful.

  5. I just watched the second episode – thought it was just meh. The acting was fine but the story and message was heavy-handed. Frankly, this story didn’t need science fiction to be involved either. For as much as Ellison wanted us to think that it mattered, it really didn’t. His idea was ‘what happens to genetic outcasts’ as if somehow that is a unique idea that could only happen in the future.

  6. Agreed. See also, this new post.

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