Looking back on Sci Fi September* (part the third)

October 8, 2010

Star Gate SG1

(the first three episodes)

(ie until we couldn’t stand it anymore)

I’ve heard that this is one of (the?) most popular and longest running shows on the Sci Fi Channel and so I have to ask myself … why?  We only got three episodes in so perhaps it improves in later seasons but this struck me as pretty ridiculous cheesy crap.  The movie was funny – didn’t take itself too seriously.  The show just seemed very low quality and ham handed.  The characters were stereotyped and one dimensional, the production values were low and the premise seemed more far-fetched than before … or maybe we just didn’t watch them late enough at night!

Prince Caspian

(which totally counts as science fiction; inter-dimensional time travel, anyone?)

I have my issues with the way they souped up the battle components of this movie (basically with the failed raid on the Telmarine fort) but I actually like it quite a lot.  As a book its pretty skimpy on both plot and character development but I feel like this re-write added a lot of believable psychology to all the Pevensie children and to Caspian himself.  Peter has some teenaged aggression to work off, Susan can’t really let herself love something she knows wont last, Caspian has some very legitimate doubts about his chops as a Narnian King.

Interestingly my two favorite characters get the least development.  Edmund steps up to fill Peters shoes as the cool headed competent one, amending his royal title to King Edmund the Just … as Magnificent as Peter, Thank You Very Much.  Most of his plot arc relates to applying what he learned in the last story – that witches are untrustworthy and you should put your faith in family.  Lucy is adorable as ever in her childlike wonder (she’s the only one who still really feels it) but she has a bit of a learning curve too, needing to stand up to the others when she sees Aslan and they don’t.  I’m still looking forward to Dawn Treadder whenever it comes out.

Firefly (start to finish … and sometimes with commentary)

THIS is what I mean when I talk about a good sci fi TV show.  The epitome of “brilliant but canceled,” Firefly is my favorite Joss Wheadon and it is an eternal tragedy that Fox submarined it the way they did.  Its delightful but maddening to see all the complexity of the characters and their hidden pasts and unclear futures and know we’ll never get to find out how Sheppard Book learned so much about the millitary or Simon would have continued his political journey from Alliance poster child to fugitive to outright rebel.  But I never tire of watching it all begin …


I meant to do a whole post on this when it came out I liked it so much.  This is the third time I’ve seen it now and its still great.  I love a good heist movie and this has all the classic elements but it also has some very nicely executed science fiction elements.  Its incredibly complicated and I’m not surprised to learn that  Chris Nolan has basically been writing and rewriting it continuously since he wrote Momento 10 years ago.  Its also quite beautiful … a paean to modern architecture and the hipster clothing aesthetic which accompanies it.  The combination of  elegant laconic characters solving complex problems with lightning speed is continuously impressive. 

Sherlock Holmes

Is this Sci Fi?  I would argue yes.  In the sense that the climax revolves around a radio transmitter controlled nerve gas machine which seems anachronistically modern to me (although I haven’t bothered to look it up) and also in the sense that Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law (not to mention Rachel McAdams) seem to have time travelled into their roles from the present with their very modern attitudes intact.  Not that I have any problem with that.  I loved this movie which was all fun all the time and beautifully designed to boot.   It also falls into the new (to me) genre of Steampunk in the sense that all the speculative tech remains Victorian in tone. 

V for Vendetta

This is a fun one that Roshni hadn’t seen before.  We didn’t talk about it much before hand and when it ended she expressed great surprise at how serious it was.  It really is quite apparently heart felt and sincere in its message about civil liberties and the dangers of trying to manipulate people en masse without considering the importance of individuals.  I also really enjoy how many perspectives there an on the movie – aside from all the cut-away scenes of bad guys about-to-die there’s the flashback of the scientist/coroner, the life story of the dead camp victim  and then three main characters to identify with and follow through the story: V, Evie and the detective with the end result that I feel connected to everyone’s story … and I always cry at the end.  This time I was sniffling both for the end of the movie and for the end of the visit – we watched it in the afternoon before dropping Roshni at the bus station to leave.  A good conclusion to the month of fun, I think.  

Here’s what we didn’t get to but would have if we were going to … you know … do nothing at all but sit around and watch movies: Moon, Primer, 12 Monkeys, Children of Men, Cube, several older Star Trek movies, and several more.  What are we forgetting from the roles of classic Sci Fi film fest material?  Suggestions …

*AKA the Best September Ever


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