Tag Archives: syfy

Sci-fi and Fantasy TV update…

Fringe

After a few posts about the state of TV Sci-fi and Fantasy shows, I thought I’d do a brief update on where they’re currently at…

Alphas:
This has had a relatively good start, with the first season showing some likeable characters and the usual dose of conspiracy and subterfuge thrown in.  It has come across as an ‘A-Team’ with powers, which hasn’t always worked, but has shown enough promise in these episodes to give it a chance. A grittier angle, if chosen could definitely help proceedings.

Once Upon a Time:
The first of the ‘fairy tale’ shows, this has proven to be solid in the ratings and will definitely see out a full season; this may be due to the overriding ‘frothiness’ of the show, which plays on charm and lightness, lacking any real menace or darkness in its scenarios. Robert Carlyle and Jennifer Morrison are as watchable as ever, but you do get the feeling that the actors are not being stretched, or allowed to express themselves as much as you’d like; Lana Parrilla, for instance,  is clearly better than currently represented.

Grimm:
Much darker than Once Upon a Time, Grimm is angled much more towards the bloody nature of fairy tales and throws in some conspiracy/politics for good measure. This will no doubt have more depth that OUaT in the long run, but needs to find its feet. The main characters have still to gel properly and how each character interacts with David Giuntoli’s main character Nick, has yet to be settled. In some cases it really doesn’t seem to be working, but in others, such as when paired with Silas Weir Mitchell (Eddy) it really does work well. More time is needed, but should come good.

Warehouse 13:
Still strong, this has retained its playful feel, but added in some more depth; unfortunately this comes in the form of the usual conspiracy angle, but it has been handled quite well. The charm of the main cast and ‘steampunk’ technology continues to be exploited well and so far they have avoided all the main hokum pitfalls that could have arisen. The traditional Syfy channel Christmas special was quite successful and had a good balance between fan ‘nods’ and story.

Eureka:
A very good season with Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton guest starring for a large portion, this has been a bittersweet period, with the news that the next season will be the last. Still quite goofy in tone, but the almost Acme  style science still has its charm. The Christmas special was very hit and miss however, with much of it being animated, but the script and story was poor. While the animation worked well and allowed for various jokes, the underlying story was poorly constructed and had far too many ‘life lessons’ for key characters, which came over as saccharine,  preachy and forced.

Haven:
They’ve managed to move this along quite well, while retaining the central core of the idea, and not forcibly maintaining a status quo; this has allowed the depth to come into the characters and it seems they are allowing it to naturally develop. Some slight hiccups in the season arc, with certain characters and plotlines not working 100%, with the writers putting themselves in a awkward place, which they then failed to get out of satisfactorily.

Fringe:
Well, another JJ Abrams related show has changed it all up again, as he tends to do after every couple of seasons. (e.g. Alias etc..) this time however, it has worked quite well and Fringe continues to be one of the best shows on TV. Solid performances all round and an engaging storyline have kept this from going stale. The change this season has raised some new ideas and fresh perspective, so creatively much is possible. I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode after the Christmas hiatus!

Terra Nova:
Still far too much standard storytelling with this one and every episode I am reminded once more of Earth2. The setting is almost irrelevant and not enough is being made of either the sci-fi elements or the pre-historic landscape elements. So much more could be done with the resources of the show, let alone with the concept, that is disappointing that the scope has been so formulaic and standard fare. Must do better!

Supernatural:
While this hasn’t been the strongest or most consistent season storywise so far, it has still been good quality and remains a good show. It has yet to be seen whether the introduction of the Leviathans will be seen as weak or not, but so far their overall arc seems to be too far in the background compared to the brother soap opera. The lack of Castiel has been a loss to this half of the season, so hopefully this will change in the second half. Potential for Sheriff Mills to be a bigger part is quite encouraging if they take that route.

Other stuff I couldn’t give a monkeys about:
Vampire Diaries (whatever…)
The Secret Circle (90210 with Witches)

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They’re cancelling Eureka….

Now, I’m something of a newcomer to the Eureka party. I only really started watching it a few months back when Hibiscus got her hands on the DVD’s of series – sorry, season – one (and because Felicia Day kept mentioning her guest appearances on Twitter), but right from the off I could tell this was something I was going to enjoy. Likeable characters I could relate to, a glut of techy sci-fi nonsense, a good sense of humour, and plenty of eye candy.

I hasten to add that Colin Ferguson is not what I consider "eye-candy"

And now SyFy (stupid spelling for a TV channel) have decided to cancel this surprisingly popular series only days after confirming a sixth series. Cancelling a series is bad enough, but doing almost immediately after you’ve told everyone they have another series is just malicious. What’s more, is that in a press release regarding the cancellation, they praise the crew, the cast, and the writers, thank their supportive fanbase, promise that the remaining season yet to be aired will be bigger, better, and draw in ever more fans. Surely if a show’s doing that well, and is set to do even better, pulling the plug on it is just stupid?

“After painstaking consideration, we have had to make the difficult business decision to not order a season six of Eureka. But Eureka is not over yet. There is a new holiday episode this December and 12 stellar episodes set to debut next year, marking its fifth season and six memorable years on Syfy. The 2012 episodes are some of the best we’ve seen, and will bring this great series to a satisfying end. We are very grateful to Bruce Miller and Jaime Paglia, their team of incredible writers, and an amazing cast and crew who have consistently delivered a series we continue to be very proud of. We thank the fans for their support of this show and know they will enjoy its final season in 2012.”

Maybe I’m failing to grasp some vital part of making TV shows. Maybe I’m just being naive. As Slackwagon has pointed out in his posts here on this august blog, TV execs like shows that make money off the bat, so I could understand Eureka being cancelled after series one, but after five series? Maybe it was supposed to be cancelled earlier, but someone never got the memo. Or maybe SyFy are total arse-hats.


Haven – Is it Sci-fi?

When I compiled the list of current Sci-fi shows recently, one show that I was unsure whether to include or not was Haven.  It airs on the Syfy channel and it has some scientific elements in it, but my general feeling was that it was more of a fantasy/supernatural show; I am pretty sure that most people would agree with me on that, even though the definition of what science fiction is can be fairly murky.

Based on the novel, ‘The Colorado Kid’ by Stephen King, Haven revolves around a community plagued by odd phenomena and abilities, which are being investigated by an FBI agent,  Audrey Parker, after she finds herself in the town on another case.

Initially, Haven was a bit of a ‘monster of the week’ affair, much like most new series, but as the first season developed it spread its wings and ended on a very effective cliffhanger, which opened up the possibilities.  The second season has so far continued to build upon these developments and raised several questions that have yet to be answered.  It is this development that makes me wonder if it is a sci-fi show instead of, or possibly as well as, a fantasy/supernatural one.

There are story lines that suggest genetic and geographic connections between people and places, which could possibly indicate an underlying scientific basis,  and most issues tend to have rational explanations, albeit within a different context than mainstream society.  This wouldn’t completely discount a non-scientific basis co-existing with the scientific though.

On the other hand, is the science more fundamental than just being one element of the puzzle?

If you used the premise that all magic is just natural phenomena that has yet to be explained by science, then most of the things in the show would become science fiction, or at least could be viewed as having scientific elements at their core.  Without going down any amateur philosophy rabbit-holes though,  it would raise several questions/concepts about the nature of the universe and would apply to a lot of fantasy series!

Really, all of this is just an interesting thought exercise and ultimately, it comes down to the question of whether we really care what genre it is?  I, for one, will just enjoy it as it continues to improve!


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