I’m a serious fan of classic science fiction writing. For we old school types, the title of “Grandmaster” has some meaning. While it used to apply to any of the Golden Age‘s most prolific producers, in the 1970s it took on official status with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America officially honouring Robert Heinlein with the title of first Grandmaster. This list of recognized Grandmasters is quite exhaustive. But, for my money, there were only ever four true Grandmasters of SF: Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke and Ray Bradbury. And with Bradbury’s passing last week, the last surviving Golden Age Grandmaster left this mortal life.
This past week, for reasons even I’m not sure about, I re-watched the entire Babylon 5 saga. It was quite a reflective experience, not only for re-experiencing one of the most unique televised expressions of American SF, but also for the introspective effect that B5 unwaveringly has on its watchers. The show ran for five seasons, with four full-length TV movies, one spin-off series that was cancelled mid-season (Crusade), one abysmal spin-off pilot (Legend of the Rangers) and one rather good attempt at a made-for-tv movie-length miniseries spin-off (The Lost Tales). The movies were touch-and-go, ranging from vomit-inducingly bad to timelessly inspiring. But it’s the main series, the five year tale of the “last of the Babylon stations” that I’d like to take some time to think about today. Continue reading Remembering Babylon 5
A lot of people like to add “traditional” super hero comic books to the category of science fiction. On its face, that seems reasonable, since there’s a strong speculative science aspect to much of comics heritage: Superman is an alien, Spider-man is a teen genius scientist, etc. Continue reading The Best Comic Book Villains
After a tragically brief battle with cancer, actress Elisabeth Sladen died earlier this year. Science fictions knew her as Sarah Jane Smith, the Doctor’s most capable companion in the original classic run of Dr Who. She was so popular that the BBC gave her a spin-off show in the early 80s called K-9 and Company. It was atrocious and lasted only four episodes. Continue reading Goodbye, Sarah Jane Smith
If you don’t know, Terra Nova is the flashy new science fiction show created by none other than Steven Spielberg and produced by Brannon Braga (known mostly as the guy who ruined Star Trek). The show has major name backing, and even more major money behind it. In fact, each episode is rumoured to cost $20 million, making it the most expensive network TV show ever made. I’m not sure, but it might even be more expensive than HBO’s Game of Thrones. Continue reading Five Reasons That Terra Nova Sucks
I pride myself in being a connoisseur of fine, mature and smart science fiction. I allow myself some kitch in other genres, but I like to think that my science fiction is universally of the cerebral brand. Thus, it may confuse you when I declare that I have become something of a fan of the SyFy show Sanctuary, an offering known less for transcendent genius narratives than for its cliched writing and often linear narratives. Continue reading Review: Sanctuary (TV show)
The following is a mostly spoiler-free review.
I have never been a fan of Jane Espenson. She’s written for a lot of science fiction TV shows, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Battlestar Galactica (the new one). She has shone occasionally, as in the brilliant Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, “Conversations With Dead People“; though I suspect her co-writers reined in her tendency to write sloppy, over-emoting fan fiction. (Sorry, Jane, that’s how I feel.) When I learned she would be the show runner for Caprica, it was one more reason not to watch that now cancelled show. Continue reading Review of Torchwood: Miracle Day
My condo is squeaky clean tonight, which is a sure sign that I have a mountain of work to get done and am procrastinating like mad. Part of my master procrastination plan is re-watching old skiffy TV shows. The past couple of days have seen me re-watch the entire 5 season stretch of Stargate: Atlantis. And let me tell you, it was an enjoyable experience. Continue reading Return to the Stargate
My original intent with this article was to list the top science fiction events of the year. But a few problems quickly arose: Continue reading TV Science Fiction in 2010