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Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by BobO'Link, Jan 27, 2020.
Thanks, I’ll look for it.
Our Library system had a copy. Reserved the DVD.
I don't think it has been mentioned in the thread, but 2014's Predestination is based on Heinlein's All You Zombies. It stars Ethan Hawke and the film does a pretty good job of handling the various aspects of paradoxes introduced by time travel, as detailed in the original story. A fairly small film in terms of its production, but definitely worth a look.
I don't read much these days, but when I was younger I read a lot of SF and have a real fondness for the genre. Hard for me to assess the current state, but I think there are always some quality productions. Looking forward to Denis Villeneuve's take on Dune later this year. ( I did enjoy Lynch's version BTW.)
There's absolutely no accounting for taste... I know for sure I have some SF movies and TV shows I love that are just not that good. God help me... I actually like The Starlost, cheap effects, lacking stories, and all. I absolutely see why Harloa Ellison had his name removed from the production in favor of his pseudonym "Cordwainer Bird." I also don't recommend it... ever.
When it comes to SF on TV I'm somewhat more critical than with movies so my liking of The Starlost is somewhat of a puzzle unless it's *because* it's so bad.
Here are some comments about SF TV series from across the years and I'm including superhero shows this time. And they're not necessarily "hard" SF or what many people would consider SF as some have SF trappings which makes them qualify. This first group are shows I generally enjoy enough to try and rewatch on occasion. It's long so I've spoilerized it:
The Adventures of Superman (1952-1958) - For me, George Reeves *is* Superman. The only other actor who even came close was Christopher Reeves.
The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) - I was too young for this one when it began but managed to see some episodes over the years it aired. They all hit me like a ton of bricks. I loved them and was astounded by the stories. I had nightmares over some and the stories stuck with me. I still like those few I saw as a young kid better than just about all the others.
The Bullwinkle Show (aka The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle) (1959-1963) - Yep... good ole Rocky is SF. Loved it as a kid and as an adult for vastly different reasons.
The Avengers (1961-1969) - I've seen a couple of the Honor Blackman years but prefer those with Diana Rigg. I didn't get to see it often during those original airings but enjoyed what I did see. It was DVD that allowed me to finally get into the series and see what I'd missed.
Space Angel (1962-1964) - When I was a kid I thought this show was "the bomb." It's quite cheesy with its "vfx" (synchro-vox lip technique) but I still enjoy watching an episode every now and then. I see the "animation" today and wonder just how I thought it was good when I was a kid. The main attraction these days are those Alex Toth backgrounds and designs.
The Jetsons (1962-1963) - It's hard to believe I was taken in by "synchro-vox" when this came out, in prime-time no less, the same year. Don't be confused - there's only *one* season of this one in spite of future attempts and claims otherwise. I still love and watch this one regularly.
The Outer Limits (1963-1965) - I watched this one with my dad when he was able (worked a lot). He's the one who came in and took over the set when it premiered (a rare thing for him - the only other show I remember him doing this for was Gilligan's Island - yeah...). I was hooked from the first episode (and was 8 at the time). It absolutely cemented my love of "serious" SF on TV. Unlike with The Twilight Zone I never got nightmares from this one.
My Favorite Martian (1963-1966) - While I mostly enjoy this one it's really "just OK." Due to the day/time it aired I only got to see about half an episode until years later when I caught a few in syndication. The DVDs allowed me to finally see it all.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968) - I loved this one from the start. Still do. Cheesy later seasons and all.
Jonny Quest (1964-1965) - Was there *ever* a better Action/Adventure/SF series, animated or live action? Not in my book! I was incredibly disappointed when it didn't return for a 2nd season. I watched it *every* Saturday morning as long as it aired. I purchased the DVDs almost as soon as they were released and have watched it roughly twice a year since. I recently purchased the incredible BR release and have watched it twice. Like with The Jetsons, those later attempts at recreating the show just fall flat.
My Living Doll (1964-1965) - I only saw the last half or so of this one due to the day/time of air. I wish the 2nd half of the series could be found and released on disc. Light, fluffy, silly, but I like it anyway.
Lost in Space (1965-1968) - A really super first season that quickly devolved. Another I was unable to fully watch during the original airings due to the day/time but I tried (until Batman started). I finally saw it all when in college to discover just how cheesy and silly it became. I still like it but it's not rewatched that often.
The Wild Wild West (1965-1969) - A Spy/SF/Western! What's not to love? This one was must-see TV and I still greatly enjoy it.
Get Smart (1965-1970) - The first couple of seasons far outshine the later ones but I still like it.
Batman (1966-1968) - That day/time thing took its toll on the "Part 1" episodes but I always saw part 2. Out of all the Batman products on TV and in movies I still like this one best. My 8yo granddaughter loves it too and we often watch it together.
Star Trek (1966-1969) - I loved this one from the first episode to the last. I hated it was cancelled. Over the years I'd watch it every time I found it airing in syndication. It's one of a handful of TV series that I try to rewatch every year.
The Green Hornet (1966-1967) - This one *needs* a disc release! Great series although I'd say the SF elements are not that prominent.
The Time Tunnel (1966-1967) - Another excellent series that was cancelled too soon (as the fall schedule hadn't been announced, an ABC executive gathered support for a series titled The Legend of Custer which failed after a half season). If you're a fan and don't own a copy of the region free BR release - go purchase a copy right now! It's excellent!
Space Ghost (1966-1968) - Another superb animated production from Alex Toth. And you got a Dino Boy story too. The stories are rather simplistic (have to be for the short run times) but it still holds up pretty well.
It's About Time (1966-1967) - Can you say "really dumb series?" I can, but I still like the first half - before they bring them back to the present. The theme song stuck in my head from the day I heard it until... well... now. Every year or so it'd spring up in my head for reasons unknown.
The Invaders (1967-1968) - Man, I loved this show! I had the model kit of the saucer and never missed an episode. I've only seen S1 twice - once during its original airings and once on DVD - and still haven't made time for S2 but I really need to do that and then just watch it all again.
Birdman (aka Birdman and Galaxy Trio) (1967-1968) - Another animated series in the Space Ghost vein. Not quite as good as Space Ghost but one I still enjoy.
Herculoids (1967-1969) - 1967 was a cornucopia of SF animation. This is another I watched every Saturday as long as it aired. I caught it a few times in syndication. After watching the DVDs I found it still holds up well.
Land of the Giants (1968-1970) - I never watched this one during the original airings, only seeing it when I purchased the DVS on sale a few years back. I got it mainly because it's Irwin Allen and would complete my Irwin Allen TV series collection. I found I really enjoyed it.
UFO (1970-1973) - I never got into the Anderson's "Supermarionation" (aka fancy puppet) series but this was different. I didn't discover this one until the DVDs came out and did a blind buy based on my liking Space 1999. I really enjoy it.
Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1975) - While excited for this one I found I didn't like it that much. Cheap animation and stories that just didn't grab me like those of the live action series. After rewatching it on DVD and then BR I found I enjoy it more than during its original airings but it's not a must watch series.
The Starlost (1973-1974) - Not great, actually not that good, but I like it anyway.
Space 1999 (1975-1977) - Saw this one on a PBS station while in college. I fell in love with it from the first episode - in spite of the wonky science involved.
Wonder Woman (1975-1979) - Watched a few episodes, mostly for Linda Carter, and pretty much wrote it off. A few years back Big Lots got lots of WB shows cheap - I purchased the series from them and found I enjoy it far more than I'd have expected. Not great but not bad either.
In Search Of... (1976-1982) - More documentary style than real SF but a supremely enjoyable series in spite of the iffyness of some topics.
Quark (1977-1978) - Silly and goofy. I like it.
Sapphire & Steel (1979-1982) - A blind buy on DVD. It was enjoyable.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979-1981) - Thought it rather lame on original airings but purchased the DVDs and found it wasn't as bad as I'd thought. Not great but certainly rewatchable.
The Greatest American Hero (1981-1983) - Fun little series with a neat premise. I don't rewatch it often but do every few years or so.
Red Dwarf (1988-?) - I really didn't much care for this one the first time I saw it. It was only after purchasing the DVDs during a really good sale that I watched it from the start and found I really liked it.
Quantum Leap (1989-1993) - Time travel done mostly right with a fun premise. Surprisingly, one my wife liked (she normally won't watch anything SF related - at all).
Eerie, Indiana (1990-1992) - Another I like that was cancelled too soon. I watched during the original run and a couple of times on disc.
Batman the Animated Series (1992-1995) - The very rare animated super hero show I like. This one does Batman right. Hits all the right notes. It's a shame the movies never did it this well.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999) - Wow! What ST:TNG wasn't, this was! I really liked this one - enough to watch it every week... until Worf came aboard. I saw that as a lame attempt to get TNG fans on board and cut back watching to only occasionally. When Terry Ferrel left I stopped watching all together. So... I purchased the DVDs (I *am* a Star Trek whore after all...) and found the episodes with Worf work far better than I'd originally thought. I really like this one (although not as much as TOS).
Babylon 5 (1993-1998) - Another excellent effort that was almost botched when TNT held back 5th season renewal information. It needs updating for BR (I've heard conflicting stories as to whether or not it's possible). I rewatch this one every few years.
The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994) - Superbly fun series. Should have run a few seasons more.
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997) - A very good Superman series that was almost botched by Lois and Clark getting married. I still like it but don't rewatch it often.
Weird Science (1994-1998) - Liked the movie and loved the series. Lots of fun. I was thrilled when I found the region free full series import.
Earth 2 (1994-1995) - What a great series. NBC treated it very shabbily and canceled it *far* too soon! Gets regular rewatches.
Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001) - I like this one. Not quite as much as DS9 but almost. I was worried about a few characters early on but they turned out to be OK. I absolutely detested them adding "Seven of Nine" to the regular cast. I feel that character truly hurt the series. It also has a horrible ending but not as bad as the one for Enterprise.
Sliders (1995-2000) - Another mostly well done time travel series. I really like the first 3 seasons - basically up until John Rys-Davies left the series. After that... not so much.
The Outer Limits (1995-2002) - OK... I've only seen a dozen or so episodes of this one but they were mostly enjoyable and *not* simply remakes of the earlier show.
Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998) - A surprisingly fun animated show.
3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001) - I first thought this one was really dumb and stupid. It grew on me. It became a top favorite.
Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007) - I had no intention of watching this as it was based on a movie. For me, those series have a rather poor track record. So... what changed? A sale on the discs. I've watched the first season and have enjoyed it. I still have 9 to go so that could change but...
Farscape (1999-2003) - Another I really, really, like. SciFi channel really messed up by not doing S5. The "movie" that ends it is OK but less than satisfying. I love S1-S4 and rewatch it fairly regularly.
Futurama (1999-2013) - I've only seen the "original" seasons and none of those after it came back to life. I like them far more than I expected.
Crusade (1999) - I like it well enough but it's no Babylon 5...
Andromeda (2000-2005) - I really like the first 2-3 seasons but it kind of goes flat after those.
Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2004) - Has the worst theme song of any Star Trek series. In spite of that I liked it until the "temporal war" junk started. So... S1 and S4 are pretty good (other than the worst "ending" of a Trek series to date), not so much S2-S3.
The Tick (2001-2002) - I think I'm the only person on the planet that really liked this one. It cracks me up. I wish there were more episodes.
Justice League/Unlimited (2001-2004-2006) - Another surprise animated super hero show that's pretty darn good.
Firefly (2002-2003) - Fox *really* messed up with this one. It should have run for 5-7 seasons easily. Bummer. I rewatch it just about once a year. I'm not a huge fan of the movie but it's OK.
Birds of Prey (2002-2003) - Another series where I'm probably the only person who likes it. Quite enjoyable with characters that are mostly like the comics on which it's based.
Tremors (2003) - Just as much fun as the movies on which it's based. A surprise.
Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009) - *This* version of BSG I can get behind. It, too, has issues but is a far better series than the original.
Chuck (2007-2012) - Blind buy because it was cheap. I found a very fun little series. Doesn't have a SF tag at IMDB but is SF.
Fringe (2008-2013) - Have seen only S1 but have enjoyed what I've seen. Need to get back to it.
Dollhouse (2009-2010) - Have only seen S1 but liked it.
Caprica (2009-2010) - Have only seen the "movie" but enjoyed it enough to purchase the season. Jury's still out though.
Todd and the Book of Pure Evil (2010-2012) - Annoyed it didn't end properly. Otherwise not bad.
Arrow (2012-) - I've seen S1 and enjoyed it enough to keep purchasing seasons as they come out. I could come to regret that...
The 100 (2014-) - I've seen S1 & S2 and enjoyed it enough to purchase through S5. We'll see if it gets better (hopefully) or just stagnates.
The Flash (2014-) - See Arrow... This, in spite of the fact that I've never read the comic because "He's just a guy who runs fast."
The Man in the High Castle (2015-2019) - I sampled this because I like the works of Phillip K. Dick and enjoyed the novel upon which it's based. It's not a very faithful adaptation but is quite good and interesting. I have 1 season left to watch and hope it ends well.
Supergirl (2015-) - See Arrow...
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (2016-2017) - Not bad... not great either but enjoyable.
The Orville (2017-) - The best Star Trek series since Enterprise. And it's not Star Trek. I absolutely hate that this one's gone behind a paywall. Hopefully physical copies will continue.
Some I've seen but don't particularly like...
Night Gallery (1969-1973) - I really wanted to like it but for me it came off as a Twilight Zone wannabe series.
The Six Million Dollar Man (1874-1978) - Tried it. Didn't like it at all. I felt (still do) that the sound effects are just too cheesy.
The Bionic Woman (1976-1978) - See TSMDM above.
Man from Atlantis (1977-1978) - Watched one episode. Meh.
Logan's Run (1977-1978) - I avoided this during the original run due to the movie being rather lackluster. I just couldn't see a TV series being any good. I did a blind buy a year or so back, watched it, found it OK but just OK.
The Incredible Hulk (1977-1982) - I've never been much of a fan of the Hulk and found the series rather silly.
Mork and Mindy (1978-1982) - You have to ask?
Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979) - A toughie here. I really wanted to like it and watched the first half dozen or so episodes before deciding the kid, his "dog", and other elements were just too cheesy. I do own copies on DVD and BR and like it better today than back then but it's still nothing I'll go out of my way to see.
Galactica 1980 (1980) - Not the train wreck I was expecting and a decent follow up to the original but also nothing I'll rewatch often if at all.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983-1985) - My son loved it, I thought it was just OK and more about merchandising. I've mellowed since those original airings and find it's held up fairly well but still nothing I'll watch.
She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985-1987) - My son didn't care for She-Ra that much but still named his dog "Orco." A guy I worked with thought She-Ra was "hot". I look at the series like I do He-Man.
The Twilight Zone (1985-1989) - I rarely bother with remakes of TV series I like. I watched a couple of episodes and didn't bother with more on this one.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) - I *really* wanted to like this one. I worked in TV at the time it first aired and, every week, recorded a copy on 3/4" video tape for me to edit commercials out and dub it down to VHS - full speed. I did that until the 3rd episode of S2 when I finally decided I wasn't enjoying the series and had far more issues than likes with the series (I very much dislike the holodeck episodes, "Q", and the Borg). I recorded over all of those VHS copies. I'd seen episodes across the years and my opinion never changed. I purchased it on DVD to complete my Star Trek collection. I purchased it on BR for the remastered effects. I like it a bit better than during its original airings but it's still my next to least favorite Trek series. I rarely watch an episode.
They Came from Outer Space (1990) - Silly and dumb. I didn't much care for it. It was a blind buy on DVD.
Space Rangers (1993-1994) - Purchased on DVD because it was very inexpensive. It was OK but nothing I'm likely to rewatch.
SeaQuest DSV (1993-1996) - Watched a few episodes and didn't much care for it.
Lexx (1996-2002) - Blind buy. Kind of interesting but just a bit odd. Really can't decide.
Cowboy Bebop (1998-1999) - A couple of friends raved about this one. I got a copy and watched it. Doesn't do a thing for me and I very much dislike the animation style.
Cleopatra 2525 (2000-2001) - Not bad but not that good either.
Smallville (2001-2011) - Plays like 90210 with "super hero" action. This is absolutely *not* a version of Superboy I like.
Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003-2005) - OK... a tough one. The stories are generally OK but I just can't get past the animation style.
Heroes (2005-2010) - Saw S1 and felt like it was going nowhere fast. The "good" parts could have been distilled into 3 or 4 episodes.
Flash Gordon (2007-2008) - Meh. Just passable.
Falling Skies (2011-2015) - Started off really good and gradually became pretty awful. I found the last season to be practically unwatchable.
Orphan Black (2013-2017) - Saw S1 and it didn't grab me. Haven't bothered with more.
Stranger Things (2016-) - I've seen S1 and it didn't do much for me. I have a copy of S2 I've not yet watched so that could change.
Westworld (2016-) - Purchased S1 on the strong recommendation of a coworker. Liked it about as much as I like the movie - not at all. Gave it away.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017-) - I've seen the first 7 episodes. Did absolutely nothing for me. As a generic Space Opera type show it's OK. As Star Trek it's horrible. In spite of that I purchased a cheap copy of S1 so could change my mind after seeing the entire season but...
Lost in Space (2018 -) - Have only seen S1. It was OK but nothing truly great. My biggest complaint is it moved tooooo slow. The season could have been done in half the episodes and been tighter. Should S2 get a physical release I'll purchase a copy and see if it improves.
Of course I'm sure I've missed a few. And I own a dozen or so series I've done blind buys of and haven't gotten around to watching them.
One obvious omission is Dr. Who. That's because I've only seen a handful of episodes across all the incarnations but it's never grabbed me enough for me to want to watch more. It's one I feel I really need to give a better sampling than what I've done so far simply because of its iconic status.
Hopefully I've not steered you wrong... In any event, I'm glad you're going to give it a try.
I don't know that I've ever read that particular Heinlein story. I'll have to look both up.
I, too, enjoyed Lynch's Dune. It's not as good as the TV mini-series but *is* a fair version of an extremely complicated book.
I also read more when I was younger - as much as a couple of novels per week. These days I'm lucky to get in 1 per month.
Re: 60s animation. Yeah, I loved the ones you (Howie) listed. I've posted to this effect before, but one of the things that really made the Alex Toth series work (at least for me) was the music and sound effects. The animation wasn't anything special and the stories were geared to kids, but the music and sound both really excelled. And speaking of music, I always thought the theme music for Jonny Quest was really sophisticated for a mere 'kids show'. Love the (flute/piccolo?) on this theme, despite its briefness.
My bugaboo in a similar context, would be Idiocracy.
(I don't know whether Idiocracy would be considered scifi per se).
Somehow I never heard of that one. I tend to like Luke Wilson so would watch it just because he's the lead. It also sounds like it could be fun.
Looking it up on Amazon I see it has a DVD, but no BR, release and it's $4.00. Ordered. We'll see just how bad it might be...
Without getting into politics, that movie is also very polarizing in various circles regardless of which side one believes. (Too easy to go down into the rabbit hole).
Back in the day I really like this movie. I even purchased it on vhs, and watched it many times in the early-mid 1990s.
Unfortunately when I finally got the bluray version, it had very little to no rewatch value for me.
What completely flushed this movie down the toilet for me, was when I met some folks who were into the whole "alien agenda conspiracy" stuff and thought it was for real.
(Read at your own risk, as an example).
More generally, I found "conspiracy" type shows and movies completely fell flat for me sometime in the early 1990s. Prior to the 1990s, I use to read books about ufos and other general "conspiracy" type stuff. I thought it was all good fun and amusing.
What changed was when I met some folks in the early 1990s, who thought all that conspiracy theory stuff was for real. At first I thought they were just acting tongue in cheek. But it turns out they weren't pulling off a prank. Every time I saw these friends, they would be constantly talking about "the illuminati" as if it was for real. They treated it as if it was a serious academic and real world subject !
This is the number #1 reason why I couldn't get into The X-Files and found it difficult to watch any of the episodes. Back in 2011 I purchased all the X-Files dvd season sets, and tried to give it chance without the influence of my weird past friends present. Unfortunately I still found X-Files to be difficult to watch. (So I never bothered buying any of the X-Files blurays).
I didn't watch the Stargate franchise in its original run, except for the latter half of season 2 of Stargate Universe. So for me, it was largely reruns + dvds.
The main thing I liked about Stargate was how it was like a giant "kitchen sink" of genre tropes from scifi, fantasy, conspiracies, history, etc ... (less so horror).
I personally think it's Carpenter's best movie (not yet seen The Thing).
In my opinion, to use the alien concept as an allegory for the Corporate class and to show how America has become a nation/victim of marketing/propaganda was interesting.
I seem to enjoy films that do not take themsleves too seriously as well if done in a tasteful, humorous manner. Can easily go too silly or serious. Thought the tone was just right.
And I have a severe weakness for 80s films.
I was already familiar with the whole corporate thing as "evil" in a semi-humorous manner, before I saw the movie. In those days, I was listening to punk rock bands like the Dead Kennedys who wrote a lot of amusing anti-corporate lyrics in their songs.
I never watched X-Files during the original run simply due to it being so over hyped. There's something about shows/movies that get over hyped that just turns me off and, usually, makes me completely disinterested in viewing it. Buffy the Vampire Slayer falls into that vein as well as the "Show made based on a movie" hole I also tend to avoid. I wound up purchasing S1 of Buffy... used at a stupidly low price (~$3 I think) for one of those "That's cheap enough that if I don't like it I'm not concerned" viewings. Surprise! I really enjoyed it and purchased the rest of the series (at similarly stupid low prices which just made it better).
The same pretty much happened with X-Files. When Fox had their online store and ran very regular 50% off sales I purchased the first 2 seasons for ~$6 each. I finally watched S1 and thought it was interesting - enough that I purchased the rest of the series for $6/each during Fox's next sale. I've still only watched S1 so that initial opinion could easily change. I'd only consider purchasing the BRs if the price for a complete series set dropped to roughly $60 or less. The episodes have been reformatted from 4:3 to 16:9 which makes them less attractive.
I didn't much care for Carpenter's The Thing when I first saw it. My reaction was much like many critics - it had gore for the sake of having gore and it served no real purpose. Over the years I've come to like it enough to give it regular rewatches. It's one of a small handful of remakes of classic SF/Horror movies I actually rewatch and often recommend.
My weakness is those from the 50s.
I like X-Files but I think it hit up against the limits of broadcast at the time, and that ultimately made the show less satisfying for me.
I remember that my childhood best friend and I would have sleepovers on most Friday nights and would look forward to the show every week. A few times a year, they’d do an episode that started normal enough but ended with a revelation about a government conspiracy with aliens that was mindblowing to me at the time. And then, the next week, it would be business as usual with not even a mention of the conspiracy. You’d have an episode where Mulder or Scully could almost die, and then next week they’d be back on their feet as if it had never happened. I didn’t want or need every episode to be in this conspiracy. What I did want was for the show to acknowledge its own story. X-Files was often two different programs sharing a cast and a time slot: a serialized conspiracy story, and an episodic monster of the week story, and they never overlapped. And Scully had some bad amnesia, never believing in the paranormal at the start of an episode, then seeing something that could only be that at the end, and then going back to not believing the next week.
When “Fringe” came around in the 2000s, it did better on this balance. It also split time between a monster of the week and a mythology episode, but they didn’t happen in a vacuum. They’d still mention stuff in passing, like, “We don’t have a lead on that mythology thing right now but there is a balloon monster loose that we gotta go round up.” It was subtle but it made a difference.
X-Files wanted to have its cake and eat it too, it wanted to be like a procedural that hit the reset button every week, but wanted to tell stories too big to just reset.
I am guessing you are over 60 if you have a weakness for 50s movies.
The Thing seems to divide opinion a lot which is why I still have not got around to watching it. I intend to view it by year end.
I might make it my first 4k UHD purchase.