How do you see the state of SF on TV and in Movies?

Walter Kittel

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Dec 28, 1998
Messages
7,323
As usual, Walter, you've posted another good 'un. I have not seen Interstellar, but as soon as my arrangements in life are settled, I certainly look forward to it. Ex Machina also is on that list. (So, I take it that my post still fits in this thread. But I am still reading the rest of it.)
I'd say the thread has mutated a bit, but I believe everyone posting is a big SF fan, so fine by me. :)

I think (and hope) you will enjoy both of those features. One other film that comes to mind of recent vintage is The Martian. The film closely hews to the novel by Andy Weir. (There are some changes that make sense, to me, in terms of adapting the work to the screen.) It didn't really grab me during my initial viewing; but it has grown on me over subsequent viewings (it is on cable quite a bit.) The production design and the overall execution of the film are quite solid and I think it is probably the best film that Ridley Scott has directed since 2001's Black Hawk Down. (Not really a fan of his revisitation of the Alien franchise.)

- Walter.
 

BobO'Link

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
6,803
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
Oh, and Bob: Are you aware of HTF's role in getting Zardoz onto DVD in first place? An interesting story that I (proudly) took part in, along with another HTF member now deceased. I do not have links for you, but look into the forum's past for the full story (you might look at a thread that was started in reaction to a limited-edition Blu-ray disc of Zardoz from a few years ago. I told the whole story in it).
Nope... had no idea so I looked it up. For those interested, here's a link to the post you made.

At that time I'd have not been interested in a BR of Zardoz as I was DVD only and still watching on my 32" CRT with composite inputs. A year or two after that BR came out I decided I "needed" a BR player but it was difficult to find one with composite outputs. I'd been looking at HDMI to composite converters when a coworker upgraded his player and gifted me his old Sony BR player with composite outputs. I've since upgraded both TV and BR player.
 

BobO'Link

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
6,803
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
As usual, Walter, you've posted another good 'un. I have not seen Interstellar, but as soon as my arrangements in life are settled, I certainly look forward to it. Ex Machina also is on that list. (So, I take it that my post still fits in this thread. But I am still reading the rest of it.)
Your posts absolutely fit. The thread has mutated since I created it - to the point I've been considering asking a mod to change the title to something more appropriate. Along the lines of "Let's talk SF in movies and TV".
 

Jack Briggs

Film Editor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 3, 1999
Messages
16,805
Meanwhile, about The Martian: Though I have not seen the film, I have read the book. And the book, unfortunately, in my opinion, is only so-so. For one thing, Martian dust storms are not that violent and cannot be due to the planet's atmosphere (a fact to which the author -- whose name I forget along with my Geritol -- admits). Seriously, the book took so many liberties with physics I find it odd that it achieved such popularity. (His newer novel, about intrigue in a lunar outpost is similarly disappointing. He is not that good a writer of SF.) (Hell, he is not that good of a writer period.)

*edit to the post*

Oh, excuse me, Walter, You named the author in your post -- Andy Weir. Sorry 'bout that.
 

Josh Steinberg

Film Editor
Reviewer
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
18,742
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
The movie is superior to the book.

Weir conceded that the dust storm was fictional and not possible with the Martian atmosphere as we know it, but that as a storyteller, he needed an inciting incident to put the crew in jeopardy in such a way that it would be understandable that they’d have to evacuate. It’s pretty hard to come up with a plausible scenario that would make a crew abandon their mission so instantly and accept the death of a colleague without verifying that he was truly lost. You need a little fiction to set up the premise so that the science part can flourish.

To me, it’s a far less egregious bending of science than, say, “Gravity”.
 

Jack Briggs

Film Editor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 3, 1999
Messages
16,805
From everything I have read about Gravity, that was my thinking as well (I've seen clips from the film).
 

Josh Steinberg

Film Editor
Reviewer
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
18,742
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
Gravity is actually a pretty great movie and very impressive technically, it’s just not remotely scientifically accurate. They decided to construct a story first and then figure out the science second, instead of starting with “our story takes place in space, so how would a real space agency try to recovery their astronauts in a catastrophe”.

But as an allegory about finding the strength within yourself to survive the most unimaginable losses, it’s a remarkable film. As someone who lost someone not long before the film came out, for me it perfectly captured that emotion of feeling like you’ve been shot out into space and somehow have to find your way back on your own.
 

BobO'Link

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 3, 2008
Messages
6,803
Location
Mid-South
Real Name
Howie
Gravity is actually a pretty great movie and very impressive technically, it’s just not remotely scientifically accurate. They decided to construct a story first and then figure out the science second, instead of starting with “our story takes place in space, so how would a real space agency try to recovery their astronauts in a catastrophe”.
And that's when they completely lost me. I wanted more than a technically impressive film. I didn't get it. They may as well have stuck them on a desert island or in the middle of the ocean for all the good the "science" was.
 

Josh Steinberg

Film Editor
Reviewer
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
18,742
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
I'll never make it to space, but that opening segment in Gravity in 3D at an IMAX was the next best thing. The opening spacewalk segment is incredibly immersive.

- Walter.
I agree! I wish the entire film had been done that way. Since it’s all CGI with the actors’ heads pasted in from separate filming sessions anyway, it doesn’t seem like it would have made a difference technically speaking to continue in that fashion.
 

jcroy

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,738
Real Name
jr
One dvd (or bluray) set I've been looking at, is a Supernatural complete series set.

Though production has been halted, purportedly before filming the series finale episode(s).


https://ew.com/tv/supernatural-halts-production-final-season/

https://deadline.com/2020/03/supern...-finish-series-finale-coronavirus-1202883027/



If there is no finale episodes and/or they don't make a subsequent "finale movie", then such a complete series dvd (or bluray) set would immediately lose any interest for me. As extreme as this may sound.
 

TJPC

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
3,834
Location
Hamilton Ontario
Real Name
Terry Carroll
They never made the final movie in the “Divergent” series, covering the last half of the final book. I found the audio book in the library, and copied the last couple of discs to store with the last movie to complete the story.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcroy

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,478
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
They never made the final movie in the “Divergent” series, covering the last half of the final book. I found the audio book in the library, and copied the last couple of discs to store with the last movie to complete the story.
That was a very disappointing trilogy. I listened to the audiobooks assuming they were really good, like Hunger Games, given the big movie adaptations. Nope. A good idea squandered, with inferior storytelling. I wouldn’t waste your time.

I recommend The Expanse TV and books much more strongly.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,478
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
I’m watching The Magicians (SyFy) on Netflix. I know this isn’t to the taste of many poeple here, and it’s not my favorite show, but *wow* does it do great storytelling. Great and disruptive character arcs.

Also, it has time travel. So, sci-fi, with magic. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: jcroy

jcroy

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,738
Real Name
jr
They never made the final movie in the “Divergent” series, covering the last half of the final book. I found the audio book in the library, and copied the last couple of discs to store with the last movie to complete the story.
(On a tangent).

I wish they did this something like this for the Borgias. (They portrayed the Pope's family as a "crime" operation resembling the Sopranos).

There was no cliffhanger nor anything incredibly unresolved when the show was cancelled. Though I would imagine the Borgias should have ended with the Pope dying and "going to hell" in a hypothetical season 4.

In contrast, The Tudors ended with the king dying at the end of season 4.
 

jcroy

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,738
Real Name
jr
I’m watching The Magicians (SyFy) on Netflix. I know this isn’t to the taste of many poeple here, and it’s not my favorite show, but *wow* does it do great storytelling. Great and disruptive character arcs.

Also, it has time travel. So, sci-fi, with magic. :)
For the longest time, I usually lumped fantasy and superhero stuff into the same "ghetto" that scifi was always been in. Even after Lord of The Rings and Marvel/DC stuff became huge mainstream hits over the past 15+ years.
 

jcroy

Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
5,738
Real Name
jr
I recommend The Expanse TV and books much more strongly.
How do the books compare to the tv show?

When I first heard about this show, I thought it would be my type of show judging by the advanced previews. Though when it was finally on a basic scifi cable channel, I found this show to be very difficult to watch and dropped it soon thereafter.

I thought about looking into the book series, though I haven't started yet. (My previous bad experiences with the tv show has heavily prejudiced my judgement against this series).

For example, do the books resemble a "West Wing" or "Madam Secretary" in a solar system setting ?
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,478
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
TV series is better. But books are good too. They’re more detailed in most cases but more clinical and less “emotional” than the shows.
 

DaveF

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
23,478
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
Having just watched series 2 of 'Altered Carbon', 'The Expanse' is in a different league - very highly recommended.

The most fun to be had with SF has to be 'Galaxy Quest' - it doesn't put a foot wrong for me.
Haven’t gotten to S2 of AC yet. S1 was really fun and delightfully derivative and overwrought. But I’ve heard maybe S2 isn’t nearly as good.
 

Forum Sponsors

Staff online

Forum statistics

Threads
344,401
Messages
4,709,233
Members
141,263
Latest member
PerryMeyer