Article – A New Golden Age of Science Fiction on Television

TL;DR – After a long pause during the 2000s we are seeing a new golden age for Sci-Fi as shows go back into space and more.

A New Golden Age of Science Fiction on Television
A New Golden Age of Science Fiction on Television

Article

The other day I was working on a review and then something dawned on me, for the first time in a long time I was excited by the many different Science Fiction shows coming out of television. We were going into the stars, exploring the future, and in some cases just getting plain weird. It was a joyous moment because I remember a time when it was like this before and the long valley in-between the two peaks. So today, I wanted to take a moment to talk about where we have come from, what is so exciting about now, and why we are seeing this new Golden Age.

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TV Review – Cannon Busters: Season 1

TL;DR – This is a well-made animation, with an interesting story, world and characters. Full of interesting juxtapositions like magic and technology. 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Cannon Busters. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

I was thinking the other day of my joy at the old Monkey Magic stories. It had me wonder that it has been a long time since I have seen a good travel story where a group of disparate people are brought together through fate and then discover all their flaws and joys in the face of shared adversity. Well as fate would have it just a couple of days later a little surprise dropped on Netflix which was everything I didn’t know I wanted.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a desert wasteland on an alien (maybe) planet with a disintegrating moon floating in orbit. Our first clue that this is an interesting place is the image of a giant bull trampling across the plains in search of a toilet. We cut to a town on the frontier full of dust, wood, and a casual disregard for life. There are humans and other creatures, and all sorts of robots, mechs, and mechanical augmentations. In the streets walks Sam (A Special Associate Model) (Kamali Minter) from the faraway kingdom of Botica. She does not seem to fit the tone of the local area, making friends in a land of gunfights and wanton murder. But she is on a mission to find a lost prince and the one person who can help her do that Philly the Kid (Kenn Michael). One issue is that he does not really want to help, also he is cursed and can’t die, also he had a large bounty on him that everyone is trying to collect. So Sam, Philly, and Casey (Kamali Minter) a maintenance droid head off on the mission in their pink coin-operated Mustang that can transform into a bull. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Another Life: Full Season

TL;DR – A campy schlocky mess at times, but also kind of endearing when it hits its groove

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Another Life. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

We have been living through an interesting time for Science Fiction on TV, with the rise of streaming services we have seen a plethora of new shows and ideas that both look to the future and reinterpret the past. Today we are getting a Sci-fi show that kind of does both, building upon very real concerns in the world but framing it in a style of Sci-Fi that we have not seen in a long time. With that in mind let’s jump in and explore the full first season.

So to set the scene, we open with a normal day on Earth in the not too distant future after the world has been devastated by a second great depression and the great flood. Things are starting to return to some sort of normalcy when an alien ship smashes through the atmosphere flies across the USA and crashes into a field transforming itself into a huge crystalline lattice. Months later, they are still no closer to finding out what the artefact is or wants, but they have picked up a transmission to the Pi Canis Majoris solar system. To work out what to do they send the USIC Salvare under the command of Niko Breckinridge (Katee Sackhoff) out to investigate. Niko had to leave her daughter Jana (Lina Renna) and her husband Erik (Justin Chatwin) behind as Erik is leading the scientific mission at the crash site. But before too long things start going wrong, and we still don’t know if the aliens are friends or foe.  Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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TV Review – Another Life: Across the Universe

TL;DR – This is one of those Sci-Fi shows that has you wondering what the hook is going to be and then it hits you.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Another Life: Across the Universe. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

While there have been a lot of issues, one of the best things to come out of the new streaming world has been a new wave or really interesting Science Fiction TV shows. At the heart of this, but by no means the only contributor, has been Netflix that has had a huge slate of really interesting Sci-Fi content. Well, today we get to take a look at its newest addition Another Life with an exploration of its pilot episode Across the Universe.  

Overall, there was a lot of interesting facets in this first episode, but one thing I really liked was the production. The design for the Salvare has facets that are instantly recognisable but also are a little unique. The rings have a visual language of a rotating gravity ship, but there is internal gravity so there is an interesting juxtaposition. The standing sets are also really interesting mixing a bland of high-tech and also maybe-we-filmed-this-in-a-warehouse-somewhere that kind of works. Also, I am a sucker for astronomy, so you had me sucked in the moment you stopped at Sirius A, which they showed in all its glory.

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Video Game Review – Stellaris: Ancient Relics

TL;DR – A fantastic addition to the base game that really improves the exploration phase.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Stellaris: Ancient Relics. Image Credit: Paradox Interactive.

Review –
 Last year I got back into Stellaris a 4X space strategy game, a combination that feels like a video game designed just for me. Over the years it has had a lot of improvements building upon the strengths of the base game. Since then there have been a couple of expansion packs and DLCs and today we are looking the latest addition for the game Ancient Relics.

The core component of this new story pack is the addition of archaeological digs and from this the addition of minor and major artifacts. As you explore out at the start of the game you may stumble across archaeological digs on random planets. These require a science ship to work them much like anomalies but with a little twist. There is a random element in the process where you have a chance to improve until you crack the next level. Most of the digs have multiple levels that you have to progress to before you can complete it and earn research points, resources, or more.

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TV Review – The Rain: Season Two

TL;DR – It builds on the season before and becomes a much more intense show that maybe holds its cards bit too close to its chest.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

The Rain: Season Two. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Early last year I got a chance to watch the first Netflix show to come out of Scandinavia. The Rain had a fantastic premise with strong characters, overarching story, and design work. Though it was a show where it would have been great to see it take some more risks and chart a more independent course. Flash forward to a week ago and the second season dropped onto the service and at once it captivated me back into this world of post-apocalyptic Denmark.

So to set the scene, one day everyone’s lives in Denmark and at least Southern Sweden changed for the worse. For that day it started to rain, nothing new in Scandinavia, but this time the rains did not bring life, but death. Something we are reminded about in the opening moments of Season Two when we see the carnage once more to give us perspective moving forward. We jump back into the story just when Season One ended with Simone (Alba August), Rasmus (Lucas Lynggaard Tønnesen), Martin (Mikkel Følsgaard), Jean (Sonny Lindberg), Lea (Jessica Dinnage), and Patrick (Lukas Løkken) escaping from the Apollon headquarters along the barrier wall in Sweden. Just when all hope is lost, Simone and Rasmus’ father Frederick (Lars Simonsen) gives them a location where they might get some help, moments before he himself is killed. So with a plan, they set off for this hidden base, but there could be an even worse danger within because the virus in Rasmus is adapting and changing and it is destroying everything in its path. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – I Am Mother

TL;DR – This is a movie that is contemplative, tension, and fascinating as all get, a must watch for any fan of the science fiction genre.    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

I Am Mother. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Motherhood is a concept that does not get as much exploration in the science fiction world. Yes, of course, there is the waring mothers of Aliens, but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule. So when you see a science fiction post-apocalyptical film titled I Am Mother, you immediately sit up and take notice and thankfully the final product is such an amazing work of film.

So to set the scene, at some point in the future humanity finally did it, we went and killed ourselves off in an extinction level event. Thankfully, some people saw this coming and hid a facility away in the mountains filled with embryos in stasis and a backup carer if no one could make it. With that Mother (Rose Byrne & Luke Hawker) is activated and sets the process going for the first new human birth, even as the bunker shakes with the last throes of the conflict. Many years later and Daughter (Clara Rugaard) has grown up, living her life under the care of Mother. However, one day something bangs against the airlock and everything she knew gets thrown into chaos.

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