TV Review – The Expanse: Season 3

TL;DR – This is and continues to be the gold standard to adaptations of literature, capturing the heart of the books, even if it does not hit every plot beat along the way.  

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

The Expanse. Image Credit: Amazon Studios.

Review

I mentioned back in my look at the New Golden Age of Science Fiction that The Expanse is one of the best adaptations on TV at the moment. Here in Australia, I got to watch the first two seasons on Netflix and was constantly entranced with just what a good job they did of bringing James S. A. Corey’s books to life. The third season has been tricky to find but today I was able to hunt it down on Amazon and gave it a watch. Well, how does it do? Well, I can tell you that I watched the entire first arc of the season in one session, being so completely engrossed that I didn’t realise how late in the evening it had gotten … so that it is always a good sign.

So to set the scene, we open in the aftermath of season two and the turn that put Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) from a position of absolute power to her running for her life after being betrayed by Sadavir Errinwright (Shawn Doyle). Stuck on a ship that has just been fired upon by her own side there is not much hope for escape but then that is why she brought Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) a former Martian marine along. They manage to escape, but they are still under pursuit, and while they were gone the whole solar system has erupted into war and the Jupiter planetary system is ground zero for the conflict. Meanwhile, on the Rocinante the crew are dealing with two big problems, the fact that Naomi (Dominique Tipper) lied to them, and they have done nothing really to help Prax (Terry Chen) find his daughter. With everything falling apart the question is: will James Holden (Steven Strait) going to step in and help stop this war, or is he going to sit back and let others make the tough calls?    

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Movie Review – Ad Astra

TL;DR – A stunning film exploring the world of one man as it all falls apart around him    

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Ad Astra. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Review

Goodness, it has been a while since I have watched a film quite like this. Where we dive straight into the mind of one character and follow their drive through a slowly deteriorating experience. I think the last film that I watched that was able to pull this off was Arrival and you get hints of that here as well. With that in mind, let’s dive into a murky world of space exploration and the legacy/damage of our parents.

So to set the scene, we open in the near future where humankind has made their first steps into the solar system. One of the main drives is to find out if there is any other intelligent life out there in the universe but of course like all things mining and profit are not far behind. Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is working on the large space antenna that goes all the way up into low-Earth-orbit when a cosmic storm hits and he is thrown from the structure. Landing thanks to a parachute he is taken to Space Command Headquarters where he finds out that his long lost dad Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones) might be alive and might also be the one behind the surge that has killed 40,000 people and climbing. So Roy hops on a rocket for the Moon only to discover not all is what it seems.

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Exploring the Past – Jupiter Ascending (2015)

TL;DR – One of those films that are close but no cigar, but you have to admire that they go at 100km an hour from start to finish    

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Jupiter Ascending. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Review

One of my true joys in life is watching and witnessing a new work of glorious Science Fiction for the first time. Like those moments when you watched Farscape for the first time or watched the flaming guitar in Mad Max Fury Road explode out into the desert sun. However, sometimes it can be just as interesting to watch a film/TV show that is close but just not quite there and today we take a look back at just such a film.

So to set the scene, we open in on Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) who lives with her extended family in Chicago after her father Maximilian (James D’Arcy) was murdered back in Russia and her mother Aleksa (Maria Doyle Kennedy) fled to the States. Jupiter spends her time cleaning rich peoples houses and dreaming of getting out of it all. Well one day she gets that wish after a genetic test shows that she is the perfect reincarnation of the old matriarch of House Abrasax, an ancient alien dynasty that seeded life on Earth all those years ago.  

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TV Review – The I-Land

TL;DR – This is really a slow burn but then it grabs you as all the different parts start to merge together and you discover what is behind The Island and the number 39.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

The I-Land. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

One of my great joys is watching the TV Show Survivor where they throw a bunch of random people on an island and subject them to the elements and every puzzle under the Sun. It is such an interesting scenario, that I am surprised that we don’t see more people take advantage of it narratively. Well, today we get to look at a show that does just that, exploring a world where you can trust nothing and no one, not even what you can see with your own two eyes.  

So to set the scene, one morning you wake up, but you are not at home in your bed, you are on a beach lying in the sand with waves crashing into you. To add to this you cannot remember how you got there, or even who you are. As Chase (Natalie Martinez) tries to get her bearings she stumbles across KC (Kate Bosworth) and discovers that she is not alone. There are ten of them and no one can remember anything bar waking up on the beach. As they try to find something of their past lives, the reality of their situation dawns and soon the power politics show their heads and worse. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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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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