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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Movie Review – Andromeda (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – An interesting look at what it means to be alive, but feels more like an opening act than a complete film.   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Review

The next in our look at the 2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition delves into the notions of what it is to be alive. It explores a world where androids have become the new working class and the ever reaching effects that would have.

One area where this film excels is in its production, with some beautifully framed shots. There is this use of light and colour to bring us into this world of Andromeda (Kestrel Leah) all situated around story time with a young Ella (Mai Brunelle) who has not quite worked out what Andromeda is.

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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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Movie Review – Men in Black: International (MIB: International)

TL;DR – A film that is funny in places, has some good effects and cast, but can’t escape its boilerplate plot    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Men in Black: International. Image Credit: Sony.

Review

Back in the day, oh goodness, 1997 was over two decades ago, I had no idea that a moth floating through the air was going to lead to something just magical. That first Men in Black film was like lighting in a bottle, hell I still have that theme song playing in my head from time to time. However, since then the follow-up films have never been able to capture, or even come close to that first film (though the cartoon series almost did). Flash forward to last year when I heard that they were taking another shot at the series, honestly, I felt a bit mostly meh. But then they announced that it was going to be headed by Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. Well if there is a way to get me instantly interested in something it is to cast Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth and let’s see how they did.

So to set the scene, back in 2016 Agent H (Chris Hemsworth) and High T (Liam Neeson) arrive in Paris to stop a catastrophe, for the Hive, a destructive species, was about to use The Eiffel Tower to gate onto Earth and take it over. We then find ourselves with a young girl called Molly (Mandeiya Flory) who got to see the Men in Black in action and hid so she never had her memories wiped by the Neuralyzer. Now in 2018, all grown up Molly (Tessa Thompson) tries to find the MIB and after a lifetime hunt, she is given status as a probationary officer and sent to the London Branch where something does not seem right.      

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