Dangit. It never fails. A quirky little show pops up, it has problems but also some serious potential, and I like it. Naturally, it doesn’t survive the first season. Timeless fell victim to the Conspiracy Arc Syndrome that seems to bedevil most speculative fiction shows: really, guys, we can bop around from time period to time period and enjoy the hell out of the quasi-history our erstwhile, occasionally brainless heroes visit, and it doesn’t have to be a grand conspiracy theory. It can just be fun. I liked that show, perhaps more for what it could have been than what it was.
You know what else is cancelled or ending this year? Bones, Sleepy Hollow, Time After Time, Bates Motel, Rizzoli and Isles… okay, Rizzoli was a while ago, but I just now caught up and dammit, I loved that show. Among shows I didn’t watch but others did: APB, Rosewood, Frequency, Emerald City, Pitch, Salem, Ghost Hunters, Doubt, Secrets and Lies… did anyone actually know that Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing went six seasons? I don’t think I ever heard anyone mention watching it.
Thank God for Supergirl...
• Hey, remember when SyFy was awesome? Me neither. Oh, I remember the SciFi Channel, and THAT was awesome. And I remember Battlestar Galactica, which was the best series I couldn’t bear to watch a second time. And I remember that it used to run Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes all the time, and if their made-for-TV movies were kinda goofy, who cares? Then they became the SyFyLys Network, and seemed focused solely on wrestling, sharks and being really, really crappy. Now the leaders have come up with the world’s ugliest new logo as part of their rebranding and “returning to (their) roots,” which sadly does not involve actually re-adopting the name Sci-Fi. They do say they want to go back to “high-end, scripted TV,” focusing on space/scifi, fantasy, paranormal and superheroes. You mean the genres currently kicking everyone’s ass all over the silver screen and somehow still failing on TV? By all means, SyFyLys, give us your best shot. (But please kill that logo before it breeds.)
• It’s going to be trailer after trailer these days, isn’t it? Well, that’s okay, because the Blade Runner 2049 trailer is fairly interesting even if you have serious problems with the first Blade Runner. That would be a constituency of me, of course. Look, I like Ridley Scott and I love Harrison Ford. But the first film felt like serious style over substance, Ridley Scott trying to be Stanley Kubrick but not quite soulless enough, with an extra bonus of rapist protagonist! Wait, I’m not the only one… Eric Haywood of RogerEbert.com makes a good case that Decker is the real villain of Blade Runner. Still, I might watch the new one, if only to unpack some of this stuff and see if they address it.
• Tor.com dissects The Fifth Element and why we’re still bedeviled by it 20 years later. My opinion of it today remains much the same as when I saw it in the theater: Silly fun, giant plot holes, gender issues, and in all a strange flick that I’d watch if nothing else was on. But that reviewer who said, "This is better than Star Wars!" is still high.
• None of you are interested in 30 hours of Doctor Who radio dramas, are you? Nah, didn’t think so… (Kidding!) Speaking of which, we’re getting more Torchwood! Capt. Jack and Gwen are back, since everyone else is DEAD (Russell Davies you bastard) and there is a whole new passel o’ cannon fodder plus cameos from the previous seasons’ survivors. Um, except there’s a slight hitch: it’s an audio drama. Why do you hate us, RTD? (Nothing against audio dramas, I’m particularly fond of of the art form for stories that are suited for it, but Torchwood really needs visuals and this feels like the BBC wussing out on the actual production costs of their spectacularly popular franchise.)
• Jennifer Morrison has quit Once Upon a Time. I never actually watched this show, but I have halfway-followed its shenanigans since so many of you love it. Despite the departure of its central character, it's been renewed, which may or may not mean circling shark-infested waters. I keep meaning to give this show a shot…
• Handmaid’s Tale’s Margaret Atwood recommends 15 books, including dystopian fiction. Some are obvious choices - duh, 1984 - but others are new to me. And I did not know the B-movie classic Donovan’s Brain was a book first. (I have not seen the series yet; I was thinking of making my family watch it with me, but that would require us all to be in one room. Thus it waits...)