So, as many times as I have complained in the past about the lack of any good science fiction shows out there (with the exception of Battlestar Galactica and Stargate) the networks have seemed to answer my complaints with what would seem to be a trifecta of new shows.
Now before I dive to deep into this column let me remind you of my theory that I had stated in my first column. Every few years or so Hollywood will put out 2 movies and 1 TV show which are almost identical. This season seems to go above and beyond in proving me right but more in reverse. Instead of 2 movies and a TV show this year it’s 1 movie and 4 TV shows which seem to be related.
The movie having been Moon with Sam Rockwell dealt with a guy on the surface of the moon alone doing research. While it only had limited release my understanding is that it was outstanding. My regret was my inability to see it.
The first TV show is kinda of a standalone from the other three. The being Battlestar Galactica Caprica. This series will focus on how the Cylons were created and how the society of the time period deals with it. Don’t except to much in the way of space travel but more on technilogical advances of the use of AI as well as dramactic overtones of 2 heartbroken fathers dealing with the ramifications of their decisions. Having seen the 2 hour movie that was put out a short time ago, I can tell you that I am well over anxious to watch this series and it lays it hope of success on the success of it predecessor. Still, it will make for some good TV. Eric Stolz seems to have found his niche as a drunken misunderstood parent making questionable decisions thanks to his role in The Butterfly effect. We’ll see how this one pans out.
The second, third and fourth TV show I can lump together as all 3 of them seem to be about the same thing (hence my trifecta statement). The shows being Stargate Universe, Virtuality, and Defying Gravity. All of them seem to be about a bunch of astronauts hoping on a ship in some planet saving fashion only to have some “Otherworldly” issues present themselves. The only difference is that SGU gives the impression of a flat out ripoff of Star Trek Voyager in that the crew is full of non-astronauts stuck on a ship in an unknown galaxy. We as the viewers are expected to watch them travel throughout while trying to find a way home. Sound familiar? While I am excited at the prospect of being able to watch a new Stargate show, I am disappointed in the fact that the originality of this show seems to be non-existent.
The other two shows, Virtuality and Defying Gravity, seem to be about exactly the same thing. Group of people having trained for a mission to travel to an unmapped sector of the galaxy in hopes of discovering something to help save the planet on a 5 or 6 year mission. Not only do they have to deal with their own discrepincies but they will be faced with either a haunted ship or an extraterrestrial guiding them or hitching a ride until they reach their final destination. While I applaud the fact that we will be seeing 2 sci-fi space shows on main stream tv, I have to question their arrogance and hopefulness that the shows will last all of the 5 or 6 years slated for each series. A little wishful thinking? I do believe that TV shows should have an expected shelf life (Harpers Island, Alias, Lost) I fear that the audience will once again get disappointed when a show that they seem to be enjoying once again gets cancelled in the middle of a story arc (Firefly, Journeyman, Life, Kings) or be forced to wrap the series with some haphazardly throw together disappointing ending (Life on Mars).
I have watched both Virtuality and Defying Gravity (the pilots at least) and generally like them both. I can see the storylines and episodes laid out before me and am excited to see where they go. Sure they are basically the same TV show, but hopefully the networks won’t show them at the same time thus forcing us to make a choice. At the same time, I hope they realize their similarities and do something to make them stand apart from one another else we will feel like we are watching repeats when we are indeed watching 2 shows with the same plot.
Who knows how the season will plan out. I mean they could all get cancelled and leave us all eager for next summer to watch new episodes of Burn Notice (awesome show btw). But I will hold out and watch them each with eager anticipation. Stay tuned to either this column or the panelcasts as I will do my best to review them in turn.