SciFi Friday Part II: The Week in Review

Lost has benefited greatly from centering the final seasons around telling a story with a definite end point. They have also avoided using the exact same format week after week. This week’s episode got away from telling about one of the Oceanic Six in the flash forwards and instead dealt with Desmond, who is unstuck in time. There was even a brief homage to Billy Pilgrim from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, who was also unstuck in time.

We find that Desmond’s situation isn’t unique. Every episode lately tries to end with a surprise which is consistent with the events of the episode. This week’s ending suggests that Daniel Faraday’s problem is similar to Desmond’s as we see an entry in his notebook saying, “If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant.”

The episode also verifies the earlier hints that something strange is going on with time. The helicopter with Desmond and Sayid left the island at dusk and landed mid day, with those on the island finding a delay which did not surprise Faraday.

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Jericho is becoming increasingly political, with some aspects of the United States resembling Iraq, and other aspects containing allusions to the Bush administration. We’ve already seen that the Cheyenne government is pushing a new flag, a new Constitution, and even a new right wing history. This week’s episode has many comparisons to Halliburton and Blackwater with Jennings & Rall being involved in everything, including government functions. Meanwhile Ravenwood is being used as a private army. Does it mean anything that the new government and Dick Cheney both come from Wyoming?

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles remains mixed in quality but is doing an interesting job of applying aspects from the original movie series to current plot lines. A new twist is being added as it is unclear if the cyborg Cameron (Summer Glau, above) can be trusted. The final two episodes of the season are being aired as a two-hour episode on Monday.

Torchwood as aired on BBC America remains behind the BBC showings, but delaying SciFi Friday at least allows me to comment on the more recent episodes while avoiding spoilers for episodes which have not aired yet. Last week’s episode, Adam, involved an alien who lives off of false memories planted in others. He gives the members of the Torchwood team false memories of him having been one of them for years, but in the process disrupts their memories and changes them. Gwen loses all memory of her fiancè Rhys and thinks he is a stalker when she finds him in her apartment. Owen undergoes the biggest change, becoming a real geek. The most dramatic actions come when Adam gives Ianto false memories of being a serial killer after Ianto notes that there is no mention of Adam in his diary.

The episode might be most notable for providing information on Jack’s childhood, but those memories, as well as all other memories involving Adam, must be removed in order for Adam to be eliminated. At the end nobody has memories of Adam but there are clues that he had been there. I did find it a little unrealistic that they would not want to investigate the last couple of days which were missing from their memories.

This week’s episode, Reset, works in three different groups which are involved in studying aliens. Besides Torchwood, there’s UNIT which lends a medical specialist, and there’s a medical center which uses aliens in an unsafe manner to attempt to cure human diseases. The UNIT medical specialist happens to be Martha Jones, who finished medical school very quickly after returning from her adventures with The Doctor. The episode ends with Owen being shot, which will lead into the events of the subsequent two episodes which have already aired in the U.K.

Looking at television beyond science fiction, Saturday Night Live has managed to be in the news several times after returning last week. Last week’s episode began with a skit based upon the Texas debate, which Hillary Clinton mentioned during the Ohio debate (video above). There was some controversy over having a non-black cast member play Obama’s role. The episode also included a defense of Clinton by Tina Fey who argued that it is bitches who get things done. Mike Huckabee also had an appearance.

This week they began with another debate in which Clinton argues that she can get the most done by being so obnoxious that people will just give up on opposing her. This is followed by an appearance by the real Hillary Clinton (video here). Rudy Giuliani also had an appearance in which he compared his campaign to a Saturday Night Live skit which starts out strong but goes nowhere. The musical guest was Wilco, a big supporter of Obama.

There’s good news for fans of Scrubs. While NBC has never shown the show much respect, ABC is now negotiating to pick up eighteen episodes to allow the series to be completed as planned.

A high definition trailer for the Sex and the City movie is available on line here. We find that Carrie and Big do get engaged, but things might not go well at the alter. Charlotte is pregnant, as was seen in earlier pictures, and Steve admits to Miranda that he cheated on her once.

The Other Boleyn Girl opened to mixed reviews. Any movie with both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson can’t be all bad. There’s one minor coincidence I noted in the cast when comparing this with Showtimes’s version of the story, The Tudors. Scarlett Johansson appeared in the Woody Allen movie Match Point with Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays Henry in The Tudors.

Season two of The Tudors begins on March 30. During season one, Mary, followed by Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer), worked to seduce Henry. Anne always found ways to ensure that Henry would not be satisfied until they married, as can be seen at the end of season one. Video is available here (definitely not safe for work).

One of the things I watched during the strike was the DVD set of Arrested Development. It is certainly understandable that there were a lot of protests when the show was canceled. Plans have now been announced to make a movie version of the show.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Christopher says:

    I approached Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, with some trepidation because it’s a network show and as network show go, they usually suck and not terribly well.

    I was instantly hooked and surprised by the well crafted, glossy, feature film quality of the series. It’s surprisingly dark, witty and filled with complicated, overlapping story lines, that require the viewer to play 3-D chess.

    A pleasant surprise and we’re saddened the series goes to hiatus after tomorrow’s installment. I hope the series returns soon.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Christopher,

    We’re talking Science Fiction on Fox. Before saying, “I hope the series returns soon” you need to say “I hope the series returns” period.

    Most likely it will either return next fall or not at all, but there is always the possibility they would hold it for next winter. Personally I think it would be a mistake to wait too long with the show off the air, but networks do a lot of things which I don’t think makes much sense.

  3. 3
    Christopher says:

    Ron,

    Did you watch ABC’s Invasion? I liked it a lot. It wasn’t BSG or Torchwood, but it was fun and starred the hot-as-they-come Eddie Cibrian.

    Just as it got going, ABC pulled the plug on it, leaving viewers wondering what happened. I learned from that experience to never against trust a network.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I did watch it while it lasted.

    Fox has a reputation for pulling the plug on the most science fiction shows, sometimes leaving them with a cliff hanger. I do wish that if the ended shows they would at least wrap up the story.

  5. 5
    Tito says:

    Fox has a reputation for pulling the plug on the most science fiction shows

    I still weep for Firefly

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