Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Akta Manniskor’ and ‘A Harlot’s Progress’

‘Akta Manniskor (Real Humans)’ (Hulu) Mainly known as the inspiration for the series “Humans” rather than for any details of its own, Swedish writer Lars Lundstr m’s original surpasses its English-language remake particularly in its satirical scope. Presenting a world where human-like robots, HuBots, have been created to serve “real humans,” the series questions if the [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Transferts’ and ‘Vox Lux’

TRANSFERTS (NETFLIX) There are two behaviors in science fiction that humans will never disappoint with. One is that if there is an advance in technology that extends life or youth in any way whatsoever, it will only be available to rich people. Another is that if humans have any reason to hate and persecute the [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Being Frank’ and ‘Doctor Who’

‘BEING FRANK: THE CHRIS SIEVEY STORY’ (AMAZON) British oddball and Renaissance man Chris Sievey isn’t well-known in America beyond his image, which was used in the film “Frank” as a symbol of outsiders and oddballs who create music outside the norm. But his giant paper-mache head is cherished, especially by a generation of British children, [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Black Earth Rising’ and ‘Trepalium’

‘BLACK EARTH RISING’ (NETFLIX) Pulling inspiration from the Rwandan genocide, there’s no way the series “Black Earth Rising” was going to be light entertainment. But there’s always a danger that such a depiction could cheapen the massive tragedy in a quest for thrills. That’s not what happens here, though, as writer/director Hugo Blick, who did [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ and ‘Roma’

‘BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH’ (NETFLIX) My viewing experience with “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is not the same as your viewing experience with “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” but that’s the way it was designed. Or maybe I’m completely wrong. Maybe our experiences are more alike than we think. Maybe it was never designed to be that different from each [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Arrival’ and ‘Safe’

‘ARRIVAL’ (AMAZON, APPLE, GOOGLE PLAY, HULU, VUDU) Science fiction, at least in its visual form, has become too often linked with action than intellect and empathy when it comes to the depiction of spectacle. But there are awesome wonders to be born from the quieter pursuits and on occasion, a movie comes along that takes [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Ministry of Time’ and ‘Three Identical Strangers’

“The Ministry of Time” (Netflix) This unassuming, slightly clunky, but entirely affable and often surprising Spanish science fiction show sits in an unnoticed corner of Netflix, away from most people’s sights, much like the central location of the series itself. But much like the secret headquarters of “The Ministry of Time,” bumbling upon it yields [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘3%’ and ‘The Rain’

‘3%’ (NETFLIX) In some ways a YA dystopian novel that skipped publication and went straight to television instead, “3%” is a Brazilian series depicting a means by which undesirables are selected out of society and placed in an exclusive society on an idyllic island. Or, basically, it’s a fable for income inequality, something that I [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Chance’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

‘CHANCE’ (HULU) “Chance” is one of those curiosities of the streaming television era. Conceived as Hugh Laurie’s triumphant follow-up to “House,” big things were expected and Hulu signed it for two seasons to start. By the end, things hadn’t worked out the way everyone expected, and Hulu formally announced in January there would be no [...]

Viewer’s Discretion: ‘Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams’ and ‘The Unknown Girl’

‘PHILIP K. DICK’S ELECTRIC DREAMS’ (AMAZON) Adapted from the shorter works of science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, “Electric Dreams” covers the author’s typical concerns about what reality is and where humanity begins — Dick was particularly fascinated by artificial intelligence and hallucinogens. Translating these into a modern anthology series which takes some cues from “Black Mirror,” [...]

Musical Thingarium 08.24.17

Jerry Lewis tribute, Bulgaria 1977, and all sorts of 70s & sci-fi. 1 That Old Black Magic by Jerry Lewis 2 Star Maidens Theme by Berry Lipman & Orchestra 3 Song from Buck Rogers (Suspension) by Stu Phillips 4 Theme from Star Trek by Rose Hill Jr High Band 5 Roundabout 727 by Art of Noise 6 Orion 2000 by Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra 7 Ride to Arcade (Logan's Run) by Jerry Goldsmith 8 Tomorrow People Theme by Dudley [...]

Forgotten TV: Children Of The Dog Star

My only previous encounter with a children’s show from New Zealand was Under The Mountain, made in 1981. I enjoyed it very much, but Children of the Dog Star, made a mere three years later, shows an incredible leap in maturity and quality over what is essentially the same subject — an alien visit to Earth and [...]

Forgotten TV: Survivors

Whenever I’ve stumbled into an online list proclaiming the best science fiction TV shows ever, I very rarely see the 1975 post-apocalyptic British drama Survivors listed, and that’s not only a shame, but a sad indication of how we’ve come to think about science fiction. Special effects are the currency of the genre, unfortunately, and [...]

Forgotten TV: Knights Of God

Dystopian YA clutters the current landscape to such a degree that it’s hard to remember a time when such tales registered way below most people’s radar and were, in fact, a rarity. Maybe that accounts for how seldom you hear Knights of God evoked when talking about old television shows. Only broadcast one time ever [...]

Forgotten TV: The Nightmare Man

The structure of this series — four 30 minute episodes — makes it tempting to say that this is really a film split up into parts, but that’s not really the case. In fact, it’s the splitting that partly gives it charm, and partly to mash it together would only work to expose its flaws. There was a time [...]

Forgotten TV: Children of the Stones

The 1976 children’s series Children of the Stones comes up again and again in lists from British folk pulling from their childhood for the television shows and movies that creeped them out the most. And creepy is the central mood of the series as it pulls from the trope of strange English villages with sinister [...]

Forgotten TV: The Starlost

A lot of reviewers choose to bury The Starlost but I’m here to praise it. And I’m here to do so in celebration of the most unexpected iteration of futuristic television viewing I can imagine — The Starlost Roku channel (though the show is also available on DVD for you old technologists out there). You got it. [...]

Forgotten TV: Codename Icarus

Paranoia seemed like it had an audience in film in the 1970s, but not so much in television, let alone children’s television, unless you count The Night Stalker. It wouldn’t become standard fare until the 1990s, when The X Files made such discomfort not only palatable, but preferable to genre series. That makes Codename: Icarus, [...]