Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - TV EDITION: Science Fiction

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

PLOT TWIST!

This year, Wanderer has decided that the last Thursday Movie Picks of each month will be a special Television Edition! While I'm excited for the diversity, I'm also kind of annoyed, because I've watched WAY less TV shows than I have movies, and I hate to pick things more than once. This might get difficult when we get to December...

But anyway, let's focus on the here and now, shall we? This week, we're talking Sci-Fi TV shows. I have to admit, the first two shows I immediately thought of I ended up discarding for various reasons, one of which being I'm sure everyone else will pick them. Bonus points if you can guess what they were. The ones I did pick this week are two shows from my childhood that honestly may not have been very good at all, and one SciFi Channel Syfy show that I really love.

Land of the Lost (1991-1992)  I'm SO SORRY. But I remember really loving this Saturday Morning TV Show as a kid. An update of the old Sid & Marty Krofft show from the 70s but with (slightly) better special effects, Land of the Lost is the story of a Dad and his two kids who get accidentally sucked back in time (or something) to a world where dinosaurs and cavemen run rampant, and have to survive or find a way back home. I remember liking the Swiss Family Robinson living-off-the-land survival elements the best, but other than that I really don't remember much. Except that I liked it.

SeaQuest DSV (1993-1996) My grandfather is a seafarer. He came to America from England working on a boat, and jumped ship when they got to New York, and he's been on or near the water ever since. Both of my grandparents volunteered at a local aquarium (my grandmother basically built their education program from the ground up), and they had a boat on Long Island Sound that we would go out on in the summer. So when this show, which is basically Star Trek under water, aired, it was appointment viewing for my family. Again, I don't remember practically anything about it, except that I looked forward to it every week. And that the cast, led by Roy Scheider, is pretty much all REALLY good-looking.

Eureka (2006-2012) The newest and BY FAR best of my picks this week, Eureka is the story of an average cop, who (along with his teenage daughter) stumbles across a city populated entirely by geniuses and, through circumstance, ends up becoming the town Sheriff. Naturally, since the town factory is a high-tech corporation run by the Department of Defense, something life-threatening (or at least, VERY weird) happens on a pretty regular basis, so Sheriff Carter has plenty to keep him busy. And while everyone around him may have a (much) higher IQ, Carter's street smarts and ability to connect with others makes him far better at the job than anyone expected, himself included. What started out as a more serious, mythology-and-mystery-driven show ended up becoming much more lighthearted in its middle-to-later seasons, so much so that even the objectively bad episodes were enjoyable just because the characters were so pleasant to spend time with. It's an incredibly endearing show, and I actually miss it quite a bit.

17 comments:

  1. Land of the Lost! lol I also went with an old Nickelodeon show this week. I like these TV weeks but some of them are hard. I watch a lot of TV, but apparently I'm not very genre diverse.

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    1. hehehe LOVE those old Nickelodeon shows!

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  2. Oh boy, I haven't seen any of these. Eureka sounds like a show I would really love though! How many episodes are there in each season?

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    1. Eureka had one of the strangest runs of any show I've ever encountered. All told, there are 77 episodes over the five season run, but the middle seasons (3-4) were much longer than the others, which were usually 10-12 episodes.

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  3. Sleestaks!! Or was that only on the original 70's version of The Land of the Lost (the only one I watched)? Anyway cheapie through it was I also have fond memories of it.

    I loved Roy Scheider so I have no idea why I never watched Seaquest DSV. Probably on the wrong night of the week in those ancient days before DVR's and you actually had to be home to watch something regularly.

    I think it might have been a similar deal with Eureka. I missed the initial seasons so I never watched very much.

    I like the variety of doing the TV series every fourth week but again some weeks will be tougher. This one took some thought since I'm not big on sci-fi but I was a fan of these three.

    Firefly (2002)-A ragtag group of astronauts tour the galaxy in their rust bucket ship Serenity lead by cheeky leader Mal Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). Often not functioning as a harmonious whole due to squabbles between the opinionated crew they pull together when the going gets tough and manage to emerge from their scraps banged up but unbowed. Serio-comic sci-fi series with a strong cast was regrettably brief but did lead to a big screen sequel “Serenity”.

    My Favorite Martian (1963-1966)-Somewhat zany comedy of a stranded Martian (Ray Walston) taken in by young reporter Tim O’Hara (Bill Bixby) who uses the cover of being his Uncle Martin as he tries to repair his spaceship in an attempt to return home. While he works away the pair are confronted with many situations where Martin is constantly at risk of exposure. What could be idiotic is kept from being so by the skillful playing of Walston & Bixby as well as Pamela Britton who is simply aces as their charmingly addle-brained landlady Lorelei Brown. Adapted into a wretched decades too late feature in the 90’s.

    The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)-Trend setting anthology series created, hosted and largely written by Rod Serling. Generally but not always with either a science fiction or supernatural theme this weekly series was consistently eerie with a cavalcade of future stars, including Robert Redford, Elizabeth Montgomery, Charles Bronson and Robert Duvall, and top flight character actors-Agnes Moorehead, Gladys Cooper, Burgess Meredith etc.- in strong stories. For the length of time it ran the series stayed uniformly high in quality but has some episodes that have remained justly more famous than others…Eye of the Beholder, The Invaders, The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Time Enough at Last, Nothing in the Dark, and my personal favorite The Hitch-Hiker among them.
    A small addendum: A moderately successful reboot of the series was done in the 80’s with varying results but there were some excellent episodes produced especially in the first season. Two directed by Wes Craven: the series’ first “Shatterday” starring Bruce Willis and “Her Pilgrim Soul” with Kristoffer Tabori and Anne Twomey are exceptional.

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    1. SeaQuest feels like what is now syndication-only shows like Stargate - it can be fun, but perhaps isn't as "top-of-the-line" as it should be. Eureka is dun and definitely worth seeking out.

      The Twilight Zone is one of the two that came to my mind immediately (the other being The X-Files), but I decided against it since it wasn't ALWAYS a sci-fi show. In addition to the ones you mention, my favorites include The After Hours (with Anne Francis), A Stop at Willoughby, Mirror Image (with Vera Miles), Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?, and Miniature (with Robert Duvall). But of course, the performances by Agnes Moorehead in Invaders and Shatner in Nightmare... are just towering.

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    2. Oh I love The After Hours! It's still freaky now so I can only imagine its impact back in the 50's. There are so many great episodes but those were the first ones that came to mind. Another one that I have a fondness for but isn't as renowned is "The Ring-a-Ding Girl" with Maggie McNamara. Absolutely agree about both Shatner, his natural hambone tendencies are perfectly suited to his episode, and Agnes Moorehead's silent subtlety is what makes The Invaders so perfect.

      The Hitch-Hiker remains my favorite despite the fact it's the one that gives me the heebie-jeebies, mostly because of the underlying menace but that's layered by the irony of Inger Stevens being the star and her fate. But I LOVE her and I stop and watch the episode until the end whenever I run across it.

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  4. I used to watch the original Land of the Lost which I loved! I never did see the remake. I remember Seaquest but never really watched it even though I thought, "what is Roy Scheider doing in this??" I never even heard of the last one...sounds interesting.

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    1. LOL about Scheider in SeaQuest. It truly is baffling. Eureka is very fun and worth seeking out.

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  5. Almost picked Land of the Lost, too, but the original. Never saw the remake. Or either of those others.

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    1. Yeah, if you weren't a kid when the remake of Land of the Lost came out, I can't imagine you'd enjoy it much...

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  6. Surprisingly I don't watch any of this. My repertoire of TV series from my childhood years are terrible. Now all I wanna do is watching them for the first time, especially Land of the Lost. Seems fun!

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    1. Land of the Lost was fun as a kid, but I can't imagine watching it now lol

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  7. I haven't seen any of these, nor heard of them, but Eureka sounds good.

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  8. I gave up on Eureka after season 1. I got bored and thought more would happen. Oh well. Not seen or heard of Seaquest but it seems amusing.

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  9. I think I've seen Seaquest but too young to remember any of it. It's the one with Jonathan Brandis right? The kids a few years older than me were like in love with him.

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