Do the ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’

If you’ve visited these parts before, you probably picked up on an undercurrent, a intimation of dislike if you will, for the Syfy Channel.

If so, let me be clear: My irritation with Syfy is like a rash that flares up often enough that a more sensible person would have sought medical attention long ago.

My most recent problem?  They cancelled The Expanse, a series that had only been on the air for three seasons.

Why does that bother me, you may ask?  After all, I think I saw maybe two episodes–if that?

You see, I’m still smarting over the cancellation of Dark Matter, which was also in it’s third season when things went…well…dark.

And let’s be clear.  Three seasons is barely enough time to develop a storyline, especially one as ambitious as Dark Matter’s

Though to be fair I think I get it.  Dark Matter and The Expanse were likely expensive series to produce, so why bother when you can produce drek like ZNation or wrestling (what science fiction has to do with wrestling is a bit beyond me, until you take into account that wrestling means ratings).

So that’s the long and the short of it.  Syfy apparently places greater value over ratings as opposed to quality.

And I honestly get that though what it does mean is that it’s even more unlikely that the next Battlestar  Galactica will come from the channel.

And that’s the rub, especially since what Syfy is supposed to do is develop–and I know that this is a reach here–science fiction/fantasy-based series.

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Nightflyers Mea Culpa

Screenshot 2018-04-22 19.44.41You don’t typically get much in the way of mea culpas (and in Latin, no less!) out of me, but seeing that I originally posted that George R.R. Martin’s Nightflyers was on Syfy, not Netflix , I felt an apology was in order.

This is important for two reasons.  First, I subscribe to Netflix, not Syfy.  And second–and perhaps most importantly–Syfy tends to suck (Though in the name of fairness, for every Altered Carbon there’s a Hemlock Grove or two on Netflix).

For those of you unfamiliar with the work of George R.R. Martin he’s written more than Game Of Thrones.  For instance, if you’re into vampires, Fevre Dream is for you.  Superheroes?  Then his Wild Cards series might be right up your alley.

Nightflyers falls firmly in the science fiction arena–with a healty does of horror–as a crew embark of a ship called Nightflyer, which it should go without saying does it’s damnedest to kill them.

I honestly cannot wait.

Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf

What the hell is a ‘sharktopus,’ you might ask?  It’s a cross between a shark and an octopus, and while combining either of those two creatures should have nothing to do with it moving about on land–like it does in the trailer–you have to admit that it’s pretty interesting.

It’s also proof that despite the presence of really good series like Ascension, Syfy has literally and figuratively jumped the shark.

And despite the fact that there’s no mention of the infamous Asylum anywhere, they have to be associated with this somehow.

Terminator: Genisys – Trailer 2 & 3 (Japanese Trailer)

Till now I haven’t posted anything–that I can recall, at any rate–from the upcoming Alan Taylor-directed followup to Terminator: SalvationTerminator: Genisys.

Though I have a reason:  Namely, I expect this movie to premiere with a small splash, and quickly vanish without a trace.

It’s less a question of franchise fatigue that ham-handedness on the part of the people who’s been in charge since James Cameron’s reign. That being said, Savation didn’t do too badly–earning just over $373 million on a $200 million budget–though I get the feeling that Genisys isn’t coming cheap, so it could be a case of throwing good money after bad.

Though oddly enough, I don’t mind the spelling of ‘Genesis,’ which is better than the monstrosity that is ‘Syfy (the name, not the network).’

Animal – Review

Animal movie poster

“”Animal” doesn’t break any new ground, but it is attractive to look at, and has some great pratical creature effects.”

Anyone who’s read this blog knows that I don’t particularly enjoy features from The Asylum.  For those unfamiliar with the company they produced movies like Sharknado, all those Mega Shark movies, as well as ZNation.

My problem isn’t that they are blatantly low-budget, it’s that they don’t seem to accept it–relying on cheap-looking digital elects way more often than they should–and also don’t seem to understand that using fewer special effects would work out better than lots of cheesy digital ones.

Most of their output turns up on the Syfy Channel, which isn’t a bad thing because I am not sure anyone else would want it.

Though Syfy isn’t the only channel that caters to genre-based entertainment.  There’s also Chiller, which is more focused on horror.  From what I have seen of their original productions–while they’re not Asylum bad–they’re generally pretty mediocre.

Then I saw Animal and have to admit that it was pretty good.  

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Z Nation: Not Nearly As Bad As It Should Be

When Syfy premiered Z Nation a few months ago, the only thing that I was curious about was what took them so long.  The Walking Dead has been breaking ratings records for AMC for years now, so that it took so long for someone to premiere another series that revolved around the undead was a bit of a surprise (and I don’t mean high-concept pseudo-zombie series like The Returned).

If we forget for a moment the insane idea that Syfy, a network so based on science fiction that it’s actually in the name, was so late to the party and that the series is made by The Asylum (known for schlock like Sharknado, Atlantic Rim and American Battleship), it’s actually not terrible.

Trailers Somehow Possess the Magical Ability To Make Things Less Pathetic

The series revolves around a zombie apocalypse, with a rag-tag group of survivors trying to make their way to California.  The twist is that a member of their party includes a person who is apparently immune to the virus that creates zombies, which means that they have to protect him as best they can as they make their way to the West Coast.

The FX is pretty spotty, character development is just about nil, but for an Asylum feature, it’s actually pretty good.  Now, if it weren’t so lacking in logic–which is saying something considering that we’re talking about a series about the walking dead–and flimsy characterization, it could give critical darling The Walking Dead a run for its money.

What bugs me–beyond that which I already mentioned–is that everyone works way too hard not to use the word “zombie”(as if The Walking Dead has it copyrighted–and they very well may) or something, despite the fact that it’s the first word someone would use under such conditions.

 

Z Nation is currently on Netflix

The Ugly Side Of Fandom

If you’ve seen videos of cosplay or the various ‘Cons’ the first thing you notice is that they feature all sorts of quirky, colorful (and often brilliant) costumes, which is why it’s understandable if you thought that that was what comic geek culture was all about (besides costumes and the–virtual–worship of certain movies and comic characters).

And for the most part, you’d be right, though there are instances when a comic character that began “life” as a white person, and is reinterpreted as a person of color in the movies (Oddly, when a male character was reinterpreted as female, in the case of 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica, when Starbuck was underwent gender reassignment, fans only offered token resistance while most were relatively sanguine about it) when you often see the ugly side of fandom.

Before I begin, you’ll noticed that I deliberately don’t use the term “race” because, besides being a misnomer, it has always bothered me because white people are genetically identical to black people, yellow people, beige people, and so on.

I bring this up because the reaction to John Boyega, dressed as a stormtrooper in the beginning of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, has been pretty distressing for some members of the fan community.

Comic book fans tend to be sticklers for detail, which to a degree I can understand. If someone has been following a character for the better part of their lives, it probably feels amazing to see the character on the big screen; till that is, they see that the character has been interpreted in a manner opposite to what they have known and anticipated.

That being said, it feels that whenever an actor of color is cast in a prominent role in a comic book movie, some in the fan community lose all sense of propriety, and logic goes out the window.

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