It is weird, being here in the year 2013, and seeing what’s happened to Joss Whedon — see a man whose name was synonymous with “cult not-really-a-hit” no less than three years ago play puppet master with one of Hollywood’s biggest, most profitable franchises.
The Whedon-directed Avengers grossed all those billions! ABC picked up the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D TV show he’s executive producing! He signed up for Twitter and got over 100,000 followers in like no time! Frank, Joss Whedon is en fuego!
Which is why it’s fun to look back at Whedon during his slightly more humble days — you know, when he had only three shows on television at one time–
Hmmm. It’s fascinating, isn’t it Frank, how Joss Whedon always seems like an underdog? Even when he’s doing insane things like making millions of dollars off a web series?
All last fall, as I watched Terra Nova, YET ANOTHER family-from-the-not-too-distant-future-travels-to-the-past-and-gets-to-hang-out-with-dinosaurs drama, I knew it would be something I should tell you about at some point.
Frank, I thought we’d have more time. Alas, last night the word went out that Terra Nova was no more — at least for Fox, though the show’s going to be shopped around to other networks HAHAHAHAHAHAHA GOOD LUCK WITH THAT GUYS. I mean, I sure did watch it. But that doesn’t mean I think the odds of it returning are anything less than EXTINCT (HAHAHAHAHAH I AM FUNNY TODAY’S LIZ TELLS FRANK IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY COFFEEEEEEE).
With odds of pick-up low, let us memorialize the show the best way I know how — by snarking about it! It’s been a while since the show’s season finale last December, Frank, so I’m just going to tell you the stuff I remember, but that’ll probably all you ever need to know, anyway.
Of all the terrible things about being a teenager, here is one that’s only really terrible in retrospect: There will be books and movies and TV shows you consume in your adolescence that, upon future reflection, might prove to be embarrassing, especially when you realize just how much they reveal about you. There’s an inevitability to this — the most you can hope for is that the media with that kind of power over your psyche won’t include a Vancouver-produced micro-budgeted Fox show about people who hop between alternate universes with the help of an oversized cell phone.
I am, alas, not so lucky.
The pilot episode of Sliders opens with Jerry O’Connell videotaping his experiments with wormhole technology in the basement of his mother’s house; blah blah blah science science science Jerry’s a genius, having successfully opened up a portal of some sort to a… I dunno. It’s a mystery! (The answer is parallel universes.) Read the rest of this entry
So I don’t think it’s any secret that I pretty much spent the 1990s watching whatever sci-fi television was readily available to me. But one that I’ve never given much thought to was Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski’s five-year tale of a space station caught in the middle of intergalactic war. Maybe a part of it was the fact that my heart at that point belonged to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and there were only so many space station shows to which I could pledge eternal fealty? I dunno, to be honest. I just know that it’s weird, because I have been rewatching Babylon 5 this week, Frank, and Babylon 5? Actually kind of awesome.
The basic deal was this: Babylon 5 was a space station created as a port of call for a Mos Eisley cantina’s worth of alien races as well as a neutral seat of politics for various planetary federations — ostensibly doing what the United Nations did after World War II to prevent another interstellar war.
Instead, though, it ended up becoming an independent political force that led a war against a totally ancient first evil called the Shadows (you know they were evil because their space ships looked like giant spiders, and yes, it’s a first evil with space ships, just go with it), not to mention an Earth gone completely fascist and no shortage of inter-species fighting. It’s an incredibly dense four seasons of narrative, covering the political situations on at least four different planets simultaneously with the on-station intrigue, while also managing to find time for some incredibly endearing characters, romance, time travel, religious symbolism, telepaths and the occasional Looney Tunes clip. Read the rest of this entry