Top 9 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Shows
The Cape is about detective Vince Faraday who is framed as the villain Chess. Thought to be dead, Vince goes underground thanks to a group of circus thieves called The Carnival of Crime. Their ring leader, Max Malini introduces Vince to a special cape that when used properly can do magnificent things. Vince is trained and becomes The Cape, a super hero looking to fight crime and restore his name. He targets the real Chess, who is actually Peter Fleming, the head of major corporation Ark Industries. Vince also is helped out by underground investigator Orwell (Summer Glau). The Cape clearly wasn’t going to be the best show on television, but I like comic book movies and enjoyed this series. It’s too bad it didn’t have much of a chance.
What exactly is the event? The marketing campaign for The Event centered around what isn’t “the event”, and tries to pull you in by saying there will be some major event that takes place. It turns out this so-called event wasn’t mentioned until the final moments of the season (and series) finale, and takes place in future unseen events. Going into the show, I had no idea what the show was going to be about, but the mystery intrigued me. The storyline follows a group of aliens, though they look just like humans, who landed on Earth in the 40’s somewhere in Alaska. They had been detained for sixty-plus years with only a select group of people knowing about it. The aliens don’t age the same as humans, so the survivors from the crash still look the same today. The show is full of conspiracies and mythology. The Event was a bit silly and over the top, but it was consistent throughout. The show was purely entertainment, and it was fun unraveling the “truth” of everything as the season progressed. The creator has openly stated that although the show was cancelled, they would be releasing more info as time goes on. This way the story will continue, unlike most shows that get cancelled before they can properly finish their story. For that reason I say it’s worth watching The Event, being able to get a complete story.
Caprica was created as a prequel to Battlestar Galactica. I hadn't seen Battlestar, but I have every intention of watching it now. Caprica follows the days when Greystone Industries created the first cylon (which was controlled by the avatar of Daniel Greystone's deceased daughter Zoe). There are heavy religious tones, which includes a group of terrorists who belive in "The One God," as opposed to multiple gods. We also get to see the father of Battlestar lead character William Adama as he copes with the death of his wife and daughter and the role he plays in major events. The show was slow at times, and struggled to gain viewship momentum. The show really picked up the excitement at the end, but unfortunately it was cancelled.
AMC has been producing some award-winning television the last few years (Mad Men, Breaking Bad), but The Walking Dead is my first exposure to the network. The Walking Dead is based on the graphic novel of the same name about a zombie apocalypse and the people struggling to survive. This could easily be number one on my list, but there were only six episodes to base it on. I do fear The Walking Dead making zombies a bit too mainstream, but the fact is the topic works great as a television show.
Sanctuary follows a team of experts, led by Dr. Helen Magnus, who seeks out people and creatures with extroadinary powers and protects them from normal humans. Some of these "abnormals" are peaceful and just need protection, while others are dangerous and can destroy the Earth. Magnus was part of "The Five," a group of intellectuals who gained various abilities when exposed to pure vampire blood. Now Magnus, who is roughly 160 years old, doesn't age normally. Sanctuary is a fun show that fits in well with other SyFy shows like Eureka and Warehouse 13. One thing I find unique about this show is that with five team members, episodes don't always have to include everyone. Each character has had episodes that focus on them, so we get a change of pace at times. There's also a larger story arc that involves ancient people of earth who now live in a great city in subterranean Earth.
Americans sure love remaking foreign things into American products. It happens in both tv and film. This most recent example is Being Human, an American remake of British show Being Human. The show is centered around three roommates (a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost) who are all trying to lead normal lives. I haven’t seen the original series yet, but decided to give this a shot. SyFy has been angering me a lot lately (cancelling Stargate: Universe and Caprica while moving towards more reality shows), but this calms me down a bit. I really enjoyed the first season of Being Human. The casting was well done, and the main antagonist was a vampire played by none other than Mark Pellegrino (Jacob from Lost). Thank you SyFy for keeping some hope alive in me.
V is a remake of a 1983 miniseries of the same name. Several alien spacecrafts park themselves above major cities around the world, and they claim to have come in peace. This of course is not true, and the "visitors" have a hidden agenda. A majority of the world's population has accepted them, but there is a group called the Fifth Column who know the truth (or at least some of it). With a combination of humans and rogue visitors, the Fifth Column does everything they can to sabotage Anna (leader of the visitors). Though a bit campy, V was a great sci-fi show for network television. Alas, the ratings dictate a show's fate, and the cliffhanger ending to season 2 is the last we got to see of the visitors.
In 1994, the beginning of a new science fiction franchise began with the release of the film Stargate. Three years later, the idea was picked up as a TV show entitled Stargate SG-1. In 2004, a second series, Stargate Atlantis premiered. The two ran simultaneously until 2007 when SG-1 ended. Atlantis ended in 2009 after five seasons, but less than a year later a third series was released, Stargate Universe (SGU). SGU is a dark, character-driven show, which is a big change of pace from the previous two series that were more light-hearted and comical. A small group of scientists and military personnel were forced to blindly jump into the stargate as the planet they were testing on was about to explode. The unprepared crew found themselves on the other side of the universe on an ancient spaceship called Destiny. Throughout the series, the main objective of most of the crew was to find a way home (as they were too far to just dial the stargate back to Earth). There was one exception, however, in scientific leader Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle). He did not want to rush home and instead find the meaning of Destiny’s existence. This led to many conflicts between him and the commanding officer Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira). SGU showed how people react when they are forced to work together in dire circumstances, and it was exciting watching these characters grow. The show ended on a cliffhanger (as it was cancelled), but maybe SyFy will greenlight a movie like they have for the other Stargate series.
I have not been drawn back to HBO in the last few years since the cancellations of Rome and Deadwood, though I had enjoyed the short-lived Flight of the Conchords on DVD. This past television season that changed with two new shows (Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones). I will talk about Boardwalk further down the list. Game of Thrones is based on a series of fantasy novels called A Song of Ice and Fire. Though there are still a few episodes left of the season at the time I write this, this has been my favorite new show this year. It’s got fantasy and adventure, all while incorporating the big budget of HBO. It hasn’t surpassed Rome and Deadwood for me yet, but it is certainly off to a good start.