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FOTEP TV Reviews
Science Fiction Television
Battlestar Galactica (2003)This 2003 series is better than the original
With a well thought-out plot arc the 4 and a half seasons of Battlestar Galactica pack so much action and so many plot twists it almost seems like a space opera. But, it isn't. It is a well architected series that builds upon itself. This is no Star Trek schlock with 50-minute stand-alone and predictable episodes, every episode takes you to new territory and leaves you wondering if they really just did that.
I thought it was going to take some getting used to having the hot-shot fighter jock be a woman but it didn't. I was sucked into this show right off. The characters are well developed and come across as quite real, foibles and all.
The whole show got a makeover and the new Cylon race is as menacing as any sci-fi movie could come up with.
Finally, here is a series that leaves the dumbed-down drivel behind and makes you think like the old Mission Impossible.
One look at the IMDB score and you know that this is a series to watch, front-to-back.
IMDB Score: 9.0/10
Stargate SG-1 (1997)First thing's first: IF THIS IS STILL SELLING FOR UNDER $100 SNATCH IT UP. I was buying this show a season at a time and when this set was released for $97.99, it was actually cheaper to buy the whole thing than to finish buying the rest of the individual seasons.
This is a TV show that lives up to the potential that was set forth in the original movie.
Stargate SG-1 was on the air, putting out new episodes, for 10 years. The show had staying power because it was so good.
Each episode, for the most part, stands on its own with a overarching plot arc that ties the development of the story together, keeping it advancing in addition to the individual plots of each episode.
The cast is strong and the characters all likable and interesting. There is just enough friction to keep the series interesting and fresh.
The series pits human travelers against a powerful alien race that has taken over hundreds of worlds. It's human inginuity that saves the day, when it gets saved... not every episode marks a victory in the long battle among the stars.
One of the things that keeps this series original is the ability to visit different worlds and become immersed in different cultures in each episode. Then we also get to follow the development of the plot thread that strings all of the episodes together.
Here is another series that makes the entire Star Trek franchendise look dated and amateurish (including the newer series). Where the original Star Trek dared to go (and it was revolutionary for its time) this series tackles even newer ground along with serving up continuous adventure.
Besides, a nerdy scientist on a team of soldiers traveling the galaxy, who sneezes when he travels by 'gate because of his allergies is just too funny a detail to miss. Seriously, secret communication by Kleenex box in one of the early episodes shows just how clever this series is going to be.
IMDB Score: 8.6/10
The X-Files (1993)OK, I'll admit that at first I bought a knock-off of this series from China. But, the quality of that set was so bad and the quality of this show was so good, that I bought another set from Amazon so I could watch the entire series.
This is another science fiction series that was on the air for years and years. There are 9 seasons of the X-Files and no matter how much you learn as you watch the series, you find that you still have only seen the tip of the iceburg that is the mystery surrounding the seemingly unrelated events that make up the individual episodes.
Despite the horrible, horrible spin-off, the characters, including The Lone Gunmen, are great.
The entire series looks at unexplained events. The poster in Agent Mulder's office may picture a UFO, but this is certainly not a silly, little green man, UFO conspiracy show. It is so much more.
The 9 year plot line is compelling, each episode only serves to tantalize the viewer. "There has to be more to what's going on that we're seeing," you'll say to yourself again and again.
The show matches a dreamer (Agent Mulder) with a pragmatist (Medical Doctor/Agent Scully) as they go off in search of common explainations to uncommon and bizarre happenings. The pair are anything but antagonistic, there is a real bond between these two unlikely allies that has to stand up to the internal manueverings in the FBI and the power struggles among the powerful elite that are sprinkled throughout the U.S. government.
It seems that there are as many people who want Mulder stopped or dead as there are people who are manipulating events to see that Mulder survives and progresses in his researches into what is really going on.
For those of you who are itching to see the infamous Mulder Red Speedo scene, it is season 2, episode 5 and it's just plain silly. But, it is a very good eipsode otherwise.
Here is another highly rated show and rightly so.
IMDB Score: 9.0/10
Heroes (2006)This is a series that holds much promise, lives up to that promise in the first season but then peters out.
The first season features a great ensemble cast. Here we have a handful of people, each with a special ability. But despite how good or bad these people are, there is a covert government agency hell-bent on collecting these people and incarcerating them.
The first season story arc is a save-the-world (actually New York City) from annihilation plot that is well-paced and well thought out.
Season two introduces some new characters, carries forward the Sylar story arc and offers some new drama. This was written at the time of the writer's strike and that is blamed for the lackluster story. Seasons three and four disprove this as the writers came back but the show continued to fade.
IMDB Score: 7.7/10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)Short version: Watch this series but skip the last (7th) season.
I'll break up the review into sections based on the general flow of the seasons. The first section to be reviewed will be the high school years. So far that's:
Not really a pilot for the show, the story starts with the movie where Merrick (Donald Sutherland) has to convince a high school cheerleader that he is not some creepy old man chasing after a teenaged girl and that Buffy (Kristy Swanson) is a vampire slayer that should have started her training years ago.
The movie is a bit campy (but the TV show is a bit campy too). Overall the movie isn't quite as good as the TV show.
The movie is good, but not worth the $30 that Amazon wants for it new. I'd buy it used for $2 plus shipping.
The High School YearsSeason 1
Buffy had a rough go at her previous high school and moves to Sunnydale for a fresh start. Unfortunately, Sunnydale is set on a hellmouth and attracts all sorts of evil creatures, not the least of which are vampires.
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) hangs out with Xander (Nicholas Brendon), Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Oz (Seth Green). Her Watcher is Giles (Anthony Head), her nemesis is Spike (James Marsters) and she is sometimes aided by the mysterious Angel (David Boreanaz). There are lots of other characters, of course, but this is the basic High School lineup.
The College YearsSeason 4
Buffy and Willow end up going to UC Sunnydale (very like UC Santa Cruz, where writer Marti Noxon, the show's supervising producer went). Here we run into The Initiative, a paramilitary organization bent on capturing and controlling demons and vampires. This is also where we run into Buffy's new love interest, Riley Finn (Marc Blucas).
The show's creator, Joss Whedon, took a progressive stance with the show: In college, one of the main characters turns out to be a lesbian and this is handled very well.
IMDB Score: 8.2/10
Babylon 5 (1994)Babylon 5, the series and the movies, are a fast-paced science fiction adventure/drama collection
With a leadership change after the first season, the show continued to be a highly-rated adventure set on a space station in the far reaches of space.
The station's mission is to serve as a peace-keeping body between the various space-going species of the universe. Problems continually arise between member-worlds and station denizens, but the station lives up to its promise.
The broad story arcs are well-planned and, if a bit rushed, keep the viewer wanting more.
This is a great series to binge on and should be watched in order:
IMDB Score: 8.2/10
Merlin (2008)Reviewed 27 July 2016
Merlin is the story of a young Merlin and young Arthur Pendragon in a kingdom that has outlawed magic. Merlin is secretly mentored in magic by Gaius under the nose of Uther Pendragon, the king.
This BBC series is another example of the stellar work coming from across the pond. This show is worth the time investment to see how Merlin came to be.
IMDB Score: 7.9/10
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