Friday, July 01, 2016

Summer TV

I guess I could call this week the beginning of the summer TV season, with the spring TV season having just ended, with the season finale of Game of Thrones on Sunday. Tonight, Killjoys and Dark Matter return to SyFy.

I liked both of these Not!Firefly shows last year. In terms of story and watchability, I think I ended up liking Killjoys more. That one was more Firefly-like in terms of tone and look. You could imagine it almost being the same universe. I guess you could say the main character was kind of like if Inara became a ninja-like assassin-turned bounty hunter, but otherwise the similarity was in tone, look, style, and maybe theme. Like Firefly, that universe seems to have worlds for the ultra-rich and then colony worlds that are more marginalized. I hope they do a good "previously on" segment before tonight's season premiere because I'm blurry on exactly how the season ended, and I don't have time to rewatch the last episode.

Dark Matter turned out to be iffier. I like the concept a lot more than the execution. I'm a total sucker for stories that get into "what would you be if you didn't know who you were?" and that's the basic premise of the series -- a group of people wakes up from hypersleep on a spaceship with no memories of who they are or how they got there. Unfortunately, the actual show isn't nearly that good. I'm hooked on the big story question of who these people are and how they came to be there, and they do really good cliffhangers at the end of each episode that have me wanting to know more, but I have to admit that I haven't really enjoyed the episodes themselves. I put this one into the Not!Firefly class because you can map the main characters pretty easily onto Firefly characters, with one character being a blend of Kaylee and River. The structure of the universe also seems somewhat similar.

Now I really want to come up with a story about someone with no memories who has to figure out who he or she really is and the kind of person he or she wants to be.

I won't say much about Game of Thrones to avoid spoilers, though it has been interesting seeing how they're going ahead of the books. They've confirmed a few big fan theories from the books, and these things have been big enough that I can't imagine those plot points diverging from the books. I think most of the things that have bothered me in the show have been areas where they went off on huge tangents from the books, so it's nice to know that there's (well, maybe someday) an alternate universe in which things will go a different way. The cinematography of the last couple episodes was absolutely amazing.

We also got the end of Person of Interest last week, which really may have been one of the best science fiction shows on TV, although it was kind of a stealth SF show disguised as a procedural. By the end, it was getting into issues of artificial intelligence and the possible ramifications of that. Again, no spoilers, but I thought the ending was apt and meaningful and just a beautiful work of TV.

Unless there's something absolutely amazing on the schedule next season, my TV viewing is going to be really down next year, which is probably good for me. A lot of things I liked have been cancelled or ended, and some things I used to like have taken turns that make me less interested. I'm down to a couple of regular series that are must-watch (and even they've taken turns for the worst, but I like the characters, so I'm hanging on), a couple that now fall into the "watch OnDemand when I feel like it) category, and then possibly some of the PBS offerings and some mid-season SyFy shows. I'm kind of trying to avoid getting hooked on anything else, unless there's something really stellar, because it's rather liberating not having anything to watch. This week, I've been finding some great movies on TCM, and then there are all those documentaries on the various non-fiction channels. I'm liking the documentaries for background noise for exercise. Talk about multi-tasking -- I'm working out my body and my brain at the same time.

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