I have been remiss in my coverage of sci-fi television lately. This is a shame because all the shows that I watch regularly are really good right now. I suppose the draw of the springtime in Atlanta is calling me outdoors, which is a welcome change. My DVR has been working overtime and I have been stacking episodes. I assume that if you’re reading this, you’ve already watched the show. If you have not, I have thoughtfully provided a cut. Click ahead if you are interested.
It has been a while since I’ve geeked about TV here, so I thought I would start by recapping some things that have happened in the last couple of weeks. The below paragraphs may contain spoilers so read ahead at your own risk.
Fringe continues to be my favorite Sci-Fi series on television. The characters are top notch. Walter, the mad scientist, continues to be flawlessly portrayed by John Noble. Even his doppelganger, Walternate, is intriguing. However, the Girls Underground theme is now running parallel to the story of Peter Bishop as a potential Reluctant Hero. The former con might have to make a life or death decision between two identical women and the (spoiler!) unborn child he doesn’t know that he has. What will he do with the doomsday machine now? Keep watching Fringe on Friday Nights at 9pm on Fox.
I have pretty much given up on the Syfy remake of Being Human. They had made me interested in the story by adding some new ideas that the British version hadn’t explored. However, by episode 2 they seemed to press the big reset button and took it back to the original scripts with inserted Americanisms. However, my werewolf/vampire/ghost story love will not go unrequited because BBC America is about to air the third season of the original British version starting on February 19th. It will be interesting that the original British series and the American remake will be essentially competing for ratings. I wonder which will win. The series has not yet “dabbled in witchcraft” but supernatural stories such as this are ripe for the picking. Witches frequently show up in this type of environment so I watch and enjoy the ride to see if we eventually get there. However, because the theme of the show is about being part of the human community I think it is a bit of an exaggerated exploration into the idea of being in or out in regards to Paganism.
A show I didn’t intend to care so much about has become must see television for me. I originally would watch random episodes of Community on my cable’s On Demand whenever I wanted a half an hour of downtime. But I grew to love the quirky ensemble of characters and this season has been more hilarious with each additional episode. Two weeks ago they aired the geekfest that was “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons”. I read a couple of reviews – one from the Onion’s AV Club and another from TVFanatic – that mentioned the show was really funny and really good except the reviewers admitted they had never played D&D! Only a true geek could really appreciate the subtle and not-so-subtle genius that was this episode. There were many moments where I was actually ROFLing. The episode was framed with a throw away story line about a cameo character, but the story was fun and worth watching.
I also had the displeasure of catching the first episode of Bar Karma on Al Gore’s channel Current TV. Well, folks, don’t waste your time. It sounds like a great premise for a show that would be of interest to Pagans – a philandering rich guy declares he is the luckiest man in the world and suddenly he finds himself in an old seedy bar tended by William Sanderson and his young, attractive Australian waitress. The rest of the episode shows our intrepid anti-hero trying to escape from the bar and learning that this is his chance to change his life by making better decisions. Where they could go from there to make an entire series is beyond me. To watch a good show about karma, go back and watch old episodes of My Name is Earl.
Coming soon to a television near you are several things Pagans might be interested in. Another BBC series, Torchwood, is being brought to American audiences via Starz this year. This isn’t a remake, folks, it is the same story with the same characters in a new season just for premium cable! A date has not been announced but it will be later this year. HBO is producing a series based on the George RR Martin’s epic fantasy series Song of Fire and Ice. The series, called Game of Thrones, will begin airing on April 17th. Also, Syfy original series Haven has been renewed and will be airing new episodes this summer. I was pleasantly surprised by this series last year and they even had a witchy character appear in several episodes. I am interested enough to try it again.
True Blood is still the highlight of the summer, and the last two episodes were both gut wrenching and stomach turning. In the most recent episode Vampire Bill travels by dream to the realm where Sookie visited to meet Claudine while she was in the hospital. While there, Bill figures out just what Sookie is, but we are left without an answer at the end of the show. The producers are taking great steps to paint the alternate world very dreamlike and natural. It looks like the best Pagan festival you have ever imagined. They have also recently introduced a character who, in the books, is Wiccan but I am not certain whether she’ll follow the same path in the series or not.
Last night I settled in to watch Haven on my cable’s On Demand. In truth, it isn’t that good to carve out the time to watch when it airs. The show is really mediocre at best. I noted in my last television post that the storyline was magical in nature – a small town in Maine experiencing supernatural phenomenon that is unexplainable by science. This week, they started out the show with a bang by calling out a suspect as a Witch. My ears perked up and I watched intently. Haven is experiencing the strange murders of hunters by animals, and a woman named Jess Minion is “a person of interest”. She has even painted some sort of protection glyph that is found near the sites of the murders. The investigators appear on the doorstep of the assumed Witch – a single attractive woman from Quebec. She quickly dismisses them when they ask if she is a witch. She is an animal lover and activist that doesn’t like the killing of animals for sport. She has a stone circle on her land to honor the spirits of the animals who have died there. They ask her if there is magic afoot and she responds cryptically, “Magic is everywhere here. It’s in the soil, the water. In us.” Later in the episode, when the crime has been figured out she admits that she never was a witch and the glyph was something she had found on Wikipedia. A lost opportunity? Or maybe there will be a revisiting of the idea of witches in later episodes.
September will be here soon and with it, many favorite shows will return along with some possible new offerings. I’ll be back to give a season preview closer to the premiers.
I remember being a kid when television seasons were something sacred. TV shows began in the fall and ended in the spring and re-runs were shown over the summer. While the summer is still a slow time for TV lovers like myself, in this new century of television where cable stations are major players in original programming, there are still things available for our viewing pleasure.
The highlight, especially in pagan or geeky circles, is HBO’s True Blood. Season three is still as exciting as one and two, but it wasn’t until last Sunday’s episode that they returned to more pagan imagery as we explored what what make Sookie Stackhouse different than the rest of the supernatural world around her.
Doctor Who’s first season with the 11th doctor has come and gone, but BBC America has just started airing my second favorite British television series – Being Human. When I first heard about this show I was certain it was a slapstick comedy. A werewolf, a vampire and a ghost share a flat in Bristol. The premise sounds insane, but the show is quite engaging. The second season is on BBC America right now with the third episode airing tonight. With themes involving dealing with the afterlife and how “pass” as a normal member of society, the show would be of interest to fantasy/sci-fi leaning Pagans.
Also airing tonight is a summer series that I caught on my cables On Demand: NBC’s Persons Unknown. Honestly I started watching this show because it featured actors that I liked in other things including Kandyse McClure who played Anastasia “Dee” Dualla on Battlestar Galactica. The show has an interesting premise in which a group of seemingly unrelated strangers have all been abducted and are being held hostage in a deserted town. However, there is a mysterious organization behind the kidnappings and we have yet to learn who they are. I am not even sure if I like it yet, but there is something about the hidden group playing Gods with the lives of their victims that is keeping me watching.
I also just stumbled upon a Syfy Original show called Haven that premiered several weeks ago. On the surface, it looks like many of the other oddly formulaic “FBI Agent Investigates Supernatural Events” shows out there. It is, however, based on theStephen King book The Colorado Kid. I absolutely loved another King series, The Dead Zone, where I learned that Anthony Michael Hall was full of the awesome. I was willing to give Haven it’s day in court. So far it has has explored story-lines involving weather manipulation and nightmare manifestation giving the show a magical feeling. It’ll be a nice distraction while I wait for my current favorite show, Fringe, to return to the airwaves this fall for it’s third season.
If you prefer Reality Television, The Fabulous Beekman Boys on Planet Green is still one of my favorite offerings of the summer. I love watching these city guys learn how to live in the country. And watching the baby goats is about as cute as anything can be. Certainly not overtly Pagan but the exploration into green living is of interest to many of us.
Speaking of green, I recently learned from Treehugger.com that New Belgium Beer, which I featured recently in my Magic of Beer series for Lammas, has been voted the world’s greenest beer. You you can feel a little more sustainable when you pour yourself a cold, refreshing Mothership Wit.