The first season of the Star Wars series was good. But in the second, the visuals and writing make the jump to lightspeed.
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Anyone who's seen David Lynch's 1984 film knows Frank Herbert's book doesn't translate easily to the screen.
Peter Jackson's trilogy is too long, the Rankin/Bass cartoon from the 1970s is too short. The proper length is somewhere in between.
Science fiction fans who grew up in the 1970s and ’80s have fond memories of movies such as Zardoz, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and The Ice Pirates.“There’s always that danger when you go back and rewatch something that you loved as a kid, and that you haven’t seen it a couple decades or more,” Kressel says in Episode 378 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.Today humor writer Tom Gerencer finds Buck Rogers embarrassingly bad, but back in the ’70s science fiction films were so scarce that he was excited by any examples he could find.“I was 10 years old, so I was like, ‘Yeah cool, there’s lasers and stuff, and there’s pretty women, and it’s kind of like a James Bond movie.TV writer Andrea Kail remembers loving The Ice Pirates, but now finds that many of its plot points—such as the hero kidnapping an unconscious woman—are uncomfortable in light of modern sensibilities.Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley notes that it was common for movies to reuse footage from other films, such as a shot from Logan’s Run that appears in The Ice Pirates.
“These are films that, for me, when I saw them for the first time, were just pure enjoyment,” Kressel says in Episode 371 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.They’re not afraid to take risks, and that’s what makes them beautiful in my eyes.”Many of these movies feature heroes in loincloths.Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley blames Conan the Barbarian for popularizing this image, which also shows up in films like Masters of the Universe and The Beastmaster.“There’s a lot of Robert E. Howard rip-off stuff going on here.”The trend even extended to children’s shows like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
“This formula of always having female companions, and always having male Doctors, it just made me think of Doctor Who in a certain way that wasn’t very flattering,” Michener says in Episode 343 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.“It felt less real, because if this alien does in fact have the ability to regenerate in all of these bodies, why are we still seeing this very standard, very heteronormative pairing constantly?”Science fiction author Rajan Khanna also enjoyed Whittaker’s performance, and found that this season of Doctor Who was the first one he was able to watch with his girlfriend.Would you like to watch it with me?’ And she said, ‘Sure, I’ll give it a shot.’ And she watched the whole season with me, and was really into it.”This season also features a more diverse cast of heroes, which Khanna says makes the show more accessible to a broad international audience.“So I think it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
The new Syfy series Nightflyers is based on a novella by George R. R. Martin that was first published back in 1980.Fantasy author Erin Lindsey says that the original story feels dated, but that it displays a basic storytelling competence that the show never really achieves.“The things that I didn’t like about the Martin novella were details, at the end of the day, but I thought the bones were good, and in a certain way this is the reverse,” Lindsey says in Episode 341 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.“Some of the details are cool, but they can’t make up for the fact that the bones aren’t there.”Science fiction author Matthew Kressel notes that Nightflyers never really moves beyond recycling familiar elements from better movies and TV shows.“I felt like they watched a lot of science fiction movies and TV and said, ‘Oh, that would be cool, that would be cool, that would be cool.’ But it never really cohered into a solid narrative.”
Fantasy author Chandler Klang Smith felt the last episode was weak, but otherwise she loved the show.“The first nine episodes are my favorite TV drama of all time,” Smith says in Episode 335 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.“And I would say that even including Episode 10, it’s definitely in my top five.”The show leans heavily on dream sequences, which range from a Kubrick-inspired first contact scenario to an ultra-violent gangster showdown.“The weirder the show was, the more I appreciated it.”But Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley thought that some of the dream sequences felt out of place.
The new Star Wars movie Solo is an enjoyable action-comedy, but it fails in one important area: really exploring how Han Solo developed his cynical, jaded attitude.“I wanted to see Han learning to become a pilot, going up against the norms and expectations of the military, deciding it wasn’t for him—or it deciding he was not for them,” Lindsey says in Episode 312 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.Science fiction author Matthew Kressel agrees, noting that a brief sequence of trench warfare is one of the movie’s most interesting set pieces.“We could show Han in the trenches,” he says, “seeing how ugly war is, and maybe coming out of that a little bit darker, a little bit world-weary.”Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley thinks that Solo tries to cover too much ground, with the result that everything in the movie feels somewhat cursory.We jump ahead some number of years, and now they know each other and have some history together, and it’s about the Kessel Run and how Han ends up with the Millenium Falcon.”
“It passed the piss test,” Michener says in Episode 277 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.Both my partner and I had to pee halfway through, and neither of us could go to the bathroom, because we didn’t want to miss any of it.”Science fiction author Matthew Kressel is a massive fan of the original Blade Runner, and appreciates that the sequel replicates its mood and pacing.But the slow pace of Blade Runner 2049 is proving a challenge for many viewers, and so far the movie hasn’t attracted an audience that extends much beyond fans of the original.Michener thinks it’s appropriate that the film, like its predecessor, is a box office disappointment.“It was not designed to work with the Fast & Furious crowd.”
And while science fiction and fantasy author Matthew Kressel says science fiction can inspire people, it can also serve as a warning.Kressel, Abella, and other industry panelists discussed the roles humans and artificial intelligence could play as they become more intertwined and the warnings and inspirations people should look for as science fiction becomes reality.Discovering whether they're with us or against usAs humans and robots start to converge, segmenting the man from the machine will become less important, Kressel said.What's more important, he noted, is identifying whether they share the same objectives.Indeed, panelist Peter Asaro—philosopher of science, technology, and media at The New School—said that machines aren't legal or moral agents.
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