Category Archives: SciFi/Fantasy

Shows like Star Gate Atlantis, Defiant, Star Trek, Once Upon a Time, Etc.

GOTHAM – My rating: 8.5/10

GothamThe acting is a little funky but Gotham turned out to be a very good series.  The story starts with the killing of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wayne.  Master Bruce Wayne is still a young child played by David Mazouz (known for the series Touch) who is way ahead of his years.  His role is minimal right now but we all know that he becomes Batman with his trusted butler Alfred Pennyworth played by Sean Pertwee who is raising him, at his side.  Gotham is a complete mess.  Crime and bribery everywhere, cheating, stealing, murder, you name it, Gotham has it.  The police aren’t very effective because most of the cops are on the take along with most government officials.  A new recruit and rookie detective named James Gordon played by Ben McKenzie seems to be one of the few straight cops left.  He has vowed to find the Wayne’s murderer. Police Captain Sarah Essen, played by Zabryna Guevara seems to be on the straight and narrow but I’m not sure at this point.   Jada Pinket-Smith stars as a corrupt night club owner named Fish Mooney, who favors women over men.  There are 2 major crime families fighting for territory and James’ partner Harvey Bullock played by Donal Logue is far from 100% legit.  The show is very good and action packed.  There’s one other character named Oswald Cobblepot, played by Robin Lord Taylor, who I’m sure is going to corrupt things even more in the future and probably the most dangerous of all.  He’a work in progress.  The acting is a little premature — it will most likely get better with age.  Future villains include The penguin, the Riddler, Cat Woman, The Joker, Poison Ivy, Scare Crow, Hugo Strange, Havey Dent, Mr. Freeze and Victor Zsasz.  Gotham airs on FOX and is a very good series, worth seeing.

FOREVER – My rating: 8/10

ForeverI really like this new series.  I’ve watched 2 episodes so far and I find myself quite intrigued.  The series opens with an explanation as to the condition of Dr. Henry Morgan played by Ioan Gruffudd.  200 years ago,  Dr. Morgan was employed on an African slave trade ship where he was asked to execute a black man for being sick.  Since the man was not really sick, he refused to execute him.  The captain of the ship raised his sword to execute Dr. Morgan but something unexplainable happened and Dr. Morgan woke up in a near by river with no clothes on, alive and well.  Unbeknownst to him, at that time, he would never die.  In the meanwhile he meets a beautiful woman named Abigail, played by Mackenzie Mauzy, whom he wedded and told his secret to.  It was during world war II when they found an orphaned baby in a German camp and raised him as their own.  At present Dr. Morgan is still 35 years old and his wife Abigail has passed.  It hasn’t been revealed how and why she died, but their child Abe, played by Judd Hirsch is now in his 60s and retrieves Dr. Morgan from the river every time he dies.  Currently, Dr. Morgan is a NY Chief Medical Examiner and is sharper than anyone he works with.  He has befriended a female detective named Jo Martinez, played by Alana De La Garza who he now helps with solving her police cases.  She doesn’t know his secret but is impressed by his keen observation skills.  Someone named Adam is claiming to be in the same dilemma as Dr. Morgan, but instead of 200 years, Adam is claiming 2,000 years and is calling Henry constantly with tidbits about his life.  There’s a lot to this plot — I hope Forever sticks around for a while, as I find it very entertaining and quite the thrill ride.  Forever airs on ABC.

[Despite fan and cast protest, FOREVER has been cancelled. I am truly sorry to see this series go.]

THE STRAIN (2014) – My rating 8.5/10

The StrainThe Strain is only 1 season down but is a pretty good one.  It’s a little different as a horror/sci-fi series because it has a little of many horror characters rolled into one or two characters.  I couldn’t decide if the main monster was a vampire, zombie or the devil himself.  It all starts when a Boeing 767, on its way across the tarmac, stops at JFK then goes totally silent.  The engines are shut down, the belly of the plane is cold and there are no communications from anyone inside the plane, including the pilot and co-pilot.  Every organization known to the USA was brought in to investigate, including Corey Stoll who plays Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the Center for Disease Control ( CDC) Canary Team in New York City. After entering the plane, the team is able to determine, via ultra violet light, that some sort of bacteria was all over the plane and all but 4 passengers were dead.  The plot thickens from here and the mystery begins to unfold.  There is plenty of territorial fighting among the different agencies jockeying for position.  There is also a warning from an unlikely source that gets ignored but later picked up as the plot developes.  I’m trying not to give away too much of the story away because it is pretty good and the element of surprise puts the suspense where it belongs.  The Strain airs of the FX channel and I think it is different enough to hold your attention.  Check it out!

EXTANT – My rating 7.5/10

ExtantVery slow getting out the starting gate.  Astronaut, Molly Woods (Hallie Berry) is on a 13 month mission in out-of-space.  She’s shown going about her daily routines, floating around, fixing anything broken and looking very Hallie.  Suddenly, she begins to have illusions of an old boyfriend being right there on the ship with her, even though he’s been dead for a couple of years and this is a solo excursion.  When she returns to Earth and her awaiting husband, John Woods  played by Goran Visnjic  (formerly, ER’s  Dr. Luka Kovac) and their son, Ethan Woods (Pierce Gagnon) the illusions continue plus, she’s pregeant.  The story really starts to heat up when we find out there is a conspiracy and the chase is on.   John who is a robotics engineer created their son Ethan, a prototype android called a “humanich”.  Since Hallie is barron, they decided to adopt their son, Ethan who has to be maintained every now and then by resetting his body.  The story is pretty good and is a real thriller.  It has fantastic potential and I expect Extant to be a break through series.  I’m still trying to digest Hallie Berry starring on a TV series.  Extant is airing on ABC.  My rating of 7.5 may change as Extant growns on me or become more exciting, which ever comes first.  I think it’s worth your time.

THE 100 (2014) – My rating 8.5/10

The100I really like this Sci-fi series, set 97 years after a nuclear war destroyed all humans on Earth. Fortunately, some humans escaped the annihilation on a spaceship that they now call home.  Unfortunately, the spaceship housing humanity’s lone survivors is running out of food, oxygen and a stable environment.  Because of the radiation levels, they believe Earth will not be inhabitable for another 100 years but because of their dire needs, they send 100 juvenile delinquents to Earth ahead of time in hopes of re-populating the planet.  In other words this faltering spaceship holds the last of mankind.  Because of the limitations on the ship, there are many restrictions in place.  If you are caught committing a crime which can be defined as having more than one baby or saving a life by giving the patient more than the regulated amount of blood or being in an area of the spaceship you’re not designated to be in, the penalty is death — no negotiations.  Instead of a president, they have a chancellor played by Isaiah Washington.

My only problem with The 100 is it’s aired on The CW which is one big advertising frenzy.  If you have a DVR, I would suggest you tape it first then bypass the commercials or you may lose your mind listening to the same ads over and over.  Unfortunately, if you watch it On Demand, you’ll have no choice but to suffer through the ads.  Aside from airing on the CW, The 100 is very good, interesting and well acted.  I think you will enjoy it and if you’re a Science Fiction fan, you’ll love it.  It certainly is better than The Leftovers.  Too bad it’s not on a premium cable network.

THE LEFTOVERS – My rating: 6.5/10

TheLeftoversAfter watching two episodes, I don’t really like The Leftovers.  For so long, we were bombarded with trailers and hype about this series.  Now that it’s a reality, I feel let down.  The Leftovers may turn out to be really good but so far I’m not feeling it.  It seems slow, and down right boring.  1.4 million people, world wide have disappeared alluding to the Rapture.  One town is targeted in this series where 100 of all those who went missing were residents.  Husbands, wives, children, mothers and fathers are gone without explanation.  There are a group of people who dress in white, smoke cigarettes, and don’t speak but recruit others who have lost love ones.  They say (in writing) that they are there so that we don’t forget.  Maybe the show is too new but I don’t get what this group is really all about.  I always thought when the Rapture happened, everyone would believe in Christianity.  I’m not sure The Leftovers is about the Rapture.  This just might be a Science Fiction series.  Right now, it’s pretty lack luster and weird.  The Leftovers currently airs on HBO. I will update this critique to reflect what I think after a few more episodes have aired.

I have completed watching the entire 1st season and I still find this series weird.  The drama has picked up but The Leftovers is not what I thought it would be from the trailers and hype advertised.  I stand by my rating of 6.5 and that’s generous.  I think the group in white is sort of spoiling the story.  In my opinion, I think the series should follow a different plot.

CROSSBONES – My rating: 6/10

CrossbonesAs an adventure, Crossbones drags a little, making it somewhat hard to get into.  I decided to watch this period piece because of John Malkovitch.  He is such a brilliant actor, I couldn’t see myself missing out on a series that features him.  Having said that, Crossbones is not as exciting or as entertaining as I expected.  The story takes place in the 18th century (1712) in the Bahamian island of New Providence.  It is said that who ever owns a device called the Longitude Chronometer, which can tell a sailor exactly where he is in the world, controls the seas.  When this device is stolen, Tom Lowe, an undercover assassin played by Richard Coyle is commissioned by the British to seek out and kill the infamous pirate, Edward Teach better known as Blackbeard.  Obviously, Blackbeard and his band of  pirates are suspected of stealing the device.  Upon finding Blackbeard, played by John Malkovich, Tom ends up joining forces with him to save England.  This may sound a little confusing but believe me it’s well explained in the series.  Just when Tom thinks he has completed his mission, something happens to keep him and his faithful assistant, Tim Fletch (Chris Perfetti), in the magical grip of Blackbeard’s charismatic character and irrefutable logic.  As I said, Crossbones is a little slow captivating it’s audience, but it’s getting better as it is aging with time.  Crossbones is definitely not the best of the Blackbeard stories.   Crossbones is currently airing on the NBC network,  Fridays and is not for everyone. Unfortunately, Crossbones has been cancelled!

UNDER THE DOME – My rating: 8/10

UnderTheDomeUnder The Dome is about a small town, Chester Mills, that’s suddenly enclosed under a 10 plus miles clear, dome that’s high enough to allow rain.  No one knows where it came from or if it’s ever going to go away.  There is no way in or out.  The town is literally trapped.  There is no way to get any medical supplies to the people or food.  The military tried to blow the dome up with the mother of all bombs but failed.  In the meanwhile, there are many stories going on all over town.  For example, a councilman’s son kidnapped a former girlfriend and locked her in his bomb shelter.  2 kids have seizures whenever they touch the palms of their hands to each other.  Several police were killed,  each in a bazaar way, the councilman killed the town reverend who was involved in illegal drug dealings and several strangers with unrighteous agendas are trapped there as well .  If you think this sounds crazy, you’re right and there’s much, much more.  Season 2 of Under the Dome starts airing June 30, 2014 .  I watched season 1 (13 episodes) on Amazon Prime.  I was hooked in no time.  This is a Steven King story produced and directed by Stephen Spielberg.  It’s quite good.  The opening of season 2 should be very interesting!

Season 2:
Very disappointing opening. The drama was played down and unrealistically, the stars stay the stars, functioning as though nothing happened. I am very disappointed at where and how the story is headed. Because they’re trapped under a dome, there shouldn’t be any new characters, but there are.  Go figure.  The writing is getting sloppy and not making a lot of sense. I’m afraid if things don’t change, this series may get cancelled.

ROSEMARY’S BABY 1968 9/10 vs 2014 8.5/10

2RosemarysBaby1968

1968

I saw the original Rosemary’s baby when it came out in 1968 and again in May of 2014, a couple of days after the new Rosemary’s Baby mini series ended.  The original starring Mia Farrow, was in the movies but the remake, starring Zoe Saldana as Rosemary Woodhouse, was on TV (NBC) as a 2 part mini series.  I am happy to see a modernize version of this classic tale of evil remade.  However, because it was remade for TV, Rosemary’s Baby was swarming with commercials.  The original was dark, mysterious and scary.  The remake definitely  lacked some of the mystery although most of the elements were there.  The scary and mysterious aura were not.  In all fairness, this could also be because I already knew what to expect.  I found a few small problems with the remake.  I think it should have been produced for and aired on a premium channel like HBO, Showtime or Starz.  The

2014

2014

commercials were a huge turnoff.  Another really tiny thing that annoyed me was  Zoi’s long straight hair wig.  It looked artificial.  Over all, Rosemary’s Baby was excellently done the first time (a 9/10).   I would give the remake a 8.5/10 because of the obvious updates and how they fit it all in the story without compromising the plot.  In the original, Rosemary didn’t have the luxury of a cell phone or internet so she relied on using pay phones as well as books from the library.    I liked the way Rosemary and her husband interacted with one another.  They definitely seemed closer in the remake.  Now that the mini series has aired, I suspect you can catch it ON DEMAND then after a while on Netflix.  I think Roman Polanski did a very good job on the original and  Agnieszka Holland did equally as well on the remake.  The story was slightly changed to accommodate modern times without compromising the film.  I loved Patrick J. Adams (Suites) as Guy Woodhouse.   BTW:  I really am not into Devil movies but this one was an eye opener in it’s hay day.  You can learn a thing or two and keep your eyes open, you never know what so folks are up to.  Overall, check this one out especially if you’ve never seen the original.  I don’t think it will scare you as much as intrigue you.

ONCE UPON A TIME – My rating: 8.5/10

OnceUponATimeYou can do anything with a little imagination.  Already well established fairy tales and other children’s stories are embellished to make this, not so childish series, appealing to old and young alike.  Since the beginning of Once Upon a Time, Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, Jimmy the Cricket, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood and his Merry Band of Men, The wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel and many more were all explored before taking on a life of its own.  Recurring characters like Snow White/Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin) , Red Riding Hood/Ruby (Meghan Ory ), Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold (Robert Carlyle), Captain Hook/Hook (Colin O’Donoghue ), Prince Charming/David Nolan (Josh Dallas), Emma Swan/the savior (Jennifer Morrison), Henry (Jared Gilmore), The Evil Queen/Regina (Lana Parillia) and others are interwoven into a complex story of good vs evil in an unknown and unseen town called Storybrook.  This series is in it’s 3rd season and still going strong.  There are 3 worlds in this story: the present (New York), The past (the enchanted forest) and Storybrook, a place where there was no magic.  All that has changed as well as the story and the characters.

Once Upon A Time is quite interesting and has continued to wow it’s audience.  Emma and Neil had a son he didn’t know about when she was very young.  Having no sound means to raise a child, she gave him up for adoption.  Enters Regina who adopts and raises the child, known as Henry.  Henry discovers a book of fairy tales given to him by his teacher, Mary Margaret who is really Snow White as well as Henry’s grandmother.  Henry suspects they are all characters from his book, with no memory of their true past, so he sets out to find “the savior” who is also his biological mom, Emma who lives in New York.

Confused? Catch this exciting series in full on Netflix.  Once Upon A Time airs on ABC.