Fastest Ship in the Universe: How Do Your Favorite Sci-Fi Ships Stack Up?

The Fastest Ship in the Universe : How Sci-Fi Ships Stack Up
The Fastest Ship in the Universe : How Sci-Fi Ships Stack Up Created by: FatWallet.com

The Monday Meme: Syphilis

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I know it’s been forever since “The Sci-fi channel” changed it’s name to “Syfy” for whatever reason, but let’s face it – it’s pretty awful nowadays. They keep releasing press for new shows that they are currently working on, but I wonder if it’s too little too late? I mean, a lot of fans have left ever since Battlestar Galactica and Stargate ended, meaning the ONLY press they have been getting is for things like Sharknado and WWE Smackdown. Prove me wrong guys, prove me wrong…

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Blake’s 7 Could be Perfect for Syfy

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I’ve been slacking on posting news on here for years now, but I did want to comment on a recent announcement. It seems that a brand-spanking-new version of the classic BBC science fiction series Blake’s 7 is in production by the former Sci Fi Channel. I know it changed its name to Syfy years ago, but that still looks like a slang term for syphilis to me, and makes me cringe when typing it. Syfy has been looking for their next big show for quite a while now, and with channels like BBC America directly competing with, and in many ways overtaking them in the realm of speculative fiction TV, something like Blakes 7 could be a real “shot in the arm” that the network needs. It could even be their next Battlestar Galactica if they play their cards right. Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of the recent version of Battlestar Galactica because I was far too fond of the original show. For years I wondered why they chose the BSG license to do such a remake, when more fitting brands would have been better – ones like Blake’s 7.

Blake’s 7 is a dark show comprised of anti-heroes and criminals banded together to fight a common foe. The story follows the struggles of Roj Blake (as played by Gareth Thomas). A notorious political dissident, Blake has been arrested, tried, and convicted on false charges by a brutal totalitarian government, and deported to a prison planet. Blake unites a group of fellow misfits, steals the transport ship he’s on, and wages a war against his oppressors. To sum up Blake’s 7 one simply has to imagine George Orwell meets Star Trek. Well, that was the original show at least; nobody really knows what direction Syfy will take the show. And considering the fact that the show is very underground here in the States, I seriously doubt that it will stay completely faithful.

I did find an official write-up (posted below) for the show that appears to be some sort of treatment for the new show. Is it the same magic, or could we have another dud like Syfy’s unwatchable Flash Gordon catastrophe? I guess time will tell.

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The year is 2136, Blake wakes up on one side of the bed. He reaches for the other side. There’s nobody there. As reality sets in, this handsome ex-soldier sits up, and looks at a photo of his wife Rachel. Beautiful. Deceased. 

A revolutionary reinvention of the long-running BBC series made in the late 1970s, Blake’s 7 tells the story of seven criminals – 6 guilty and 1 innocent – on their way to life on a prison colony in space, who together wrestle freedom from imprisonment. They acquire an alien ship which gives them a second chance at life and become the most unlikely heroes of their time. 

David Ellender, CEO FremantleMedia International and Kids & Family Entertainment said, “Blake’s 7 was such a forward-thinking concept that the show continues to have resonance with audiences today. Its complex characters and gritty storylines, coupled with the highly talented team and modern production techniques are sure to appeal to both original fans of the show and new viewers.”  Leon Clarance, co-founder of Georgeville Television and CEO of Motion Picture Capital, the finance arm of Reliance Entertainment, said, “Joe Pokaski and Martin Campbell have worked tirelessly with the Georgeville TV team to create an amazeballs reboot of this classic space opera which I watched with my father when I was a child. This reimagined classic for a new generation of science fiction fans will enthrall original and new fans alike. I couldn’t be happier to have our beloved show handled internationally by the passionate team at FremantleMedia.”

And yes, He said “amazeballs” in a press release…

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Outcasts (2011) Episode 1

I was strolling through Netflix’s new release list for streaming movies, and noticed that the eight part BBC science fiction drama Outcasts had been added. I originally heard about this particular show by way of commercials for BBC America’s weekend sci-fi block, but never got around to watching it for some reason. To be honest another new show called Bedlam sort of scared me away from the block for a while. This program is definitely closer to “hard science fiction” than the material I usually look at on here, in that it has very little “fantasy” elements in it. The story centers around a colony on Planet Carpathia, a planet five years travel time from Earth. The residents of Carpathia, mostly located in a settlement called Forthaven, escaped Earth to run away from a pending nuclear holocaust.

While I’m not familiar with a lot of the cast of this show, I did recognize a few people. Within the first few minutes we meet Cass Cromwell, as played by Daniel Mays. Mays also played Jim Keats in Ashes to Ashes and Alex in A Doctor Who episode called “Night Terrors”. I also recognized Liam Cunningham who plays President Richard Tate from tons of movies and TV shows, I think most recently from Harry Brown.  Cunningham is also in Games of Thrones, but I haven’t seen any of that show to vouch for how substantial his role is.

My first impression of Outcasts is that it is cut from the same cloth as far more popular shows like Battlestar Galactica (2004), Stargate Universe (2009), and even Earth 2 (1994) in that it relies far much more on drama than the actual science fiction elements involved. One episode in, and this show could have honestly been set on Earth with very little difference in the plot. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s a bit drab (in both setting and plot), but it’s pretty close to how I feel.

My first problem is that the planet is a bit uninspired; it’s basically just a desert-like mountainous region somewhere (I think they filmed in South Africa). Nothing really jumps out and says *ALIEN PLANET!* Even guys behind shows with terrible budgets such as Hyperdrive had the sense to make the sky red or something. I know I have dealt with things like the endless Canadian deciduous forest planets in Stargate SG1, or the many rock quarry planets in the old Doctor Who, but at least they had creepy aliens in them to suspend disbelief. The production on this show basically stuck some plasma screen TV’s in a few rooms of a desert colony, and BOOM –finished.

If episode one is any indication, this show is going to be depressing. It pulls no punches at all with people going crazy, people getting killed, and a multitude of other bleak situations. I wasn’t a fan of the recent Battlestar Galactica for this very reason, and really hope that this isn’t the norm from here on out. While the show has promise, I feel that this introductory episode tried way too hard to be as dramatic as it could be, as if it saw all the dramatic elements from other shows and decided to use them all at once. This episode introduced too many characters at once, did a poor job of fleshing out the world, and sandbags the viewer with enough bad stuff to make one of those sad Sarah McLaughlin commercials look tame. I’m going to hang in there, and watch more, but Outcasts really needs to kick it up a notch.