Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sci-Fi Saturday!

To my friends who ask for good television recommendations, this post is for you:

Science Fiction is a great genre for t.v. watchers who want to think theologically or philosophically.  It is a fun exercise in the wonders of human imagination and it also gives watchers an opportunity to think about the BIG questions in life: What does it mean to be human?  What/who is God? 
What is free will?  What role does/should technology play in our lives?

These questions and many more bring science fiction fans back again and again to well-known television shows like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and The X-Files.  Today’s entry shines a spotlight on 3 underrated entries into the genre. 

So, without further ado, I submit three underrated science fiction shows for your review:

Setting: the somewhat dystopian near future.
Premise: human police officers don’t have what it takes to deal with the ever-increasing number of tech-savvy criminals.  So, law enforcement officers turn to technology to create ideal robocops….  This is the story of one cop and his robotic side-kick who take a stand against a vast criminal underground (how’s that for a tagline?).
In a nutshell: this show has it all – questions about identity (who is really human, the cruel person born with human DNA, or the virtuous, empathetic machine?), buddy cop humor, a very charming robot (Michael Ealy), and Karl Urban from LOTR and Star Trek – what’s not to like? 
Where to watch: now airing on FOX… but don’t worry.  It’s good so it will get cancelled and then you can watch it on Netflix, I am sure.

Setting: the present Vancouver, BC and the somewhat utopian future (time travel alert!).
Premise: one cop must save the present and the future when she is accidentally (or was it an accident?) sent from her time (2077) to our present while pursuing a group of anarchist terrorists known as Liber8. 
In a nutshell:  Our friends in Canada bring us this thoughtful science fiction procedural drama with a Scully-esque lead and plenty of engaging side characters (especially the charismatic Erik Knudsen… he’s going to be somebody some day.  Remember, I called it!).  Together, they tackle relevant questions such as: how does technology facilitate human flourishing?  Is it helping or hurting us? And can people really change or are our destinies determined by biology and circumstance?
Where to watch: the first two seasons are available on Netflix and season 3 begins on March 14, 2014!

Setting: the present.
Premise: a covert arm of the U.S. Department of Defense uses humans with special abilities, a.k.a. Alphas, to track down other Alphas who have committed crimes (or have they?).
In a nutshell: It starts off seeming like a decaffeinated version of X-Men (complete with wise Prof. Xavier-like “Dr. Rosen” played by David Strathairn), but it soon takes on a personality of its own and brings up excellent questions about subjects ranging from personal identity (how does a woman whose superpower is heightened human senses experience her first kiss?) to terrorism (how far should Alphas go to protect themselves from government intervention?). 
Where to watch: was on SyFy, cancelled after two seasons, now only on Netflix. 

Bonus Movie Recommendation: in the mood for a movie night?  Try Europa Report.  It’s probably the most realistic science fiction movie I’ve ever seen and also one of the most engrossing.  Set at the vanguard of our current space exploration, the film is a tense thriller that is also an ode to the wonders of scientific inquiry.  I was haunted by the final images – I’d be surprised if you didn’t wake up thinking about them too!

Do you have any favorites?  If so, drop me a line! 


Anonymous said...

Hey!! What do you think about Revolution (NBC)?

Leah said...

You know, I tried a couple of episodes, but I wasn't able to get into it... should I try it again?