Tell Skiffy, Sci-Fi Is Dead: A Throwdown

Ore : 11:01 AM

I could tell you how depressing this is, but you wouldn't believe me.

Surface - Earnest, hatchet-faced, crunchy-granola marine biologist whom no one believes? Check. Stars-&-bars-flogging, lost-cause goober whose brother was (possibly) eaten by the mysterious creatures in question, and who sidekicks with the aforementioned scientist? Check. Adorable teenage scamps who, in a subplot lifted whole from Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, adopt a baby creature, with all sorts of chuckle-worthy hijinks ensuing? Check. Remote control? Check.

The groovy special effects are not enough to save this dismal barrel of week-old chum.

Invasion - Water may feel different, but this fucking show doesn't. A wannabe The O.C. on the bayou with all the deeply unappealing principals laboring mostly ignorant under a viral threat that I'm pretty sure will either kill them or turn them into pod people. Here's cheering for the former.

Now that, kids, was supernatural comedy at its finest.

Night Stalker - "If you want a job done right, you just have to foul it up yourself." Propers to whoever cast Gabrielle Union, an actress unique in her talent for looking always as though she's on the verge of kicking everyone's ass. Otherwise, this one vies for the title of Most Unnecessary and Ill-Informed Remake Ever. Darren McGavin, why hast thou forsaken us?

Threshold - Details, details. This is the infuriating one, because it clearly had potential when the idea was first pitched -- because I can see myriad tiny flaws which, had they been fixed, could have salvaged this (admittedly spooky) mess. Let's start with the casting: the totally competent Carla Gugino (best known for playing a sexy naked lesbian parole officer in Russ Meyer's* Sin City, bless her little heart) is fine in the role of Dr. Molly Caffrey, brain-trust behind the Threshold protocols, but wouldn't it have been great had the part instead gone to Carrie Ann Moss? And nothing would have been lost (yet oh so much gained) by replacing the generic, squintyeyedtightvoicedlanternjawedwhiteguy muscle with, say, the crookedly grinning hotness of Russell Wong. The powers that be could furthermore have completely dumped the nebbishy nerd character, who feels like a watery, warmed-over version of David Krumholtz's from Numb3rs; give us a breezy, smart-ass Latina wunderkind scientist, or a saucy gay-boy prodigy with a wicked right hook -- I'm easily entertained, but for the love of God, people, make an effort. Otherwise, I'm content; it's nice to see Brent Spiner working again. And I totally heart Peter Dinklage, but would it have killed the director to put him with a good coach and speech pathologist so he'd at least sound convincing when he speaks snippets of Cantonese to the extras? Anyway, Threshold, unlike the other shows listed, is home to characters you actually don't want to see die, primarily because they've started out with a mission of saving our world despite its obvious crapulence; Dr. Caffrey's admission in one episode, clunky writing notwithstanding, that a world in which redemption is impossible is not worth saving is one I found surprisingly touching. Such psychological rawness is rare among most modern TV characters, who are too interested in honing their assholism for the sake of seeming cool (see above).

In summation, a finer and more imaginative hand with the dialogue, a little more money thrown at production values (especially in regards to special effects and camera work), more effort in casting -- hell, even a slightly more sophisticated title sequence -- could have made Threshold the X-files of the 21st Century (or, in point of fact, better even than that). Certainly, it could have rivaled anything on HBO or Showtime. Too bad it got off to such a groaning start.

Then again, I'm probably just wasting my time. TV sucks.

*Frank Miller's

posted by teh l4m3 at 11:01 AM | Permalink |

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Comments for Tell Skiffy, Sci-Fi Is Dead: A Throwdown
What about "Lost"? It ain't bad - true it's not full on sci-fi but it's close.

Yeah, Lost didn't quite make the cut. These are the main four.

Then again, I'm sure I'll say something nasty about it if you stick around long enough...

;) are SUCH a fucking nerd.

Hey, I'm not the one who loves Morrissey, fag. Would you like some hair gel with your angst?

I love Morrisey too! *Slathers on some more Hetracil*


do you have a sci-fi tattoo? would you be MAN enough to get a sci-fi tattoo?

i have a morrissey tattoo, and it makes me 15 times manlier than the average man.

I don't know about that. I am sure it makes you about .5x as manly as anyone with a Karma Chameleon tattoo.


I am with Teh on this issue. Have you seen Morrissey lately? Have you heard any of his music? He is about as faux-manly as Ellen Degeneres.

As for the Scifi stuff, I saw the latest episode of the Night Stalker and I thought it was alright, but maybe that is because everything else sucks except for Battlestar Galactica and Lost. Smallville is alright but suffers from the WB's incessantly lame reasons to have its characters get as naked as possible.

I should state that I have seen parts of the pilot of Invasion and Surface but couldn't take more than five minutes of the over-acting and crappy dialogue.

Battlestar Galactica is da shit, yo. Allz they need now is a crossover with a Buck Rogers in the 25th Century remake...

god knows i never listened to moz for "manliness", but i love the dude to death. own every song by him solo and the smiths. i quite like the newer material, but if it came down to a pinky wrestling match, i'd bet on ellen.

i would like to check out that new battlestar galactica, though - that show was THE SHIT when i was a kid.

pop: You should. Starbuck is now a girl. The show is all kindsa tight.


wow - i really, truly wonder what dirk benedict thinks about that.

plus, isn't olmos in that show? olmos is one serious pockmarked pimp.

Apparently, Dirk thinks it's awesome.

Oh, and Boomer's an Asian woman...And (spoiler!

oh SHIT. this has GOTTA come out on dvd so i can netflix that bad mamma jamma.


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