Saturday, November 8, 2008

RED ALERT! Geeky blog post ahead!

When you hear, "RED ALERT!" does it transport you to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise?  If so, you'll dig this post.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this entire post may just be fodder for you to laugh at The Engineer me.  And that's okay; we're secure in our geekiness!

We love Netflix. At first I figured I'd mostly get movies from Netflix. And then we discovered the joy of watching TV series on DVD.

What kind of series do we watch? Science fiction! A couple of years ago we started Netflixing sci-fi shows, and, oddly enough, sitting in front of the TV sharing a genre we both enjoy is a special sort of bonding for us. Here's a rundown of the sci-fi shows we've watched on DVD, are currently watching, or plan to watch.

1. Firefly. We started with a good one! This series is designed as a western-type show in space, with a diverse group of ex-cons (all human) flying around on an old, patched-up ship. The characterizations are great; the dialogue is funny; and the plot is suspenseful and compelling. Unfortunately, the network didn't fully support the show, and due to poor scheduling and other factors, it was canceled before a full season had been filmed. Thankfully the follow-up movie Serenity ties up most of the loose ends and is a really enjoyable film.  The Sci-Fi Channel is airing a Firefly marathon on Memorial Day (11/18)!

2. Farscape is about a man who gets sent through a wormhole and ends up very far from Earth, in a portion of space inhabited by all sorts of aliens (some of which were puppets created by the Jim Henson Company.) It's very entertaining, and I definitely grew attached to some of the characters. It's also kind of fun to watch the alien makeup evolve from season to season. It doesn't measure up to Firefly, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.

3. Star Trek: Enterprise is the most recent Star Trek series, but it is a prequel to the other series. I preferred The Next Generation, which I watched most of when it originally ran--but I did thoroughly enjoy Enterprise. Scott Bakula plays Captain Archer, and while I never totally believed him when he acted "tough," his character is very likable.

4. Battlestar Galactica (the new series) is very different than the decades-old original series. I hesitate to say too much about the plot, since I don't want to give anything away. Plus, "robots that look human" sounds cheesy--and Battlestar Galactica is anything but cheesy. It is consistently well-acted, at times dark, beautifully-written...and my favorite TV show of all time. The first three seasons are available on DVD; the first half of the fourth season is available for download for $1.99 an episode on Amazon. The second half of the fourth and final season starts in January on the Sci-Fi Channel. Please, Sci-Fi...don't mess it up.

5. Heroes. We furiously squeezed in enough Netflix time to watch most of the first two seasons of Heroes before Season 3 recently started on NBC. If you like comic book movies and sci fi, you'll enjoy this show, which is essentially a combination of the two. It's totally unbelievable, but still really fun.

6. Babylon 5. We're a few episodes into the first season of this series, and so far it's dated (amazing how old this mid-'90s show feels) and really corny. Jason assures me that based on the episodes he saw when it originally aired, and what he's read online, it gets much better in the second season. I'm hoping it does, because if not, I will have wasted a lot of time watching a crummy first season.

7. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This is next on our list, and I'm excited. I watched the first few seasons when it was originally aired, and it was a great show. I hear I missed some good stuff in the last seasons. It'll be fun to get back into stories about shape-shifters and other interesting aliens.  I'm not-so-secretly hoping we cut the Babylon 5 showings short so we can get to DS9.

If you like the genre, feel free to share your favorite sci-fi TV shows, books, or movies.  If you don't like the're missing out.


Unknown said...

Rachel's middle name is Aeryn. As in Aeryn from Farscape. I love her kick butt and
take no prisoners, but somehow is more feminine because of it character.

Try Stargate SG-1, it's a good series too!

M. Bail said...

We're Sci-Fi geeks, too. We really miss Stargate SG-1. The series is awesome, and the 2 movies they've made since the series ended are great too. We watch Stargate Atlantis, now and that's great too. Star Trek Voyager was my favorite of the Star Trek series (didn't like Deep Space 9), but we liked all the rest of the Star Trek series. And I'm desperately hoping that they don't mess up the end of Battlestar Galactica. They've already tested our patience to its limits with all the downtime, so the show better be really, really good! We've been considering NetFlix for a while...maybe we'll check it out. Have fun!

Special K said...

I totally agree that something fun like old shows can be so bonding. We used to watch reruns of Friends together and laugh all over again! And the Simpsons.

Star Trek reminds me of so many days hanging out with my geeky future science-major high school friends and watching it at a friend's house. Booooring to me. But they all loved it. That and Jeopardy. I think I needed some other friends to watch tv with! Good thing I met my husband so early in life!
Oh, and he loves Heroes.

Strange Mamma said...

I love Firefly!! It's so great when you run across the occasional Browncoat. We may not be many, but we are fierce and we are proud. I love Joss Whedon's writing style, especially the dialogue. That was the one series that I was uber disappointed to lose. We totally do the TV series through netflix too. We're working our way through Stargate SG-1 right now. I'm so upset, we're moving to the UK in January and we're going to miss the last half of Atlantis' last season. Boo. Just have to get it in the mail I guess. Oh, and if you want to geek out sitcom style, try the Big Bang Theory. My husband is a particle physicist (like the characters on the show) and we just pee ourselves through every episode.

Pablothehat said...

I have been a B5 fanatic since it first aired in the UK back in the 90's.
About 4 years ago I went out and bought the entire series on DVD, best £350 I have ever spent!
The first series is a bit flaky as regards sets and stuff, but by the 2nd they moved on to Amiga technology, (cutting edge at the time!) and the designs for the StarFuries have been bought by NASA so the level of realisim develops nicely.

I have written a couple of reviews on the show, which might give those who have recently encountered the B5 Universe a bit of an insight into the show.
here's one if you would like to view it.

Pablothehat aka Paul Dice

Angela said...

Gee, with a screen name like SciFiMama you better believe I love me some science fiction! Paige's first name is Serling after Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone.

It's already been mentioned, but Stargate SG-1. You do need to start with the movie that came out first, then go to the series. Atlantis is good, but SG-1 is still my favorite.

Dr. Who. You should start with the newer episodes. And, once you start those Torchwood. (DOCTOR WHO= TORCHWOOD it's an anagram.) Torchwood is an amazing spin off that can stand alone as it's own show. Very racy is some spots. BBC got both of these right.

There's a new show on SciFi channel now called Sanctuary with Amanda Tapping (SG-1) that's very good. No idea when it will be on DVD.

Isabella said...

Yay for geekiness! :)

I used to love watching The Next Generation. Right now, we're deep into Heroes (although a lot of "what happened to..." is driving me crazy right now).

Our Scoop said...

I'm on the far side of the border on this one - the far side of non-sci-fi but I am married to a sci-fi freak so...we watched "Jericho" and it was AWESOME. I don't really know for sure if that is classified as sci-fi but that's about it for me :)

joshrcay said...

I really enjoy watching Heroes. It's my favorite that you have listed here. I'm obsessed with it right now, lol.

Donna Quesada said...

Two of my colleagues at SMC developed a special course: The Philosophy of Star Trek! They had a lot of fun with it and got a good turn out.

BTW, I just discovered your other blog and commented on the pets entry (I'm a huge animal lover!)


C. Beth said...

Chris--Hi, always good to have you visit! :) I think it is so cool that Rachel's middle name is Aeryn!! Great name.

Embee--Well, you're the second person recommending SG-1. We may have to watch that. I know The Engineer has watched some of it. I watched some Voyager but never really got that into it. Yeah, if they mess up Battlestar, they are going to have some very annoyed geeks on their hands (me included.)

Special K--Ha! I would have gotten along with your friends. :) We are both Friends and Simpsons fans too.

Pablothehat--Okay, thank you for the info! Your comment makes me a lot more optimistic about getting through B5's first season so that we can move on to season 2. Thanks for the link too!

Angie--I knew you'd weigh in on this one! Thanks for the recommendations; they all sound interesting! I'll have to ask The Engineer what he thinks.

Jen--Oh, I LOVED TNG! Man, I was such a big fan of that show. I think I had a tiny little crush on Captain Picard. I know, he's old, and that's gross, but what can I say?

Our Scoop--I remember in college you not liking Star Trek and I think I was a little embarrassed that I did like it. It's nice to be more comfortable in our own skins now, isn't it? Thanks for the Jericho recommendation; I plan to look into it!

Joshrcay--I know, I get excited when Monday rolls around so we can watch the most recent Heroes episode. Yay, only 2 more days! :)

Donna--Thank you so much for visiting both blogs! I would love to take that course!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm jealous! I would love to have a sci-fi-watching buddy, but I've never had one -- not my parents, not my siblings, and certainly not Our Scoop! (To her credit, though, she did watch some X-Files and TNG with me when I was in grad school.) Maybe when A grows up!

I agree about Firefly -- witty, hilarious at times, and cancelled prematurely. Serenity did provide some consolation, though.

BSG - I was really getting into that show when A was about 6 months old - when he would wake up in the middle of the night, I would rock him back to sleep while watching BSG on subtitles. Then halfway into season 2 the storylines got really dark and I decided to take a break -- and never got back into it. Maybe some day...

DS9 - If you liked TNG you'll like DS9 -- a little edgier, but so good - I even bought the soundtrack. BTW, I never got into Voyager.

Babylon5 - I agree, I watched 2-3 episodes and decided I was wasting my time.

Farscape - I never saw that one. I'll have to check it out.


X-Files - You've probably already seen it. I liked the "little green men" storyline better than the paranormal episodes.

Earth 2 - Another show that was prematurely canceled. A little corny but surprisingly memorable.

Dune and Children Of Dune (a couple of Sci-Fi channel miniseries) - If you are a Frank Herbert fan, these miniseries are much more faithful to the books than that 1982 disaster of a movie).

The Thirteenth Floor (a movie) - brainy and twisty, just how I like my sci-fi.

Jericho - not sci-fi, but Our Scoop is right, a must-see. So suspenseful, we would have watched both seasons in one sitting if we didn't have a life! It might take a couple of episodes to get hooked, but we ended watching 2-3 episodes a night through the end.

Sorry this was long. You hit a nerve. :)


Inkpot said...

Sci-Fi Freak certainly describes me to a T. You have a good list of shows here. Firefly is my favourite. Firefly and the X Files are my favourite shows of all. You could say I am a die hard Browncoat. :) I was very apprehensive when I heard they were remaking (or reimagining) BSG but WOW! What a series. I can't wait for the end (although I will be sad. I agree with you about B5. I was excited about it when it first came out because I read alot about it in the mags, but I just couldn't get into the first season. Cheesy and boring. My friends tell me it is worth watching but it isn't tempting me. I would recommend Stargate SG1 too. The first season is a bit rocky but gets better and better from then on. Futurama is great comedy sci-fi without mocking the genre.

C. Beth said...

Heather--I missed your post last time! I'd definitely like to try out the Big Bang Theory. And did you know Joss Whedon has another show coming out (I think in January)?

P--Hey, great to see you here! Yes, BSG gets very dark at times but I was still addicted even through the darker storylines. We used to enjoy X-Files. I remember watching some of Earth 2 and then losing interest. The Engineer is a big Dune fan and I know he really enjoyed the Sci-Fi miniseries and agreed with you about the faithfulness to the books. I've been meaning to read those books. Don't think I saw The Thirteenth Floor, but The Engineer did. Definitely want to check into Jericho. Thanks for all the reviews and recommendations!

Inkpot--I know, isn't BSG AMAZING? I tried watching a bit of the orginal series and it was so dreadful; I don't even think I got past the first episode. :) The Engineer was somewhat into Futurama but I never really cared for it, for some reason...though I LOVE The Simpsons.

Andy Jensen said...

My wife and I don't watch a lot of T.V., but you definitely listed some of our favorite shows.

We didn't find out about Firefly until after it was cancelled, but we love it with all the action, adventure, and the awesome dialogue in each episode. It was so good that we just had to buy the DVD set and the movie, Serenity.

We also love watching Heroes. It is always interesting to see the twists and turns and wondering where the series is going to take us next. The writers are very good at coming up with the unexpected.

Another series we love that you didn't mention is Eureka. Sheriff Carter is constantly cracking us up with his deadpanned "That can't be good" comments when things start to go wrong.

And, last but not least, we love to watch Smallville, even though it isn't technically a sci-fi series. I have been a life-long Superman fan and it has been fun watching a series based on his pre-tights years.

beckiwithani said...

You must, must, must, must watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of the best shows of all time. Joss Whedon, of course. Get through the first couple of cheezy episodes, and you will be SO hooked.

Also, speaking of geeks, Freaks and Geeks is one of the best shows ever made. You will LOVE it, Beth!

Mommy Erica said...

Okay, your Netflix queue is IDENTICAL to ours! I *still* miss Firefly and Farscape. Oh, try Doctor Who (thew new series), good stuff!

~EricaND (From April '08 Babies)