matthewpennell.com
A blog of acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve been escaping off-world and getting back to my sci-fi television roots … thanks, in large part, to streaming giants Netflix and Amazon Prime.

It started with Battlestar Galactica.

I’ve always been a fan of science fiction. Movies like Star Wars, Blade Runner, and the Alien franchise are among my favourites, and I’ve been reading authors like Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein since I was a teenager. But I was never really fanatical about the genre’s many TV shows. Sure, I’ll watch an episode of Star Trek if it pops up while channel surfing, but I can’t say that I’ve ever watched an entire season; I couldn’t tell you the first thing about shows like Stargate or the other Star Trek spin-offs like Voyager or Deep Space Nine; and Doctor Who leaves me cold with its wobbly sets and staid plots.

But for some reason I decided to give the rebooted Battlestar Galactica a try. I remember as a child enjoying the original show in the late 70s, featuring the A-Team’s Dirk Benedict as the wise-cracking Starbuck, and the new version kept cropping up in online recommendations and best-of lists so much that I thought I should see what all the fuss was about. As it turns out, the fuss was justified; I really enjoyed the philosophy-and-religion-tinged plot as Apollo, Starbuck, Adama and the rest of the crew battled and then allied with the humanlike Cylons as they searched for their legendary homeworld of Earth. (I was even so impressed by Katee Sackhoff as a female Starbuck that I eagerly watched her new Netflix sci-fi show, Another Life, the day it launched. Unfortunately, it is decidedly not good. At all.)

After BSG, I sought out more. Star Trek Discovery came along at just the right time to reignite my love for that franchise (the fact that it features my favourite man-in-a-monster-suit, Doug Jones, didn’t hurt either), and then with Star Trek Picard on the horizon I finally went back and watched all of the pivotal episodes of both The Next Generation and Voyager, ready for the return of Picard, Seven-of-Nine, and the rest of the aging bridge crew in Amazon Prime’s new series.

Another rebooted series, Lost In Space, is the most recent that I’ve enjoyed on Netflix, but there are plenty more sitting in my queue. The Expanse and Altered Carbon both have excellent write-ups, so it’s a toss-up between the two which I’ll watch next - and then there’s season three of Discovery coming soon. And soon it will be 2021 - more Picard, more Lost In Space, plus who knows what is coming down the pipe next? It’s a great time to be a TV sci-fi fan … I’m glad I figured out I am one.