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Review: Dark Matter 1x1 (Canada: Space; US: Syfy; UK: Syfy)

Posted on June 15, 2015 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Dark Matter

In Canada: Fridays, 10e/7p, Space
In the US: Fridays, 10/9c, Syfy
In the UK: Mondays, 8pm, Syfy. Starts tonight  

They say there are no original ideas any more and that everything has already been done before - it’s just a question of how you take elements of what’s gone before to create a new mixture.

If this statement is true, it’s doubly true of science-fiction, where for any given show, it’s almost certainly possible to name a very similar if not identical predecessor. A case in point is the new Canadian-US co-production Dark Matter.

Adapted from their own comic by the brains behind the TV version of Stargate, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the show is roughly 90% Blakes 7 for starters - a group of six misfits, four men, two women, wind up on board an advanced spaceship. There they meet the seventh member of the crew, the ship’s artificial intelligence, and come together to fight oppression from a huge federation.

The remaining 10% of the show is pure Andromeda, with the ship’s artificial intelligence having a robotic avatar and the crew having turned good relatively recently, originally being a bunch of criminals until they had their memories taken away. And then there’s the slightly enigmatic woman with funny coloured hair who’s on board the ship but wasn’t one of the criminals and who has strange powers.

So far, so derivative. There’s even a little sprinkling of Firefly on top. The question is - does Dark Matter stick all these components together to create something decent?

The short answer is: not really, but at least it’s fun.

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Preview: Stitchers 1x1 (US: ABC Family)

Posted on June 2, 2015 | comments | Bookmark and Share

Stitchers

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC Family. Starts tonight

Usually, there’s nothing quite like the word ‘family’ in the description of something televisual to guarantee its general shoddiness. But over the years, ABC Family has been a notable exception. I stopped watching the network’s output a while back when it started producing things like Bunheads: it may have been the best show in the world, but when you’re a 40-something male, you probably shouldn’t be watching TV dramas about female teenage gymnasts. - that’s just creepy. However, over the years, the network has produced some generally decent shows, including Kyle XY, Three Moons Over Milford, Lincoln Heights, 10 Things I Hate About You and Pretty Little Liars.

As you may have noticed from that list, the network has been moving from genre shows towards more conventional fare generally aimed at teenage girls and young women. But it apparently hasn’t escaped the network’s bosses that what teenage girls want to watch is changing - we’re living in a post-Twilight, post-Hunger Games world. So the network’s decided to take some baby steps back into genre TV. This autumn, we can see the continuation of the Mortal Instruments film franchise in Shadowhunters and now we have Stitchers, a hybrid sci-fi/procedural drama that’s part CSI, part Inception.

Emma Ishta is Kirsten, a technically gifted PhD student who has a rare brain condition that makes her unaware of passing time. This makes her aloof, rude, generally unloved and unable to feel emotions in the same ways as the rest of us - when her adopted father commits suicide she’s unmoved because it feels to her exactly the same as if he’d died years ago.

She's also willing to break whatever rules she wants to get what she wants. While this gets her kicked out of Caltech, her condition does mean that she’s uniquely suited for the top secret ‘Stichers’ programme into which she’s quickly recruited following the washing out of the previous ’Stitcher'. The programme not only allows the brains of the recently deceased to be preserved for much longer than normal, it allows the ‘Stitcher’ to enter their memories as though they were the real world, in order to solve crimes. And in this first case, she must enter the mind of a man killed in a bomb explosion, because he’s stashed two other bombs around LA and they’re set to go off soon.

And while it’s as stupid as bag full of spanners wearing toupees, it’s at least a good deal more fun than CSI: Cyber. Here, have a rather good, Inception-like trailer that belies the show’s essentially cheap silliness and another trailer that’s a little bit less deceptive.

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News: more Fortitude, trailers for lots of new US shows, a returning Hero, a SHIELD spin-off + more

Posted on April 13, 2015 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

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Film casting

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  • Trailer for Netflix’s Grace and Frankie
  • Trailer for season 3 of Netflix’s Orange is the New Black
  • Casting for Netflix’s The Get Down
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