I was never that into science fiction. I don’t read sci-fi books, comics or get into sci-fi games. But, ever since the new Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who started a couple years ago (has it been that long?), I’ve been hooked. Here’s what I’m hooked on and why:
* Battlestar Galactica – One of the five best shows on TV, regardless of genre. The stories are good (even when they got repetetive in the second season). This season, it’s even better. The characters keep developing, and it feels like the show could go on for years. I thought the “we’re on ships and running away” thing would get old. It hasn’t; it just gets better. If you haven’t watched it, go back and start at the beginning with the DVDs, because at this point, it won’t make any sense.
* Doctor Who – The second season just wrapped up on SciFi, and it was a doozy. The first season was a good old fashioned romp, and it gets rompier (what?) in the second. It’s fun, light, but can still throw a really creepy curveball in when it wants. It’s a great show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Perfectly balances humor, sci-fi and the show’s own camp origins to come up with something truly original.
* Torchwood – I was a little worried about this Captain Jack spinoff of Doctor Who, but boy, there was nothing to be worried about. This one’s currently seven episodes in across the pond, and wow. It’s a grown up show, big time. Where Doctor Who is shown at seven PM, this show is shown at ten, and that makes a huge difference. The subject matter is darker, the emotions more raw, and the language is saltier. It’s a good moody drama, but still has a spark of the Doctor’s humor in it. Plus, it’s always fun to see Captain Jack. They’re doing a great job slowly developing his character, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
* Heroes – This is the only new show this season I’ve stuck with. It’s gotten better with every episode, and I’m hooked. It’s funny, dark and will keep you guessing in a good way (not in a LOST “What the hell?” sort of way). It’s paced so well that each episode feels almost exactly like reading a comic book, and you know I love that. Oh, and as an added bonus, I’m pretty sure it’s the most diverse show on TV (without rubbing your face in it). Good, good stuff. I think you can catch all the episodes on iTunes.
* Eureka – This one’s definitely quirky. It’s a wink and a nod to sci-fi convention as a sort of cross between Northern Exposure and The X-Files. It’s funny and charming in its own way. I’m glad they’re bringing it back for a second season to see if they can develop the characters some more and go somewhere with the interesting setup.
And I know it’s not sci-fi, but The Wire has overtaken Battlestar Galactica for the best show on television. No other show that I can remember is so patiently paced, so intricately plotted or has such well rendered characters. It covers so much ground each week without feeling rushed or contrived. If you’re a fan of uncompromised storytelling (think the first two seasons of Sopranos or Deadwood), or were a fan of Homicide: Life on the Street, you owe it to yourself to watch this show. It’s different, and if you’re used to stories that tie themselves up with a nice neat bow after every hour, go somewhere else. But, if you want characters that feel real, stories that feel authentic and subject matter that’s not honestly discussed anywhere else, watch it. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and may be the best cop show ever.
I’ve had the last few days off, and it’s been great. I haven’t gone so far as to not check my mail, but the break’s been good. I’ve done a bunch of stuff around the house, played with the kids, and caught up on doing nothing. Sometimes, nothing is the best cure for what ails you.
Disclaimers and Stuff