May 28, 2017

2012: The Year in Science Fiction & the Look Ahead at 2013.

Katniss kicks butt in 2012!

(Credit: Lionsgate).

Ah 2013… at last, another Trek Year is upon us. And with the flip of a calendar, we realize that we’re ritualistically late for our yearly roundup of the Year in Science Fiction and a look at the year ahead. And like previous years, this list is a highly biased, highly opinionated look at what engaged our web-shortened attention span in the world of science fiction in 2012. It’s of note that not a lot of indie sci-fi flicks caught our attention in the past year… or did we simply fail to dig deep enough? Squirrel!

The Movies:

-The Avengers: The action flick of the summer, The Avengers tied-in the Marvel franchise and set the bar for superhero movies to come. It’s amazing to watch the Superman II Metropolis fight scene from the 1970’s and then compare it to The Avengers finale. Quite a standard to match if (when?) there’s ever actually a Justice League flick… or dare we say Legion of Superheroes?

-The Hunger Games: The Hunger Games was a tour-de-force, and excellent enough that we actually sat down and read all three books this past summer! We love it when a series presents a new and refreshing universe and not simply a retread of an old franchise… read our review of the first book & Catching Fire as well as our short list of Favorite Apocalyptic Science Fiction.

-Argo: OK, Argo wasn’t a science fiction flick per se, but does have a sci-fi tie-in… the true story of the rescue of a group of U.S. hostages from Iran centered on a science fiction film that never was. Hey, the scripts’ still out there for anyone interested in breathing B-movie life into it!

-Iron Sky: Space Nazis on the Moon bent on conquering the Earth, what’s not to like about that? Luckily, this film doesn’t take itself too seriously… but it probably does set the land speed record for confusing the lunar “farside” with the “dark side.” Now, a musical with dancing zombie space Nazis directed by Tim Burton and written by Mel Brooks? That’d be an instant classic!

Mel Brooks, where for art thou? (Credit: Blind Spot Pictures).

The TV shows:

-The Big Bang Theory: Now in its 6th season, The Big Bang Theory continues to track the times and tribulations of everyone’s favorite brainiacs. The cameos seem to come along on a weekly basis now, from Leonard Nimoy to Stephen Hawking to a steady parade of Trek actors & actresses… but will Sheldon ever get his Nobel?

-Being Human: This British series starring a werewolf, vampire and ghost forced to live together has grown on us in the past year… we as viewers see our daily lives through what they’ve lost. Strangely, the UK version struck us as a bit more authentic than the US adaptation; it seems that Hollywood writers have an affinity for scripts that are almost too polished. About all that’s left now is for an Odd Couple-style vampire and werewolf sitcom…

-The Walking Dead: Zombies. Nasty ones, with a taste for human flesh. Now in its 3rd season, The Walking Dead is the series to watch. This series takes a cue from Battlestar Galactica when it comes to plotting and pacing; in a world struggling to survive, who are the true monsters?

The stellar cast of Leverage. (Credit: TNT studios).

-Leverage: We know; Leverage isn’t science fiction, but hey, it’s our blog… we were highly dismayed when TNT chose to cancel the series. Leverage actually had some pretty teachable skeptical moments in terms of how the confidence game is played. Still, the door was set for a possible spinoff… or dare we say a Leverage movie?

The Books: Here are some of the best books that graced our nightstand in 2012;

-The Creative Fire: By sci-fi author Brenda Cooper, a saga featuring the rise of a working class heroine on a multi-generational starship;

-How to Succeed in Evil: Just what supervillians need; their own consulting agency.

-The Night Sessions: A horrific future vision courtesy of Ken MacLeod.  

-Boneyards: The final action packed installment of the Diving into the Wreck saga by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

-The Doctor & the Roughrider: The West was never weirder in this sci-fi tale introducing Teddy Roosevelt in his first steam-punk role.

The Best: The UK series Misfits also grew on us in the past year… now is the time to catch up on the whole series on Hulu. A classic meandering tale of super-powered youths who can’t seem to keep a probation officer alive. Hopefully, rumors of a U.S. watered down version (see Being Human above) never comes to pass.

The Worst: OK, we’ll stick with web tradition and join the chorus slamming Prometheus… it was a shame, as Ridley Scott set such a high bar with the first two Alien movies. I think that everyone went in sincerely wanting to love the Alien prequel, and instead found their youthful memories ripped away from them like an acid dripping parasite in the womb.

Sure, but have you ever seen Winona Ryder… in rotoscope?  (Credit: Warner Bros).

Retro: We recently caught the 2006 flick A Scanner Darkly and found it fascinating, because of/in spite of its being filmed entirely via rotoscope. In fact, it makes our roundup of the 10 Best Apocalyptic Movies of all Time. What we learned in 2012? That Philip K. Dick wrote every great dystopian future that eventually became a film adaptation…

A Look Ahead: So what’s up in sci-fi-dom in 2013? Well, we’re eagerly awaiting the second installment of The Hunger Games promised out around Thanksgiving, and of course, there’s a new Trek out for this summer… hopefully, the Trek curse that “every other flick is a dud” won’t rear its ugly head. And of course the Internet has been abuzz with Disney’s buy out of the Star Wars franchise and a rumored episode 7 by 2015… we predict that all fans will complain about it while simultaneously flocking to see it and subsequently buy every bit of related merchandise possible… good times!

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