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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » TV shows and movies (Page 1)

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Author Topic: TV shows and movies
LDWriter2
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I thought I would use this to vent some.

I noticed a few years ago that there's a dearth of Science Fiction movies and TV shows. The few there are are usually horror stories or like the new "Skyline" one. I would like some of what I call Star Trek type of movies. There was the one made from the TV series Firefly, there was "The Bicentennial Man". Of course "Star Trek". But other then those few there's been very few or nothing.

The same thing goes for Urban Fantasy. Its a huge rage right now so why not some movies? There was "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". but I think that is it with movies. Well, Harry Potter too but that series seems different.

I have learned recently there might be a couple of TV series that are close to UF. And "Fringe" that seems to have an Alternate Universe it in and "Gateway" which I don't know enough about to say what it is. There is or was "Warehouse 13" . Which sounded interesting but I don't have cable.

And one last poing when they do a show or movie it's usually not a writer or book I'm that interested in. Like they choose the wrong Terry to do a series about. It should have been Terry Brooks. There were talks between David Weber and some TV people about a miniseries based on David Weber's Honer Harrington series, which would have been great, but obviously it fell through. There was one based one the Dresden Files but they changed it so much they turned it into something else, even though not bad I guess it didn't have a large enough following, maybe because of the changes.

So I want a good, solid Sci Fi movie and more UF movies. Maybe we can get the people who did "Monsters" to do a Sci Fi movie. Maybe "Monsters" is Sci Fi but not the Star Trek type.

I wonder if anyone agrees with me.


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Crystal Stevens
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I read somewhere that Anne McCaffrey was offered a couple opportunities to put her Pern series on the big screen but turned down every screen play written because it didn't meet her specifications. I do believe she was appalled with how the screen writers twisted her creation.

This could be the reason why a lot of good science fiction/fantasy stories don't make it into the movies or on TV. Like you pointed out; look what happened to "The Dresden Files". I was always interested on what the TV series was like. Now, if what you say is true, I doubt if I would've liked it. Right now, the Dresden Files is my favorite read. I just finished "White Night" and can't wait to read "Small Favor". Yeah, I'm a little behind, but totally enjoying the ride.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

I read somewhere that Anne McCaffrey was offered a couple opportunities to put her Pern series on the big screen but turned down every screen play written because it didn't meet her specifications. I do believe she was appalled with how the screen writers twisted her creation.
This could be the reason why a lot of good science fiction/fantasy stories don't make it into the movies or on TV. Like you pointed out; look what happened to "The Dresden Files". I was always interested on what the TV series was like. Now, if what you say is true, I doubt if I would've liked it. Right now, the Dresden Files is my favorite read. I just finished "White Night" and can't wait to read "Small Favor". Yeah, I'm a little behind, but totally enjoying the ride.


They have to make some changes of course but sometimes they go way over broad with that idea for some strange reason. Well, sometimes it's money, sometimes it's what they think viewers will want. Notice I said sometimes.

Who knows maybe that is why there is no Honer Harrington TV series.


The TV version of Dresden files though is another matter. I don't think there was any reason for all those changes, I mean almost everything. On it's own it wasn't bad, if they had just changed the name. I found it better to think of it as a different show. It's on hula.com where I am watching it even though it's been a two or three months since I saw one. If you watch any, it's better to think of him as a different Harry, perhaps from an alternative universe.

I love Jim Butcher's writing. I think subconsciously I try to use him as a model at times. As I said on another post I think he is the King of UF. Because he was first in this fad. Or maybe second M Lackey has a UF series and it could have been out earlier but I don't think it's as popular. Rachel Caine(?) had one that started about that same time but again I don't think it is as popular. Laura Anna Gillman might be the queen but I'm not sure. Anyway, I'm eagerly awaiting for "Changes" to come out in paperback....March, '11.. Egads. There is one more after that. Either it is out in hardback or soon will be.

He has been to San Diego twice for book signings and I wanted so much to go, maybe a five hour drive and at least once was on a Saturday. Two or three books ago they had a special party for a new book in, of course Chicago, they wanted people to come in dressed as their favorite characters. I wondered how many Murphy's and Harry's there were. I think just to be different I would have gone as, rats forgot his name, the guy with the bar. I wouldn't have to do much talking.



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Robert Nowall
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With rare exception, the SF TV series has been of little interest to me, at least compared to what's on the printed page. They just weren't as good. (Movies are another matter, with many SF movies among my favorites.)

I never cared for much of what the SciFi Channel put on, aside from the occasional classic series like "The Twilight Zone" or, of course, the original "Star Trek." And what with the SciFi Channel becoming the SyFy Channel, and backing away from the little SF they put on, I don't know what I'll watch on it or when. (Couple of months ago, I spotted one of their movies, where a cousin of mine was in it.)

There's a certain exemption for animated SF series, where several have engaged my attention over the years, both the home-grown and the Japanimation imports.


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Crystal Stevens
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Gee, LD, what about Thomas or Molly... or Molly's father? You know, the guy with strong Christian values with the special sword? Can't think of his name at the moment. Or maybe you aren't that far along in the series? LOL I could probably think up more if given the time, but I'm betting you're right. Most of them probably showed up as Harry or Murph.

And speaking of Urban Fantasy; My favorite was Charmed. I know some women didn't like the show and said it was just eye candy for men... scantily dressed young women, that sort of thing. But I looked past that and at the stories themselves. Personally, I thought it was very well done and sorry to see it end, darnit!


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rich
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quote:
My favorite was Charmed. I know some women didn't like the show and said it was just eye candy for men... scantily dressed young women, that sort of thing.

Hold on, hold on...I missed this how?? My scantily-clad women radar seems to have been on the fritz when this show was on.


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Meredith
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My favorite was Charmed. I know some women didn't like the show and said it was just eye candy for men... scantily dressed young women, that sort of thing.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hold on, hold on...I missed this how?? My scantily-clad women radar seems to have been on the fritz when this show was on.


Don't worry. I'm sure you can still catch it on reruns somewhere. It had a fairly long run, actually.


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History
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My criteria for what makes good SF TV and movies is arguably low:

Was it entertaining?
and
Did it evoke an emotional response?
or
Am I still thinking about it days later?

Thus, there are episodes from TV such as a number from the original Star Trek, the new Battlestar Galactica, a few from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, nearly all The Prisoner, and all of Firefly that I have concluded "that was worth my time."

The first Matrix, 2001 amd 2010, the first two Alien movies, Terminator 2, the first Star Wars, the SF channel's Dune miniseries, The Princess Bride, Serenity (the Firefly sequel), The LOTR trilogy (esp. Fellowship), etc.

I enjoyed The Bicentennial Man, and What Dreams May Come, and The Dresden Files, and the many Star Trek series, etc. I never faulted a movie from being different from the book, nor for not matching exactly what I imagined. Nor for bad science (the misuse of "parsecs" as a measure of time insteead of distance in Star Wars for example). Nor for being trite (Avatar's plot elements were unoriginal, from the romantic triangle to the stranger in a strange land, to its Fern Gulley ecological message, but it was a visual spectacle).
When all is said and done, for me it simply is a matter of: Did I have a good time?

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob


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Crystal Stevens
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I believe Charmed ran for 9 seasons. It almost got canceled, I think, after the first season, but viewer uproar got it back on the air. Quite a success story actually .
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Robert Nowall
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Ah, there's one thing---the difference between SF and fantasy. I can't say with surety what the difference is...or even what one or the other is. (Name a definition of SF, and I can always find something that is SF but doesn't fit the definition.)

I think TNT (or somebody) is still running old "Charmed" episodes...


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DRaney
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Ditto all the Dresden comments... I recently picked up the 3 disc first season of the Dresden Files. I was very distracted with the changes, but overall... in a vacumn... I thought it was well done. Harry is a bit of a wizardly wimp, magically speaking. They focused 85+% on the investigative aspect and seemed to use the magic as a candy coating. He does some pretty cool stuff with it, but as the books establish, Dresden is in the top 20 - 30 of ALL wizards in terms of pure stomping power. And that is only halfway through the series.

I have just finished and restarted 'Changes'... mind blower! I mean CLICK-BOOM...

FYI - Mac is the proprietor of the pub. Michael is one of the Holy Knight dudes, Molly's dad. It is one of the few series that remained rock solid all the way through.

Gotta love Mouse and Toot-Toot...

I would expect a few were dressed as Bianca or some of the nefarious characters I'd rather not mention for 'spoiler' reasons. (Did I spell nefarious correctly?)

Three cheers for Anne McCaffrey for holding out.


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Pyre Dynasty
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I don't catch much TV these days, except Spliced which is on right after I get home from work.
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LDWriter2
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quote:

Ditto all the Dresden comments... I recently picked up the 3 disc first season of the Dresden Files. I was very distracted with the changes, but overall... in a vacumn... I thought it was well done. Harry is a bit of a wizardly wimp, magically speaking. They focused 85+% on the investigative aspect and seemed to use the magic as a candy coating. He does some pretty cool stuff with it, but as the books establish, Dresden is in the top 20 - 30 of ALL wizards in terms of pure stomping power. And that is only halfway through the series.

Did he say he was that high up? I can't recall but after he started dealing with some of the other wardens esp. the guy with the Hispanic name and who hasn't been in two books I think, Dresden seemed to be more on the lower end of wizardry. Or maybe medium level. He has done some high level stuff but over all I mean. Through three books he seemed to be lower and lower on the power level in each one.

But I think you're right about the TV series. I hadn't thought of that before but it was like candy coating. Which is probably what they thought the viewers wanted.


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LDWriter2
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I decided to make my answers here two shorter posts instead of one long one.

quote:

I have just finished and restarted 'Changes'... mind blower! I mean CLICK-BOOM...

FYI - Mac is the proprietor of the pub. Michael is one of the Holy Knight dudes, Molly's dad. It is one of the few series that remained rock solid all the way through.

Gotta love Mouse and Toot-Toot...

I would expect a few were dressed as Bianca or some of the nefarious characters I'd rather not mention for 'spoiler' reasons. (Did I spell nefarious correctly?)



Yeah, Mac Duh.

Michael I knew though. I like him. I could go as him if I ever could go to a new book celebration. And find a metal breast plate backed up by Kevlar along with a two handed sword.

And I was thinking some attendees would go as bad guys especially Bianca and the gangster, but most would go as Harry or Murphy.

I'm waiting for "Changes" to come out in paperback. But there's another one out or soon will be. I saw it on the main Butcher web site. Yes, there is more than one. But I can't seem to sign up for the forum there like I can't for the WotF forum. Their role playing game would be fun I think.


Have you read any of the short Dresden stories?


and there have been some good TV shows and movies. I loved Sliders until they changed it too much, probably in an attempt to save it.

Quite a few years ago I saw two not so good SF movies just because they were the only ones around. One had the actor from the Waltons, Robert form Man From U.N.C.L.E. and someone else I should know. That movie wasn't so bad but the other one wasn't even a B movie. It had space ships with sails and magic walnuts, if I recall correctly.


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LDWriter2
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Oh Ps


Don't think too many people would go as Mouse or Toot-Toot-as you said gotta love them-but I could see someone trying for one or the other.


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aspirit
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People tend to ignore the genre label of popular science fiction shows. Consider the following lists. How many of the shows did you first think of when you wondered about the prevalence of sci-fi?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_science_fiction_films (by decade)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction_on_television

http://www.imdb.com/chart/scifi

Science Fiction is a broad genre, and everyone has a different definition. Here are some my favorites of what I consider sci-fi:

A.I.
Blade Runner
Gattaca
Minority Report
Twelve Monkeys

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Japanese anime)
Planetes (Japanese anime about orbital debris collectors and the arguable value of space exploration)

The Iron Giant (animated)
Titan AE (animated)

Back to the Future (trilogy)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Independence Day
Iron Man
Men in Black

The Chronicles of Riddick
The Fifth Element
Serenity
Soldier
Stargate (the movie and SG-1)

Growing up, I watched many sci-fi shows on TV: Ocean Girl (children's), SeaQuest, Sliders, Quantum Leap, Babylon 5, Farscape, 3rd Rock from the Sun (comedy), etc. I bet these are all still available somewhere.

It helps to extend a search ten to thirty years and take into account cultural differences, but there are plenty of movies and TV shows in the genre.

[This message has been edited by aspirit (edited November 16, 2010).]


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Robert Nowall
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I'm not watching much of anything except news (and occasional sports, usually NASCAR) on watch-as-it's-running TV these days...I watch any number of DVDs, but nothing brand new grabs me...I'll go in and out of older sitcoms from time to time. (I have a DVD recorder but no TiVo.)

There might be some really good TV series on, that's also really good SF (or fantasy)...but I wouldn't know it.


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pdblake
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You can always look on the bright side and be glad you have the books to read. Whenever TV or Hollywood get their hands on a book they only seem to remember the title and the name of the main character. I'm not sure they even read the damned books before they turn them into a movie.

I've yet to see a movie of a book that is even remotely like the book, and the changes are never for the better.


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DRaney
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LD ~ The 20-30 comment comes from Harry. Followed closely by him admitting that he does not have the tight control or finese (finesse, finnese, pheenesse?... arggh) of the stronger wizards. He is speaking in terms of raw, knock the side of the building out power. He definitely gets humbled... on a regular basis. Yep.

aspirit ~ nice list.

Is Chicken Run considered fantasy? Greatness!
I really enjoy Ghost in the Shell / Innocence ,
Iron Giant 12 thumbs up! (is that possible?)

and even though it has some of the lamest dialogue of all times, the newest Star Trek was really fun to watch. Great space battles. Does the lack of scientific accuracy qualify for a fantasy nod? NAAAA. The opening music score is awesome...

pdblake ~ ain't that the truth.

I'm a bit out of touch with TV... haven't had it for 'bout 15 years.

added ~ I have not read any of the Jim Butcher short stories OR the Codex... uhmm, something, fantasy series. But I intend to.

The Codex Alera that's it!

[This message has been edited by DRaney (edited November 16, 2010).]


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rich
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quote:
I've yet to see a movie of a book that is even remotely like the book, and the changes are never for the better.

Not sure about science fiction/fantasy (and ignoring the very good Lord of the Rings movies), but a few movies off the top of my head that are better than the books:

Jaws
Three Days of the Condor (based on Six Days of the Condor, and it most definitely is not twice as good as the movie)
Godfather
Hombre (I know, I know, blasphemy 'cause it's Elmore Leonard, but, trust me, the movie's better, AND <gasp> the dialogue's better, too)
Children of Men (though "better" is not really suitable here; it's just a damn good movie)
The Thin Man (again, not sure if "better" qualifies here, but I just love this movie, speaking of which...)
The Maltese Falcon (the third one)
Shawshank Redemption
Out of Sight
Jackie Brown
Get Shorty (these last three..."better" may not be appropriate except for maybe Jackie Brown)
Spider (which is a little weird 'cause Patrick McGrath wrote the screenplay, too, but the movie is ALL Cronenberg)

Not sure if Gone with the Wind is better than the book 'cause I haven't read it, but it's hard to argue with Academy Awards.

You get the point.


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philocinemas
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Let me add one to that list:

I liked Jurassic Park, the movie, better than the book. There are probably more that I can think of (Rich already hit on a few of them), but I'm limited on time at the moment. I'll try to address this and other quality science fiction or fantasy movies/shows sometime in the next day or so.

Before I sign off, let me also say that the first Harry Potter movie was almost slavish to the novel. Each successive one has left more and more out, but they all are pretty close followers to their respective stories.


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Meredith
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quote:
Before I sign off, let me also say that the first Harry Potter movie was almost slavish to the novel. Each successive one has left more and more out, but they all are pretty close followers to their respective stories.

With the notable exception of Goblet of Fire, which totally messed up the first challenge with the dragons.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

LD ~ The 20-30 comment comes from Harry. Followed closely by him admitting that he does not have the tight control or finese (finesse, finnese, pheenesse?... arggh) of the stronger wizards. He is speaking in terms of raw, knock the side of the building out power. He definitely gets humbled... on a regular basis. Yep.

I don't recall that but that doesn't mean much with my swiss cheese memory.

But lately or for about three books it was his friends that show him up, at times.


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Robert Nowall
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There is, or used to be, a petition online to get the first Harry Potter movie reissued with all the scenes from the book in it---a problem, because the director said he didn't even shoot all the scenes from the book...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Except for the end, TRUE GRIT the movie is almost exactly (as in word for word and scene for scene) the book, and I can see why they changed the ending.

As for movies that are better than the book, I nominate COLD COMFORT FARM, which is miles better than the book.


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Crystal Stevens
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My vote for "movie better than the book" would be COCOON. In my opinion, the movie was a vast improvement over the original story.
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Robert Nowall
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Is that the "True Grit" with John Wayne, or the "True Grit" with Jeff Bridges?
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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They remade it? URK!

The one with John Wayne, of course!


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Robert Nowall
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Can't think of a case where the movie was better than the book, offhand...most cases, I haven't read the book, and where I have either the book was better or they were equally good.

Possibly Hitchcock's Rear Window improved on the original Cornell Woolrich short story, expanding the story of who the guy doing the watching actually was and why he was there in the first place...but I can't remember if I picked this up from reading the Woolrich story or from writeups on the movie!


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DRaney
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The only movie I can think of that did the original written work justice is Sin City by Frank Miller, which is actually a four book graphic novel.

I personally think Blade Runner was way better than the Phillip Dick book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Granted Cold Mountain was an awesome book, I really enjoyed the movie rendering as well, changes notwithstanding.


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philocinemas
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I would argue that there have been several excellent genre television shows in the last few years. So many so, in fact, that I am hard pressed to decide where the cut-off should be regarding "the last few years". The problem that many of these shows have had is the same problem most shows seem to have at some point - they always seem to have a moment where they feel like they have to "up" themselves, so they jump a shark.

I was a big fan of Star Trek: TNG, and though this was way more than a few years ago, it was one of the few shows (especially for sci-fi) that didn't decide to start jumping sharks. The final season, in my opinion, was just as good as its preceding ones. I didn't care that much for DS9. Voyager and Enterprise were okay, but Enterprise felt like one big shark jump from half-way through the first season. The problem with shark jumps is that the characters no longer are carrying the weight of the story.

Farscape, which was one of the best sci-fi shows I've ever seen, suffered from shark-jumpitis. It was awful after the end of the second season. I feel that is why the SyFy channel has trunkated many of its successful shows. The original Stargate was an exception - it seemed to use TNG as a model, despite the changes in actors. SG: Atlantis seemed like a decent show - I didn't watch it much. BSG was excellent.

The trend recently has leaned more toward mythology stories. Obviously, X-Files was the father of this trend, but it has affected everything from Firefly and Buffy to other great shows like Primeval to Fringe. Fringe is an excellent show; although I'm afraid it is heading down a very troublesome path with its parallel universe storyline. Still, the characters are great, and it is well-worth checking out. I believe genre television lends itself to mythology shows due to the complex nature of the science or fantasy elements. The storylines become so complex that one has to be rather committed in order to follow them. The Event is another good show that is running right now. The problem is these shows often become too big for the audience, so they either explode or implode.

Superhero shows are another sort. Smallville used to be a good show, but it jumped the shark about 3 or 4 seasons ago. Heroes was great for one season. Currently, I really like No Ordinary Family - it is worth checking out. It is basically a story about a dysfunctional family that suddenly has to deal with gaining super powers. Interesting characters.

I haven't seen it yet, but I hear The Walking Dead, from A&E, is good. Though it's not my thing, many are giving praise to The Vampire Diaries.

Finally, with regards to TV, I am going to put in a GIANT plug for The Big Bang Theory! Even though it is not technically genre, it pays MEGA-TRIBUTE to everything genre. If you're not watching it, you're doing yourself a great injustice - it is HILARIOUS!

(I have addressed movies prior to this, and I will try to find the thread and include a link - and possibly add to it - Inception has a chance to be the first true science fiction movie to win best picture, but it will probably lose to The Social Network.)

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited November 17, 2010).]


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philocinemas
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Oh, I forgot Lost - another very good genre show, even though I didn't care for the final episode. However, many liked the finale - just a matter of expectations (I expect).
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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One of the weirdest, IMHO, adaptations from book to movie was THE PRESTIGE. Totally creepy book, and totally creepy movie, but for different reasons. I really would have liked to see them do the book, but that may have cost more than they were willing to spend.
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rich
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You guys bring up some good movies; good calls on Jurassic Park and The Prestige.

And, yes, True Grit is scheduled for release on Dec 25, I believe. It's the Coen Brothers so...

Which brings up No Country for Old Men. Loved, loved that movie, and I did read the book, but it's up in the air as to which is "better" 'cause they stuck so closely to the book. (To the point where a lot of people just didn't like the movie.)


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DRaney
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So... open mouth, insert size 28 foot, swallow leg...
One of the things I truly enjoy about this site is the lack of negative vibe.

"...and even though it has some of the lamest dialogue of all times, the newest Star Trek was really fun to watch. Great space battles. Does the lack of scientific accuracy qualify for a fantasy nod? NAAAA."

After reading through this thread I found this statement to be more negative than I intended. I too am an original Trekkie dude, from THEN. Philo and friends I had no intention of the negative bent of this comment. I was referring to the conversation between Kirk and Spock when they were before the academy board and Kirk was going down in flames. The scientific accuracy conversation has happened plenty of times. Peace, ya'll.

[This message has been edited by DRaney (edited November 17, 2010).]


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Crystal Stevens
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Does anybody besides me remember Night Stalker? In many ways I think of it as the fore runner of the X Files. Better done too in my opinion.
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philocinemas
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I liked The Night Stalker okay - Actually, The Dresden Files reminded me a lot of that series. I still liked The X-Files better. I like Fringe better than all of them combined.

quote:
Philo and friends I had no intention of the negative bent of this comment.

No offense taken. OSC also has said some nasty things about Star Trek, but it hasn't tainted my opinion of him.

I feel that Star Trek is actually more accurate than most sci-fi shows and movies (at least in the science department). They usually have better ship physics and chemistry than other sci-fi shows, especially in TNG. Much of the other technology is also more scientifically accurate.

When I see the Millenium Falcon making hair-pin maneuvers through an asteroid field and then Han and Leia are walking around inside an asteroid with simple masks on, I have to chuckle to myself. I enjoy the movies, but I have to suspend disbelief quite a bit.


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satate
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The only movies that I liked better than the books (that I can think of right now) are Stardust and Sense and Sensibility.

Both of the those movies I saw the movie first and then read the book, so perhaps that made me biased toward the movie.

Stardust the movie I enjoyed better than the book because it was written in omnicient so that I felt distanced from the characters and really only gave me what the movie did. Sense and Sensibility I enjoyed as a movie because I felt it did a better job of showing the social awkwardness of many of the situations. When reading the book I didn't feel that it captured the awkward silences as well.


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LDWriter2
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quote:

Science Fiction is a broad genre, and everyone has a different definition. Here are some my favorites of what I consider sci-fi:

You do have a point with the over all genera. I hadn't considered Iron Man, because it comes from a comic, SF but it is. But I was laminating the lack of Star Trek type of SF movies. Well, some other types too but mostly that type. I guess I could say space SF but that could include the space horror movies which most space SF is these days.

I wouldn't mind some good old fashion space opera. Of course "Nemesis" was that. Or something close to it. I thought for sure it would get some people--younger men who like to see battles and things blow up-- who don't normally watch Star Trek but I guess not.

And speaking of going back I could probably go way back and watch the Tom Corbet(?) cliff-hanger series. I read the books.


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LDWriter2
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Oh and aspirit a PS you grew up watching "Sliders"??? That wasn't that long ago. You must be young indeed.
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LDWriter2
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Kathleen


You must be too busy with the forum and/or with IGMS They have been talking about the new True Grit off and on for six months. That is one movie I don't think my wife will be wanting to see. She's a Wayne fan, so am I but she has his calender in her workshop-garage .



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LDWriter2
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And I liked all of the Star Trek shows, some better than others but still I thought them worth watching. Missed half of Enterprise though. And for a certain reason I guess I liked Voyager most.


And did anyone else catch the two episodes of STNG that were adapted from non ST books?

I watched a lot of Smallville but stopped because it got boring with the turned human of the week and on again off again relationship between Clark and Lana. But later I heard the started showing other superheros. that could have been interesting. If I could find just those eps.


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Robert Nowall
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I preferred---and still prefer---what they now call "Star Trek: The Original Series." It was nice to have new adventures with a new cast---but the whole thing went on too long and got too bound up with its continuity. Nobody wanted to see the new casts in the movies. And when word went 'round that the then-current producers thought "The Next Generation" should be considered the "Star Trek" series, well, that was it for me. (Gene Roddenberry once bragged that "Star Trek" would last twenty years. By my figuring, they went on several years too long.)

*****

The only "Next Generation" episode based on another book was the one called "Tin Man." I read the book way before the episode, and the original novelette even further back. My first thought was that they were plagiarizing the book...then I realized it was adapted from it. Inferior in every way.

Was there another case of episode-from-unrelated-book? They also did at least one from the "Star Trek" books, as I recall...

*****

I did of a book where the movie improved it no end---should of thought of it much faster, given what I posted.

Hitchock's version of Psycho.

*****

Haven't taken to "Smallville," though my father, last time I asked, never misses an episode...


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philocinemas
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BTW, aspirit, thanks for those great links. I should have known Wikipedia would have something like that, but I'd never thought to check. It sure will make my referencing a lot easier from now on.

I left out two other decent shows (and probably more) that are still running: V and Doctor Who (I think it is running in some form - not sure). I'm not that fond of the Doc - not sure why - I've seen it in its various incarnations, and I've never really gotten into it. But many others like it, so I thought it should be included.


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philocinemas
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I couldn't find my post about best science fiction movies in recent history, so I thought I'd just address some in the last three years. If I don't list them, either I didn't see it or didn't like it (I see most of them). All * ratings are out of a possible 5 (*****)

I didn't see anything in the original post to suggest you only wanted movies inspired by books, but here are some. I have not read most of the books these were based on, but I will give a comparison of the one that I did read:

2008 - movies from books
City of Ember (novel by Jeanne DuPrau) - mainly kids fair, but enjoyable. (***)
Jumper (novel by Steven Gould) - kind of superheroish, but fun. (***1/2)

2009 - movies from books
The Time Traveler's Wife (novel by Audrey Niffenegger) - the novel got mixed reviews, but I enjoyed the movie. Very interesting "ending". (***1/2)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Good movie. Most everyone saw it. (***1/2)
The Road (Novel by Cormac McCarthy) - THE ONE I READ - This followed the novel very closely with some omissions. The mood was right on. I liked the novel better, but the movie was also good. (****)

Superhero Movies
The Incredible Hulk (2008) - marginally liked (ten times better than the first Hulk movie). Two good fight scenes. (***)
Iron Man (2008) - Excellent superhero movie! Lots of fun (****)
The Dark Knight (2008) - Excellent movie! Great acting! (****1/2)
Watchmen (2009) - Here's your urban fantasy/sci-fi. Based on Alan Moore's graphic novel, it captured the visual essence but not the overall feel. Marginally liked. (***)
Push (2009) - Not really superhero (similar to Jumper, but I thought a little better, not by much). (***1/2)
Iron Man II (2010) - Okay, but not as good as the first. (***1/2)

Kids' Sci-Fi
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) - The movie was okay (a little boring in parts - about a half hour too long). (**1/2) But the TV series is very good. (***1/2)
WALL-E (2008) - Excellent movie!! LOVED IT! (****1/2) - tempted to go 5*, but not quite (some minor nits).
9 (2009) - Not really a kids' movie, but animated. Liked it. Very bleak. (***1/2)
Battle for Terra (2009) - Avatar as an animated movie, but out first. Cute and touching. (***)
Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) - Funny. Pays tribute to many of the sci-fi B-movies of the 50's. (***1/2)
Planet 51 (2009) - Okay - would probably be last on my list. I liked the Alien dog. (***)
How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - Very good movie all around. Funny but showing real consequences. (****)
Dispicable Me (2010) - Enjoyable, with a few slow parts. (***1/2)
Legend of the Guardians (2010) - Excellent graphics. A CGI Secret of NIMH, with owls. (***1/2)
Megamind (2010) - Fun, but a little predictable (especially after seeing previews). No big Ha-ha moments.(***)

Low-Budget Sci-Fi
Cloverfield (2008) - Okay. You hardly ever see the monster and it doesn't end particularly well. (***)
Quarantine (2008) - Pretty good zombie movie, but a slow start. (***1/2)
District 9 (2009) - I loved this movie, but not for everyone's taste. Very urban with strong symbolic message. (****1/2)
Moon (2009) - Another excellent movie. Becomes very predictable about half way through, but still good. (****)
Skyline (2010) - Decent. More hiding than fighting. Alien scenes reminded me of Starship Troopers. I liked the ending, others did not. (***)

Sci-Fi/Horror
Pandorum (2009) - Mutated freaks have taken over a sleeper ship. Very claustrophobic. (***)
Splice (2009) - Genetic experiment gone wrong. It got better reviews than I felt it deserved. (***)
Terminator Salvation (2009) - I actually liked this one. Nice addition to the series. (***1/2)
Zombieland (2009) - More comedy than horror (Shaun of the Dead was much, much better. (***)
Predators (2010) - Predictable, except for one part. Similar to Cube, but in a jungle. (***)

Acclaimed "Big Tent" Sci-Fi
Avatar (2009) - I really enjoyed this one! Old story, but great presentation. Story (***), Visuals (*****) - Overall (****)
Star Trek (2009) - Excellent reboot. I was a little upset to see Vulcan destroyed, but I'll live. (***1/2)
Inception (2010) - VERY DEEP, leaves you guessing. It would have had a serious chance at best movie this year if Social Network hadn't come out. (****) I would almost add another 1/2, but it's not for everyone (some people become so confused that they end up disliking it).

Recent Sci-Fi Movies I Haven't Seen
Repo Men, Monsters, Paranormal Activity, Book of Eli, and Daybreakers.

I'm sure I left out some movies I've seen as well as some I haven't seen. I believe I covered all the ones I've at least mildly liked.


(Edited to add Harry Potter)

[This message has been edited by philocinemas (edited November 18, 2010).]


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shimiqua
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Bazzinga!

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LDWriter2
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quote:

The only "Next Generation" episode based on another book was the one called "Tin Man." I read the book way before the episode, and the original novelette even further back. My first thought was that they were plagiarizing the book...then I realized it was adapted from it. Inferior in every way.

Was there another case of episode-from-unrelated-book? They also did at least one from the "Star Trek" books, as I recall...


Actually I realized after I hung up, metaphysically speaking, that one of those books was Voyager not STNG.

"Tin Man" was the episode and book. I've seen it a few times at used book stores but never read it. I didn't catch the one from the Star Trek book.
Until recently I've read them all especially the Strange New Worlds. Too bad they couldn't do some shows based on those stories. A Star Trek anthology series or movie.


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LDWriter2
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Wow philocinemas that took a little work.


When I saw the Planet 51 I thought of an old movie with a name something like that I think, and that reminded me of the "The Day The Earth Stood Still" remake---I read the original short story it was based on even though I forget who it was by.

At the time the remake came out they said there were doing three remakes but unless I missed something twice they haven't done the other two. Unless they consider the "Land of the Lost" remake as one.

I was debating in my mind which ones they would remake. I thought one would the movie with the flying saucers with the aliens that wore armor, used disintegrating rays had force shields. Saw that one maybe three times over the years.

That one might partially satisfy my desire for space SF movies.


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Robert Nowall
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"Farewell to the Master," Harry Bates.
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DRaney
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Did anyone else see the program; "How William Shatner Changed the World"? It was a documentary hosted by Cap'n Kirk on the after effects of S.T. on literal technology. Pretty cool action.
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