Tuesday, September 14, 2010

SGU & Todd & the Book of Pure Evil

Two shows on the Space Channel are definitely worth watching this year. One show is returning for its second season, and the other is airing its series premier. The first is Stargate Universe, or SGU for short.
 It is returning for its second season following a dramatic cliff-hanger ending. The story is of a mixed group of scientists and military personal who have become stranded on an ancient space ship that is trillions of miles away from Earth. The ship is launching itself ever farther from Earth and the stranded group have been trying to return to Earth via a transporter that is found on the ship. The transporter works, but it has only a limited range except for particular portal stations that are close to Earth but are exceedingly rare and cannot be (as yet) connected with the ship's transporter; connecting is called 'dialing' on the show. This probably sounds complicated, but it is explained very well on the show. The first season is available on DVD in two separate sets: season 1.0 and 1.5. This is an absolute money grab by the Syfy Network that produces the show, but it is nonetheless worth watching.

SGU is just as good as some of the best sci-fi shows that have been produced over the past 10 years. To me, the last decade has been a high-water mark for this genre. Shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Dr. Who, Reaper, and the Sarah Connor Chronicles are some of my favorites, and SGU proudly stands shoulder to shoulder with them. SGU is also similar to the writing style of Battlestar Galactica, and has a familiar gritty feel to who the show is shot. The atmosphere is always foreboding, but characters such as Eli (played by David Blue) add an element of humanness that keep me coming back. In addition, while at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con I caught the SGU panel and it reminded me of just how great this show is. They didn't drop too many hints as to how the show's story would play out in the upcoming season, but to see and hear how the actors relate to one-another was priceless. Also, Robert Carlyle, who plays Dr. Rush, revealed that he directs one of the episodes. Carlyle is a truly great Scottish actor who to me will forever be remembered for his role as Begbie in the movie Trainspotting and his funny-yet-scary character in Ravenous.

SGU returns in Canada to the Space Channel on October 1st, 10 E/P

Todd & the Book of Pure Evil appears to be another great show. It is not like SGU in subject matter or style of filming /story, but is similar in that it seems to be another great science fiction show that will be truly memorable and yearned for week after week. All that I know of this show comes from a hand full of TV trailers and a short blip I saw on a recap show of this summer's Toronto Fan Expo. The show is about a group of high school students who come across a 'Book of Pure Evil'. Monsters and demons appear to pursue the students because they have this book, and of course, hilarity ensues as these students are shown to be nothing but a group of well meaning bumbling fools. The series is based on a Canadian short film that was made and aired at festivals back in 2003. I have never seen the short film, but the tv show thus far appears similar to Reaper, which is always aces in my book. Also aces, is that this is a wholly Canadian show. It is shot in Canada, with a Canadian cast, and produced by the Canadian Space Channel! I feel like I should eat a poutine doused in maple syrup while watching the first episode. However, one element that is not Canadian is that of Jason Mewes. Most people know him as Jay, from the Jay and Silent Bob fame. He can be incredibly funny, and more importantly if he believed this show was worthy enough for him to appear in, then it has to be at least half decent.

Todd & the Book of Pure Evil premiers in Canada on the Space Channel, September 29th, 9 E/P
A special in-depth preview of the show airs on the Space Channel's excellent program, InnerSPACE, on September 22, 9 E/P

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