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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Geek Summer TV, 2011 Edition

by Ken Newquist / July 18, 2011

This is turning into one geeky summer for television, with five science fiction shows on the air at once -- Futurama, Falling Skies, Warehouse 13, Eureka and Alphas -- and most of them are actually good!. Join me as I run down the shows and take a look at trailers for their respective seasons.

Futurama

First up we've got Futurama with all-new episodes airing on Comedy Central, and apparently another two seasons of the show ordered for 2012-2013. Futurama's long been one of my favorite shows, and I mourned it along with others when it died ... and then happily watched it's resurrection as direct-to-DVD movies. I never thought it would actually make it back to TV Land ... and yet, it has! It's got the same stupid sense of humor it always had (fart jokes, more fart jokes and, umm, yeah, fart jokes) with the occasional fits of geeky brilliance mixed in.

  • Futurama airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

Falling Skies

Falling Skies is TNT's new alien invasion series, and the hardest of the science fiction shows on TV this summer. It stars Noah Wyle (ER, The Librarian) as a history professor turned human freedom fighter. When the series opens, the aliens have already conquered and/or destroyed all of Earth's major cities and short-circuited humanity's advanced technology. There's very little details available about how the aliens managed this -- was there a planet-wide electro-magnetic pulse? -- but there's no doubt about who the dominant species is.

I watched the series in a mini-marathon thanks to my DVR, and I have to say I'm enjoying it. I like Noah Wyle's Tom character, who's role as a post-apocalyptic dad trying to preserve his family is all too easy to relate to. I'd like to see more time spent delving into the show's mythology; the initial episodes have focused almost entirely on Tom's family, with only a few bits about the alien invaders. I wouldn't mind an infodump or two to catch us up on the invasion itself.

  • Falling Skies airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.

Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13 is quirky show featuring government agents hunting down rare and usually dangerous artifacts like Abraham Lincoln's top hat that forces you to tell the truth or Shakespearean folios that cause readers to die in the same manner as the plays. It's lightyears away from serious science fiction, but they do a good job of building on their premise in fun and unique ways.

  • Warehouse 13 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on SyFy.

Eureka

I hated all the psuedoscience technobabble in the final seasons of Star Trek: Next Generation and Voyager. It seemed like they were more interested in handwaving their way in and out of plots then they were with telling compelling stories or leveraging real science. Surprisingly, this doesn't bother me with Eureka, mostly because it never takes itself too seriously. With Star Trek you got the sense that they really wanted you to believe in the particle of the week, which in turn undermined that self-same belief. With Eureka, they throw out all kinds of weird science, but you roll with it because you know its going to be entertaining.

Plus, they know their geeky fan base -- Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day have both guest starred (and apparently will be guest starring again this season), and that alone is a reason to tune in.

  • Eureka airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on SyFy.

Alphas

Last on the list is Alphas, which features super-powered mutants solving crimes and/or saving the world. I haven't watched it yet -- to be honest, it feels too much like a knock off of the Uncanny X-Men, and I like the X-Men too much to put up with pretenders to the throne. Plus, part of me hates SyFy for killing of Stargate: Universe to make way for something like this in their line-up. Admittedly its better than pro wrestling ... but I'm still bitter.

  • Alphas airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on SyFy.

Comments

I'm not happy with SyFy either, with slightly different reasons.
-SG universe was ploddingly paced with soap-operaesque interpersonal relations (it had promise, but did not deliver)
-It was taken off the air (the ending was good) for Alphas, an even slower paced show with even more absurd characters.
-as a general rule, the movies suck. I'm not looking for whiz-bang sfx, but can I please get some writting that makes sense or more than one actor who can carry the show. (Rhys is a geek treat, but his one man shows a lack luster)

I think Universe was hitting its stride by the end of Season 2. I think Season 1 suffered too much from the BSG-effect, but I was willing to put up with that because the writers seemed interested in incorporating actual science into their series. It was much more understated than any of the other SG series, and yes, I'd prefer a return to the straight-up space opera of SG-1, but I enjoyed it.

As for the movies, unless I missed something I think the point is that they are supposed to suck. :)

b movies and camp are alright . . . to a point. A steady diet of such is like eating just hamburgers (with no variation in toppings, condiments or even cooking time and no fries or potato salad and no beer, iced tea, soda or water and knowing that you'll have the same tomorrow)

It's sad, but I don't rely on SyFy to provide me with quality meals. It's a junk food source all the way. Now where's my vanilla milk shake?

not even ice cream or oreo cookies, just pork rinds.
I like to think, or at least hope, that there is enough demand for quality scifi, but then again, maybe not.