Wednesday, December 6, 2017

SF: An Addendum

Ok, it's not like there has been any demand from my readership, but I'm going to give you one more post on science fiction tv series anyway. Hey, it's free!

I got around to watching Stargate: Atlantis and yes, it's a good series. In place of Richard Dean Anderson's Everyman there is Joe Flanigan who is pretty good (though not as good as Anderson). The character who ends up dominating the show is Canadian David Hewlett who actually plays a Canadian character with Canadian flag patch and everything. He even says "zed pee em" instead of "zee pee em" which undoubtedly confuses anyone south of the border. This is the only instance of a Canadian character starring in a US series that I can think of. Hewlett's character is a kind of updated version of Michael Shanks' role from SG-1, a nerdy genius who is always getting athwart the other characters. But Hewlett's character is even nerdier and self-deprecatingly arrogant--now that's a uniquely Canadian character! Rachel Luttrell is an appealing character as is the Scot Paul McGillion. Indeed, this is the most international cast I can recall. In later seasons Jewel Staite, who was part of the cast on Firefly, comes on to replace the role of McGillion. Stargate: Atlantis, like SG-1, is shot in Vancouver, so we have the usual alien planets that always look a bit like the Pacific Northwest.

Yes, I quite enjoyed the series (I am in season 4 right now) which displays many of the same virtues as the original in that it is an action adventure with lots of humor. It makes few concessions to political correctness, which is nice. One of the most entertaining episodes involves an encounter between the muscle of the new series, Jason Momoa, with the muscle of the old series, Christopher Judge. At first they just glare at one another, but after a fair amount of sparring and testing one another, end up clearing the whole of the Stargate Command complex of Wraith invaders just by themselves.

The other series, which I discovered courtesy of a commentator is Warehouse 13, shot in Toronto (which is why there are so many snowy backgrounds and visits to supposed Mid-Western towns like Cheyenne, Wyoming). This show stars Saul Rubinek who has appeared in guest roles in a zillion other tv series including Star Trek: TNG and Stargate SG-1. I have not been a big fan as I often feel he is chewing the scenery a bit too much and by that I mean his performances seem mannered to me. But in Warehouse 13 he seems to have hit it just right and he is great in the part of the eccentric manager/leader of the team. Warehouse 13 seems devoted to presenting to us the most spectacularly beautiful Canadian actresses possible and by that I mean Genelle Williams:

--who seems to have little enough to do to justify her starring role. Then there is Allison Scagliotti who does grow into her role, but is even more stunningly beautiful:

Allison is actually American, not Canadian, but the lead female role is played by Joanne Kelly, who is from Newfoundland:

Warehouse 13 is a pretty good show, with a charming retro tech aesthetic, but seems to flag a bit after the first couple of seasons. I'm in season three right now. The villains are pretty good and the stories are fairly inventive. The whole series is like a take off on the final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where some nameless government employee nails the ark into a packing crate and trundles it off into the depths of an enormous government warehouse. Voila, Warehouse 13, which explores what else might be in that fascinating place.

Raiders of the Lost Ark, final scene


Steven Watson said...

I tried the first season of SG1 but I'm afraid I really couldn't get into it. Seemed bland -- I always expect sci-fi to be eccentric, with eccentric characters.

Warehouse 13 does go downhill. Season 5, a short epilogue really, felt underwhelming. But as you said elsewhere, it's like that with many series. (Not to put you off. I think it's still worth watching -- probably...)

have you seen Frasier? Rubinek was quite good in that playing a slovenly lawyer.

Bryan Townsend said...

I haven't watched Frasier in years and years. Rubinek has appeared in an enormous number of series and films--a really outstanding character actor for the most part.