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August 1, 2019

Static Age #5

The Day of the Triffids (1981) frame from the credit sequence.
As the present column is still in its infancy, moderations are still happening in order to make it as enjoyable as possible, and you will now notice that the film and book sections have gone, and we’ll be focusing on television exclusively. Have fun!

The Day of the Triffids (1981) DVD.
The spotlight of this Static Age’s goes to The Day of the Triffids (1981), directed by Ken Hannam and produced by David Maloney for BBC, which is considered somewhat of a classic of its kind (i.e. 1980s U.K. event television), but I found it to be quite amateurish. However, it is only 6 episodes long (25 minutes each), so it never becomes too tiresome.

I also caught up with the following recent shows…

SyFy’s 4th season of Channel Zero (2016 – 2018) is called The Dream Door and it is about a young couple whose crisis may be going through an emotional crisis (mainly due to the woman’s anxiety attacks and other such psychological issues), but the sex is still good, and they happen to move to a house that the guy inherited from his parents, which is the same that he grew up at. What’s weird though is that soon a strange door appears at their basement that wasn’t there before. It takes them some time to open it and they’ll wish they never had. Terror and fear in this creepy fuck written by Nick Antosca and directed by E.L. Katz, which is easily the best season of the series so far. Featuring a hideous clown that is as good with acrobatics as he is with murdering and that may or may not be real, along with the acting services of terror film legend Barbara Crampton, this is one that should not be missed.

Black Mirror - Season 4
Creator Charlie Brooker’s masterful 4th season of Black Mirror (2011 – present) proves once again that what we have here is the Twilight Zone for the millennial generation. ‘USS Callister’ is about Robert Daly (Jesse Plemons) who by using D.N.A. sample drags his colleagues to a digital world where he’s the boss and bully. ‘Arkangel’, directed by Jodie Foster, is about the titular company that is implanting chips to our kids’ heads in order for our god-like presence to control them at all times. ‘Crocodile’ is about Mia Nolan (the gorgeous Andrea Riseborough) who commits a series of murders out of necessity, but the emerging surveillance technology may be on her tail. ‘Hang the DJ’ is basically a love story set in the world of a match-making program; it is a favorite episode amongst fans, but I found it boring. ‘Metalhead’ is about a robot dog that hunts a woman. ‘Black Museum’ is an anthology episode and it works surprisingly well.

Creator Jonathan E. Steinberg’s 2nd season of Human Target (2010 – 2011) explores further adventures of bodyguard-for-hire Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) and his sidekicks, and is even more formulaic than its sophomore outing, albeit a bit more watchable due to that factor, featuring several action stunts (including fights, explosions, and shootouts) as well the mandatory attractive women that is the staple in such supposedly ‘cool’ fare. The ‘Dead Head’ episode employs Motorhead’s famous ‘Ace of Spades’ tune. ‘The Other Side of the Mall’ episode employs Joey Ramone’s ‘What a Wonderful World’ cover. The overall excellent ‘Kill Bob’ episode employs The Prodigy’s ‘Breathe’.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina - Season 1
While watching the 1st season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018 – present) I had constant debates with my wife on whether the series are pro-Satan (my opinion) or feminist (her opinion), but now that I write those lines I think that we might be both very right. Based upon the famous Archie comics, this is about the titular teenage semi-witch (Kiernan Shipka), who finds herself involved in all sorts of Gothic adventures that are reminiscent of the best works of Tim Burton (yeah, those from the 1990s). The soundtrack is amazing too, and includes classics such as Blondie’s ‘Atomic’, The Ronette’s ‘Be My Baby’, and Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus in Furs’.

Masters of Science Fiction - Season 1
The 1st (and sole) season of Masters of Science Fiction (2007) is hosted by Professor Stephen Hawking and consists of 6 anthology episodes. ‘A Clean Escape’ is based upon a short story by John Kessel (adapted for the screen by Sam Egan and directed by Mark Rydell, and it is set in a post-apocalypse world while it focuses in the weird relationship between a psychiatrist (Judy Davis) and her patient (Sam Waterston). ‘The Awakening’ is about an alien invasion and it is featuring Terry O’Quinn and William B. Davis. ‘Jerry was a Man’ is based upon a short story by Robert A. Heinlein (adapted for the screen by Michael Tolkin, who also directed) and is about a trial that will determine whether a robot with human D.N.A. is a person or a thing; Malcolm McDowell plays the robot’s creator. ‘Little Brother’ is about a Kafka-like trial set in outer space; starring John Hurt. ‘Watchbird’ is set in a futuristic world in which drones that resemble small spaceships prevent killings with their laser guns. ‘The Discarded’ is based upon a short story by Harlan Ellison (adapted for the screen by him and John Olson, and directed by Jonathan Frakes) and it is about alien misfits; starring John Hurt.

Blade: The Series - Season 1
Created by David S. Goyer, the 1st (and sole) season of Blade: The Series (2006) is about the titular Marvel semi-vampire (played by rapper Sticky Fingaz) that hunts bad vampires, and it consists of 12 episodes, the first of which is of feature length. The series are nowhere near as good as the feature that inspired them, but still very enjoyable viewing fare. The final battle is quite epic too. Bear in mind though that the show is particularly gory and is also featuring the occasional glimpse of a boob, so you may not want your kids to see it.

Also created by David S. Goyer (and Daniel Cerone), the 1st (and sole) season of Constantine (2014 – 2015) is about the adventures of the titular British antihero-like exorcist (Matt Ryan) who has to face a variety of demons. I didn’t like the feature film that spawned these series, so I don’t know why I signed up for this, but I quite liked it (the special effects in particular, are amazing) and it is even somewhat scary at places (it mostly resembles a modern horror film, rather than a superhero one, despite it being a DC Comics production). It’s fun seeing all these church lunatics going berserk with devil possessions and all. Renowned director Neil Marshall directs two episodes.

Shootouts and car crashes are aplenty in the 1st season of Taken (2017 – 2018), an actioner created by Luc Besson and Alexander Cary, based upon the same-titled hit film from 2008. The story here concerns ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Clive Standen) whose sister is killed and he is now out for revenge. In the meanwhile he will undertake several other cases, ranging from Islamic terrorism suspects to convicted serial killers. It is overall much better than I was expecting it to be.

Jessica Jones - Season 3
The ultra-gorgeous and as powerful titular hero (Krysten Ritter) of Jessica Jones (2015 – 2019) returns in the series’ 3rd and final season, in which she will search for Trish Walker (Rachel Taylor) who has gone missing, amidst a perfect neo-noir backdrop. Once she is found (in the second episode, or so), it becomes apparent that all she really want despite her lousy job as a television saleswoman, is to re-connect with her sister, and in order to do that she will go as far as to become a super-hero of sorts herself. The problem really arises when the mighty duo will have to team against demented serial killer Gregory Sallinger (an excellent Jeremy Bobb). This is Marvel’s best series so far, and it is a pity it got cancelled.

The 2nd season of Westworld (2016 – present) takes us back to the titular western movie-like amusement park in which human visitors have fun at the expense of human-like robots. This season starts from where the previous one left, namely the rebellion of the robots, and how the humans try via the aid of armed soldiers to restore the supposed order. Nowhere near as entertaining as the first season, this is one of those shows that are intelligent enough to make you think about big questions in regard to life and control, but it just not too much fun as a sci-fi vehicle. Being as philosophical as these series are, expectedly they offer more questions than answers. The movies were very exciting, this show not so much. J.J. Abrams is one of the executive producers and the cast is stellar (Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris return and they are particularly outstanding).

Stranger Things - Season 3
It is impossible to say anything about creators Duffer brothers’ 3rd season of Stranger Things (2016 – present) without revealing any spoilers, so since I am convinced that pretty much everybody will sooner or later catch up with Netflix’s best show yet, I will say nothing about its plot. Set in the mid-1980s and with cultural references to boot (from awesome music to amazing toys and from ancient household devises to obsolete cars) this a retro movie fan’s wet dream, although it also comes with several cool monsters (the CGI are much better this time around), essentially creating an unmatched entertainment event. Event series such as these should be better with each season and this one achieves just that by being the best one yet. And yes, Winona Ryder is still the most attractive woman in the universe. Highly recommended.

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