Friday, August 19, 2005

Science Fiction Television

My wife and I are big science fiction fans, especially when it's done well. We live in a rural area without cable service, and we're too cheap to pay for satellite service since we'll only be interested in two or three of the channels offered.

Therefore, we rely on DVDs for most of our television entertainment. The downside to this is that we often have to watch shows a season after everyone's been talking about them. But in terms of science fiction TV shows, watching on DVD is a great way to go.

We've just watched the two Dune miniseries that were aired on the SciFi Channel in 2000 and 2003. The first one, oddly enough titled Frank Herbert's Dune, is an okay adaptation of the classic novel. The special effects and the sets are a bit substandard, and the acting is more than quite a bit stilted, but it's much more cogent and intelligible than the David Lynch movie from 1984.

After viewing that, our expectations were low for Children of Dune. But after even the first episode, it was easy to tell we were in for a treat. It turns out that this miniseries actually was an adaptation of two novels, Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. Due to this condensation, the pacing is better. The acting is very good, and even quite moving at times. Even Alec Newman, whom I couldn't stand as Paul in the first miniseries, brings subtleties to his reprisal of the role. It's well worth slogging through the first series to get to this one.

On the recommendation of a coworker of mine, we have started watching Firefly. After only three episodes, we're hooked. We're going to try to watch all the episodes from the cancelled Fox TV series before the movie, Serenity, is released this fall.



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