Oh boy, GenCon is just around the corner. I have four days until I head out to Indianapolis for the first time. Well, I’ve driven through twice before, but first time at GenCon. So there’s a lot to see and do at GenCon. Board Game…
Wait, wait, wait, isn’t Dungeons and Dragons fantasy? Yeah, Dungeons and Dragons is epic fantasy and we’re adding aliens into the mix. And not just some weird creatures from another plane, we’re adding in spaceships and craziness like that to Dungeons and Dragons, deal with…
I first heard about the original Ultraman when Kristen and I were listening to Ready Player One, at least that I remember. There’s a cool moment with Ultraman and how he works that is talked about in that book. I was surprised when I saw that Netflix had released a new Ultraman show.
Ultraman, the Netflix show, is based off of the same character as the 1966-1967 show from Japan. The original show revolves around aliens attacking earth and until Ultraman shows up, the Science Patrol (yes, it’s called the Science Patrol), are unable to drive back the aliens. Now, it’s the next generation of Ultraman. The Science patrol is still around, but the alien threat is now from aliens who are living on earth. When an alien shows up that was last seen 12 years ago when a plane crashed killing everyone on board, the Science Patrol kicks it up a notch.
The show isn’t all that complex a show plot wise, it’s aliens do something, and the human who is Ultraman shows up and has a moral quandary about he’s doing. And it kind of repeats that trope throughout the show, but it does have some through lines in the show. Especially at the end of the season you get a through line in a few episodes. This isn’t a show that has a ton of major through lines though. You tend to just get two or three episodes that are somewhat tied together. But I think some of that simplicity is what makes the show work. They don’t try and confuse it too much with misdirection upon misdirection.
I think it also works because the style of animation on the show is an interesting 3D anime style animation. It wasn’t something that I thought I’d like, but they do a solid job with it. I do think that there are a few spots where it is rough around the edges, but in some ways, that’s some of the charm of the animation style. You get that billow of smoke that looks solid, but not as good as you thought it was going to be. And since it is based off of something in the 1960’s, not sure how faithfully, having that little bit of feel where it’s trying to do something on the cutting edge is fun. It kind of works with the premise of Ultraman, and you also end up with some 3D animations that are just amazing.
Anime shows often come down to how the voice acting is done, especially in watching a dub. Netflix didn’t really hold back on getting talent for this, which was great. You have Josh Hutcherson voicing the main character and Critical Role cast members Matt Mercer and Liam O’Brien voicing character as well. So you have solid voice acting, and there’s something fun about recognizing voices in an anime, especially when it isn’t just the main few voice actors that you get on many a Funimation dubbed show.
Overall, this is a very fun show. It doesn’t try to be too much and do too much. As Kristen said about it, there’s just something fun about it, and I think that is the best away to describe it. It’s definitely a show for teenagers and adults, but it doesn’t mean that it’s too heavy. And it doesn’t have sex in it really, there’s just alien blood and once in a while human blood and various gore that you see. Even that isn’t too bad compared to what it could have been. And it’s just nice to have that action show where the character is growing that doesn’t end up relying on violence of fan service. So don’t go into it expecting anything that profound or deep, but do expect a good time.
Have you watched Ultraman on Netflix? Did you like the show?
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Continuing down the Cloverfield watching line, a few weeks ago, I got to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane, as compared to Cloverfield which I’ve seen a handful of times, I hadn’t actually seen 10 Cloverfield Lane before, it had somehow slipped by with how much I…
Thought it was time to move away from gaming of different types and back into the world of television.
Where even to begin with sci-fi shows? What makes sci-fi shows that have been successful interesting and long-lasting?
The biggest reason for me, as to why I watch sci-fi and fantasy shows, even though I’ll just be touching on sci-fi right now, is that they are good escapism. I like the idea of escaping and exploring something that is different from what my normal life is. Sci-Fi shows are about high adventure and something that is very foreign to what I know.
But another big reason is the way sci-fi shows are able to touch on situations and real-life scenarios. They can delve into an issue that would otherwise be too fraught, as it would hit too close to home if it was set in the world as we know it. They can touch on many different areas of politics and human interactions that we see as part of our normal life. It helps to separate an issue from what we know and what we already feel about it. And sci-fi does a great job of slipping it into shows, especially long lasting ones, so it maintains an enjoyable quality throughout while still raising topics that we don’t normally want to think about, or that we think about in only one given way.
So, that is is why I enjoy sci-fi shows, along with more reasons that are generally on a show-by-show basis.
What would you recommend to watch?
Why, thank you for asking!
Doctor Who: The Classic series, not so much. It is kind of entertaining, but doesn’t hold up well to time, so it is better to start with the newer Doctor Who series. We have an article up on the site already giving more detail into what Doctor Who is, and some suggestions of episodes to watch to get a feel for the show. The new Doctor Who series does start off fairly rough with episodes that aren’t as well-written and that have poor special effects, but it gets greatly better over time.
Star Trek The Next Generation: I haven’t seen all of the show, but the episodes that I’ve watched I’ve greatly enjoyed. It hits on one of the big things that I like about Ssci-fi shows (actually, both), but anything where they are traveling to distant worlds, meeting aliens, and having adventures in space, and sometimes taking themselves very seriously for deep episodes, is a show that I enjoy a lot.
Stargate SG1: My guess is this will be one of the more controversial on the list, but I really enjoy it. It blends a lot of action with a rich mythology of the universe, and it generally doesn’t take itself too seriously. The big hook to me was the fact that it delves a lot into Egyptian Mythology while playing off of alien worlds. This one has the least amount of non-human aliens of any of the shows, but it is still enjoyable as they tie history into the different civilizations that are visited. And the mechanic for travel is very unique.
Eureka: This one definitely doesn’t take itself seriously either. A show about a town of super geniuses who don’t have that much common sense and are regularly getting into trouble? That sounds interesting. Throw in an average-Joe sheriff who finds himself accidentally in this town, and it’s great. There’s good humor throughout the show and some nice character development as well. If you are looking for something to challenge you and really force you to think, this isn’t the show, but it’s rare that Eureka misses on an episode, and throughout its run, it was always enjoyable. Colin Ferguson is amazing in the role as the sheriff and does a great job with the physical nature of much of the comedy.
Killjoys: This one is going onto its second season, but it is one of a few rare sci-fi shows that is coming out right now. It is about a group of bounty hunters who live out on a far part of the universe. Earth to them isn’t a thing, and they have their own galaxy and group of planets that have their sets of problems. The galaxy they are in has a lot of depth and a lot of intrigue. What I like about it, though, is that while it is serious and the worlds and political problems are serious, the show also has many lighter moments as well. This allowed me to watch it without feeling dragged down or like nothing was really happening, like some shows out there.
Firefly: This one I put down at the end along with Killjoys for one reason: if you get really sucked into these sci-fi shows, there isn’t that much of either. Thankfully, Killjoys is continuing, but Firefly, a short-lived sci-fi western ran for all of 14 episodes. It is a fun romp that starts to get into the depth of the political governments and could have built from there, but mainly it was a lot of fun, with very unique characters and well-played roles. I’d highly recommend it, and if you enjoy it, you will be left wanting a whole lot more.
Now that you have a point to start bingeing on sci-fi shows, what are some that you’ve watched an really enjoyed? I wanted to say more, but that might have gotten a bit overwhelming.
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