We went through quite a dry spell, but the new golden age of horror/sci-fi TV is finally here. It seemed for a while as if new shows in these genres were doomed to die a premature death after just thirteen episodes. Some got a complete twenty-two episode season if they were lucky. Shows like NBC’s “The Event” and ABC’s “FlashForward” come to mind. And we can’t forget Fox’s “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” ABC’s “V,” SyFy’s “Stargate: Universe” and the cult favorite, “Firefly” on Fox. “Stargate: Universe” and “V” actually survived one and a half seasons before they got the axe. All of these shows built to an exciting, season-end cliffhanger, just to be unceremoniously canceled, leaving faithful viewers hanging. Except for a few exceptions on the SyFy Channel, horror/sci-fi shows pretty much became extinct on network TV and cable.
Flash forward to now and rejoice, for horror/sci-fi shows are not only back, they are huge hits. AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has become a ratings juggernaut, as well as NBC’s “Revolution” and CBS’s “Under The Dome.” All three shows are well-written, with slick production values. “The Walking Dead” is especially good. It’s like watching a short indie movie every week. “Revolution,” from the overrated J.J. Abrams, started out pretty slow and trite; however, it actually began to get better in the second half of the first season. And “Under The Dome” from the great Stephen King is growing on me. I watched the first episode with trepidation. I mean, my God, they “borrowed” the plot from “The Simpson’s Movie.” Slowly but surely though, I am getting to like the characters and care about their strange plight.
Amongst the new crop of shows this year, two have become favorites of mine. The Canadian series “Continuum” on SyFy seems to get better every week. I’m a sucker for time travel stories, so I would have probably still watched this show if it were rotten. Thank goodness that creator Simon Barry’s series about a beautiful cop from the future perusing time-traveling rebels in present-day Vancouver is smarty written and well-produced. It’s not doing great in the US when it comes to ratings; however, the fact that it’s a hit in Canada should keep it around for a while. The TV series/video game “Defiance” from Kevin Murphy is also a favorite. This futuristic series about humans and extraterrestrials coexisting in the ruins of an unrecognizable St. Louis, Missouri is both imaginative and well made. My only problem with the show is that it will not be back for an entire year.
Then there are the shows on their last leg. I was watching HBO’s “True Blood” the other night, trying very hard not to doze off. Here is an example of a great show that has run its course. The once hip, thrill-a-minute series about vampires and other supernaturals in Bon Temps, Louisiana has gotten sillier and sillier with every new fairy. Nonetheless, fans like me care enough about the characters to continue watching the show until the seventh and final season comes to an end in the summer of 2014.
There so many other wonderful shows to talk about. I look forward to dishing about them with you in weeks to come.