Symptom 87: A Rock Hopper Goes Splat

Time to wrap up our trip to The Expanse and say goodbye to the Belta Lowda’s and InyaLowda’s. Well, until season 4, or until we decide to discuss the novels. We finish up discussing season 3 and we spend a lot of time discussing if we really want Admiral Souther leading our fleet and if Errinwright is actually a bad guy or just an uber nationalist acting out of a misplaced sense of tribal loyalty to his own. Yeah, that sentence is a little crazy and made most people label a liberal. Oh well. We also talk about where season four might be heading and the awesome discovery that whatever built the rings was destroyed by something they found…and what is Ghost Miller’s real purpose?

Next week - horror month returns!

Symptom 86: Who's Going To Grind Season Two Into Martian Dust

Who continue our discussion of The Expanse this week as we dive into season two. Season two gives us a deeper dive into Mars and the major Martian players. Season two also gives the interesting moral dilemma of how many people would you kill to advance the human species and make a breakthrough that will benefit all of mankind. Jules Pierre Mao is caste as the villain and most evil man among the human race - however, if you knew that you could cure all disease for all time, but you would have to run experiments that would kill 10 million people, would you do it? We spend a lot of time on that question in this episode as well as talking about new characters introduced.

Symptom 85: Dis One's For Da Belta Loda

Expanded September, in which we review the SciFi turned Amazon original series The Expanse, kicks off with a general discussion of season one and all things expanse. We break down the main characters motivations as well as the role of the proto-molecule as both plot device and science, and attempt to dig into the observations the authors/writers are making about the human condition.

Symptom 84: In Space No One Can Copy Aliens

We conclude Copycat August in September with a discussion of Alien and how it was stolen, I mean copied, I mean inspired, I mean, bears a similarity to the Ixtl in the novel Voyage of The Space Beagle. The Voyage of the Space Beagle has an Alien that gets onto the ship full of space scientists, has super strength and intelligence and lays its eggs inside humans and gets defeated by being tricked out into space. Alien has a alien that sneaks onto the ship full of space scientists, lays its eggs in humans and is defeated by being blown out of an airlock. 

Yes, clearly different stories. One goes dun dun dun da da dun dun and the other goes dun dun dun da da din din. 

Or maybe they are different stories because their isn't a face hugger, scientists aren't space truckers and the Ixtl doesn't really remember a Xenomorph.  

The real question - does it matter? You can't hold a patent on any space survival story written, even if its 30 years later, because you wrote a short story about a crew surviving a hostile Alien trying to take over their ship (and laying eggs inside living human bodies). There are only so many concepts and as long as the authors characters are original and there is at least some effort at a unique setting/plot, then maybe its ok to be inspired by or even retell with a twist a story that came before. 

Symptom 83: Star Copy Wars

Ok, maybe James Cameron copied aspects of Harlan Elison's works for Terminator, but certainly GIANTS such as Lucas and Roddenberry did not? Well, maybe not Gene so much, but his successor Rick Berman maaaaay have stolen the Borg from Dr. Who and George, well George stole from everything he ever watched and the amalgamation was Star Wars, but if there was one science fiction franchise Lucas was really inspired by - it might have been Dune. 

This week we discuss how The Borg are influenced by the Cybermen and how Star Wars owes far more than a desert planet to Frank Herbert. 

Symptom 82: Come With Me If You Want To Copy

Terminator. It is a classic. It is maybe a perfect action science fiction film. Well written, well acted, well produced. Stolen. 

Yes, stolen. You'd have to watch two Outer Limits shows, Demon With a Glass Hand and Solder written by Harlan Ellison, who also wrote Star Trek's City on The Edge of Forever and about 1700 other things, as well as read an Ellison novel I Have No Mouth and Must Scream, to see it, but once you do, you can't not see. 

Demon With a Glass Hand tells the tale of a time traveling cyborg, who looks human, sent back in time to defend the last hope of humanity from invading aliens who have defeated humanity in the future and can seal that victory by winning this last battle in the past. Soldier tells the story of two infantry men from the future who travel back in time to the then present day and end up killing each other. I Have No Mouth And Must Scream tells of a supercomputer that becomes sentient, envelops the other supercomputers and kills nearly all of humanity. 

These things sounds familiar yet. I thought so. Add to this a report of Cameron admitting he drew from Ellison's Outer Limits works and stories and well, you see why Ellison got awarded $65,000 outside of court. 

But here is the real question - does it matter?

Ellison's stories never told the exact tale Terminator does. Each told a separate aspect. Cameron took those disparate aspects and combined then into a mostly, somewhat, unique tale. Is it plagiarism? No. Is it borrowing? Yes. Is Terminator somewhat original? Maybe. 

Is it stolen - you betcha. 

Symptom 81: Take Me Back To The Galactic Ley Line

So lets see, we have a child like engineer, an anti-hero gunslinger trying to take whatever odd job he can to make ends meet and preferably get into space and keep flying, a super powerful female character that arrives unconscious in a case after being broken out of government captivity. Our hero is going to protect said superwoman while the galactic government of the many systems tries to hunt her down.

Nope, its not Firefly - its an anime called Outlaw Star.  Did Joss Whedon steal Firefly from this?

No! Not a chance. But that doesn't stop people from seeing the similarities and saying he did. 

But stop, lets say he did get the idea for River Tam from this, and the basic setting of a used future, space western where humanity has colonized many systems and everything is a mix of English and Chinese culture and language...would that make Firefly any less amazing?

To me no. To some maybe and that is at the center of this months topic, Copy Cat August. 

Joss Whedon did not steal Firefly from this terrible anime. Sorry Ragemaster, it is horrible and largely unwatchable. Sorry Anime fans, maybe I (Scott) just don't like Anime. (Sacrilege!!! Fake Science Fiction Fan!!! Fake Nerd!!!!!)


Copy Cat August

This month we delve into a touchy topic among science fiction fans - borrowing from a past work. If Terminator was inspired by two Harlan Ellison scripts from the Outer Limits does that invalidate the movie? If Joss Whedon ripped off River Tam from a bad anime does that reduce Firefly to garbage or make Whedon a no talent hack? Did these things even actually occur? That's what we discuss this month in Copy Cat August. 

Symptom 79: Yippee Kai Yay Marty!

Back to Future 3 - I hate Clara. I mean, Marty defeats a bear with his shoes, I mean, when did dogs learn to read, or, just Back to The Future 3. 

We discuss why Doc can't remember the other DMC has a full tank of gas, how hover boards move faster than trains and on a more serious note, why two of us hated this movie as kids but love it as adults. Back to Future 3 again becomes a story about people instead of a visually great action romp like 2 was. 

Don't forget to support our sponsor - Colt Whiskey and Joey's Wake Up Juice

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Symptom 78: The Future We Wanted

Back to The Future 2 - the movie that go so much right about the future, but got one important thing wrong (hover boards) and well, other things, like flying cars, but seriously, I want a real hover board. 

This is part two of one of the greatest trilogies of all time...and since Star Wars has become a nine part, well 8 part going on 9 with two spinoff movies and more on the way, maybe the greatest trilogy of all time, but is part two better than part one? It is fun, it is funny, it is an action romp, but it also lacks the human element present in the first movie. Does that make it worse? We kick that idea around and more as we relieve our childhood with Back to The Future 2. 

Symptom 77: 1.21 Gigawatts!

Back to The Future is a perfect movie. I said perfect. Whatever you think is wrong with it, I don't care, it is perfect. Nope, that doesn't matter, nope, I don't know what you said to your computer or phone or tablet. Don't care. It is a perfect movie. It works as a comedy, science fiction film and has elements of action and drama and at its core is a story about interpersonal relationships between people. The plot drives the story, is free of any movie breaking holes or oversights and has a rewatchability that most films don't approach. It is a fun and engaging film on its first watch and its 100th watch. It gave us five iconic characters, if you count the time machine, and you better if you count the Millennium Falcon as a character in Star Wars.

Are there elements of this film that don't age well or scenes that would be written differently if the movie were made today? Yep, but they don't ruin the movie. All films are products of the cultural and social morals of their time and you can't judge a film by the morality of today. We discuss these, as well as some of our favorite scenes and little background bits you may not have noticed. We also introduce a new segment for this month during the mid show break - Biff's Bits, in which you get advice from the one and only Biff Tannen. 

Promo - Back to The Future Month

For July the theme is - Back to The Future. This is one of my all time favorite movie franchises. It is also a favorite among the crew. Rarely do we all agree something is amazing, but we do on this.   For the first three weeks of this months we will review the Back to The Future series. Because we need a fourth week, we found another time travel movie - Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  

Bonus Symptom: The Forgotten Trek

I promised a bonus episode and here it is. I could not conclude Sci-Fi Saturday Morning month without discussing Star Trek The Animated Series. It has its flaws, (flat voice acting, Filmation and all that implies) but there is some good Trek in here, dealing with issues of the human condition and how we can be the best society we possibly can. This bonus edition discussing the series in general, is it canon and reviews two episodes - Yesteryear and The Magics of Megas-Tu. Yep, Kirk meets the devil, and he's cool. 

Symptom 76: A Cartoonist And A Conspiracy Theorist Walk Into A Board Room

Well, usually we try to review stuff fans have heard of, or have some redeeming value, or are not a complete waste of a human beings time, or are marginally competent film or tv. This week however, we review Roswell Conspiracies, perhaps the worst thing ever created. 

It is a cartoon that in theory is about a secret alliance that protects Earth from Aliens and keeps humanity from knowing the danger it is in. It also has a division that uses the media to misdirect citizens toward fake conspiracies an UFO activity, so they don't find the real aliens. Pretty hard to mess up. In reality, this cartoon is what happens when writers think they are smart, but are not. It is what happens when the network that carries it has Street Sharks as its flagship program. It is what happens when anything that can reach a 22 minute run time, even if its filled with sexism and possible unintentional racism, gets aired because slots have to be filled. 

This week we review the worst piece of TV ever, Roswell Conspiracies. 

Symptom 75: Cowabunga Dude! Lets Kick Some Fin

Sci-Fi Saturday month continues as we discuss the greatest cartoon of a generation - TMNT, and an abomination that never should have got beyond a pitch - Street Sharks. 

TMNT - the beloved greatest cartoon of my generation - doesn't quite hold up the same way Ghostbusters or Gargoyles does. And it doesn't matter. TMNT was a cartoon designed to sell toys to kids and entertain them and it has done that for the last 30 years. It may be the most long-lived and successful children cartoon ever. If the story telling doesn't hold up when I watch it as an adult - who cares, it was not supposed to. I still can enjoy a re-watch for nostalgia. 

Street Sharks - well, Ragemaster suggests you watch it. I say - don't waste the 22 minutes, or the the five. You will never get them back and you could be doing something much better, like watching grass grow or paint dry, or giving yourself a root canal without novocain. 

Symptom 74: Back to C137

Let the Ricksanity begin. Grab your portal gun because this week its Rick and Morty.  This show is a perfect example of the fun, mind bending and meaningful story telling that can happen when soft sic-fi is combined with animation and a 22 minute run time. 

Yes, the show goes after the low hanging comedic fruit. Yes, the animation is bad. Who cares. The story telling is solid, the comedy is excellent, the characters grow and the soft science fiction format allows mind bleepery such as multiple dimensions, the council of Rick's, infinite Rick's, since the science functions as magic anything is on the table. 

We wrap up this show with a discussion of the time that elapses between seasons and our hopes/fears for the future of this series. 

Symptom 73: When Disney Pulled A Riker's Beard

Back in the mid 90's Disney did something it would probably never do today, it released a kids cartoon with dark story telling themes, heavily pulled from Shakespeare, that was geared toward older teens and adults. The result was amazing. It was, Gargoyles.  

Gargoyles was a smartly written cartoon run by writers who were able to exercise creative control and tell the story they wanted to tell. The combination of great writing, a 22 minute run time and 1st rate voice acting was a show that simply gets better as time goes by. 

We will discuss the awakening episodes that started the series, the two gathering episodes and the one where Puck makes Goliath believe he has travelled to a dystopian future to steal the Phoenix Gate. 

***We had a guest in studio today, one of the members had to bring their son along, so you may hear some great random drop in's by our fifth man in the room this week***

This weeks episode brought to you by Garks! a fictional product that does not actually exist. I'd say you can order them now, but since we haven't produced any yet, the cost might run 5 figures per action figure.  More if you'd like the special run figures that have real rocket pack action, and who doesn't want a shark/gargoyle superhero with a rocket pack? Operators are not standing by now to take your order.