I read. A lot. One plus to 2020? I read more this year. Gamed regularly. Binge watched even more. And that’s our topic for this month. Our first and probably only Papillon Overlord ‘Best in Class/What to Watch’ Award show. All People tested, Papillon approved.
Darkhorse Derby Winner: Prospect
Critic Nick Allen said it best. This movie has vision. Sophie Thatcher is outstanding. Pedro Pascal as Ezra is magnificent squared. Is it a Western? I say passionately and without condition or exception “Hell no!” It’s SpecFic, people! I could be wrong. It doesn’t matter. Prospect is just that right.
Best Wakeup Call: Warrior Nun season 1, episode 6.
Warrior nun isn’t a perfect show yet. Far from it. But the ensemble clicks, the writing is clever in places, and Spain. Episode six also has the best wakeup call and ‘Oh screw this’ moment rolled into one. Ever.
More People Need to See: The Rain
Miniseries: Tales From the Loop
Visually carried by the imagination of Simon Stålenhag and directed to perfection, this series delivers. Don’t expect action and explosions. Do expect characters and crisp, beautiful visual shots.
Sapphic Stunner: Motherland: Fort Salem
You can’t escape death, taxes, or the chemistry in Motherland: Fort Salem. Some people only read/watch Alternative History. I generally avoid it. As a result, I almost missed this amazing show. Strike that: potentially amazing show.
As an Ally, I love it. So far. Season two will tell. Show that educates as it entertains? Or just another formulaic, play with issues but play it safe might have been?
Small Font to Big Screen: Annihilation
Few novels survive the transition to screenplay and to screen unscathed. A vehicle like Annihilation? I wouldn’t have even tried. So many opportunities for missteps.
Alex Garland of ’28 Days Later’ fame avoids them all and delivers a solid rendition. Too bad box office goers didn’t agree. Prove them wrong. Watch it for yourself.
Timely Topical: Resident Alien
Late Update: Already renewed, this and the upcoming ‘Surreal Estate’ promise to bring SciFi back into our regular viewing rotation.
Swing and a Miss: Oktober Faction
So much potential. Buy the comics.
Honorable Mention: Sweet Home
Something strange is afoot in the Green House. The tenants are turning into monsters. But not all of them are evil. To misquote Abraham Erskine from Captain America, “…good becomes great. Bad becomes worse.” Action!
Phoenix Award: The Expanse
Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Defeat in this case being yet another cancellation of a series that would, coulda, shoulda. Season one is a balancing act, and a lot of series fall.
Withhold too much and the audience doesn’t become attached. Throw too much at them? In the words of Detective Josephus Miller “Go into a room too fast, kid… The room eats you.” The Expanse got it right. Don’t eat them. Reward them.
Gem in the Rough: Shadow and Bone
So much we want to like. Fingers crossed on this one.
Ahead of its Time, Time After Time: Dr. Who
Robot not Android: Silent Running
Five years before R2 you know who captivated audiences, a seminal trio of robots stole the show–almost–in Silent Running. Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Android not Robot: Shrike, Mortal Engines
Second in audience impact only to the breakfast scene in Alien is the scene where Ripley is consulting Mother–and Ash appears. Sorry Commander Data, you don’t even come in second. Shrike is one of the most intriguing characters to stalk the big screen and a compelling read as well.
Mighty Montage: Soldier
As previously discussed, and second only to Outlander and Queen.
Original Soundtrack: Hanna
House and Techno live on. Big Beat? It’s definitely a thing of the past, but the soundtrack to Hanna by the Chemical Brothers is timeless. Okay, I may be influenced by my love of the film. Or not.
SpaceShip of All Time: Millenium Falcon
It’s the age old engineer vs. architect debate. If we want a ship designed by an architect–and that always ends well–look no further than Star Trek. If we value function over form, it’s hard to beat the USCSS Nostromo. Fantastic power to weight ratio, redundant systems galore, and cold sleep.
Need firepower? Your hands-down, one-stop shop is the 宇宙戦艦ヤマト, aka Space Battleship Yamato and the Wave Motion Gun. But let us not forget what Homer taught us in the Illiad. In the immortal words of Odysseus, “Win if you can, lose if you must, but always outrun ’em.”
That means one ship. The Millennium Falcon. Serenity will always be my sentimental choice, but the Falcon combines sharp design features, efficient use of space, and, well, it’s wicked fast. Game over, man.
Little Engine That Could: This is basically our honorable mention category for spaceship, and it is wholly owned by the venerable Eagle from Space 1999. Essentially Thomas the Tank Engine 1999, early Eagle marketers coined the phrase “But wait, there’s more…”
CLOSING CATEGORY- Utility Vehicle: Warthog
Sorry, rovers from UFO and Lost in Space. Nobody beats ‘Da Bears,’ and nothing, no how no way, tops the Warthog.