Category Archives: TV and Film Ruminations

SF TV Episode Reviews: Survivors (1975-1977): Season 1, Ep. 3, “Gone Away”

Preliminary Note: I’ve decided to try Terry Nation’s post-apocalyptic drama Survivors (1975-1977). For the background and history of the show check out the Wikipedia entry. Terry Nation might be best known as the creator of the Daleks in Dr. Who and Blake’s 7 (1978-1981).

You are welcome to watch along with me (episode 3 is on YouTube). I cannot promise how many episodes I’ll get through or at what rate I’ll watch the show.

This will not be a formal review but rather an informal/brief collection of ruminations.

Previously on Survivors (episode 2)…

In the second episode “Genesis” (full review), the narrative followed three main characters–Jenny, Abby, and Greg—and the events leading up to their meeting. After Abby’s disturbing encounter with Wormley, one of many armed survivors with visions of power and conquest,  she decides that she cannot cast in her lot with a potential amoral/violent individual, but rather create her own community. Grant, initially in the orbit of the elitist Continue reading SF TV Episode Reviews: Survivors (1975-1977): Season 1, Ep. 3, “Gone Away”

SF TV Episode Reviews: Survivors (1975-1977): Season 1, Ep. 2, “Genesis”

Preliminary Note: I’ve decided to try Terry Nation’s post-apocalyptic drama Survivors (1975-1977). For the background and history of the show check out the Wikipedia entry. Terry Nation might be best known as the creator of the Daleks in Dr. Who and Blake’s 7 (1978-1981).

You are welcome to watch along with me (episode 2 is on YouTube). I cannot promise how many episodes I’ll get through or at what rate I’ll watch the show.

This will not be a formal review but rather an informal/brief collection of ruminations.

Previously on Survivors (episode 1)…

In the first episode “The Fourth Horseman” (full review), the narrative followed the flight of two women, Abby and Jenny, in the immediate aftermath of “The Death.” This disease wipes out 4,999 out of every 5,000 humans on the planet within a few weeks. Abby, who lives a normal upper middle-class life outside London, contracts the disease and miraculously survives. Her husband is less fortunate. She sets off to find her son Peter, who might have survived the pandemic at his boarding school. When she arrives, the school is empty but for one elderly teacher, Dr. Bronson, who warns her of the horror to come. Abby resolves to find new survivors and sever herself from her previous life: she cuts her hair, burns the her house with her husband’s body, and sets off to find her son. Jenny, a working class London dweller, flees the city after the death of her roommate and the warnings of a kindly doctor. She encounters a range of fellow survivors—from street hooligans to money hoarders waiting for it all to end.

Take-away line/thematic thread:

Dr. Bronson: “The real survivors will be those who will come through what will follow.”


Jenny, Grant, and Abby

Season 1, Episode 2: “Genesis”

Basic Plot

Greg Preston, an engineer, arrives from mainland Europe (also devastated by “The Death”) to discover his wife dead. He encounters Anne, an upper class Continue reading SF TV Episode Reviews: Survivors (1975-1977): Season 1, Ep. 2, “Genesis”

SF TV Episode Reviews: Survivors (1975-1977): Season 1, Ep. 1, “The Fourth Horseman”

In the prehistoric era of my site (2011), I attempted to conduct a watch through of Space: 1999 (1975-1977). After three episodes I quit (1, 2, 3). It reinforced my low tolerance for 70s science fiction TV/movies. As illustrated by my ratings of novels and short stories reviewed in the history of Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations, the 1970s clocks in as my favorite decade for SF texts. I’ve decided that if I’m serious about the process of constructing a morphology of science fiction in the decade, I should reattempt to tackle a TV show or two. Right?

~

For whatever perverse reason, I’ve decided to try Terry Nation’s post-apocalyptic drama Survivors (1975-1977). And yes, I’ve been in a post-apocalyptic kick for far longer than our Covid-19 era! For the background and history Continue reading SF TV Episode Reviews: Survivors (1975-1977): Season 1, Ep. 1, “The Fourth Horseman”

[Short] Diaristic Fragments on Czech Experimental Film: The Ear (1970), dir. Karel Kachyna

8/10 (Very Good)

On the night of 20-21st of August 1968, the Warsaw Pact countries (led by the USSR) invaded Czechoslovakia ending the period of liberalization known as Prague Spring. And with it, the Czech New Wave film movement “ended.” Regardless, Karel Kachyna filmed The Ear (1970), a paranoid psychological thriller redolent with New Wave stylings, that brandishes a proverbial middle finger in the direction of the Communist Party. Unsurprisingly, the film was promptly banned until 1989, and Kachyna Continue reading [Short] Diaristic Fragments on Czech Experimental Film: The Ear (1970), dir. Karel Kachyna

[short] Diaristic Fragments on Japanese New Wave Film: Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978), Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide (1969), Shûji Terayama’s Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974), and Shôhei Imamura’s The Pornographers (1966)

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-9-22-55-pm

(Still from The Pornographers (1966), dir. Shôhei Imamura)

In the beginning the “Other Suspect Ruminations” part of my site’s title referred to my filmic obsessions. It’s been five years since I’ve posted along those lines. As diligent readers might be able to tell, I am fascinated by the general historical context (and earlier) of the SF decades I enjoy the most—from the Czech New Wave to the Japanese New Wave, from 60s/70s political jazz to the surrealists.

Until a few months ago my experience with Japanese New Wave film was limited to Hiroshi Teshigahara’s collaborations with the Japanese author (of SF and literature) Kôbô Abe—The Woman in the Dunes (1964), The Face of Another (1966) and Pitfall (1962)—and a few surreal Seijun Suzuki yakuza flics including Branded to Kill (1967) and Tokyo Drifter (1966) and Masahiro Shinoda’s hyper-stylized Pale Flower (1964). I highly recommend all of the above, especially The Face of Another (1966) if you’re interested in Japanese New Wave’s take on science fiction.

face-of-another

(A tantalizing scene from The Face of Another)

Recently my horizons have expanded. I am in no way a scholar of Japan or claim to be knowledgeable about Japanese culture, however, the narrative experimentation Continue reading [short] Diaristic Fragments on Japanese New Wave Film: Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978), Masahiro Shinoda’s Double Suicide (1969), Shûji Terayama’s Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974), and Shôhei Imamura’s The Pornographers (1966)

(mini) Film Ruminations: The Tree of Life (2011), Super 8 (2011), A Serious Man (2010), etc.

I do not write reviews for the majority of films I watch.  My reasons are somewhat nebulous considering it’s the summer and I certainly have time.  I see my blog more as a way to re-examine and bring to the forefront sci-fi books and films generally more esoteric and infrequently reviewed.  But certain winds shift direction for brief windows of time.  So here we go, a rundown of the more popular films I’ve seen in theater or re-watched recently.

The Tree of Life (2011), dir. Terrence Malick, rating 7.75/10 (Good)

tree_of_life_poster-xlarge

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life (2011) juxtaposes extensive sequences Continue reading (mini) Film Ruminations: The Tree of Life (2011), Super 8 (2011), A Serious Man (2010), etc.

SF TV Episode Reviews: Space: 1999, episode 3, ‘Black Sun’ (1975)

4/10 (Bad)

One might ask: how do you eviscerate a promising concept/episode?  I would answer simply, resolve it with a Cosmic Intelligence.  It’s easy!  Characters accidentally placed on the other side of the galaxy by the script, just swish them back to square one with Mr. (Mrs?) Cosmic Intelligence.

Did your characters accidentally get scripted into an uncompromising position (let’s say, heading straight for a Black (hole) Sun)?  If the answer is yes, Continue reading SF TV Episode Reviews: Space: 1999, episode 3, ‘Black Sun’ (1975)

A Film Rumination: The Man Who Changed His Mind (variant titles: The Man Who Lived Again, Brainsnatcher, Dr. Maniac), Robert Stevenson (1936)

7/10 (Good)

Boris Karloff!  Mind transplants! Headstrong female scientists! 30s sci-fi horror! A watchable yet seldom seen film! What’s not to like?

The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) is the second Robert Stevenson (later of Disney fame), Anna Lee, and John Loder feature I’ve seen — the first, Non-Stop New York (1937) wasn’t nearly as Continue reading A Film Rumination: The Man Who Changed His Mind (variant titles: The Man Who Lived Again, Brainsnatcher, Dr. Maniac), Robert Stevenson (1936)

A Film Rumination: Non-Stop New York, Robert Stevenson (1937)

5/10 (Bad/Average)

This “lost” (for good reason) little film is vaguely watchable for one aspect alone — a massive futuristic art-deco transatlantic plane which can fly from London to New York in 18 hours!  Non-Stop New York (1937) is an early film from illustrious director Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Love Bug, Continue reading A Film Rumination: Non-Stop New York, Robert Stevenson (1937)