Surprising Science Fiction and Fantasy Shows
Is it me, or are there scads of science fiction and fantasy series available to stream right now? On Netflix, you have Stranger Things, Umbrella Academy, and zillions of other shows. And that's just one streamer. In this post, I'll touch on a few programs that have surprised me, some in a good way and others not so much.
I'll start off with See starring Jason Momoa. This program was recommended to me by my father. I was skeptical. I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't imagine how a show about blind people living in a post-apocalyptic landscape could be all that exciting. Damn, I was dead wrong! Hands down, See is one of the most original and fun sci-fi fantasy hybrids out there. The acting is first-rate, and the storyline is entertaining.
Also, I was blown away by Jason Momoa as Baba Voss, a brutal warrior who proves to be a caring husband and wise father. Only previously being familiar with Momoa from Game of Thrones and Aquaman, I didn't think he was a fantastic actor. See has convinced me otherwise. He embodies Baba Voss to a remarkable degree that I rarely see on screen. Although I don't believe his acting is to the level of Peter Dinklage, Momoa embodies Baba in much the same way Dinklage does Tyrion Lannister.
If you enjoy action and don't mind a bit of gore, See is well worth watching.
Big Money = Big Fun?
Now, for the one-billion-dollar behemoth known as The Rings of Power. I'm not a Tolkien scholar who will pick a part of all the places where the show may or may not diverge from its source material. Honestly, I could care less. I am 100% for artistic license. Some people have taken exception to the diverse cast. I think the diverse cast is great. It makes fantasy more accessible to everyone. My sons are biracial, so I don't take issue with updating the tales of yesteryear to be more diverse. It helps keep the stories relevant.
Having said all that, The Ring of Power proved disappointing. My wife and I soldiered through all eight episodes of the first season, hoping that it would eventually become good. Boy, were we out of luck. Rarely have I wanted a show to be so great and found it so awful. Its weakest point is the poor pacing. Honestly, half the season could've been compressed into one or two episodes, and maybe you'd have something worthwhile. But that's just one issue among many. Everything is off by just a bit. The acting isn't horrendous but seems amateurish at times. The music is never bombastic enough or eerie enough to set the tone for what are supposed to be either exciting or spooky scenes. Much has been made about the beautiful scenery. For me, the scenery was meh… impressive but entirely lacking life or story.
Presumably, Amazon is prepared to produce five more seasons of this fantasy epic. I doubt I'll invest time watching season two.
Is Nostalgia Enough?
On Disney, we have Obi-Wan and Andor. Both are surprising. I hotly anticipated Obi-Wan, expecting a nostalgic yet action-packed adventure. Instead, what I watched was…well, boring. I only think nostalgia got me through the whole season. The pacing is slow, and on top of that, there aren't any surprises. Nothing new is added to Obi-wan's story.
I must confess I'm only on the fifth or sixth episode of Andor. I really looked forward to this one. I like the actor Diego Luna who plays Andor, and I enjoyed Rogue One. However, after the first three or four episodes of Andor, I was ready to give up on the series. As of this writing, I'm glad I haven't stopped watching it. The story has started to pick up and become pretty interesting. However, the jury is still out on this one.
Is nostalgia enough? In the short term, maybe so. I understand a second of Obi-Wan is in the works. I, for one, plan to watch it.