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'Ascension' finale review: Lost in space, or 'Lost' in space?

The twists and turns of Ascension’s three-night mini-series flight landed the earthbound space ark’s most Right Stuffy space hero and the story itself in a mysterious place strewn with wreckage and reminders of other stories. And more mystery! In the final minutes of part three, we learned that Dr. Harris Enzmann (Gil Bellows) was using the decades-long psych experiment started by his father to trigger “punctuated” evolution and produce a next-gen X-Man—a “star child”—possessed with “morphic resonance” (i.e., telepathy, telekinesis, super-powers) capable of manipulating the vast energies located within the nuclear powered “Panopticon” to do even more amazing things, like… actually send someone across the universe! Why take a slooooooooow-boat generation ship when you can just grow a magic sea monkey in a skyscraper-sized fishbowl? NASA, you’ve been doing it wrong!

Enzmann found success in the form of young Christa (Ellie O’Brien), part Marvel Girl, part Firestarter, part Space Guild navigator from Dune. In the final moments, she used her abilities to channel the energies of a Glowglobe to produce a Holtzman effect and save Aaron Gault (Brandon P. Bell) from a baddie’s beat-down by instantaneously teleporting him to… a distant, dark planet? Another Enzmann simulation? The only thing we know for sure is that Ascension is perhaps best understood not as a response to the myth of the ’60, as I argued pretentiously on Monday (sorry). It is something very post-modern, a self-aware sci-fi saga born from an accumulation of sci-fi sagas over the past 50 years, and perhaps full of pining for better, more hopeful, more serious-minded sci-fi: I found something meaningful and provocative in the last image: Gault, a “space hero” with the Right Stuff, rising to his feet amid that trendiest, most dismal of things, a dystopian wasteland. A charitable read: Ascension was challenging a genre to dream better. More hope, less “No Future” cynicism. More big new ideas, fewer hyperlinks trapping us in old ones. More mind-expanding space odysseys, less self-absorbed geeking… like this review.

That’s what I got out of the interesting mess that was Ascension. How about you? READ FULL STORY

'Ascension' review: Back to the future again, but with a twist

In the first season of Mad Men, in the episode entitled “The Wheel,” pitchman poet Don Draper reframed a carousel slide projector as a time machine and defined the word “nostalgia” not as “a sentimental longing” or “wistful recollection of the past” but by the Greek meaning, “pain from an old wound.” Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner not only gave us a way of understanding his show and its haunted antihero but also a perspective on ’60s nostalgia in general, a genre of entertainment unto itself. It began in earnest in the 1980s, when the thirtysomethings who suffered the history of Platoon, Mississippi Burning, and JFK started grieving their Wonder Years and bemoaning The Big Chill and wishing they could Peggy Sue it all over again. Where oh where did all The Right Stuff go? The nostalgia was imprinted upon proceeding generations. Ferris Bueller on a float, lip-synching to “Danke Schoen” and “Twist and Shout”? Perfect metaphor for Gen X teens raised on the bittersweet symphony of Baby Boomer existential crisis. A myth was massaged into us by all of this Back to the Future cultural conditioning: Once upon a time, America the not-so-beautiful was on an ascending redemptive arc, then got shot down by assassinations, war, and Nixon. Our mission impossible: to recover the lost narrative and complete it. We could be Marty McFlys, fixing our fallen-and-can’t-get-up malaise infected culture, and we didn’t need time-traveling DeLorians to do it. We just needed to stand by me, lean on me, do the right thing. Because (sing it!) that’s the POWER of love! READ FULL STORY

'Continuum' ending in 2015 with six-episode fourth season

Continuum‘s upcoming fourth season will be its last. And it will be rather brief. READ FULL STORY

Jason Ralph and Sosie Bacon to star in Syfy's 'The Magicians'

Syfy and Universal Cable Productions announced that they have cast Jason Ralph and Sosie Bacon in the television adaptation of Lev Grossman’s book series, The Magicians. 

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Check out the poster for Syfy's '12 Monkeys'

Syfy’s 12 Monkeys adaptation may sound similar to the original 1995 film starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, but the new series aims to shake things up.

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Syfy greenlights Silicon Valley reality series 'Bazillion Dollar Club'

A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what is? According to Syfy, it’s a bazillion dollars.

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Syfy's 'The Magicians' series casts three roles

The-Magicians

Syfy is casting its magicians for its adaptation of Lev Grossman’s trilogy, which follows a group of young people who attend Brakebills, a college for magic, and has been labeled “Harry Potter for adults.”  READ FULL STORY

SyFy renews 'Z Nation'

SyFy has renewed Z Nation for a second season, EW has confirmed.

The renewal news has come in the midst of the show’s first season, which has achieved consistent, yet middling ratings since its series premiere. In spite of the non-Walking Dead numbers, SyFy is putting its weight behind the zombie drama.

The show centers on a post-zombie apocalypse that has ravaged the United States, where a group is tasked with transporting the sole survivor of a zombie wound to a lab across the country so that his antibodies can create a vaccine to save humankind.

Z Nation airs Fridays at 10 p.m. E.T. on SyFy.

 

Syfy orders 'Dark Matter' graphic novel adaptation to series

Syfy is jumping into the comic book-adaptation game, having acquired the rights to Dark Horse’s Dark Matter graphic novel series.

The network has picked up a 13-episode series based on Dark Matter, which actually only spawned four issues. The series will keep things in the Syfy family, as the original Dark Matter comics comes from Stargate writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. READ FULL STORY

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon teaming up for 'Incorporated' on Syfy

The dynamic Good Will Hunting duo of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are once again teaming up: Affleck and Damon’s Pearl Street Films is developing Incorporated for Syfy along with CBS Television Studios, Syfy announced.  READ FULL STORY

Syfy sets premiere date for '12 Monkeys' adaptation

Syfy has set a premiere date for the highly anticipated 12 Monkeys adaptation.

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Bryan Fuller makes science fiction fun again with 'High Moon'

Tonight, Americans have the choice between watching Dancing with the StarsMonday Night Football, and … a SyFy movie with gay Russian spies on the moon. Curious? You’re not alone: SyFy executives thought the same thing of Bryan Fuller’s newest creation, High Moon. For four years, Fuller and the channel entered into an on-again, off-again relationship. At first it was a pilot, then a miniseries, then back to a pilot, then back to… you get the idea.

“[B]ecause of how strange the development process was at the network, I don’t think anybody was surprised [that it wasn’t made into a series],” Fuller said. “Right before we were ordered, the highest guy at the network told us he didn’t think this was science fiction. So we were like, ‘OK, this is gonna be interesting.’ [laughs] I think the bigger issue with them was just the tone because it was fun…and science fiction for them has to be serious because they need to be taken seriously as a network.” (SyFy declined to comment.)

In the end, Fuller and the network settled on a TV movie that airs Monday night at 9 p.m ET.  READ FULL STORY

Syfy greenlights Arthur C. Clarke's 'Childhood's End' as a miniseries

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Syfy is reaching into the science-fiction classics for source material. The network announced that it it will adapt the 1953 sci-fi novel Childhood’s End, written by Arthur C. Clarke, as a six-hour miniseries.

According to the press release, the series will follow a breed of aliens called the “Overlords,” who manage to peacefully invade and rule Earth, and create a pseudo-utopia that comes at the price of human identity and culture. Produced by Akiva Goldsman and Mike DeLuca, the project will be helmed by Nick Hurran and adapted by Matthew Graham.

In a statement, Dave Howe, President of Syfy, said, “As we aggressively develop scripted programming over a diverse creative landscape, we want our content to reflect the greatest sci-fi stories from the past and the present. The powerful themes of Childhood’s End, from the fearsome price of peace and prosperity, to the very question of what constitutes a human being, remain fascinating and timeless. This will be the most ambitious project for Syfy in many years.”

The series is set to premiere in 2015.

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