SENSE8- Challenging small screen shows of our times

It has been released now, and a good many are watching or have even possibly seen all of it now. Are you watching it? Do you intend to do so? Will you aim to watch it all in one long sitting? This is yet another new series for Netflix to be offered to viewers all in one go or episodes one at a time as usual, depending upon preference. As many of us move to watching box sets, recording series and binge-watching for hours at a time in evenings or in spare time, is this shaping the way stations and producers create new shows like this? Has the viewing experience had a certain clear influence on the making of a show such as SENSE8? I know I myself have recently been watching parts of new series such as Continuum and Penny Dreadful two or three episodes at a time to catch up, days or a week or two after the show was first show. Sense8 as a show was written and partly created by the well-known Wachowski pair who gave the world The Matrix (and those questionable follow-up sequels) and since then some hit-and-miss films of varied quality. They have often if not actually always been very bold and adventurous in continually making at least creatively challenging and unusual movies, usually very visually striking and pushing CGI and film-making technology. So how are the Wachowskis taking this sensibilty to the small screen? From the short but various trailers I have seen, it seems that they are transfering their recognizable visual style fairly well and the concept seems like it could have some good things going for it. It seems a little similar possibly to two or three other fairly recent sci-fi tv shows in the last couple of years, but we know that a big draw with this is going be people interested in seeing the Wachowskis do television. So will you be watching? After the not too amazing response to their most recent and also science fiction movie Jupiter Ascending, should the filmmaking pair really have gone ahead with more sci-fi, even if in this different format and scale? In a short while we will be seeing the reaction, and I also have viewed some episodes so I come back to this soon. I do hope that it will be a good show, as I am a fan of their work when it does work well it can still be spectacular.

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CONTINUUM:THE TIME OF HER LIFE (TV SHOW)

I have just spent the last few days catching up with the last few episodes of the third series of this time-travel science fiction series. The final series will be heading our way soon, even after it tried to keep the figures up and has had some very good strong writing and casting over the first three series.

This great show from Canada (the one one in recent times being Lost Girl) has confidently been a show giving us a near future tale set in 2077, where a female patrol officer Kiera gets sent back in time to our present 2015 (or 2012 when the show began) along with a group of fugitive radical criminals who she has to track down in order to return to her family in the future.

With some episodes set in the dystopian future where there are hi-tech police but sinister crime groups, and then mostly the series follows Kiera in our present time as she meets up with tech-genius Alec Sadler when he is still a teenager, and they attempt to trace the radical group in our time.

It has often been a surprisingly good show, and had many moments when it has drawn upon current topical themes and modern events in politics, news and relating to terrorism, the internet, evolving new technology and more. One of the strong points has been the successful use of a well written and well acted female lead character, one who is very intelligent, emotional when needed, and also does kick real ass at times.

One of the other very good elements of the show has been how it has on a number of occasions when they have shown that both the supposed ‘good guy’ characters-Kiera, the present day police force and detectives and news media may at times be doing bad things, and even some of the previously established ‘bad’ characters can do things which then show them to be good people in some ways, which has been intended to reflect our real world and how at times the media can portray figures as simply ‘bad’ or ‘good’ with no other sides to the stories.

So we recently did learn that the show, like many other sci-fi or fantasy shows, is soon to be axed but has after obvious strong audience support been granted a final mini series to close up the story. This is really frustrating as I personally have viewed it as possibly one of the most challenging and engaging current genre shows, brave and confident to sometimes ask viewers to question our world, our lives, how we see the things around us in our present times, and how our views may even possibly greatly affect our future.

While I am still watching the third series (which I believe has finished over in the U.S. now) and it is possibly nearly half way through, it has shown to be continually or even more challenging more than a month in. This could actually be one real reason why the show was dropped-some viewers may have been highly confused with the extreme time jumping and alternate versions of characters from various time-lines suddenly entering the series-which was actually really great and could have happened sooner I now think. Beyong this, it is still pushing the audience, flipping back and forth in time, just when I thought that had all settled down, and there are still mysteries around, various characters waiting to change the rules and get control of the present, tomorrow or both.

It now is reminding me a little of the last Joss Whedon series Dollhouse, which again was cancelled early but regularly challenged the audience and eventually used the early ending date to really twist the tale around and go out with a defiant head held high. As one of the very most topical, provocative and interesting sci-fi shows in recent times, I hope that Continuum can have similar end unless it does find some way to keep going for a while.