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Sci Fi Fidelity
32 minutes | Apr 26, 2020
SFF100: Best Podcast Memories
When the Sci Fi Fidelity podcast began in the fall of 2016, Den of Geek was just over half its current age and podcasts were experiencing a surge in popularity. As a result we dove into our analysis of science fiction and supernatural television shows with fervor and were able to introduce listeners to the unsung heroes of the genre TV field through thoughtful reviews, insightful interviews, and discussions of our favorite aspects of this corner of the entertainment world. Alas, the journey comes to an end just shy of the podcast’s fourth anniversary as we move the discussion to our video outlets, but we wanted to take some time to look back at the best moments from our hundred-episode run. We immediately found ourselves recalling some of our more memorable interviews, including Dave's solo chat with Christian Kane of The Librarians, the one with William B. Davis during The X-Files revival in January of 2018, and when we spoke with Battlestar Galactica and Lucifer star Tricia Helfer almost exactly a year later. It was difficult to choose our favorite show topics, but we had to go with two of our most downloaded episodes: our reviews of A Discovery of Witches and The Umbrella Academy, both in February of 2019. We end our retrospective with a remembrance for our favorite discussion topic — our very first one called “Spaceship Characters” from the January 2017 episode. We then turn it over to our listeners who took the time to share their own favorite moments from the past four years of Sci Fi Fidelity. Thank you to everyone who listened and participated! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
45 minutes | Apr 19, 2020
SFF99: Motherland: Fort Salem
We went into our viewing of Motherland: Fort Salem with some skepticism before choosing it as a topic for the podcast, but the show exceeded our expectations. Far from having the cheesy humor, aggressive feminism, or underdeveloped mythology that the series easily could have fallen prey to, we found the story to be deeply engaging, the premise to be wholly unique, and the characters to be immediately magnetic. With the podcast coming to an end with episode 100 next week, we were happy this was the final show topic of our run. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
30 minutes | Apr 12, 2020
SFF98: Tales from the Loop Interview
Tales from the Loop is an unusual sort of sci-fi anthology show in that each separate story is united by a common pastoral setting and a dominant central family. This is no doubt in part because the series takes its inspiration from a series of unrelated but commonly themed paintings by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, which combine scenes of everyday life with a normalized science fiction sensibility. When we spoke to showrunner Nathaniel Halpern and actor Paul Schneider, they both emphasized this subtle style of storytelling as the hallmark of the show. When we spoke to Halpern, it was well before Tales from the Loop dropped on Amazon on April 3, 2020, so we were still getting a sense for what the show was about and how the paintings inspired him. Schneider joined us later after we had seen a few episodes, and he told us about his character George Willard, the son of the Loop’s founder with whom he has a strained relationship. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
43 minutes | Apr 5, 2020
SFF97: Amazing Stories
Does the Apple TV+ version of Amazing Stories, which still has Steven Spielberg’s name attached to it, live up to the more optimistic vision of the stories we’ve come to expect from the 80s original? As we break down the first two episode of the series, “The Cellar” and “The Heat,” the answer becomes clear that the positive messaging is intact even if the intended audience might skew a bit younger. Both stories have minor narrative flaws that wouldn’t have bothered us in the least back when the original Amazing Stories aired. Remember, this is the show that had a World War II cartoonist draw landing gear on a crippled bomber! We approached Amazing Stories the same way we would any other show that’s outside our normal wheelhouse by judging it by what it intends to be rather than what we want it to be. The episodes we watched were enjoyable from start to finish despite their shortcomings, and they were both fit with the feel of the original series, which should be counted as a success. Plus the great thing about an anthology series is that each episode can be a fresh story with its own merits. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
42 minutes | Mar 29, 2020
It’s not surprising that Alex Garland, who is known for films like Ex Machina and Annihilation, is the creator behind Devs, a series on Hulu that features his trademark obsessed tech guru that has let his own invention become way too powerful. In this case, the world is one in which predictive algorithms have become so sophisticated in their ability to anticipate future actions that free will is disproven and fate is set. This is perfect fodder for the podcast, which loves to explore the nature of time and the ability to change the future or glimpse the past. As usual with the podcast, we take a look at the first two episodes of Devs to discuss the premise and characters that make up the cast of the show. We note that the premiere really sets up the overall mystery through the eyes of Sergei, a new recruit to the Research and Development division (known as Devs) of the tech corporation called Amaya who vanishes under mysterious circumstances. But really Devs is about Lily, Sergei’s girlfriend who is understandably suspicious about the disappearance of the man she loves. The spoiler zone of the podcast goes deeper into other episodes of Devs that have aired so far, specifically exploring the bombshell advancements inside Devs, but we also share our admiration for Lily’s daring plan to gather evidence. We admit that we were fooled by her subterfuge just as much as those at Amaya, and although there's evidence her life is in danger, we’re hoping that the introduction of the multiverse theory will allow her to change her fate. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
43 minutes | Mar 22, 2020
SFF95: Groundhog Day Episodes
In these days of coronavirus quarantine, one day can feel exactly like the next, and it reminded us of the many repeating days that appear in time loop episodes of some current and classic TV shows. Bill Murray in Groundhog Day may have set the standard for this formula in cinema, but imitators on the small screen have taken the idea to new creative levels even as they emulate certain familiar aspects that have become the norm for episodes of this type. For example, usually only one or two characters notice that a specific period of time is repeating, and they typically have a very difficult time convincing those around them that this has all happened before if they even try. Assuming there is a scientific or magical cause for the loop, there usually is a singular solution that the aware characters must find to break out of the cycle. Often, the show in question is able to use the Groundhog Day scenario to force growth on the trapped characters that they would not have otherwise been able to achieve. As usual with our discussion topics, the listeners contribute their own favorites including examples from several spin-offs of the Star Trek franchise, magical loops in fantasy series like Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and many more. The Groundhog Day episode has become a genre television standard that usually produces more enjoyment than the average bottle episode. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
35 minutes | Mar 15, 2020
SFF94: Cosmos: Possible Worlds Interview
Cosmos has been around since 1980, and the optimistic tone of both the late Carl Sagan’s show and the current iteration hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson has been the hallmark of the series. In its effort to make science more accessible and more inspirational to the average viewer, Cosmos: Possible Worlds has taken us on powerful visual journeys through space and time, and much of the credit for the impact of the show’s message must go to writer and executive producer Ann Druyan and the always relatable host Neil deGrasse Tyson, who spoke to us before the March 9th premiere on Nat Geo. In the podcast, Druyan and Tyson share some of the topics the new season of Cosmos: Possible Worlds will explore and appreciate along with our hosts the attention to detail that goes into the design of this science show. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
41 minutes | Mar 8, 2020
SFF93: Outlander Season 5
Outlander is long overdue for a discussion on Sci Fi Fidelity even though some might argue it’s more of a historical drama than a science fiction offering. However, we couldn’t resist sparing the time to admire the time travel implications of the first few episodes of season 5 which has main character Claire increasingly dismissive of any consequences her life-saving measures might have on history as we know it. For that reason alone, it deserves an episode of the podcast, but we also acknowledge the success of the show given how long it has lasted and found a sizable fandom on Starz. Before we dive deep into the first two episodes, as is our wont, we take some time to look back at the story that has led Outlander across two decades and as many continents. Claire Randall’s time as a World War II surgical nurse has served her well over the seasons, and her relationship with highlander Jamie Fraser has stood the test of time and periods of separation. In fact, it’s the passage of time that led to their daughter Brianna being born, which has been a key part of their relationship and a central part of season 5 thus far. There’s not much of a spoiler zone in this edition of the podcast since only three episodes of Outlander had aired at the time of recording, and the third one was a bottle episode that wasn’t all that enjoyable. Nevertheless, we have high hopes for more intrigue and adventure to come for the series, which has become fan phenomenon from one of our favorite showrunners, Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
41 minutes | Mar 1, 2020
SFF92: Locke & Key
There was much anticipation for the arrival of Locke & Key on Netflix once the trailer hit the scene, and although the adaptation was not without its flaws, we enjoyed the magical, gothic feel of the spooky Key House and the similarly creepy powers the keys bestowed upon the Locke family. The young protagonists were immediately charming, and the complexity of their evolution throughout the series made for an enjoyable narrative even without the fantastical elements. As always, we discuss the first two episodes at the start of the podcast, covering both the premise and our thoughts on the main characters we’re introduced to. We also acknowledge the graphic novel origins of Locke & Key and how Joe Hill’s story differs between page and screen. The discussion takes note of the balance between the central mystery of the keys, their origins, and those who seek them out and the social lives of the Locke family. Of course, part of the conversation has to be centered on the keys themselves and what they do,and once we dive into the spoiler zone, a more in-depth breakdown of the various keys is undertaken. There is undoubtedly plenty to parse about the twist ending as well, and we take the time to speculate about where season 2 might be headed given some background we uncovered from the comic. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | Feb 23, 2020
SFF91: Charismatic Vampires
Although vampires have been using powers of seduction to wile their way into their victims’ hearts for more than a century in literature, it’s only been a few decades since the creatures of the night became the beautiful, brooding immortals in television and film that fought against their bloodthirsty urges to seek human companionship. Despite the occasional misstep, many of these monsters became the misunderstood heroes of our favorite shows, and this week’s podcast seeks to identify the most likable of the lot. As always, the listeners add their own favorite vampires to the discussion in the feedback segment. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
23 minutes | Feb 16, 2020
SFF90: Alison Schapker Interview - Altered Carbon
For those wondering if Altered Carbon season 2 will have the same flavor as the dark and violent cyberpunk adaptation that was season one, the answer is yes and no. The new showrunner for the series, Alison Schapker, previewed the season on the podcast, talking about how the story will not only build on the same consciousness transferring foundation of the first run; it will also bring a new kind of energy both in Anthony Mackie’s portrayal of Takeshi Kovacs, played last season by Joel Kinnaman, and in the more hopeful quest to find his long lost love, Quellcrist Falconer. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
43 minutes | Feb 9, 2020
SFF89: Star Trek: Picard
Star Trek: Picard brings back all the feelings of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and builds off of many familiar elements from other sci-fi properties, including bits of plot from Star Trek: Nemesis and the 2009 film reboot. We discuss the brilliance of the show's premise and immediately appreciate the cast of characters that we're introduced to. The body of our podcast is dedicated to talking about the first two episodes, including the nature of Dahj and Soji and the history that has brought Jean-Luc Picard, Starfleet, and the Federation to the present state. The spoiler zone then digs a bit into the ragtag crew Picard assembles in episode three and specuates about the nature of what's going on with "The Artifact." See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
44 minutes | Feb 2, 2020
SFF88: The Gift (Atiye)
We've enjoyed plenty of Netflix's international fare on the podcast, but nothing quite like The Gift, a supernatural series known as Atiye in its native Turkey. With the same family history dynamic as Dark and with similar crazy visions to Siempre Bruja, this series delves even deeper into the nature of life and death while maintaining its archaeological mystery, fantasy adventure feel. It's a truly unique show that we couldn't wait to review! The Gift tells the story of Atiye, a successful artist whose works center around a mysterious symbol she's been painting since she was a small child. When the same symbol shows up in a thousand-year-old archaeological dig site, she is compelled to investigate what it means, even when it causes others in her life to question her sanity. As the discoveries start to uncover the involvement of others in her own family, the real puzzle starts to reveal itself. As is our wont, we discuss the first two episodes of The Gift in detail, laying out the story premise and character development for review. We share our appreciation for the use of a real historical site for the main setting and note the added benefits of watching a show that originates from a culture that Americans could learn a lot from, artistically and otherwise. In the spoiler zone, the family connections are explored further, and we try to get to the bottom of what Atiye's visions mean, and the reality of her very existence comes into question. We're reminded of our previous podcast discussions of Undone and The OA, both of which also pleasantly tied our brain in knots trying to figure out what was really going on. With plenty of speculation left over for more storytelling, we wonder about a possible The Gift season 2. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29 minutes | Jan 26, 2020
SFF87: Cinematographers Interview - Manifest, Lost in Space
The director of photography is the unsung hero of any set, making the lighting and framing of a scene as important as what the characters are saying or doing, but in television, where episode directors rotate in and out, a consistent vision is particularly crucial. Science fiction shows have the extra challenge of creating a sense of realism in speculative environments, and to find out how it’s done, our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast hosts spoke to Sarah Cawley, DP of NBC’ Manifest, and Sam McCurdy, DP of Lost in Space on Netflix, who shed some light on the process. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | Jan 19, 2020
SFF86: Best Theme Music
There are certain theme songs from genre television that are immediately recognizable after just a few notes have been played, but what shows have the best opening credits music of them all? The discussion topic each month has the daunting task of narrowing the choices down to three for each of us, and that was quite difficult here in January of 2020. Even the hosts themselves interpreted the topic at hand differently. In some cases, the iconic nature of the theme was at play. At other times, the instrumentation or the inclusion of hauntin vocals was more important for the theme’s standout status. And then, of course, there’s the sheer catchiness of a theme's tune or an essential singalong quality that lyrics bring. Luckily, we had plenty of help from our listeners, who contributed their own favorites to the conversation in our feedback segment, submitted via our Facebook group. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
36 minutes | Jan 12, 2020
SFF85: Lost in Space Season 2
There’s no denying that Lost in Space is an edge-of-your-seat space adventure for the whole family, and much of the audience enjoyment comes from seeing how the Robinson family will escape from their latest life-or-death situation. On this week’s Sci Fi Fidelity podcast, we talk about the importance of viewing this series through the right lens, checking any nitpicks about scientific accuracy at the door and just enjoying the ride. We explore some new details that Lost in Space season 2 introduced about the robot race and talk about the Netflix series’ choice to focus so much of its mythology on the Robot. We break down the first few episodes as usual, including specific praise for the rounding out of the Dr. Smith character and some background context for Judy’s parentage, but by far the most significant success of the season is discussed in the spoiler zone, where we can’t help but be excited that the setup for season 3 indicates a completely new direction for the series with plenty of mysteries to speculate on during the hiatus. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
40 minutes | Jan 5, 2020
SFF84: The Witcher
The Witcher quickly became a favorite here on the podcast as we delved deeper into the three central characters of the show: Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri. The show may be based on a series of novels and short stories from Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski and a popular video game, but we were able to enjoy the story of the monster hunter and the sorceress and princess whose fate became wrapped up in his on its own merits. As we are wont to do, we begin with an analysis of the first two episodes of The Witcher, the first of which introduces Princess Cirilla just as her kingdom falls to an invader's attack and she must flee with only one command from her grandmother, the Queen: "Find Geralt of Rivia; he is your destiny!" We also see the witcher himself, as he defeats a fearsome beast on behalf of ungrateful townspeople and a conniving mage. The second episode presents a skillful introduction of a captive sorceress-in-training, Yennefer of Vengerberg, who quickly became our favorite character. In the "spoiler zone" of the podcast, we share our overall impressions of The Witcher and pay specific attention to two story arcs: that of the genie and the three wishes and final battle of the season, which introduces plenty of questions about where season 2 might be headed since a renewal has already been secured. There is particular praise for the thematic ideas of destiny and legacy, especially as it applies to Yennefer and the many choices that lie before her in the finale and beyond. We're betting that much of our audience also enjoyed The Witcher and will hopefully appreciate our take on the critically maligned show — all opinions are welcome here! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
33 minutes | Dec 29, 2019
SFF83: Jonathan Lloyd Walker Interview - Van Helsing
Jonathan Lloyd Walker took over duties as showrunner of Syfy's Van Helsing in season 4, his first head writing and producing gig in a career that includes the sci-fi hit, Continuum, which helped launch our podcasting career. In fact, although The Expanse's Dominique Tipper was the first interview subject on this podcast, Jonathan was our first interviewee ever back in 2012! Here in the wake of last week's season 4 finale, he talks to Dave about the broadening of the Van Helsing legacy, the larger scope of the vampire scourge, and a possible direction for season five, which will be there series' final run. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
34 minutes | Dec 15, 2019
SFF82: Watched More Than Two
Ever since we began our two-episode rule, which keeps our show discussion to the first couple of episodes of the season, we knew we'd have to be flexible. Maybe we'd add a third or fourth episode for a half-hour comedy or if a shift in the story warranted it, and anything else would be in the spoiler-zone if we were able to squeeze in a few more in our own viewing before recording the podcast. But certain shows were just too irresistible for us to stick with just two installments, and others we binged after the discussion even if we didn't necessarily have time. We each share three shows that we got sucked into this year including Russian Doll, The Umbrella Academy, and more. We even have one or two that drew us in because of an interview or by other means. Then, of course, our listeners get in on the action and tell us which shows they specifically binged because of our two-episode discussion on the podcast. It's nice to know we've been able to draw attention to some new science fiction and supernatural programs since that's exactly why we started Sci Fi Fidelity! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
22 minutes | Dec 8, 2019
SFF81: The Expanse Season 4 Interview
Dominique Tipper, who plays Naomi Nagata on The Expanse, was the very first interviewee we ever had on the podcast back when we began in September of 2016, just when the Syfy show was getting started, and showrunner Naren Shankar visited with us in February of 2017 during season 2. Now, the two key players in the success of this space science fiction TV show join us once more from the set of season 5, which is currently filming in Toronto, to preview season 4. We asked them to tell us more about the storyline to come taking place on Ilus, the first planet encountered by humans beyond the Ring gates. The first thing Tipper had to mention was the challenge for Naomi, with her brittle Belter bones, to be planetside for the first time. “We very much get to see this season what it takes for a Belter to change themselves and show what they need to do to their body to step foot on a planet or be in atmosphere,” she tells us. “And so I think there’s a lot of things riding on Naomi going to Ilus… She’s the only Belter perspective in the group, and also her own curiosity and for her and Holden as an option. So there’s a lot riding on it for her personally.” Not that Ilus is all that hospitable! Tipper told us how cold it was on location on the Ilus set, while Shankar appreciated its sparse beauty. “When you see even the first episode of season 4, it’s a beautiful location,” he says. “We were looking for a desolate frontier, and we shot in an active quarry. We used a lot of drone photography to get the vistas, and it’s really quite striking. And what you’re seeing in there is actually — we did virtually nothing in terms of visual effects cleanup or changing it. That’s the way it looks; it looks alien as hell.” For more insightful moments, fans will have to wait until The Expanse season 4 returns on Amazon Prime Video on December 13, 2019. In the meantime, enjoy the podcast, in which we announce the winners of our giveaway of The Art and Making of The Expanse from Titan Books. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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