The new Netflix original series Maniac stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill as two dysfunctional loners who take part in a dystopian pharmaceutical trial. Fantasy author Chandler Klang Smith felt the last episode was weak, but otherwise she loved the show. "The first nine episodes are my favorite TV drama of all time," Smith says in Episode 335 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "And I would say that even including Episode 10, it's definitely in my top five." The show leans heavily on dream sequences, which range from a Kubrick-inspired first contact scenario to an ultra-violent gangster showdown.
The new Syfy series Nightflyers is based on a novella by George R. R. Martin that was first published back in 1980. Fantasy author Erin Lindsey says that the original story feels dated, but that it displays a basic storytelling competence that the show never really achieves. "The things that I didn't like about the Martin novella were details, at the end of the day, but I thought the bones were good, and in a certain way this is the reverse," Lindsey says in Episode 341 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "Some of the details are cool, but they can't make up for the fact that the bones aren't there." Science fiction author Matthew Kressel notes that Nightflyers never really moves beyond recycling familiar elements from better movies and TV shows.
The long-running BBC series Doctor Who recently completed its first season with Jodie Whittaker as the titular Doctor. Writer Sara Lynn Michener says that having a female Doctor came as a welcome change of pace. "This formula of always having female companions, and always having male Doctors, it just made me think of Doctor Who in a certain way that wasn't very flattering," Michener says in Episode 343 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "It felt less real, because if this alien does in fact have the ability to regenerate in all of these bodies, why are we still seeing this very standard, very heteronormative pairing constantly?" Science fiction author Rajan Khanna also enjoyed Whittaker's performance, and found that this season of Doctor Who was the first one he was able to watch with his girlfriend. "She's tried to get into it previously, and just bounced off of it," he says.
The new Star Wars movie Solo is an enjoyable action-comedy, but it fails in one important area: really exploring how Han Solo developed his cynical, jaded attitude. The movie also mostly skips over Han's time as an Imperial soldier, which fantasy author Erin Lindsey feels is a big mistake. "I wanted to see Han learning to become a pilot, going up against the norms and expectations of the military, deciding it wasn't for him--or it deciding he was not for them," Lindsey says in Episode 312 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Science fiction author Matthew Kressel agrees, noting that a brief sequence of trench warfare is one of the movie's most interesting set pieces. "We could show Han in the trenches," he says, "seeing how ugly war is, and maybe coming out of that a little bit darker, a little bit world-weary."
Blade Runner 2049 is something of a miracle--a sequel to a 35-year-old science fiction classic that feels urgent and necessary and which actually improves upon the original in some ways. Writer Sara Lynn Michener is thrilled with the new movie. "It passed the piss test," Michener says in Episode 277 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. Both my partner and I had to pee halfway through, and neither of us could go to the bathroom, because we didn't want to miss any of it." Science fiction author Matthew Kressel is a massive fan of the original Blade Runner, and appreciates that the sequel replicates its mood and pacing.