There are a few movies being released on DVD this week, but only one of any real importance. The first is Sci-Fi High: The Movie Musical, which supposedly was in theaters last April, but none anywhere near me. Even IMDB doesn’t seem to know anything about this one, so it will be a pass for me. As will be Wolvesbayne, another redundant 1800s vampire versus werewolf film. The movie worth adding to the collection this time around is Howl, the beat generation anthem and poem and the story of Alan Ginsberg’s obscenity trial in the 1950s because of it. This legal battle had fear and repression driving the prosecution and freedom of speech upholding the defense, in what would be a verdict that would help change the direction of what was permissible in America closer to true freedom for all. This one isn’t sci-fi, but it is an important milepost on the path of literature and the development of a culture.
The TV fictional pick of the week is the Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Third Season. They have just finished up season 4 in the UK, and the first season was aired in the US on the Sci-Fi Channel, but not seasons 2 or 3. Nor do they appear to have been picked up by BBC America, at least not so far. So the DVD’s may be the only way we get to see them for a while; at least the UK has acknowledged and signed off on season 5 for 2011.
Into the Universe with Steven Hawking is another Science of Science Fiction type educational program which covers such topics as alien intelligences, wormhole transportation systems, time travel requirements, and the evolution of life in radically different physical environments than ours. Obviously, the narrator’s voice is not that of professor Hawking, but the program is quite entertaining as well as providing scientifically rigorous and accurate speculation about many aspects of the currently unknown. Particularly useful if you were considering writing any science fiction books or screenplays of your own. You can watch segments of the program online at that link.
There are three restored superhero movie serials being released this week, all from 1940. Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe was the third Flash Gordon serial to be made; The Green Hornet Strikes Again! preceded the 1960s TV show by two and a half decades but Keye Luke was no Bruce Lee, and The Green Archer bears a striking resemblance to The Green Arrow. For those too young to remember, a movie serial was a series of 12 or so episodes, 15 to 25 minutes long, which would play before the feature presentation in a movie theater in the 1930s and 40s. Many of them were science fiction of one flavor or another, and they translated directly to television in the 1950’s, creating the template for the episodic TV series still used to this day. Their most famous feature was the cliffhanger ending, intended to draw audiences back the following week to find out how the hero escaped near-certain death this time, again utilized in TV.
In Anime, Koihime Muso – Complete Collection is a kind of Hidden Dragon versus bandits story line, not quite genre but not quite not, with combat grade heavily armed women protecting the innocent from outlaws and violence. The Tsubasa OVAs collection also becomes available this week, bringing us several more stories involving the protagonists crossing from world to world through the multiverse seeking to solve the mysteries affecting them.
Dirty Pair – Collection 2 completes the original Dirty Pair series with the final 12 episodes, but depending on which site you go to it might be coming out this Tuesday, February 1st, or February 8th. In any event, the original Girls with Guns destroying everything in sight series will be completed soon.