The lost room is a mini-series made by the Sci-Fi channel (before they misspelled themselves). While it may not technically be science fiction it is a good object lesson in science fiction.
The basic idea is that in the late sixties an event happened, something that should not have happened by all our understanding of physics, but it did anyway. One of the rooms in a small motel was removed from reality, the key to the missing room was found and when used on any door it opened to the removed room.
Inside were what were called Objects, ordinary items that do freaky and random things. A pen could microwave you (the coroner said it looked like a jet engine hit the guy but left his cloths intact) a watch that boils eggs when you stick them in, a comb that can stop time briefly.
Some groups want to find and use the Objects, some to contain them (on the theory that they do more harm then good) some think they are the body of god, or even that they will become god if they get all of them at once (there are 100ish).
A detective is introduced into this world when he find the key, the object that opens any door to the lost room, and once inside you can go to any door you can picture in your mind. He has to navigate this world in order to save his daughter.
The two things I love most about it are how well thought out the setting is, including the effects the Objects had and the various groups rushing to get them. The main character was also not some action hero trying to save the world, but a man trying to save his daughter.
Sam Becket is working on a DoD funded project to time travel. If it worked it would send him back in time to inhabit the body of anyone, so long as it was within his own lifetime (so no going back before he was born). The project was being shut down, so he took a chance and used it on himself. It worked, everything but the part about being able to get him back when they wanted to. The show is about him leaping around time, inhabiting the bodies of various people from the 50’s to the late seventies. They can talk to him through Al, a hologram of his friend in the future that only he could see. Each leap he had to fix something, then he would leap out (almost all the episodes are one leap).
The show is a good example of using the vehicle of science fiction to tell very human stories. The things he fixed were often about changing people, or having someone not make a mistake that hurt them or others. For example in one he was sent back as a rich man’s servant. The rich guy was foreclosing on a mission around Christmas time. His job was not the save the mission, his job was the get the rich guy to WANT to save it, to see that money was not everything. He was there to save the mans soul. What he was sent to do were often turning points of people’s lives, trying to convince people to do right, but not forcing them to.
It was thoughtful and insightful about things in ways that modern
Hollywood isn’t anymore.
Odyssey Five is a sadly short lived series (just one season). It starts on the space shuttle, then suddenly the earth is destroyed (sort of implodes). Just when they are running out of air a large aliens ship appears.
The alien tells them that they are far from the first that had their planet imploded, he has spent centuries going from one system to another. He detects radio waves, then by the time he gets there the planet is gone. This included his home.
However there is hope, he can send their minds back, five years back in time. He knows nothing about what is causing it (and one of the five people still alive is dying so time is short)
He sends their minds five years back in time, with little more then the bare knowledge of what will happen.
While it was rough in spots, the show had interesting plot lines, and interesting characters. There very much is a fish out of water element. Three astronauts, a science writer, and a reporter are not the group you would pick to investigate aliens destroying the earth. That is not the say they are not capable, they are, but they very have to make it up as they go.
Its very good, if you like sci-fi you will like this.
I’m going to let you all in on a secret, I rarely like alien invasion stories. It’s not that I dislike the idea, it’s that they are hard to get right and most of them have glaring flaws I can’t ignore. That was my problem with Falling Skies.
Threshold has been called a reverse X-files. In it a probe gets to earth and changes people, they become faster, stronger, and tougher. They start to carry out the agenda of the aliens. The show is about the team that is put together to make contact with them, then to deal with the threat.
The show is intelligent, it has very well developed characters who try to solve problems made harder by the fact that only they know what is really going on. They have countless people working for them but none of them know the whole truth.
Often classifying data during emergencies is shown to be done with little thought, or just serves to get in the hero’s way. In Threshold it is rightfully shown to be necessary, it causes headaches and sometimes makes things worse but is needed.
It is just one season of a planned three, but It’s still good and worth watching if you can track it down.