Having missed the premiere episode, I did catch ABC's Masters of Science Fiction this past weekend. "The Awakening", based on a story by Howard Fast, starts out with a downed helicopter in Iraq and quickly segues into a possibly angelic, definitely extraterrestrial visitation demanding that the world disarm or else. I didn't love-love it, but I've got to give it points for trying to do smart, literary SF, and I was impressed both with the cleverness of some of the dialogue and the headiness of some of the philosophical discussions tossed around between stars Terry O'Quinn and Elisabeth Röhm. In fact, it was a good deal smarter than I was expecting, and both my wife and I were impressed enough to keep watching (despite her laughing at the Hong Kong accent coming out of the mouth of the mainland Chinese leader).
An article in the Associated Press by Jerry Schwartz sums up our feelings pretty well when it says, speaking of the premiere episode "A Clean Escape," that "they talk in the way that people don't on television anymore. Words flow the way they did in the medium's early days." And it's that effort, to do something a cut above, that I have to respect. Though, thankfully, there seems to be a lot of quality to go around all of a sudden. And as "A Clean Escape" star Sam Waterston told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "There's an awful lot of science fiction entertainment now, so I don't know if it's as separate a genre as it used to be."