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'Métal Hurlant Chronicles': Fate and alcohol

Season 1 | Episode 5 | “Master of Destiny” | Aired Apr 21, 2014

Season 2 |  Episode 1 | “Whiskey in the Jar” | Aired Apr 21, 2014

Comic-book adaptations are the trend these days, and Syfy is adding another one to its lineup with a new series. Métal Hurlant Chronicles is based on the French comic anthology magazine Métal Hurlant, which ran from 1974 to 1987, and whose creators included Jean “Moebius” Girud and Philippe Druillet. Because it was in an anthology format, each episode features a different cast and a self-contained story. The episodes are linked together by a “screaming metal asteroid that is the last fragment of a once-living planet” that was “blasted into dust by the madness of its inhabitants.” That asteroid is called “Métal Hurlant” (in the opening sequence, the French pronunciation makes the final “t” silent). Each back-to-back episode features a story that takes place on a different planet that the asteroid passes by.

The first week’s episodes, which aired on April 14, included “King’s Crown,” involving a fight-to-the-death contest to find a new king, and “The Endormorphe,” which saw humans in a battle against cyborg miners. Now for the second week’s episodes!

“Master of Destiny”

A space battle opens up the episode. Two mercenaries, Hondo (Joe Flanigan) and Cole, are fighting what appear to be space whales. Even though they win, Cole is injured. He knows he’s going to die, so he begs Hondo to give his money to his family. With his last words, Cole regrets the fact that he didn’t make a will, and says he should have gone to the alien turtle sapiens on the computer planet of Gatha to find out when he was going to die.

In a scene reminiscent of the cantina  from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Hondo is all Han Solo-like as he inhales from an air canister (huffing seems to be his drug of choice). His employer arrives and gives him both his and Cole’s paychecks, assuming he’ll just waste the money. Since she turns down his proposition, Hondo moves on to two women who proceed to get him drunk. This is all a plot to steal that money he has just received; alas, it is not meant to be. Hondo awakens from a drunken stupor, takes on the entire bar in an epic fight, and wins. One last huff of air, a word of advice (“Try using your mouth instead of whiskey next time.”), and Hondo departs with a disgusted spit at everyone.

As he leaves the planet, a transmission comes in from Cole’s wife. She’s received both Cole’s AND Hondo’s money (his boss should never assume things anymore) and is eternally grateful. With that task now over, Hondo decides to go visit Gatha himself, even though it’s 2,000 light years away and at the end of the universe. After some fun jumps into hyperspace, he arrives right in an asteroid field, where he’s chased by cannibal pirates — Empire Strikes Back memories, anyone?


While all this fun is happening, the inhabitants of Gatha have been waiting for his arrival, as they had predicted this years ago.  The long-haired turtle sapiens lead Hondo into an arena (Attack of the Clones déjà vu). He asks them when his death will take place. The answer is in an ancient book (not a computer, even though they are supposedly technologically super-advanced), which is a small book because it only tells the death dates of those who come to the planet.

Hondo is told that both he and a female named Skarr have six years left, while there are some intergalactic policemen that have only a quarter of an hour left to live. Before he can digest all this information, the others begin to arrive by space capsules.


Skarr (Kelly Brook) shoots and kills all but one of the policemen; Hondo finishes him off for her. The couple then share some deep introductions: “I owe you my life.” “I owe you mine. Because of you, I’ve been reborn.” A turtle sapien interrupts this meet-cute by telling them that they will die “in six years, in the same minute, in the same place, hit by a ray beam.” After hearing this romantic news, Hondo and Skarr decide to just live out those years they have left together as passionately as possible.

Their love life is described by the turtle sapiens as “spirituality known only to homo sapiens,” though any actual nudity has been blurred out. Together, the two attack convoys, steal treasure, and buy a planet for themselves.  Unfortunately, the honeymoon bliss is not going to last long.


In what is probably the most grating voice ever heard on television, the main turtle sapien narrates the tragic fate of Hondo and Skarr. One morning, the Métal Hurlant asteroid passes by their window, and suddenly they realize they don’t really love each other anymore. Thinking each is out to betray the other, they end up fulfilling the prophecy and kill each other with a single shot from their laser guns.

Meanwhile, the turtle sapiens have to wait another 150 years before another human will come to find out what destiny awaits them. “Oh, how our life is boring,” the turtle sapien laments.

“Whiskey in the Jar”

The episode opens in a Western town called Totem. It looks like the 1800s, but it’s never made clear if we’re actually on Earth. The sheriff (Michael Biehn) is interviewing a potential new doctor for the town. He talks about how it’s been quietly lately, but it didn’t always use to be this way.

We’re taken back to many years ago to see the original doctor (James Marsters), who is also a big fan of whiskey. The sheriff is a young man at the time (Dan Cade) and is not pleased that every time he brings someone in for surgery, they end up dying at the hands of the good but drunk doc. The doc isn’t pleased about this either, and runs out ranting at himself for all the mistakes he’s made.

The Métal Hurlant asteroid decides to make an appearance, and next thing we know, the doctor’s hands are literally on FIRE! He stands there and freaks out for a few seconds before someone has the sense to put out the flames. Suddenly, these are magic hands that can cure anything.


While this seems like a good idea at first, it’s not. News of the doc’s super-healing powers spreads, and gunslingers from all over come to Totem to fight in duels. As long as they aren’t killed in the fight, the doc can patch them up and they go right back to killing again. The sheriff is NOT a fan of this, because now Totem has become the go-to spot in the Wild, Wild West for all these troublemakers.

One night, the notorious Murphy Gang comes to town. They have tattoos that bring them luck. The sheriff tells his French James Franco-lookalike friend to keep an eye on them, but the gambling pot is too much of a lure and French Franco ends up getting killed instead. The gang goes on a shooting rampage in the saloon, and it’s up to the sheriff to take them on.

He stops at the doctor’s office first and nicely tell him, by way of gunpoint, that he wants the doctor to leave town so all this violence can stop. After getting to the saloon, the sheriff starts to gun down the gang, but then is shot himself. In a twist of fate, the doctor has to end up saving the sheriff’s life. Not wanting to be in the doctor’s debt, the sheriff shows up at his house and kills him.


Fast-forward back to the present, and the present sheriff tells the candidate that since then the town has gotten quieter. There really isn’t that much need for a doctor, to be honest. But wait! Now we can see the candidate’s wrist. He has a tattoo! He’s from the Murphy Gang! He has a gun! The sheriff is about to be a goner, except for the small fact that he also has a shotgun. The would-be assassin is no threat.

The sheriff does have a few minor wounds, so he walks over to cabinet. He dips into a jar of whiskey to have a drink. But wait! That’s no ordinary jar of whiskey. There’s a pair of hands in there! The doctor’s severed hands! Which still have their magical powers!


The sheriff is immediately healed. As long as there is the whiskey, there is no need for a doctor.

The episodes all end with a twist, which is much appreciated, since the show seems to otherwise take itself very seriously. There is absolutely no humor in the dialogue. With the cast and story constantly changing, it’s hard to connect with any of the characters. The settings and plots, however, seems to fit well with the rest of SyFy’s lineup.

Any fans of the original comics out there have any input? Would you want to know when you’re going to die? Or would you want James Marsters’ flaming hands?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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