Masters of Science Fiction: Season 1, Episode 4

The Discarded (25 Aug. 2007)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 273 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Based on a short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate Harlan Ellison ("A Boy and His Dog," "Star Trek"). Story of ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Host (as Professor Stephen Hawking)
Barney Curran
Harmony Teet
Donny James Lucas ...
Steve (as Donny Lucas)
Leanne Adachi ...
Samswope 2 (voice)


Based on a short story by seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner and Science Fiction Grand Master Laureate Harlan Ellison ("A Boy and His Dog," "Star Trek"). Story of despised minorities forever adrift in the darkness of outer space. As a last resort born out of their loneliness and despair they are forced to make an ominous pact with those responsible for their plight, in the hope that they will finally be offered refuge at home on Earth. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | Sci-Fi







Release Date:

25 August 2007 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In her discussion of Malthus, Annie says, "Too many people on Earth. No place to stand. The sheep look up." Scriptwriter Harlan Ellison was likely thinking of the 1972 dystopian science fiction novel by English author John Brunner entitled "The Sheep Look Up." The phrase comes from the poem "Lycidas" by Engish writer John Milton: "The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, But swoln [swollen] with wind, and the rank mist they draw, Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread: Besides what the grim Wolf with privy paw Daily devours apace, and nothing said, But that two-handed engine at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." Ellison got it slightly wrong: the problem with the sheep (to overlook Milton's political and religious subtexts) is not that there are too many of them, but that they are starving, and with starvation come disease and the wolves that can easily prey upon them. The shepherd (the "two-handed engine") can't feed them, but can only try to fend off the wolf. Science fiction author Henry Kuttner also took a title from this verse for his 1955 story "The Two-Handed Engine," co-written with his wife C.L. Moore; that story is very different from Ellison's, but shares the themes of a minority of people who may be wronged, and of guilt. See more »


Samswope: So, we're down to, what, 96?
Bedzyk: 93.
Samswope: Two-thirds of our original little party of discarded freaks dead and gone. It's tragic. Just tragic. We've been orbiting too long. What are you going to do?
Bedzyk: What am *I* going to do?
Samswope: In spite of your surly - or, I might even venture - taciturn nature, mon ami, you remain an imposing and, whether you like it or nay, a de facto executive figure aboard this enchanted scow, the mutant horrors of which hold you in the very highest esteem. And I suspect, beneath your ...
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User Reviews

Excellent, gripping science fiction
26 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Challenging piece of science fiction in the truest sense of the word. This episode takes us years to the future with the chilling effects of genetics, diseases and politics run amok. Both John Hurt and Brian Denehy play their roles with a passion and verve that may seem theatrical but do the job in propelling the story forward. (I'd like to take a minute out to praise the make-up artists on this episode. Genius. They serve to disgust and humanize. Is that craft, writing or both?) Excellent science fiction takes fantastic situations and places characters living lives that ring true to contemporary readers/viewers. This episode serves testament to that quality.

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