Metal Hurlant Chronicles – Season 1

Metal Hurlant Chronicles is an English language Franco-Belgian produced science fiction anthology tv series. Shot mostly in Romania takes its title, and its stories, from the legendary French comics magazine that originally ran from 1974 to 1987. In Metal Hurlant Chronicles, the episodes are joined by a “screaming metal” asteroid, “the last fragment of a once-living planet” that was “blasted into dust by the madness of its inhabitants.” Passing over many different worlds, the asteroid seems to affect the events on each planet as it passes near them. A number of notable British, French, American and Dutch actors have participated in the various episodes, including Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, James Marsters, Michelle Ryan, David Belle, Dominique Pinon, Kelly Brook, Joe Flanigan and Rutger Hauer among others.

The first episode is called King’s Crown in which the able bodied musclemen of a village on a distant planet (everyone looks human by the way) compete in a series of duels held in public. The competition is to determine a new king to replace the dying king who has lived a life of luxury & indulges in debauchery as he lords over the subjects using his robots, who treat the villagers like cattle, while living it in up in a floating castles that hovers over the village. The winner, a younger & well built warrior, is chosen and he goes to the palace to get crowned and is about to revel in his new status as king when BAM – a robot places a device that replaces his mind with that of the old king who will now enjoy life in the new body! Rocking eh? The second episode, Shelter Me, takes place on earth (around current day) is about a young girl who wakes up in the bomb shelter of her older male neighbour. She sees a tv in the corner that plays static and then meets the man who tells her what happened – 4 hours ago the warnings came that the world is about to be bombarded with nuclear weapons in an all out war. He hit the girl Jen on the head and dragged her to the safety of his bunker just in time. As long as they keep the door shut, no radiation will get in, and they’ll be safe.

Davis the man tells her that for a while there were radio reports which stopped soon and there’s no tv channels. Although Jen holds out for hope of people still being alive, Davis isn’t so sure and begins making dinner. He has enough food saved up in cans and stuff to last a very long time. They bond as Davis tells her about his wife who died and tells her that the bunker was her idea. Davis admits that he was caught staring at her by her father and they end up kissing as Davis comforts Jen about the possiblity of every else having died and then end up having sex. However the next day, looking to cook something, Jen finds a bunch of photos of her that Davis took – even in various stages of undressing! Shocked she lashes out at him, accusing him of lying to her and refusing to let him say anything, and attacks him with a glass bowl. Leaving him bloodied and dying on the floor she opens the bunker’s door and leaves —- to find that Davis was not lying about the nuclear war and that everything & everybody has been destroyed and the landscape is a mess of nuclear waste! This is the best episode in the series.

The 3rd episode Red Light / Cold Hard Facts in which a man imprisoned in a cell where he can only see red light in & around the prison. He tells of a war that took place on the planet, and how the colonists who came tricked his people because they gave weapons to both sides. He knows he is eventually going to die, but wants to see the outside one more time. He manages to unscrew a pipe and attacks his cyborg guard and comes out into the open to see sunlight – it is then that we find out that the prisoner is not exactly human: He’s red with yellow eyes. But before he can start to enjoy it, the guards come out and shoot him multiple times. They walk over and remove their helmets … and we discover that they are human. We are then taken to earth circa 2312 where there are 37 billion humans struggling to live in mega cities all across the globe. One day, scientists come across frozen capsules that held people in them. Most were destroyed or damaged as time went by but one survived intact and as the Métal Hurlant asteroid passes by and seems to breathe life into the body. The old man is taken to recover but the authorities see no reason to keep him alive as he serves no purpose and will find it hard to adapt to a cruel world. They decide to kill him, leaving behind his ‘worthless drawings’ in the small room he stayed in for a few days. As they lead him away to be killed we see the drawings of Mickey Mouse – yep the old man was Walt Disney! Bizzare and yet awesome twist ending!

The 4th episode Three On A Match starts out on a military space ship which has an asteroid crash into it as the female captain is having rough sex with a senior officer. Stanley, an engineer, manages to get himself to an escape pod which is more like a space shuttle and finds two pilots in it who then take off just in time as the rest of the spaceship is destroyed killing the rest of the crew. However it’s discovered that the pod is suffering from a punctured hole because of the spaceship’s debris and the pilots toss out poor Stanley into space. Luckily they’ve given him his spacesuit, which will give him at least an hour of oxygen. We hear Stanley screaming to get their attention but the pilots laugh and leave in their pod. However they soon find out that it won’t be enough; there isn’t enough oxygen to get both of them to the nearest base and so the two pilots start fighting and one pilot kills the other but he succumbs to oxygen deprivation just before a rescue ship can reach the pod. The pod docks onto the rescue ship, where the bodies are brought on board. The captain and crew of the ship speculate how the two men died when suddenly Stanley shows up! They are surprised to see him and ask how in the world he survived. He tells them that the two men actually saved his life when they threw him out of the pod. You see, he found what had punctured the hole in the first place: the oxygen tank.

Episode 5 entitled Master Of Destiny starts off with two bounty hunter fighting space whales and destroying them but one of the humans is fatally injured. Before he dies, he asks his partner Hondo to give his money to his family and regrets that he never went to the planet of the Turtle sapiens who can predict the time of each being’s death. Hondo survives an attempt at robbery as he gets paid and after giving his partner’s & his own share of the money to his partner’s widow, he goes to the planet and find out when he himself will die. He arrives there and sees a female pilot, Skarr, who is attacked by intergalactic policemen. Hondo helps Skarr kill them and they both seem to fall in lust with each other. The turtle sapiens tells them that they both will die in 6 years at the same time. After hearing this romantic news, Hondo and Skarr decide to just live out those years they have left together as passionately as possible. Together, the two attack convoys, steal treasure, and buy a planet for themselves. However the honeymoon does not last and one morning, 6 years later, 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. Just as it was predicted!

The 6th episode is called The Pledge of Anya and is set on an alien planet on which a high priest summons a warrior from among his people. The task: to kill what will become one of most destructive and evil persons to ever walk the face of the planet earth. The warrior is taken through some rituals to make him ready and is once again informed about the urgency of this mission as the portal that leads from their planet to earth only opens once in a while. Joshua the warrior ends up in a cave on earth and heads to his mission and heads to a town in what looks like mid-20th century earth in Europe. He crosses the snow covered land on foot and asks the sword to help him find the enemy he’s been sent to kill. The sword leads him to a house and a bedroom on the top floor and Joshua evades the soldiers on the streets and enters the room to kill this great evil – only to find a young boy in his bed! Unable to bring himself to kill the young boy he is seen by some soldiers who shoot at him. Joshua is hit and tries to make it back to the hill and asks to be brought back but the priest says that he cannot be brought back as he failed his duty. Joshua dies and we see the mother of the boy going to comfort her son – who it turns out is a young Adold Hitler! Oh if only Joshua could have killed that little shit!

So there you go, 6 30 minute episodes make up the first season. Overall I’d give the show a 6.5 outta 10 as the acting is lacking in some places and special effects could have been better. My fav episode is 2 and I think the least favourite is # 3. Some of the stuff won’t make sense as the anthology format leaves a lot to be desired in terms of back story but I think the plots are good.

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