Whither sci-fi on TV?

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AndyThomas
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby AndyThomas » Tue Apr 08, 2003 9:32 pm

I've recently gotten Sky and so I've been od'ing on all sorts of series I haven't had access to before. However, I find myself wondering where sci-fi in particular is going at the moment. Enterprise is, well, formulaic - it was a brave thing to attempt, I think, but I do wonder if the Trek franchise needs resting.Buffy is coming to an end; Dark Angel has sunk; Farscape has ended prematurely. SG-1 ploughs on, and I understand there's a spin-off series in the offing. Andromeda... not quite sure what's happening with that one.So what does anyone else think? There was a time, it seems to me, that SF was the big ticket and the Sci-Fi channel is replete with examples of series that burned very brightly for a series or two. Now it seems even the established "franchises" are gradually running out of steam. Is there any originality left out there?
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imbecile!
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby imbecile! » Wed Apr 09, 2003 11:34 am

Yeah it does seem like the sci fi shows that regined supreme in those 6pm slots on BBC 2 for the last few years are drying up. But I'm not that bothered really, I'm getting a bit sick of CGI and actors with little bits of latex on their faces talking about alien culture: "ahhh, gonadian chuff muffins, just like my mother used to make back in the old country"A friend of mine made me sit through a couple of episodes of the Tomorrow People. I'm to young to feel nostalgic about the show but I did find the low budget approach sort of refreshing. Wouldn't it be cool if you turned on Sky one on a week day evening and saw a bloke wrapped in kitchen foil and wearing a crash helmet just popping the back of a transit van for a space walk! That's what I would like to see a return to, people with  interesting ideas and  zero budgets. I expect there is a lot of this stuff on the web already, but it would be nice to see it on telly. I think TV produces have bought into this myth that audicences are to safisticated now for cheap telly. But I think people respond to a good story. Just wish I was smart enough to come up with one  
eh? eh?

Chris Snape
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby Chris Snape » Thu Apr 10, 2003 8:13 am

I would throw my penny worth in and say that one of the better Sci-Fi series to come out in the past few years was Millenium. A nice dark, realistic series that encapsulated real family life with the horrors of certain jobs. Lance Henrikson was perfect for the role and although I only saw the first couple of series it was a must see in my house.
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AndyThomas
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby AndyThomas » Sat Apr 12, 2003 10:47 am

I think Dark Angel comes to an end after the series that's currently on Channel 5. For my money the whole tone of it's changed, it seems looser than it was in the first series which I enjoyed. Clever to have a super-powered heroine who isn't utterly invulnerable...That's the thing though. I've seen a lot of series with very strong ideas behind them, but in some respects they may only be one-series ideas. Buffy, for example, is clever because it's building up its own mythology and it's formulaic while not quite becoming boring with it. Plus it allows for merchandising off its back, of course.I imagine we'll continue to see a lot of shortlived shows that never quite get the chance to see their full potential - and the more that happens, the more diluted the SF market gets which means the apparent viewing figures for SF will be lower. Result? Fewer SF shows. In that sense cheap CGI probably isn't helping, as much as it's made shows doable when they otherwise wouldn't be.I agree that the shows aimed at the younger market will do well - Smallville combines the teen appeal with an established fantasy back history, but does the gloss overcome the SF elements? Maybe, maybe not...
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Shane
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby Shane » Sat Apr 12, 2003 1:32 pm

Most shows that have done well over the last few years have seemed to cater for a much wider area of the Teen early 20s bracket, rather than just the stereotypical Sci Fi fanatic. Buffy works because there is something for the girls and the boys, the same goes for Smallvile, The X files had this as did Xena. I would say that the advent of reality tv has not helped things much either. It's cheeper to produce and gets more ratings than an expensive sci-fi show.Interestingly flicking through sky there are very few sci-fi shows that I find that appealing now. I caught a little of Witch Blade the other night and thought it was a load of pony.Samurai Jack, now that's a show!Shane.
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!

AndyThomas
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby AndyThomas » Sat Apr 12, 2003 2:32 pm

Yes, having just gotten access to CNX I'm liking the US cartoons there. Costs wise I suppose they're relatively cheap to make with just voice actors, and at the same time because they're cartoons the higher ups probably aren't paying all that much attention to them, allowing more creative scope. I've always enjoyed the Batman cartoons (original and Future) and the Justice League cartoon has the same feel to it - knowing something about the comics helps of course. Good point about the reality shows - I suppose they're the current "vogue" as well...
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Shane
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby Shane » Sat Apr 12, 2003 6:57 pm

Heh yeah, Dexters Lab is essential viewing before work everyday. Cartoons are far more subversive than live action. I've been catching Spawn now and again on CNX and it looks pretty good. I haven't got into Cowboy Bebop yet though, although I've heard it's highly rated.Shane.
I like parties, I like fun, I want to live in a hamburger bun!

FZeroOne
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby FZeroOne » Wed Apr 16, 2003 6:26 pm

Theres still some originality out there, but its gone a bit underground. Also, theres always a trend of "Follow my Leader" - Babylon 5 got attention for a bit, and suddenly every SF series had arc plots.Buffy takes off, and suddenly theres kick-ass females everywhere ( not that theres anything wrong with that, being an anime fan I can't really complain can I?! ).It surely can't be long before "Kim Bensons Monster Workhouse" has a SF series out, set on a sentinent starship and with half a cast of, er, puppets... Enterprise is a brave concept, but its not really living up to its potential. It has its moments ( the episode I saw the other day, with a spaceship "bigger on the inside" - I really hope the writers didn't think they'd caught a new idea there! - was well done ), but it really needs to go off the wall more often. I'm sure when the next really good SF series comes out, it'll come from nowhere, and leave just as big a wake as Buffy, Farscape and B5.In a way, theres probably more SF on TV than there has ever been, but its finding the series that stick. Even Joss Whedon has had problems.Myself, I'm waiting for a new series of Spaced. The writers earned my undying admiration for the throwaway joke of Daisy ringing Rail Enquiries and asking for the earliest possible train. And then the later one. And then the one after that. As I work in a ticket office, I can not tell you how happy I was that *someone else noticed that*!!
"The power of bakers, the power of artists; even the power of witches! It must be a power given by God... sometimes we suffer for it."- Ursula, Kikis Delivery Service.

AndyThomas
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Whither sci-fi on TV?

Postby AndyThomas » Wed Apr 16, 2003 9:18 pm

Can I just say, if anyone hasn't seen Spaced, you should do so. NOW. I think pretty much everyone here ought to appreciate its comedy on some level...
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