Where does SciFi TV go from here?

From Twilight Zone to Lost in Space to Star Trek: TOS to Star Trek: TNG to Stargate to Farscape to Firefly to Lost to ???

We’ve seen an amazing progression of SciFi on television, and I know I’ve left some great shows off of the short list above - but the question becomes where does it go next? Anyone have any ideas?

I suppose this idea could be put on any medium, from literature to movies, but I was focusing on TV when I began playing with this idea in my head.

I love anthology series. I’d like to see more SF short stories adapted for television. The remake of “The Outer Limits” did a rather good job with quite a few short stories, although I thought they futzed up Larry Niven’s “Inconstant Moon.”

I’d like to see more in the way of Hard SF. I like the new Battlestar Galactica… although, dramatic SF series are starting to bore me a little. I’ve always loved stories that use science as part of the driving plot, and BSG is really just a drama that happens to be set in the future (granted there are some cool ideas happening with the cylon/human dichotomy, but not enough in my opinion).

LOST is amazing, one of my favorite shows of all time. Although it’s not Hard SF. If there was a TV series with the intrigue and quality writing that LOST manages, but set in a Hard SF setting, I’d be smitten.

I also agree with pinkfreud, that there needs to be more short SF brought to TV in an anthology manner. There’s so much good stuff out there in short story form, I’d love to see a company like HBO create like 13 to 22 1-hour episodes a year. HIGH quality… and bring on directors and writers who LOVE SF. On HBO, you wouldn’t have to censor much, so it’d be like Amazing Stories on crack. We need more hardcore SF.

HBO has ‘Masters of Horror’, a series of horror shorts done by different directors. How about a ‘Masters of Science Fiction’, a series of half hour to one hour films of classic science fiction short stories? That would be awesome.

I’d love to see “Future History”, a miniseries based on Heinlein’s short stories.

A bit of nitpickery: ‘Masters of Horror’ is on Showtime. Come to think of it, the new “Outer Limits” series and “Stargate:SG-1” also started out as Showtime productions.

Ask and ye shall receive.

I’d like to see more series like Babylon 5. I really like the notion of a major arc, planned to run for a set time, with a begining, middle, and end. The various Star Trek series were great fun, but missing an episode was not that big a deal, since they were mostly stand alone deals. I think Dune would be a good candidate for this treatment, but something new would be even better…

Cool! Here’s hoping it’s a big success.

Wrestling :rolleyes:

I think Battlestar Galactica succeeds in no small part because it’s got that almost Blade-Runneresque dystopian vibe that fits the zeitgeist. It does what sci-fi usually does most effectively, which is take a contemporary issue, defang it somewhat by changing the context, and then immersing us in it again and making us squirm without causing mortal offense. I think, for the time being, camp and White Hatted Heroes are out. Our cop dramas are The Shield. Our family dramas are Six Feet Under and The Sopranos. Our protagonists are deeply flawed, the world they live in is harsh and unpredictable, moral relativism and rationalisation are practically required for survival, and the line between “good guy” and “bad guy” is so blurred as to make even diametrically opposed points of view both seem alternately sympathetic and antithetic to an audience.

We like our fantasy with a heaping dose of real life, these days, and we don’t want to be spoken down to. We want to be challenged, we want to have to think, we want puzzles to solve, conflicts to ponder, and we don’t always need a happy ending. The future of sci-fi is to embrace the dark side and even revel in it so as to make the light seem like less of a tired cliché, i.e. something to be valued rather than sneered at. I’m tired of shows like Treck where redshirts always get whacked, protagonists always save the day, the good guys are virtually unimpeachable, the bad guys are cardboard caricatures with funny noses, the moral of the story is so blatantly spelled out you feel pummeled by it, and Good always triumphs over Evil. That’s absurd. It’s a joke, and we know it. Spare us the futuristic Leave-It-to-Beaver platitudes and excessive latex and make us feel something. Future tech and spaceships exploding are cool as all get-out, and there’s nothing wrong with any of that, but it’s the stories and the issues that really grab the wider audience. Where do they go from here? Anything’s possible with good concepts and good writers who are willing to treat sci-fi, and the sci-fi audience, with respect. The creators all pay lip-service to the above, but rarely to they consistently honor it.

The futures of sci-fi works are always reflections of the present. Some of my favorites have used this fact for purposes of satire. Why not combine that with a more hard science fiction setting?

Okay, that’s pretty much Red Dwarf, but what’d be wrong with another show in that vein?

I’d like to see a series based on Zenna Henderson’s The People series.


A truly remarkable vision.

Realizing that all of these Sega Genesis-quality CG’ed out embarrassments (Babylon 5, Farscape, etc.) are all bluster and no content, we’ll see a return to great writing, well-developed characters, novel plots that nod to the past canon while looking toward the future, kind of like what they did in the sixties when they knew that the effects weren’t up to snuff, and great new future classics will result.

Just kidding, of course. We’ll just see more slick shit leaking from the SciFi Channel’s adult diaper.

Quality is in the eye of the beholder, but many people (including me) view Babylon 5 as one of the high points of television SF. If B5 is an “embarrassment,” I hope to be embarrassed more often in the future.

I know what I’d like to see!

When is Straczynski gonna give us another series?! Out of the depths of Stargate we cry to thee!

I’ve always thought that a Victorian-era War of the Worlds would adapt well to a 1-year series (longer than a miniseries, maybe a dozen episodes), and still be very faithful to the original material. The story’s already in serial form, and there’s plenty of things to show to fill in the otherwise slow bits.

Introduce a few new characters, get some extra side stories going, then BRING ON THE TRIPODS! It could even have a touch of steampunk, especially in how the Martians’ technology works. I geek out just thinking about it. :cool:

I disagree that better effects are a step backward. Yes, FX won’t carry a show or make up for stupid, pointless scripts. But the biggest advance in graphics technology isn’t how great the very best effects look; it’s how cheaply and easily not-too-bad effects can now be done. The ability to cost-effectively depict scenes that could once only be imagined or done as big-budget Hollywood blockbusters means that more directors and producers can try their hand at good science fiction. I think a great example is the new Dr. Who series: in particular, the Daleks now look and move like the uber-war machines they were always supposed to be.

Do you know that they made an ABC TV movie of this back in the 1970s? Its problem is that it’s incredibly boring, which Zenna Henderson’s books are not. I picked up a used VHS copy, and it was a trial to sit through.

And it stars Shatner, dammit!

[QUOTE=Subway Prophet]
I’ve always thought that a Victorian-era War of the Worlds would adapt well to a 1-year series (longer than a miniseries, maybe a dozen episodes), and still be very faithful to the original material.


Why? It’s such a short book! Two hours could do it justice easily!