Posts tagged TV
Futuristic science fiction a thing of the past
I was thinking about the science fiction that is currently on TV last night, and I have been unable to come up with one show that is set in the future. There is some good stuff on, but it seems that it is all set in modern day. Fringe, Lost, Chuck, Eureka, and the new Star gate for example. Dr. Who is of course occasionally set in the future, but it's also set in the past, and the present and it's hardly on the air this year. So why is this? I like these shows and I'm not complaining about any of them, but why? One simple explanation is that TV networks are all basically copying themselves. If there was a futuristic science fiction show on that worked they would copy it. This alone helps you understand why the science fiction genre has so much trouble on TV since the heart of science fiction is uniqueness but I don't think that's all of it. I suspect a second reason is the same reason that Star Trek always time travels to our time period or close to it. The sets are already built. It is cheaper to have a show that is set in our modern world because it already exists. Third, they aren't science fiction, most of these are police dramas with science fiction elements. Fringe, Chuck and Eureka are all examples of this and while some have more science fiction than others they are still following the police drama trend. I don't suspect that there is a lot that can be done about this. There has to be someone in Hollywood who is making the pitches for epic science fiction and they are being turned down. Perhaps the new Star Trek movie will trigger some ideas at least though I suspect that they will simply dismiss that. Here is my pitch for a futuristic science fiction drama. Set in 2112 humans have continued to develop technology, but the most major breakthrough in human history has just occurred. A brilliant scientist has discovered a way to bypass the speed of light. In a rush to begin to explore NASA retrofits one of its shuttles with the technology. This shuttle is roughly 3 times the size of the modern shuttle with far better air recycling and artificial gravity(just because of the cost). This means that there is only room for 7 crew members comfortably. The scientist who developed the technology is the first, the rest are made up of the best on earth. With every member of the crew important and the ship with little in the way of defenses they begin to explore.
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Three Science Fiction ideas that need a TV series
Science Fiction is a genre of ideas. One of the reasons that traditionally in the past it has been seen as low on characterization and often a little difficult to get into is because these ideas are so important and typically as science fiction readers or watchers we look for new ideas, but there are a few ideas out there which for a variety of reasons I would like to see done again. Idea: Traveling through dimensions Space travel and time travel have both had multiple shows based around their ideas, but while there have been any number of comic books and novels written around the idea of multiple dimension and even a few episodes of TV series I'd love to see another show about the idea of exploring these dimensions. Who did it first? Sliders is the only show I know of which was based around this idea and I liked the idea well enough to watch 5 years of the show as it slowly gained speed in its decent past bad into an unwatchable, pointless show which could be compared unfavorably to spending a vacation in Dante's circles of hell and the fifth season was even worse than that. Why try it again? Very few if any of the failings of this show had anything to do with the idea. This show started out watchable but it was simply mishandled. Replacing interesting characters with increasingly boring characters would have been bad enough but since the point of the show was getting home once there was no one left trying to get home it didn't matter much. What would I change? The biggest problem with the idea of Sliders was that it relied on them getting in trouble on every world they went to with no real reason. This meant that they either had to have worlds which were truly chaotic, which stretches credibility, or simply push them into stupid situations every week. This show needed a quantum leap style device which forced them to interact with the world before they could leave. Idea: Humans exploring a single new world for an entire series In Star Trek it is common for them to visit a world, destroy its entire culture and then leave to never mention the place again. The same is similarly true of other shows in the spaceship sub genre, but the truth is that things get more interesting when you look closely and begin to slowly unravel the mystery. Who did it first? Earth 2 and Deep Space 9 While both good shows Earth 2 was canceled before it's time and Deep Space 9 never spent all that much time on Bajor. Why Try it again? Science Fiction is best when it is examining the unexplained and unknown in detail. Skimming over the surface of a great idea dropping a few big words and moving on. Truly landing on a planet and spending 8 years there learning about something that is completely different than our world could be fascinating. How would I do it? A planet with a humanoid species just above the level of technology we are now but still without spaceships is met by a human ship with 10 crew who lands on their version of the white house. These aliens would be a diverse people with multiple cultures and religions many of whom are excited to see the humans and many of them are not. Early in the first episode we would find out that Earth has changed as well, but it would take at least a season for us to discover that Earth is in its own civil war. What we would find out is that not only are there a great deal of secrets and oddities to the aliens but the humans are not all on the same side and as they begin to fracture it becomes increasingly more likely that their presence on this world will destroy it. Idea: The Singularity and New Humans Starting twenty years in our future human technology has evolved to the point where it is growing without us. Genetic Engineering has made our children a new species an computers are running many aspects of life, and it is getting exponentially more difficult for people to survive who were born naturally. Who did it first? There are enough short stories and novels about this idea for it to be considered a cliche in written science fiction, but I can't come with any non-dystopian examples of this on TV or movies. Why Try it? Change is one of the most important aspects of modern life. The world will continue to change and while there may never be a true singularity there has always been a struggle between old and new, between the young and the old, between technology and freedom. These ideas are going to become increasingly important in the future and examining them now might give us a head start as well as making for a fun and interesting show, not to mention that every young person on the show can be a supermodel and there will be a good reason. How would I do it? The first episode opens with a news program explaining that the first computer built and designed completely by other computers has just been completed. This computer is a leap forward in technology that triggers this new age, but it is only the beginning this computer even before completely finished is finding solutions to mathematical questions which have been unanswered for centuries. Our hero, a man born in the year 2010 is now thirty years old today. He is shorter and less attractive than those who walk by him his clothing hopelessly old fashioned and as he watches the program and just as the camera begins to pull back a man about fifty grabs a young girl's purse and attempts to run. Cameras turn to record the man as the young woman chases him down and pulls the purse out of his hand showing no fear of this elderly man. Our hero helps the dirty man to his feet and they have a short conversation where we learn that the man is simply desperate. He was once successful but there's nothing left for him to do. The world has moved past him. Our hero gives him his last few dollars then looks back at the TV realizing that he has been left behind as well. This show will not be about the best or the smartest it will be about a good man who would be smart in our age simply trying to navigate this new age, and during the course of the show he might even save the world.
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