OTHER SCIENCE FICTION SERIES

Finding realistic sci-fi disappointing

POSTED BY: MERRYK
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 08:22
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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 3:18 PM

MERRYK


I recently introduced my parents to Stargate: Atlantis, and had a very odd conversation about it with my mother. Now, my mother is a long-time Trekkie ever since TNG first started (though she watched TOS as a child) and even went to a couple conventions before settling down to be a homeschooling mother of seven, so it's not as if she's new to sci-fi, though she hasn't watched anything since Voyager ended. She also watched some of Stargate SG1 because my dad really enjoyed it. She loved Firefly.

However, after watching half of Season 1 of SGA, she sighed as she told me "I miss the Star Trek format, where you met a danger and dealt with it, and then the episode was over and everything was good." Upon further questioning, she said that she didn't like that they had an enemy that was always there and not easily warded off, and constant problems with food and power and allies. Shocked, for though SGA is not the lightest sci-fi fare, it is by no means the most hardcore, I tried to explain why I liked the more realistic elements. She continued to say that she liked the feel-good endings of old Star Trek episodes, and not having to worry about a villain that was always about to destroy them in the next episode.

Has anybody else who is from those had this experience with people who are from older generations and prefer those mindsets, having a hard time with modern television? I'm really baffled by it all, especially since she liked Firefly, but I suppose there goes all chances of her liking the re-imagined BSG.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 4:50 PM

EMBERS


speaking as one of the older generation...
I like BSG because it is character driven, and your Mom might get into it that way too,
but I can't bear SG1 (I've tried) because it is just way too military for my taste....

okay I know that sounds contradictory since BSG is all military all the time too, but IMO the sci-fi elements are a lot more fiction, and interesting in BSG.

However, even more than 'happy endings' I miss the humor. SG1, and BSG both take everything so seriously!
In my experience, even people who are currently dying with tubes running in and out of them, find more to laugh about.

so I guess I'm not being much help huh?

Firefly just had it all: the great characters, the wonderful metaphor/fiction elements, and lightening the Black with laughter.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 4:57 PM

FARFLY


Hmmm, realistic fiction?

Never having watched any of the Stargate programs I can't comment on the enemies they might have encountered. But there was always an enemy, some for just an episode, some as part of story arc, some for a whole season. Buffy had a wide variety of foes but in the end she fought vampires almost every episode. Happy ending of an episode, maybe, but the vamps were still there for next week. Angel had the same, demons and vampires, but Wolfram & Hart were still the ever present enemy. Firefly had the Alliance, and Reavers. TOS had Klingons and Romulans in addition to the odd space monster of the week. TNG wasn't much different but they had better equipment. After all, when things got rough they could always modify the coffee maker to speak Andorian or boost the ship speed to light times 200. Or maybe it was the phase array, I forget...

Remembering that the key word is fiction, whether there is a new enemy every episode or not, they all had to deal with the everyday menaces that lots of humans face. The fact that in TOS, TNG and Firefly they are in a hostile environment just getting from here to there you would think is story enough. But selling mundane episodes to the public wouldn't be too profitable, so they make up shit..put them on a space ship and there you have, sci-fi. Some get by with monster of the week, some don't. I kinda like to get to know my monster before it gets slain.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 5:14 PM

MERRYK


Actually, the one thing that kept my mom watching both Stargate programs was the humor...I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell of getting her watch BSG. Heh, it depresses me sometimes, and I love dark and tragic stories, while my mom prefers optimistic fare. She did make a relevant comment when I complained that old TV's optimism felt scripted: "It's TV, you know it's not real no matter what." Well, yes...but I guess I was born into a generation that likes to forget that as much as possible.

Just as a side-note, did you start watching SG1 from the beginning? I had similar issues while watching the first and most of the second season even though I'm pro military in RL, and so only watched SGA for a while, but started to enjoy SG1 as the science and humor increased as it continued.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 5:15 PM

AURAPTOR

America loves a winner!


Quote:

She continued to say that she liked the feel-good endings of old Star Trek episodes, and not having to worry about a villain that was always about to destroy them in the next episode


Might be it feels, to her, too much like the former Soviet Union, and the Cold War ? A bit TOO real, if you get my point. SciFi is, for many, about escapism from the world's problems and troubles.

It is not those who use the term "Islamo-Fascism" who are sullying the name of Islam; it is the Islamo-Fascists. - Dennis Prager

" They don't like it when you shoot at 'em. I worked that out myself. "

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 8:19 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


You seem to be talking about the difference between episodal shows versus "prime time soap opera" serial shows.
You mother (and much of older generations) prefer to see episodes of episodal shows, meaning that the episodes are interchangeable without choronlogical complications, there is no "greater arc" of character developement, and any problems presented in an episode are resolved by the end of an episode. This way, if the cows get out of the fence during the next show next week, nothing will be missed because no cliffhangers were left unresolved this week - which provides reliable entertainment without complications during the early decades of broadcast TV.
For those dandies and lazies who have nothing better to do than sit at home all day in front of the TV, soap operas provided the day-to-day sustinence of nothing happening character study - like the old adage, missing a week or 2 of a soap opera doesn't matter, nothing happened anyhow.
Star Trek was episodal, much like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Batman, and most of the rest of Prime Time TV. I understand Peyton Place was serial.
Firefly is serial, not episodal. What happened in one episode derives from previuos episodes and applies to future episodes. It's format is considered by many to be a soap opera, much like Dallas, BSG, and such. Joss and Tim specifically stated they desired and developed the "overarcing storyline" for Firefly. Season 2 episodes, when made would not be able to be interchanged with season one. In Gunsmoke, other than main characters dying off or being replaced gradually, an episode from the 16th season could be shown before and episode from the 3rd season without major continuity problems.
You said your mom liked Firefly. Did she see it broadcast on network, or in DVD set or SciFi marathon? Seen at once, the serial element is diffused, you don't need to wait a week to see what happens next. Seen on broadcast, it may have more soap opera feel, as Joss intended. They wanted to take a season to tell a story, not complete a story in each episode.


Aside from that, your think it realistic to have things such as continual power problems.
If traveling to Mars, for instance, to consider it acceptable to have an unreliable power source, propulsion, life support, of similar would be absolutely ridiculous, not realistic. Any society or race thinking so should deservedly be eradicated from the gene pool. How accepting would you be if flying a plane which regularly fell out of the sky and crashed? I don't see how that is realistic, other than providing plot devices. Star tTrek at least had fairly original problems to solve.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 8:23 PM

REGINAROADIE


I totally agree with you in regard to humor in sci-fi shows as of late. I think one of the reasons everyone holds TOS up in such high regard is that there is humor in the show in terms of character interactions. I mean, the rapport between Kirk, Spock and McCoy is some of the most entertaining and humorous bickering in sci-fi history. I always felt that the fighting between Mal and Jayne with Simon is that Mal and Jayne are the Kirk and McCoy dealing with a very Vulcan-like Simon.

And as for later sci-fi shows, part of the reason that I prefer HEROES and DOCTOR WHO over stuff like LOST and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is that not only do they have a sense of humor, but they also have a sense of fun to them as well. Like on HEROES, you sometimes get flashes from some of the characters where they go "Hey, this is kinda awesome." And the character of Hiro Nakamura is instrumental in that sense of fun and wonder. Without him, the show would be seriously less enjoyable to watch. And with The Doctor, it feels like an adventure, but in the good sense. With LOST and BATTLESTAR, the situation is as serious as cancer and the characters are people stretched to their absolute limit and one loud noise away from a nervous breakdown and fighting to survive before they're blown to smithereens while at the same time trying to solve the mysteries of the universe. With DOCTOR WHO, it's "Let's step into a police box that can travel through time and space and see the wonders of the universe. Yes, we'll run into Daleks, Cybermen, The Master and any other bad guys, but you'll have the most chipper and smart traveler alongside you and who will never let you down."

I think it just comes down to whether you want your sci-fi to help you escape from reality, or for it to act as a prism and show you the world around you in a new way. And I think the best sci-fi in the world is a perfect blend of both of them.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Wednesday, January 2, 2008 8:52 PM

STRANGEBIRD


It's exactly the reason I really can't watch LOST or BSG. It's a shame really. LOST was alright, it had some humor and a few light moments but after they killed of one of the few providers of such moments(Charlie) I swore never to watch the show again. Couldn't get past the first five or so episodes of BSG, it wasn't worth the deep depression that show sent me into.

I have to disagree on the remarks that Stargate is lacking in humor and "too military". The humor is what makes both series so exceptional. I would go so far as to say they are sometimes too unrealistic and goofy in portraying the military. They do a great job most of the time but there are few episodes that don't contain more than a handful of tongue-in-cheek moments. Stargate Atlantis has recently started taking itself alot more seriously, nearly as much as in the first season. Really, though the writing is certainly not as sharp, it's very comparable to Firefly in it's balance of humor, drama and action and slightly less in character development. Next to Firefly I'd say Stargate Atlantis is my favorite space/action scifi series. Yes I actually like it better than most of TNG.

Anyway concerning the problem at hand I get what your saying. Scifi and Fantasy TV in general has always been more campy and lighthearted than most genres and now that they are starting to take themselves more seriously many of them are going a bit too far for my tastes. That's not to say they shouldn't. There is obviously a huge fanbase for BSG and LOST. I have no problem with it as long as there continues to be shows like Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Stargate, Heroes and others with scifi/fantasy elements that understand the viewers want escapism and entertainment not just angst and thrills. A little seriousness never hurt anyone and neither has alot of humor.

My advice is stop focusing on the dark aspects of the show and take joy in the lighter moments. If all you do is dwell on the drama and seriousness you can't enjoy the fun... pretty much my advice for life in general.

--------------------------------------------------
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." Albert Einstein

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 1:13 AM

MONEYTRAIN


sg1 was a great show there was always the number 1 bad guy they were after who changed as they went along as they got rid of them but they wernt always hung up by the 1 guy, also the characters were great fun i found them funny, never got into atlantis


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Thursday, January 3, 2008 3:53 AM

MERRYK


Re the continual power problems. True, it would not be realistic on every show. However, on Atlantis, where they are dealing with a 10,000 year old city, it should be expected. I was just using that as an example. It's like Serenity's inability to find jobs in Firefly...realistic, but wouldn't work on every show.

Yes, my mom watched Firefly on DVD, so it doesn't feel so serial.

--
"My way of being polite, or however...well, it's the only way I have of showing you that I like you. Of showing respect." Simon Tam, Jaynestown

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 6:25 AM

CHRISISALL


I just wanna hear SOMEONE on BSG ask a Cylon:
"So...how many slices can you do at a time?"


See? No sense of humourisall



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Thursday, January 3, 2008 6:58 AM

STORYMARK


Sounds like she has less of a problem with "realistic" scifi, than she does with serialized storytelling. from what you said, she wants everything wrapped in a bow by the end of each episode, and not left dangling to be resolved....maybe.... someday.

I have some friends like this, who I keep trying to get into shows like Firefly and BSG, but they prefer something they can watch in small bits, and it doesn't matter if you watch every episode in order.

"I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him."

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 7:01 AM

CHRISISALL


Want stand-alones?
That's what movies and Twilight Zone eps are for.

Get with the program Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 9:40 AM

DUG


Speaking as one of that "older generation" I don't like the episodic style at all.

I've heard that in the ST:NG writer's bible there was an instruction that no story line ever actually affect the show as a whole.

The idea was that if someone watched only the pilot episode and the last episode of the series they would not be lost at all. That's why you never had solid resolutions to things like Troi/ Riker or Data wanting emotions. It's also why there was no follow up on minor things like most of the fleet getting destroyed by the borg. Seriously, the Romulans wouldn't have taken advantage of that?

The universe's only altruistic Ferengi invents a shield that can enter a star's corona. It only requires changing the *settings* on current shields....and no one does any follow up research? OK, one doctor played with it in one other episode. Wow, that's some follow through.

I always felt that this was unsatisfying and weak writing. I much prefer a serialized setting where characters grow and giant crises have actual ramifications.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 9:48 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by dug:
I much prefer a serialized setting where characters grow and giant crises have actual ramifications.

But what are the ramifications of the ramifications?

I remember as a kid seeing Battlestar Galactica and thinking "Wow, you can't watch this show out of sequence or it makes no sense- that's weird- kinda like a soap opera..."

But actually more true to life. And I find that after Joss, I expect it now (character change/growth)!

But I still likes me my Trek!

It's all good Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 10:44 AM

CITIZEN


So Battlestar Gallactica is realistic now?



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 10:46 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
So Battlestar Gallactica is realistic now?


I won't even dignify that sarcasm with a reply...



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Thursday, January 3, 2008 10:58 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I won't even dignify that sarcasm with a reply...

The new one would have been improved if Boomer and Starbuck were involved in Boxy foxing.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 11:23 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
The new one would have been improved if Boomer and Starbuck were involved in Boxy foxing.


On this we can agree.

Drunken Foxing Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 11:29 AM

REGINAROADIE


I have to admit, that when it comes to a serialized series, it is harder to jump into it. Like with BUFFY and ANGEL, I had to wait until all 12 combined seasons of both shows were out on DVD before actually jumping into it and seeing what the big deal was. I couldn't just jump in and enjoy.

And while Joss may have been a proponent of the serialized tv series, he really shouldn't be given all the credit. I mean, the first REAL primetime show to have a heavy, serialized nature to it's storytelling was obviously TWIN PEAKS. So much of what we watch and consider entertainment had it's genesis in TWIN PEAKS. And if it weren't for network meddling, they would have stretched out the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer all the way up to the final ep, no matter how long the show lasted. That then led to THE X-FILES, which was half stand alone, half mythology.

I like shows that while it's not essential to have seen every episode that preceded it, that there are callbacks to previous eps, but are more subtle. Like in THE OFFICE. One of the cast members once said that THE OFFICE has become the LOST of comedies. Which in a way is true. Like the last ep they did before the strike "The Depositions" had callbacks from all the way to season 2. And stuff like Michael bringing with him the framed "love contract" is a pay-off for a joke in season 3. It's there, but it doesn't make a first-time viewer go "What the hell..."

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 11:45 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
the first REAL primetime show to have a heavy, serialized nature to it's storytelling was obviously TWIN PEAKS.

*taps RR on the shoulder*
We are obviously forgetting DALLAS here.



Don't make me go nuc-u-ler Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 2:10 PM

REGINAROADIE


Right. Sorry about that. Having never seen DALLAS, I thought there was a stand-alone nature to it with the exception of the whole "Who shot J.R." bit.

But TWIN PEAKS was for all intents and purposes something that never should have seen the light of day, let alone be as huge a hit as it was. And I doubt stuff like X-FILES, BUFFY, 24 and LOST would have made a pop culture indent without Laura Palmer and Dale Cooper to show the way. It's not likely J.R and the Ewings ripple effect would have included Mulder and Scully, Buffy Summers, Jack Bauer and the Dharma Initiative.

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Thursday, January 3, 2008 8:58 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Well, I would say that serialization preceded even Dallas. Daytime serials goes back to the days of radio, and primetime serials weren’t as common, but the first I can remember was Soap. I’m sure there were probably earlier examples. I never watched Soap, but my parents did. In the eighties the primetime serial seems to have really taken off: Dallas, Falcon Crest, Knots Landing, Hill Street Blues, St Elsewhere etc. Never shows I watched, but my parents couldn’t get enough of them. However one thing that seems clear, serials weren’t common in sci-fi until after X-files. It’s also likely, from my vantage point, that people who watched the 80s primetime serials weren’t the type to watch Sci-fi, so it’s entirely possible that Twin Peaks was the spark that set the serial ablaze in popular television for younger audiences.





Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Friday, January 4, 2008 12:06 AM

CITIZEN


Dr Who. Started in the sixties, had short run arcs and longer run arcs within each season, that carried on throughout.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Friday, January 4, 2008 3:54 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Hill Street Blues, St Elsewhere

Oh Finn, those are two you really shouldn't has missed out on...

Dr.Wesfallisall

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Saturday, January 5, 2008 4:24 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Dr Who. Started in the sixties, had short run arcs and longer run arcs within each season, that carried on throughout.



Well, when Dr Who started there were only 2 TV channels in Britain, and no "syndication" concept (I think its only in the last 5 years that access to large numbers of channels has become the norm) so it was pretty easy to ensure that they'd all be shown in sequence in a regular timeslot. We don't even have multiple timezones to complicate things - it's Saturday, its tea time, its Dr Who!

The other problem with serial shows in the US is the length of the seasons: 20+ weeks is just too fracking long to pad out a single story (I remember losing interest about half way through "Murder One" - and the second season of that dropped the "one case per season" idea). Babylon 5 suffered badly from padding (I thought season 4 was much better for the rush to finish the story - and the whole story done in about 50 episodes would have been perfect). Battlestar Galactica has exactly the same problem - a run of stonking episodes at the start of end of each season surrounding a soggy filling of so-so stand-alone stories.

Although in the UK the major soaps run perpetually (multi- episodes per week, 52 weeks a year - ) other shows tend to have much shorter "seasons" - 6 to 13 episodes is not unusual, which is much more serial friendly format. There's also less of an obsession with quantity - e.g. "Life on Mars" was a major success but was concluded after two 8-episode runs (although there's a spin-off in the works). Unfortunately, UK tv bosses have been allergic to SciFi/Fantasy/Adventure for some years - but that may now be changing thanks to "Who", "Torchwood" and "Life on Mars".


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Saturday, January 5, 2008 5:15 AM

ZZETTA13


Merryk I haven't read all the responces to your post. All I can say is the way tv programs are written now (and have been for a while) can be view by some as de-evolution(or maybe evolution if one feels). We can see this same thing with the western subjects of tv and movies in the past. We went from John Wayne and Roy Rogers (good guys) to Clint Eastwood (anti-hero). Still in all Eastwood movies had somewhat happy endings. I think your mom is just reflecting the time period of which she was raised (I think I feel the same as she does). Anyway it may be just a particual preference of her generation, where good still wins in the end. Dad is happy, mom is happy and the kids are safe in their beds. That sounds good to me. Realistic? I don't know, but comforting, yes.If I recall FF/Serenity had happy endings, or at least they were somewhat happy.
Z

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Saturday, January 5, 2008 7:47 AM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by zzetta13:
I think your mom is just reflecting the time period of which she was raised (I think I feel the same as she does).



There seems to be far less moral certainty in modern TV than was acceptable in the past. Even Doctor Who has been "greyed up" a bit - with more attention paid to the consequences of his (sometimes high-handed) actions, not to mention a number of satirical/political references (and a not-always-subtle hint of gay politics).

I'm all for this - one of the strengths of SciFi is that it can explore sensitive concepts by setting them in an alien/future context - Battlestar Galactica is highly topical, and even Babylon 5 gave me a shiver when I re-watched it in a post-911 world (one of the sub-plots is the gradual descent of Earth into xenophobia and fascism, fueled by an "alien threat").

However - this might be an illusion: the original 60s Star Trek, for instance, seems very "safe" now, but raised issues that were very sensitive at the time.

In 2008 we can watch an old Star Trek and, cynically, say:

"Oh look, the girls mostly bring Kirk his coffee and documents to sign, the black woman basically gets to answer the 'phone and - oh my - they're all wearing skimpy mini skirts. Typical"

its easy to forget that back in 1969 middle America the reaction from some quarters would have been more like:

"Good grief, women are allowed to work on the bridge, and they're not sweeping the floor - the black one is actually an officer with an important job, and none of them look like... you know... tomboys..."

I suspect some of the "moral of the story" issues in Trek were rather more contentious at the time, too - not to mention the subtle hints that the Federation might be just a teensy bit communist.


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Saturday, January 5, 2008 9:04 AM

REGINAROADIE


You say communist, I say socialist. Having grown up in the only province in Canada that had a democratically elected socialist government, and is part of a country that has socialized health care, I don't share the fear of socialism that everyone in the states seems to have. What's so threatening about having tons of money and spreading it around so that less fortunate people can be helped out?

Sorry for that soapbox moment.

In terms of types of shows evolving or devolving over the years, I remember hearing a really interesting comment on one of the commentaries for THE OFFICE. It was Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak talking about how the story structure for a typical episode. How you have 20 minutes of jokes and then you end on a more dramatic and emotional note where there's reflection on the characters end or a big plot development. Now, it may seem revolutionary, but it's actually something that a lot of 80's sitcoms did, particularly family sitcoms. But that went away with SEINFELD and their famous "no hugs, no learning" policy. Now, while it was revolutionary for SEINFELD, it did lead to that whole 90's thing where a lot of the 90's sitcoms were more snarky and cynical. Some would go so far as to say that it's just 22 minutes of people hurling insults at each other. And then THE OFFICE comes along, where you do have the jokes and the satire of office life and the cubicle world, but you have characters and stories that you're emotionally invested in. That takes a more realistic view of the world we live in. And that unintentionally takes the 80's sitcom structure.

But here's the big difference. The majority of those family and 80's sitcoms were mawkish and artificial. You had that stupid "Awwww" sound from the audience to telegraph that this is A VERY...SERIOUS...MOMENT. It's just insanely phony. But with THE OFFICE, those moments are real. They're worked on and built up. The actors are more subtle in their acting choices. Everything isn't telegraphed. The funny bits are still funny, but the dramatic parts are played for real. So that when you see Pam crying in the hallway in the "Back From Vacation" episode, your heart breaks in half for real. And when her and Jim do get together, it's absolute nirvana.

So in regards to sci-fi, I think that it's just a change of times and styles in what audiences want and how the filmmakers tell the story. This decade, it might be serialized sci-fi shows that are deadly serious and that cater to the online audience while unraveling the mysteries of the universe. Next decade, it could be stand-alone shows that are more fun and that are created by the fans themselves, with online polls calling the shots and the direction of the actors. Who knows?

**************************************************
"And it starts with a sentence that might last a lifetime, or it all might just go down in flames. If I let you know me, then why would you want me? Each day I don't is a shame. Each day I don't is a great shame."

Loudon Wainwright III - "Strange Weirdos" off the "Knocked Up" soundtrack

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Saturday, January 5, 2008 9:14 AM

SAMEERTIA


I don't think it's a "generational" thing or an 'age' thing.

I think it's a personal preference. I love ST TNG, and I loved the first couple seasons of DS9. But once DS9 became that long, conflict ridden, battle-scenario, I lost interest. Same thing with X-Files- loved it up until every episode tied to the the alien conspiracy arc.

Partly it's because I have a busy life and can't always see every episode every week. If I miss one ep of BSG, I'm out of the loop for the entire season until they rerun it.

It's also because as someone who struggles with depression, I NEED a happy ending. I need to know that bad things end, not go on and on and on and on forever.

Actually, I'm seeing it with "Eureka", too. I loved the first season, and am enjoying this season, but I can see that the Artifact arc is going darker places and stretching further and further. So far, I love what's happening, but I can see that it may soon get to the point where every episode is somehow going to tie to the artifact arc. *shrug*
Just my two cents worth.

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Saturday, January 5, 2008 2:45 PM

IMNOTHERE


Quote:

Originally posted by reginaroadie:
What's so threatening about having tons of money and spreading it around so that less fortunate people can be helped out?


I suspect that the people currently in posession of the tons of money would have an opinion on that

Whatever - if you had Federation-level technology that gives you effectively unlimited resources and eliminates the need for unskilled labour, then capitalism could only be maintained artifically by arbitrary laws restricting access to resources and technology. Of course, the transition would be Interesting Times. You can see it in microcosm in the IT world at the moment now that the cost of "manufacturing" (as opposed to designing) software has become negligible - we're seeing the rise of "open source" software on one hand, and on the other hand, draconian measures to stop illicit copying and a propaganda campaign to get copyright infringement equated with theft.

Quote:


Next decade, it could be stand-alone shows that are more fun and that are created by the fans themselves, with online polls calling the shots and the direction of the actors. Who knows?



Ugh - I hope not. I want stories written by people who have a gift for storytelling. To papraphrase Ben Elton: "The ancient Greeks could have had interactive entertainment in their theatres - all they had to do was hop up on the stage and join in - but they were clever enough to realize that would totally up the story."









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Sunday, January 6, 2008 11:48 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by SameErtia:
I don't think it's a "generational" thing or an 'age' thing.

I think it's a personal preference. I love ST TNG, and I loved the first couple seasons of DS9. But once DS9 became that long, conflict ridden, battle-scenario, I lost interest. Same thing with X-Files- loved it up until every episode tied to the the alien conspiracy arc.

Partly it's because I have a busy life and can't always see every episode every week. If I miss one ep of BSG, I'm out of the loop for the entire season until they rerun it.

It's also because as someone who struggles with depression, I NEED a happy ending. I need to know that bad things end, not go on and on and on and on forever.

Actually, I'm seeing it with "Eureka", too. I loved the first season, and am enjoying this season, but I can see that the Artifact arc is going darker places and stretching further and further. So far, I love what's happening, but I can see that it may soon get to the point where every episode is somehow going to tie to the artifact arc. *shrug*
Just my two cents worth.



Bingo. Even now, people are too busy. In the early decades of TV, it was more often the case.

Reagrding another post, when Star Trek was aired, it was banned in the South because Spock had pointy ears, thus representing SATAN.

And, although Dallas was a soap opera before Who Shot J.R.? Twin Peaks' Who Killed Laura Palmer was obviously derivative.

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Monday, March 24, 2008 11:59 PM

WYTCHCROFT


Quote:

Originally posted by MerryK:





Been pondering on this some…

I guess there are pros and cons -
In a story telling sense it’s very satisfying to get a sense of resolution at the end of a show - and there aint nuthin wrong with just wanting to tell a good story (Twilight Zone, nuff said). In the 60's, Star Trek often did this well - though the inevitable Spock, McCoy, Kirk humour banter which signals the resolution of an episode gets damn repetitive. (Look we've laughed off this weeks Play - now you can forget about it till the next show* . This kinda deal goes back to the Elizabethan theatre.)

But on the other hand there are things that get left behind - as a modern viewer we’re now used to narrative and character arcs that develop and progress through the run of a show (and Joss is a key player in making this the new norm - especially through Angel).
I therefore watch 60s Star Trek now and it's disappointing in this respect -
Kirk gets two tiny arcs, in Where No Man has Gone Before (he is not the same man come the end of the episode as when he began it) and in the gap between the show and The Motion Picture (where he has become obsessive and introverted compared to his former self, so too Spock). -
and Next Gen positively infuriating as Picard (in the final season alone) endures -among many incidents - torture and two serious relationships (including the resultant birth of his child) and a bereavement - only to wake each following week apparently ignorant as to just where everyone has gone before.

Deep Space Nine was a little better in this respect, (and, to me, it was a far superior show) as Sisko grew and developed in major ways - before the dreadful "i’m gonna walk the earth" conclusion. But the other characters less so. Kira changed - in some indefinable way, after meeting her dark self in the mirror episode (fantastic show! - uh, 'homaged' a fair bit by buffy) but that was about it.

As for the X-Files, it’s a measure of the actors' talents that the wobbly over-story held together at all - and that the lack of development in the characters actually felt at times like the reverse. Dayna gets a bit less sceptical; Scully gets a bit more obsessed. It was also just so well made - for a while.

Of course - these are character arcs and a lack of development in personality and narrative is not germane simply to sci-fi. Dr Kildare never had an over reaching storyline (but it still holds up as a show - check out the abortion episode!) or character progression compared to ER today, nor did MASH, or The Hulk - not The Invaders nor The Prisoner, nor Columbo, nor Kung Fu, ALL of which I have a soft spot for. But if these shows were re-made today - it would be expected, even it was just a big decorative bluff - look at Heroes.
Is character development realistic? Not necessarily - I admire BSG for using an over story to drive the show while keeping character development to a minimum, it’s almost retro! But - equally it can be frustrating when after yet more trauma the characters don’t seem to develop even as the narrative twists and turns. But - would we?
Of course, the search for Earth - like Kimble looking for the one armed man - is a McGuffin. (sp?) and shows often get cancelled before any kind of resolution is possible. Architect David Vincent is still out there screaming ‘They’re here already!’… Logan is still running* *, The Littlest Hobo too etc. It can be extremely annoying if the show finishes before its time - think 'Millennium' or 'Tru-Calling' - but it often shows the meta-story for the fraud it is.

Genuine narrative resolution and a show with character arcs always was (and still is) rare. In sci-fi, Blake's 7 , for all its sins, was actually a breakthrough and some sort of template (Chris Boucher should get some credit there) - look at 'FarScape' to see the influence - compare it to 'Dr Who' where The Timelord and his companions never developed (except very subtly with Dr 5 Peter Davison after his companion’s death) and where there was hardly ever an arc or story linking a season - only two in fact in 30 years.

But then - perhaps these issues will never be resolved. Did 'Lost' have a real story? Does '24' really have any kind of genuine movement to its character lines? And does it matter?

Ok, stopping now - I think maybe there’s a basic cultural question here - and the answer has changed over the years. Are we what we do?
My parents' generation would be happy enough to read a book or watch a show knowing ah, he’s a cop, she’s a teacher, they’re Doctors - and leaving it at that. And it is still the case that in cultural life socially we often tend to ask; ‘So… what do you do? ’ as a means of getting to know someone.
Again - I love Joss for exploring (and at times undermining) such nonsense - most of his characters know exactly what they do - but feel a distance between their role or job and their innate identity (Buffy and Mal are obvious examples).

Ok, nuff waffle - over and out - but this is a real interesting thread.
* for the hilarious side of how predictable/comforting this can be for a viewer check out Carrie Fisher's rehab tales of watching it in Postcards from the Edge!

* *and never was going to develop any way, like the astronauts in the Apes tv show - and unlike the Logan of the books who becomes a wired Charles Bronson meets Mad Max type avenger.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 5:19 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by wytchcroft:
Deep Space Nine was a little better in this respect, (and, to me, it was a far superior show) as Sisko grew and developed in major ways - before the dreadful "i’m gonna walk the earth" conclusion. But the other characters less so. Kira changed - in some indefinable way, after meeting her dark self in the mirror episode (fantastic show! - uh, 'homaged' a fair bit by buffy) but that was about it.



Kira grew from an angry Bajoran ex-rebel who hated the Federation, didn't want anything to do with non Bajorans, and thought the only Cardassian was a dead Cardassian, to one of the Federation's staunchest supporters, and ultimately a Starfleet Officer. She develops interspecies friendships and romances, even coming to stand against the more radical elements of her own people. She learns to forgive and even respect Cardassians (mainly thanks to Marritza [who made himself a martyr to shame his people into accepting guilt] Ghemor [her Cardassian "father"] and Ziyal), and even stands proudly beside the Cardassian resistance during the Dominion War.

Bashir grew from being a dandyish fop, ashamed of his own Augment heritage into a polished officer, fully comfortable with his uniqueness.

O'Brien has wrestled constantly with family and duty, and his decision to return to Earth at the end of the War is a clear change from his career-motivated jump to DS9 (the post-finale novels make it even more clear, when O'Brien decides to follow Keiko's career for a change, and ends up coming up against the racism he's been nurturing since his time on the Rutledge).

Dax grew from Starfleet's "wild child" to a dedicated wife for Worf, and then was reborn as Ezri, a skittish young rookie who quickly came to peace with her newly Joined nature and grew into an able officer.

Worf developed from a dour and humourless block of wood into a more well-rounded and relaxed person --he seemed far happier on DS9 than he ever did on Enterprise. Ultimately, he learned that his human and Klingon natures didn't need to be in opposition.

Odo discovered his history, and with it the source of his rigid sense of decorum. This made him learn how to relax and find love with Kira.

Of course, there's Rom, who grew from timid, incompetent buffoon to a skilled engineer and troubleshooter (and Grand Nagus), after learning not to listen to other peoples' put-downs.

Nog grew from a delinquent into a fine Starfleet officer. Jake grew from a teenager trailing after his father to a young man making his own way in the universe (deciding not to join Starfleet was the best choice he could've made).

Quark developed from a one-dimensional model of avarice into a well-rounded commentary on what's truly valuable (the Bar will never make him rich, but he likes it there).

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008 8:22 AM

TWILIGHTSEEKER


I am not sure this is a age or a generational thing at all. I suspect that if you polled 100 people who do not like the show you might get the same response from an assortment of age ranges.

I personally am 57 years old and not a big fan of the show either. On the other hand I loved (still love since I own the series) LaFemme Nikita, Forever Knight and Highlander...none of which were particularly tidy or episodic. I also am an unabashed Trekker. I also find my self enjoying the Sarah Conner Chronicals though I have never been a Terminator fan. I suspect that the things I love have more to do with stories written in a fashion that connect to people on some more primal level. I do agree that the common thread I tend to see in the things I love forever and ever is some form of humor...even if it is the kind that only appears funny to those of us with a twisted/noir type sense of the ridiculous. To each their own I say and isn't it shiney that we all have a variety of choices.

gentle journey all,
twilight seeker

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Dear you live on a spaceship"...."So."

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