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 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 6:18 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

...that inspire such loyal and dedicated fan bases?

Whether it's Star Trek or Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica or Space 1999 what is it about science fiction programs that they inspire such devotion? Westerns, medical, and cop shows have always been popular, but they don't foster the kind of fan base a science fiction show does. I bet one could find a website dedicated to the most obscure sci-fi TV program, and it's always made me wonder what it was about the genre that made its fans so...fanatical. wink

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 6:25 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I think you're looking at it form the wrong angle: it's not that SF shows inspire such loyal fanbases, as that the people who are most likely to enjoy SF shows are more likely to be obsessive enthusiasts. smile

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 7:49 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Six of one, half-dozen of the other.

Except Thermians.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   nxbusby   (Member)

Well for one thing, theres a lot more to think about in sci fi shows. For those who want to come home at the end of the day, and turn off their brain, those are why shows like CSI, Simpsons, Grey's Anatomy, etc exist. For those who want to engage their brain, and take the story to the next level, thats why theres sci fi. Take Lost....I couldnt wait for the next question, clue, or the next book to be shown onscreen. I've read them all. And then if its good sci fi, it examines the human condiition and lets one ask questions about themselves and each other. And maybe someone doesnt like an ending to a particular series, but I dont think it made the journey any less thrilling. Unfortunatly, all people seem to like these days are the pitiful excuses for TV shows. The days of X Files, Battlestar Galactica and Lost are over. Fringe is awesome, but its solid proof thats people just dont care. Even with the new ratings...which arnt new..just carry overs from Thursday.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 8:54 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

The days of X Files, Battlestar Galactica and Lost are over. Fringe is awesome, but its solid proof thats people just dont care.

Bwahahah! Lost ended last year. BSG the year before that. I think it's a little too early to judge those "days" over (especially since Dr. Who is still going!). . . And y'know what Lost and BSG did that Fringe didn't? Started strong. Both of the former had great pilots that hooked me. Fringe, on the other hand, was like Spartacus: Blood and Sand -- the first couple episodes were so bad that I haven't been able to muster the interest to return, despite so many people telling me how much better it's gotten since then.

Also, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that all the appeal of the mysteries of Lost wouldn't have held viewers without the, ahem, very photogenic cast. smile That's a show that managed to balance very neatly between turn-off-the-brain beautiful people melodrama and the feeling that there's something more beneath the surface, even if the ending didn't quite pay that off, as far as many fans are concerned.

Well for one thing, theres a lot more to think about in sci fi shows. For those who want to come home at the end of the day, and turn off their brain, those are why shows like CSI, Simpsons, Grey's Anatomy, etc exist.

Also, I think this sells many non-sf shows short, and overlooks lots of dumb sf shows. From The West Wing to The Wire to Mad Men to Friday Night Lights to Breaking Bad, there's no shortage of non-sf TV with some depth, and from Sanctuary to Primeval (sorry, lovers) to The Event, there's no shortage of SF shows that try to be smart but only manage silly.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 9:07 AM   
 By:   nxbusby   (Member)

The days of X Files, Battlestar Galactica and Lost are over. Fringe is awesome, but its solid proof thats people just dont care.

Bwahahah! Lost ended last year. BSG the year before that. I think it's a little too early to judge those "days" over (especially since Dr. Who is still going!). . . And y'know what Lost and BSG did that Fringe didn't? Started strong. Both of the former had great pilots that hooked me. Fringe, on the other hand, was like Spartacus: Blood and Sand -- the first couple episodes were so bad that I haven't been able to muster the interest to return, despite so many people telling me how much better it's gotten since then.

Also, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that all the appeal of the mysteries of Lost wouldn't have held viewers without the, ahem, very photogenic cast. smile That's a show that managed to balance very neatly between turn-off-the-brain beautiful people melodrama and the feeling that there's something more beneath the surface, even if the ending didn't quite pay that off, as far as many fans are concerned.

Well for one thing, theres a lot more to think about in sci fi shows. For those who want to come home at the end of the day, and turn off their brain, those are why shows like CSI, Simpsons, Grey's Anatomy, etc exist.

Also, I think this sells many non-sf shows short, and overlooks lots of dumb sf shows. From The West Wing to The Wire to Mad Men to Friday Night Lights to Breaking Bad, there's no shortage of non-sf TV with some depth, and from Sanctuary to Primeval (sorry, lovers) to The Event, there's no shortage of SF shows that try to be smart but only manage silly.


Oh I agree with ya there! I was just kind of talking sci fi at the time. But your right. Mad Men, West Wing, Wire and especially Breaking Bad are all terrific examples of depth and brains. But at least as far as the networks are concerned, quality is on the way out and has been. I woudnt be surprised if network television just gives up, and sticks to cop shows, medical shows, and reality shows. I mean look at this week...Fox debuted yet ANOTHER cop show! How many do we need!! If youve seen one, you have seen them all. Which is why the cable stations cant be beat. Especially AMC. I'll even throw in a defense for Glee, even though I cant stand it. Its different, and NOT a cop, reality or medical show, so I say...more power to it.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 11:27 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

Probably because, unlike the old western genre and the crime shows, etc. there have always been relatively few network Sci-Fi shows. And most of them don't last long. If you were to swap Police Procedurals with Science Fiction, you'd have powerfully hungry and dedicated fans of Criminal Minds having conventions declaring "I'm a Hotchie!"

Also, sci-fi tends to appeal to a certain demographic, and these are not the beer swilling guys who puke all over their nachos when the Cubs win the victory cup or whatever. Most sci-fi takes a certain dedication beyond using one eye to watch the show and the other to do Farmville.

And finally, decent SF takes time to create interesting characters. There's usually a break out character or two in every SF show (usually an alien or the anti-hero). People latch on to them. Most other genres rely on the plots and have revolving casts solving crime and winning cases. A lot of SF is there to talk about something. Some issues of the day, where another type of show would just show you the cranky head doctor accidentally amputating the leg of a guy who has a ruptured appendix or something.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   Theocracy   (Member)

I always felt it was because Sci-Fi created this whole new world that people become engulfed in

Whereas something like CSI you're just watching it but there's no sense of immersion in the world. It ends, and there's no desire to really want to explore more. Also it's bound within the limits of 'actual'

Sci-Fi - the stories and settings can go anywhere and don't necessarily have to follow the ground-rules that we know and expect.

 
 Posted:   Feb 10, 2011 - 12:18 PM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

It's sort of like what Kubrick said about ghost stories - no matter how scary they are, ghost stories are basically optimistic because ANYTHING that suggest a life after death is optimistic.

Likewise, sci-fi shows portray "otherness" - something beyond the mediocrity and everyday horrors of real life. I think that sci-fi fans (TV or otherwise) are basically an unhappy lot looking for a bit of relief. big grin Either that or they're supreme optimists who think things can get better with technology. After all, even when sci-fi aliens invade Earth, they do so with fabulous technology. THAT is a very optimistic view of technology.

So why sci-fi TV shows in particular? Because they're on all the time and they're everywhere.

Last pertinent word to Oscar Wilde: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2011 - 6:33 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Gee, and I thought it was because of all the cool spaceships and laser guns! wink

Though I mention Star Wars, is it truly science fiction? It deals primarily with mythology, mysticism, and superstition more than it does with "seeking out strange new worlds", which comes off as a given in Lucas' universe. I guess the Death Star(s) could represent the terror of technology, as does the Empire itself. Cold mechanization vs. "warm" spiritualism and the power of belief. I don't know, just throwin' some thoughts out there...

 
 Posted:   Feb 11, 2011 - 6:59 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I hate to get into this discussion again ( wink ), but no, Star Wars is fantasy in sci-fi trappings. Space Opera, or Science Fantasy if you will, rather than "true" science fiction. For those to whom such distinctions are important.

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2011 - 4:12 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Star Wars is fantasy in sci-fi trappings. Space Opera, or Science Fantasy if you will, rather than "true" science fiction. For those to whom such distinctions are important.

That's probably why Star Wars is nothing more than pleasant nostalgia to me. It's no different to me now than it was thirty years ago, whereas Star Trek and a lot of other sci-fi has something for me as an adult, such as the political or sociological statements wrapped in an action adventure or the fantastic friendship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The Twilight Zone contains much more than the twist endings I loved as a child.

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2011 - 6:30 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

The funny thing is, I don't think the resident science fiction fanatics at this forum will even chime in on this topic; they're too busy debating the merits of old vs. new BSG...

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2011 - 6:41 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

At this point I don't even know just how I would define sci-fi anymore. Sometimes just that question by itself sets off a big fracas.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2011 - 6:49 PM   
 By:   zooba   (Member)

Nerds need a fantasy universe that is not our own to live and thrive in.

If that is true than I am the biggest nerd here.

To be serious,


a lot of them are just totally awesome, fantastic entertaining shows and productions.

IMHO

 
 Posted:   Feb 12, 2011 - 8:08 PM   
 By:   DeputyRiley   (Member)

I don't have much to say on the topic since I haven't seen much sci-fi programming, but reading through the thread I must note that "What is it about sci-fi shows that inspire such a dedicated fanbase" is an excellent question.

And I'd also like to point out that the best sci-fi show I've ever seen is Threshold, which unfortunately does not have a dedicated fanbase (that I know of), unless you count me as its primary constituency, in which case it has an indescribably loyal and dedicated fanbase.

But I digress...

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Nerds need a fantasy universe that is not our own to live and thrive in.


Well said! Science Fiction does create a world unlike any other genre; we know what the Old West is going to look like, we know what an urban blighted city hellhole smells like, but sci-fi can do just about anything and create any environment possible. I guess the "nerds" who obsess over this stuff enjoy the escapism as well as the ideas not possible in other styles. It's no wonder that any science fiction show, no matter how short-lived or obscure, resonates with a select few who keep it alive.

Now, does anyone remember "Otherworld"? wink

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 12:07 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Nerds need a fantasy universe that is not our own to live and thrive in.

I'm not sure about this one. I mean, obviously it's impossible to tell where this generation of nerds will end up, but it's the nerds of the generations past who have in many cases gone on to become scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs. I think in many cases it's an optimism for the future as much as a need to escape in the present.

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 12:57 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Nerds need a fantasy universe that is not our own to live and thrive in.

I'm not sure about this one. I mean, obviously it's impossible to tell where this generation of nerds will end up, but it's the nerds of the generations past who have in many cases gone on to become scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs. I think in many cases it's an optimism for the future as much as a need to escape in the present.


Can't comment on any generational differences, but I think the escapism element is a short term thing, whereas the becoming more confident in one's self and aspiring to a "sci-fi career" comes along later but stems with being inspired by said show.

Speaking of being inspired, I started a thread some years ago asking if there were any Trek fans who purged all of their emotions in favor of total logic. It may have happened, but most definitely not with anyone on this board. wink

 
 Posted:   Feb 13, 2011 - 7:57 PM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

...because there's always hot babes in those shows!

Princess Leia, bra-less
Colonel Wilma Deering, in tighty whiteys
Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero, the reason that Spandex was invented

Do I have to go on?

(As usual I'm The Voice of Reason.... big grin )

 
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