What will it take for a space opera show to become mainstream?

 Pages PREV 1 2
 

Thaluikhain:

undeadsuitor:
There isn't going to be a sci-fi game of thrones until they perfect the cgi for zero g titties and include space rape

Apparently someone filmed porn in one of those planes they simulate zero gravity to train astronauts in. So...maybe...

I'm gonna have to google this for research....ive wanted some good zero g noogie since I read the first ringworld book.

Hawki:

Fantasy.

MOTU is totally science-fantasy. If at least in totality not as worse as X-Men cartoons, or Flash Gordon.

Supernatural.

I'd debate that, the franchise frequently tries to explain itself with technobabble, and tries to maintain a consistent internal science-babble logic. In the same way of Star Trek.

Well, stands to reason that the 80s and 90s have more stuff than the 60s, and were also the point when DW went on hiatus.

But as for that, there's any number of reasons, boiling down to:

a) Genuine quality.
b) More time to watch TV shows/cartoons, so you can sample a wider range.
c) More impressionable.

I'm not so sure. After all, people used to have radio serials of science fiction during and prior the Wars. Which is about as mainstream as it got in a pre-ubiquitous tv era.

This is the same for everyone mind you - it's why I roll my eyes when people say that the 90s had better cartoons than the 2010s. I have to ask what age the people are making these statements are. Because while I have a lot of nostalgia for the 90s and the stuff they produced, "nostalgia" is the key word.

There is a certain ease of production when it comes to suspension of disbelief.

Compare that to drama where the people and environment must have a pseudo-unconflicting sense of being able to be accepted into the zeitgeist of what an audience understands as leading to a common social problem.

Which is why Star Trek and Babylon 5 appear so moralistic.

Don't get your hopes up - been ages since we've heard anything about it, and Syfy being Syfy, even if it goes ahead, it'll probably get cancelled. Most I've seen is some concept art (see https://nerdist.com/exclusive-concept-art-for-long-simmering-blakes-7-series/).

Ehhhh, I have my own worries about a remake and the unique cynicism and pessimism towards science and megacivilization being automatically good for people that was a fixture of Blake's 7 would be either overdone, or the anti-heroic cast given false sentimentality.

Early in season 1 I'd agree, but that's about it.

I kind of see it as a problem that runs throughout the series.

Um, okay? Was Firefly selling itself on anti-heroes? That's more a critique of what something doesn't do than what it does.

But it literally opens up like that. Sets its premise of the show like that with a class struggle between the Alliance and 'Browncoats'. It arbitrarily portrays 'Mal' as likeable by the most grievous of tropes, that idea of uniting loyalty as if to some ubiquitous idea of 'freedom' based on what I can only seem to describe as 'lovable larrikinism'.

And even Whedon thought so as well. The Mal we saw on screens was arbitrarily made more flighty and less dark because Fox demanded that.

Kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy.

But I actually liked the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Even though I have a pretty vast antipathy to Marvel movies in general. Doctor Strange and Guardians of the Galaxy are effectively the only ones I actually like.

Faux-sentimentality in space operas can be done well, but not without dated intertextuality. Like Guardians of the Galaxy's fascination with late 70s/80s era music and pop culture colouring the dialogue and sense of an electronic Wonderland.

Call it 'artistic tackiness'.

This would fail as soon as you tried to be melodramatic without that intertextual tackiness.

Without that intertextuality, it becomes noisome.

Edit: Oh, fun fact, y'know that sci-fi show rankings I listed? I actually kinda lied, as Firefly has the #7 spot, while Blake's 7 has the #6 spot. That could change (and it wouldn't be the first time to do so), but, um, yeah.

As I was saying. Blake's 7 has better pacing, less tropish characters, and has a real sincerity of pessimism about the future.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Which is why Star Trek and Babylon 5 appear so moralistic.

Um, when is Babylon 5 moralistic?

I mean, sure, there's a light-dark motif, but the universe operates in shades of grey.

But it literally opens up like that. Sets its premise of the show like that with a class struggle between the Alliance and 'Browncoats'. It arbitrarily portrays 'Mal' as likeable by the most grievous of tropes, that idea of uniting loyalty as if to some ubiquitous idea of 'freedom' based on what I can only seem to describe as 'lovable larrikinism'.

Not sure what that has to do with anti-heroes. And the idea of a "class struggle" appears off. Class struggles come within a society. The Unification War is effectively two different societies coming to blows, one society triumphing, forcing itself on the other, but in practice, not changing much. Firefly's tropes lie far more in Westerns than anything else.

Also, Mal is hardly a "lovable larikin." Sometimes? Sure. But Mal can go from happy to dark at the drop of the hat - other characters even point this out. It's core to his character development that he isn't following a cause after the war, only does so in Serenity, and only really commits to it in 'No Power in the 'Verse.' Which I doubt is going to be continued due to what I suspect is rights issues, but that's another matter.

Kind of like Guardians of the Galaxy.

Eh...maybe? I mean, you can draw parallels, but they're extremely broad ones. As far as sci-fi shows of the 2000s go, GotG has far more in common with Farscape IMO.

As I was saying. Blake's 7 has better pacing, less tropish characters, and has a real sincerity of pessimism about the future.

On those points:

-Better Pacing: Debatable. Both series maintain loose continuity over effectively stand-alone episodes, but I'd say Firefly is better paced out. It has the advantage of fewer episodes to remember, but Firefly is far faster paced. Blake's 7 chugs along, but while that's fine in principle, it leaves less of an impact.

-Characters: Also debatable. You can easily boil down the B7 to tropes - Blake the leader, Avon the cynic, Villa the coward, Tarant the cowboy, Gaff the strongman, Servalan the puppet master, Travis the nemesis, etc. And tropes aside, a key difference is that on the Liberator for instance, while it has a number of standout characters (Blake, Villa, Avon, arguably Tarant), it has a lot of dead weight (Janna, Cally, Gaff). In contrast, every crew member of Serenity has a character I could easily describe with a dynamic between said characters.

-Pessimism: Still debatable. Blake's 7 is set way further into the future than Firefly, and to my knowledge, there's no explanation as to how society developed to the point of forming the Federation. Firefly has a set chain of events between the present and the world it takes place in (2517 and onwards, going from the start of the series) - there's no major gaps in its in-universe history. And if we're comparing the Federation and Alliance, the Alliance is far more nuanced. In B7, there's the sort of suggestion that Blake's crusade may do more damage than good, and even then, you could argue that the Federation is a necessary evil considering that it repels the Andromedan invasion. In contrast, the Alliance is a well-meaning but overreaching organization. There's far more depth in character like the Operative than Travis. While the Alliance does horrible things at times (Shadow and Miranda for instance), life in the Alliance is pretty good if you're a Core-worlder, and while life on the frontier can be hard, that's down more to neglect than malice.

So I'll grant you that Blake's 7 depicts a far more pessimistic future, but Firefly depicts a far more 'real' future. And that includes the notion that there'll always be a divide between the haves and have-nots, between those with power and those without, that human nature doesn't change even if you leave Earth behind. Contrast that to the Federation, which is a monolithic 'thing' that is far removed from present day circumstances, and would easily fit into pulp fiction.

undeadsuitor:
I'm gonna have to google this for research....ive wanted some good zero g noogie since I read the first ringworld book.

To ruin the image.. the truth is actually not very sexy.

Firstly, those planes are affectionately known as the "vomit comet". They're designed to simulate the sudden shift into microgravity when a spacecraft stops accelerating, which is often very unpleasant and debilitating for astronauts. It's going to be a pretty bad place to have sex.

Secondly, both astronauts risk passing momentum onto each other or drifting, which could be dangerous if they bang their heads on something. For this reason, the safest thing is to strap them together and strap them to the spacecraft so that they can't move very much. Astronauts are strapped down down they sleep in zero gravity, for the same reason.

Thirdly, hygiene and heat management is going to be a huge problem. Spacecraft are sealed environments. Often, there is air conditioning to try and simulate natural convection, but otherwise the air is incredibly still. This means our astronauts are going to end up floating in a cloud of hot air full of their own perspiration and spent bodily fluids, which will be uncomfortably hot and humid. Obviously, you'd also want to keep this moisture away from fragile components on the spacecraft as well as from other crew members who might be grossed out by breathing in smelly bodily fluids, and this is a problem because space aboard a spaceship is (ironically) at a premium.

Finally, the reproductive organs are.. well.. they're on the lower half of your body. Human bodies are designed to maintain optimal blood pressure in earth gravity. Microgravity upsets that and results in more blood pressure in the head and chest and less in the legs and in the junk. This means physical arousal in microgravity is more difficult and harder to maintain for both sexes. Prolonged microgravity also weakens the cardiovascular system, and while having sex would certainly be a good workout to help maintain cardio strength, it won't necessarily be as easy or fun.

In short, there's no physical reason why people couldn't have sex in micro/zero gravity, but it's not going to be very sexy and science fiction writers have tended to massively overstate the benefits while ignoring the many, many problems. Long term, manned space exploration and colonisation will depend on the use of artificial gravity to simulate conditions on Earth, and people will go into microgravity or zero gravity to work, not generally to have fun.

To add to what evilthecat said, IIRC you get serious Gs going up on those planes (which means you can't maintain an erection), then you get a very short span of time in simulated zero G. You're not having sex so much as sprint-ejaculating, which is normally not considering sexy. And then you all throw up, which, likewise.

As an aside, Kate Upton also apparently did a simulated zero G photoshoot (somewhat clothed), and greatly impressed the crew by not vomiting afterwards.

CaptJohnSheridan:
Sadly The Expanse has not turned out to be sci fi's Game of Thrones. 
https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/11/17343638/the-expanse-third-last-season-syfy

What will it take for a space opera show to become as big as Game of Thrones?

These are dark times. Is the average TV viewer as well as American too cynical to imagine humanity becoming a interstellar civilization?

If we showed the average Joe Mass Effect would they find the idea of such a future ridiculous?

https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-mass-effect-should-be-the-next-great-space-opera-on-1460315077

God damn it. I just never got to watch it because I missed season 1 due to never having seen it, then when season 2 was coming out, I had read the first book of the series but not seen the first season 1, so I missed that, and now that season 1 and 2 are on Prime, I have missed all of 3 on Hulu, and I accept personal responsibility for this show failing because I loved the fuck out of that first book and failed to watch the TV show...

undeadsuitor:

Thaluikhain:

undeadsuitor:
There isn't going to be a sci-fi game of thrones until they perfect the cgi for zero g titties and include space rape

Apparently someone filmed porn in one of those planes they simulate zero gravity to train astronauts in. So...maybe...

I'm gonna have to google this for research....ive wanted some good zero g noogie since I read the first ringworld book.

I donated $25 to that crowdfunding project to shoot a Porno Movie in space, but I got the check back in the mail 6 months later because not many other people did... My wife thought it was hilarious when I did it, but didn't even consider donating

Spade Lead:

undeadsuitor:

Thaluikhain:

Apparently someone filmed porn in one of those planes they simulate zero gravity to train astronauts in. So...maybe...

I'm gonna have to google this for research....ive wanted some good zero g noogie since I read the first ringworld book.

I donated $25 to that crowdfunding project to shoot a Porno Movie in space, but I got the check back in the mail 6 months later because not many other people did... My wife thought it was hilarious when I did it, but didn't even consider donating

Looks like you'll have to build your own spaceship then.

Missed this post, so yay?

Hawki:

Um, when is Babylon 5 moralistic?

I mean, sure, there's a light-dark motif, but the universe operates in shades of grey.

Incredibly so ... plus downright dips its toes into religion as manifestly evident.

Which is something even the original BSG (AKA Mormons in Space) didn't stoop to. I mean the big reveal of the Minbari surrender? And it constantly resurfacing and made the central premise of one of the films?

It's cringeworthy in its extremes. Religion as technologically provable. About the best thing of the show is Londo and G'kar. And G'kar only because it was constantly entertaining melodrama... and Londo because who doesn't love the Space French?

Also, Mal is hardly a "lovable larikin." Sometimes? Sure. But Mal can go from happy to dark at the drop of the hat - other characters even point this out. It's core to his character development that he isn't following a cause after the war, only does so in Serenity, and only really commits to it in 'No Power in the 'Verse.' Which I doubt is going to be continued due to what I suspect is rights issues, but that's another matter.

It also doesn't help that the characters are boring.

Whedon wanted a show about anti-heroes, but what we got after backseat management by showrunners is a shitty universe, with boring characters, with tropish sci-fi nonsense, in a setting not built to handle it and requiring far more character-centric development that could never be hoped for.

Eh...maybe? I mean, you can draw parallels, but they're extremely broad ones. As far as sci-fi shows of the 2000s go, GotG has far more in common with Farscape IMO.

'Kind of like' does imply broadly-speaking parallels, but they nonetheless exist.

On those points:

-Better Pacing: Debatable. Both series maintain loose continuity over effectively stand-alone episodes, but I'd say Firefly is better paced out. It has the advantage of fewer episodes to remember, but Firefly is far faster paced. Blake's 7 chugs along, but while that's fine in principle, it leaves less of an impact.

-Pessimism: Still debatable. Blake's 7 is set way further into the future than Firefly, and to my knowledge, there's no explanation as to how society developed to the point of forming the Federation. Firefly has a set chain of events between the present and the world it takes place in (2517 and onwards, going from the start of the series) - there's no major gaps in its in-universe history. And if we're comparing the Federation and Alliance, the Alliance is far more nuanced. In B7, there's the sort of suggestion that Blake's crusade may do more damage than good, and even then, you could argue that the Federation is a necessary evil considering that it repels the Andromedan invasion. In contrast, the Alliance is a well-meaning but overreaching organization. There's far more depth in character like the Operative than Travis. While the Alliance does horrible things at times (Shadow and Miranda for instance), life in the Alliance is pretty good if you're a Core-worlder, and while life on the frontier can be hard, that's down more to neglect than malice.

So I'll grant you that Blake's 7 depicts a far more pessimistic future, but Firefly depicts a far more 'real' future. And that includes the notion that there'll always be a divide between the haves and have-nots, between those with power and those without, that human nature doesn't change even if you leave Earth behind. Contrast that to the Federation, which is a monolithic 'thing' that is far removed from present day circumstances, and would easily fit into pulp fiction.

But a key part of that chugging along was a universe that was invariably huge. EACH episode being self-conbtainedstories helped detail a livinguniverse where trillions are enslaved, drugs, have face technological regression, or mind-numbing highs of rogue scientific development.

Like the Tachyon funnel that can just obliterate people, planets, suns ... Blake's 7 is a frightening universe where technology cannot exist morally, and where there are so many people that arguably the Federation just represents any late stage economic system struggling under the weight of growing nepotism and massive megacivilization for which no idealism can hope to survive beond constant rebellion and violent malcontent.

And that is made all the more clear by looking at the character progression of Blake himself and his eventual death ...

That any attempt to control and maintain law and order in a place like B7's universe is invariably going to be violently opposed, or be a violent and lawless place by its own hand. And I think that's a far more accurate and realistic portrayal of interplanetary colonization than whatever Firefly tries to present itself as.

Yes, B7 has an invariably complex, weird, oddly disjointed universe on its own... but then again, you can say the same thing about our lives on Earth.

The nature of the Alliance in Firefly is convenient. Sure, the Alliance is more 'nuanced' ... but realistically what sort of nuance do you actually see in reality? The nuance between Spanish soldiers in the Philippines and the 'nuance' of the U.S. soldiers and its violent colonization immediately afterwards under the auspicesof 'liberation'?

The dialogue about the Alliance is convenient ... whereas the idea of law and order, and corruption of the Federation in B7, is, entirely, more realistic to what humans face on a daily basis. On this planet. Right now and recent history.

B7 is clearly written in a time and tone of reference where the common Briton was internalizing the truth of its colonization and imperialistic history. The fact that the British were not going to be remembered fondly. When all the false narratives of things like Malayan revolutionary movements and widespread anti-British sentiments were suddenly being reported more honestly and interpreted and displayed more truthfully on British television sets.

And it shows...

B7 is one part excuse, and one part pessimism, of empire.

For example, how Britons were still relating things like Indian socialist organizations post WW2 into the 50s and 60s on radios and television sets? The Malayan Emergency and the dialogue and representation on British television even into the 70s?

Addendum_Forthcoming:
Missed this post, so yay?

Hawki:

Um, when is Babylon 5 moralistic?

I mean, sure, there's a light-dark motif, but the universe operates in shades of grey.

Incredibly so ... plus downright dips its toes into religion as manifestly evident.

Which is something even the original BSG (AKA Mormons in Space) didn't stoop to. I mean the big reveal of the Minbari surrender? And it constantly resurfacing and made the central premise of one of the films?

It's cringeworthy in its extremes. Religion as technologically provable. About the best thing of the show is Londo and G'kar. And G'kar only because it was constantly entertaining melodrama... and Londo because who doesn't love the Space French?

What on earth are you talking about? This is a show which hand waves away the whole of christianity as being aliens covertly helping earth. That isn't "religion as technologically provable", it's the opposite.

The same applies to the Sinclair reveal. Both are examples of showing religion as superstition while at the same time explaining how they came to exist.

Also, Londo is a Space Russian, not Space French.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Incredibly so ... plus downright dips its toes into religion as manifestly evident.

Which is something even the original BSG (AKA Mormons in Space) didn't stoop to. I mean the big reveal of the Minbari surrender? And it constantly resurfacing and made the central premise of one of the films?

I wasn't aware that religion being "manifestly evident" was a case of "stooping." There's plenty of examples in fiction. And if we're talking about Battlestar Galactica, the rebooted series does it, and is stronger for it.

About the best thing of the show is Londo and G'kar. And G'kar only because it was constantly entertaining melodrama... and Londo because who doesn't love the Space French?

Disagree it was melodrama. Both of them have layers, and both of their conflicts are about tangible issues existing in their universe, that extend to their races as a whole. B5 doesn't shy from conveying the horrific effects of war (including planetary bombardment), with such effects extending to planetary occupation.

It also doesn't help that the characters are boring.

Disagree that we're boring. Also, if we're playing the comparison game, Blake's 7 has a case of a selection of interesting characters, and tepid supporting ones. Every crew member of Serenity has some level of nuance. You can't say the same for the crew of the Liberator.

Whedon wanted a show about anti-heroes, but what we got after backseat management by showrunners is a shitty universe, with boring characters, with tropish sci-fi nonsense, in a setting not built to handle it and requiring far more character-centric development that could never be hoped for.

Completely disagree with that.

But a key part of that chugging along was a universe that was invariably huge. EACH episode being self-conbtainedstories helped detail a livinguniverse where trillions are enslaved, drugs, have face technological regression, or mind-numbing highs of rogue scientific development.

Ever heard the saying "wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle?"

Blake's 7 takes place over the galaxy, but it's broadly sketched. Any details are gained almost entirely from inference. There's no sense of planetary geography, and it doesn't help that again, the effects can't keep up with the universe. Funnily enough, a factory of the Federation looks exactly like it does in the 1970s, and quarries are still the de facto environment for confrontations.

Like the Tachyon funnel that can just obliterate people, planets, suns ... Blake's 7 is a frightening universe where technology cannot exist morally, and where there are so many people that arguably the Federation just represents any late stage economic system struggling under the weight of growing nepotism and massive megacivilization for which no idealism can hope to survive beond constant rebellion and violent malcontent.

Which is entirely speculative.

Lots of planets are shown to exist outside the control of the Federation, and a lot of them are shown to have apparently regressed technologically. The Federation, if it represents anything, is "space fascists." The Federation is bad, because fascism is bad.

And that is made all the more clear by looking at the character progression of Blake himself and his eventual death ...

Um, what character development?

Granted, haven't seen series 3, but Blake, of what I've seen, is in the same psychological standpoint as he was at the start - anti-hero, shades of grey, willing to do extreme things to topple the Federation. Maybe more extreme at the end, but that's about it.

That any attempt to control and maintain law and order in a place like B7's universe is invariably going to be violently opposed, or be a violent and lawless place by its own hand. And I think that's a far more accurate and realistic portrayal of interplanetary colonization than whatever Firefly tries to present itself as.

First of all, that statement can just as readily be applied to Firefly, where the Outer Planets are rough living in of themselves, or in the case of the Unification War, violently oppose "law and order."

Also, if we want to get into realism, Blake's 7 is far removed from that. We have FTL travel, aliens (who conventionally look exactly like humans), the idea of pre-determined evolutionary pathways), teleportation, etc. And if we want to look at the Federation, it's little different from the Empire in Star Wars - galaxy spanning empire that does very bad things, and is so huge that there's little room for nuance.

Firefly, on the other hand, even discounting its more down to earth technology, depicts a universe that's much more akin to our own. There's a setting of haves and have-nots, where the have-nots, with a government that isn't over the top evil, but will do what it thinks is best (often for itself). Or to put it another way, the Alliance in Firefly could be said to have parallels with any number of real-world governments. The Federation of Blake's 7 has more in common with 1984.

Yes, B7 has an invariably complex, weird, oddly disjointed universe on its own... but then again, you can say the same thing about our lives on Earth.

Earth has defined geography, with defined international relations, and defined cultures. Blake's 7 has "the Federation" controlling "the galaxy." That's it.

And fine, no fictional universe will ever match the detail of the real-world, but B7 doesn't work in detail. We can make inferences about the setting, but at least in the context of the series, it's an amorphous, ill-defined one.

The nature of the Alliance in Firefly is convenient. Sure, the Alliance is more 'nuanced' ... but realistically what sort of nuance do you actually see in reality? The nuance between Spanish soldiers in the Philippines and the 'nuance' of the U.S. soldiers and its violent colonization immediately afterwards under the auspicesof 'liberation'?

Usually adding moral ambiguity is the opposite of convenient. It would be easy to paint the Alliance as "the bad guys," but it doesn't.

And reality is nuanced. There isn't a single conflict in the world's history that doesn't have layers of nuance. History (as a subject) exists for a reason, to gain an understanding of truth, as best as we can define it.

The dialogue about the Alliance is convenient ... whereas the idea of law and order, and corruption of the Federation in B7, is, entirely, more realistic to what humans face on a daily basis. On this planet. Right now and recent history.

The opposite is true. There's no equivalent to the Federation in real-world history. There's no single-world government. The Federation is this amorphous "thing" that exists in B7. It has some levels of nuance, but only in the context that it might be a necessary evil (per Andromeda), and that there's at least some good people that exist inside it. The Alliance can have any number of parallels between colonial powers and colonies, or the international power structure (since the Alliance stemmed from the US and China), or within a country itself (Old West in the US). The setting of Firefly is representative of human history and power structure. The Federation is something purely out of science fiction.

And again, I'll reiterate, we know exactly how the Alliance came to be. How, when, and why Earth was abandoned, how 'the Verse was discovered and colonized, how the GEA became the Alliance, and how, when, and why the Unification War began and ended. With the Federation, we know extremely little, only that this is some undefined time in the future with a galaxy spanning empire that's tyrannical. How, when, and why this came to pass are questions that are never answered.

B7 is clearly written in a time and tone of reference where the common Briton was internalizing the truth of its colonization and imperialistic history. The fact that the British were not going to be remembered fondly. When all the false narratives of things like Malayan revolutionary movements and widespread anti-British sentiments were suddenly being reported more honestly and interpreted and displayed more truthfully on British television sets.

And it shows...

Um, how? There's barely any parallels between the Federation and the British Empire. There's barely any parallels between the Federation and any historical empire. It would be arguably impossible to, if we assume that the Federation is indeed the power that colonizes the galaxy, with said galaxy being pretty empty of non-human life. There's evidence that there might have been some kind of prior colonization (given how often the crew encounter low-technology societies - maybe they regressed?), but that's not analogous to colonization, with one power establishing control over a separate, previously unrelated power.

Also, there's no real sense of false narrative. If anything, the series leaves it open to the idea that the Federation may be a necessary evil, that Blake's rebellion might do more harm than good. Countries that achieved independence from the British empire probably benefitted from the divorce in the long run, and we don't have to worry about the equivalent of Andromedans threatening anything.

I'd like to see a high budget TV show for star wars. There's tons of stories and lore they can adapt.

 Pages PREV 1 2

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here