My angst is with some Sci-Fi fans

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    I really can’t stand some of these people who constantly whine how nothing is good anymore. Well when it comes to TV and film there have allways been good and bad films. Nothing has changed people!

    Sci-Fi like a countrys culture or economy has and never will have a goiden age. Understand TV and Film espcially Sci-Fi is a very difficult undertaking and well you just can’t please everyone.

    Not every new Sci-Fi series is going to impress everyont but at least not whine and complain about it to me because well thats just sad.

    Sadder than watching a Mac and PC user get into a fight. *another pocket protector bites the dust* Anyway just for the record I like lots of scifi. Past, present, American and Brittish. Every who has and is contributing to scifi is ok in my book.



    yes i agree with you slop. with the abundance of scifi in all the different mediums, there should be something for every scifi fan out there! my favorite medium is television and it keeps me very busy!


    Well, there’s another way to look at it.

    Sci-fi, in general is a marginalized genre. Books, movies, and TV shows in particular, are always kind of considered fringe, and weird by the majority of westerners. Now, why is that? Partly, I think, because sci-fi is a challenging medium. It challenges the audience to suspend disbelief, embrace weirdness like aliens and spaceships, and to be intelligent enough to digest the complex concepts. And, as we all know, the majority of westerners (and us americans in particular) like to have our entertainment fed to us in bite sized portions, with catsup, and not too many spices. Hence Friends, Titanic, and Danielle Steel novels. So, because of this, there isn’t as large a market for sci-fi as there is for romance, light comedy, and action/adventure, and so, therefore, not as much money available to the creators of sci-fi. Little money means frequent mediocrity. This is why sci-fi movies generally do poorly at the box office, sci-fi TV shows get cancelled after one or two seasons, and sci-fi books never make the Oprah Book Club (like that’s a bad thing… heh).

    Sci-Fi, as a genre, will always be the underdog because the masses fear it, scoff at it, don’t understand it, and don’t care about it. The masses are stupid. Heh.


    Ooh, just thought of something else.

    It’s the very reasons the masses hate sci-fi that I (and I suspect many others) love it. It’s challenging and exciting.
    But, more so than ANY other genre of entertainment, sci-fi is unlimited.
    What makes a romantic comedy a romantic comedy? Meg Ryan (or equivalent) and Matthew Broderick (or equivalent) being goofy and lovelorn. What makes action action? Keanau Reeves (or equivalent) in a life or death struggle with something or someone evil, and a daring and dangerous escape. Even sci-fi’s kissing cousin, fantasy, has more limitations than sci-fi. Fantasy means swords, and horses, and mythic beasts, and magic.

    Sci-Fi, however, means what? EVERYTHING ELSE!!
    Does it mean there are aliens? Well, no not really. Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy is a fantastic sci-fi series without a single alien.
    Does it mean the future? Nope. Harry Turttledove is a master of writing alternate histories, where something alters the outcome of major world events.
    Does it mean outer space? Not at all. William Gibson is one of the premier Sci-Fi writers of our time, and he hasn’t written a single book about outer space.

    So what makes Sci-Fi? It’s a story that deals with concepts beyond reality. And what is the limit to that? NOTHING!!


    [ 17-12-2001: Message edited by: charmlessman ]


    i agree charmlessman… i want *more* scifi and fantasy shows/ movies… but unfortunately, it looks like they are going to keep giving us more shows like *survivor* and sitcoms until the masses brains are just puddles of goo.

    my fave scifi is in books or video games these days usually, i don’t appreciate cookie cutter shows that take old stories and try to make them *hip* for the day… i won’t mention any names… *cough* the chronicle *cough* *cough* (Censored) *cough*

    why gloss over scifi and try to make it “friends” in a weird setting so teeny boppers will like it. those shows are so brainless and unclever that it’s really sad… they aren’t even *SCI* fi… why are they showing these programs? INVEST in *Science Fiction* dangit we don’t watch the channel to see poorly written wannabe horror shows. i personally blame the “scream/ i know what you last summer on a tuesedy afternoon while eating a danish” crowd for the types of things they show on the scifi ch now. (cherry falls??? WHAT???)

    X factor has grown on my a tiny bit, but, i can only watch it while i do other things, LoL i’m just glad i still have farscape, DS9 reruns & enterprise. ::sighs in relief::

    the whole problem is — we just need four more seasons of Lexx, LoL (at LEAST, hehe)


    ps- AND there’s enough scifi out there for people to not have to like everything that comes out and slaps an “i’m a scifi show/ book/ whatever” label on itself. you can’t expect everything to be as complex as Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series… but, we don’t have to swallow drivel happily when they hand it to us, either. and what is and is not drivel changes from person to person — it’s all subjective.



    Originally posted by Slopmaster:
    …. Not every new Sci-Fi series is going to impress everyone but at least not whine and complain about it to me because well thats just sad.


    I’m Glad to be Sad!

    I know what you mean about peeps who generally moan about all modern sci fi being bad, but the fact is that there is a lot of formula stuff out there.

    In the ol’ days (eee when I were a lad), Sci Fi seemed to be for a certain audience, a group of people who were a little more free-thinking (or geeky) than yer average Joe/Jenny and it wasn’t (to me at least) patronising.

    In most new sci fi shows (and films) that appear nowadays, the writers have a scathing disregard for people with brains (yes, people like wot I is!) and write to what seems like a formula. Someone once told me that advertisements on TV are written so that people who are at least 10 years old can see the message/get the meaning, and I feel that modern sci fi shows are produced to that same level.

    The first series of Dark Angel was very popular in Britain but I found that I couldn’t watch it very much (dispite the gorgeous leading lady) because it was patronising drivel!

    8 out of 10 Sci Fi shows (and films) seem to be the same – total crap! I know that most of the media released today is geared to the teenage market, but why can’t the idiots with media money give teenagers a break!? Treat them as though they are people with more than two brain cells that don’t all think with the stuff between their legs!

    (erm.. and I don’t mean their bums!… although strictly erm… a bum isn’t between your legs… if you see what I mean….. and NO! I’m not a teenager!)


    Unfortunately, Sci-fi has and probably will always be a stereotyped medium, many people will not acknowledge that they like Enterprise, Lexx or Buffy, for fear of being ridiculed.
    Liking Sci-fi simply is not cool in the eyes of the masses, you may as well be gay in some people’s eyes, as admitting you like it is like coming out of the closet.
    And when an article or news report looks at anything remotely Sci-Fi, they always pick out the extremist side to it, i.e picking out the biggest geek they can find, thus reinforcing the view that all Sci-Fi fans are spotty, pizza eating morons who have wet dreams about being Jean-Luc Picard.
    I personally think that programmes like Angel and Dark Angel try to mix it, they seem to add a little of everything to avoid being dubbed as pure Sci-fi, and it seems to work, the ratings appear to show that, at the same time they are making Sci-Fi more palatable.
    A recent example is Enterprise, dropping the Star Trek theme from it’s credits, and having less of the techno-babble, in an attempt to move away from THAT image.
    Although I love Lexx, it is nice to see that the new programmes are trying to woo large scale audiences with a more serious approach.
    In a way they are doing the rest of Sci-Fi a favour, they are kind of the light hearted
    Sci-fi programmes, and it might mean that those who knock the genre might even get interested in the more blatant Sci-fi, and maybe not consider it a realm for geeks any longer.

    Guest like, CONSUMED my paper…….

    And i was like…

    Thats cool.


    SciFi used to be a box in the back room of the used book store.

    Then along came Star Trek…

    If it’s popular with the masses then it’s thiry years behind the times.

    It sure was gratifying to see they made movies out of things like “Damnation Alley” or ” A Boy and his Dog”. or “Do androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (Blade Runner).

    It’s like….gee they found it!!! I couldn’t believe it!!!
    Someone else went to the back room in the used book store!!!

    kokopelli wrote:

    SciFi used to be a box in the back room of the used book store.

    Then along came Star Trek…

    A well resurrected old thread. Hadn’t read this before. I like your analogy, Kokopelli. I’d add, along came Doctor Who (from 1963) too, because like with Star Trek (1966), it helped popularise the genre.

    Pulp fiction sci-fi stories were actually very popular following the 1st World War, And Jules Verne, for instance, was a well-received writer back in the late 1800s. I’m inclined to compare the sci-fi film practice of taking not critically well-received pulpy literature with the film noir movement (old pulp detective stories). It is great to find those back-room books on the screen. I still find myself picking up sci-fi books at the back of the bookstore for a quarter.

    In literature there are sci-fi, or speculative fiction, classics that have been praised outside sci-fi circles. For instance, Brave New World and 1984, Lem, Vonnegut, Heinlein have all been well-received as serious writers. Asimov, Clarke, and Bradbury had big success.

    I think that there has been something of a return to pulp sci-fi. Comic book adaptations have become so popular (incidentally, I still love the monster B-movies from the 50s).

    Sorry to digress from your points, but this is related to comments made earlier in the thread…

    Many sci-fi, or sci-fiish flicks, have had major mainstream success, just as many have had critical success (Solaris, 2001 etc.)

    Think of blockbusters such as Star Wars, ET, or the Matrix. Big budget flicks that pulled in big money. Star Wars and ET I tend to think of as fantasy (very soft sci-fi), and The Matrix one might consider to be more of action flick — though it’s very cyberpunk . Soft sci-fi has done pretty well with the masses, but hard sci-fi is a harder sell. Not surprising that has found less acceptance amongst the masses since such “speculative fiction” is empirically grounded, and it definitely helps to have a fair understanding of science (gotta be interested in it).

    ”Charmlessman” wrote:

    It’s the very reasons the masses hate sci-fi that I (and I suspect many others) love it. It’s challenging and exciting.
    But, more so than ANY other genre of entertainment, sci-fi is unlimited.

    Even sci-fi’s kissing cousin, fantasy, has more limitations than sci-fi. Fantasy means swords, and horses, and mythic beasts, and magic

    …. [nice points]

    So what makes Sci-Fi? It’s a story that deals with concepts beyond reality. And what is the limit to that? NOTHING!!

    I tend to see it another way. While both Fantasy and science fiction involve the fantastic, I tend to see fantasy as more fantastic and therefore less limited. The Fantasy genre is less reality-based and has fewer limitations than a genre which is grounded in empiricism. “There is a real and knowable universe.” Fantasy is not limited to that thinking — science fiction deals with the possible – speculative — whereas fantasy tend to deal in the impossible, or highly improbable.

    True science fiction, as I see it, should be based on science or draw on scientific principles. It should be informed by scientific thought. It’s a rational universe, whereas in fantasy anything can happen for any reason since it often, like horror, involves the supernatural. The only limit is the imagination.

    Really, the fantasy and sci-fi genres often overlap – there’s not a clear distinction much of the time. Both can involve themselves with imaginary worlds and people. There’s little difference between a raygun of power and a ring of power. Our science would seem like magic to a less-developed people. A lot of what passes for science fiction involves a lot of cod science anyway (just made up stuff). Since it’s fiction, that’s not surprising. But as science fiction, I like it when, within the fictional narrative structure, the future developments/technology seem to have been extrapolated from current scientific knowledge.

    Nothing deals with concepts beyond[/i] reality more than fantasy, or horror (which is another one of the fantastic genres).


    Sci-fi is as old as the hills…and many good writers with an informed sense of history pick up on these strands. Like in Lexx where the ship is alive and talks (even if Lexx is stupid) Ok this idea may have been resurrected by Anne McCaffrey but ships have always had souls and Jasons ship the Argo talked to him some two thousand five hundred years ago.

    Blade Runner is arguably based on Paradise Lost via Shelley’s Frankenstein. Intresting too that in the recentish film ‘Mary Shelleys Frankenstein’ the Creature played by deNiro seems to have borrowed much in terms of imagery and charcter from Roy Batty, how deliberate this is who knows? My guess is there’s a knowing dialogue within the genre, with quotes and references all over the place, this keeps the old stories alive just like in a narative or oral tradition. Besides Jason’s story is of a guy who travels to new worlds in a craft who is alive and talks to him. He and his crew meet different cultures. tribal groups etc who have bad things in store for them. The story has been interpreted as being Jasons coming to terms with the power of the feminine..sound familar – There a lot of Jason in Lexx a series where all the strong (living) characters a mostly women.

    But thats what’s good about sci-fi women have been allowed to outgrow the role of ‘bimbo to be rescued by a hunky guy’ to those doing the rescuing. (Relax guys I’m a lipstick lesbian)

    I think the genre needs more stuff like Lexx, and indeed ‘Enterprise’ (sometimes) it seems to hark back to the original Star Trek than next generation. Films have had a hard time breaking away from Blade Runner in terms of style but Gattaca was good. There is a lot of routine stuff however, lets face it Forbidden Planet – a film from the fifties which borrows from Shakespeare’s Tempest – actually turns the tables on the whole ‘alien’ thing that worried the western world during the cold war so much, by having the alien turn out to be the human subconscience… I mean how cool is that?


    I see all speculative fiction as the descendant of mythic storytelling…shamans huddled around a fire weaving tales to excite the imagination and inspire souls. Storytelling.

    I believe that true mythic tales are teaching tales…how are we human? what makes us react to new things in different ways? where do we go from here?

    Those are the landscapes that speculative fiction travels across.

    Sidhecafe wrote:

    II believe that true mythic tales are teaching tales…how are we human? what makes us react to new things in different ways? where do we go from here?

    Those are the landscapes that speculative fiction travels across.

    Thats right! Our human need to define ourselves has always seemed to be contingent upon defining what is not human. Shamanism proceeded from the activity of hunting… a way of life where human conceptual worlds intimately overlapped with those of other creatures who are/were not human. The shaman and the hunter through the mundane activity of providing food crossed into those other worlds. With this activity came the problematic notion of taking life in order to live. Ethical thought (at the heart of a lot of ‘serious’, if not most, sci-fi – e.g. Blade Runner- Frankenstein) surely begins at and proceeds from this point.

    Since agriculture took over from hunter/gathering in the Neolithic this symbiotic relationship has diminished: We are humans they are animals..or at least we define a whole plethora of beings under an all encompassing other – ‘animal’. I suspect that we’d have dealt with Alien contact better 20,000 years ago, because since we became ‘civilised’ humans have largely lost the ability to communicate with other species…. (more later when I’ve had time to think).

    All speculative fiction as righly pointed out by Sidecafe travels into non human landscapes … ‘countries of the mind’. Such storytelling seeks to re-new the primal link to experiences which we once had greater access to, and seem to miss. Hence the continuing popularity of Sci-fi and fantasy.


    Cheery bye


    Oh yeah..the human animal thing… the shamanistic notion of shapeshifting is a remarkably resiliant concept/activity …. Wolverine, Toad, Sabretooth from the X-Men for starters, then there’s The Crow. Well this threads gone off a long way from Sci-fi angst.. perhaps we need a new topic?


    An s.f. show devoted entirely to shape shifters with lots of shape shifting effects is exactly the kind of show that I would not whine and complain about! (overall not just online but in r.l. as well I confess to doing way to much whining— 😳 )

    Such a show would have everything I am missing, lots of special effects. Plots could be fairly confusing and strange– hmmm


    We need more Manimal! All Manimal; all the time. 😆 Too bad due to budget restraints there was such a limited animal repertoire. A remake with more and better shapeshifting wouldn’t be a bad idea if the show wasn’t so despised.

    As for whining about the state of sci-fi. Some of us enjoy being critical. Generally-speaking, I enjoy reading bad reviews more than good ones. There’s just more chance at humour, I find, when moaning/pointing out flaws.

    While I still think there’s quite a bit of good sci-fi coming out, I do think to large extent, that it has become derivative, and panders to the lowest common denominator. There isn’t a heck of a lot of intelligent/sophisticated sci-fi out there. A lot of it is aimed at kids (always was that), and they’re, largely, aiming at such a wide audience that they want everybody to “get” it. So they have to dumb-it-down, or explain more than a thinking person would require (I’m not a fan of exposition — I’d rather work things out for myself/ come to my own conclusions).

    I do think that there were more talented/creative sci-fi writers working for TV before. Still, speaking of being derivative, as time goes on, it gets harder to bring in fairly original or groundbreaking ideas — effects, sure, but it’s the ideas/concept that I’m biggest on.


    Have to agree with you there Logan… But I marvelled at The Prisoner…how the hell did he get that put out on mainstream (all there was back then!) TV…I thought I’d never see the like of it ever again then along came Twin Peaks!

    Someone will come out with something brilliant that I’d wished I’d thought of..


    Great examples, Corvina! 🙂

    I’m sure the Prisoner wouldn’t have happened if McGoohan hadn’t been such a bankable star. Danger Man was very successful and they’d wanted him to continue with it, but he wanted to get The Prisoner project going — formed a production company, got ITV to run the show etc., and the rest is television history. That’s not to say that there weren’t huge challenges along the way. Did you know McGoogan was asked to play James Bond but turned it down?

    And Brit spy thrillers were very popular at the time (The Avengers, The Saint, Danger Man), but certainly the Prisoner moved well beyond spy thriller into more surreal, allegorical, mysterious, imaginative, intelligent, and interesting territory like Lynch’s wonderful Twin Peaks — thoughtful and groundbreaking, memorable shows. Both shows really got the audience thinking and questioning. They got baffled, angry reactions at times from many viewers. The Fall Out over the final episode of The Prisoner was quite extreme.

    Those shows were great for water-cooler discussion. It’s, amongst other things, the sense of mystery, the ambiguity, or the interpretive qualities, that makes them great and lasting cult shows.


    Hi there Runner…yeah what I really liked about both the Prisoner and TP was they way they spilled out of the TV and into our reality dragging their surreality with them!. As you say McGoohan had to leave the country after Fall Out was shown because he obviously was in physical danger….. and I remember all these really really normaloid regular yuppie types thinking they were so cool walking around with “I Killed Laura Palmer” T’shirts when the show was first run here in the UK. Ok so these guys had probably never seen Eraserhead and had no idea of how wierd TP was going to get – “sometimes my arms bend backwards”… I mean Lynch really got one over on the general viewing public, although I doubt he see’s it that way.

    Did you ever see the TV ad for First Direct Bank aired in the UK sometime in the late 80’s early nineties? ..warped out TV and then a face and a voice saying “This is the first attempt to communicate across time” it made me sit up and just for a few seconds I really believed it..fantastic!

    We need more stuff like this..

    Be seeing you


    Be thankful that there are any sci-fi television shows at all.


    Corvina, yes. Very good points.

    Patrick McGoohan became a “runner”, (“there is no sanctuary”). At least I don’t know that David was ever faced with a “Lynch mob” of confused fans over Twin Peaks. 😉

    Actually, when I first saw Twin Peaks, I think the only Lynch work I was familiar with was Dune. And that wasn’t one of the more Lynchian of works, if you know what I mean.

    As for the bank ad, no, never caught it here in Canada — or come to think of it, I might have been living in Australia when it was aired in the UK.

    “There is no Sanctuary, but there’s always the Village.”

    Logan No. 5

    Flamegrape wrote:

    Be thankful that there are any sci-fi television shows at all.

    I think there have been several really good recent ones, but that there are “any sci-fi shows” is not good enough for me. I’d rather watch a ‘quality’ (he says rather subjectively) non-sci-fi show, than a ‘lame’ sci-fi show.

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