Results 31 to 43 of 43
October 12th, 2011, 06:25 PM #31
Sturgeon also said "90% of everything is crud". What is the point of studying the BAD science fiction?
One interesting thing about SF television is that it has periodic revivals of anthology shows pop up, like the brief Masters of Science Fiction series they recently did in 2007. You don't really see that for any other type of t.v.
October 12th, 2011, 07:04 PM #32
How was The Time Tunnel any less science fiction than H.G. Wells' The Time Machine?
You brought it up not me. Of course calling everything science fiction saves the trouble of making any distinctions. Jules Verne objected to H. G. Wells because he just made stuff up. LOL
That is part of the change since the old days. The definition has gotten sloppy and I consider the invasion of the Liberal Arte people to be part of the problem. Like C. P. Snow's Two Cultures business from 1959.
It is like science fiction is at the cusp of the cultures. It is a literary form with a long tradition of criticism. But as Joanna Russ said in 1975, science fiction has additional characteristics.
So inevitably some of these same things come into play with video.
Last edited by psikeyhackr; October 12th, 2011 at 08:22 PM.
October 13th, 2011, 12:25 AM #33
You posted the statement that 1950's and early SF t.v. shows used good science and were what you consider proper SF stories but then television (and books) changed and got into what you don't find to be acceptable science fiction. By bringing up the shows that I did -- which I was not saying were bad shows, just that they weren't doing hard science -- I was pointing out that early t.v. had many non-hard SF stories just as we do now. I was saying that I don't agree with your earlier statement re what she's studying, which is changes in television SF and their impact. I don't see that as a change that actually occurred in television SF, going from mainly hard SF in the old days to soft, precisely because of shows like My Favorite Martian and The Time Tunnel.
That is part of the change since the old days. The definition has gotten sloppy and I consider the invasion of the Liberal Arte people to be part of the problem.
As you won't answer my question about the SF story you brought up and the issue about it in the essay that you also brought up, I will let that one go.
October 13th, 2011, 10:20 AM #34
In my view, SF in television has mirrored the growth of a child to an adult.
The 50s and 60s of television SF largely represented a childlike view of the possibilities... in other words, everything. Children don't bother to consider degrees of reality; they just go for what's cool and fun. Faster-than-light travel... aliens... space battles... alternate realities... all are equal fodder. Shows like Star Trek (TOS) and pretty much all SF TV before it represent this period.
SF TV began to explore new areas after 1970, seeking to really make sense of what we knew to be true and false, and searching for reasons behind phenomena. This corresponds to the pre-teen period of looking for sense in the world, and trying to establish concrete ground rules. One of the first such shows was UFO, a program that emphasized the need to understand the aliens and their needs, in order to protect humanity from them, and using a paramilitary organization and believable weapons to repel them.
Shows like Star Trek: TNG and Stargate continued the trend of a more orderly SF universe; less about raw adventure, and more about The Job of exploring space and protecting humanity. Suddenly science needed explanations (even shaky ones), or you didn't use it. Like a teen's mid years, the emphasis was on responsibility, teamwork and standing in social groups; more about establishing a set of rules to govern how everything worked.
The most recent SF TV like Lost and the new Battlestar Galactica have moved to a young adult position, moving relationships firmly to the forefront of all activity. UFO also featured a depth of character relationships, even over the primary storyline of stopping the aliens, that was considered ahead of its time. Now, intimate connections, friends and lovers, secrets and revelations, are the meat of the story, and the SF is merely a backdrop. Characters are presented as more isolated, less a member of a team and more a loner seeking their penultimate partner to join them in life.
At the same time, many of the old tropes, English-speaking aliens and weird galactic phenomena, have been replaced by more immediate and practical tropes like the threat of automation and artificial intelligence, environmental disasters and worldly threats (wars, terrorists, etc). SF began to throw off the spandex and embrace business suits and jeans, emphasizing its grounding in today's reality. This is an adult's SF, throwing away childish things, trying to come to grips with a very real world around them, and engaging the many interrelationships to find their Life Partner.
There are still shows that celebrate those simpler attitudes; some, like Dr. Who, have done their own growing from child to young adult as the series has progressed. (I'd say most shows picked their age level and stuck with it.) Shows like Eureka and Warehouse 13 have embraced the pre-teen attitude unashamedly, and have proven that even adults are okay with allowing their inner pre-teen to have a little fun.
October 16th, 2011, 10:42 AM #35
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Hi everyone. I've been pretty busy for the past couple of days and so have not had a whole lot of time to go online. I just wanted to pop on and say thanks to everybody for getting involved; I've got some great snippets for my essay and a real insight into the mind's of the fans.
October 16th, 2011, 10:53 AM #36
October 16th, 2011, 11:01 AM #37
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My assignment isn't due in until 10th November and I won't be able to post anything until after then 'cause I wouldn't want anybody else seeing it and 'being inspired' for their own work until after the deadline. I'll see what I can do afterwards, though - if it actually turns out any good, that is, haha.
October 16th, 2011, 04:56 PM #38
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nowadays there is a predilection .. a fascination with the "Science," in: SF. it has a compelling rigor .. an economy-of-truth .. leading to: Scientific lines. _
Last edited by noori noori; October 18th, 2011 at 11:15 AM. Reason: text
November 1st, 2011, 10:54 AM #39
In other shows, like Lost, it became understood that some of the characters knew how to use the SF elements involved on the island, but no one really understood them. But that was okay; it did what you needed it to do. Did Galactica ever explain its jump drive? (We only actually saw Galactica's engines in one episode.) Or how Cylons managed to develop as far as they had? No, because in the long run, it wasn't as important as the fact that it worked, and we have to deal with it. So much of today's world mirrors that: How many adults don't understand how their computers or cars or cellphones work, yet they use them every day?
Shows like Lost and Galactica push SF into the background, it's just another cup on the table, the important stuff is the relationship happening in the foreground. That is an adult shift of priority from the toys to the people you interact with. And it should be noted that the number of shows like Trek, which try to triumph over science and have very superficial relationships, are on the wane right now.
Last edited by Steven L Jordan; November 4th, 2011 at 10:49 AM.
November 1st, 2011, 11:09 AM #40
And how many people are getting ripped off and sabotaged with technology they don't understand every day?
I know a woman that had to pay $200 for a software upgrade for her engine a few months ago. Then her transmission went out and that cost her almost $3000. Two weeks ago the alarm on her car kept going off all night. She just paid $300 to have a switch on the rear door replaced.
And then our economists don't talk about the depreciation of all of this junk.
I have talked to a man who said he loved cars but did not know what a cam shaft was. I think he was a fool. Sorry but I did not consider ST:TNG to be very scientific though it was an enjoyable show. It gave the impression that understanding science was important but almost never actually explained anything. It just had a pro-scientific attitude.
Calling stuff like Hyperion science fiction is a farce.
November 2nd, 2011, 12:31 PM #41
And that is what's most important to remember about TV SF: It is designed to be entertainment, intended to sell detergent, and subject more to the whims of ad executives than scientific advisors. "I don't care how 'scientific' it is... put her in tight spandex and 4-inch heels, and it's a go."
What transformation SF TV has done has not been about what we've learned about science or SF, but what audiences have responded to as they've grown up with SF. And these days, it seems to be a lack of caring about the reality or the details... we just want to have fun with it. No wonder Dr. Who and Stargate, two shows with the most pliable initial premises and the most flippant attitude towards science since Lost In Space, have run as long as they have.
November 3rd, 2011, 01:10 PM #42
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Personally, I don't see much of a transformation of the "science" part of the science fiction. The difference I perceive is with the substance of the story and the characters. Star Trek, even with all the spaceships, transporters and photon torpedoes, was really a good platform to tell a good story about people, their relationships and how they deal with their environment. The same was true about the new version of Battlestar Galactica, although the human story was much more dark and gritty. A good story will cause the viewer to "forget" the "science" such that they accept that it "could" happen. Science fiction television, and all other mediums, should really be more about the story than the science, otherwise we may as well read encyclopedias, or watch documentaries.
Additionally, I think it's important that we not focus too much on making sure the science is absolutely correct, but that we should make it plausible. We need that 14 year old person to think it is possible so that some day they might become the scientist that makes it possible. Science fiction's psychological impact is that it enables disbelief to allow us to understand and enjoy the underlying story in a non-traditional setting (in the same manner as animation). The suspension of disbelief is very important.
I'm not saying that we should ignore what the plot needs. Certainly, there are some plots that absolutely require compliance with known physical laws (as we understand them). We should also not ignore that some plots require absolute snubbing of the known physical laws (as we understand them).
What I think that's important about good science fiction television is that it has to be about the people more than the science, and it usually is.
An Exerpt of the Lyrics from Mystic Rhythms by Rush
So many things I think about
When I look far away
Things I know, things I wonder
Things I'd like to say
The more we think we know about
The greater the unknown
We suspend our disbelief
And we are not alone...
November 7th, 2011, 01:37 PM #43
Other than the old SF trope of FTL ships, I've tried to avoid using any impossible science in my stories, and I don't think they've come out lacking because of it. (I also developed a way to travel intergalactically which makes more sense than most existing FTL systems, leaving me free to use intergalactic travel in a realistic way.) I consider that as essential as the story itself, so the audience does not have to suspend it's belief of the laws of physics.