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  1. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer P View Post
    My honest opinion on the matter?

    We need science fiction that is understandable by the average person AND science fiction that is cerebral and deep...we need both. However, if you're writing for network television, then you need to make something that can be related to by regular people or it just won't get good enough ratings. That's the way the world is...although it might change as broadcast television becomes more and more obsolete.

    Know your audience - is your audience people who read Analog or is it your next-door-neighbor?

    But without science fiction regular people can understand, then we lose one of its important roles - to get ordinary people to appreciate science and technology and think about the future.
    Terminator: The Sarah Chronicles Season 1 had the best of both worlds with its focus on four main characters and an unusual family made up of teenage John Connor, his mother Sarah Connor, Cameron a cyborg made in the image of a teenage girl to pose as his sister to be his constant body guard everywhere he went, and uncle Derek Reese who will one day be a soldier in the adult John Connor's war against Skynet. So, Derek is a soldier who travelled back in time with Cameron to protect John from Skynet. The character development was great and focused on four leads. It was preachy at times with the coming of The Singularity and AI out of control. But, there was enough for everyday people to relate to with their family life they maintained to be low key to hide from Skynet.

  2. #17
    A chuffing heffalump Chuffalump's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Oliver View Post
    Yes, there's loads of dumbing down from the erudite cerebral topics that science fiction could cover... where are the civilised quotes from the ancient Roman and Greek civilisations? Where are the in-built logic conundrums that allow you to derive conclusions that are not written down? And where are the obscure facts that make this world so interesting? And of course where's the explanation of science and technology? It seems to be a thump, bump and love culture the publishers are creating... very Caliban-like. [Look up Shakespeare's The Tempest if you must.] definitely understood by a larger audience and therefore more likely to sell...
    I have no idea what other erudite cerebral topics SF could cover. That's why I'm not a writer, I don't have the imagination . But.... if you want quotes from ancient civilisations then Mil-SF is one place to look (not sure if this counts as 'civilised' ). They are often full of quotes from Tacticus (or do I mean Tacitus? One Roman, one Greek) or Sun Tzu or Alexander the Great, not to mention Kipling and Shakespeare. I come across historical quotes in other kinds of SF but much less often. Personally I find it irritating and pretentious it this is done too often. It feels to me as if the author is either lazy or trying to beat the reader round the head with their own classical knowledge. Much like the ST:TNG episodes that used Patrick Stewart's Shakespearian credentials to fill a few minutes of screen time. Not sure exactly what you mean by 'inbuilt logic conundrums' but it strikes me that this is down to the ability of the author, not something that should be deliberately included. I've read plenty of books over my life where the author was good enough that events or descriptions or tiny asides in one part of the book mean you understand actions, motivations, cultures or events in another part of the book. Without great long paragraphs explaining exactly what's happening. I agree about the obscure facts. Can't have too many obscure facts. I've seen a fair few over the years but it always adds to the enjoyment. My favourite was in a Robert Rankin book. For the life of me I can't confirm it anywhere on the internet, but it related to some special 'pills' doled out to pilgrims visiting the Dalai Lama. Maybe it's not an obscure fact at all . As for explanations of science and technology, loads of it. Usually at the hard SF end of the spectrum. Greg Egan's The Clockwork Rocket is practically a science lesson in a universe with timelike dimensions instead of spacelike. I first heard about the Lorentz-Fitzgerald Contraction theory in an SF book.

    These books might be vastly outnumbered by the 'adventure stories in space' but they still exist and they are still getting published. Maybe there is no dumbing down by the publishers. Maybe there are just a lot more 'dumbed down' manuscripts being submitted and therefore a greater proportion of 'dumbed down' literature being published.

    Bloody smileys still not working on my PC! Grrrrrrrr.

  3. #18
    I would like to mention there is a big difference in the realism and science fiction between the three original TV movies of The Six Million Dollar Man and the TV series made afterwards. Besides his infrared vision in his bionic eye being green instead of red, all of the action scenes and science downloads were more realistic in the movies. In the credits, a medical prosthetic manufacturer was used for the bionic limbs to add more realism too.

    The action was slowed down and made to look "artistic" (fake), like many other shows with action to please anti-violence lobbyists.

    I watched the executive producer comments on the DVD box sets of Kung Fu and The Incredible Hulk to find out about these lobbyists and the hold they have on TV networks.

  4. #19
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    It's safe to say they don't have the hold that they used to... which is good for viewers, as it means better and more diverse characters and more compelling situations.

    There will always by TV viewers who believe "Friends" is the pinnacle of programming. Fortunately, there are a few of us who demand more from TV, and TV is rapidly learning that if we don't get the programming we want, we have plenty of alternatives. Any TV producer who assumes the only audience worth pursuing has no more than a 6th grade education is just plain... well, he has something in common with the viewers he covets.

  5. #20
    I( was just thinking today that Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies seems to be the perfect role model of who the networks want to cater to with his "sixth-grade-educated-brain."

    There is a void to be filled since Battlestar Galactica went off the air on SyFy.

  6. #21
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Modern Day Myth View Post
    I( was just thinking today that Jethro from The Beverly Hillbillies seems to be the perfect role model of who the networks want to cater to with his "sixth-grade-educated-brain."
    Yeah, I'd buy that with mustard: Jethro was just smart enough to be able to read, willing to accept any media fads pushed at him, and plenty of disposable income at hand. The perfect American television viewer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modern Day Myth View Post
    There is a void to be filled since Battlestar Galactica went off the air on SyFy.
    I'd suggest Alphas is filling some of that void, but have to draw up short of suggesting any other series of that quality on Siffie. Still, I'd rather see more shows like Alphas than more shows like, say, Eureka or Warehouse 13; though they are fun shows, they are lighthearted sci-fi. I'd like more substance to my sandwich, not just piles of bacon.
    Last edited by Steven L Jordan; October 17th, 2012 at 12:22 PM.

  7. #22
    I am watching Alphas and I am happy to see Summer Glau getting work on that series.

    I see the series as being shallow without layered characters and story.

  8. #23
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Modern Day Myth View Post
    I am watching Alphas and I am happy to see Summer Glau getting work on that series.

    I see the series as being shallow without layered characters and story.
    So, you watch it, you like that SG's on it... but you say it's shallow?

    I agree that it's not Macbeth, but I don't think I'd call Alphas "shallow" (at least, not compared to 95 percent of TV fare). Still, to each his own.

    A show that ran briefly on last year's BBC America, Outcasts, seemed like it had a well-organized setting and rounded characters; but it got pulled in no time flat.

    I don't know what it would take to get a good-quality SF show back on the air at this point, other than Galactica's method: Suggest lots of battles and conflict, surprise your audience with sex, then load up on soapy relationships. It seems to be the way to sell drama these days.
    Last edited by Steven L Jordan; October 23rd, 2012 at 04:23 PM.

  9. #24
    I like SF. SF is cool. Steven L Jordan's Avatar
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    Grr... another double-post.

    (Mods, this is something to look into: The site asks me if I want to leave the page, suggests my posting didn't work, and when I re-submit, there are two of them.)

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