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The space opera genre


Spectre1

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Back in the 1990s and 2000s we had space operas like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly and Babylon 5. Why don't we see space opera shows on TV anymore? Did the network execs decide the genre was dead? Did people lose interest in space travel? Why is this genre dead on TV? If the genre does not appeal to anyone anymore what can be done to revitalize the genre? What can be done to make the genre more relatable? Do you think this genre should be revived? Either way I think we need more epic space battles and political intrigue on TV. It was long thought that fantasy was a genre once thought reserved for geeks but Game of Thrones has garnered a huge audience. Perhaps a well written space opera with a huge budget could appeal to a diverse audience.

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My guess is relatively expensive if lots of battles/space effects etc + more viewership competition/splitting (cable, internet)  means less risk taking. And sci-fi is often a risk...lots of them fail. Cable networks are willing, I'd think, but they have even less to spend and tend to have smaller audience numbers. Thus superhero (more "in" at the moment), horror or dramatic CW sci-fi rule there.

 

In terms of audience, Star Trek's many series (and others like SG1 series) sorta burned me out on the concept of TV spaceship /travel sci-fi. Oversaturation. I wouldn't mind a couple new good ones again now, tho. :) But instead we get things like The 100, The Extant and Being Human type sci-fi.

 

Psychologically, TV/films tend to reflect nation/world mood. Perhaps we're more into dark superheroes because we think the world is going to pot and need more heroes/action at home, not space-farers on other worlds. :lol:

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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Firefly was entertaining but its fanboys overrate it. I didn't watch it until well after its time and with all the super hype it got, I expected something  that was  unbelievably perfect. L0L Above average tv show, and it probably could have lasted more seasons but nowhere near as good as people claim it is.

DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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I agree with Volo. It was a nice show with a clever script but that's about it. Personally I enjoyed Babylon 5 more.

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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I remember watching Dark Angel at the time and when it was cancelled, Firefly took it's place. I didn't understand the Firefly pilot and can understand why it didn't get the viewers. Also, I was quite disappointed when Dark Angel was cancelled and this new show that didn't make sense to me took it's place. A sci-fi show with space ships set in the future but they're using normal six shooter hand guns? huh? And then part of the internet hyped up the show and when I went back and watched it, found it quite good. It really wasn't a popular show at the time, regardless of Fox showing the episodes out of order.

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To be fair, the "pilot" that was aired was actually the second episode. The show got incredibly screwed by the network. They aired a chronological show out of order. But yeah, I was being sarcastic. I love Firefly because I really like the characters and the actors but it's really not amazing. Anyway, the success of Guardians of the Galaxy may mean something for this, space shows might become viable again.

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It's because all the new space shows are obsessed with lame ass melo-drama. Make it about space battles and not about people's feelings and you'll have more success. If they insist on drama fine, but keep it a space opera; not a soap opera in space. Also, the aliens tend to be too human like; that's not very interesting.

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"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Aliens that look like humans were due to production costs as well as viewer identification - but I agree, it's time we get past that. 

 

As for soap.. if it's only about space battles, then what's the point of a TV show? Why not just have a 2 hour CGI movie with great effects? The great strength of Tv shows are their ability to explore branching narratives, due to the available time they can invest in the characters. You need drama, even a little soap (we humans are melodramatic after all) - but of course not too much.. as Terra Nova proved.

Fortune favors the bald.

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Aliens that look like humans were due to production costs as well as viewer identification - but I agree, it's time we get past that. 

 

As for soap.. if it's only about space battles, then what's the point of a TV show? Why not just have a 2 hour CGI movie with great effects? The great strength of Tv shows are their ability to explore branching narratives, due to the available time they can invest in the characters. You need drama, even a little soap (we humans are melodramatic after all) - but of course not too much.. as Terra Nova proved.

There are alternatives to just the battle itself. For example:

 

You could cover how powerful each side is. This will help build tension.

 

You could cover the difference in ideology that is causing the battle. This will make it more intellectually stimulating; especially if it covers issues our society does NOT currently face. Preaching about xenophobia and racism isn't intellectually stimulating; just boring. How about a society that grows organic servants vs. a society that prefers mechanical devices.

 

You could spend time after a battle talking about how said battle has changed a given war or politics. This to would make the conclusion of said battle feel important.

 

There's plenty you could do without resorting to becoming a soap opera. Maybe a tiny bit of melo-drama to keep things balanced, but just a little.

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Not that I mind battles mind you - I just like when things have a logic place and not just cause you need to hit the narrative climax.

Band of Brothers in space, that's a show I'd watch. Great balance between action and narrative.

Fortune favors the bald.

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Back in the 1990s and 2000s we had space operas like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly and Babylon 5. Why don't we see space opera shows on TV anymore? Did the network execs decide the genre was dead? Did people lose interest in space travel? Why is this genre dead on TV? If the genre does not appeal to anyone anymore what can be done to revitalize the genre? What can be done to make the genre more relatable? Do you think this genre should be revived? Either way I think we need more epic space battles and political intrigue on TV. It was long thought that fantasy was a genre once thought reserved for geeks but Game of Thrones has garnered a huge audience. Perhaps a well written space opera with a huge budget could appeal to a diverse audience.

 

A couple of big things happened in television - one the first run syndicated market died (where Star Trek: TNG, Babylon 5, ST:DS9, ST:V, Starhunter, Andromeda and a lot of fantasy, other types of sci-fi and adventure shows all had their distribution).

 

Cable became a bigger deal and more money went with prestige series on cable.

 

As it is there are still a number of fantasy, sci-fi and adventure series on TV in the last 5 years - if not space spanning ones (The 100, Believe, Star-Crossed, The Tomorrow People, Almost Human, Extant, Black Box, and The Event all springing to mind).  Eventually they'll get back to men & women in spaceships sci-fi.

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I would love to see some decent sci-fi serial. Last attempt was probably latest stargate - but man that was awful melodramatic bulls*it. I agree that even sci-fi needs some human interactions but base whole series on it is really not way to go. I would love show from EvE universe for instance, it already got great lore set up

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I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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A few people have been expecting Sapce Opera to make a comeback for a few years. In fact, it was in a good position to with the success of BSGNew. But Sci-Fi channel kind of screwed up the follow through and we saw an emergence of other genre fiction on other channels.

 

So it's been slow to get back in gear, but we're getting Ascension and Expanse come to TV, and we've got a few movies coming out.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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A couple of big things happened in television - one the first run syndicated market died

Yeah, that was a game changer.

 

I definitely don't like "soap operas" even if they're set in space. Not that "soap opera" isn't sort of leaking into everything these days, a bit. But I also don't really want to see retreads of the ST or SG-1 planet-of-the-week type formula either. Been there, done that, it would feel too worn.

 

Stuff like Extant have interesting premises but for me they turn too far towards emotive human drama and not enough action/humor. I find humor elements in sci-fi to be much needed. Too much gravitas often makes me snooze, personally.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I would love to see some decent sci-fi serial. Last attempt was probably latest stargate - but man that was awful melodramatic bulls*it. I agree that even sci-fi needs some human interactions but base whole series on it is really not way to go. I would love show from EvE universe for instance, it already got great lore set up

That's a good idea.

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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As for the video game medium we only have KOTOR and Mass Effect. Would you like to see Obsidian or Bethesda try their hand at this genre? Or do you think the space opera genre is boring?

 

Do you understand this is about movies and television?

I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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