Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On the box tonight

I just watched Battlestar Galactica.

This is nothing unusal. I watched the original, I watched the miniseries launch and followed the reimagined new series ever since. Of course I do have a bit of bad luck with always travelling right around the time new episodes put in an appearance, but thats another matter entirely.

Dark sci fi is nothing terribly new. It's been around for quite some time. Occasionally it works, othertimes not so much.

The problem I have at the moment is America's current obsession with "reality" tv and its inability to cope with complex ideas.

Take the recent bunch of "alien" shows. We've got Threshold, Invasion and Surface.

The premise? Bad storm. Aliens come to Earth. Bad things ensue.
All bleedin three of them. Ok the aliens in question are slightly different. Threshold has an Oddessy 5 feel (the aliens are among us). Surface is well limited to the water. Invasion I havent really bothered with.

Having looked at all three and polled my sci-fi and physics friends.....Threshold wins out. It's smart, makes you think, has a nicely convoluted plot line while still having straight forward aspects for the casual viewer.
Naturally it was cancelled. America cant be having with smart teeeeveee.

So the question remains, how is it Battlestar Galactica gets away with its trinity?
Smart, dark, sci-fi.

It doesnt. Look at any praise for it, what is the one word that keeps coming up? Drama.
It seems to survive in the American tv market, you either have to transcend the genre and become something else, or be dumb.
You cannot be both smart and sci-fi. Ohhh no thats not what they want.

Lost is another show that runs on the same idea. It has many plot lines, it has mystery and it has a huge following. Because it is billed as a drama and not the sci-fi fantasy it really is.

I really do despair for sci fi in this instance. It can't be itself and be cutting edge. America demands it's simple, or in some form that they can delude themselves into beleiving it isnt sci fi.

If we can have smart television, why cant we have smart television with spaceships?

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