How long to stick with Farscape?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Eric C D, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Jason Birzer wrote (post #80):


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    To be honest, hard SF isn't really a good subject for TV series.






    So you say. On "hard/soft sci-fi", see here. As I've said repeatedly: I DON'T CARE! It is a false dichotomy!


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    Ideas alone can't really drive a TV series.





    Whoever said they could?


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    Ideas are good to be explored in short subjects, but when you get to TV series, you need characters and plot.





    I never saw the two as mutually exclusive. Still don't. Nevertheless, I don't tune into a "science-fiction" show to find out this week's update on the characters' romantic activities. I'd look at "young-adult soaps" on Fox or the WB, if that were my interest.


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    Depends on what you define "low achievement". Farscape certainly isn't in a lot of fans eyes. Enterprise, on the other hand, is utter drek. If I remember correctly, you still watch it . . .





    I watch them both. What is your point? If it is that one is "drek" and one is not, don't even bother to reply, since others don't necessarily see them as that disparate in quality.



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    And lets face it, SF is usually an expensive proposition.





    Uh, "let's face it", tv, period, is an expensive proposition. That's why there was a proliferation of the nighttime game-shows and is now presently one of the "(ir)reality" tv shows all over the broadcast screens. ("PBS does 'Colonial House'!")




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    . . . it should be clear to one and all that, if it is, that has little bearing on its perceived success. It still got "canned" by the standards by which such things are regularly measured in the biz.







    Considering this is also the station that thought Tremors would make a good TV series, and wanted to get away from making "space shows", I wouldn't exactly say that Sci-Fi is a good judge of TV shows.






    Well, station management is at least as "good" in judgment for picking it up in the first place, as it is "bad" for dropping it (prematurely?) later on, I should think. But, in any event, I, by no means, defended the decision, nor did or do I (obviously!) agree with their asinine reasoning or stupid policies. But the fact is, they axed it, and, if the show had been much stronger by whatever criteria they use---"numbers" have to be in there somewhere!---, they probably wouldn't have done it.


    PhilipG wrote (post #79):


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    Of course, there's also the "fourth wall" conceit - most of Crichton's comments are addressed at the audience at home.





    Exactly what I've been talking about, except even when he's talking to his compatriots in such a way, I get the feeling he's really talking more to the audience than to them, and, for me, that's not good.

    In dramatic presentation, the characters should be speaking only to each other, as if there were no audience, in my opinion. That is part of the technique of striving for a fully realized fictional world. (It's called "playing it straight".) To me, it's in comedy that the characters are basically always speaking to the audience, whether directly or indirectly. It's one of the features that separates the two major categories of fiction.

    "Sci-fi comedy"? Not my bag. The two are incompatible, in my book, and what you end up with is "comedy", pure and simple. If I want sci-fi comedy, I go with Futurama, which does a darn good job of it.

    (And, by the way, "serious" does not necessarily mean "somber".)



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    They didn't start out writing in pop-culture references from the begining, . . .





    Oh, didn't they?!? I watched this program from its inception and that's the one thing I remember unequivocally striking me from the outset!



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    . . . . and they certainly are not non-stop.





    I don't know about "non-stop", but they are there, seemingly de rigueur, at least two or three each week---I started writing them down---, every episode I've seen (and, although I haven't done a "hard count", I believe I've seen at least half of the series by now). They---these "Crichtonisms", as I call them---are a demographic "hook" for the audience, just as I've said.



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    To be honest, most TV SF suffers from the same problems you attribute to Farscape. Even Star Trek has, in all of its incarnations.





    Star Trek, in none of its incarnations, including its present one, has ever "suffered" from the "hip-cool"-attitude bullshit. And don't point to episodes like the late '60s TOS-episode with the space-hippies, "The Way to Eden". Surely, the management at the time tried to "appeal to youth"---preteens, actually---in the late sixties with the addition of the Chekov character with his Beatles (or Monkees?) hair-do. But the appeal was limited and didn't permeate the show from week to week. (Of course, I have to concede that the character was partly stereotypic of Russians viewed through American eyes at the time. That's, for example, why he keeps saying that "X, Y, or Z, was 'inwented' in Rrrussia", all over the place. Now, that is eye-winking at the audience.)



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    You assume he's doing this for other people's benefit. As others have said, it is a coping mechanism. It is the way he deals with things.





    Yes, well, I assume that my interpretation of the show and how it is mounted and "purposed" is the correct analysis, while yours---all of yours---is not, just as you, from your end, do towards my interpretation. It won't do you any good to repeat your interpretation. I understand it quite well. I simply reject it.



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    The question is, tho, is that is there any SF TV show that you are happy with?





    Lars_J wrote (post #78):


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    I've lurked on these boards for years, and I have observed Rex's lengthy postings on both the Firefly thread and now this. . . .There are all too little postings about what kind of Sci-Fi you like, as opposed to the lengthy writings on what you don't like.





    I repeat myself:

    post #165 of "Blade Runner tops scientist poll":


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    The Babylon Five and (pre-Voyager) Star Trek franchises are my favorites of all. Neither of them is, strictly speaking, "hard sci-fi" under any definition that I know of. Babylon Five, in particular, is pretty much pure mystery drama in a science-fictional setting. Yet, though it has some fantastic science-fiction ideas, its strength is in its storytelling, not in its science.

    Both Jack Briggs, who has commented here, and I are avid fans of (pre-Voyager) Star Trek, old and new. Just check the Star Trek tv threads. But, despite that avidness, we are first to point out its errors of science and of drama. Many people around here, and in general, do not get the concept that one can love something and, nevertheless, be its harshest critic at the same time. These two are not incompatible or mutually exclusive. [emphasis added] We criticize these things because, as much as we may love the product, we know it could have been rendered significantly better by the application of imaginative courage and the taking of calculated risk for daring innovation supported by scientific principles. . . . They can!

    I just think that audiences are being sold short (and unnecessarily, too) and I don't like missed opportunities, which Hollywood seems to specialize in these days. With the kinds of bucks they're throwing around nowadays, there's just no excuse, in my book. "Money" isn't holding them back. So, what is?







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    I look forward to you starting some threads about what you DO like someday.





    There's a whole thread coming up (one of these days) on just that subject. It's been in various stages of development for about two years now. (When I do a thread, I really "do" a thread.) There's a lot to do and a lot to consider in preparation, so it can't be rushed onto the forum half-baked.
     
  2. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Looking forward to it. It would be nice to get a baseline to see what you actually like, rather than hear all the time what you don't like.

    Jason
     
  3. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Jason Birzer wrote (post #82):


    Let me clear one thing up: the thread I mentioned will examine what I and other science-fiction aficionados (not the casual (non)fans who "don't really care about science (or science fiction)") would like to see in terms of "correct science" ("hard"?) and realistic drama ("soft"?) in serial tv outer-space action/adventure shows.
     
  4. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Sounds like it will make for an interesting discussion. I'm looking forward to putting in my 0.02.

    Jason
     
  5. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Jason Birzer wrote (post #84):


    Well, its "sterility", as you term it, is a separate and distinct issue from the "hip-cool" nonsense, a problem which it has never shared, as previously stated. However, the phenomenon you're speaking about is, unfortunately, also structural, its seeds having been planted pretty much from the beginning of the "franchise" by Mr. Roddenberry himself. The decision to make much of Star Trek "ideological"---that is, about messages (e.g., as in a "perfected world of the future")---became long ago a straightjacket, one out of which ST will probably never escape, no matter how many changes of "regime" (or scenery) take place.
     
  6. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    I can't argue with this, which is why I think Trek needs to be put out of its misery. I think the show has run its course.

    So has this thread, for the most part. It seems pretty obvious that the aspects that we fans love about the show are things that you despise about it. To be honest, tho, I think that's the basic format of TV, for the most part. I know that there are fans of "CSI" and "Without A Trace" who hate the "character moments", and just want to focus on the cases. At the same time, tho, it is often characters who differenciate one show from another. It is one problem Trek has had for a while. It is hard to seperate the Captains of these shows sometimes, or other stock type characters, like Data/The Doctor/Odo, or Spock/Tuvok/T'pol. Course, it was the character interaction that really made the original Trek.

    Jason
     
  7. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Jason Birzer wrote (post #86):


    Agreed.
     

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