What is the future of Sci-Fi on TV?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Blu, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    There are a few great shows out now that really are good Sci-Fi like Smallville, The Stargates, Enterprise (sort of)but I really don't see what the future might be. Some of these shows are nearing the middle or even ends of their tv lives.

    I just don't see a big franchise show out there that can define Sci-Fi for the next few years. The X-Files was GREAT but lost a lot of steam in its last couple of seasons before ending. Farscape got the axe. Enterprise is struggling. Stargate is going on its what, 9th season? Atlantis looks promising. I don't know how much life Smallville has in it but it looks like they are preparing to finish the series in a season or two.

    I just don't feel overly optimistic about where sci-fi is headed right now.
     
  2. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    So no one else really has a opinion on the slim pickings of sci-fi on tv?

    Are there really any shows on the horizon that could rescue this genre on tv?
     
  3. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Nothing much right now, other than what is already on. It all goes in cycles anyways.

    Jason
     
  4. andrew markworthy

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    TV themes come in cycles. E.g. in the 50s and early 60s it was nothing but westerns. Then the 70s saw endless detective shows, usually awful (do the words 'A Quinn Martin Production' strike terror into only my heart?). I suspect that sci-fi programmes have had their day (at least for now) and another theme will be found. In fact, I guess it already has been found - reality TV (let's hope it's a really short fad).
     
  5. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Like it or hate it, there is the new Battlestar Galactica series in January. (Looking forward to it myself.)

    Regards
     
  6. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    I thought The X-Files actually gained steam with the introduction of John Doggett. Mulder's schtick was starting to get old. And after learning his sister's fate, his character served no further purpose. Scully was the character with an arc. Moving her to the role of believer and giving her a fresh, new skeptic to work with breathed a lot of life into the show IMO.

    Also, I've worked for an investigator for 10 years, and Doggett is the TV investigator who reminds me the most of my boss! :b




    To answer your question, Blu, we've enjoyed quite a bit of good TV sci-fi in the last decade and a half. Maybe it IS time for a bit of a rest.
     
  7. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    Looking back though I don't really recall a period in which sci-fi/fantasy was all that huge, It seems like most of the beloved shows, are spread out over the history of TV.


    But with the new Stargate Atlantis pulling in record numbers of viewers for Sci-Fi channel and 4400 do the same for USA, I would not be surprised if more sci-fi shows will be heading into production. Also, I don't know if it's thought of as sci-fi, but The Dead Zone has been gaining viewers with each season also. Plus Sci-Fi channel seems to be getting onto the mini-series thing. I don't know much about the upcoming Earth Sea but it looks intriguing on the ads.
     
  8. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    With Farscape being cancelled as a regular series and Angel as well, other than Smallville there isnt anything worth watching on that is genre TV. I'm given S.G. Atlantis a chance but havent been overly impressed. I dont have any desire to watch Battlestar Galactica so what else is there?


    I didnt mind the character of Dogget per say but the show was long past it's prime by the time he joined it. They should have ended the show right before the movie and let it go to the Big screen for good. Instead they burned the viewers out on it (much the same way Trek has been rammed down our throats) and now they dont have a franchise at all.The WB passed on a new Lost and Space and new Dark Shadows so other than Galactica I dont think there is anyt new Sci Fi genre type stuff coming out way.
    At least we do have the Farscape Miniseries and hopefully some more Buffy or Angel down the line.
     
  9. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Sci-Fi/Fantasy shows of any kind have the biggest chance of creating a loyal cult following; and, while that may not always lead directly to great ratings, a cult show often attracts a specific demographic that advertisers might be interested in. (In the case of Sci-Fi shows, the demographic in question is often considered above average in intelligence and income.) Also, "cult shows", have the best chance to do well in secondary distribution revenue streams, such as DVD.

    So, I can assure you, we will never be totally lacking for Sci-Fi shows on television.

    However, it may be time for certain Sci-Fi shows that have already established a cult following to go the mini-series format route for awhile. This will help cut down on direct production costs while still maintaining visibility to help foster a healthy merchandising revenue.

    For example, if the upcoming Farscape mini-series is deemed successful, who here doubts that there will be another one around, say, May sweeps time? In the interim, the current mini-series will be packaged for DVD and will undoubtedly sell well to that medium.

    I can also foresee a future Star Trek mini-series (perhaps one based on Riker and his new crew aboard the Titan?) being very successful the same way.
     
  10. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    The mid to late 90s was the hey-day of sci-fi. THis ended with the collapse of the direst-to-syndication market.
     
  11. Mikel_Cooperman

    Mikel_Cooperman Producer

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    I've always thought Paramount should go the miniseries route with maybe 2 miniseries a year, each with a different idea being featured, ie: Captain Sulu, The Captains all brought together for a common goal, A continuation of DS9 or a continuation of Voyager's homecoming. But...that would only be viable IF the current people in charge have nothing to do with the creative aspect.
     
  12. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    A ST mini-series would be fascinating!

    I want to see what happens say 100 years after TNG or DS9!!
     
  13. DanielBH

    DanielBH Agent

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    Like it or not, the life and death of modern science fiction on television has centered around Star Trek. Science fiction television thrived in the 90's because Trek was thriving. Now Trek has almost been run into the ground, and television has been diminished with it.

    Why is this the case? Well, Star Trek is something that everyone knows; and as a result, something that the even the everyday person takes notice of in passing. Included in these everyday people are television executives. If you've ever followed the patterns of television executives, you will understand where I'm going. These executives look at Trek and say "Well, that's not doing well; better stay away from that stuff or we'll lose money". This attitude even went as far as Sci-Fi Channel for a time. Before the Universal buyout, Barry Diller had put a moritorium on space operas; and this was the guy who had the final say on Sci-Fi Channel programming.

    Things will not change until there is another bonafide hit in science fiction circles. This does not have to be a Trek; but it needs to be something that will get some serious attention. Until that time, we'll putter along with a rain drop of sci-fi here and there. It will never disappear from television completely; but we'll need a fool-proof example of science fiction success before the television executives will saturate your airwaves with sci-fi again.
     
  14. RickGr

    RickGr Second Unit

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    But you also have the SciFi channel now that you did not ten years ago. I know a lot will snicker at it and we all think it could do better but be that as it may, it has brought forth some shows that never would have seen the light of day on the major networks, aka Farscape, which tops the list. Stargate SG1 would have been off the air two seasons ago and now the new Stargate series which is driving better than ever ratings for the SciFi channel. What other outlet would bring an updated Battlestar Galactica (no flames please), extended the life of Sliders and Andromeda, give the nod to The Chronical (which died will before its time) and the mini series they have produced and the original movies, most of which are not that good granted but at least they are trying new programming. ( never thoguht I would ever see anyone even attempt to do a movie on Riverworld).

    So, all is not dead on the Science Fiction TV front and every now and then SciFI channel may come up with a gem.
     
  15. LizH

    LizH Second Unit

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    With rare exceptions (Trek, "Babylon 5", "Farscape", etc.), space operas tend to be money-losing duds ("Space: Above and Beyond", "Firefly", etc.) [​IMG]
     
  16. LanieParker

    LanieParker Supporting Actor

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    I enjoy sci-fi shows. However, I think the sci-fi channel, with the exception of a few original shows they put out, sucks. Once in a while they have had some decent marathons, but all in all, I don't even bother with that channel anymore.
     
  17. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    Alright what if a studio would get behind the Farscape production company or say Firefly and put out a season direct to DVD.

    Maybe 13-20 episodes for the public's consumption. I know that budget concerns would be huge since the studio would only be making the money from the fans of the show, but that could essentially create quite a coupe if it went on to become a huge seller.
     
  18. Valerie G.

    Valerie G. Stunt Coordinator

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    I think it would be very interesting if they released a season, of any show, direct to DVD. For shows that got cancelled, but had a decent following, I think this might just be a really great idea. It needs to be tried once or twice to find out, I think.....and for a show it could be tried with, I nominate "John Doe"! [​IMG]
     
  19. LizH

    LizH Second Unit

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    ^ There's been talk in the press of doing that for "24": producing a direct-to-DVD version of the show.
     
  20. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I don't know why they wouldn't try it. With the explosion of TV on DVD I think it is a logical choice to try next.

    I think that people would flock to it not to mention I believe that they could actually try things that they couldn't try on a broadcast show.
     

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