Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

B5 creator writes new Trek treatment....


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
96 replies to this topic

#81 of 97 OFFLINE   Chuck Anstey

Chuck Anstey

    Screenwriter



  • 1,580 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 10 1998
  • Real Name:Chuck Anstey

Posted June 30 2004 - 03:09 AM

SciFi comedy? Already done on UPN in '96 or '97 about two young guys flying around in "The Hoopty(SP?)" It had James Doohan making regular appearances. It was funny but did not last too many episodes. I do not remember the name and am too lazy to try to find it.

Chuck

#82 of 97 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

Jason Seaver

    Lead Actor



  • 9,306 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969

Posted June 30 2004 - 04:05 AM

That was Homeboys in Outer Space.

There is, of course, also Red Dwarf from the UK.
Jay's Movie Blog - A movie-viewing diary.
Transplanted Life: Sci-fi soap opera about a man placed in a new body, updated two or three times a week.
Trading Post Inn - Another gender-bending soap, with different collaborators writing different points of view.

"What? Since when was this an energy...

#83 of 97 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

Rob Gardiner

    Screenwriter



  • 2,950 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 15 2002

Posted June 30 2004 - 05:44 AM

Quote:
True, but that's a movie. I don't think this would work week after week.

Has there ever been a hard science-fiction television series?

THE PRISONER was about social issues. STAR TREK was about social issues, ethical dilemmas, and character drama. THE X-FILES is a combination of modern mythology (UFOs, govt. conspiracies, bigfoot) and Silence of the Lambs-esque police procedural. Most so-called "sci-fi" on TV is really action-adventure in a futuristic setting.

#84 of 97 OFFLINE   Kevin Grey

Kevin Grey

    Screenwriter



  • 2,598 posts
  • Join Date: May 20 2003

Posted June 30 2004 - 05:50 AM

I know exactly what I wanted from the second set of Star Wars movies, movies that explore the characters and their motivations and relationships. Episodes 1 and 2 didnt do that.


To be fair, Episodes 4-6 hardly did it either.

#85 of 97 OFFLINE   Kevin Hewell

Kevin Hewell

    Screenwriter



  • 1,972 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 28 2003

Posted June 30 2004 - 06:17 AM

Quote:
To be fair, Episodes 4-6 hardly did it either.


They did it well enough to make me care about the characters. That is something that is missing from the first two prequels (with the exception of Obi-won).

#86 of 97 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

Jason Seaver

    Lead Actor



  • 9,306 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969

Posted June 30 2004 - 07:48 AM

Quote:
Has there ever been a hard science-fiction television series?
StarCops? Maybe Max Headroom, or the late-and-unlamented (by anyone but me, apparently) Century City.
Jay's Movie Blog - A movie-viewing diary.
Transplanted Life: Sci-fi soap opera about a man placed in a new body, updated two or three times a week.
Trading Post Inn - Another gender-bending soap, with different collaborators writing different points of view.

"What? Since when was this an energy...

#87 of 97 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

Rex Bachmann

    Screenwriter



  • 1,975 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 10 2001
  • Real Name:Rex Bachmann

Posted June 30 2004 - 08:05 AM

Mikel_Cooperman wrote (post #55):

Quote:
Sci Fi or not Sci Fi without the above mentioned, I dont see that as entertaining. So basically what you are stating is that it is ok to have average characters and lazy stories and pass it off as entertainment just because it's Sci Fi? Sounds like Rick Berman speaking.


Jason Seaver wrote (post #56):

Quote:
Yeah, if I were in any way, shape, or form saying "lazy stories" were okay. The very opposite, I want stories filled with neat ideas and twists that come from the broader range of possibilities speculative fiction offers. It doesn't have to be as dense with cool ideas as something by Charles Stross or Vernor Vinge, but I'd like at least one per episode.

I’ll do my usual thing once again: "'Science Fiction' is first and foremost a literature/genre of ideas. That's spelled I-D-E-A-S." I think the point is that, if you don’t care about thinking about anything and just want a standard emotional reaction to some aspect of the "human condition", why go to all the trouble of visiting a "science-fictional" setting? What's the point?

None of that necessarily means that "characterization" is abandoned, just that it's not normally the focus of the story. The focus lies on where it should be, the fantastic event or phenomenon or setting, and whatever implications that has for those inhabiting the story.

If you're not interested in any ideas, then you're not really interested in "science fiction". Period.

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#88 of 97 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

Rob Gardiner

    Screenwriter



  • 2,950 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 15 2002

Posted June 30 2004 - 08:53 AM

Quote:
...why go to all the trouble of visiting a "science-fictional" setting? What's the point?

As I said above, Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry chose to do "science-fiction" so they could slip intelligent & controversial stories past the censors (since sci-fi was considered kiddie fare at the time and subject to less scrutiny than westerns or crime shows or straight dramas). Of course, some episodes of both series do qualify as actual science-fiction.

George Lucas's purpose was to react agains the cynicism of late 60s - early 70s cinema and present a new "mythology" where brave Joseph Campbell-esque hereos prevail over evil. He assumed the audience would more easily relate to a futuristic (Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers) setting than a period setting.

Rex,

Do you know of any hard science-fiction television series?

#89 of 97 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

Jack Briggs

    Executive Producer



  • 16,725 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 03 1999

Posted June 30 2004 - 10:31 AM

Rob, I can answer that one: ABC-TV's original The Outer Limits. The best episodes -- notably the Harlan Ellison-scripted "Demon With a Glass Hand" and "Soldier" -- qualify as genuine SF. "Demon" is in my personal ten-best list of all-time SF films.

#90 of 97 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

Yee-Ming

    Producer



  • 4,330 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 04 2002
  • Real Name:Yee Ming Lim

Posted June 30 2004 - 04:14 PM

Quote:
Ever seen Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century?

Yes, actually. And being a 12-yr old at the time (I think) I was a big fan. Of course, in retrospect it was rather campy, but I hardly think it was exactly sitcom-esque. Not even "dramedy" a la Ally McBeal.

Oh well, it's all labels anyway. As long as it's good, people will watch. But that's the catchword, good. I'm not holding my breath.

#91 of 97 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

Rex Bachmann

    Screenwriter



  • 1,975 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 10 2001
  • Real Name:Rex Bachmann

Posted June 30 2004 - 05:52 PM

Quote:
. . . why go to all the trouble of visiting a "science-fictional" setting? What's the point?

Rob Gardiner wrote (post #65):

Quote:
As I said above, Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry chose to do "science-fiction" so they could slip intelligent & controversial stories past the censors . . . .

Two things:

(a) First of all, my question intends to address the vantage point of the consumer of the programming, not the creator/producer's viewpoint. I'm asking why anybody who just wants to see the same old "human-drama" stuff feels the need to bother going to outre' settings to get it.

(b) Second of all, I'm well aware of both Mr. Serling's and Mr. Roddenberry's quite well advertised statements as to their motivations for creating their separate shows. And, as I've said in the past, those arguments are time-worn and obsolete. They did this in the days when "controversial" sociopolitical topics were verboten on the broadcast media and there were no "alternative" outlets (such as pay cable) to reach the masses. In today's market, one can treat such subject matter more openly, even if the network or studio heads still try to steer clear of it as much as possible.

It's not that I'm against making statements about the "human condition" in science fiction, it's just that I don't see the genre as merely an outlet for such pronouncements. (And, to set the record straight, Rod Serling consistently sloughed off the "science-fiction" label for The Twilight Zone.)

Quote:
Do you know of any hard science-fiction television series?
An answer to that would depend on what one means by "hard science fiction" (which we won't get into here). And what difference does it make whether I have or haven't? The question I ask is, have the producers of a series labelled "science fiction" striven to sometimes head in the right direction, despite the demands of commercialization of the "product"? Some series may succeed artistically despite the fact that they don't really emphasize the science much at all. Babylon Five, though it has some fantastic concepts that should make Star Trek producers envious, is one of that rare breed, a tribute to JMS's writing skills.
"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#92 of 97 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

MatthewLouwrens

    Producer



  • 3,031 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 18 2003

Posted June 30 2004 - 11:39 PM

Quote:
I'm asking why anybody who just wants to see the same old "human-drama" stuff feels the need to bother going to outre' settings to get it.
Well, let's look at B5 for a start. Yes, it is SF, but from what I have seen (the first three seasons), it is primarily a show about politics, about diplomacy, about the interaction of different cultures and beliefs, about what makes us human, about conflict, about revenge and forgiveness, it is about a hell of a lot of core human drama subjects, but contained in a space setting. You make a show that people will watch because of the big space battles, and then you write a show around that that offers a lot more depth, gives a lot more to think about, challenging the viewer. Without the human drama, I really doubt we would get anything other than cheap thrills out of SF. It is the human stuff that actually makes good SF worth watching.

Quote:
those arguments are time-worn and obsolete. They did this in the days when "controversial" sociopolitical topics were verboten on the broadcast media and there were no "alternative" outlets (such as pay cable) to reach the masses. In today's market, one can treat such subject matter more openly, even if the network or studio heads still try to steer clear of it as much as possible.
It may not be necessary any more to hide controversial subjects inside an SF parallel, we may be able to talk freely about racism or homosexuality or whatever you want now, but that does not mean SF is now an invalid way of discussing these ideas.
Films watched in 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
AFI Top 100 lists: Movies, Thrills - Completed / Laughs - 23 to go
Passions - 39 to go / Heroes & Villains - 10 to go / Songs - 42 to go

#93 of 97 OFFLINE   Mike Broadman

Mike Broadman

    Producer



  • 4,956 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 24 2001

Posted July 01 2004 - 01:25 AM

Reading this thread and thinking about sci-fi TV, I find that, outside of B5 (my fave show), my favorite eps were were science ideas intersected with the human experience, using the two things people in this thread are talking about to create something wonderful and unique.

Example: Best of Both Worlds
The nature of the Borg is something that can only exist in a science-fiction setting, and it uses science ideas to explain what they are (hive mind communication via subspace, biological/psychological assimilation, etc). When the Enterprise battled them the first time, it was a presentation of a neat sci-fi concept and had cool visuals. But later, when Picard was assimilated, it interjected real human drama (which was fulfilled beautifully by the next episode, where we see that emotional ramifications of the experience). Add to that the awesome acting and screen presence of Patrick Stewart, and it's no wonder why this is a favorite among many, whether they're approaching it from the "science" angle or the "fiction" angle.

B5, as much as I love it, never really did this. They tried a couple of times, like with the movie Thirdspace, and it had no impact.

#94 of 97 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens

MatthewLouwrens

    Producer



  • 3,031 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 18 2003

Posted July 02 2004 - 11:19 PM

Further on the issue about human drama in science-fiction:
I was reading the page on The Lurker's Guide for Believers, and there is a great quote from JMS on the issue.
Be warned, he doesn't pull any punches.

Quote:
Excuse me....
You don't think that "Believers" was SF. Tough.

No, it didn't have warp gates, or tachyon emitters, or lots of technobabble...it was about people. And the dilemmas they face.

Part of what has screwed up so much of SF-TV is this sense that you must utterly divorce yourself from current issues, from current problems, from taking on issues of today and extrapolating them into the future, by way of aliens or SF constructs. And that is *precisely* why so much of contemporary SF-TV is barren and lifeless and irrelevant...and *precisely* why such series as the original Star Trek, and Outer Limits, and Twilight Zone are with us today.

Like Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry and Joe Stefano and Reginald Rose and Arch Oboler and Norman Corwin and a bunch of other writers whose typewriters I'm not fit to touch, my goal in part is to simply tell good stories within an SF setting. And by SF I mean speculative fiction, which sometimes touches on hard-SF aspects, and sometimes doesn't. Speculative fiction means you look at how society changes, how cultures interact with one another, how belief systems come into conflict. And as someone else here noted recently, anthropology and sociology are also sciences; soft sciences, to be sure, but sciences nonetheless.

It's been pointed out that TV-SF is generally 20-30 years behind print SF. This whole conversation proves the point quite succinctly. In the 1960s or so, along came the New Wave of SF, which eschewed hardware for stories about the human condition set against an SF background. And the fanzines and prozines and techno-loving pundits of hard-SF declared it heresy, said it wasn't SF, this is crap. And eventually they were steamrolled, and print SF grew up a little. Now the argument has come to settle here. Well, fine. So be it.

I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who said that SF is anything I point to and say, "That's SF." Go pick up a copy of "A Canticle for Liebowitz," one of the real singular masterpieces of the science fiction genre, and it won't fit the narrow criteria you've set up for what qualifies as SF by your lights.

There is a tendency among the more radical hard-SF proponents to stamp their feet and hold their breath until they turn blue, to threaten that unless the book changes or the field comes around or the series cottens to *their* specific, narrow version of what SF is -- and that definition changes from person to person -- they'll take their ball and their bat and go home. Fine and good. And the millions who come to take their place in the bleachers and on the field will get to have all the fun.

Some of our episodes will fit your definition of SF. Some will not. This worries me not at all.

Films watched in 2005 / 2006 / 2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011
AFI Top 100 lists: Movies, Thrills - Completed / Laughs - 23 to go
Passions - 39 to go / Heroes & Villains - 10 to go / Songs - 42 to go

#95 of 97 OFFLINE   Rex Bachmann

Rex Bachmann

    Screenwriter



  • 1,975 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 10 2001
  • Real Name:Rex Bachmann

Posted July 03 2004 - 08:39 AM

MatthewLouwrens wrote (post #71):

Quote:
Further on the issue about human drama in science-fiction: . . . . there is a great quote from JMS on the issue.

Be warned, he doesn't pull any punches.

Actually,---and I meant to put this in my last post---during the original run of the show in syndication, Mr. Straczinsky was quoted---I believe in The Christian Science Monitor, among other places---as saying that sf is the only avenue left nowadays by which to explore "big" religious (or quasi-religious) and philosophical ideas.

Since he's (mainly) a tv writer, it should come as no surprise to anyone that character interaction is his main concern. I think he's damned good at it.

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#96 of 97 OFFLINE   Rob Gardiner

Rob Gardiner

    Screenwriter



  • 2,950 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 15 2002

Posted July 08 2004 - 05:08 AM

Rex,

Just to be clear, my question about hard sci-fi TV series was meant as a legitimate question, NOT as a challenge to your position. I thought if anyone knew of such a series, it would be either you or Jack (who mentioned Outer Limits).

#97 of 97 OFFLINE   Mikel_Cooperman

Mikel_Cooperman

    Producer



  • 4,184 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 16 2001

Posted July 08 2004 - 06:06 AM

Quote:
B5, as much as I love it, never really did this. They tried a couple of times, like with the movie Thirdspace, and it had no impact.


I dont know names of episodes but I saw many episodes of B5 that had an impact, much more than S.T has done since DS9 went off the air.


Back to TV Programming



Forum Nav Content I Follow