Mrs Rolling Eyeballs talks Sci-Fi on her blog and I’m inclined to agree with her about the staying power of shows like “Doctor Who” and “Star Trek”.
That there isn’t currently an incarnation of “Trek” on the air is not necessarily an indicator that the show itself is tired out – the J.J. Abrams reboot says ‘Hi!’ – but more that it needed a break to be able to come back in a refined and retooled version.
I09 had a story recently bemoaning the fact that this was the first TV season in many a year which didn’t feature a Sci-Fi show set in space or featuring space travel as an important component in the ongoing story – “Who” probably doesn’t make it as despite the presence of aliens, alien worlds and even space ships, the core focus of the show is time travel and I’m struggling to think of a recent episode other than “The Girl Who Waited” (good catch, Mrs Fluffrick) which actually went to a different planet.
The point is well-made. Why have we seemingly fallen out of love with shows set amidst space travel – is it as banal a reason as the cost involved to make elaborate sets and incorporate CG aspects or is it just that we prefer to go to the cinema to see such films?
Even a massively expensive Sci-Fi adventure like “Terra Nova” is set in our past rather than our future and appears to be using a dystopian present as an excuse to flee into an alternate timeline as yet unmolested by human frailty and ignorance.
I find myself wishing that more shows went with the best parts of Gene Roddenberry’s vision – the idea of humanity living in a time when we’ve gone past petty religious, political and financial divisions and become united for the benefit of all our futures. Isn’t that, in actual fact, the bolder, more innovative and richer story track to follow because it hasn’t been mined to death – the dystopia angle in a lot of contemporary Sci-Fi is, I feel, a crutch for film-makers who have become somewhat lazy.
“Terra Nova” will certainly be watched by me when it airs in the UK tonight, but I’m not sure that it’s a show that I’m going to stick with.