Where Has All the Good Science Fiction Gone?

I remember running home from school so I wouldn’t be late for my favorite TV shows.

Science Fiction shows were my favorite.  These were the shows that pushed the boundary of the possible, that made you watch in awe and wonder as your imagination went on a rollercoaster ride of amazement.  For me, these were Star Trek, X-Files, Babylon 5, etc…

I want to believe good science fiction still exists

Don't you?

Then something happened, a kind of shift in priorities, and networks attempted to dilute their Science Fiction offerings in order to make them more acceptable to mainstream audiences (and, in turn, to make more money).

The X-Files quickly died after failing to hand itself off to two a new FBI duo.  Star Trek: Enterprise sputtered for four tedious seasons and disappeared.  Firefly was cancelled after only but a few episodes (Browncoats Unite!).

I was lost.

My imagination had gotten fat on the abundance of good Science Fiction in the ’90s, and now it was starving for more.  I searched everywhere, but found myself surrounded a general decline in the quality and originality of TV shows (most of which were now reality shows).

Luckily, the reimagining of Battlestar Galactica came along in 2004.  It was good – or fracking awesome – but was it enough to save TV Science Fiction?  Looking at the slim pickings of quality shows today, it’s hard to say yes.

Its sad that nowadays I get most of my sci-fi satisfaction from cartoons.  Though they are mostly known for their comedy, some very interesting science fiction is coming out of shows like Family Guy and Futurama.  For example: last year saw Stewie and Brian creating the universe in The Big Bang Theory; and the year before we followed Fry, the Professor, and Bender as they discovered the cyclical nature of the universe in The Late Philip J. Fry.  But other than cartoons, networks just don’t seem to be willing to take the risk on new science fiction shows.

Fringe has been on the verge of cancellation for the past couple of years, and the follow-up to BSG (ignoring Caprica) Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, is not going to be picked up for a TV show in spite of the ridiculously awesome trailer that was released a month or so ago.

Look at this trailer and tell me you don’t want to see this show, I dare you!

Wasn’t that just crazy awesome?

I understand the need to make money, but with the insane number of channels nowadays, and the increasing competition from the internet, people in TV land are going to have to recognize that pandering to the most common denominator will only serve to sink them deeper into the ever widening sea of available channels.  I truly hope that, at some point, someone at the top will realize the need to take a chance, and will push to differentiate themselves from the competition by creating good, smart, and not so mainstream content.

In the meantime, I guess I will just have to keep on watching my cartoons.

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