SF on TV

As I watch the last few episodes of Dollhouse, and V and FlashForward go on a lengthy hiatus probably headed toward cancellation, I can’t help lamenting the good/bad state of sf on TV.  While most recent sf films are shallow special effects monstrosities, TV sf has been working toward increasing sophistication.  One of the best was the predictably canceled Terminator series.  All of them achieve a depth of characterization and sf complexity by having an ongoing plot instead of some little weirdness conveniently resolved in 45 minutes or so (minus commercials).  The problem with the more sophisticated approach, of course, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to acquire new viewers.  No new viewers = cancellation.  Perhaps, once that more and more viewers consume their TV via the web this might not be such a problem.  If you watch on Hulu, you can pick up a series like Lost from the beginning and ride it on through to the end at any time.  From what I’ve seen so far, V probably deserves to die, but no series with a continuous plot line can thrive being absent for months at a time.  Reality crap, dozens of CSI and Law & Order clones make it but bore me to tears.  Good sf appears, then is gone.  Sigh.

One thought on “SF on TV

  1. Hi Dennis,

    I know exactly what you mean. I caught an episode of Firefly halfway through the season and couldn’t figure out what people were raving about. Then I watched the entire season when it came out on DVD and declared it the best sci-fi in years. The evolution of the characters and story arch was fantastic, but as you say, it made the show difficult to pick up mid-stream.

    Lately I’ve developed a growing appreciation for Fringe. It seemed silly and formulaic at first (and to some extent still is), but the portrayal of Dr Walter Bishop by actor John Noble is absolutely fantastic and keeps us coming back.

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