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IS SCIENCE FICTION DEAD?


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#21 Destructor!!!

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 01:21 PM

I agree, I wish they would. But as long as the bleeting masses out there keep lapping up the tripe they make, and they keep raking in the green, they have no reason to rethink anything.

I am glad to see something of a good omen in the cancellation of Big Brother.

Perhaps it heralds the end of the fad?

#22 Gothneo

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 02:51 PM

QUOTE (1701 @ Dec 31 2010, 06:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think Sci-Fi is dead, I think because of different cultures and laws, in both the UK and US, Sci-Fi is very different and the line between Sci-Fi and fantasy has all but merged...


Well... you've almost made the same point I've been trying to make! There are creative writers everywhere. That's obvious to me. As a percentage of population, I'd wager between here and there they are pretty darn near the same!

The way that creativity is expressed on the small screen is constrained by culture differences (which includes laws), sometimes, they just don't translate, thus they shouldn't be exported via a re-make.

I couldn't image "Faulty Towers" remade w/o John Cleese. Sure not all the jokes translate perfectly to the US, but that was part of the charm of it IMO. Shows like that don't reach a large audience in the US, but it serves a niche.

And that's where we may have a point of agreement. See, its about making money, both here and there. The US has a larger potential market, (we are about 6x the size of the Uk in population!), which means that a show in the UK will need to budget roughly 1/6 the same amount as a show in the US to be profitable if all other variables are considered equal! So yes, UK shows don't typically spend the kind of money US shows do, but they can't because they have a smaller market!

As the market becomes more diverse in the US, they need to figure out how to create niche shows on a tighter budget... basically that's what SyFy is supposed to do. They should focus on good solid concepts, original concepts, develop the characters, and the base with minimal effects and cost for at least 1 season, and if its written well, it will develop a following, but by keeping costs in line, you plan on being profitable with a smaller audience, and as the show grows, the expense and effects can get more lavish.


#23 Destructor!!!

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 09:35 PM

QUOTE
I couldn't image "Faulty Towers" remade w/o John Cleese. Sure not all the jokes translate perfectly to the US, but that was part of the charm of it IMO. Shows like that don't reach a large audience in the US, but it serves a niche.


It WAS.

Great, now I need more therapy sessions to try to forget it.

#24 Gothneo

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 04:36 AM

Really?? What did they call it? whoops! Mother google knows!

Amanda's


Fawlty Towers was listed as the best of the best on a list of british shows compiled in 2000. (Its still listed as number one on the BFI website )

Apparently the attempts to re-make it were pretty bad. But that seems to be in line with my point I think... Cleese got the inspiration for Fawlty Towers from a real life inn keeper, so he had some basis to write from. Trying to export a re-make lost the cultural inspiration from where it came from. Apparently it was tried in both the US and Germany w/o success.

#25 Destructor!!!

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 03:42 PM

Dear Gods, that means it happened twice. I saw a show in the early 2000's that was Faulty in all but name and comedy. It was horrifyingly bad. The "Manuel" was a mexican named Manny or something. The "Basil" was sort of a recognisable actor. I think he may have been in Harry and The Hudsons or something... I'd usually post a link, but it'd honestly lead to therapy sessions for a month if I googled it.

#26 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 08:16 AM

QUOTE (1701 @ Dec 27 2010, 03:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think Sci-Fi is dead, I just don't think there's enough original story telling in the US at the moment. Here in the UK Sci-Fi has seen a significant boost in part due to the successful revival of Doctor Who (although personally I really dislike it) and before that Life on Mars did very well indeed. Many of the shows are original, now ok, there are only so many stories to be told but the UK writers are telling them in new and exciting ways... There's a variety of different Sci-Fi shows being made n the UK that appeal to a variety of different people and ages rather than just the geeks. Torchwood and Misfits especially is geared to the teen and young adult generation, Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars were shows that appealed to perhaps an older generation who grew up in the era's presented in those shows and then Doctor Who and Primeval appeals to the families and kids. Here there's something for everyone, In the US there seems to be a lack of original story telling and a lack of different programming appealing to a broader audience than just the geeks.


Absolutely! TV executives over here have understood that sci-fi is not fundamentally about geekdom and have recognised that they can produce and target shows with a huge sci-fi elements to just about any market, they just have to conflate it with other elements to make it fly. I'm not so keen on the latest Doctor Who so I stopped watching after David Tennant departed the series, and I'm not a massive fan of a lot of the other shows coming out, however I appreciate what the TV companies are doing for sci-fi by discovering that they can aim it an just about any demographic provided they include what will appeal to kids, women who didn't think they liked sci-fi, grannies, the gay demographic etc, etc. I've always been a total geek so I don't really need a bespoke sci-fi, but anything that keep the genre vibrant is OK by me, even if it's not always my cup of tea.


QUOTE
Rather than focusing on originality, the US studio's seem to have this constant need to re-tell, rehash and rebrand established brands - Star Trek has already fallen victim to this with Enterprise, the Stargate franchise seems to have suffered the same fate, Battlestar Galactica seems to be the next franchise to have it's dignity taken from it. When something is a success, in the US it is undoubtably made into a franchise and milked for all it's worth.


Yep, plus the opportunities for milking the franchise are mostly aimed at one market, hence I am one of very few female members posting here!

QUOTE
We still have the likes of Star Trek sure which after all of these years is still doing well in reruns on freeview, cable and satelite and then you have Fringe of which is doing well too and when the likes of JJ Abrams revives Star Trek in the way he did, people are going to talk about it positively but it's the british Sci-Fi shows that are getting the attention. You have the likes of Lost but as a UK citizen, I don't think there's been a US Sci-Fi show since Star Trek: The Next Generation that has done so well as Star Trek!


Agreed. Even NuBSG was a niche favourite, however is the US TV industry likely to know, or care less, what works over here, even if they could learn a great deal? What did TNG have that appealed to so many? A mixed cast of mixed ages and stories that, over the span of a single season, had something for everyone. The future for sci-fi has to be that it is for everyone and it is still, sadly, a rare sci-fi show that pleases everyone at the same time, but you've got to hand it to the BBC which can produce a Christmas special that the practically every family will sit down on Christmas Day and watch together and it is SCI-FI!!!!!!!!!

#27 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 08:24 AM

QUOTE (Gothneo @ Dec 27 2010, 06:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think I miss-read /miss-understood 1701's comment...

R U saying corp execs in the UK don't milk something for every cent they can? Because, last time I checked, Adam Smith, was a Scott, and basically wrote the bible on how to milk something for everything its worth...


Yes, but not really in the UK. Franchise branding and merchandising are not the prime drivers here, even if a successful TV show can shift an awful lot of stuff - such as Doctor Who.

QUOTE
I don't think it matters if its there, here, or somewhere else... how often does something really original come along? I think that's the pertinent point. Its probably why the masses reject certain incarnations of some franchises. SG-1 & SGA ran for (collectively) 12 years. Then they basically try something new and its rejected by the viewers. Maybe its run its course?


Who would those masses be? Male geeks? Half the problem with US sci-fi is that relentlessly seems to persue the 28-35 male demographic (NuBSG seemed to be the only show that didn't, although it was certainly a "parental advisory" show) and saturates that market while making the genre virtually unwatchable for anyone else.

QUOTE
I actually liked Caprica, and thought it was fleshing out nicely, but it was moving waaaay to slow, and it was a bit preachy, which may have turned some people off.


That still didn't stop TNG being a success.



#28 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 08:34 AM

QUOTE (Destructor!!! @ Dec 29 2010, 12:21 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd just like to chip in that I can't think of any superfluous sex scenes in Galactica aside from perhaps the pilot miniseries. And The Plan.

The rest had a firm place in the plot as character motivation and natural growth of relationships. Minor point, but I felt it should be made.


Oh, hooray!! Somebody else who gets it! smile.gif

There was a LOT of sex in NuBSG and some of it pretty graphic, but all of it had it's place in the advancing of a story. What I liked most about the sex in BSG was the fact that just about every type of sex was shown (and no guys I don't mean positions!) and in just about every type of context - most of it about the way in which man and women relate to each other and use sex as an expression of that. There was loving sex, sex to procreate, recreational sex, pity sex, companiable sex, comfort sex, manipulation-through-seduction-sex, if-you-can't-have-sex-with-the-one-you-love-have-sex-with-the-one-you're-with-sex; every kind of reason to have sex was shown because sex is a part of our lives as human beings. One of the best depictions of loving sex was when Bill Adama and President Roslyn eventually shared a bed. Enough said.

QUOTE
I think what 1701's getting at is simply a feel in the writing. Or maybe even in the shooting of the show. Perhaps it's just because we are western Europeans watching western Europeans on the TV, but the people in UK Sci-Fi do tend to feel a little more real, down to earth, one-of-us than the American heroes favoured by a lot of US TV shows. There are many exceptions to both rules, of course.

I'm Irish, and watching Colm Meaney play Chief O'Brien was such a pleasure. IT'S AN [GENUINE!!!!] IRISH GUY IN SPACE! Ok, so he's the lowest rank in the senior staff, but what the hell, at least he's useful!



DS9 is currently being run on CBS Action and I caught an epsiode recently and fell in love with it all over again. Some of the best sci-fi that came out of the US ...ever.

#29 Gothneo

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:08 PM

I really doubt that the U.K. got to, and maintains its position in the top 10 GNP by not caring about branding, marketing and franchising.

#30 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:26 AM

QUOTE (Gothneo @ Jan 21 2011, 12:08 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really doubt that the U.K. got to, and maintains its position in the top 10 GNP by not caring about branding, marketing and franchising.


In terms of general economics, pf course the UK is as heavily involved with all of the above, but the reality is that our TV industry is not so driven by those concerns as the US. Fact. Viewing figures come first - as it does in the US in terms of what gets made and what get cancelled - but the first priority is pleasng audiences because any spin-off merchandising is nowhere if people aren't bothering to watch your show.

In the UK there isn't a sense that TV excecs ever sit down with the intent of marketing toys before they devise a series. It's not like Transformers. It doesn't work over here that shows are vehicles for marekting merchandise first and foremost. Franchises like Doctor Who that do have a huge merchandising concern tend to be huge because they have been popular shows for a long time beforehand. The Wombles were cute characters in a popular kids show before a single talking womble cuddly toy made it into the shops.

#31 Gothneo

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 05:36 AM

So... just like here, if the numbers for viewers doesn't meet the expectation, a show will be canceled?

How do shows get paid for in the U.K.?

In the U.S. there are 4 basic networks, and 1 "Public" the 4 network. The basic business strategy is that they must sell advertisement space to pay for a show. The number of people that watch a show works to figure for how much the network can charge and thus re-coup it's "Investment" in the show.

The Public network works by getting donations from viewers and grants from the government so that they don't have to sell advertisement. Typically the public network focuses on documentaries, or other such programming that is not as commercially viable.

I believe A network like "SyFy" gets to charge a premium by the number of subscribers it gets (because its a cable network) but I never pay for cable, so I'm not sure about that. They still need to sell advertising though.

Most shows here are not "Transformers". Shortly after shows like transformers and GI Joe were created to do what you described, the practice was outlawed. I said it before, and I'll say it again, some of the most crass examples of franchising, marketing, and merchandising here are actually U.K. shows... Idol, X-Factor, Telli-Tubies, etc.

I can find tons of lists people have made of good shows that never went anywhere. This one for example has 26 shows, a few I had heard of or seen, and of them all, only a couple really had any kind of merchandising tie-in, and one was already an established franchise (since it was originally a comic book).

Bottom line is, it can be a well done show, but if people don't watch it it gets canceled here. And it sounds like its the same in the U.K.?



#32 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:49 AM

QUOTE (Gothneo @ Jan 21 2011, 11:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
So... just like here, if the numbers for viewers doesn't meet the expectation, a show will be canceled?


Eventually, if the viewing figures are low then a show will be cancelled, however, the difference here is that TV drama seasons typically only last from 6 to 13 weeks, and not the 22-26 typical in the US. An interesting case is the early morning news and chat show Daybreak which effectively lured a popular pair of presenters away from BBC1's The One Show and has been a disappointment to say the least. By every measure you can use, it's a flop and the channel is doing it's best to make the show popular. In the US I imagine it would have been canned sooner, but the presenters concerned have expensive contracts, I guess.

Generally, new seasons of shows like comedies and dramas aren't commissioned until they are a deemed a success.

QUOTE
How do shows get paid for in the U.K.?


You can't receive a TV signal legally unless you've paid for a TV license and every household has to have one, or risk getting caught by the TV detector van and taken to court. This license money is essentially what funds the BBC. The BBC's rivals are commercial channels that get their cash mainly via advertising revenue (there are no commercial breaks on the BBC). Interestingly, there have been instances of dramas being made and funded by commerical channels in the UK but which aired in the US first, that is because it is expensive to air a show and the channel couldn't afford it without receipts from the drama being shown first in other countries.

QUOTE
In the U.S. there are 4 basic networks, and 1 "Public" the 4 network. The basic business strategy is that they must sell advertisement space to pay for a show. The number of people that watch a show works to figure for how much the network can charge and thus re-coup it's "Investment" in the show.


That is basically how the commercial channels and satellite TV work over here, although satelite also benefits from viewer subscription to channels of their choosing and pay-per-view for movies and sports. The BBC is basically a public property and was at one time the only legal broadcasting service before commerical TV channels were permitted in the 1960s.

QUOTE
The Public network works by getting donations from viewers and grants from the government so that they don't have to sell advertisement. Typically the public network focuses on documentaries, or other such programming that is not as commercially viable.


Over here the BBC covers that remit as a public service broadcaster, that means it has an obligation to cater to all sectors of society, not just the biggest or those who have the most money to attract big advertisers. The BBC is a fully accountable organisation.

QUOTE
I believe A network like "SyFy" gets to charge a premium by the number of subscribers it gets (because its a cable network) but I never pay for cable, so I'm not sure about that. They still need to sell advertising though.


I'm sure cable subscribers alone would not keep SyFy affloat - it seems like it is niche in the US. Sci-fi seems to be targeted to a largely male demographic in the US, in fact it's been agressively so in many cases by catering to the geek lads' market at the expense of narrowing its appeal to other demographics. In the UK the trend is the other way.

QUOTE
Most shows here are not "Transformers". Shortly after shows like transformers and GI Joe were created to do what you described, the practice was outlawed. I said it before, and I'll say it again, some of the most crass examples of franchising, marketing, and merchandising here are actually U.K. shows... Idol, X-Factor, Telli-Tubies, etc.


Only once they gained the viewing figures. There was no X-Factor merchandising before it became popular - I agree it's taken off to an enormous degree ever since, and the other thing about the Cowell empire is how much moeny he makes from people voting via phone networks. Pop Idol is defunct here, and basically the Telly Tubbies were on the toy shelves only slightly quicker than the Wombles and that's only because linked merchandising had become a known money-spinner after the success of Star Wars merchandising. Actually, the first majoy movie-linked merchandising campaign that anticpated demand in advance of the film being a hit was the Jurassic Park franchise.

QUOTE
I can find tons of lists people have made of good shows that never went anywhere. This one for example has 26 shows, a few I had heard of or seen, and of them all, only a couple really had any kind of merchandising tie-in, and one was already an established franchise (since it was originally a comic book).


Yes, if people don't love them they don't stay on the air for long and don't get recommissioned. You can't sell merchandise for an unpopular show - that is certainly true. I guess Art Asylum found that out with Enterprise and that was one of the coolest ranges they did.

QUOTE
Bottom line is, it can be a well done show, but if people don't watch it it gets canceled here. And it sounds like its the same in the U.K.?


Essentially, and this is more the rule of economics on the commerical channels because they have to ensure audiences for the adverts they show too, but BBC channels 2,3 and 4 create and air shows that are arguably more niche as part of tis public service remit. They'll keep the faith with TV shows that need more than one season to find a following, and usually it pays off.

Top rated BBC dramas like Spooks deemed as adult dramas airing past the 9pm watershed have almost no merchandising attached to them, and I'd love a Harry action figure!

#33 Gothneo

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:39 PM

You've mentioned a couple times that you believe SyFy is primarily male oriented and male viewership...

But the numbers don't back your theory...

In 2009...

Syfy rose +18% in Women 18-34 (132,000), +13% in Women 18-49 (334,000) and +8% in Women 25-54 (357,000)

Syfy also leaped +13% in Men 18-34 (157,000), +8% in Men 18-49 (365,000) and +4% in Men 25-54 (409,000)

taken from TV By the Numbers

The numbers suggest that SyFy has grown women viewers in the same demographics by leaps and bounds, and that its almost a split demographic.


#34 Gothneo

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 04:45 PM

Also ment to add...

Now that I understand a bit more about how the system works there, I have to say I think were more alike then not. Public funded programming here caters to many more demographics, and shows are ordered and run in a more similar manner.

It's probably also why PBS here tends to purchase and broadcast some BBC programming.

The big difference seems to be that the US doesn't require a TV license, so the Public Broadcasting is actually smaller as it relies heavily on donations from viewers rather then funding from the state.

#35 Gothneo

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 06:02 AM

I'm trickling these in... but a couple more responses!

QUOTE (JulesLuvsShinzon @ Jan 21 2011, 06:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Actually, the first majoy movie-linked merchandising campaign that anticpated demand in advance of the film being a hit was the Jurassic Park franchise.

Movies a re bit different from TV shows though. Yes there is a huge tendency in the US to push merchandizing and product before a show comes out. Yes that all started with Star Wars... but I thought we were talking about TV shows, not movies. TV shows never push merchandise in advance here. DST/AA has even said they won't look a license until after its second season.

There are many many top rated shows that have no merchandising associated with it.

QUOTE (JulesLuvsShinzon @ Jan 21 2011, 06:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Essentially, and this is more the rule of economics on the commerical channels because they have to ensure audiences for the adverts they show too, but BBC channels 2,3 and 4 create and air shows that are arguably more niche as part of tis public service remit. They'll keep the faith with TV shows that need more than one season to find a following, and usually it pays off.


So here's the odd thing I see in this... if a UK season is about 16 shows and a US season is 22, if a US show is canceled after a season its almost like canceling a UK show after a season and a half?! in other words, the US show did get a bit of a run!

Or are you saying that writers need to be able to step back from their material, absorb the critical response and adjust?

That would make more sense to me. I think part of the problem that you may be getting at is when writing 22 shows for a season, writers may have a tendency to plow forward with a concept that may not be working so well, and this ends up turning of viewers.

One of the things (as I understand it) that BSG did was to split the seasons into two. I say this is as I understand it because I never watched it on SyFy when it aired. But none-the-less I think the concept of making smaller runs for series, and allowing viewers to react has merit.

We are starting to see that here more now.


#36 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 05:54 AM

QUOTE (Gothneo @ Jan 21 2011, 07:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You've mentioned a couple times that you believe SyFy is primarily male oriented and male viewership...

But the numbers don't back your theory...

In 2009...

Syfy rose +18% in Women 18-34 (132,000), +13% in Women 18-49 (334,000) and +8% in Women 25-54 (357,000)

Syfy also leaped +13% in Men 18-34 (157,000), +8% in Men 18-49 (365,000) and +4% in Men 25-54 (409,000)

taken from TV By the Numbers

The numbers suggest that SyFy has grown women viewers in the same demographics by leaps and bounds, and that its almost a split demographic.


Well, I don't receive SyFy here in the UK and the numbers therefore are not something I'd be familiar with, however the figures you have provded do make it look like the audience for SyFy is almost a split demographic with marginally more men than women watching that particular channel. However, that's a specialist sci-fi channel and I think that skews the figures somewhat because I guess only people (of either sex) would only watch a channel specialising sci-fi shows if they were into sci-fi. What it does show quite convincingly - if those figures are correct - is that female interest in sci-fi (as a precentage of the audience who would seek out a channel that specialises in such shows) is not a demographic to be over-looked. However, I believe this debate has more to do with how sci-fi is preceived in the mainstream, and I think the mainstream view is that typical sci-fi fan is a male geek. Clearly, the examples previously mentioned of shows in the UK thriving in non-specialist mainstream channels is persuasive in countering the notion that sci-fi is not dead, but just in need of tweaking for a broader appeal.

#37 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:14 AM

QUOTE (Gothneo @ Jan 22 2011, 12:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm trickling these in... but a couple more responses!


I'm trickling the responses back in kind! smile.gif


QUOTE
Movies a re bit different from TV shows though. Yes there is a huge tendency in the US to push merchandizing and product before a show comes out. Yes that all started with Star Wars... but I thought we were talking about TV shows, not movies. TV shows never push merchandise in advance here. DST/AA has even said they won't look a license until after its second season.


That makes good business sense! However, what we're debating here is "is Science Fiction Dead?" - and although we've talked a lot about TV scheduling, the movies are a part of that too. Movies are very much more into aggressive movie tie-in merchandise in advance of release and maybe that's also a form of pre-publicity for the film. Maybe kids will pester parents to take them to the movies because they know there will be lots of cool toys to collect. The difference here is that younger children at whom merchandise is mainly aimed need to persuade parents to take them to the theatres and pay. By comparison, TV is much more passive in terms of consumption because TV shows are essentially fed into the house and nobody has to go anywhere to view it - simply make the choice of which channel to watch.

QUOTE
There are many many top rated shows that have no merchandising associated with it.


But are they mainly aimed at an adult demographic?


QUOTE
So here's the odd thing I see in this... if a UK season is about 16 shows and a US season is 22, if a US show is canceled after a season its almost like canceling a UK show after a season and a half?! in other words, the US show did get a bit of a run!


Essentially, yes! However, the pressure to sustain long seasons in the US can lead to a mixed quality. Star Trek seasons suffered from duff episodes across TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT. Shows like Lost seemed to lose their way, so there are pros and cons.

QUOTE
Or are you saying that writers need to be able to step back from their material, absorb the critical response and adjust?


I kind of hope they do that anyway! I mean there's little point in continuing down an unpopular route if people are switiching off in droves. That's part of the problem with long seasons in the US because an unpopular choice is a done deal; shorter season tend to lead to tighter writing. At the end of the day, writers are writing for an audience. It may take them a while to find that audience, but once found it is best kept happy.

QUOTE
That would make more sense to me. I think part of the problem that you may be getting at is when writing 22 shows for a season, writers may have a tendency to plow forward with a concept that may not be working so well, and this ends up turning of viewers.


yes, that is absolutely my point. We started watching the US show Damage but ended up switching off as I felt that the plot - basically a whodunnit and whydunnit - was being stretched in every which way and becoming tediously conveluted. I understand that the trend in the US has moved away from linear storytelling, but a long season tends to overuse the twist and turn device to the nth degree. What eventually finished me with Damages was the constant rehashing of the same basic scene - the dead boyfriend in the bathtub - just from a differnt point of view each time. I realise that's not a sci-fi example, but you get the idea.

QUOTE
One of the things (as I understand it) that BSG did was to split the seasons into two. I say this is as I understand it because I never watched it on SyFy when it aired. But none-the-less I think the concept of making smaller runs for series, and allowing viewers to react has merit.


I'm not sure that all four seasons of NuBSG were split in two because I never saw it on TV. I have all the DVDs and the first three seasons came out as a complete season each and it was only the final season that seems to have been split in two (I had to buy both parts separately) - but I'm sure that some one else will correct me if I'm wrong about the TV seasons. I think the final season was about keeping the show's integrity with the audience and tying up the loose ends. The audience knew it was all coming to a close and splitting the season was, I think, about sustaining that final bit of suspense, a bit like the final Harry Potter novel being split into two parts, although I am cynical enough to believe that the final HP being split into two parts (a book that basically does not lend itself to that treatment) was an entirely commercial decision.



#38 Gothneo

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Posted 25 January 2011 - 04:22 AM

I thought BSG lost its way in season 3.

I think the reason why Seasons 1 and 2 were so good is that the writers basically took the concepts from the original 70's show and really refined them. They used what worked and jettisoned what didn't.

By the end of season 2, they had burned through any "Reference" material they had and were basically writing completely new and original material... and that's where it kind of went wrong IMO!

Now, this is just an opinion, but I felt the writers missed a fabulous opportunity with the "Original Five" Cyclons.

Instead of the endless circle of Humans creating Cylons and Cyclons destroying Humans, humans fleeing and rebuilding... , I would have liked it to have been revealed that the 5 Cylons created Humanity, in essence, making humans themselves Cylons. They (the 5) should have been revealed as the "Lords of Kobal", and that it was Humanities uprising and revolt from their creators that destroyed Kobal... and thus the circle goes on in that manner... where life begets life, but when done so for the sole purposes of creating servants or slaves, the result is eventual revolt by that creation.

So, perhaps in another 20 years, BSG will be rebooted again, and the writers will get another go.

But I don't think shorter run of episodes would have helped BSG in this instance... basically the once the writers ran out of the blueprint of the original series, the wheels seemed to come off.

Ultimately someone had the vision to drive the series the way it went, and the writers just fleshed it out. I blame that person for the lack of creativity, not necessarily the writers!



#39 JulesLuvsShinzon

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Posted 26 January 2011 - 04:25 AM

QUOTE (Gothneo @ Jan 25 2011, 10:22 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I thought BSG lost its way in season 3.

I think the reason why Seasons 1 and 2 were so good is that the writers basically took the concepts from the original 70's show and really refined them. They used what worked and jettisoned what didn't.

By the end of season 2, they had burned through any "Reference" material they had and were basically writing completely new and original material... and that's where it kind of went wrong IMO!


I think what they did with the original concept in the miniseries and the first two seasons was awesome. I wasn't a fan of "Classic BSG" and actually it took a fellow geek to persuade me to give it a go and he lent me his DVDs. He knows how serious I am about my sci-fi and told me that I would love it, and in fact I did because it was witty and fresh and very, very clever in the way that it could fly with some pretty contraversial issues. It basically did what Star Trek did when at it's very best and held up a mirror to our world and chewed over the grit. The visual references to old-style technology were excellent because manipulating big switches and big old telephones gave the cast props they could wield with emotion! One of the things that I regret about TNG was its pre-empting of touch-screen technology that made every movement like going to warp speed look small and insignificant, and for dramatic impact you want big switches and industrial scale! In my mind NuBSG became what Star trek should have been in the noughties with it rough and ready look at the dark side of humanity.

Who didn't enjoy the fact that they used Glen A Larson's original theme in the miniseries as a TV theme?! I loved the visual references to the original show and appreciated greatly the fact that they stuck close to the original battlestar design as used in the 70s and 80s and the Vipers, but just made them look like viable spacecraft. Then, I love the way in which they took the Cylons from one-dimensional metal baddies and had them evolve - CGI helped a lot there!

I agree that jettisoned what didn't work in thr original and that was mainly the cheesiness of the one-dimensional females and the emphasis on sub-erotica that was hokey and faintly laughable. I think NuBSG took the idea that "Classic BSG" had been pre-publicised as the sci-fi drama in which "the women would be chased and not chaste" and tuned it on its head, by making Starbuck a cigar-chomping, free-bonking female and I think it really worked, as did the boost in genuine sexual content that explored sex and human relations from all angles. The cheesiness sort of lived on in the realtionship between Six and Balthar, but again with an ironce twist that beautiful, sexy woman can lead a man to make very poor choices! And in the end that relationship turned into something quite touching. However, the deliberate subversion of some of those characters you thought you knew like Tighe, Bill Adama, and Starbuck was a stroke of genius.

However, the original "Noah's Ark" concept of the show was kind of thin to stretch over four seasons of TV, a miniseries and a spin-off one-off drama. Once that idea was established and virtually exhausted, it turned into as character-driven drama of political intrigue. There were also one or two quite soapy elements later on that were a wee bit off-putting, but overall I think the drama sustained itself well under the restraints of the TV production in the US. However, I think you're right that some of the original material the writers went with after the second season didn't always work.

QUOTE
Now, this is just an opinion, but I felt the writers missed a fabulous opportunity with the "Original Five" Cyclons.

Instead of the endless circle of Humans creating Cylons and Cyclons destroying Humans, humans fleeing and rebuilding... , I would have liked it to have been revealed that the 5 Cylons created Humanity, in essence, making humans themselves Cylons. They (the 5) should have been revealed as the "Lords of Kobal", and that it was Humanities uprising and revolt from their creators that destroyed Kobal... and thus the circle goes on in that manner... where life begets life, but when done so for the sole purposes of creating servants or slaves, the result is eventual revolt by that creation.


To be honest, I thought that was where the show would end up. I thought there were many indicators that it would, instead the finale became the cliff-hanger question "Who will be the last character to be revealed as the last Cylon?" It was a little bit "Who shot JR?" for my taste, and to be frank, some of the choices for the final cylons were so completely obvious that it became slightly a perfunctory exercise in anticipating the next step.

QUOTE
So, perhaps in another 20 years, BSG will be rebooted again, and the writers will get another go.


It probably will, but the second version was so strong and so relentlessly adult that I think it would be a hard act to follow in terms of getting any darker. Then again, I'm not sure I'd like to see it return to its slightly garish roots. smile.gif

QUOTE
But I don't think shorter run of episodes would have helped BSG in this instance... basically the once the writers ran out of the blueprint of the original series, the wheels seemed to come off.

Ultimately someone had the vision to drive the series the way it went, and the writers just fleshed it out. I blame that person for the lack of creativity, not necessarily the writers!


I think those are some valid points. In the end a few sharks got jumped over. I think it's inevitably the way all TV dramas go when they perhaps last for one season more than they should. I predicted the ending of the shop and I woyuld have preferred to have been surprised.




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