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-   -   Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction. (http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=65655)

cynical dreamer September 4 2008 04:46 AM

Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Here's a question:

Name me a science fiction series that avoids any and all supernatural elements in all of it's many forms.

Yes that includes psychic councellors and doctors, psychic links to marine mammals, ghosts, demons, gods, devils, mind melding, vampires, etc, etc...

I mean a complete rejection of the supernatural.

There's a few movies out there that fit that description, but precious few tv series.

So, with your help, I'm looking to compile a list.

I think SeaQuest could have been an outstanding series if you ripped the supernatural from it.

I also think the new BSG, as good as it is, would be that much better without invoking the gods and the various visions of many of the characters.

I just long for a sci-fi series that plays it straight. At all times.

Nedersong September 4 2008 05:22 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
never mind.

I originally had V but there was elizabeth. Definately supernatural elements to it.

Orintho September 4 2008 05:25 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Firefly perhaps?

Lindley September 4 2008 05:26 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Offhand I don't recall any such elements in Earth: Final Conflict.

I mean, there were those nuts who worshiped the Companions. And some of the tech (such as memory transfer) was pretty farfetched. But it was technology, ultimately.

Of course, the line between supernatural and sciencenatural is extremely blurry.

cynical dreamer September 4 2008 05:29 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Quote:

Orintho wrote: (Post 2028943)
Firefly perhaps?

Firefly comes pretty close. However there's the matter of River and her "powers of the mind".

cynical dreamer September 4 2008 05:31 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Quote:

Lindley wrote: (Post 2028946)
Offhand I don't recall any such elements in Earth: Final Conflict.

I mean, there were those nuts who worshiped the Companions. And some of the tech (such as memory transfer) was pretty farfetched. But it was technology, ultimately.

Of course, the line between supernatural and sciencenatural is extremely blurry.

That's a good point. You can explain away a lot of supernatural elements by having them be 'part of an alien race's natural abilities'.

I'm going on the premise that even an alien species must submit to the natural laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc... So in a way that disqualifies EFC as well (though I am quite fond of the show).

Harvey September 4 2008 05:35 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
I'm hoping the forthcoming series Virtuality (or perhaps even Dollhouse?) will approach this territory, but it seems almost impossible for a science fiction series to avoid these tropes all together.

Sliders wasn't a series devoted to the supernatural, at least until Tracy Tormé was jettisoned (actually before, starting with Into the Mystic, but I will say that the series wasn't supernatural when Tormé had the most control during the pilot and season one).

Lindley September 4 2008 05:37 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
If you're looking for "hard" SF, you're not likely to find a pure example outside of novels. A few movies have come pretty close; TV shows have not. The convenience factor of things like FTL drive is just too tempting.

Non Sync September 4 2008 05:37 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

Harvey September 4 2008 05:38 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
The films of 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact might qualify, but that depends upon your interpretation of the Monolith, the Star Child, and such.

Silent Running perhaps?

cynical dreamer September 4 2008 05:44 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Quote:

Lindley wrote: (Post 2029001)
If you're looking for "hard" SF, you're not likely to find a pure example outside of novels. A few movies have come pretty close; TV shows have not. The convenience factor of things like FTL drive is just too tempting.

I hadn't quite thought of it in those terms. I suppose I make a distinction between 'supernatural' and 'pseudoscience'.

I suppose it's hypocritical of me to say I'm willing to take a little bit of pseudoscience while rejecting the supernatural but it does end up being the case (in a way it's an argument for another day).

I should make a point to say that I'm not against watching shows and movies that contain supernatural elements (and in fact many of my favorite shows do). It's that I'm specifically looking for shows that break that norm.

cynical dreamer September 4 2008 05:46 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Quote:

Hirogen Alpha wrote: (Post 2029010)
The films of 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact might qualify, but that depends upon your interpretation of the Monolith, the Star Child, and such.

Silent Running perhaps?

I'm less looking for films than I am looking for tv series.

Though now that you mention it I would put Apollo 13 and the first 2 "Alien" movies into the category of movies without supernatural elements.

Harvey September 4 2008 05:47 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
The X-Files definitely deals with the supernatural, as does Millennium. It's been such a long time since I've seen Farscape, and I haven't finished the last season or the miniseries yet, so I'm not sure.

Should we talk about the big elephant in the room here, Star Trek? It has employed pseudoscience left and right all the time, but has it been explicitly supernatural? Even the Prophets on Deep Space Nine were explained as non-corporeal aliens.

Harvey September 4 2008 05:49 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Quote:

cynical dreamer wrote: (Post 2029042)
Though now that you mention it I would put Apollo 13 and the first 2 "Alien" movies into the category of movies without supernatural elements.

If you'll count Apollo 13, then From The Earth To The Moon (the HBO miniseries) should count.

cynical dreamer September 4 2008 05:57 AM

Re: Ripping the supernatural out of science fiction.
 
Quote:

Hirogen Alpha wrote: (Post 2029048)
The X-Files definitely deals with the supernatural, as does Millennium. It's been such a long time since I've seen Farscape, and I haven't finished the last season or the miniseries yet, so I'm not sure.

Should we talk about the big elephant in the room here, Star Trek? It has employed pseudoscience left and right all the time, but has it been explicitly supernatural? Even the Prophets on Deep Space Nine were explained as non-corporeal aliens.

Farscape had Zhaan, a Delvian priest who displayed many mystical abilities. It also had people switching bodies, etc... (I love Farscape dearly but there's a lot of supernatural elements to be found).

As for Star Trek, I've always found mind melding to be of supernatural origin in it's concept. A bit like so called "mind readers" parading around in real life. Though you could make the argument that this is pseudoscience rather than the supernatural.

Science (and in particular Biology) have always been used pretty "fast and loose" in Trek. The demands of drama i suppose.

As for the particular case of DS9. Having Dukat become "posessed" for lack of a better term is one element I would consider supernatural. And the whole concept of Sisko being 'the chosen one' seems to fit with the notion of precognition (on the part of the wormhole aliens) which would also make it fit as supernatural in my eyes.

I'm sure there are plenty of other examples I'm not thinking of atm.


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