Re: If big budget/shiny SFX space opera is out of the question...
Even if a sci-fi show gets a sizable enough audience by today's standards, it's probably not enough to float a show long term. The expensive sets, creatures, effects, etc are brutal on the bottom line.
Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair, or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back.