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Old February 20 2010, 08:50 AM   #1
Jetfire
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SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

In a SF/F TV series what is more important to you How it looks or Story telling???

Sometimes I hear people complain that if it doesn't look good they won't watch it and others say a show looks great but the story telling sucks. Of course a balance always help...but not many shows or even movies can pull this off...something usually suffers.

Example: Smallville, looks great but sometimes the story telling is often horrible at times...not always...some might say always.

I don't have an example of something that looks awful and the stories are great, but I am sure one of you will come up with something.
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Old February 20 2010, 10:37 AM   #2
Hermiod
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Story. Every single time.

TNG never spent a huge amount on effects but had the best stories on TV. That's why it's my favourite show of all time.

Looking back at it now, Babylon 5's effects look horribly dated but do I care ? No. I'm planning to watch it through again because the story is amazing.
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Old February 20 2010, 10:41 AM   #3
Andrew_Kearley
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Story every time. Special effects are nice, but they only have to be good enough to convey what's going on. Examples of story over effects: Sapphire and Steel, the earlier seasons of Doctor Who, Blakes 7. I'm not saying these shows look awful because that wouldn't be true - the visual design work, sets, costumes, etc, is frequently very good indeed - special effects might be a bit basic at times though, but like I say, it doesn't matter - the story and the acting sell it. You don't go to the theatre and complain about the special effects - because it's about the performance, creating the illusion. I don't see why TV should be considered any differently.

Sometimes of course, you get both - brilliant stories and brilliant effects: say hello to Space: 1999.
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Old February 20 2010, 01:20 PM   #4
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Why? Are the special effects artists also the scriptwriters such that attention to one detracts from the other or something?
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Old February 20 2010, 01:29 PM   #5
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

^
Sometimes the writers want things that don't fit within budget...and sometimes directors and producers could care less about story and just want eye candy.
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Old February 20 2010, 01:34 PM   #6
Kegg
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

I wouldn't undervalue effects (I predict with confidence a torrent of posts extolling story). Poor effects can make suspension of disbelief more difficult, or directly run against whatever the story is trying to convey - we can be told something is wonderful or bizarre or strange or unique, but it's up to the prop guys and the model/CGI people to actually sell us that conceit. Good or at least imaginative SFX can be integral to a sci-fi or fantasy TV series.

But yeah, I would watch something more inclined to the writing than just for the visuals. But I can go both ways here - truthfully the big appeal of The Clone Wars for me is how nice it looks, for example.
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Old February 20 2010, 02:49 PM   #7
Out Of My Vulcan Mind
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Hermiod wrote: View Post
TNG never spent a huge amount on effects but had the best stories on TV. That's why it's my favourite show of all time.
TNG had very expensive effects actually.
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Old February 20 2010, 06:37 PM   #8
antichristhill
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Story. Any fan of Blake's 7 will tell you that horrible effects don't detract from fascinating characters and great plot-lines.

Even when they are really, REALLY horrible effects.
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Old February 20 2010, 06:48 PM   #9
Kelthaz
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

As a fan of 60's Doctor Who and Blake's 7 you know where my vote is going.
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Old February 20 2010, 08:17 PM   #10
Temis the Vorta
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Without a story, a show has nothing. I'd put story, acting and premise as the indispensible top three. If a show can't afford good SFX, they should choose a premise that doesn't require it, so I wouldn't say bad SFX is excusable.

I don't have an example of something that looks awful and the stories are great, but I am sure one of you will come up with something.
Maybe someone else can think of something but I sure can't think of any currently airing show that that's true for - good story/acting/premise, bad SFX? The old stuff doesn't count - we know why the SFX sucks.

and others say a show looks great but the story telling sucks.
I don't care how good a show looks, if the basics aren't there, it's not worth watching.
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Old February 20 2010, 08:43 PM   #11
Snaploud
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Hermiod wrote: View Post
Story. Every single time.

TNG never spent a huge amount on effects but had the best stories on TV. That's why it's my favourite show of all time.

Looking back at it now, Babylon 5's effects look horribly dated but do I care ? No. I'm planning to watch it through again because the story is amazing.

I'll echo the fact that TNG's effects were very expensive. Also, you may only be thinking of B5's SFX (which were stunning for the time but do seem a bit dated today). You're probably forgetting about the excellent set designs and make-up (which also qualify as special effects).
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Old February 20 2010, 09:53 PM   #12
RAMA
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Story is most important but since the mid 90s shows shouldnt have an excuse to have bad fx. If I rate a show it will be on the basis of the whole show...production, writing, acting and yes FX. So one or two could bring down the others.

As for shows with good writing, good/decent acting and poor FX: Old Dr Who: often had good stories and poor FX; Blake's 7: this show often used 2d paper photos for FX; TOS, decent FX for the time, but they don't really hold up, the stories are another matter all together; Outer Limits 1960s: one ofthe best pure SF shows of any kind but most of the FX were very basic.

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Old February 20 2010, 09:54 PM   #13
RAMA
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Snaploud wrote: View Post
Hermiod wrote: View Post
Story. Every single time.

TNG never spent a huge amount on effects but had the best stories on TV. That's why it's my favourite show of all time.

Looking back at it now, Babylon 5's effects look horribly dated but do I care ? No. I'm planning to watch it through again because the story is amazing.

I'll echo the fact that TNG's effects were very expensive. Also, you may only be thinking of B5's SFX (which were stunning for the time but do seem a bit dated today). You're probably forgetting about the excellent set designs and make-up (which also qualify as special effects).
The B5 FX always looked kind of plastic. That's why the bigger budgeted ST shows did not use CGI regularly until the technology matured. Wise decision, aswe now see.

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Old February 20 2010, 10:01 PM   #14
Snaploud
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

RAMA wrote: View Post
Snaploud wrote: View Post
Hermiod wrote: View Post
Story. Every single time.

TNG never spent a huge amount on effects but had the best stories on TV. That's why it's my favourite show of all time.

Looking back at it now, Babylon 5's effects look horribly dated but do I care ? No. I'm planning to watch it through again because the story is amazing.

I'll echo the fact that TNG's effects were very expensive. Also, you may only be thinking of B5's SFX (which were stunning for the time but do seem a bit dated today). You're probably forgetting about the excellent set designs and make-up (which also qualify as special effects).
The B5 FX always looked kind of plastic. That's why the bigger budgeted ST shows did not use CGI regularly until the technology matured. Wise decision, aswe now see.

RAMA
Babylon 5 revolutionized CGI for television, and it allowed them to do a lot of thing that weren't possible previously. Those space battles were a lot more interesting than of the model equivalents of the time. My bigger point, though, was that they had some great special effects in other areas (sets, make-up, etc.).
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Old February 20 2010, 10:08 PM   #15
Rii
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Re: SF/F TV-Special Effects Or Story?

Jetfire wrote: View Post
I don't have an example of something that looks awful and the stories are great, but I am sure one of you will come up with something.
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