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Old June 24 2012, 08:28 PM   #1
Yminale
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Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

Another interesting article but the stat of Sci-Fi

http://www.giantfreakinrobot.com/sci...estroying.html
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Old June 24 2012, 08:37 PM   #2
MacLeod
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

Just trying to think of the great Time Travel movies/TV shows.
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Old June 24 2012, 08:43 PM   #3
Ian Keldon
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

There have been several based on HG Wells, including two versions of "The Time Machine", as well as "Time after Time".

The Back to the Future trilogy of course.

Terminator and it's sequels

I'm sure I'm missing a few.

The article makes a good point about things being stuck in a rut.
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Old June 24 2012, 09:20 PM   #4
MacLeod
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

Is it a case of Hollywood playing it safe somewhat though.

If someone did something different and it was asuccess would we then have everyone else copying?
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Old June 24 2012, 09:43 PM   #5
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

Twelve Monkeys was a good time travel movie.

And has science fiction ever not been doomed?

The big Hollywood movies are gutless regurgitations of various premises, also nothing new. Let's do a spot check on the top ten list for the year so far:

1. The Avengers - Earth is doomed as per usual.

2. The Hunger Games - America is doomed, not sure about everyone else.

3. MIB3 - Time travel style doom.

4. Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted - Bronx zoo animals are doomed to never return home.

5. The Intouchables - All I know about this one is that it's some cringe-inducingly racist movie from France; I'm glad I'm not doomed to ever watch it.

6. Titanic 3D - Doomed! DOOMED! DOOMED!

7. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Forgot this existed. Someone is doomed to be trapped on a tropical island and only The Rock can save him/her/it/them!

8.Dr. Seuss' The Lorax - The environment is doomed.

9. Wrath of the Titans - Ancient people/gods/etc are doomed.

10. Battleship - More aliens, Earth is definitely doomed (possible time travel; aren't battleships from WWII?)

Phew, pretty depressing list, huh? At least the top two movies are decent anyway...

Foreign BO been beddy beddy good to John Carter, which somehow has clawed its way to #11. We may be getting a sequel after all.

Last edited by Temis the Vorta; June 24 2012 at 09:57 PM. Reason: this thread is DOOMED!
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Old June 24 2012, 09:47 PM   #6
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

If you're putting Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Battleship into one category together then you're really straining to make a point.
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Old June 24 2012, 10:07 PM   #7
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

I always questions articles like this that blame the audience for the limited range of TV shows and movies we get. Why not blame the producers of these things for not having the guts to break out of the pack?

The audience is forced to choose among the available options. There's no good way to register "NONE OF THE ABOVE" unless you just want to avoid TV and movies altogether (and look at declining Neilsens and box office revenues - Americans are increasingly doing just that!)

Maybe for movies, there's no hope. The damn things cost so much that the studios are forced to appeal to the lowest of lowest common denomenators just to have a chance of making their money back.

But all the interesting stuff is happening on cable TV nowadays anyway. Sci fi may be dominated by doomsday scenarios, but just wait for the right positive-type series to come along - Robert Hewitt Wolfe's Defender, which sounds like a cool throwback to TOS - and if it serves an unmet hunger, it could take off with a suddenness that takes everyone by surprise. (And sets off a scramble of imitations, which may or may not hit the mark.)

Every so often you see surprises like that happening on TV - The Walking Dead (zombies on AMC?) and Hatfields & McCoys (people actually want history on the History Channel???) are two examples of shows that succeeded because they tapped into an unmet hunger. I suspect there are lots more unmet hungers like that among the disgruntled and alienated movie and TV audience.

And even when that unmet hunger is uncovered, there's no guarantee Hollywood even understands it well enough to copy it. Hatfields & McCoys was successful among older males, especially in Kentucky/Tennessee/etc - not along the coasts. Yet there are plans afoot to "update" the story, which no doubt will result in something along the lines of Revenge.
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Old June 24 2012, 10:27 PM   #8
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

Well US TV Sci-Fi has certainly moved towards the Dystopian end of the spectrum in recent years.

But what shows fall under the Sci-Fi gere umberella this year, and how would we class them

Doctor Who
Red Dwarf
Continuum
A Town Called Eureka
Falling Skies
Warehouse 13
The Walking Dead
Being Human

Some are certainly more Dystopian in nature others not so much
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Old June 24 2012, 11:15 PM   #9
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

I think the whole dystopian sci-fi thing is fuel by Mayan 2012 doomsday worries, and when 2013 comes with nothing to show for it, it'll die a quick death, or at least slow down some.
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Old June 24 2012, 11:22 PM   #10
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

There's been a lot of dystopian sci-fi since the dawn of the genre and there always will be because it makes for good drama.
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Old June 24 2012, 11:40 PM   #11
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

You know what always pissed me off?

American Sweethearts.

John Cusac as a time cop in a tinfoil uniform has to go back in time 200 years and get the aid of sexy Berlin Lounge singer Catherine Zeta Jones to course correct the errors smudging up WWII.

I know it would have been awful, but it's like the hooker got a phone call about her kids appendix bursting half through an adequate blow job.

Approaching adequate?
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Old June 24 2012, 11:54 PM   #12
MacLeod
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

Dantheman wrote: View Post
I think the whole dystopian sci-fi thing is fuel by Mayan 2012 doomsday worries, and when 2013 comes with nothing to show for it, it'll die a quick death, or at least slow down some.
Dystopian stories have been around long before the current fad re: the end of the Mayan Calander

Lets see

Blake's 7
Survivors
Dark Angel
Jericho
The Tribe
The Tripods


Even Doctor Who has occasionally dabbled in Dystopian futures.

I could no doubt find a few more, but looking at that list it seemed to be more an element of non-US Sci-Fi shows. It seems as if the US has recently moved more towards Dystopian futures for it's TV shows.

But does the current socio-economical climate have an impact on the type of stories that are told. So when times are good are we looking for positive potrayals of the future and when times aren't so good do we look towards more negative portrayals?
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Old June 25 2012, 12:09 AM   #13
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

MacLeod wrote: View Post
But does the current socio-economical climate have an impact on the type of stories that are told. So when times are good are we looking for positive potrayals of the future and when times aren't so good do we look towards more negative portrayals?
That's a popular theory, but I don't think it holds up. If you look at the full breadth of entertainment in any given time there's always a healthy mix of downbeat and upbeat stories. You won't struggle to find dystopian sci-fi in good times and bad.

In terms of SFF television in the US, Syfy has moved towards lighter shows in recent years. There are more SFF shows on premium cable now than in the past and they're outlets that tend to make darker shows across the board, so that will naturally apply to their SFF shows, too. I don't think there's been a shift towards darker SFF shows on the broadcast networks. There's the same mix of tones that there's been for the last couple of decades.
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Old June 25 2012, 12:42 AM   #14
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

See the pattern? All of those movies, except for Prometheus, fit into one of two categories: Time travel or doomed, post-apocalyptic, dystopian future.
That must be some other Prometheus that came out this year, and not the movie where people from a dystopian corporate-dominated future Earth travel to a post-apocalyptic alien planet where the Gods themselves plan humanity's doom.

I can understand not seeing the movie (even though it appears he did), but did he not even see the promotional materials? "The search for our beginning could lead to our end" beneath the giant black stone head of death doesn't exactly sound like everything's coming up puppies and rainbows to me.



Then there's the movies he listed as examples.

In Battleship there's no indication that humanity as a whole is threatened (the only civilian area that comes under deliberate attack is a freeway in Hawaii that leads to a target the aliens need to secure), and in fact the aliens observe fairly strict rules of war such as avoiding civilian casualties where possible and not firing unless fired upon. The argument has been made by some (see the Battleship thread here) that the aliens were not even hostile initially despite being armed and that the fighting in the film was based on a misunderstanding of their intentions.

In Chernobyl Diaries (which I haven't seen) I'm assuming the "doom" is limited to Chernobyl itself, so it's no more deadly to the world as a whole than Chernobyl is now or more dystopic than our world is today. And what is even his point, that you can't have people in peril? Hell, 2001 is about a doomed space expedition. Is that cliché scifi too?

Also, Chernobyl Diaries and Piranha 3DD (where again I think only a small area is "doomed") especially, and to a lesser extent Resident Evil are almost entirely about horror (though with RE there's some scifi crossover), so their inclusion on this list as examples of scifi is dubious at best.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is indeed about humanity being doomed to an apocalypse by an asteroid, but it does so for the sake of comedy and exploring how people might react in an absurdist way, rather than being about the asteroid impact itself. So while it technically fits his criteria, it's hardly an example of being just another unoriginal doom and destruction disaster movie.

There are still movies being made using time travel where it is the focus of the story rather than just being an unimportant plot device. Primer would be a recent example.

Star Trek ('09) didn't need time travel in order to introduce the newer, younger cast as he suggests, but I'll grant that they did use it as a crutch to bring Spock Prime into the story to give it his gravitas and a connection to the other series/movies, and to avoid upsetting the canonistas who somehow think a full reboot is going to come to their house and take away their old Trek DVDs. They could have just rebooted it without the time travel if they wanted. But it's a hard argument to say the film destroyed the franchise given its performance relative to the other recent Trek films (though I know at least one person who will try his hardest to say it did - let's see if he turns up!).

I don't know, the article just seems like the guy took two types of scifi stories he's currently fed up with, stretched their meaning beyond all reason to make it seem like we're being inundated with nothing but that when we're not (while giving a film he liked - Prometheus - a pass even though it fits his criteria), and then lazily tried to conclude that it's leading to the destruction of science fiction. Why can't he just say he doesn't like to see so many of those movies without drawing over-dramatic and baseless conclusions from it? It sounds just like the people who have kneejerk negative reactions to remakes or adaptations like they're universally bad without considering them as individual films.
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Old June 25 2012, 12:53 AM   #15
Yminale
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Re: Science Fiction is doomed part 2: Zombies and Time Travelers Oh My

There is more doom and gloom at least in movies for one reason. Spectacle. Whether it's blowing up a city, a continent or a planet it's a great way to justify a bloated special effects budget.

Time travel I think is less common but really it's just a form of "fish out of water" scenario (most of the indie movies like "Sound of her voice" and "Safety not guaranteed" use this premise). You get a double bonus if it's time travelers from the future travel to the present since it saves money on location costs.

On TV when you talk about dystopia, it's really "Falling Skies" and "Walking Dead" (you could include "Game of Thrones" but since Westros always was awful, it's hard to argue that it's dystopian). Once again it's an alternative version of the Western myth replacing Native Americans with either aliens or Zombies.
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