sf/f TV development news - 2013

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Temis the Vorta, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    Dumbing down the masses is how and where mediocrity thrives.
     
  2. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    It's symptomatic that horror is lumped in here. Horror doesn't have to have "weird shit" in it, nor are people actually putting horror novels as such in. The reprints in "SF" that include SF/Fantasy/Horror/Etc. aren't going to include Robert Bloch's The Scarf or Psycho, no matter what. There is no practicality or convenience in pretending to put them together, no matter what Locus says. Why claim that "practicality and convenience" are motives when they clearly aren't? That's just bullshitting us. Which is a little offensive, since we're feeling all sensitive today.

    Obviously, you file authors alphabetically. However could someone imagine that it is a problem to have authors' entries in different genres scattered about? How could it possibly be tragic if Gore Vidal's handful of mysteries were shelved in the Mystery section, just like his essays aren't filed in general fiction or his plays are filed in drama?

    Despite the alleged practicality of mixing them all up, the fact is that I personally can no longer keep track of the kinds of "weird shit" I prefer to read, particularly new authors, because they are buried in tired old novels and short story collections rehashing folklore for the millionth time. Even military SF tends to be more original than that!
    The fuck you attitude towards SF fans trying to find SF is just about as offensive as any perceived snobbery.

    Of course, as everyone well knows, since these discussions keep arising, part of the issue is the idea that SF should try to have some decent speculative science, an issue of standards. The fuck you attitude that it's all just weird shit is offensive, particularly since there's no reason for it beyond resentment at the implication that genuine literacy should include scientific literacy. Well, no one ever read SF for a text book, so no one should feel so intimidated.

    And last, the fuck you attitude it takes to reduce all these concerns to SF fans' supposed snobbery is offensive. "Offensive" is relative, though. Maybe we should use annoyed.


     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    If the "problem" is lack of quality, my point is that the quality of the material, on the whole, has improved over time. If the "problem" is the blurring of the lines between fantasy and science fiction, my point is that there is no problem, because neither genre is intrinsically superior and there's plenty of room for overlap.


    Well, yeah, that's my point. I wasn't trying to ask you to lump those shows into one category or the other -- it was a rhetorical question, meant to offer examples of shows that defy simple categories. (Flash Gordon may nominally be space opera, but it's loaded with elements of high fantasy and always has been.)


    Okay, what you said was, "And, as insecurity has grown in genre fandom, the trend has been to go along with those low standards in desperate hope of acceptance." I suppose what you're referring to is the tendency to blur genre labels -- in which case "low standards" is an odd and misleading choice of words, and it took me a long while to figure out what you were talking about. I don't think "insecurity" has anything to do with it. And whose "acceptance" are you referring to? If the term "science fiction" is applied to fantasy, horror, slipstream, miscellaneous, whatever, doesn't that mean the SF community is the one that's already "accepted?" Are you implying that it's fantasy and horror fans who are desperately craving acceptance and think they'll be more popular if they call themselves science fiction? If so, then I don't know what parallel universe you're posting from, since fantasy and horror seem to be rather more popular these days than SF. So I'm just thoroughly confused right now.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012


    But, you see, you're almost making my case for me. First, you dismiss entire subgenres as "tired" and "rehashing folklore for the millionth time," then state outright that anyone who doesn't distinguish between different kinds of "weird shit" clearly resents having to know about science or something. (For the record, I majored in Chemistry and think science is vitally important--in real life. In imaginative literature, it's just one flavor of plot device.)

    And, you know, maybe we just find werewolves and androids equally entertaining, and equally worth writing and reading about. And would like to embrace the entire range of "weird shit" without worrying about keeping everything in neat little categories--or, worse, yet trying to elevate one over the other.

    To me, it's not about "standards." It's about not getting so hung up on whether any given book or show is sf or fantasy or an alternate-history-steampunk-horror-space-opera about extraterrestrial cyborg elves . . . .
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    Okay, now that you've proposed that, you have to write it. ;)
     
  6. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012


    Can I make them alien cyborg vampire elves?

    (Says the guy who edited two volumes of sf vampire and werewolf stories for Baen.)

    In the meantime, I'll get back to editing The Six-Gun Tarot, this very cool dark fantasy-horror-western I acquired for Tor a while back!

    (If nothing else, I put my money where my mouth is when it comes to blurring genres!)
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    Says the guy who bought my space-opera superhero bildungsroman.
     
  8. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    Is there an original Beautiful People? I didn't think this series was based on anything (except the general trope of "are androids people?")

    Horror can be sci fi (Alien) or fantasy (The Omen), or neither (such as teen slasher flicks that don't depend on anything other than the killer's psychosis for the premise.)

    CBS doesn't surprise me either. When they launched Jericho, they still seemed to be trying to create their own cult-genre fanbase. But after that failed, they seemed to give up. They don't need anything but cop shows, sitcoms and reality.

    FOX seems to be sick of sci fi - it's probably frustrating for them to launch one sci fi show after another and see the ratings plunge. (And sure, it's because their sci fi shows this year have been disappointing but from their perspective, we're a bunch of ingrates and impossible to please. :rommie:)

    But the shows they are going with instead - one about serial killers, and then they'll probably choose one of their two spy pilots and one of their two legal-oriented pilots - aren't necessarily going to do any better. So next year, the wheel will swing back around and they'll try sci fi again.
     
  9. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    So maybe sci-fi is just words that make money. Wow, that's very vague. Even more so I would imagine for someone who writes words and gets paid for it. :guffaw::guffaw:
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    Wikipedia lists both a 2005 ABC Family series and a 2008 BBC Two series of that name, but neither of them has anything to do with the genre pilot. As far as I can tell, this is an original premise, not an adaptation.


    Exactly. People have always been afraid of supernatural or unearthly forces, monsters, and the like going back to ancient mythology about ghosts and witches and vampires and demons. So horror and fantasy have always gone hand in hand. And the same goes for the fear of the unknown and alien in a more modern, scientific context, things like Frankenstein and The Fly and The Thing and Species.


    The low ratio of genre shows on CBS goes back decades. The only time it was really a major SF broadcaster was in the '60s, with The Twilight Zone and Lost in Space (and Mission: Impossible, which often bordered on SF with its cutting-edge spy gadgetry). And maybe in the '70s with The Incredible Hulk and Wonder Woman. The longest-running SF show it's had in the past 30 years (not counting pure fantasies like Touched by an Angel and Early Edition) was Beauty and the Beast.


    The current FOX regime has actually been very supportive of genre shows, belying the outdated stereotype. They gave Dollhouse two complete (if short) seasons even though its ratings were poor enough that most networks would've cancelled it before the first season ended, and they're letting Fringe have a fifth and final season (though just enough to reach the magic number of 100 episodes, so they probably did it with syndication profits in mind). Sure, they cancelled Terra Nova this year and Alcatraz is on the bubble, but both shows were disappointments in the writing department and the former was incredibly expensive.

    FOX has been debuting genre shows and seeing most of them die quickly for over two decades now, and it hasn't stopped them before, so why should it now? Heck, most TV shows of any genre die quickly. That's just the nature of the business, so I doubt that TV executives would be able to do their jobs if they let it frustrate them unduly.
     
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    I might have mistaken it for one of the other new shows then. Wasn't it the one where people posting links to the trailer for the original Swedish (or Norwegian, I'm pretty sure it was Scandanavian) version? I know I saw a couple links to a video for foreign android show where a bunch of guys grabbed grabbed an android woman and then hooked her up to something.
    Honestly, I've never understood why people get so worked up over the whole sci-fi/fantasy thing, they're basically two sides of the same coin. They are both looks at either alternate worlds or alternate versions of our world where things that can't exist exist, and things that can't happen happen.
     
  12. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    I think you're thinking of Real Humans. Kudos in the UK is remaking the Swedish show.
     
  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    You seem to be still missing the point. Neither of those are the problem.

    And I said that any story can fall into multiple categories-- that doesn't mean the categories don't exist or that words don't have meanings. Should Discworld novels be put in the Humor section? Should Tarzan be shelved under African Studies? Should Rendezvous With Rama be located in Astronomy with Cosmos? Certainly there are some books or movies that are hard to classify, but there's generally a primary theme-- a Western is a Western, whether it's comedy or drama, realistic or fanciful.

    Obviously, I'm talking about genre fans-- you know, those people who are so popular that they are usually referred to as nerds, geeks, losers, misfits, dorks and so on-- who are desperate for mainstream acceptance. Because you know that if you worry about things like speaking English correctly or if you actually know when the 21st century began or care too much about the quality of literature or cinema then you need to move out of your mommy's basement and get a life. I'm on the other side of the fence here; I think high standards should be encouraged and not be something to be ashamed of-- culture should not be defined by the lowest denominator.
     
  14. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    Would that be the vulture culture who shakes it's prey into confusion?, because the standards on that have been raised. Does the German word Valkurie mean vulture? Lowest common demon eater.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    See, that doesn't clarify what you're talking about at all. Since you mistakenly assume your point is obvious, you're making no effort at all to express it more coherently. As far as I can tell you're just rambling.
     
  16. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    FOX might have just had no good sci fi projects in the pipeline this year. The premises for the shows they didn't pick up to pilot didn't really sound very interesting as a TV series - a pandemic run amok, Punisher adaptation, Zombieland adaptation, The Spectre adaptation, and a cop teams up with outer space aliens living in LA (cue obvious joke).

    The only one I would have liked to have seen was an adaptation of The Magicians by Lev Grossman.
     
  17. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    A broader definition to suit a broader appeal so instead of raising the bar and bringing people up to it , authors are talking down to them on their level of appreciation so that will garner them more money and acceptance and favor.
    I love Greg and Christopher as people, and great thinkers but I haven't read a whit of their work thus far so this is not a personal attack except maybe on the complicity of the publishers with the authors which seems to be too all convenient and comfortable these days is all. It is what it is because we say it is just doesn't wash with me. Hopefully there's some profit to it but that hardly interests me as a science fiction/Trek fan. The quality of an idea is what interests me, not how well it's written or if an author can deliver it on time and schedual. The movies are full of well written garbage. Not that an author is dispensable or disposable either but qualifications does not a great author make neither are they better than their work. In that sense it's not like a marriage, but more like big love where publishers should not only be fickle but feral as well.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    No I didn't. In my first paragraph I pointed out that it made no sense to lump in horror novels with SF and fantasy. Even in the later paragraph you cite, I first remarked that I personally can no longer track SF titles, especially by new authors, because they're buried amongst the fantasy. Dismissing whole genres when you're shopping is perfectly permissible, not to mention sensible. No one would bat an eye if someone shopping in a used book store was peeved that they couldn't find X or Y because they were buried amongst the romance novels! Clearly, the real objection is the very idea that there is some sort of difference between fantasy and SF.

    Don't whine, just give a good reason for thinking fantasy and SF should be lumped together. But don't repeat the bullshit about convenience. Really, I can think of one reason for wanting to keep fantasy and SF in separate bins, which is that fantasy doesn't have to make sense and it would be absurd to carp about lapses in logic. And I should think writers should like to have the fantasy label so that foolishness about the absence of rain shadow deserts on the map or preposterous societies where there's no economy or the rules of magic are entirely arbitrary can be dismissed.

    It's one flavor that doesn't mix with everything. You can mix your peanut butter and chocolate but the pretended naturalism of the fantastic element in SF blends with the supernatural or irrational like salt herring and whipped cream.

    There is also another major error in this, which is that the speculative element in SF may be more than a plot device. Real science doesn't just contribute to technology (plot devices, so to speak,) but informs our view of our world. SF may use its speculative element to address the real world. A supernatural element removes that option. Why do you insist on congratulating yourself for decreeing that SF cannot do certain things, when we don't even know who gave the power to make these decrees?

    This is a red herring. It's not about the fake populist sneer about elitists setting high-faluting standards. It's certainly not about trying to elevate one over the other. People who like fantasy can find their own reasons to think that their preferred mode can achieve artistic significance. Or not, if they believe that no literature or drama has anything other than entertainment value. And it most certainly is not about "neat" little categories, it's about having any categories at all, even with blurry edges. SF has a huge blurry edge with every thriller set in the near future with some sort of futuristic tech or menace and it's never caused any consternation yet! The pretense otherwise is just a cheap, malicious rhetorical trick.

    If you're writing SF, writing stupid speculative science is bad writing. It's a bad style for the mode. If you're writing fantasy, it's foolish to carp about things that would be bad style in a pseudorealistic mode. It's makes a huge difference how you approach things, not just as a critic, but as a reader. From the writer's perspective, choosing the mode is part of actually trying to communicate to the reader.
     
  19. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    I really don't know how I can make it more clear for you, especially since it's far from an obscure topic. It's the fanboy equivalent of being a grammar Nazi. If you care too much about standards then you need to get a life; 'cause, y'know, nothing matters and so what if it did.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

    I think you must be using the word "standards" in a way I'm not getting. If you mean it in the sense of levels of quality, I don't see what that has to do with labels or category subdivisions. Maybe you mean like standards for admission into a particular group or organization? If so, that's a peculiar usage. It implies a value judgment, and I don't think that's what we're talking about here.