Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by DarthTom, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    This audience accepted the conceit for BSG and The Matrix and they did use the computer extensively on the Enterprise. I have to admit though that Kirk did like to stick it to the machines.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's true that some TOS episodes treated computers as dangerous, yet at the same time, there were episodes that treated the ship's computer as downright oracular, with the characters asking it to solve complex problems and suggest solutions for them. Like in "Mirror, Mirror," the ease with which the mirror ship's computer calculates and confirm's Kirk's hypothesis about dimensional transfer and is somehow able to tell them how to fix it. (Although the MU's prior experience with dimensional transfer in "In a Mirror, Darkly" could retroactively explain that.) Or in "Wink of an Eye," where Spock not only asks the computer to explain the invaders' purpose, but asks it for a recommendation on how to respond. It reminds me of the way computers were often portrayed in the prose SF of the '50s. At the time, computers were less familiar, so there was an exaggerated set of beliefs about their potentials, and it went both ways -- they were feared for their power, yet also revered for it, seen as almost supernaturally wise and omniscient.
     
  3. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    The scripted handling of Kirk's feelings in "The Ultimate Computer" actually predicted the future well; today, many in once tradtional factory/assembly industries, security and medical patient records/registration positions are angered that computer controlled "labor" increasingly phases out the human element every few years. It does not help that the consumer culture's blank-eyed lust for everything happening yesterday / gadget conveience, encourages industry (public and private) to cut costs while pursuing what is percieved as the more efficient business model.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    TOS definitely had mixed feelings about computers and technology in general. Beyond the obvious cases where Kirk outsmarted some sort of berserk super-computer, you also have Samuel Cogley defending man against the machine in "Court-Martial" and Lenore Karidian going on about how technology is making people less human in "Conscience of the King."

    Granted, Lenore turns out to be crazy, but . . . .
     
  5. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Very good observations. The obvious physical depictions of computers aside, or the lack of understanding of modern AI, much of TOS thematic depiction of computers still resonates with our world today. The idea of people become lost in virtual realities or online, computers tracking our movements, or even people being accused of misconduct wrongly because of misreading digital evidence.

    In many ways, it was an excellent predictor of our current conflicting opinions of the digital world.
     
  6. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    While it doesn't make a show dated in itself, I always snicker at the use of CRT's in 90s TV...it just seems so long ago. Outer Limits must have gotten a good bargain on CRT's because they use the same computers in every episode set in contemporary times.:lol:
     
  7. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I think it also could play into some of the recent concerns over the usage of military drones.
     
  8. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    While this is likely to change in the next few decades, the reality actually was that as computer/robots came into greater use, the computer industry and related technologies created MORE jobs and an exploding industry that the USA in particular was innovative in. So the original fears for the 70, 80s, 90s, etc never came to pass.

    As for the future, dematerialization is eliminating many physical items, robots are replacing humans at a greater rate, and some of the numbers are now showing in unemployment...the greatest cure for this on the human end is retraining.

    RAMA
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    There's nothing new about that. Fears of humans being replaced by machines have been around at least as far back as the Ballad of John Henry. And computers were already a reality in the late '60s -- not in personal use yet, but in business, government, and the military. So losing your job to a machine was already a real-world concern even then.
     
  10. STR

    STR Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    While you were busy checking out carpets, everyone else was looking at the interactive touch interface computers and everyone walking around with tablets. TNG, aside from the plots and some of the guest stars, has aged tremendously well, ESPECIALLY given that it was birthed in the late 80's early 90's which was NOT a high point of taste and restraint.
     
  11. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think the current drone situation is more closely related to A Taste of Armegeddon. We can now make attacks in foreign countries while "pilots" sit safely half a world away.
     
  12. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I'm thinking the unmanned nature combined with the indiscriminate targeting applies more to the drone situation than simulatied war and disintegration booths.
     
  13. SG-17

    SG-17 Commodore Commodore

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    No one has mentioned Stargate SG-1 yet. Aside from the big ass CRT monitors in the control room in the first few seasons, there are relatively few things that are dated. Hell, the Simpsons references are still relevant.
     
  14. theenglish

    theenglish Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Stargate will not date quickly because it was more fantasy than science fiction. The show itself is set in a specific earth time period, and the alien tech never looked like something that we would every develop on our own anyway.

    X-Files has a similar advantage. Even when they dealt with "silly" things that have since been proven wrong, you could argue that we only think they are wrong and it falls in perfectly with the shows premise.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, Carter's defensive feminism in the original cut of the SG-1 pilot movie was already dated at the time it came out, though it's been removed from the more recent special edition.

    I think it's hard to say something is dated when it's actually set in the same time that it aired. It reflects the designs, fashions, and attitudes of the era when it took place, and that fits just fine. I think that saying a work of science fiction is dated means saying that its portrayal of the future or of speculative science and technology are based on outmoded assumptions. Like a far future where women are all housewives or secretaries, Venus is a jungle planet with dinosaurs, tobacco use is considered healthy, and computers are still based on vacuum tubes.