Watching Buck Rogers In The 25th Century

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Trinity Jinglebrocks, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Any idea if the Draconians were meant to be Earth-descended humans who settled the stars, or if they were strictly meant to be Human Aliens™? I picked up the impression it was the former, but I doubt the show ever said so.
     
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Season one was very, very unclear about whether its various humanoid aliens were human colonies or not. Some of them seemed to be, others not so much. I don't think the Draconians were meant to be human descendants, though. They conveyed the impression of a mighty and distant power that had thrived for a long time. In the pilot, Draconia was a prominent galactic power that the impoverished Earth was trying to form a defense and trade pact with, so they were much stronger than Earth. Later episodes established that they had a much further reach in the galaxy than Earth did, even after Earth was retconned into a major interstellar power.
     
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  3. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Time Screen printed synopses of early drafts of season one episodes, which often made Network 23 the manipulative villain behind the stuff Edison was covering, rather than the good network/bad network 23/66 stuff of season two.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  4. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was envisioning something like the Spacers in Asimov's Lije Baley series. They were both Earth-descended and a major interstellar power that was much stronger than Earth. Still, I'll accept that probably wasn't the intent here ... if they even gave it that much thought.
     
  5. Trinity Jinglebrocks

    Trinity Jinglebrocks All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member



    I like your idea and not having aliens would be a neat twist. But then there is the artificial signal so it must be made by someone or something??


    Another thought on alien humans is that like in movies like Jupiter Ascending humanity could have evolved on another planet and humans had been around for millions of years, and maybe Earth and planets like it were seeded.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that series is probably in the 48th century, after a long age of space colonization by Earth, followed by the colonies winning independence and Earth retreating inward. There isn't really enough time for that in BR.


    I usually hate stories based on the human-seeding idea, because there's overwhelming genetic and fossil evidence that humans are of the same origin and lineage as all the other life on Earth stretching back 3.5 billion years. I can forgive it in a couple of older works of SF (specifically Niven's Known Space and LeGuin's Hainish Cycle) because they were good enough to be excused for it, and because they may have been written before we had modern DNA analysis tools to prove how closely related our genes are to all of Earth's other organisms. But in this day and age, it's a discredited trope and a really moldy oldie as sci-fi cliches go. I was genuinely surprised when I saw in the Jupiter Ascending trailer that it was using such an antiquated and silly notion.

    Well, I guess that wasn't the only recent use of the idea, come to think of it. Stargate SG-1 avoided it for a while, because it established that humans and their Ancient forebears had both originated on Earth and the Ancients and later the Goa'uld had then seeded humans elsewhere in the galaxy. But in its last couple of seasons, it retconned the Ancients as having originated in a distant galaxy and settled on Earth. Though they still sort of avoided the problem by establishing that all life in the galaxy had been created at once by some Ancient device, which would explain our genetic similarity to other life on Earth, while creating a whole other set of problems about the chronology of the fossil record.
     
  7. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep, the seeding idea is a neat narrative device, but humans and all other Earth mammals share much more DNA than we would have with any species from another world, even if there were seeding.
    And in addition, 'life came from another world' just knocks back the question of how life gets started in the first place.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I don't think so. I mean, yeah, it can be a convenient handwave for excusing humanoid aliens, but I wouldn't call that "neat." Humanoid aliens are a useful conceit for a film or TV production, but while they're fairly common in prose, I've never seen much point to them there, and the idea that we're directly related to aliens is even more pointless. Where's the fun in science fiction if we go out into space and only find more of ourselves? It's kind of narcissistic to want that.
     
  9. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I was thinking onscreen mainly.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Even there I don't care for it. As explanations for humanoid aliens go, it's my least favorite option. I prefer something like the Stargate idea where humanoid aliens were seeded from Earth humans instead of the reverse. Heck, even the "parallel evolution of unrelated species" conceit used by a lot of SF is preferable; as implausible as it is that alien evolution would exactly parallel ours, at least it gets our own origins right.

    Although there's also the version from TNG: "The Chase," where life on Earth was seeded by aliens, but 4 billion years ago at the very start so that it's all related. That's the one kind of alien-seeding idea that isn't entirely dumb.
     
  11. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Actually, I think The Chase is even worse, except as a narrative device for treating aliens as other races (for want of a more woke term). Unless you assume intelligent design by the Seeders, dogs are closer to humans than Klingons or Cardassians.
     
  12. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, I should have clarified that no aliens in the series. My idea is that the signal from Draco is, indeed, extra-terrestrial, but it will never be explained on my show. I'm not calling it an idea that will be dropped, just a continuous mystery that causes the Draconians to be humans on Earth that develop a cult around their own misconceptions about the alien signal. Some worship the signal or signal senders. The various sub groups could even be competitive and contradictory in their beliefs. Once these people find out about Buck and his being from the past they would leap in their own minds that he must be connected to the signal (when he really isn't).

    I'm most familiar with the 70s TV show and I figured that is the most recent adaptation in everyone's minds (along with the Buck Rogers XXV Century RPG). I wanted to do some nods or callbacks to the show.

    And no aliens worked great with Firefly and BSG reboot. I'm not saying they don't exist in my universe. They just aren't part of the story. Keeping everything in the solar system helps ground the idea in real science. No need for FTL, just really fast conventional propulsion.

    Speaking of which, I liked the line from the 70s show where Buck was marveling at how fast the starfighters could get from Earth to the Moon when in his day it took 3 days.
     
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  13. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    Except it isn't what I implied at all. There were horribly sexist men in positions of power all over the entertainment industry since the beginning, and still are today. The idea that such men could totally misinterpret the meaning of the look of the Starfleet uniforms for the purpose of relegating women to lesser roles or even denigrating them is not only plausible, but goes a long way toward explaining how the feminist movement latched onto the idea themselves.Thirty years ago I had already heard about the whole Whitney/Nichols/Barrett confronting GR and demanding the miniskirts story, and yet a coworker (a woman) complaiined to me about how sexist the miniskirts had to have been. When I explained it to her, she absolutely rejected the idea, because feminism.

    I never said or implied that ST was misogynist, nor did I intend what I did say to be interpreted that way. If you do interpret it that way, I'll just have to do better in getting my point across in the future.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Fair enough. I still don't think there's any reason, though, to assume that BR season 2's misogyny was an attempt to emulate Star Trek. I think it was just built into the producers' mindset rather than something they did on purpose.
     
  15. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That was my least favorite part of those two shows, and Dark Matter. Killjoys at first too, but that did kind of bring aliens into the picture later on. One of my favorite things about franchises like the Star Trek, Star Wars, MIB, and the MCU is all of the different aliens, so I'm always disappointed when a space sci-fi franchises doesn't have any.
    I've been a bit surprised with all of the remakes, reboots, and revivals of old franchises we haven't seen new versions of Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon. We did get the Sci-Fi/Syfy Flash series back in '07-'08, but we've seen other franchises get a second attempt just as soon.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Dark Matter ended its third (and final) season with an invasion by extradimensional aliens, after gradually introducing them over the previous season or so.


    The benefit of an alien-free series, though, is that you avoid the silliness of having humanoid aliens, or having to concoct some scientifically unlikely handwave for how aliens and humans are related. It also has obvious budgetary advantages, important for a basic-cable series. And there's a long tradition of human-only universes in science fiction, notably Isaac Asimov's Robot/Empire/Foundation universe (although he only left out aliens because he was uncomfortable with his editor John W. Campbell's racism informing how the stories he published treated their nonhuman characters).

    Then you have something like The Expanse, where aliens are a significant factor, but represented only by their nanotech and their artifacts left behind.


    I'm not sure Buck Rogers is all that well-known anymore. The comic strip ended in 1967 and was revived for only a few years in '79-'83. There were a few novels around the same time, and a role-playing game and some tie-in novels to it in the late '80s and early '90s, but there doesn't seem to have been much of anything done with the franchise since about 1995. And the TV show was a short-lived flop. So the property is probably pretty much unknown to the current generation. Flash Gordon had the advantage of the De Laurentiis film to boost its recognition.
     
  17. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't know about Dark Matter's aliens, I forgot before, but I think I actually might have lost track of it before the last season started. And now that you mention it, I think I do remember one the last episodes I saw involving some kind of alien being taking over one of the crew.
     
  18. Mr Awe

    Mr Awe Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd love a modern remake of Buck Rogers. I'd hope they'd keep the fun, wise cracking nature of the previous serious. They don't need the 70s cheese. But keep the fun.
     
  19. Trinity Jinglebrocks

    Trinity Jinglebrocks All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member


    As long as it doesn't get bogged down with modern politics.
     
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  20. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bluntly the main appeal of Buck Rogers for a producer now would be the Gene Hunt effect, the chance to bounce an outdated character off more aware colleagues.