Three Sci-Fi Shows for HBO?

Deus_Ex_series_logoScience author Kyle Munkittrick notes that science fiction “is no more limiting than period dramas” like Mad Men and Rome, “which also require extensive costumes, elaborate sets, and an extra level of commitment from the actors.” And then he asks: why haven’t HBO, Showtime, or AMC made a serious science fiction show? “All SF does is move the timeline forward instead of backward.”

He ultimately suggests three dark candidates – Deus Ex Machina, Transmetropolitan, and Mass Effect – noting there’s “Three great SF shows, three awesome cable channels that pull off excellent cinematic TV, and a wide open market in which to execute them… You want to bring HBO down a peg or two? Get the nerds on board.”

3 Comments on "Three Sci-Fi Shows for HBO?"

  1. Hadrian999 | Apr 30, 2010 at 1:29 pm |

    I'd love to see a transmetropolitian but who in the world could play Spider

    • dumbsaint | Apr 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm |

      I'm with you in wanting to see it but it'd take a miracle for it not to suck.

      Hard to cast though. uh. Johnny Depp, via his Hunter s Thompson.

  2. The writing is harder for sci-fi, because it's not just doing a period piece. You don't have references to fall back on and research about a past history to rely on. You have to create the ENTIRE WORLD and make it seem plausible while also challenging broad issues of human emotion, character development, etc.

    Frankly, most writers just aren't up to the task. They know they can make bank creating some cheese-ass horror film that doesn't require rubbing more than two synapses together to understand, and as long as they're getting their check, they really don't give a damn.

    But for real artists out there who'd want to take a stab at that, I think they should get over whatever anti-geek snobbery they might have had, and step up to the plate and make the attempt.

    One show that got lost in the shuffle when executives changed hands at the studio was “Odyssey 5” and I have to say, there were some wicked cool ideas they were playing with in that one ranging from nanobots escaping containment and bonding with a little girl, to crystal-based life forms, to human replicants that can only be discovered via their lack of a heat signature, to time warping consciousness, etc., etc. etc…. It's a damn shame that show didn't get a break. And the list for this is long and not confined to cable, the networks are even stupider – “Dollhouse”, “Firefly”, “Kyle XY”, “Tru Calling”, “Defying Gravity”, “John Doe”, etc. all killed just as they were really starting to show some promise.

    Which leads me to my other caveat. If you ARE going to produce a sci-fi series, make sure you get syndicated first, so that when whatever network you're on pusses out, or gets some hack exec with his head up his petard, you can take the property to another network. Typically a sci-fi show needs between 1-2 years to get chugging along because the stories are inherently more complex, so it may be the only way you survive. And the fans in sci-fi are loyal. They WILL follow you. “Babylon 5” is a prime example of this.

    That last part is also why studios should invest in them – there's literally DECADES worth of ancillary sales in DVD box sets, toys, posters, costumes and paraphernalia of all kinds in these shows.

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