Recently we have seen a resurgence of science fiction on television and film including reboots of Star Trek and Star Wars, along with wild cards like The Orville and The Expanse. Of course my personal favourite series of Stargate SG1 and Atlantis has disappeared and I’m not going to be talking about them here today.
I was originally a huge fan of Star Wars and the original Star Trek movies. Eventually with the release of the prequel Star Wars films and watching through all the TNG era Star Trek series (and Enterprise). After that there was a long drought of science fiction content.
Brace yourselves. I’m about to take you on a journey of confusion, sadness and lens flares.
Then along came the Star Trek (2009) reboot which saw us jumping around the galaxy with our good friends Kirk and Spock. 2009 brought a style to Star Trek that I think a lot of people that weren’t fans of Star Trek liked including a much faster pace and less technobabble. Many Star Trek fans really disliked the way the film took things. *LENS FLARE* Warp became essentially hyperspace. *LENS FLARE* Transporters could suddenly transport anywhere in space. *LENS FLARE* And Vulcan ships suddenly looked like squid (squids?). Don’t get me totally wrong though, the actors were great, and to have Leonard Nimoy back as Spock was truly a treat and a half.
I see Star Trek (2009) as the turning point. After this we see Disney buy Lucasfilm and fast track a new trilogy of Star Wars movies with a plan to launch a new film every one and a half years. Star Trek continued on with Into Darkness and Beyond. Into Darkness started out really good. Then it turned out to be a rehash of Wrath of Khan. It was fine I guess but it was a story already told with minor differences. Beyond was fantastic. Had a huge budget, a fantastic director and lost at the box office. I don’t understand. It was an original story for once with some really cool ideas.
Then along came Star Wars Episodes seven, eight and nine. Or Should I say rehashed episodes four, five and six with a slight twist in the ninth entry. These entries managed to trash and destroy all the previously great canon already established while spitting on the great characters of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Then attempted to xerox characters from the original trilogy into new bodies and failing miserably.
The only good thing to come out of Disney’s efforts to destroy Star Wars Was Solo: A Star Wars Story. This movie was also shunned in theatres which makes me think that people that watch films no longer understand story making at all. The actors were great and the story filled in things that were referred to in the original trilogy.
Sadly it goes badly from here on for Star Trek for the most part. CBS relaunched Star Trek with Star Trek Discovery. This show keeps getting renewed and I don’t understand why. The writing is terrible, the actors besides Anson Mount (Captain Pike), Doug Jones (Saru), Anthony Rapp (Stamets), Jason Isaacs (Captain Lorca) and Mary Wiseman (Tilly) are adequate at best. Sadly that doesn’t include the main character. I think Sonequa Martin-Green can act but I think Burnham is a stupid character. And the reliance of this show having to bring back Spock again just shows that these writers don’t have any new ideas or at least are not confident in them. Though I have to say the first few episodes of season two returned to an episodic format that were really good. Then it went back to the whole universe revolves around Burnham. Bleh. I haven’t even bothered to watch season three and I don’t intend to do so ever.
Disney did launch something that is good though. The Mandalorian. This is the best piece of art I have seen in a very very long time. The shows were only as long as they needed to be so some were longer than others. And it worked. There were some continuity errors though in a couple episodes so it’s not perfect. I have not watched season two and I may not bother as I am not a big fan of Disney right now.
OK. So I criticised Star Trek Lower Decks when it was announced. I really was not interested in this series. It looked like it was designed to make fun of Star Trek with low quality animation. Well, after I saw a clip of Riker saving the crew of the main ship of the series, well, I had to watch it.
So I subscribed to Crave, again. I hate Crave. It sucks. It’s interface is crap. And to access almost all the media on the platform (after the paywall you have to use the service) you have to pay another huge fee to watch that content too. It’s insane, and stupid and Canadians shouldn’t put up with this crap.
That said, I watched the show. It turned out to be more like a Galaxy Quest sort of spoof show. Lower Decks is smartly written and actually quite funny. While still playing on the core values of TNG Trek. There is more character development in the first episode of Lower Decks than the whole first season of Star Trek Picard. If only this was the actual show.
Lower Decks reminds me a lot of The Orville. The Orville is a fantastic show. Seth MacFarlane should seriously be in charge of Star Trek. The Orville is that all but in name. Especially the second season. It is incredible.
Star Trek: Picard. I had such high hopes for this show. But instead it turned in to a politically charged crap story shallowly veiled as a Star Trek show. Even Patrick Stewart was not what I expected or wanted from in a new Star Trek series. His portrayal of Picard is shallow and uninspired. A small save is towards the end but if you haven’t seen the show I won’t spoil it. I will say the tech in this show is stupid. I don’t understand the infatuation with modern sci-fi with stupid holographic technology. Controlling a ship with holographic inputs that offer no physical feedback and can be disrupted at any time is so dumb. I hate it. And what they did with some of the characters, just, UGH it’s so frustrating to see when you have loved something for so long and it gets wrecked due to writer trying to make a statement rather than a show.
We do have another show called the Expanse. A genuinely new concept that came out of a couple guys creating a board game. The show ran on SyFy for a couple seasons then was picked up by Amazon Prime. It also has just been renewed for a sixth and final season. It is a great take on space travel staying within the limits of current physics for travel. It’s unique but not for the young-in’s as it has a lot of language and violence.
So I am not sure where I really wanted to go with this story. I guess I felt I needed to vent my frustration on the current status of science fiction out there. Especially with my first watch through of the Battlestar Galactica reboot (which by the way is the some of the best sci-fi ever done).
What do you think of current science fiction? Are you liking it or do you wish they would go more traditional route? I am one for the latter.
I think it’s great to see a lot of people get into these shows and films but I think it’s at a great cost of leaving their sci-fi fan base behind.