SGU, Galactica prove science fiction genre is ready to grow up
Slowly but surely, science fiction is growing up.
There’s always been a gap between the deep, thought-provoking stories of literary sci-fi and the shallow dumbed-down stuff that ends up on TV. Star Trek captured some of the depth. Shows like Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits introduced mainstream audiences to core sci-fi concepts, and now modern television is starting to use science fiction as a backdrop for mainstream adult drama.
There’s still a sci-fi ghetto, in print and on television, but the genre audience is increasingly passionate, organized and vocal.
There’s still a schizophrenic quality to modern sci-fi shows, like creators are constantly at war with their producers, struggling to save mature science fiction concepts from the impulses of studio execs who want to reduce everything to a succession of tired, comfortable tropes.
This conflict was obvious in the recent Battlestar Galactica series, a story that started off strong, with a series of flawed, interesting characters thrust into a lifeboat situation, and devolved into a fragmented mess.