Last few years we weren’t exactly overloaded with sci-fi on tv! Most current “sci-fi” series only have sci-fi elements in them. Few exceptions of course with Doctor Who and Defiance, Falling Skies and perhaps Continuum. Fortunately these four tv shows are doing rather well so the next year we get new seasons for all three. Haven, some say it’s just supernatural, some say it does have sci-fi elements, in any case, it had a good run till now and although not (yet) renewed for season five, the fourth season is as steady as the other seasons. Warehouse 13 of course also has a strong relation to sci-fi but season five will be it’s last.
Other current sci-fi (-ish) shows aren’t doing all that well unfortunately. Of course the first one, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, is in bad weather, ratings keep dropping each week although the stories are definitely improving. This one is unfortunately headed for cancellation, although ratings slightly improved in the last two weeks. Revolution is also struggling, after a great start last year Revolution is almost certain to be cancelled. Five episodes in season two hit it’s series low, last episode was up one tenth but still, ratings are very low and won’t survive another mid-season break. I personally think the second season is way better than it’s first but by now too many people stopped watching. Last month Almost Human started in the US, after a decent start with the pilot, the ratings have dropped dramaticly, with a rating now below the 2.0, something I really don’t understand because it’s a fun show with a two great lead characters played by Karl Urban and Michael Ealy.
The Tomorrow People remake, another series with some sci-fi elements, is holding steady at the moment in the ratings and a full season has been ordered by The CW. This has potential as a series as well as a second season. Orphan Black was a surprise hit earlier this year and will be back also next year. Although it definitely has some sci-fi elements in it, it’s more of a drama/thriller I think, but one of my favourites of this year, recommended! Under the Dome got a second season, will be back next year but again, it’s more of a drama with some sci-fi elements in it. On the other side of the pond there are two more series, Misfits, which is in the middle of it’s last series and also the French produced Metal Hurlant Chronicles, which was renewed for season two. There are some new ones in the pipeline but this is it for the moment.
Sci-fi is doing much better on the big screen! About fifteen to twenty movies have been released this year alone which are sci-fi related or flat out real sci-fi flicks! I believe it started with Tom Cruise’sOblivion, one I really liked. It also did rather well in the box-office. Also Iron Man 3, which got mixed reviews but was a big financial hit. Star Trek Into Darkness, a real sci-fi action adventure. Furthermore we got: Elysium; Man of Steel; The Wolverine; Pacific Rim; After Earth (bombed); Riddick; Europa Report; the surprise hit Gravity; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire; Snowpiercer; Thor: The Dark World; The Last Days On Mars; The Colony; The World’s End and Ender’s Game. Don’t know if I forgot one or two but this list is quite impressive, been a long time since I paid so many visits to the cinema as I did this year! So it’s a bit of a contradiction, many sci-fi movies and only a handful sci-fi series at the moment. For the most part I think it has to do with budget, it is more expensive to create a sci-fi series and also the kind of stories are quite different than in the cinema, more character driven instead of action and explosions.
Sure hope it will be more balanced next year, a few more sci-fi series, preferably some space oriented series.
Loved the article and i would completely agree that Sci-Fi is becoming more and more popular on the big screen. i would just make an example that we can see much more nominations for Sci-Fi movies in the academy awards (Oscar) then earlier…And on another subject, thank you my friend for contributing such lovely art to Fanart.tv . Cheers!
thanks simche! 🙂
Thanks for the great write up on all things sci-fi @sfjunkie!
I’m a huge sci-fi fan as well and have my own theories on why the TV shows aren’t doing so well.
A good sci-fi needs a really tight and believable story and the sci-fi elements should be just as prominent as the cast and story. This is easier to achieve in a movie where you have a single story to work with and much more time to hone the script. Too many TV series fall in to the same old traps of turning into a soap opera in a sci-fi setting using the same plot devices that you can see in any other TV drama. Effects alone does not make a good sci-fi and I think they seriously underestimate the intelligence of the audience they are targeting.
I have been watching Almost Human and I really enjoy the premise and the cast, but there have been a few times where I felt the forced drama and it makes me cringe. To me, the best part of this series are the sci-fi derived comedy elements. It really makes me laugh out loud sometimes. 🙂
By far my favorite show of the year is Orphan Black. The sci-fi underpinnings aren’t front and center all the time, but the way they weave them into the story is intelligent and insightful. Tatiana Maslany is as riveting as the story, and the pace is unrivaled.
What we need for good sci-fi TV is some inspired work that is lead by the creator and not a committee. When Hollywood loosens the reigns on creativity and is not completely driven by balance sheets, we may see some good TV. Until then, we will end up will the same formulaic drivel they’ve been feeding us for years.
I fully agree akovia
Sci-fi also always has a disadvantage on tv, a procedural show gets his viewers anyways, no real arc, not much character growth, sci-fi fans are more critical about their shows, sometimes I think we are too critical, look at SGU, loved it myself, Stargate fans burned it to the ground before it started, it was too much like BSG, was totallly different that SG1 & SGA..etc. All those procedural shows are the same, no one cares, then there is a sci-fi show which is just as dark, perhaps darker as another sci-fi show and people complain. Don’t understand that. Let’s hope we get some new sci-fi in the near future.
Great write up @SFJunkie.
Unfortunately, to me it seems that now CGI is all we can remember from most recent Sci Fi movies… The stories leave much to be desired. Sure, once in a while we get a gem but overall it’s just a rehash of what’s already been done in some way. Just think of what would be older scifi movies from the 70,80 and 90’s with today’s CGIs. That’d be the total package IMO.
And for TV Shows, I don’t even start watching them before they have a few seasons because networks just cancel shows without giving them a proper ending and I hate that.
Personally I hate the Case/Freak of the week. I could never get into Fringe, Haven. I did get thru Eureka but it seriously was a drag at times. So that’s why I’ll probably never watch Almost Human.
BSG was amazing and I hope we’ll get someting similar someday…
My favourite tv shows are from the nineties, still after all these years: Babylon 5 & Deep Space Nine. 🙂