Monday, October 26, 2009

If an episode succeeds, they’ll say “Wow, that was great! They must have really listened to John Scalzi!”

The lesson Brad Wright has learned from Star Trek is that when you have a good sci-fi franchise going, you can keep it alive for decades, as long as you remember to spawn off new spin-off series at regular intervals.

Stargate SG-1 was launched in 1997 and lasted 10 seasons. It had good moments and bad moments. I enjoyed it for quite a while.

Stargate Atlantis, the first spin-off, had a ridiculous premise (vampires in space! super awesome science action heroes!), but also a great sense of fun, and was smart in its own stupid way.

With Stargate Universe, the newest spin-off, Stargate may be headed in a more plausible direction, at least when measured by the number of english-speaking aliens. There aren't any - yet. In fact there's been only one alien, and it was truly different. The first five episodes have focused on basic survival. A group of people are stranded on a spaceship, and they have too little air and power. That's all that's happened so far. I like it. It's good, and believable in a way neither of the other series were.

Stargate: Universe feels like a show where the characters would be surprised(!) if they stumbled across english-speaking humanoids in a remote galaxy.

But is it possible to make plausible SF for television? I expect there'll be aliens, and a babelfish along with them. But I'm not sure I'll mind. When I want serious SF, I read books, (or rewatch Babylon 5).

Also, I love the music.

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