Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Build Your Own Space Opera Show

Over on her live journal, 3jane wrote:

So, having bitched about SG1/SGA, I then sat down to think about what I do and don't like about them, which blends nicely with my tendency to wander back and forth from campus while listening to various geek mixes on my iPod and contemplating what I do and don't like about other space operas. And so, in the spirit of how I vaguely understand fantasy football to work, I'm attempting a fantasy space opera, pulling elements I like from individual shows. (And because one can't play fantasy football/fantasy space opera alone, I hereby invite others to play.)

So, limiting myself to TV, just as a matter of practical necessity, what do I choose?

Dr. Who: Diverse cultures, alien aliens, extended stories that aren’t tied up all nice and neat at the end of an episode, likeable but not always understandable heroes, and a slightly offbeat sense of humor and fashion.

Blake’s 7: Utter scoundrels for “heroes” like Avon, and sleek, cool villains like Servelan who you still admire, even as you recognize that both sorts are moral cripples.

Original Star Trek: Being out on the edge, pushing the envelope, seeing things that no one else has ever seen before. The mutability of cultures. The importance of principles. Starships and faster-than-light travel, though I think I prefer the hyperspace technology of…

Babylon 5: Oh, where to start? Talk about an embarrassment of riches! The courage to not be what everyone expects. A real, serial story with a beginning, middle, and end. Mystery and ancient civilizations. Romance. Moral dilemma that can’t be easily resolved. Facing the tough choices and then enduring the consequences of those choices. Aliens that don’t act like people. Aliens that don’t look like people. Real science. No magical shields. Exceptional music. Better-than-average special effects. Original starship designs. Great costuming. Truth. The willingness to do unpleasant things to characters, cultures, entire planets when the story demands it. Heart-lifting victory. Heart-rending tragedy.

Andromeda: Peoples who are not nice, but must be dealt with, and not merely as villains.

Babylon 5 – Crusade: The mythic quest, in almost Arthurian style.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Broad, sweeping saga, huge cast, conflicted heroes, opposing heroes who are both worthy of victory, and the evil of corrupted and powerful individuals.

Vision of Escaflowne: Personal tragedy, swashbuckling adventure, fanciful technology, giant mecha, personal redemption, and science that acts like magic, tinkering with the very forces of fate itself.

Macross – Plus: Stories about people! Not machines or technologies or special effects.

Ghost in the Shell: Blurring the lines between people and machines. ;)

Firefly: Rogues, barely scraping by and holding their ship together with duct-tape and chickenwire. The nobility of common people, commerce, and trust.

Got a list of your own?

No comments: