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  1. #1
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    Default What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones?

    We have had a space revival. Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy earned millions at the box office. The Expanse has been saved and we are getting multiple Star Trek series. We are also getting a new Battlestar Galactica and Amazon is making a series based on the Iain M. Banks Culture novels.

    Fantasy was once a genre reserved for geeks but Game of Thrones has made swords and dragons acceptable to be into in today's society.

    What would a series in a space setting have to be like to do what Game of Thrones did for fantasy? Something that gets viewers excited for the future!

    Is the Mass Effect the ideal universe and characters that should be bought to TV? Or would mainstream audiences prefer something different?

    Isn't there still a stigma that there is too much technobabble and no romance in the sci fi genre?

  2. #2
    Colonel P-90_177's Avatar
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    TNG kind of already did this back in the day. By the time of the 4th season it was a full on tv phenomenon and entirely the reason why the subsequent Star Trek movies and tv shows were made. But if you're talking modern day then I'd say you just need to look at the overwhelming support for The Madolorian for your answer. Sci-fi is already back with an absolute vengeance though whereas it was Game of Thrones that began the trend towards fantasy shows.
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by P-90_177 View Post
    TNG kind of already did this back in the day. By the time of the 4th season it was a full on tv phenomenon and entirely the reason why the subsequent Star Trek movies and tv shows were made. But if you're talking modern day then I'd say you just need to look at the overwhelming support for The Madolorian for your answer. Sci-fi is already back with an absolute vengeance though whereas it was Game of Thrones that began the trend towards fantasy shows.
    I don't know about that.
    A lot of the Sci Fi these days is simply multiple incarnations of the same story; Earth after society crashes, a dystopian future, where almost everything happens on whatever is left of Earth.

    What seems to be lacking is the infinite wonder of exploration of space, which would be a true space-based show.
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    I don't know about that.
    A lot of the Sci Fi these days is simply multiple incarnations of the same story; Earth after society crashes, a dystopian future, where almost everything happens on whatever is left of Earth.

    What seems to be lacking is the infinite wonder of exploration of space, which would be a true space-based show.
    How many shows have actually done that though? While books often are set in space I think the vast majority of tv based sci-fi going back all the way to the 60’s was largely Earthbound. We did go through a period in the 90’s and 00’s where they were more common with BSG, Star Trek, Andromeda, Farscape, Stargate, Babylon 5, Firefly and so on all arriving around the same time. I think that’s mainly due to technology advancing enough so that space shows at looked good whereas even Buck Rogers and the original BSG still had a tinge of models on strings about them. I can’t think of another time in history when space based shows were that popular.

    You are right that ideally a space based show should be about the exploration and wonder of space. Personally I think that’s something that A lot of the current shows have down though. To me, Lost in Space, The Expanse and Star Trek Discovery are full of wonder. Even The Orville to a degree. But these are tough shows to do. Because just like all fiction you do have to eventually root it in something human and ordinary to relate to viewers.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Most of the series you referred to, particularly Trek were exploration based shows. But others, such as The Expanse lost me when it became clear that it was just the worst traits of humanity being expanded to the entire solar system.

    As far as the SFX technology, that's always going to be advancing. Whatever people are watching 50 years from now is going to make what we watch now look like the old 50's & 60's movies/TV shows. You can't write off stories because of when they were made. For Ex. Galactica/TOS, Buck Rogers and such seem campy & cheesy today, but when they were made in the pre-cable era, they were quite good for their time. The stories are still good today, you just have to remember the environment that they were created in.
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  6. #6
    Lieutenant Colonel SoulReaver's Avatar
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    anyone else think Warhammer 40k?


    Quote Originally Posted by jelgate View Post
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    Most of the series you referred to, particularly Trek were exploration based shows. But others, such as The Expanse lost me when it became clear that it was just the worst traits of humanity being expanded to the entire solar system.

    As far as the SFX technology, that's always going to be advancing. Whatever people are watching 50 years from now is going to make what we watch now look like the old 50's & 60's movies/TV shows. You can't write off stories because of when they were made. For Ex. Galactica/TOS, Buck Rogers and such seem campy & cheesy today, but when they were made in the pre-cable era, they were quite good for their time. The stories are still good today, you just have to remember the environment that they were created in.
    I'm not writing them off. I'm saying the ability to make SFX cheaper is the reason why you had so many space based sci-fi shows arrive all at the same time in the 90's. But previous to that there just weren't all that many. Oh don't get me wrong you'd have a couple come along at the same time. After all Buck Rogers and BSG are contemporaries of each other. But not many.

    As for what you were saying about The Expanse, first off I think you're missing the point a little as the series is partially about humanity being forced to overcome the darker sides of ourselves as we face up to the unknown. In essence it's a coming of age story. Far less dark than RDM's BSG which really was about the fall of humanity in general. But that's kind of the main issue here. The notion you have to contend with is the idea that if and when humanity reaches towards the stars then we are inevitably going to bring our baggage with us. That's just believable.
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by P-90_177 View Post
    I'm not writing them off. I'm saying the ability to make SFX cheaper is the reason why you had so many space based sci-fi shows arrive all at the same time in the 90's. But previous to that there just weren't all that many. Oh don't get me wrong you'd have a couple come along at the same time. After all Buck Rogers and BSG are contemporaries of each other. But not many.
    Both BSG (TOS) and Buck Rogers were TV's "monkey see, monkey do" act. Star Wars hit the gold mine in 1977, and by late 1978, these were ready to air. But it was too expensive to sustain on a TV budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by P-90_177 View Post
    As for what you were saying about The Expanse, first off I think you're missing the point a little as the series is partially about humanity being forced to overcome the darker sides of ourselves as we face up to the unknown. In essence it's a coming of age story. Far less dark than RDM's BSG which really was about the fall of humanity in general. But that's kind of the main issue here. The notion you have to contend with is the idea that if and when humanity reaches towards the stars then we are inevitably going to bring our baggage with us. That's just believable.
    I watched The Expanse during its first season. I saw the typical corruption and vile nature of humanity just being carried with us into space, mostly colonies within our own solar system. No FTL as I recall, so no exploration outside our own neck of the woods. Just the same old human failings in a new environment.

    I didn't see much of an effort to "clean our selves up" either. The criminal and corrupt elements were given free reign.
    "It may seem pointless but small talk is a vital dating skill. It helps to establish a rapport with your companion."
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    "Perhaps there's something to be said for assimilation after all."
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    Both BSG (TOS) and Buck Rogers were TV's "monkey see, monkey do" act. Star Wars hit the gold mine in 1977, and by late 1978, these were ready to air. But it was too expensive to sustain on a TV budget.


    I watched The Expanse during its first season. I saw the typical corruption and vile nature of humanity just being carried with us into space, mostly colonies within our own solar system. No FTL as I recall, so no exploration outside our own neck of the woods. Just the same old human failings in a new environment.

    I didn't see much of an effort to "clean our selves up" either. The criminal and corrupt elements were given free reign.
    You didn't watch long enough.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by SoulReaver View Post
    anyone else think Warhammer 40k?
    40k would be a great -universe- to explore, but it is dystopian, so that will turn some people off, it has brutish aliens like Orks, that will turn people off, and the supposed hero's in the marines are essentially the god squad with the best guns, which will turn people off.

    If you could set a show in something like Necromunda with the gang fights and only see the imperium as a distant image of the collapse of humanity, it could work, but it becomes "earthbound" again. Space in WH40K is more akin to Event Horizon than your normal Scifi show, and that does not tend to draw a large audience.

    Scifi, to succeed in the visual medium needs either hope, or realistic characters.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Well, it depends what you are asking.....

    1.If you want to do the ''Sci Fi show for people that HATE Sci Fi". Well, THAT would be easy. Just write a fairly standard epic drama, but put it IN SPACE. So you just replace sea galleon with space ship and country with planet. And, of course, crank up the Adult Content to 11.

    2.To make a good Sci Fi show that was popular with ''everyone".....well that would take some doing.

  12. #12
    Major General BruTak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Much as I've pretty much given up on bad adaptations of my favourite sci-fi and fantasy novels, I think there's some mileage in the "USS Merrimack" books by R.M. Meluch.

    At its core they're a simple "good guys vs. bad guys" story, with the good guys being a space-going US Navy, and the bad guys a recreated Roman Empire.

    Long before you and I were born, others beat these benches with their empty cups,
    To the night and its stars, to the here and now with who we are.

    Another sunrise with my sad captains, with who I choose to lose my mind,
    And if it's all we only pass this way but once, what a perfect waste of time.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by Zargon View Post
    Well, it depends what you are asking.....

    1.If you want to do the ''Sci Fi show for people that HATE Sci Fi". Well, THAT would be easy. Just write a fairly standard epic drama, but put it IN SPACE. So you just replace sea galleon with space ship and country with planet. And, of course, crank up the Adult Content to 11.

    2.To make a good Sci Fi show that was popular with ''everyone".....well that would take some doing.
    That usually tells me that it's crap, and they're just using eye candy to hook the young skulls full of mush hormones.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    And you think the 60s shows didn't do the same thing? Kirk sure was shirtless a lot
    Quote Originally Posted by aretood2 View Post
    Jelgate is right

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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by jelgate View Post
    And you think the 60s shows didn't do the same thing? Kirk sure was shirtless a lot
    In 1966, I don't think that appealed to a significant fraction of the target audience.

    Now, if they had Yeoman Rand topless, you might hit pay dirt with that.
    "It may seem pointless but small talk is a vital dating skill. It helps to establish a rapport with your companion."
    - Starship Voyager's Holographic Doctor
    "Perhaps there's something to be said for assimilation after all."
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Quote Originally Posted by Annoyed View Post
    In 1966, I don't think that appealed to a significant fraction of the target audience.

    Now, if they had Yeoman Rand topless, you might hit pay dirt with that.
    Women watched TV in the 60's, I'm sure they hoped shirtless Kirk would draw some in, even if it was a sci-fi show and they didn't think women watched those. He had a tear away shirt, almost every time he got into a fight his shirt would get ripped off. That had to be to try to get the ladies watching lol. And while the women may not have been topless, most of their uniforms were impractically short, I have shirts longer than those uniform dresses.

  17. #17
    Major General BruTak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Mr. Spock had more female fans than Capt. Kirk.

    There was just something about Leonard Nimoy's looks and Spock's personality that pushed the buttons of certain women.

    Long before you and I were born, others beat these benches with their empty cups,
    To the night and its stars, to the here and now with who we are.

    Another sunrise with my sad captains, with who I choose to lose my mind,
    And if it's all we only pass this way but once, what a perfect waste of time.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    Lol, I know, I prefer Spock to Kirk too (though I wasn't born yet when it originally aired), but that probably wasn't what the network execs thought would happen lol. Spock is probably my second favorite Trek character (after Picard). Kirk is not one of my favorites.

  19. #19
    Major General BruTak's Avatar
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    Default Re: What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big as Game of Thrones

    But to return to the question at hand.

    Traditionally, sci-fi is very expensive to make.

    To use Doctor Who as an example - you have one standing set (the TARDIS console room).
    One main cast member (the Doctor) and anything up to three regular supporting cast members (the companions).
    You're in a different location every episode, a different time period every episode, a different guest cast every episode.
    You're filming on location a lot of the time, location work is also very expensive.

    It's not like a remake of something by Charlotte Bronte, where there's a large cast, the costumes can be hired from a specialist company, there's plenty of stately homes up and down the UK to film in.

    Long before you and I were born, others beat these benches with their empty cups,
    To the night and its stars, to the here and now with who we are.

    Another sunrise with my sad captains, with who I choose to lose my mind,
    And if it's all we only pass this way but once, what a perfect waste of time.

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