BBC Television programmes  permalink

Science Fiction gets an update

This discussion has been closed.

Messages: 1 - 50 of 143
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by ATurtle (U13956538) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    I listened in shock to the reply given on Points of View on 18 November (the last episode for months) to a question about Adult Science Fiction.

    "We are showing Wolfblood and Being Human", hang on these are horror stories, not Sci-Fi!

    Dictionary.com defines science fiction as a noun that is "a form of fiction that draws imaginatively on scientific knowledge and speculation in its plot, setting, theme, etc."

    Vampires/Werewolves - Where's the science? Yes, Doctor Who has involved them, but with a twist. These creatures are horror story characters and show how the difference between Sci-Fi and horror has been blurred.

    For some reason, the BBC has started to think that Sci-Fi fans like these fantasy creatures as they are close to aliens or man created monsters, think again! Give us science based fiction, not horror!

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by dayraven (U13717520) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    Maybe it's a bit of a shame that the term "telefantasy" isn't really used anymore.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Guv-nor (U7476305) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    A point made in this weeks POV thread www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by HabitualHero (U12983981) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    Science is a dirty word in the world of entertainment. Teen fantasy and juvenile tat like Dr Who is what hilariously passes for science fiction these days.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Bidie-In (U2747062) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    The BBC should be honest that the prime factor against decent adult Sci-fi is cost. To make anything with decent effects would cost a lot and they simply do not have the budget.

    Maybe, after The Voice is cancelled - following the flop that series 2 will undoubtedly be - they might have a re-think? smiley - whistle

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Hastur1 (U14272072) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    Ah but therein lies the problem, it seems to many that Sci Fi needs flashy effects, I would argue a good story is what is needed. Not all sci fi involves large space battles or vast futuristic sets.

    I have just finished watching Sapphire and Steel again, and apart from the odd visual effects are nearly non existent. The success is built on good storylines and atmosphere.

    Quatermass was the same and what other classics like Children of the Stones (okay not pure sci fi but).

    Let us be honest the BBC would rather give us Celeb driven tat, than quality if it gets its choice.



    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    It would be a real shame if programme makers thought they could not make science fiction because of cost. Science fiction doesn't have to involve spaceships and space battles. There is a quieter form of the genre: the more serious and smaller stories that need good ideas and excellent scripts, not necessarily big bucks.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Sunday, 18th November 2012

    It would be a real shame if programme makers thought they could not make science fiction because of cost. Science fiction doesn't have to involve spaceships and space battles. There is a quieter form of the genre: the more serious and smaller stories that need good ideas and excellent scripts, not necessarily big bucks.  Yes! Exactly.

    I feel that's the real problem, there's this expectation that science fiction is all whizz bang... little more than an action film in space... and really, that's not necessary.

    There are some excellent short films on youtube - What's In The Box - which are done on a shoestring and make stuff like the critical and popular flopfest that was Outcasts look even more like a joke than it was.

    I'm not saying a big budget doesn't help - because... well, it does but I think that you can do interesting things with a story that doesn't require a huge outlay but I really don't expect the BBC to be interested - science fiction is something it clearly considers fodder for the kids and a tiny minority of adults and there are plenty of things they can spend their money on...

    The fact "science" is in there probably raises the hackles of 99% of the gravy train too...

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by briggsy2 (U1288489) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    If they cant afford to fork out and make new sci-fi then how about rescurrecting BBC2's Cult strand (6pm weekdays) and reshowing the classic shows of yesteryear such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, X-Files, the Gerry Anderson series, Time Tunnel,Battlestar Galactica, old Dr.Who etc. etc.?

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Secondedcsmiley - ok smiley - star

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Thuban (U8349152) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    'Outcasts', 'Defying Gravity', 'The Deep' ... need I go on?

    All shows that promised much for the sci-fi fan but turned out to be pretty dreadful mainly, I think, because they were written by people who have no 'feel' for for what is acceptable and what is not in adult science fiction.

    One episode was enough in most cases for the sci-fi section of the audience to depart, even though those who appreciate a more general kind of drama clung on and even bitterly lamented the demise of these shows.

    In short, it's the writing that's the problem. Fantasy is one thing; sci-fi is quite another and it's high time the the BBC learned to recognise the difference.

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by St Maddenus Hairy Chested Hunk (U14314874) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Don't forget we are a fickle and demanding bunch. Do we really want quality? Who defines what is quality? Its not just Sci Fi but everything really.

    all genres people argue over what is quality viewing.

    Some people say Nigella, others say Lorraine, some say both.

    People dont want sets that move when leaned on or are in quarries anymore. Our lowest expectations are of CGI worlds or we complain.

    Can you see any company investing in the slow moving Foundation series?

    just look at the style of the writing from the original Foundation with hari seldon to Foundation and earth. the nature of the "action" changed totally.

    It reflects what society expects from its writers over time.

    Compare Tolkein to Gemmel. Tolkein's work is prosaic, Gemmel's action driven (though a bit repetitive old guys vs changling things) but more people would read Gemmel now because its faster pace.

    Everything we do now is faster paced (except bed sport but that probably because I'm getting older too) so we expect that in what we see and read because we only have so much time.... dispite labour saving devices...







    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Except that most people now *do not* read Gemmell. Tolkien is still read and loved. Probably the films have something to do with this - but not only.

    Got to any fantasy blog or messageboard. Nobody's talking about Gemmell. They're talking about Tolkien, George R R Martin, Abercrombie, Sanderson and a few others. What they all have in common is good writing, great chacterisation, a rich story.

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by St Maddenus Hairy Chested Hunk (U14314874) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    But they did for a while. it was a phase... thats passing.

    which was the point I failed to completely get across... smiley - smiley

    Only "buffs" will talk about things "forever"

    "What they all have in common is good writing, great chacterisation, a rich story."

    Or in the case of HG Wells accuracy..... smiley - winkeye

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by GusMcGuire (U7223549) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    The problem with sci-fi production on the Beeb is that the producers don't actually understand what constitutes sci-fi, or else they commission productions and then don't trust their audience to actually have the intelligence to follow it.

    One recent example of this was the recent update of The Day of the Triffids with Eddie Izzard. They changed the storyline so much that it wasn't even recognisable and, in doing so, took away everything that made the original so compelling.

    There's a reason that sci-fi from the 70s and 80s is so fondly remembered and that's because that's the last time most (not all) of it was written with any trust in the intellect of the viewer.

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    But isn't that the point? Sometimes things are just a phase. But good writing lasts. Tolkien's phase (faze? smiley - shrug) has lasted over fifty years! HG Wells even longer! smiley - planet

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by St Maddenus Hairy Chested Hunk (U14314874) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Yes but that is good writing, Television cannot AFFORD good writing and quality shows to stand the test of time any more.

    You can reprint a copy of a good book, but re-releasing an old show can make it dated. Dont forget that nostalgia is not as good as it used to be...

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 17.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Television cannot AFFORD good writing and quality shows to stand the test of time any more. 

    I disagree.

    Maybe some of the older series don't hold up these days (though there are plenty of people still watching the original series of Star Trek and The Good Life), but television can certainly afford good witing and quality. Even the Beebcan (some of Doctor Who, Being Human, for example).


    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    If they cant afford to fork out and make new sci-fi then how about rescurrecting BBC2's Cult strand (6pm weekdays) and reshowing the classic shows of yesteryear such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, X-Files, the Gerry Anderson series, Time Tunnel,Battlestar Galactica, old Dr.Who etc. etc.?  Oh, man - Time Tunnel... I remember watching that on Channel 4 when I was a child (as well as Land of the Giants and something submarine related that included a flying sub) but I assume the problem there would be rights issues...

    The most you can really expect is one of what the BBC laughably calls "seasons" which last sometimes... almost two days! Actually, that's a lie. It's two evenings. Anyway, I find it hard to believe that the gravy train would give the thumbs up for it - I don't see it pulling in the ratings.

    'Outcasts', 'Defying Gravity', 'The Deep' ... need I go on?

    All shows that promised much for the sci-fi fan but turned out to be pretty dreadful mainly, I think, because they were written by people who have no 'feel' for for what is acceptable and what is not in adult science fiction. 

    Well, "Outcasts" didn't even start out as a sci-fi concept and came from one of the jobbing hacks on Spooks. Sure, he might be able to knock out 60 minutes of inane spy drama but the less said about that entire debacle, the better...

    "Defying Gravity" was a butchering of the rather interesting mockumentary "Voyage to the Planets"... but what hope have you when a show is pitched as Grey's Anatomy in space?

    I definitely agree that these were all written by people who were crowbarring a concept in and had no real appreciation of science fiction... but it was ever this.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by briggsy2 (U1288489) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    I think the 1970s was the golden decade for sci-fi on British tv, then during the 80s it all went wrong, though there were a few shows knocking around such as The Tripods (touted as a natural successor to Dr.Who, but never really took off), Star Cops and Crime Traveller. In more recent years the fantasy/ paranormal/ horror genres have tended to dominate with a whole glut of shows about zombies & vampires.

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by colonelblimp (U1705702) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Prophet, the submarine-related series would have been "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea".

    en.wikipedia.org/wik...

    "Land of the Giants" - I (just!) remember following it as a comic strip in TV21 back in the 1960s. Those were the days!

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by GusMcGuire (U7223549) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    I think the 1970s was the golden decade for sci-fi on British tv, then during the 80s it all went wrong, though there were a few shows knocking around such as The Tripods (touted as a natural successor to Dr.Who, but never really took off), Star Cops and Crime Traveller. In more recent years the fantasy/ paranormal/ horror genres have tended to dominate with a whole glut of shows about zombies & vampires.   There were a few problems with The Tripods TV series and not all of them down to the production itself:

    1.) The source material was somewhat sparse, forcing the screenwriters to pad it out with many details not included in the book to make a 12 or 13 part series. This was painfully evidently in series 1, in which what is basically a straightforward journey becomes hopelessly convoluted. Contrastingly, however, the extra plot threads of season 2 actually made for a much better story. It's a shame that they never got to book 3 because that's the best story of the trilogy.

    2.) The 1980s was the era of widespread use of blue screen and the special effects were, sadly, just not up to the job. The close up shots with real props were somewhat more successful but anything involving a composite shot of a model and live action was just laughably bad.

    3.) The Tripods was a victim of its own bad timing since its production (in 1984-85) coincided with the arrival of Michael Grade at the BBC for his first tenure as Programme Controller. He hated BBC sci-fi (because it couldn't rival the special effects of the big blockbuster movies of the day) and soon made his feelings known by cancelling just about anything with sci-fi content. Just say Michael Grade to any Doctor Who fan and watch them start to grind their teeth.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 21.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Ah, yes - "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea". I seem to remember that and/or "Land of the Giants" being on Channel 4 on dreary Sunday afternoons... how we survived without the Internet, I'll never know.

    I think that the BBC probably need to appreciate that science fiction/speculative fiction isn't a genre per se but rather a setting... kind of. Ah well.

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by tony ingram (U14880461) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Science is a dirty word in the world of entertainment. Teen fantasy and juvenile tat like Dr Who is what hilariously passes for science fiction these days.  You and I have very different definitions of "juvenile tat". Doctor Who has always been science fiction.

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by tony ingram (U14880461) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    I think the 1970s was the golden decade for sci-fi on British tv, then during the 80s it all went wrong, though there were a few shows knocking around such as The Tripods (touted as a natural successor to Dr.Who, but never really took off), Star Cops and Crime Traveller. In more recent years the fantasy/ paranormal/ horror genres have tended to dominate with a whole glut of shows about zombies & vampires.   I would agree with that. What with Doctor Who at its best, Doomwatch, Survivors, The Omega Factor, Sapphire & Steel (a late entry there, admittedly), Sky, The Tomorrow People, Timeslip, Children of the Stones, Space 1999, the much maligned but brilliantly acted Blake's 7 and others, the 70s were a fantastic decade for sci-fi for fans of all ages.

    Report message25

  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Chelle (U3043549) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    It's only since these recent comments on these messageboards that I've realised there is quite a gap in true adult sci-fi! The last sci-fi I could remember watching on the bbc is star trek and the x files (if that was on the beeb) smiley - erm. There seemed to be a bigger wave of it in the 90s, now the "in" thing is monsters and vampires, or superheroes. It would be nice to see some more genuine sci-fi. I'd love to see something like "fringe" on the bbc

    Report message26

  • Message 27

    , in reply to message 26.

    Posted by tony ingram (U14880461) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Doesn't Torchwood count?

    Report message27

  • Message 28

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by lp229 (U14736234) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    If they cant afford to fork out and make new sci-fi then how about rescurrecting BBC2's Cult strand (6pm weekdays) and reshowing the classic shows of yesteryear such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, X-Files, the Gerry Anderson series, Time Tunnel,Battlestar Galactica, old Dr.Who etc. etc.?  I've often wondered why the BBC havn't done this; it would be a popular move. I believe BBC America actually broadcasts re-runs of the Star Trek: The Next Generation and the most recent series of Battlestar Galactica, so why not do the same on some of our own BBC channels?

    Report message28

  • Message 29

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    I've often wondered why the BBC havn't done this; it would be a popular move. I believe BBC America actually broadcasts re-runs of the Star Trek: The Next Generation and the most recent series of Battlestar Galactica, so why not do the same on some of our own BBC channels? 
    Given that there always appears to be some flavour of Star Trek on digital - one can but assume that someone else owns the rights to broadcast in the UK.

    Report message29

  • Message 30

    , in reply to message 27.

    Posted by GusMcGuire (U7223549) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Doesn't Torchwood count?   I was going to say Torchwood too.

    The problem with Torchwood was that it couldn't decide what kind of beast it was and the organisation that the audience got was not what had been sold to them through its parent series.

    The first two series had some very good stories but also some absolute stinkers. Rules seemed to be written in one story and then go out the window with another. The organisation was supposed to be so top secret that they had to wipe the minds of anyone touched by the matters they dealt with and yet they all drove round in 4x4s with TORCHWOOD written on them and locals who'd mutter about "bloody Torchwood" just for the sake of an on-screen gag. Characters became suddenly bisexual for an episode and then it was never referred to again and then there was the Gwen/Owen/Rhys triangle storyline that went nowhere. That said, it took some brave decisions and didn't always take the simple route out of a problem. As series 2 concluded it looked like they'd sort of got a formula starting to emerge.

    Children of Earth was where they really looked like they'd found their feet (i.e. single story, huge character back-stories emerging and a finale that didn't shy away from the subject matter and hand) but in doing so pretty much wiped out everything that people had come to associate the series with.

    After that, it seems they'd hamstrung themselves....and the less said about Torchwood: Miracle Day the better. smiley - erm

    Report message30

  • Message 31

    , in reply to message 30.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    The problem with Torchwood was that it couldn't decide what kind of beast it was and the organisation that the audience got was not what had been sold to them through its parent series. 
    We were sold a genuinely interesting large and powerful organisation working secretly (and unethically) for the best interests of the British Empire... but typical RTD hadn't really thought that one through, unless one assumes all major powers had something similar, preventing anyone from taking over the world.

    What we got was really more of a Buffy wannabe with a fraction of the budget and none of the talent - on or offscreen. It didn't seem to know whether it wanted to be serious or just creature of the week... Its obsession with sex makes a 12 year old boy seem mature by comparisons and of course, no one had any discernible character traits, could go bisexual if the wind changed and as mentioned, the rules it set itself were constantly broken.

    I agree that Children of Earth felt as if it was the show finally realising its potential. I don't imagine the extra budget hurt and while it was far from perfect, it was a good story.

    Then they made Miracle Day which is up there with Red Dwarf in terms of how to fail at taking a show to the colonies.

    Report message31

  • Message 32

    , in reply to message 31.

    Posted by GusMcGuire (U7223549) on Monday, 19th November 2012

    Its obsession with sex makes a 12 year old boy seem mature by comparisons and of course, no one had any discernible character traits, could go bisexual if the wind changed and as mentioned, the rules it set itself were constantly broken. 

    Yes, the sexual content did seem like really badly written fan-fiction. It was as if someone had decided to write a character into Doctor Who that ran around shouting "poo, bum, willy!" just for shock value.

    Report message32

  • Message 33

    , in reply to message 32.

    Posted by St Maddenus Hairy Chested Hunk (U14314874) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    "and the less said about Torchwood: Miracle Day the better. "

    I watched the whole series waiting for something to happen.......

    Report message33

  • Message 34

    , in reply to message 28.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    If they cant afford to fork out and make new sci-fi then how about rescurrecting BBC2's Cult strand (6pm weekdays) and reshowing the classic shows of yesteryear such as Star Trek, Babylon 5, X-Files, the Gerry Anderson series, Time Tunnel,Battlestar Galactica, old Dr.Who etc. etc.?  I've often wondered why the BBC havn't done this; it would be a popular move. I believe BBC America actually broadcasts re-runs of the Star Trek: The Next Generation and the most recent series of Battlestar Galactica, so why not do the same on some of our own BBC channels?  
    The BBC don't necessarily have the broadcast rights to show these programmes nowadays.

    Even if the BBC does still own the broadcast rights...

    All repeats nowadays have to have the broadcast rights renegotiated, which is time-consuming and expensive, as none of the original rights cover iPlayer and viewing over the internet.

    It's worth knowing too that any of the original performers can decide that they don't want the programme to be reshown and block the rights being given, so it's harder than you might think to reshow old programmes.



    Report message34

  • Message 35

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by dayraven (U13717520) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    It's worth knowing too that any of the original performers can decide that they don't want the programme to be reshown and block the rights being given, so it's harder than you might think to reshow old programmes. 
    And some of those Gerry Anderson series feature amazingly litigious puppets.

    Report message35

  • Message 36

    , in reply to message 34.

    Posted by St Maddenus Hairy Chested Hunk (U14314874) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    "All repeats nowadays have to have the broadcast rights renegotiated,"

    let us hope that Miracle day is as Hideously expensive as it is bad..........

    Cricket... Being Human isnt Sci Fi its Horror, Dr Who is Sci Fantasy...... (but that's a whole other thread.....)

    Report message36

  • Message 37

    , in reply to message 36.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    I meant that Being Human and (sometimes) Doctor Who were well written, not commenting on their genre. The Beeb can commission good writing when it wants to.

    Report message37

  • Message 38

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by Thuban (U8349152) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    The Beeb can commission good writing when it wants to. 

    Perhaps it can ... for other genres, but for good sci-fi the record shows a series of dismal failures, including 'Torchwood' which all too soon appeared to have its own agenda. In any case it was a spin-of from 'Dr Who', wasn't it? Yes, that was (and is) popular, but good, adult sci-fi? ... Hardly. At best it's a programme for children, full of pseudo-scientific nonsense.

    I think the only programme that the BBC has shown in recent years that can claim a decent sci-fi pedigree was 'Paradox', but even then the writer(s) only flirted with parallel universe theory, and bottled out of a logical conclusion.

    It seems to me that writing good sci-fi is too difficult a challenge for most TV writers, perhaps because, for them, science itself is alien territory into which they have never ventured.

    Report message38

  • Message 39

    , in reply to message 37.

    Posted by St Maddenus Hairy Chested Hunk (U14314874) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    Oh yes, the beeb CAN and does commission great stuff but when it comes to a genre like Sci Fi /Sci Fantasy items such as cgi come into greater import in the cost of the show.

    Eg if you want to make a period drama most costumes exist already either in the wardrobe or available via stage rental outlets

    But for fantasy or sci fi they are original creations which cost more.

    possibly the reason why the Dr likes the Victorian Era.......

    Report message39

  • Message 40

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    So it seems what we need here is some steampunk! smiley - biggrin (Victorian+scifi, sort of)

    Report message40

  • Message 41

    , in reply to message 39.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012


    I really enjoyed The Flipside of Dominick Hide, back in the day.

    It's a pretty dated now, but still enjoyable.

    I think it's a good example of a good script that wouldn't have been too expensive to make.

    en.wikipedia.org/wik...

    Has anyone else seen it?

    If the BBC made a similar programme, with similar production values would it be shown the door?

    We're used to such snazzy effects nowadays, I fear our expectations with sci-fi productions has risen and that programmes like this wouldn't be seen to be of any value nowadays. What do you think?

    Report message41

  • Message 42

    , in reply to message 41.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    Do snazzy effects have to come at the expense of good writing, though? Doctor Who and Being Human have both. Look at Firefly (even better: please make it compulsory viewing for all BBC exces). How many people comment on the special effects of Firefly (and it has some awesome ones) - it's the writing and the characters every time.

    I think good writing can compensate for pretty much any other deficiency. But I also think it's time the BBC stepped up and invested a bit in quality science fiction.

    Report message42

  • Message 43

    , in reply to message 42.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012


    No, snazzy effects don't have to come at the expense of good writing - but having snazzy effects - as in Doctor Who - are expensive.

    Low ratings resulted in the cancellation of Firefly by Fox in December 2002 after only 11 of the 14 completed episodes had aired in the United States - so I guess they had a problem with how much the episodes cost, versus the audience it gained.

    However, I'm a big fan of sci-fi - so I'd be very happy to see more on the BBC.

    I do worry that without a big budget programmes would be compared unfavourably because of low production 'tech' and be dissed as rubbish though.

    Report message43

  • Message 44

    , in reply to message 43.

    Posted by dayraven (U13717520) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    I do worry that without a big budget programmes would be compared unfavourably because of low production 'tech' and be dissed as rubbish though. 
    Which is hardest on any idea largely based around a futuristic setting -- which isn't the whole of SF, true, but it's a big, important chunk of it.

    Report message44

  • Message 45

    , in reply to message 43.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    Low ratings resulted in the cancellation of Firefly by Fox in December 2002 after only 11 of the 14 completed episodes had aired in the United States - so I guess they had a problem with how much the episodes cost, versus the audience it gained. 

    There's a little more to it than that! smiley - winkeye

    Possibly not the best place to discuss it. If you're interested check out these explanations nerdapproved.com/new... science.discovery.co... www.uproxx.com/gamma... And for fun www.youtube.com/watc...

    But the interesting thing here is Firefly's endurance. Cancelled 10 years ago and the Browncoats are still going strong. I bet ratings would be fantastic if the BBC showed it (in the right order), culminating in Serenity.

    Ooh, tangent. Sorry smiley - blush

    Report message45

  • Message 46

    , in reply to message 44.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012


    It's a difficult one isn't it?

    I'm sure if someone came to the BBC with a script for a good sci-fi that didn't require spaceships to be built or loads of CGI they'd jump at it - but it's a tricky thing to 'do the future', with minimal stage sets. smiley - ufo

    Report message46

  • Message 47

    , in reply to message 42.

    Posted by 4th Dimension Wanderer (U1461416) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    I have some sympathy with the beeb on this issue - any time an episode of Doctor Who has featured sci fi elements that involve a bit of thought on the part of the viewer they get complaints along the lines of "The last series of Doctor Who was too hard to understand, I'm never watching again" etc etc - so what hope does 'hard' sci fi on the beeb have?

    The BBC's problem with making sci fi exclusively for adults isn't necessarily finding the writers or the budget but finding the viewers - the BBC can't justify spending fairly large sums of money on niche programming.

    Children of Earth showed the beeb can make good adult sci fi, sadly if Torchwood had not had Doctor Who as a springboard it would most likely not have survived that long.

    These days Sci fi needs time to find its feet and its audience and it frequently doesn't get that chance, you only have to look at how many sci fi series are cancelled after a single season - for an organisation like the BBC it's a huge risk.

    Report message47

  • Message 48

    , in reply to message 46.

    Posted by Chris Rogers (U10129711) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    @ StMaddenus:

    if you want to make a period drama most costumes exist already either in the wardrobe or available via stage rental outlets 

    …which is why Dr Who started with a strict quota of historical adventures, to save money

    Television cannot AFFORD good writing 

    Of course it can – Joss Wheedon (Dollhouse) in the US, Joe Ahearne (Ultraviolet) in the UK

    @cricket-angel:

    So it seems what we need here is some steampunk 

    Yes please, especially The Difference Engine by Gibson and Sterling, crying out for a TV adaptation


    @Peta:

    really enjoyed The Flipside of Dominick Hide….Has anyone else seen it? If the BBC made a similar programme, with similar production values would it be shown the door?  


    Yes, about 2 years ago when BBC4 screened it, and it’s brilliant. Of course the (actually very limited in terms of screentime) FX were poor, but that was the state of the (BBCTV) art in 1980. The story, though, is why it still works – and it does. Not a dry eye in the house. Those scenes would be much better now. But really it’s a false dilemma – good SF, for a TV budget, will always depend on script and character, not FX, and no writer would/should include them unless necessary.

    Report message48

  • Message 49

    , in reply to message 47.

    Posted by cricket-Angel Baratheon (U3382697) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    The last series of Doctor Who was too hard to understand, I'm never watching again" etc etc  

    Which stories were these?

    I've seen folk complain about the convoluted story arcs (me included). Not because they are difficult to understand, but because it ends up being a big flung together mish-mash in the finale. I haven't seen people complain about hard scifi elements.

    Report message49

  • Message 50

    , in reply to message 41.

    Posted by Guv-nor (U7476305) on Tuesday, 20th November 2012

    The 'Flipside of Dominick Hide' was excellent and did not rely on special effects as I recall.

    Being as it were in the 'Play for Today'/'Wednesday Play' strand it admittedly had a ready made audience, it was appointment television in this household, but a sequel has to be a fair indication of how well it was received overall.

    Many of the one off dramas that came out of 'Play for Today' are fondly remembered 'Abigail's Party' and 'Nuts in May' along with 'Cathy Come Home' but that is another topc for another day.

    Report message50

Back to top

About this Board

The Points of View team invite you to discuss BBC Television programmes.

Add basic Smileys or extra Smileys to your posts.

Questions? Check the BBC FAQ for answers first!

Go to: BBC News Have your say to discuss topics in the news

Make a complaint? Go to the BBC complaints website.

BBC News: Off-topic for this board, so contact them directly with your feedback: Contact BBC News

or register to take part in a discussion.


The message board is currently closed for posting.


Mon-Sat: 0900-2300
Sun: 1000-2300

This messageboard is reactively moderated.

Find out more about this board's House Rules

Search this Board

Recent Discussions

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.