Thursday, August 04, 2005

SciFi, Battlestar Galactic and respect

Interesting article from Newsday about science fiction looking for respect on television. Here's the lead:

Rodney Dangerfield was wrong. It's sci-fi TV that don't get no respect.

Case in point: A vice president in the TV industry recently asked me what TV shows I watch for enjoyment. I mentioned my favorite is "Battlestar Galactica" on Sci Fi Channel. She laughed. I asked if she'd seen it. No, she said, and laughed again. Did she know, I asked, that it's a gritty adult drama of family members and colleagues in deep-rooted conflict not unlike that of "The Sopranos"? That they're part of a civilization struggling not only to survive but to define itself amid messy terrorist warfare? That it explores the values of competing societies that demonize each other's spiritual beliefs? That it's full of gutsy acting by the likes of Edward James Olmos and sophisticated allegory mirroring today's global politics?

She laughed again.

The article then goes on to say how good, how deep SciFi's "Battlestar Galactica" is. And I would certainly agree with that. The show is fighting to get respect among Emmy nominators.
It's a good article, but this annoys me:

"There is this horrible misconception that science fiction is for somebody else, not for me," says Bonnie Hammer, president of Sci Fi Channel and USA, who campaigns daily to convince skeptics that today's TV genre encompasses more than space and special effects. "It's speculative fiction, it's the imagination, it's anything outside what we know to be true, it's the not-quantifiable," she says. In her seven years overseeing Sci Fi programming, its series have been repositioned not as fantastic adventures but relatably soul-driven dramas.

OK, Hammer deserves some respect because at some point she approved "Battlestar Galactica" and "Farscape" (although she also took it off the air). However, this is also the woman who has approved filling up the channel with films like "Boa vs. Python" and "Bloodsuckers," the woman who tries to move the channel away from science fiction much of the time. Maybe if she wants more respect for the genre, she can start seeking out some of the better science fiction movies that are rarely, if ever, shown on TV. Maybe she can commission good scripts for small movies.

Anyway, "Battlestar Galactica" is pretty great. Let's hope it wins some awards. (Link from SciFi Daily.)

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