When is a television network going to bring back the Space Opera? Hollywood has produced some great space movies lately with Prometheus being the most recent but nothing in a serial for the small screen seems to be materializing.
I realize we have a lot of scripted science fiction on TV along with the new shows coming in the fall and 2013. We have alien invasions, zombies, people with paranormal powers, time travelers and the like but there’s no show exploring space, seeking out new worlds, new species, and new civilizations.
I’ve looked. The latest article I could find was from ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ in November of 2011 that stated that Universal Cable Productions was developing an Untitled Robert H. Wolfe Project for Syfy. We all know what happened with the pilot for Battlestar Gallactica: Blood and Chrome so don’t hold your breath. I have seen nothing from any of the other networks about developing or producing a space opera.
So what is the problem? Does the industry think the public has grown tired of the genre the way they grew tired of the western?
I don’t think so and I implore the studios and the networks to rethink their latest decisions. They haven’t given up on medical or crime shows just because one or two failed to draw an audience. It is more about the quality of the writing and staying current with the tastes of the 18 to 49 demographic not the fault of the genre.
Books, which can be classified in the sub genre of space opera, are still popular. New books are being published such as the recent “Existence” by David Brin or the 2011 “Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse)” by James S.A. Corey that has been nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award for best novel.
The old popular series are still being watched and older novels read by new fans that discover them every year. BBCA keeps running the Star Trek franchise and Battlestar Gallactica. The Science Channel brought back Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Just ask the people descending on San Diego Comic-Con this month what they would like to see. Many will be attending the 10th Anniversary Firefly panel, which will have the whole crew sans Jewel Staite because of her prior commitment to be at the London Film and Comic-Con.
Here is my advice to any of the cable networks. First, buy or create a good storyline. Second, get some good writers to develop characters that the audience will like but more importantly find interesting. Third, the b and c storyline is the key to the success of a series and every bit as important as the main plot. Once you have a good pilot trust the writers. Do NOT air the episodes out of order. Remember I said the b and c storyline is important to a show’s success, screw with it at your own peril.
Last, sit back and bask in your own success and prey no other producer reads this article. No need to thank me, being able to watch a good space opera again will be thanks enough.