Monday, October 15, 2012

Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror Genre Television Then and Now


I have never been a big fan of television other than a few series of the science fiction, fantasy/horror genre and the once in awhile drama.  When I was a child growing up in the early ‘60s and ‘70s, the selections of these genres were rare, and for the most part, they did not last an extended length of time.  Even so, I was too young to keep up with a series on a weekly/yearly basis.  Over the years, other series of these genres were out there, but none that held my attention or sparked my imagination so that I wanted to schedule my time to sit for a half hour or an hour each week to watch.

The many series that I mention in this blog, all have some common characteristics.  The most important of these is good, intelligent story telling.  I approach a television series much in the same way that I approach a book.  If a book or series does not captivate me by the time I finish the third chapter, or the third episode I will stop reading or watching.  The second most important element is an emotional attachment to the characters and their plight.  I want to see and understand the character’s lives and motives, whether those characters are human or supernatural in nature.  Consistency of character and an understanding of their reasoning and actions when things go wrong in their worlds are important.  The protagonist must have fallibility, and the antagonist must have one or more quality, characteristic, or back-story experience that causes me to have some understanding of, or even empathy for the character to some degree.

Another quality to I need television series relative to reading is that when a series comes to an end that the story remained true to itself to the end.  As with finishing a book, I want to have the feeling that I am saying goodbye to the characters and that I will miss them.  I also want to know that just as I will want to re-read a book that I will want to re-watch a series.  There are many series that I have or will in the future re-watch. 

There are also some series that by the time they reached their last season that they went too far off their story line to the point that I have no desire to watch them again.  I feel that this is a real shame and I question the writers and creators as to what they were thinking.  A couple of examples of these series are Roswell (1999-2002), and Ghost Whisperer (2005-2010).  This is, of course, my personal opinion, but I have to say that I was very disappointed with the final seasons of these two series.

Another quandary is series that had great potential that the networks cancelled before their time.  A couple of examples of these are Harsh Realm (1999-2000) and Tru Calling (2003-2005).  Of course Firefly (2002-2003) falls into this category as well, however Joss Whedon gave us more with the full-length movie Serenity (2005) and the continuation of the story in comic book form.

Some series that were available during my childhood were Doctor Who (1963-1989), The Twilight Zone (1959-1964), The Outer Limits (1963-1965), The Time Tunnel (1966-1967), and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-1968). They were, in my opinion, the best of their genres for their time.  In 1966, Star Trek (1966-1969) came along and brought the science fiction genre, as I knew it on television, to a new height.  I was ten years old when Star Trek premiered and I remember having a feeling of awe and excitement at the thought that this series was to air every week with a new episode.  I never missed an episode.  That same year Dark Shadows (1966-1971) began as a soap opera and I watched that as well, but it was rare that I arrived home from school to see an entire episode.  (Note: Remember younger folk, at that time VCRs and other technology were a thing of the future).  

After Doctor Who went on its hiatus in 1989, I did not watch any series television until 1993 when The X-Files (1993-2002) began its nine-season run with Millennium (1996-1999) and The Lone Gunman (2001) following, and all created by Chris Carter.  It was during this period that Joss Whedon came along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Angel (1999-2004).  These series created by Whedon and Carter were the top series that I labeled as not to miss.  Lost (2004-2010) came along in 2004 running for and Medium (2005-20011) which continued for seven seasons.

Quite a few series of which I became a fan appeared in 2005 that I continue to watch religiously.  Some of these include  Supernatural (2005-) premiered and is now in its eighth season as well as the return of Doctor Who (2005-) now in season seven which brought Torchwood (2006-2011)  along as spin-off of its parent series.  After this run in 2005 Fringe (2008-) came along in 2008 and is now in its fifth season, followed by The Vampire Diaries (2009-) now beginning its fourth season and  The Walking Dead (2010-) now beginning its third season. Grimm (2011-) is now in its second season as is Once Upon a Time (2011-).

Well, this is pretty much my list of must see television series of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre.  I might have left out a couple that will come to me soon after this post is up.  There are a couple of series premiering this fall that I do not have an opinion on as yet, but I will let you know what I think of these when the time comes.  I only hope that more and more of this genre keep appearing. In future blogs I will proceed into in-depth posts regarding a few, if not all, of these series individually.  We’ll see how that works out…

As always thanks for reading and I hope all is well with you and yours.  ~Yvonne~
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