No, not another discussion of how to define SF, not really anyway. The Naples Daily News has an article from Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (hows that for convoluted?) about Battlestar Galactica entitled New ‘Galactica’ stretches the definition of science fiction. Basically, Mr. Owen’s thesis is that BG is stretching the realm of science fiction because it:
has enough political intrigue to satisfy fans of “The West Wing,” more religious allegory than any other show on television, enough action and plot twists to rival “24” and the kind of character drama “Lost” fans crave.
Who knew SF didn’t have this before? I guess Mr. Owen hasn’t seen Babylon 5 or Firefly. At any rate, I will grant him his premise to a certain extent, at least for SF on TV. Most of it is crap and campy (crampy?), with the SciFi Channel doing its best to uphold that tradition with its host of low cost creature feature crap fests, thus futhering the perception that SF on TV is nothing but junk. Certainly, written SF has been pushing the boundaries for quite a long time and has as much political intrigue (Dune), religious allegory (Gene Wolfe’s Books of the *** Sun) and action (Hammer’s Slammers, etc) as anyone could want. The problem being, most people think BG (and SF in general):
will appeal to that niche audience, but to dismiss it as a show only for the convention-attending, action-figure-collecting fanboys (and girls)…
See? SF is niche. Well it is, to a certain degree. But it’s got a huge following and not everything produced under its name is junky. The rest of the article goes over the how the cast is relating to being in a successful SF show and is kinda fun. My only wish is that the success of BG will cause others to re-examine their perception of SF and maybe try to find some good SF to read. Then they’ll realize just how awful televised and filmed SF really is and will ask/demand better.
And BG isn’t breaking any new ground here or actually stretching the definition of SF. It only seems that because of the dearth of quality visual SF in the recent past.