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Why were space sci fi shows like B5 heavily stigmatized by the mainstream?

It seems like in the 1990s and 2000s people thought shows like B5 and BSG were shows only morbidly obese people who spent time in basements watch. Most of the B5 fans I have come across irl were top performing military officers nonetheless it seems like a lot of the mainstream still think of anything on TV taking place in space as a joke.

Where does this stigma come from?
 
Stupidity and ignorance. Also, some people view anything THEY'RE not into, as ridiculous, worthless and silly.
 
It seems like in the 1990s and 2000s people thought shows like B5 and BSG were shows only morbidly obese people who spent time in basements watch. Most of the B5 fans I have come across irl were top performing military officers nonetheless it seems like a lot of the mainstream still think of anything on TV taking place in space as a joke.

Where does this stigma come from?


Completely disagree with this. SF as a whole, space based or not, is now taken seriously and has become mainstream and regarded as pretty cool. Same goes for say, tabletop gaming and RPGs, nerd culture has been fully co-opted into popular culture.



I mean, look at how successful the BSG reboot was. Also, see the numerous Trek shows on the air, and Star Wars being massively popular... All my friends are watching The Mandelorian and most of them aren't SF geeks.



Back in 2000s yeah, it was definitely 'niche nerd culture'. But present day, not at all.
 
Ohhhhhh this opens a whole can of psychology worms. LOL

While Ubik has a point that today it is more accepted by the mainstream, I disagree to the degree. I think mainstream society is more accepting of certain types of Science Fiction - mainly that involving superheroes, but I don't see them really getting behind Space Based Science Fiction, with the exception of Star Wars which I feel falls more into a Fantasy Category.

Time will create change. The whole table top / role playing angle is sooo connected to that. One need only look to when those games came into existence. Then look to who grew up playing them. Then look to who started gaining a hand in the influence of pop culture. I mean that can completely wrap up the argument. People who shunned those things in the past have been replaced by people who played them or were accepting of them.

With Space based Science Fiction I think there might actually be psychological issues connected with why people still don't flock to see Star Trek or something closer to a more believable future for humans in Space. On the flip of that they seem all too ready to watch things that involve our future near extinction by things from Space or by other means. They don't want to see a new Space Opera, but they do want to see how we fight back against the Aliens or Zombies that nearly killed off the human race. And they will go in droves to see humans who have superpowers in Space or wherever else.
 
I think mainstream society is more accepting of certain types of Science Fiction - mainly that involving superheroes, but I don't see them really getting behind Space Based Science Fiction, with the exception of Star Wars which I feel falls more into a Fantasy Category.

Looney, superheroes are DEFINITELY fantasy, as well.
 
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Ohhhhhh this opens a whole can of psychology worms. LOL

While Ubik has a point that today it is more accepted by the mainstream, I disagree to the degree. I think mainstream society is more accepting of certain types of Science Fiction - mainly that involving superheroes, but I don't see them really getting behind Space Based Science Fiction, with the exception of Star Wars which I feel falls more into a Fantasy Category.

Hmmm, I mean, it's hard to ignore just how popular the BSG reboot was, and that was very squarely a space based ship how. We currently have two active Star Trek shows, with perhaps more on the way. We have The Orville, which is cute misty eyed TNG tribute. We have The Expanse, which is absolutely epic Space Opera.

I mean, let's face it, no one is getting laughed out of a board room for pitching a SF show set in space. I really do think it's changed, perceptions are really different.

Time will create change. The whole table top / role playing angle is sooo connected to that. One need only look to when those games came into existence. Then look to who grew up playing them. Then look to who started gaining a hand in the influence of pop culture. I mean that can completely wrap up the argument. People who shunned those things in the past have been replaced by people who played them or were accepting of them.

With Space based Science Fiction I think there might actually be psychological issues connected with why people still don't flock to see Star Trek or something closer to a more believable future for humans in Space. On the flip of that they seem all too ready to watch things that involve our future near extinction by things from Space or by other means. They don't want to see a new Space Opera, but they do want to see how we fight back against the Aliens or Zombies that nearly killed off the human race. And they will go in droves to see humans who have superpowers in Space or wherever else.

Ahhh, now if we are talking OPTIMISTIC space based shows. That's another matter, I kinda hate how Picard was made all edgy and nu-trek. But, I dunno, I think the Expanse has a certain wide eyed optimism at its core even if it deals in dark and light.

Basically, I see it like playing Magic The Gathering. When I was a teen, you were seen as a total nerd, now it's a pretty normal thing and you won't get laughed out of the room for it.

I think, if someone had the vision and audacity to pitch a new space opera, it'd have a good chance of getting made. I guess the Expanse is a good example that people still want this stuff.
 
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Let's not forget the history of sf. Early pulp fiction, Astounding Stories, early Asimov and Heinlein, they were ostensibly published as 'juveniles' for children (even though the authors often really wrote them for adults). And sf has never really fully escaped that stigma of being 'for children'. On TV we had the wobbly sets of Star Trek and Dr Who, aliens with bumpy heads, while the fans went to conventions and dressed up as aliens – there were lots of things for people outside of the genre to ridicule. Even sf novels get a hard time from some literary writers, such as Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan being ridiculously stuck up as though their writing is somehow more worthy.

Before TNG came along, sf on television rarely worked and lasted more than a couple of seasons. I think The X-Files was one of the shows that really transcended those television audience boundaries. Even today, I'm sceptical about how mainstream The Expanse or nu-BSG or Picard and Discovery really are. They're popular and win critical acclaim, but so did TNG, DS9 and B5, but I don't see non-sf fans flocking to these new space-based shows in the same way non-genre fans flocked to Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.

That said, you're certainly less likely to be mocked for watching The Expanse today than I was as a kid watching Trek and B5 in the 90s, and genre shows have developed a certain street cred, which I have mixed feelings about. It's all become a lot more commercial, at lot more cynical, and I think the genre has lost something in the process. The best sf is always about pushing at boundaries, today it's just remakes, adaptations and reboots with little that's truly original. That's why I'm not that keen on ever seeing JMS reboot B5 – I'd like to see him do a new space show instead.
 
That's why I'm not that keen on ever seeing JMS reboot B5 – I'd like to see him do a new space show instead.


THIS.



Although, that said, I am really starting to think B5 was a one off. It was a combination of the right people in the right place at the right time. It became more than the sum of its parts because of the team involved in creating it, from JMS, to the actors to the VFX people and the other writers that pitched in.

I've not seen anything since from JMS that ever got half as excited as B5 did. (and I include in this the ill fated B5 spin offs).

Anyhow, I digress. I would love to see someone enter with something original and new, in the same way B5 offered something fresh back then. Even 'the arc' structure is now becoming too common place and it practically ruined Picard. Perhaps we need a new kind of Televised SF?
 
I think mainstream society is more accepting of certain types of Science Fiction - mainly that involving superheroes, but I don't see them really getting behind Space Based Science Fiction, with the exception of Star Wars which I feel falls more into a Fantasy Category.

Looney, superheroes are DEFINITELY fantasy, as well.

Sorry only have a second.

Yes the Superheroes are DEFINITELY fantasy as well. I meant they are more accepting of the Science Fiction aspects of Superhero movies, ie Iron Man's suit and space battles and so on.
 
That's why I'm not that keen on ever seeing JMS reboot B5 – I'd like to see him do a new space show instead.

Although, that said, I am really starting to think B5 was a one off. It was a combination of the right people in the right place at the right time. It became more than the sum of its parts because of the team involved in creating it, from JMS, to the actors to the VFX people and the other writers that pitched in.

I've not seen anything since from JMS that ever got half as excited as B5 did. (and I include in this the ill fated B5 spin offs).

I think that's the case with all shows though. Star Trek, for example, wasn't all Roddenberry, there were people there like Bob Justman and Gene Coon.

With JMS, I think he's an amazing writer, but I don't tend to follow creators around in what they do, unless of course they keep working in a genre that is of interest to me. Jeremiah and Sense 8 were not shows that interested me (the latter of which is doubly ironic as I'm a Matrix fan too, but again I haven't followed the work of the Wachowski siblings as they just haven't done anything since that's in an area that interests me). I'm not into superheroes so I never read JMS' comics work. I would watch the Changeling though if I get chance. And his horror novels from the 80s are decent.

Anyhow, I digress. I would love to see someone enter with something original and new, in the same way B5 offered something fresh back then. Even 'the arc' structure is now becoming too common place and it practically ruined Picard. Perhaps we need a new kind of Televised SF?

I think modern TV can take arc-structure too far. B5 had an arc but most of the episodes were written to be self-contained to an extent. While I wouldn't want to go back to shows that hit the reset button every episode, I think there's a happy medium that could be found. These days one episode can just blur into the next one, and there's usually very little variety in style and storytelling between each episode. I really like The Expanse, for example, but there's very few episodes that I could pick out as being special, they just blend together.
 
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. I'm not into superheroes so I never read JMS' comics work. I would watch the Changeling though if I get chance. And his horror novels from the 80s are decent.

OOOPSSS can't believe I missed this for so long.

You should really look into some overviews of what JMS' comics are about. They are definitely not entirely about Superheroes nor are they always a very typical Superhero story when they are.
 
. I'm not into superheroes so I never read JMS' comics work. I would watch the Changeling though if I get chance. And his horror novels from the 80s are decent.

OOOPSSS can't believe I missed this for so long.

You should really look into some overviews of what JMS' comics are about. They are definitely not entirely about Superheroes nor are they always a very typical Superhero story when they are.

Well said. If you liked JMS' horror novels, you might enjoy Midnight Nation. I liked Dream Police and the Adventures of Apocalypse Al for comedy (after a fashion), too.
 
Ohhhhhh this opens a whole can of psychology worms. LOL

While Ubik has a point that today it is more accepted by the mainstream, I disagree to the degree. I think mainstream society is more accepting of certain types of Science Fiction - mainly that involving superheroes, but I don't see them really getting behind Space Based Science Fiction, with the exception of Star Wars which I feel falls more into a Fantasy Category.

Time will create change. The whole table top / role playing angle is sooo connected to that. One need only look to when those games came into existence. Then look to who grew up playing them. Then look to who started gaining a hand in the influence of pop culture. I mean that can completely wrap up the argument. People who shunned those things in the past have been replaced by people who played them or were accepting of them.

With Space based Science Fiction I think there might actually be psychological issues connected with why people still don't flock to see Star Trek or something closer to a more believable future for humans in Space. On the flip of that they seem all too ready to watch things that involve our future near extinction by things from Space or by other means. They don't want to see a new Space Opera, but they do want to see how we fight back against the Aliens or Zombies that nearly killed off the human race. And they will go in droves to see humans who have superpowers in Space or wherever else.


What kind of psychological issues?

Do people feel powerless nowadays and this causes them to go to superheroes or post apocalyptic settings rather than deep space sci fi?
 
I didn't mean anything like specific psychological issues. I meant the psychology of people becoming SciFi fans and the psychology of people shunning SciFi fans for so long and the psychology of people and pop culture somewhat gravitating toward the medium now and for what reasons and to what degree and so on and so forth and the sociological ramifications and a whole lot of other big words I can use to keep this sentence going forever. :LOL:

I do feel that to a degree many people are being drawn toward apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories these days. And we should be honest that it is due to the fact that people are writing those stories these days. Oddly enough you would have thought they would have been more popular when the threat of global annihilation was on people's minds every day during the Cold War. That threat still exists BUT our current reality might be more frighting. Thanks to F.P.F. (For-Profit-Fear - someone copywrite that for me...Jan I am looking at you.) we are now exposed to almost every injustice, tragedy, and horror that happens in the world on a daily basis. This has made the world smaller and become an every day reminder of just how terrible things can be.
 
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Surprised this conversation died. Is this a case of something I mentioned on JMS News? I mentioned how strange it is that this pandemic has given many of us more free time than we are accustomed to and yet we are not coming to these places to discuss more. I am totally guilty of this as well. I don't check here nearly as often as I did when I was super busy. Now there is some weird psychology for you. ;)
 
Still trying to pump some life into this one.....


I had a big long post, but I broke it down in more simple terms.

In the past people were conditioned to certain expectations in their entertainment through limited access. As the entertainment industry as grown and evolved people have become more conditioned to having an open mind and better understanding of narratives because of increased demand and enormously increased access to different varieties stories. People are conditioned now more than ever in the past, especially the pre-cable television past, to desire a wider variety from their entertainment than just the formulas fed to them by a handful of entertainment corporations. Because people were conditioned by the industry they stigmatized things that didn't fit within the parameters of the formulas they had been conditioned to. People are still conditioned by corporations, but now more than ever people are aware the conditioning is happening.

[I know that isn't short, but you should have seen what I wrote before - a basic history of television and expanding entertainment knowledge.] :guffaw: :LOL: :guffaw:
 

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