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Andromeda To Become Less Complex? 339

Posted by chrisd
from the too-complicated-for-kevin-sorbo dept.
Prehensile Plant writes "After 7 years of Voyager and now the godawful Enterprise, the guy responsible for everything good about Deep Space Nine has just been sacked from the show he developed. Robert Hewitt Wolfe has parted company with the last bastion of scifi for people with half a brain - Andromeda. Wolfe said: "Basically, they want the show to be more action driven, more Dylan-centric, and more episodic. They also want more aliens, more space battles, and less internal conflict among the principal characters. Also, they want a lot less continuity so as not to confuse the casual or new viewer with too much backstory." Slipstream has the full scoop.
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Andromeda To Become Less Complex?

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  • godawful Enterprise? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:34PM (#2605499)
    godawful Enterprise

    About the only thing objectionable about Enterprise thus far has been the contrivance of the distrust between Vulcans and Humans. It's as if the writers simply wanted to invert tradition for the pure hell of it.

    Other than that it has been somewhat entertaining.

    • I dont think it's contrived. They explained that the Vulcans have been looking over the Humans' shoulders for a hundred hears or so, and so that the real human-vulcan trust wont be formed until, say, the REAL Federation is formed
    • You're kidding right? If all you've watched for the last 20 years is reruns of gilligan's island, yeah Enterprise is good.

      But geeze, I've seen cardboard with better personalities than the the people in the show. The effects and constumes are good, but the plots are HORRIBLE. If executed properly would be pretty cool, but every episode has failed utterly. I mean UTTERLY, with a gag me with a spork factor that I havn't seen since Mars 2.
    • About the only thing objectionable about Enterprise thus far
      ...

      You forgot to mention the theme song :)
  • Worst Episode Ever (Score:3, Informative)

    by s20451 (410424) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:35PM (#2605503) Journal

    After 7 years of Voyager and now the godawful Enterprise,

    In the immortal words of Bart Simpson:

    Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain? ... They're giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.

    • They've been paid for their time, and paid well. And if they choose to cynically exploit their fans by airing drek like Enterprise or the most of the last couple episodes of The Simpsons, that's all the right to complain I need.
    • Where do they get their money from?

      I'd say, in essence, from those people who are watching it. And concerning Star Trek (and probably SciFi in general) this compromises a small fan(atic?) group of viewers.

      The whole Star Trek thing would have stopped after The Original Series, if it wasn't for the fans.

      In the immortal words of Bart Simpson:
      Listen to yourself man, you're hanging with nerds!
  • by Have Blue (616) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:36PM (#2605506) Homepage
    ...of wanting less continuity. Too much continuity does make it hard for new viewers to get into. I have never watched Babylon 5, for the sole reason that I would like to watch it from start to finish in the correct order, which is virtually impossible now that I missed its heyday (no one runs it any more and it's far to large to rent, even if it was available). Having less (not no) continuity would allow people to pay close attention to every episode if they wanted to , but not get totally confused by missing a show or two. The X-files actually did this pretty well (for a while).
    • by CrusadeR (555) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:47PM (#2605537) Homepage
      That's not true unless you lack cable television (I'm assuming you're in the USA).

      Sci-Fi (http://www.scifi.com/babylon5/ [scifi.com]) has been running Babylon 5 episodes (and the movies, and the 13 episodes of the follow up series Crusade on occasion) in order for over a year now. I missed it during the original run, but have since seen the vast majority of the show during this new run.

      Moreover, they funded a new B5 movie which will air in January, B5: Legend of the Rangers (http://www.scifi.com/b5rangers [scifi.com]).

    • In response to everyone who said "Watch Sci-fi", I do live in the USA but I don't get that channel. The choice was premium cable or broadband, and guess which won :)
    • I have never watched Babylon 5, for the sole reason that I would like to watch it from start to finish in the correct order, which is virtually impossible now that I missed its heyday

      It's also impossible for people in North America to see series in order anyway. Because of the strange way they are shown. Which a US or Canadian production company may well take account of, one from elsewhere in the world wouldn't be likely to.
    • I'll get back to that. First:

      It's sad that continuity can be seen as a bad thing for Sci Fi when it is the most important element in Soap Operas. If you can have a guaranteed audience for soaps, even if it's not us geeks :) then how come good Sci Fi cannot keep its own? Ratings are going to affect badly a show that I had just started watching for plot development.

      Writers shouldn't see a problem with continuity. Apparently, the excruciatingly slow pace of Dragonball Z is what got so many American kids into it. When you think about it, our (male) kids and future Scifi watchers will prove in the far future that they can withstand the effects of neverending plots. IMHO. Japanese animation like Kenshin and DBZ is showing americans that long hours of characters commenting after every move is no longer taboo.

      Another thing: I have friends who are disgusted at the simple sight of humanoid makeup on Sci Fi. There is not much chance for the 'new' plots to attract anyone but dedicated Sci Fi people.
      • I have never watched Babylon 5, for the sole reason that I would like to watch it from start to finish in the correct order

      I hear you. I caught about half of it on its first airing, but that's still not enough to let me dip in to individual re-runs.

      But it can be done. Farscape and Stargate SG-1 both have continuity in the sense of internal consistency, continuing plots and a strong story, but they aren't dominated by it. Each episode can be viewed as a standalone mini-movie. B5 also has some splendid one-off episodes, but suffers from having too many episodes that are almost entirely plot and character development.

      I can appreciate why it did this, but bearing in mind the compromises that were made to get series 5 on the air, it was effort that was (I think) ultimately wasted. Earth: Final Conflict has just gone down a similar road, and here goes Andromeda as well.

      It would be nice to see more SF series that start as cheesy and episodic tits-and-ass fests aimed at the lowest common denominator, and then once they've got the ratings, develop into something richer. Enterprise has certainly started the right way to do that. ;-)

  • My favorite quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:36PM (#2605507)
    from Sorbo: "Robert is a genius, but was developing stories that were too complicated and too clever for the rest of us to understand."

    Translation:

    "Despite the fact that the average Sci Fi viewer is ten times more intelligent than the average soap opera viewer, we didn't think they'd be smart enough to follow a complex story line. Also, it doesn't make a difference if the episodes are bad, just as long as more people watch them. Only Star Trek geeks have pride in their work."

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Friday November 23, 2001 @11:08PM (#2605597)
      Alternate Translation:


      "We will finally do something I can understand - less 'Star Trek' and more 'Hercules'. I'll be able to read my script without getting a headache. And I hope to be wearing tight leather pants soon."

    • Complexity doesn't necessarily make a good narrative. Most of what are regarded as the best narritives are often very simple and easy to understand. Take Shakespeare for example -- there are very few storylines that don't have a direct parallel to a Shakespeare play, and his plays were written to amuse 16th century Londoners, a group probably much less educated than even today's soap opera viewers.

      I think there's good reason for a SciFi TV show to focus on aliens, technology and action and shy away from overly involved narratives and excess character development. Most SciFi writers, when aiming for "deep" narratives make Paradise Lost look like an Archie comic and they're terrible at character development. I can't think of a single Voyager character that was either memorable or even interesting.

      Speaking of Soaps, have you ever actually *tried* to watch one? I think they're unbelievably complicated. We tried in college to follow All My Children one quarter (on before lunch, no classes, etc) and found it inexplicable. Yet I've known people (mostly women) who can describe months of plotlines and intricate character motivations. Don't underestimate the soaps.
      • Complexity doesn't necessarily make a good narrative.

        Point taken, however this is pretty much a generalization.

        The point is that Andromeda does have good narratives, and one of the things that makes it good (fun to watch, at least for me - and probably 90% of the rest of the audience) is the complexity.

        The science and scientific references are FUN - I get cryptic refeerences to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, even if my wife doesn't - and it doesn't bother her that she doesn't, it's still enjoyable for her.

        While in general you're right that complexity and quality are not interrelated, in this case you're wrong, and in this case, "Too complex" for an actor doesn't mean "too complex" for the audience.
  • by alen (225700) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:37PM (#2605511)
    All the strange new worlds have been discovered. They should concentrate the show on the wars with the Klingons, Romulans and conflicts with other species. After more than 10 seasons of strange new worlds what else is left? How many more humanoid type races can the make up artists think up? All the alien races on star trek are very simplistic and concentrate on one quality of humanity. By now I think they are out of qualities and should have the human race covered.

    I liked the pilot, but all the other episodes are hardly original and even kind of boring. Perfect example is a few weeks ago when they went to the planet colonized 80 years ago that got irradiated and the humans now live underground. They should fire the writers. It sounded so stupid trying to invent a new dialect for those people and making it sound like bad Shakespeare.
    • this is true, it should be less about new places since all those places were discovered by the timne kurk was captin...it should focuse much more on the humans becoming part of Galactic society and how we became to dominate so much at such a young age. perhaps that is how the romulans and klingons grew to hate us, we steped on the toes of the big guys at a young age and took the reigns away from them.

      that is where the interesting plot line is
  • Well... (Score:3, Funny)

    by J.C.B. (141141) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:38PM (#2605512) Homepage
    There's always Farscape and Lexx.
  • Wait on second (Score:2, Insightful)

    Also, they want a lot less continuity so as not to confuse the casual or new viewer with too much backstory.

    isn't that what sitcoms are for?.....SCiFi is for smart people, not for the retard who watched "Jerry" or the pop culture people who watch "will and grace" or "Survivor"
    • by alen (225700)
      Jerry Springer is awesome once in a while. I liked the episode when this woman broke up with her boyfriend because she found a new one. On show she found out that her new boyfriend had a twin brother and they were both screwing her without her knowing. One would be having sex while the other hid in the bathroom. OF course it was never explained what would happen if she wanted to go to the bathroom.
      • Jerry Springer is awesome once in a while. I liked the episode when this woman broke up with her boyfriend because she found a new one. On show she found out that her new boyfriend had a twin brother.

        Something like Jerry Springer, following some drunk people on holiday, editing footage from police cars together gets "stale" rather quickly though...
    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Friday November 23, 2001 @11:11PM (#2605607) Homepage
      I can see the next two Sci-Fi series now:
      - StarFleet's Most Exciting Chases
      - When Klingons Go Wild

      Oh yeah, and several stupid "reality TV" dating/elimination shows. (But with aliens)

      Maybe they'll turn TROOPS [theforce.net] into a series...
      • I can see the next two Sci-Fi series now:
        - StarFleet's Most Exciting Chases
        - When Klingons Go Wild

        Oh yeah, and several stupid "reality TV" dating/elimination shows. (But with aliens)


        It's surprising that there arn't many spoofs of these so called "reality TV" programmes. Since the whole thing appears ripe for poking a lot of fun at. Either of the making with aliens, demons, etc or even simply making one then revealing that all of the so called "normal people" are actually actors :)
    • SCiFi is for smart people, not for the retard who watched "Jerry" or the pop culture people who watch "will and grace" or "Survivor"


      This type of comment is just more masturbation in the style of "is code art?". Code is for monkeys. Sci-fi is for people who are impressed by make-up. Books are for clever people (they also contain less adverts.


      Disclaimer: I write code, I watch Star Trek, I read very few books, and I know I am not Stephen Hawking.


      not_cub

        • Books are for clever people (they also contain less adverts. Disclaimer: I write code, I watch Star Trek, I read very few books

        Do you forget to close brackets in your code as well? And if you read more books, you might realise that they have fewer adverts. ;p

  • I like this show. It was interesting, plus I like the fact that not all the aliens have funny ridges on their nose.

    However, they need to find a damn timeslot for it and keep it there. I haven't seen the show for quite a while because it seemed every week it was on at a different time, or pre-empted.

    Nice way to develop viewers.

    And yes...I know my problems would be solved if I could convince my wife of the benefits of a Tivo!
  • I dunno if any of you have been watching Earth: Final Conflict, but this last season of its has been sucking tremendous ass.

    At the very least we have Stargate SG-1 to entertain us? The entire show is only about continuity!

    On the other hand, remember that whole Tabasco fiasco with Roswell? I don't watch Roswell, but there was some massive campaign to keep the show from being cancelled, maybe something like that can be done to prevent this loss of what makes Andromeda cool?
  • As far as I'm concerned, no one can argue with the fact that, at the very least, Enterprise is well-acted. I personally like it. But 'Andromeda'!? That is the most idiotic show I've ever seen. I liked Deep Space Nine, and I only now realized that someone from it is writing for Andromeda; he must've suffered massive head injuries. The entire cast looks like they were ripped out of a Gap commercial to play in this 'trendy, fashionable, sci-fi show'. Kevin Sorbo is a joke. The only sci-fi show he should be in should be one where he makes fun of himself constantly as a comedic, egomaniacal captain. And the acting all around is just horrible. If the requirements for becoming an astronaut included starring in Calvin Klein underwear ads it might be a tiny bit easier to suspend disbelief and watch an entire episode. Blech.
    • Maybe they were looking to make Hercules in space?
      • Enterprise is well-acted

      To the extent that utterly predictable and stereotypical portrayal of flat, anodyne, uninvolving characters is "well acted", I agree. Similarly, I appreciate the skill that goes into the selection and production of Muzak, but I don't have to want to listen to the awful stuff.

  • A Sign of the Times (Score:5, Informative)

    by hillct (230132) on Friday November 23, 2001 @10:59PM (#2605566) Homepage Journal
    It's sad that producers have such a low opinion of viewers these days, that they choose to dumb down otherwise intentionally texdured and compled material. Gene Rodenbury would be rolling over in his grave if his ashes weren't floating in space.

    The scary thing is the producers might be right. The steps probably will improve ratings for the show, which is a pathetic comentary on television audiances.

    Also, I periodically watched 'Earth: Final Conflict' but this season the producers decided to trash the plot arc and introduce an episodic action driven cookie-cutter plot strategy. There really isn't any good Sci-Fi out there, except perhaps Stargate-SG1 and The Outer Limits.

    On the other hand, since none of us are actively producing television series, we don't really have much of a right to complain. Some may say that producers should listen to us because we, the audience, are the 'customers' and are always right, but certainly the changes being made to these shows are based of viewer feedback and focus groups, with the intent to improve ovarall ratings and thus proffit.

    Perhaps the programming via subscription model that as tried several times a few years back, needs to be applied to Sci-Fi series. I havn't heard much about this model ($19.95 per season per viewer) recently which leads me to believe the original attempts ere spectacular failures, but perhaps with the more dedicated audiences of Sci-Fi, it would work better.

    --CTH
    • Some may say that producers should listen to us because we, the audience, are the 'customers' and are always right

      We, the audience, are not the customers and whether we are right or not doesn't matter. The advertisers are the customers and the media executives pay the producers to create a product that will deliver the eyeballs to the advertisers. Sometimes the producers, perhaps to avoid boredom on the job, forget about the eyeballs and make something good but if it doesn't deliver the eyeballs the executives will find a monkey who will get the job done.
      • True. Viewers aren't strictly the direct customers because the viewers don't supply funds directly to the producers, but the viewers do directly effect the valuation of the product, so to say that the viewers aren't the customers (read: End Users) is just as much a misnomer.

        --CTH
    • It's sad that producers have such a low opinion of viewers these days, that they choose to dumb down otherwise
      intentionally texdured and compled material.

      As I write this, I just got finished watching "Jaywalking" on the Tonight show. It was the thanksgiving episode, and this time Jay pitted people on the street vs first graders on thanksgiving knowledge. People on the street didnt know that the pilgrims came over on the mayflower, in 1620, landed at plymouth rock or wore hats with buckles (actually they probably didnt wear hats with buckles, but for the sake of tradition) People also didnt know that the first thanksgiving was between the pigrims and the indians. My favorite line went something like this:


      Jay: So who was at the first thanksgiving?


      inDUHvidual:It was the Pilgrims and um, i guess the white guys


      Jay: So the pilgrims sat down with the white guys


      inDUHvidual: yeah


      Jay: So who were the pilgrims if they werent white guys?


      inDUHvidual: They were the indians


      Granted, Jay does all his stints in southern califronia, but keep in mind that most TV shows are made there too, and these are the type of viewers that TV execs think populate the rest of the country.

      • Point Taken. I saw that too. I'm not sure where Jay finds these sad wastes of skin but I remember reading somewhere that they only interview something like 14 people to get the 5-8 clips they usually broadcast. Truly scary.

        --CTH
        • I remember reading somewhere that they only interview something like 14 people to get the 5-8 clips they usually broadcast. Truly scary.

          Not really. When Jay Leno comes up to you on the street and asks you trivia questions, if you're smart you know that the only way you're going to be on TV is if you give stupid answers, so that's exactly what people do. It's the people that waste their time answering all the questions correctly, oblivious to the fact that they aren't going to be on TV, that are the truly stupid.
    • I created the petition to have Robert Hewitt Wolfe be allowed to return to the show and his status be restored as Head Writer of the show. If you love Gene Roddenberry's Ardromeda and wish that the way the show has been written as a continuing story arc rather than a stand alone storyline. Please come to this petition URL and sign it....let us fight back and let them know we won't tolerate another Voyager television show complete with another Seven of Nine in a cat suit with double DDs. Sex and Action is not the theme of the show, science fiction is! http://www.petitiononline.com/ker3/petition.html Thank you!
  • I think Enterprise rocks. DS9 was my favorite Star Trek series, and Enterprise is climbing rapidly.

    What I especially like about Enterprise is that it's interesting watching the humans do their thing while being the "clueless newbies" on the block.

    I also particularly like the way they've handled the Vulcans. It really shows how one dimensional the Vulcans have been in previous episodes. At their best, they are cool toward humans, and at their worse (e.g., the Starship captain) they are downright rude jerks. It's interesting seeing that the Vulcans have done some growing in the later centuries as well.

    The characters are still learning their role, but so far, I really like the show.

    The only thing negative is that they've embraced time travel plots. I hate time travel plots. There are very few plots that require time travel, and couldn't be rewritten without it. RM101's rule: All time travel episodes suck*.

    *Well, except for the original series' City on the Edge of Forever where Kirk, Spock and McCoy go back to the 1930s. But that's the exception that proves the rule.

    • I think Enterprise rocks.

      I wouldn't say that it rocks, but by god it's far better than Hercules in Space.

      As far as time travel, it's like the freeken Holodeck episodes. Horrible. At least the Enterprise series doesn't have those.

      Babylon 5 was good, and Farscape has it's moments - but it has gotten stale.

      Otherwise it's time to read a book.
      • Of course time travel episodes suck.

        Why?

        Because time doesn't exist. It's a concept made my man only. Look up the definition. Time is what we use to measure change, so how the hell could we travel "back in time" when time itself is a measure of change?
      • I wouldn't say that it rocks, but by god it's far better than Hercules in Space.

        I WISH Andromeda was as good as Hercules in Space. Herc & Xena both had this quirky charm that made them very appealing to me -- and there was lots of fightin' and good-looking women. Sorbo even at least TRIED to act -- and his supporting cast was good enough to carry the show despite his wooden nature.

        Andromeda has almost nothing going for it, and I say that as a rabid SF fan who will watch nearly any piece of sh!t with a spaceship in it. I tried, I really did, but Andromeda made me cringe every time I watched it. Andromeda makes Enterprise look like high art, like something worthy of a government grant, even though Enterprise doesn't have a hottie ship's computer. And if there is one thing I can't get enough of, it's a hottie hologram... but even that can't get me to watch the show.

        (I can't stand Lexx either. Farscape I have tried to watch but it's been weak... I am hoping that it was just bad luck with the episodes I saw, I will give it another shot some day under friends' advice.)

        If you are depressed by Andromeda or Enterprise, let me recomemnd "24." So far, 24 is the best TV series I have ever seen. Ever. They replay it once a week on FOX and also on FX, I think... look for it Sunday night, then catch the new one. You'll be glad you did.

        (well, M*A*S*H is hard to beat, but classic TV is a different category...)
    • It's one thing to be newbies on the block. Enterprise makes humans out to be the village idiot.

      Gag me. My 1 year old neice demonstrates better judgement than the characters on the show. And she sticks random objects off of the floor in her mouth.
  • This is old news. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wadetemp (217315)
    This entire season has already been this way. The loss of a writer isn't going to kick the change into motion... the format change was at the start of this season. It all started with the "improved" theme song, and transgressed into many episodes of Dylan running around, jumping off things, and shooting alot; Trance "confessing" to being a sex slave, Rommie's "bad ass android" episode, etc. Has no one already noticed that none of this is "real" Sci-Fi, but ratings garnish? Still, I like the show just fine. :)
  • Great, are these the same guys calling the shots with Earth Final Conflict? Every season got worse because they kept of 'fixing' the show. Andromeda isn't broke so DON'T FIX IT. They'll keep the strong ratings by keeping the viewers they earned the first season. The first season was great, the second so far even better. Hope they come to their sences.

    Keep Majel happy. [cinescape.com]

  • Petition? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hirschma (187820)
    Ok, its the goofiest thing I'll ever do, but I like this show so much I'd sign one. Anyone know where it is?

    The first season, was, by far, the best season of science fiction on TV ever. The finale was awesome. And yes, things started sucking even at the beginning of season two... although it is still a great show.
  • Babylon 5, Legend of the Rangers [b5lr.com] is a new Babylon 5 series spinoff due to start airing in January 2002 [b5lr.com] less than 2 months away.
    Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers (B5LR) is a spin-off of Babylon 5 , and will initially be a 90-minute telemovie called "To Live and Die in Starlight". It airs on the US SCI FI Channel in January 2002.
    So never fear, people addicted to intelligent Science fiction have something new on the horizon.

    Good Interview here [scifi.com]

    The hope is that this will go on to become a series

    As far as Andromenda, this sounds like Paramount is trying to do what TNN wanted to do with the Bab5 sequel, turn it into a Science fiction version cross mix of WWF and Baywatch.

    If it was that easy, why doesn't someone try to write stuff like that? Or don't they know that that it is easier to write stuff that sucks vs stuff that is good?

    • So never fear, people addicted to intelligent Science fiction have something new on the horizon.

      You won't find many bigger B5 fans than I, but B5 doesn't have a very good track record with the movies. Also, even if the show does get picked up, it's quite a long way over the horizon.
    • That was TNT, not TNN, that was "involved" with the first Babylon5 spinoff "Crusade."
  • I've always thought a mini-series approach would work well with Star Trek. Rather than picking 7 years of the Trek universe and focusing on one lousy ship and crew, they would have half a dozen shows focusing on some interesting aspect of the whole Trek future history. Show them from different races points of view, even. I for one would like to see the separation of the Romulans and the Vulcans. The founding of the Federation, Kahless and the Klingon Empire, Changlings and the Dominion, even the Borg Collective (one of the better Voyager episodes was suggestive along these lines). The Cardassian occupation of Bajor. The wars with the Romulans and Klingons and why the Feds have the Prime Directive. Events leading to the destruction of the Enterprise-C. What happened in the period between First Contact and Enterprise. The Orion Syndicate. There's hundreds of years and thousands of concepts that could be explored.

    This way, there's tremendous continuity between episodes of each 'series', but you need only have a smattering of knowledge about Star Trek to pick up on a new one. Also, there's enough time to do some character development, but not enough that they have to get radically desperate for ideas the way they did with some episodes.
    • Rather than picking 7 years of the Trek universe and focusing on one lousy ship and crew, they would have half a dozen shows focusing on some interesting aspect of the whole Trek future history. Show them from different races points of view, even.

      That's a neat idea and lots of us would like it. It can never happen, though.

      A TV show or any other entertainment property is all about building equity. You invest in the characters and the stories... you need to be able to sell lunch pails and action figures. A show that jumped around could never build that kind of momentum. While it might be a GREAT show, it wouldn't be the KIND of great that the studio would really support... I think it would be the dreaded "critically acclaimed" type of thing.

      (I also think that you'd lose the majority of the public by jumping all over... the STUPID majority, sure, but you gotta play the numbers.)
  • I've watched Andromeda in it's entirety. The first season was definately arranged around a far more complex plot (per episode) than the new 2nd season.
    But you know what - I still like the show.

    If anyone can remember back to when shows like "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza" ruled the airwaves, you'd notice the similarities between them and Andromeda immediately. There's that deep announcer-type voice over for the opening, that grand idea of "taming" the hinterlands and a cast whose story revolved mostly around their "homestead". Then we have the fact thatthe characters are almost one-to-one. For example, the leader and visionary would mean Dylan Hunt can be equated to Ben Cartwright, the "cute" Trance would probably be Little Joe, and so on. Then there's the fact that all episodes (except maybe season finale/premier) are an hour or less and the episode is mostly self contained. Finally, you can add in the gun fights, which seem pretty much bang on to those moments when we see those neat "force-lances", and the horse'n'buggy stuff matches right up to the Andromeda's crew using the Eureka Maru to go off on whatever "mission" is necessary..

    All in all, it looks like we're back to the *serial-western*, except in space. So I'd say what's really been done is to revert to the core of TV history - simple mindless entertainment with no strings attached.
  • (as I gingerly step onto my soapbox)

    Apparently the poster hasn't really been watching all that sci-fi has to offer of late. Farscape has been and continues to be-

    1. Very continuity driven, yet accessible through genuine humor. Enterprise has apparently been passing all of the inhabited planets with jokes on them. Farscape succeeds by making the continuity-heavy bits multi-parters (there've been 2, if memory serves, THREE PART episodes), and the less continuity-heavy parts character driven...so even if you're not quite sure what's going on, the interactions between crew members (whether they're pissed off with each other or having mad sex) makes up for it.

    Ah yes, Stargate SG-1 gets continuity points as well. Great show. Nearly every episode feels like a movie in itself (okay, that's just because they're no commercials built in, and it has super high production values, but i'm not complaining!)

    2. Full of well-acted changing characters. Emphasis on the _changing_. The only other show I can cite where characters change so dramatically and _believably_ is B5. It's such a joy to watch characters you love go through hell and back and come out the other end with scars that they keep with them for episodes and episodes.

    3. Unafraid to push boundaries. Farscape, near the end of the 3rd season it is in currently, ran an episode that was almost entirely a cartoon--a looney toon, in fact. It was funny, and touching, even.

    4. And on the subject of being touching. Call me what you like, but Farscape makes me cry. Pretty often. So there. B5 did it, but Andromeda? Too bad what potential _was_ there has just gone the way of the dodo. And voyager? Man would I have jumped for joy if Janeway had bitten it...

    So that's all. I _hope_ the poster takes the time to look into Farscape...I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy, and that I've seen enough crappy sci-fi to know that Farscape is pretty darn smart.

    Of course, this is all just my opinion.

    Octavian
    • I totally agree. Farscape has got to be my favorite show on TV right now.

      And the cartoon episode was awesome. Even the live "in brain" moments managed to keep a cartoony feel to them.

      "Take Revenge John!" (Harvy: big grin, nods up and done rapidly)
      "Uuuuhhhh, nope." (Dargo: prior to chasing John around more)
  • Darnit, I like tons of backstory, even when I don't know all of it. I like it when a TV shows rewards its regular audience with content that they can appreciate more than casual viewers, because they pay attention to the series. And I'd think the writers would like to encourage such a fan base as well, just for the joy of creating a world that isn't just sitcom eye-candy.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      I like it when a TV shows rewards its regular audience with content that they can appreciate more than casual viewers

      I think we all know the answer here: It's not necessarily that the audience is too dumb to appreciate the intelligent series that exist. It's that the typical TV executive is too dumb to appreciate them. While watching the deep storylines, the corporate drones feel bewildered and oppressed by an unnerving sense that everyone else gets it but they do not -- that there is a sly joke going on, and it's on them.


      They dumb things down not because they have any empirical evidence that this will help ratings. They do it, rather, because they have no other ideas -- no clue what else to do. This is how a ratings slump has always been solved, so this is how they must be solved. Never mind that, in the actual history of television, these shennanigans have never actually solved a ratings slump.


      Although television is allegedly a creative art, the very top levels are infested with groupthinkers and sheep. Good science fiction, true science fiction, escapes them and they are threatened by it.

    • You'd think that tons of backstory would be desirable in a SciFi series; a true SciFi fan survives without the backstory, because the show is cool.

      And the same fan is dying for the reruns to start so he can see the backstory.

      So, wouldn't tons of backstory give reruns more value than as filler between seasons?
  • If you'll notice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dkh (125857)
    "...the godawful Enterprise..." is drawing more comments then the rest of the post. There is a reason for that. Andromeda is lame, its hardly better then modern Saturday morning cartoons. Enterprise on the other hand is the best thing to happen to the Trek franchise since the original show.

    It gives us characters we can care about. It gives us history, its interesting to see the beginings of things that were taken for granted in earlier series. It gives us incite and perspective with which we can better appreciate some of the things we already know about.

    Vulcans seem more "real", they aren't treated as infalible as they were in other series. Its intriguing to see. The first contact with the Klingons was perhaps what we expected but yet from the very first they seem honorable. It will be fun to see the first contact with the other races that we know about.

    Its refreshing to see what the rest of the universe looks like without the all powerful all pervasive Starfleet getting in the way. Hopefully there will be more glimplses of earth life beyond the frieghters. No more searching for excuses on why the transporter can't be used to save the day or why the replicators, just this once, can't produce what is needed. This crew is facing real limitations on ability and knowledge...it will make for better stories.

    Yes, it has its problems...I find the opening annoying, lose the vocals, the imagry works and would be more powerful without them. The time travel crap that infested Voyager is threatening to raise its ugly head and I hope they can keep it to a minimum.

    Andromeda? Who cares what happens to it. Give me Enterprise and Farscape and I'll be a happy camper.
  • I'll say it once:

    Stargate SG-1
    Stargate SG-1
    Stargate SG-1

    Even if you don't get cable, catch it this week in syndication -- it's a hilarious episode where they make fun on conspiracy theorists. :-)
  • Frankly, Stargate SG-1 is one of the best sci-fi shows on TV.
    The only two shows that are on par with it are Babylon 5 (which is in reruns), and Farscape (which is a hard show to compare it to, since it has a much different feel to it).

    While most of the first season of SG-1 sucked, and part of the second had problems, it gets REALLY good after that point. Every season of the show has been getting better and better (much like Babylon 5 did, with its slow start).

    If you've never seen the show before, and are interested in trying it, here is the order I'd suggest to "sample" it:
    1. Stargate (the movie) - The series starts one year after the movie, and involves the same characters and setting. Not 100% required, and not as good as the series, but it definitely helps to watch this first.
    2. Stargate SG-1, episodes 1-2 (counting the 2-hour premiere as one episode) - DVD #1
    3. Stargate SG-1, episodes 19-21 - DVD #5
    These episodes are the best indication of what type of show the series is.
    You can skip the rest of season one if you're just sampling the series to decide if you like it. Before watching much further you should go back and watch the rest of season one, however - while not all of season 1 is important to the ongoing plot, 9 of the remaining 16 episodes contain information that is important/vital to understanding events later in the series.

    --The Rizz

    "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidise it." --Ronald Reagan
  • What I really want to see are re-runs of Star Trek The Animated Series!!!
  • I've said it before, and I'll say it again: more Lexa Doig! More Rommie!

    If you don't understand how the incredibly sexy avatar of the most powerful starship is the bestest geek girlfriend ever, you probably shouldn't even be reading Slashdot. :)

    • From the Slipstream article [slipstreamnews.com]:

      And finally, they wanted to rework the visual signature of several of the characters, most especially Trance and Rommie, [...] (less uniforms [...])."

      Okay. I see their point now. Robert Hewitt Who? =)

  • by Robber Baron (112304) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @02:14AM (#2606039) Homepage
    They also want more aliens, more space battles, and less internal conflict among the principal characters. Also, they want a lot less continuity so as not to confuse the casual or new viewer with too much backstory."

    Wonderful! Next thing you know, you'll start seeing a few guest appearances by Lucy Lawless... [frodisman.com]
  • Milk is to become more white, infants are to become more young, and dirt is to become more filthy.
  • by IronChef (164482) on Saturday November 24, 2001 @05:27AM (#2606303) Homepage
    Of the shows current on, here are some of my ratings. All IMHO, of course.

    shows I like with few reservations
    24 (VERY GOOD, try it out.)
    ER (there's more to life than SF)
    Buffy
    Angel (I actually far prefer this to Buffy these days, it has a "quirkiness" that reminds me of Herc & Xena)
    Stargate SG-1 (best SF currently on, ties with B5 overall, on course to overtake it)
    Junkyard Wars
    Good Eats (the cooking show that's so good it inspired me to learn to cook)
    The Sopranos (on hiatus)
    Six Feet Under (on hiatus)
    Malcolm in the Middle

    shows that I watch despite some pretty serious flaws, though I feel kind of dirty after a viewing
    Enterprise
    Alias (Sidney has terrible, terrible fieldcraft and most of the tech is totally silly, otherwise pretty neat)
    X-Files (increasingly incomprehensible!)

    shows I really wish I could learn to like
    Farscape (Saw it twice: blue-girl got a cold, and a monster in a cheap-looking mine. Lame.)

    shows that even prisoners of war should not be made to watch
    Lexx
    Andromeda
    Earth: Final Conflict
    Dark Angel (She has cat DNA, so she goes into HEAT. That was the last of many straws.)

    It's late and I have probably forgotten something obvious.
  • Is everybody forgetting that part of Wolfe's task on DS9 was to make it more action-oriented, and easier to "follow" for the masses?

    Like it or not, it's a fact that if the masses don't like it, it doesn't make much money, and if it doesn't make enough money to justify airing it instead of something more marketable, we don't get to see it at all.

    Action-oriented? Little continuity of plot? Sounds like the original Star Trek to me...
  • Take the original, thoughtful premise. Have everyone except Sorbo and the AI leave for their own series. Then Sorbo can do goofball episodic fluff like the last three years of Hercules, and everyone else can get to the real business, like all but the last year of Xena.

    How about: A new drug is developed which - when used in a Wayist, super(wo)man, love machine setting with the right dodad in the neck-jack - transforms members of various (sub)species into truly peaceful, cooperative, enlightened folk. The crew realize that among them they have the resources to transform civilizations by distributing this drug. Sorbo won't go along because the "High Guard" mission statement holds too much consciousness to be a bad thing. Sorbo becomes recurrent guest character Last Unhappy Man - sort of a Flying Dutchman against the background of expanding waves of utopian transformation.

"From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." -- Dr. Seuss

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