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  1.  (2282.1)
    JJ Abrams new show "Fringe", which is science-horror



    Joss Whedon is doing a show about mind-control/brain-wiping called Dollhouse.



    and the great British show "11th Hour" is getting Americanized.

    From last year you have Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles.

    Is science the new horror? All these shows feature science, and it's abuse, as a central theme. Science as monster? Science as Horror?

    Could this be a bit of futureshock for people coming through in mainstream television?
  2.  (2282.2)
    Could this be a bit of futureshock for people coming through in mainstream television?


    Interesting observation of the sudden influx, since science as monster has been a reliable theme in movies and genre literature for years clearly, but largely absent from American genre TV. Even X-files was mostly science as repressive not science as the horror itself. Can anyone think of any major pre-2008 American genre TV in which science is not 1) window dressing 2) humor or 3) incompetent?
    • CommentAuthorWinther
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008 edited
     (2282.3)
    Hasn't the abuse of science always been kind of a sizeable part of SF, both in literature and on TV/film? That's one of the main ways conflict is derived from in that genre. I think the reason we're seeing those themes more on TV right now is because there are just more science fiction on TV in general. Whether that's society's worries manifesting themselves in entertainment, or just Fox (Fringe, Dollhouse and Terminator are all Fox shows) trying to launch the next BSG is hard to say. After all, it's not uncommon for studios, both in film and TV, to try to ride the slipstream of other successes. Look at how many fantasy epics were thrown at us after Lord of the Rings broke the bank.
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      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008
     (2282.4)
    The Fringe trailer ends with an iconic Future Shock statement if there ever is one: "I'm scared; I just want to go back to how it was before."
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      CommentAuthorwarrenellis
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008 edited
     (2282.5)
    and the great British show "11th Hour"

    It really wasn't great. It could have been, and should have been. But it wasn't. I actually hold out more hope for the US show, as it's being run by Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff, who did BRIMSTONE and SLEEPER CELL.
  3.  (2282.6)
    And now the Andromeda Strain is being remade.


    I don't want to be hit with a heavy arse eel or seen as a craven brown-noser but come now, tell me that "Global Frequency" wouldn't be a more solid concept than any of these?\\
  4.  (2282.7)
    I dug 11th hour mainly for Patrick Stewart to be honest.

    I looks like Rufus Sewell is taking over the part for the American version. Got a CSI patina to it, no doubt Bruckheimer's influence there.

  5.  (2282.8)
    andromeda strain was on a while back - not great, not too shabby.
    11th hour could have been really good but, well, it was on itv.
    • CommentAuthorThumpsquid
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008
     (2282.9)
    Where is Professor Quatermass when we really need him?
  6.  (2282.10)
    As JTraub says, science has been a staple of science fiction for a long while, certainly in the UK. The recent controversies in the scientific field such as GM crops and genetic experimentation could have fuelled a new surge though.

    Thumpsquid, you got me looking into whether there are any Quatermass plans and I discovered they did a version in 2005 that I completely missed! Will be hunting it down.
  7.  (2282.11)
    @JTraub:
    Can anyone think of any major pre-2008 American genre TV in which science is not 1) window dressing 2) humor or 3) incompetent?


    VR5?
    (Admittedly, for low values of 'major' and 'science'...)
  8.  (2282.12)
    the quatermass thing from 2005 from the bbc3 week was, regrettably, pish.
    quatermass and the pit was one of the few things ever to give me the fear, mind you, I was very young and was allowed up very late to watch it on bbc2.
    • CommentAuthorThumpsquid
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008 edited
     (2282.13)
    there's 2 other BBC science horror series ripe for remakes:-
    1) "The Nightmare Man (strange goings on on Scottish Island; possible alien landings; BBC manage to make it all look like it was filmed on a golf course in Southsea, much better than it sounds)
    2) "The Omega Factor" (psychic powers; evil shadowy organisation), Mary Whitehouse described it as "Thoroughly Evil," So nice to get an endorsement.
    •  
      CommentAuthorliquidcow
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008
     (2282.14)
    Science has long been a staple of the horror genre, so it seems to me that the idea of 'science-horror' as some kind of crossover-genre is not really accurate. The main difference between horror and science fiction isn't so much the inclusion of science and scientists so much as the way they are presented. Science in sci-fi is usually fetishized, loads of cool gadgets and neat machinery, wheras in horror it's usually vague and chaotic therefore scary because we don't understand it (think of the stereotypical image of the mad professor with his lab of bubbling beakers and coiling tubes). That trailer for Fringe seems to fit pretty much into the horror category, the way they repeatedly make reference to not being able to understand or keep up with science, the professor himself being a bit mad, the general mysterious and therefore scary nature of science. Although, being a JJ Abrams show I can see that it might in some way be a bit of a genre mashup.
  9.  (2282.15)
    @Thumpsquid:
    I loved Omega Factor, but I'm not sure how well it would stand up as a remake. The parapsych BBC show Sea Of Souls had elements of it (though lacking the conspiracy arc) and wasn't bad.

    Generally:
    One description I'd heard repeatedly about Fringe was 'X-Files meets Altered States.' As someone who was bored by the former and a great fan of the latter, I wondered just how that mix could be pulled off... until I saw Blair Brown and the shots of the heroine wired up with skull electrodes in what appeared to be a Jello-filled isolation tank, that is.

    States would certainly qualify as a major pre-'90s SF movie which was heavy on the science - specifically neuropharmacology of psychedelics - although the models are way out of date these days, the terminology was used accurately.
    It would be great if Fringe actually manages to get the science bits right. After two seasons of ReGenesis, it's not like there's a lack of precedent!
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      CommentAuthorjohnjones
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008
     (2282.16)
    It's probably a little dated now and I barely remember it, but I rather liked Strange World while it was on. Hopefully Sci-fi channel will rerun it during one of their daytime marathon. God knows I've grown sick of Stargate and Beastmaster by now.
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      CommentAuthormrghosty
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2008 edited
     (2282.17)
    If you look at our media, it often reflects the concerns of the day. One of my favorite examples is in the 50's and all the films that were made about giant radioactive mutant creatures. All born from atomic anxieties; Them, Godzilla, Tarantula, etc. Our anxieties often end up playing themselves out in our fictions.

    Think of how many disaster movies there have been, where nature rears it nasty beasty head and brings doom down upon our doomed heads. That is until the great human being comes along and figures they can beat it. I find it really interesting because in so many times science may be the culprit, but it also ends up being our savior. Our fictions are our mirrors.
    • CommentAuthorAnopheles
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2008 edited
     (2282.18)
    Popular entertainment has been full of 'What hath science wrought?' for a very long time. It seems to come and go, depending on the frequency of new science and advances.

    Atomic monsters, pollution, mega-diseases, cloning, genetic modification, evil computers, aliens, killer robots, evil alien killer robots, etc.

    Maybe the relatively quick wave of advancements is also speeding up the concept shows. Mind you, aside from CSI, so many seem to be about the fears from a year ago...(and CSI just makes shit up).

    edit: in other words, I agree with mrghosty.
  10.  (2282.19)
    I think we all agree is a common trope in films since the end of World War 2.

    However, the notion is that is been an absent trend from American genre TV. Episodes of the twilight zone or outer limits touched upon it (and a single x-files episode about time travel), but its very hard to find examples of science as the monster itself otherwise. What has happened that makes it viable as a motivating factor in an entire slew of TV shows?
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      CommentAuthorliquidcow
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2008
     (2282.20)
    I don't really get what is meant by 'science itself' being the monster. The monster in these things isn't science itself, it's just scientific in nature. They aren't saying 'omg science itself must be destroyed', there's just some weird freaky scientific stuff going on. Same with, for example, Frankenstein. Science wasn't the monster, but science created the monster.