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Unscheduled Offworld Activation

13 January 2011

It probably won’t surprise any of you in the least that I’m a Stargate fan. It’s one of the longest-running sci-fi series out there, probably second only to Star Trek and Doctor Who, though I did absolutely zero research to back up that claim. It’s also probably about done, thanks to SyFy (I still can’t type that with a straight face) and their decision to cancel Stargate Universe after letting it run out the remainder of its second season.

This highlights a problem inherent with sci-fi — sometimes, it takes a while to build an audience. There’s so much new information to deal with, what with having to introduce viewers to a world that is nothing like the one they live in.

See, when a show like CSI comes on, there’s less work to do, as it takes place in the real world. People are used to crime and police — they see it all the time on the news. But when you create a world where you can travel to other planets via a stable wormhole, or you introduce alien species with strange powers. . . well, there’s a learning curve for your viewers. It might take them a season or two to get hooked.

So, what’s the best way to get your viewers or readers up to speed quickly with a new sci-fi world? What’s the best way you’ve seen it done, in books, films, TV, etc.? And what’s the worst attempt you’ve seen made?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 January 2011 0701

    FarScape did a good job by starting it off on the Earth we know, and giving us Crichton’s POV as he finds things new and strange, and has to get used to them too.

    • 13 January 2011 0711

      That was a good way to get us into the action. And then the cast showed up on Stargate SG1 a year after that show went off the air — or, at least, two of them did.

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