It is no secret that I am a Science Fiction fan. If you don’t know me, this is something that is going to become very apparent, and if you follow this blog, this is going to be something that you can’t avoid. There are a lot of Science Fiction franchises, and many of them have had a lasting influence on the genre, and on others. For the time being, I am going to focus on three of my favorite, three franchises that I feel have made the biggest impact on Science Fiction.
From oldest to youngest, we’ll start with Doctor Who. This is also the most recent franchise on this list that I’ve experienced; in fact, I actually experienced them in reverse order. Doctor Who started in 1963, and just recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
What it’s about: Doctor Who is about a box that travels through space and time (and sometimes outside of either). It is generally filled with the Doctor, a member of a race that is responsible for protecting the fabric of time, and anywhere from one to four companions, ranging from humans, to robotic dogs, to the occasional alien or fellow Time Lord. For various reasons, the Doctor, his companions and the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) travel the cosmos and experience what the universe has to offer.
What this blog will look at: I am one of the main hosts of “An Unearthly Podcast”, a (generally) weekly Doctor Who podcast that reviews Doctor Who stories, as well as sharing news and anything else we have to bring up. In addition to this, I will be posting reviews on the blog of seasons and stories, at a rate of not less than one per month.
Who would like it? Different things about Doctor Who appeal to different types of people. Anybody to whom a story about a man traveling alone with one or two friends – or about a person or two traveling with who is essentially a superhero – through space, time, and things beyond as the ultimate tourists and activists sounds interesting.
The next big Sci-Fi franchise is Star Trek. Trek proved there was a huge gap between government-sponsored low budget British television and corporate American television in the same genre. Star Trek started in 1967, with production levels around what Doctor Who would have 5 or more years later.
What it’s about: Star Trek is about a “wagon train to the stars” as a Naval vessel of humans and their allies explore uncharted parts of the galaxy. By this point there have been six sets of main casts, each with their own dynamics, doing their best to accomplish their mission while obeying the Prime Directive: never interfere with the development of a growing species.
What this blog will look at: I haven’t delved as deeply into Star Trek as I have the other franchises on this list. I will be reviewing a book, comic or movie from this series not less than once per month.
Who would like it? Star Trek is a bit slower paced than modern Doctor Who or Star Wars. The more you can swallow the idea of humanity being at peace and building a utopian society as they expand to bring peace and wisdom to the galaxy, the more Star Trek is for you, but there’s also enough Sci-Fi goodness to say you should give it at least a try even if that doesn’t sound right to you.
The big game-changer in Science Fiction was Star Wars. George Lucas’s trilogy broke new ground for the expectations of special effects and story in a medium that previously consisted largely of a show about people standing on the bridge talking about things that were happening and a show about people traveling to wobbly sets and talking about things that were happening. That’s not to say that Star Trek and Doctor Who didn’t do some amazing things in their time, but little of it was as visually impressive as almost every scene in Star Wars was.
What it’s about: The Star Wars franchise covers the history of a galaxy far, far away, usually focusing on a smaller amount of main characters through millennia of wars. Besides the obvious technological differences, this galaxy is influenced by a mysterious power called “the Force” and the ideological conflicts of its most powerful users.
What this blog will look at: Every week, a post relating to material in the Star Wars franchise in chronological order in-universe will be published. In addition, blog posts relating to the game Knights of the Old Republic and other Star Wars-related posts will be made. I have been a huge fan of this series since I was old enough to watch the films, and have been writing about it since 2008, so there will be no shortage of materielle for Star Wars fans to enjoy.
Who would like it? Star Wars is a bit less positive of an outlook on the future than Star Trek or even Doctor Who. As a result it is far less about the destinations and much more about the journey of how the characters and leaders get to their conclusions, often through harrowing adventures. Fans of that sort of action-oriented thriller will find much to enjoy in the Star Wars novels and films.