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[Movies / TV]

[archived] What happened to this genre? (2015)

I was never interested in science fiction until I played Mass Effect under the recommendation of a friend. I thought the Battle for the Citadel scene was epic. Now I hunger for a TV show like it. I believe the genre Mass Effect falls under is space opera. What happened to space opera? There used to be a lot of them. Star Trek, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly. Should this genre be revived?

by: CmdrShepard2154


January 16, 2015 (5 years ago)

39 Replies & Comments


I perfectly see what you mean. I grew up myself in the middle of space related sci-fi culture, Star Trek, Space 1999, Captain Future, Captain Harlock, etc...

It's a genre, indeed, which seems stalled, and I have the impression that the audience for this kind of stories, has shrunk along the years. Maybe this is a matter of trend, the renewal of generations, I don't know. Nowadays, it seems like the audience is more interested in Super heroes, Zombies and Monsters, as well as stories closer to them, taking place nowadays, and on earth. Yes, everybody knows that Zombie Invasion is imminent 😛

I could say same the exact same about literature, I feel like there is only very few still writing space-opera stories. At book stores, I only see, what we are now considering old-classics ones. Once in a while a new book is published, but obviously, this is not the trend.

May be space operas stories are also harder to elaborate, write and feed. So much has already been told, that authors might experience difficulties in renewing the genre and interest of the audience.

Talking about the audience, another thing which is coming in my mind is that, maybe Space is no longer as attracting as it used to be. The constant progress in our knowledge about Space might be contributing to a trivialization, making it less mysterious, less attractive for younger generations. It's also greatly possible that the youth also have way less imagination, and no longer catching onto things too hardcore "sci-fi.".

I am talking about younger generations, because, of course, these are those that TV Channels and Films makers are targeting. Nowadays, producers are seeking profitability first. Space opera might be too expensive to develop for a potential audience not wide enough to make it profitable, even if there is always exceptions, such as series like Star Wars, and Avatar, which are may be vampirising all other attempts.

Now, from what I understood, Disney is developing a Star Wars, live-action, TV series, even if Star Wars is pop-corn sci-fi, maybe this will revive an interest for Space opera, and that in the upcoming years, we'll see again a flooding on our screens of Space adventures!

As a side note, I was also very impressed by Mass Effect, I loved the story telling and visual. Unfortunately, it's the kind of video game I am not succeeding to play well, for some reason. Maybe I am too old now.

Live long and prosper, and thank you very much for registering,


by: Urban Legend

Message #1

January 16, 2015 (5 years ago)

Hopefully the success of Guardians of the Galaxy will pave the way for more space opera. Syfy is making this series called The Expanse. Hopefully they don't screw it up. It is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey. Those novels are awesome.

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #2

January 17, 2015 (5 years ago)

I am always a little mistrustful about SyFy. Once in a while, they have a great show, but there is so much crap too!

by: G-138

Message #9

January 20, 2015 (5 years ago)

I read that SyFy acquired the rights of "Spin" from Robert Charles Wilson. This should be interesting too, but not epic as a "space opera".

by: G-143

Message #10

January 21, 2015 (5 years ago)

SyFy also apparently bought the rights to Roger Zelazny's Amber series about 12 years ago and then shelved it. One of the greatest Sci-Fi stories ever written in my opinion. If it were made into a series (TV or movies) it would be like combining Lord of the Rings with Harry Potter and a smattering of Highlander. This would make someone who produced it very rich as the story is compelling, thoughtful and engrossing. When I first started reading it, I could not put the book(s) down...it was that good.

by: G-272

Message #17

March 12, 2015 (4 years ago)

Space Operas might be too intellectual for nowaday's audience. Today, people want instant entertainment, nothing that will risk breaching their neurons, or requiring more than 2 minutes of attention. Without forgetting that, if a story needs you to be at a minimum of attention, people will not be able to tweet at the same time! Today, all activities during which you can't tweet are banned. Brainless shows, for a brainless audience. This is why zombie shows are so popular *sarcasm*


by: G-124

Message #3

January 17, 2015 (5 years ago)

Some space operas might be too intellectual but a lot of people went to see the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. I wouldn't say Guardians of the Galaxy is as intellectual as Star Trek. Guardians of the Galaxy proves we can make a space opera that is popular. Although making a space opera that is popular may require sacrificing some intellectual elements.


by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #5

January 18, 2015 (5 years ago)

There was also Farscape (1999-2003). I don't know if it's still showing in the USA, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 😁

But you are right, we miss having a big, bad-ass Space opera show!


by: SDot

Message #4

January 17, 2015 (5 years ago)

I feel like sci-fi, when it comes to space stuff, is too much boy-boy. When I watch this kind of show or movie, I feel like I've been excluded, and that it's made to talk to boys only. But maybe this is just me.


by: Sophia

Message #6

January 18, 2015 (5 years ago)

Many of Iain M Banks novels have female protagonists. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds is a good one. I think sci-fi should be made more accessible to a more diverse audience.

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #7

January 19, 2015 (5 years ago)

When it comes to sci-fi on the screen, I feel the exact same way, Sophia. It doesn't stop me from watching them, of course(just LOVE sci-fi), but it makes me appreciate chick films like "Kill Bill" more, lol.

Still Sarah

by: Still Sarah

Message #12

January 27, 2015 (4 years ago)

To Still Sarah,
I am truely intrigued that you call "Kill Bill" a "chick film" considering its incredible abundance of sadistic behavior.

by: scribeworks

Message #19

March 27, 2015 (4 years ago)

...You don't think that sadistic behavior appeals to women as much as to men? I question that assumption.

by: G-643

Message #30

December 11, 2015 (4 years ago)

Nowadays audience is also more picky about sci-fi than in the past. A story needs to be somewhat coherent with today’s knowledge, it has to be visually perfect, and people will no longer be thrilled by men in pajamas facing extra terrestrial creatures which look like they escaped from the zoo. Just to say, that this is harder to write a good sci-fi show, and more expensive too. Like said above, theatrical success of sci-fi films, could push producers and revive the genre.


by: G-135

Message #8

January 19, 2015 (5 years ago)


I was more thinking in terms of TV Series. But, if we speak about films, yes, Space Opera-like movies are definitively striking back. As you wisely said, "Guardians of the Galaxy," was an immense success, above expectations, and critic acclaims, may be the best "Marvel" film so far some said. So, it's sure that we'll get more sequels. There is also the "Star Wars" films which are going to tumble on our screens. One film per year, announced Disney (historical saga sequels + spin-offs). There is also two "Avatar" films in development (at least), and two "Independence Day" sequels too, which might indirectly be related to space opera.

This kind of movies, has also been engaged by the rebirth of the "Star Trek" franchise in 2009, with the film of J.J. Abrams. But there is also (relative) failures, like the second "Star Trek" film, and "Ender's Game", which will tend to moderate producers' interests.

Now, the success of "Guardians of the Galaxy" lies to a good chemistry and balance to please the largest audience. In my opinion, this is not a strict a space-opera, but definitively an evolution of the genre.

So, yes we might be at the dawn of a revival of the Space Opera genre, at least in Theaters. I am still unsure about TV. However, "TV" is evolving too, the arrival of platforms like Netflix, and Amazon as well as web-series in general can give a new breath of creativity to genres, that "traditional" medias are ignoring, or not daring to push ahead. This can also be experimentation lab to see what will be the trend for the upcoming years.

By the way, I do remember "Buck Rogers" too! I had his spaceship fighter in toy, still have it! (that was the time , where toys were greatly made see my other topic: https://witnessmyrage.com/4b46.html ). There was also a Japanese live-action TV series called "Message from Space: Galactic Wars" ("San Ku Kaï" here in France) which I loved as a kid (may be I would have a different opinion if I was seeing it again nowadays 😛 )

Also, I forget to mention in my first post, that "Babylon 5" had an amazing visual quality, especially for a mid 90's TV series! The SFX and makeup were really impressive. The overall story was great, even if there were some boring downtime from time to time.

by: Urban Legend

Message #11

January 27, 2015 (4 years ago)

I think that video games have to do with the relative disappearance of sci fi shows and movies. Video games brought a new dimension to sci fi entertainment, without the constraints of TV/Movies. And that is so much more thrilling to live an interactive adventures within a video game, than being passive in front of your TV. That's my thought. CmdrShepard2154 you mentioned it yourself, you enjoyed "Mass Effect", I am sure you enjoyed more to take part to the story than if you had just watched it on TV. Also, a video game often lasts longer than a TV show.


by: G-179

Message #13

February 01, 2015 (4 years ago)

I believe that people are way less interested in space than they used to be. Of course there are more and more people believing in aliens visitations, and things like that, but overall it contributed to trivialize all of this making it less thrilling and exciting. You mention films likes Guardians of the Galaxy , and Star Wars, but to me, this is not science fiction as I conceive it. They are just pure entertainment films(more fantasy than science fiction?), successful because of their battles, characters, and special effects.


by: G-187

Message #14

February 03, 2015 (4 years ago)

It's sure that a movie with a raccoon.... 😛


by: SDot

Message #15

February 03, 2015 (4 years ago)

CmdrShepard2154, unless I'm making a mistake, a Mass Effect film is coming. I think I read something like that some years ago. I have no idea if it's still being developed or if it's been canceled. So much shit is coming out with films adapted from video games that I am not sure what to think about it. But certainly, on paper, it can show something amazing.... maybe one of the reasons people are turning toward video games more and more instead of movies...


by: G-196

Message #16

February 07, 2015 (4 years ago)

I would love to see a Mass Effect film being made. However, I doubt that 2 or 3 hours would be enough to build a good story. May be a TV series would be more adapted, but it might be too expensive too.

by: G-1219

Message #37

March 19, 2017 (2 years ago)

The Space Opera will never die, just fade away.

by: G-273

Message #18

March 14, 2015 (4 years ago)

We could have the same debate about Westerns for example. There are cycles like this, and trends. Now, as said above, Disney will serve us Star Wars films every year for decades, so I wouldn't say Space Opera is dead.

by: G-321

Message #20

March 30, 2015 (4 years ago)

The problem is that "alternative" TV networks are created by people who see a need for different shows and as soon as they become popular they are purchased by mainstream networks who don't know any better and immediately change the programming to more "profitable" shows. For example Eureka was cancelled by SyFy because it was bought by a large network (FOX I think) and it was the most expensive show so it was immediately cancelled for more "reality" (cheaper) shows, but it was also the most watched show. So now SyFy has to have shows like WWE wrestling????

by: G-349

Message #21

April 21, 2015 (4 years ago)

Perhaps this is a turning point.

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #22

April 22, 2015 (4 years ago)

Odd that no one has mentioned Dr. Who.

by: G-363

Message #23

May 04, 2015 (4 years ago)

When I was a kid, I loved sci-fi, then when I grew up, I started to lose interest in it.


by: G-367

Message #24

May 05, 2015 (4 years ago)

I think the interest for "Space" in the collective imagination faded with the end of the Cold War. At the early age of the observations of the beyond of our planet, this was the unknown full of mysteries and an infinite source of fantasy. Then, later, the race to Space between the USA and USSR gave another epic dimension to the "Space Quest" and let people dream of new horizons. Now, the horizon was limited to the Moon, which, if you think about it, is so close, and already so hard to reach. After the end of The Cold War, all this progressively disappeared, there were Mir and the ISS, some probes, and from time to time we speak about visiting Mars, the next day, we realize that it might be impossible for humans to go there, but all this is very loose now. We know that there is no other intelligent life forms in our solar system, and that even if it's sure there are extra terrestrial civilizations out there, distances between stars are so big that we will never be able to met or ever see them. So when hopes and dreams are gone, so is the interest average people. Now, this is a domain which sounds to be reserved to geeks, which are totally in this kind of things. Also Space is still fascinating, but may be no longer from an entertainment point.

Just my thoughts 🙂


by: G-371

Message #25

May 12, 2015 (4 years ago)

Luc Besson, the director of The Fifth Element has announced a new project called Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets which will be based on a French graphic novel called Valerian and Laureline. Let the new golden age of space opera begin!

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #26

May 15, 2015 (4 years ago)

I am not familiar with the Valerian comics, but form the trailers I've seen from the Comic-Con, it looks very promising.

However, to comment on the initial theme of this topic. I think that Space operas are great, but, the difficulty is to get a story complex enough to be interesting, and to tell it in "only" 2h30-3h. If it's too dense, it's hard to follow, and if it's too much simplified, it looses its interest.

Trilogies are great to install and develop a story, but this is risky for producers.

by: G-997

Message #32

July 27, 2016 (3 years ago)

This one looks promising indeed.

by: G-1113

Message #35

November 10, 2016 (3 years ago)

Hopefully they get this right. Will this be the show that brings space opera back to the small screen?

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #27

September 22, 2015 (4 years ago)

I love sci-fi stories, I wish there were more on TV/Theaters.

by: G-536

Message #28

September 25, 2015 (4 years ago)

I hope this starts the revival.

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #29

November 01, 2015 (4 years ago)

The 7th episode of Star Wars, was far from being the Space Opera that George Lucas's films were...

by: G-1112

Message #34

November 10, 2016 (3 years ago)

Syfy's The Expanse has been renewed for a second season!

by: CmdrShepard2154

Message #31

January 02, 2016 (4 years ago)

It's off-topic, but would you call Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (the video games) a Space opera? It looks like it to me.


by: Marcus

Message #33

November 06, 2016 (3 years ago)

I have the impression that people are way less interested by sci-fi that they were in the 60's/70's.


by: G-1119

Message #36

November 11, 2016 (3 years ago)

How do you define a space opera? Do you just mean a story taking place in space?

by: G-1243

Message #38

April 01, 2017 (2 years ago)

I join what was said by others. There are cycles. Right now, the hype is mostly about Super heroes. Now, with film like Guardians of the Galaxy, you have drops of space opera in. However, I think that, at some point, there will be an overdose of super heroes. Movies trend to look all the same, and it's becoming worse with the cross overs. I don't know what will come next, may be a return of space operas 🙂

by: G-1252

Message #39

April 02, 2017 (2 years ago)

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