Science fiction on television

Science fiction on television

Science fiction first appeared on television during the golden age of science fiction, first in Britain (UK) and then in the United States (US). Special effects and other production techniques allow creators to present a living visual image of an imaginary world not limited by the constraints of reality; this makes television an excellent medium for science fiction, which in turn contributes to its popularity in this form.

Because of its visual presentation mode, television uses much less exposition than books do to explain the underpinnings of the fictional setting. As a result, the definition and boundaries of the genre are less strictly observed than they are in print media. Because of the relatively high cost of creating a television show compared to the cost of writing and printing books, television shows are obliged to appeal to a much larger audience than print fiction. Some writers and readers believe that a lowest-common-denominator effect lowers the quality of science fiction on television relative to that in books. With the genre boundaries being weaker, screenwriters and viewers must use more inclusive standards than authors and readers. So the category of science fiction on television is considered in many contexts to include all the speculative genres, including fantasy and horror; in Britain this group is referred to as "telefantasy".

The most enduring and well-known bodies of work in this field are "Doctor Who" and "", though countless other series have attracted large and small audiences over the decades.

cience fiction television history and culture

US television science fiction

Science fiction has been a popular genre with television viewers in the United States almost since its inception, and the country has produced many of the best-known and most popular sci-fi shows in the world. Most famous of all these – indeed, perhaps the most famous science-fiction program of all – is the iconic "" and its spin-off shows, comprising the Star Trek franchise.

The first popular science-fiction program on American television was the children's adventure serial "Captain Video and His Video Rangers", which ran from June 1949 to April 1955.cite web
title=Captain Video and His Video Rangers
publisher=The Museum of Broadcast Communications
author=Suzanne Williams-Rautiolla
] ABC's own attempt to cash in on the success of Captain Video was a small screen version of "Buck Rogers" in 1950. Other important live-action space adventure series of the early 1950s included "Flash Gordon", "Space Patrol", and "Rod Brown of the Rocket Rangers".

"Science Fiction Theatre" was an early anthology series, running from 1955 and 1957. It was followed by "The Twilight Zone" in 1959 and "The Outer Limits" in 1963. "Lost in Space", a space opera which aired from 1965 to 1968, became popular with audiences. It was followed by the influential "", conceived by Gene Roddenberry and produced by Desilu Productions on the former RKO lot, which later was acquired by Paramount; it aired on NBC. When NBC tried to cancel it in early 1968, the show was so popular among fans that a campaign organized by Bjo Trimble successfully demanded its return, redefining the relationship between television networks and audiences. However, the eventual cancellation of "Star Trek" led to a decline in science fiction on American television.

During the 1970s, "" reignited interest in science fiction. This led to the production of shows including "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and "Battlestar Galactica" (1978–1980).

In 1983, "V" used both Cold War and World War II allegories about totalitarianism, propaganda, collaboration, and resistance. In 1987, enduring fan interest led to the development of the Star Trek sequel ', which became extremely successful, and led to the later sequels ', ', and finally ', which ended in 2005.

In 1993, "seaQuest DSV" explored environmental themes. In the same year, "Babylon 5" began, set in a detailed universe, using a multi-threaded multi-level story arc. Although ratings were weak among general audiences, Babylon 5 had unprecedented support within science fiction fandom. It raised the bar expected by audiences and led to a broad increase in the quality of science fiction on television in the late 1990s. The time travel drama "Quantum Leap" used contemporary settings to find a broader audience.

"The X-Files" tapped into popular conspiracy fears and generational angst to find great commercial success throughout the decade. Shows with fantasy and horror elements drew much influence from "The X-Files", and generally attracted large audiences, most notably "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (and spinoff "Angel".) Its influence on the sci-fi genre was still greatly felt throughout the 2000s decade.

Near the end of the decade, some comic science fiction shows had been popular, including reimaginings of originals, such as "My Favorite Martian", and "Mork & Mindy". "3rd Rock from the Sun", "Eureka", and the animated series "Futurama" were also popular at the end of the decade.

In the 21st century, shows with paranormal themes like "Medium" and "Ghost Whisperer" had appeared on mainstream networks. Many shows popular with American audiences are now produced outside the US, including "Stargate SG-1" and "Battlestar Galactica".

In recent years, the much lower costs of reality television shows have hit all television dramas, but especially those with unusual cost requirements such as science fiction shows. This has led to a sharp decline in production since 2003, though shows like the 2004 reimagined "Battlestar Galactica" series, NBC's "Heroes", and ABC's "Lost" attract strong audiences.

First run syndication was the most important venue for science fiction television between the mid 1980s and mid 1990s. After this period, specialty channels such as Sci-Fi have replaced first run syndication as a significant venue for new shows.

Prior to recent years, science fiction television shows were normally centered around a premise and characters were defined essentially based on what they did or encountered in the course of their adventures. However, the growing trend towards character drama and naturalistic plots and settings has replaced the episodic action-adventure format that was once standard for television science fiction. Cosmic themes, exotic settings, so-called technobabble, and "two fisted action" have been mostly phased out in favor of emotional content and contemporary themes. Also, the demographic audience for science fiction has changed from mostly male to a significant female presence demanding more human elements and stronger female character representation. The aforementioned reimagined "Battlestar Galactica" is one of the most noted examples of the naturalistic approach towards television science fiction. The anthology format popularized by Rod Serling rarely appeared in science fiction television after the 1980s, though aspects of this were used in both "The X-Files" and the 90s reincarnation of "The Outer Limits". The current format, which was unintentionally popularized by Chris Carter of "The X-Files", is toward long story arcs and season long plots with character oriented subplots.

At one time, prominent science fiction authors were frequently recruited to write episodes of various series, such as William Gibson's and Stephen King's work on "The X-Files." The last major involvement of a science fiction writer was Harlan Ellison who served as a creative consultant on "Babylon 5". This has also largely disappeared due in part to the logistics of writing for television and the reality of proper television drama taking precedence over good science fiction.

British television science fiction

The first known piece of television science fiction anywhere in the world was produced by the BBC on February 11 1938. The piece was a thirty-five-minute adaptation of a section of the play "R.U.R.".cite web
title=Rossum's Universal Robots
publisher=Birth of Television Archive

In the summer of 1953, BBC staff writer Nigel Kneale created "The Quatermass Experiment", leading to further "Quatermass" serials and feature film adaptations from Hammer. Unlike the US practice, British SF on television was mainly broadcast live until the early 1960s, and then mainly on videotape until the 1980s.

In the 1960s, Britain's independent television network, ITV, influenced by Canadian producer Sydney Newman produced the science-fiction serials "Pathfinders In Space" (1960) and its sequel "Pathfinders to Venus" (1961).

In 1961, the BBC produced "A for Andromeda" about a supercomputer artificial intelligence created from instructions received from an alien transmission.

In 1963, the BBC began production of the longest-running science-fiction television series ever, "Doctor Who". It lasted for twenty-six seasons in its original form, and has been revived twice, training a generation of writers, producers, and actors.

Gerry Anderson was keen on making science fiction for the independent companies. He wanted to make live-action series but did not have the money, so used puppetry instead. His science fiction shows such as "Thunderbirds", "Captain Scarlet" and "Stingray" became successful and are still well-known to this day. Later he was allowed to develop live-action shows like "UFO", then "".

"Doctor Who" alumni had moved on to produce their own genre programmes, such as "Doomwatch", "Survivors", and "Blake's 7".

In the 1970s, ITV began to produce youth-oriented genre programmes, such as "Timeslip" (1970–71), "The Tomorrow People" (1973–79), "The Changes" (1975), and "Children of the Stones" (1977), as well as shows aimed at a wider audience such as the time-travel drama "Sapphire & Steel" (1979–82).

In the 1980s, the BBC adapted novels such as "The Day of the Triffids", "The Invisible Man" and "Child of the Vodyanoi" (adapted as "The Nightmare Man"), also beginning an adaptation of "The White Mountains" novels, under the name "The Tripods". The BBC's "Edge of Darkness" was a popular and cultural hit. Later, "Star Cops" ran for nine episodes before being cancelled, despite critical approval. The BBC also aired science fiction comedy series such as "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams and "Red Dwarf". "Doctor Who" was finally cancelled in 1989, although it was revived as a 1996 television movie (intended as the start of a new series), and in 2005 as a television series.

In the 1990s, Russell T Davies began working in the BBC children's department. His first sci-fi serial was "Dark Season"; two years later he wrote "Century Falls". The BBC also produced the action adventure series "Bugs", and co-produced "" with the US Sci-Fi Channel. Davies was finally able to revive Doctor Who in 2005, with some financing from the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Since then, the show has spun off two series: "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures".

Other 21st century British science fiction shows have included the time travel drama "Life on Mars" on the BBC and "Eleventh Hour" and "Primeval" on ITV. For children Britain has the BBC spy spoof "M.I. High".

Canadian science fiction television

Science fiction in Canada was produced by the CBC as early as the 1950s. In the 1970s, CTV produced "The Starlost". In the 1980s, Canadian animation studios including Nelvana, began producing a growing proportion of the world market in animation.

In the 1990s, Canada became an important player in live action speculative fiction on television, with dozens of shows like "Forever Knight", "", and most notably "The X-Files" and "Stargate SG-1". Many shows have been produced for youth and children's markets, including "Deepwater Black" and "MythQuest".

In the early 2000s, changes in provincial tax legislation prompted many production companies to move from Toronto to Vancouver. Recent popular shows produced in Vancouver include "The Dead Zone", "Smallville", "Andromeda", "Stargate Atlantis", "The 4400", and the revised "Battlestar Galactica".

Because of the small size of the domestic television market, most Canadian productions involve partnerships with production studios based in the United States and Europe. However, in recent years, new partnership arrangements are allowing Canadian investors a growing share of control of projects produced in Canada and elsewhere.

Australian science fiction television

Australia's most well known Science Fiction show was "Farscape"; made with American co-production, it ran from 1999 to 2003. Early shows made in the 1960s included "The Interparis" (1968) "Vega 4" (1967), and "Phoenix Five" (1970). A significant proportion of Australian produced Science Fiction programmes are made for the teens/young Adults market, including "The Girl from Tomorrow", the long-running "Mr. Squiggle", "Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left", "Ocean Girl", "Crash Zone", "Watch This space", and "Spellbinder".

Other shows like "Time Trax", "Roar", and "" were filmed in Australia, but used mostly US crew and actors. [ [ Tv Page Of Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide ] ]

Japanese television science fiction

Japan has a long history of producing science fiction series for TV. Only a few of these series are aired outside Japan and even when aired, they tend to be heavily edited.

Live-action television science fiction

"Tokusatsu" (特撮), lit. special filming or more commonly SFX is the loose term used to describe the televised science fiction.

In 1958, "Gekkokamen" (月光仮面) became the first science fiction series to be aired. Tsuburaya Eiji, the producer of Godzilla films, produced "Ultra Q" in 1964 and "Ultraman" in 1966, using wireworks and firecrackers for special effects and suit actors for aliens and monsters. In 1971, Ishimori Shotaro produced "Kamen Rider" (仮面ライダー), based on manga. The single-hero series had commercial (merchandising) limitations among the youth audience (hard for group play), so the first Sentai series was produced in 1975, based on a secret battle team of five rangers.

TV dramas including science fiction elements are too numerous to list. "Satorare" (サトラレ) in 2002 featured genetic geniuses who broadcast thoughts telepathically.

cience fiction in anime

Osamu Tezuka played a major part in the history of science fiction anime with "Astro Boy", an adaptation of a manga that began in 1952. Since then, anime has always been associated with elements from science fiction, particularly in the West.

Early science fiction anime strongly influenced Japanese live-action works, and vice versa. "Gatchaman" (1972) had five members, like most "sentai" (combat team) "tokusatsu" (special effects) series that followed it.

"Tetsujin 28-go" (鉄人28号) or "Gigantor" started another trend called "Robottomono" (ロボット物), lit. robot stories or Mecha. "Mobile Suit Gundam" (機動戦士ガンダム)) (1979) by Tomino Yoshiyuki brought verisimilitude for characters and setting to "Robottomono".

During the 1980s, character development, even romance, grew in importance. Later episodes of "Armored Trooper Votoms" (装甲騎兵ボトムズ)) focused mainly on politics and relationships, while in "The Super Dimension Fortress Macross" (超時空要塞マクロス) humanity was saved with the help of a Bubblegum pop singer.

The space opera genre is best represented by Morioka Hiroyuki's "Crest of the Stars". Common anime subgenres include magical girl anime, Bishōnen, and Bishōjo.

cite book|author=Drazen, Patrick|year=2003|title=Anime Explosion!: The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation|publisher= Stone Bridge Press|id=ISBN 1-880656-72-8] cite book|author=Clements, Jonathan and Helen McCarthy|year=2001|title=The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917|publisher=Stone Bridge Press|id=ISBN 1-880656-64-7]

Television science fiction in other countries

Although the US and the UK have produced the bulk of the world's most famous television science-fiction shows, the popularity of the genre ensures that just about every country which produced television drama has produced some sci-fi at some point.

The Australian / American production "Farscape" (1999–2003) has been a popular hit in recent years, as have other Australian science-fiction productions such as the children's serial "The Girl from Tomorrow" (1992).

"Lexx" was the most famous German and "" French science-fiction/fantasy television series (both co-produced with Canada).

Among the notable non-English language productions is _de. "Raumpatrouille", a German series first broadcast in 1966. Also well remembered in Germany are the movies by Rainer Erler, including the miniseries _de. "Das Blaue Palais". Danish television broadcast the children's TV-series "Crash" in 1984 about a boy who finds out that his room is a space ship. France produced a small number of science fiction/fantasy television series, including "Tang" in 1971, about a super secret organization that attempts to control the world with a new super weapon. Another French-produced science fiction series was the animated series _fr. "Il était une fois... l'espace" ( _en. Once upon a An interesting phenomenon has been the continuing collaboration between French and Japanese animators, resulting in a series of French-Japanese cartoons/anime, including such titles as "Ulysses 31" (1981), "The Mysterious Cities of Gold" (1982) and more recently, "Ōban Star-Racers" (2006).
Serbia produced "The Collector" ( _sr. "Sakupljač"), a science fiction television series in the style of "The Twilight Zone", based upon Zoran Živković's story, winner of a World Fantasy Award. Several science-fiction series were also produced in various European countries, and never translated into English.

In New Zealand, the production of ' and ' created an entire industry, building the foundation for "The Lord of the Rings" movies and other productions.

peculative genres on television

Because of the need to market television to a wide audience, shows outside the loose realm of science fiction will often tend to gravitate to established tropes, such as time travel or superheroes.

cience Fiction

The classic mode of science fiction on television is space opera, in which a protagonist or a group of brave men and women venture into the black unknown. Starships are a conventional setting in this category, with Star Trek being the definitive example. Because the spacecraft environment is by definition limited, a very small number of sets can be heavily used, lowering production costs and allowing producers to focus on character development, setting detail, or sometimes simply to keep a production in the black so it can stay on the air. Variations on this are space station series, notably "Babylon 5" and "", based on an open-port paradigm in which trouble comes in through the airlocks. Rarer are shows based on space travel without vehicles; "Stargate SG-1" is the prime example.

Near-future settings work well for science fiction on television; shows such as "The Six Million Dollar Man", "TekWar", "Quatermass", "Star Cops", and "Mutant X" allow producers to use street clothes and contemporary locations, using only minimal props and effects to foster viewers' suspension of disbelief.

Using stock sets for other shows results in odd subcategories like the science fiction western; some established shows also have the occasional episode.


Fantasy is less common on television due to higher production costs. Stories with animalistic or otherwise non-human characters, scientifically impossible talents, and settings that evoke awe and wonder are more expensive to film on a regular basis, making true high fantasy shows like "Robin of Sherwood" or "Legend of Earthsea" rare examples. Fantasy seems to lend itself to comedy with shows like "Bewitched", "I Dream of Jeannie", and " Wizards and Warriors". As noted, to control costs, fantasy on television is often presented as finite mini-series such as "Merlin" or "The Odyssey". As with science fiction, contemporary settings reduce costs in shows like "Beauty and the Beast" or "Nanny and the Professor". Shows may be based on fairy tales, e.g. "The 10th Kingdom", or mythology, like "", or divine intervention like "Touched by an Angel" or "Joan of Arcadia". Encounters with ghosts or the paranormal are a popular category, with shows like "Medium", "Ghost Whisperer", or "Dead Like Me".


Horror has advantages and disadvantages in the medium of television. On the one hand, horror can often be produced with inexpensive techniques: creative cinematography, pacing, lighting, fake blood or other simple props, prosthetics, or costumes. However, horror relies on a definitive resolution, often with a negative result for main characters. The episodic nature of television generally involves a resolution at the end of the episode, with characters surviving to the next episode; over time, this lessens the extreme tension required in horror. This makes horror an excellent genre for films, but much less so for television, though many anthology shows, notably "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", and "Night Gallery", avoid the problem. Investigative shows, related to the mystery genre, such as "", also mostly avoid the issue (though they are hard on secondary characters). Shows with humorous elements, like "The Chronicle", relieve tension for viewers but not characters in the show, making things more accessible to audiences. Some horror shows use common horror tropes such as vampires with more conventional dramatic forms like the heroic myth (for example "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") or even gothic romance ("Dark Shadows"). Demonic powers and black magic are common themes in shows like "Brimstone", "Charmed", "Hex", and "Supernatural".

Adaptation with other media

Television is used as a medium for the visual presentation of fiction. In order to draw on an established audience, or simply to leverage the existing creativity of an author, television shows are sometimes based on novels or series of novels. The process of converting a print story is called adaptation. Producers, studios, or other intermediaries acquire the rights to produce shows based on a book with a contract known as an option; one might say "the studio optioned the book". Many popular novels are optioned, but only a tiny fraction of these ever materialize as an actual show; often, a producer who is interested in a particular show has to purchase an option from another producer who originally negotiated with the author. Rarely, other media are adapted for film, notably computer games.

The reverse process of adaptation also occurs. Shows may be translated into print novels as novelizations, where an author is contracted to write a prose version of the story line. Just as television series are a collection of episodes, if there is a plan to convert a series to print, that usually is done as a series of novels. A popular series like Star Trek has resulted in hundreds of novelizations over the years. The visual content of a film is an excellent resource for the development of computer strategy or action games. As well, a series, particularly one that has lasted several seasons, has a rich background of character and setting detail that can provide a strong background and an established market for a role-playing game. The most popular series and novels can result in adaptation in many different media.

cience fiction television production process and methods

The need to portray imaginary settings or characters with properties and abilities beyond the reach of current reality obliges producers to make extensive use of specialized techniques of television production.

Through most of the 20th century, many of these techniques were expensive and involved a small number of dedicated craft practitioners, while the reusability of props, models, effects, or animation techniques made it easier to keep using them. The combination of high initial cost and lower maintenance cost pushed producers into building these techniques into the basic concept of a series, influencing all the artistic choices. By the late 1990s, improved technology and more training and cross-training within the industry made all of these techniques easier to use, so that directors of individual episodes could make decisions to use one or more methods, so such artistic choices no longer needed to be baked into the series concept.

pecial effects

Special effects (or "SPFX") have been an essential tool throughout the history of science fiction on television: small explosives to simulate the effects of various ray guns, squibs of blood and gruesome prosthetics to simulate the monsters and victims in horror shows, and the wire-flying entrances and exits of George Reeves as Superman.

The broad term "special effects" includes all the techniques here, but more commonly there are two categories of effects. Visual effects ("VFX") involve photographic or digital manipulation of the onscreen image, usually done in post-production. Mechanical or physical effects involve props, pyrotechnics, and other physical methods used during principal photography itself. Some effects involved a combination of techniques; a ray gun might require a pyrotechnic during filming, and then an optical glowing line added to the film image in post-production. Stunts are another important category of physical effects. In general, all kinds of special effects must be carefully planned during pre-production.

Computer-generated imagery

"Babylon 5" was the first series to use computer-generated imagery, or "CGI", for all exterior space scenes, even those with characters in space suits. The technology has made this more practical, so that today models are rarely used. In the 1990s, CGI required expensive processors and customized applications, but by the 2000s, computing power has pushed capabilities down to personal laptops running a wide array of software.

Models and Puppets

Models have been an essential tool in science fiction television since the beginning, when Buck Rogers took flight in spark-scattering spaceships wheeling across a matte backdrop sky. The original "" required a staggering array of models; the USS "Enterprise" had to be built in several different scales for different needs. Models fell out of use in filming in the 1990s as CGI became more affordable and practical, but even today, designers sometimes construct scale models which are then digitized for use in animation software.

Models of characters are puppets. Gerry Anderson created a series of shows using puppets living in a universe of models and miniature sets, notably "Thunderbirds". In recent years, shows like "Greg the Bunny" and "Puppets Who Kill" have portrayed puppets as an oppressed minority, for which the politically-correct term is "fabricated-Americans" and the racial epithet is "sock". "ALF" depicted an alien living in a family, while "Farscape" included two puppets as regular characters. In "Stargate SG-1", the Asgard characters are puppets in scenes where they are sitting, standing, or lying down.


As animation is completely free of the constraints of gravity, momentum, and physical reality, it is an ideal technique for science fiction and fantasy on television. In a sense, virtually all animated series allow characters and objects to perform in unrealistic ways, so they are almost all considered to fit within the broadest category of speculative fiction (in the context of awards, criticism, marketing, etc.) The artistic affinity of animation to comic books has led to a large amount of superhero-themed animation, much of this adapted from comics series, while the impossible characters and settings allowed in animation made this a preferred medium for both fantasy and for shows aimed at young audiences.

Originally, animation was all hand-drawn by artists, though in the 1980s, beginning with "Captain Power", computers began to automate the task of creating repeated images; by the 1990s, hand-drawn animation became defunct.

Animation in live-action

The insectoid methane-breathing N'Grath in "Babylon 5" was the first attempt to integrate an animated character into a live-action television series, but the limited computer power available at the time only allowed limited use of this technique. In recent years as technology has improved, this has become more common, notably since the development of the Massive software application permits producers to include hordes of non-human characters to storm a city or space station. The robotic Cylons in the new version of "Battlestar Galactica" are usually animated characters, while the Asgard in "Stargate SG-1" are animated when they are shown walking around.

cience fiction television economics and distribution

In general, science fiction series are subject to the same financial constraints as other television shows. However, high production costs increase the financial risk, while limited audiences further complicate the business case for continuing production. ' was the first television series to cost more than $100,000 per episode, while ' was the first to cost more than $1 million per episode.

The innovative nature of science fiction means that new shows can't rely on predictable market-tested formulas like legal dramas or sitcoms; the involvement of creative talent outside the Hollywood mainstream introduces more variables to the budget forecasts.

The perception, more than the reality, of science fiction shows being cancelled unreasonably is greatly increased by the attachment of fans to their favorite shows, which is much stronger in science fiction fandom than it is in the general population. While mainstream shows are often more strictly episodic, where ending shows can allow viewers to imagine that characters live happily, or at least normally, ever after, science fiction shows generate questions and loose ends that, when unresolved, cause dissatisfaction among devoted viewers. Creative settings also often call for broader story arcs than is often found in mainstream television, requiring science fiction shows many episodes to resolve an ongoing major conflict. Science fiction television producers will sometimes end a season with a dramatic cliffhanger episode to attract viewer interest, but the short-term effect rarely influences financial partners. "Dark Angel" is one of many shows ending with a cliffhanger scene that left critical questions open when the series was cancelled.

Media fandom

One of the earliest forms of media fandom was Star Trek fandom. Fans of the series became known to each other through the science fiction fandom. In 1968, NBC decided to cancel '. Bjo Trimble wrote letters to contacts in the National Fantasy Fan Foundation, asking people to organize their local friends to write to the network to demand the show remain on the air. Network executives were overwhelmed by an unprecedented wave of correspondence, and they kept the show on the air. Although the series continued to receive low ratings and was canceled a year later, the enduring popularity of the series resulted in Paramount creating a set of movies, and then a new series ', which by the early 1990s had become one of the most popular dramas on American television.

Although somewhat smaller, "Doctor Who" fandom considerably predates "Star Trek" fandom. Meanwhile, "Star Trek" fans continued to grow in numbers, and began organizing conventions in the 1970s. No other show attracted a large organized following until the 1990s, when "Babylon 5" attracted both "Star Trek" fans and a large number of literary SF fans who previously had not been involved in media fandom. Other shows began to attract a growing number of followers.

In the late 1990s, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" drew a large mainstream audience into fandom; greater demand allowed (even obliged, for the sake of time management) "Buffy" actors to charge much higher appearance fees than the "Star Trek" actors had. This pushed appearances out of the reach of some volunteer non-profit fan groups towards commercial event promoters. At the same time, a market for celebrity autographs emerged on eBay, which created a new source of income for actors, who began to charge money for autographs that they had previously been doing for free. This became significant enough that lesser-known actors would come to conventions without requesting any appearance fee, simply to be allowed to sell their own autographs (commonly on publicity photos). Today most events with actor appearances are organized by commercial promoters, though a number of fan-run conventions still exist, such as Toronto Trek and Shore Leave.

Also in the 1990s, anime fans began organizing conventions. These quickly grew to sizes much larger than other science fiction and media conventions in the same communities; many cities now have anime conventions attracting five to ten thousand attendees. Many anime conventions are a hybrid between non-profit and commercial events, with volunteer organizers handling large revenue streams and dealing with commercial suppliers and professional marketing campaigns.

ignificant creative influences

For a list of notable science fiction series and programs on television, see: List of science fiction television programs.

People who have influenced science fiction on television include:
* J. J. Abrams, creator of "Alias" and "Lost" (along with Damon Lindelof), director of "Star Trek XI"
* Irwin Allen, creator of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", "The Time Tunnel", "Lost in Space", and "Land of the Giants"
* Gerry Anderson, creator of "Fireball XL5", "Stingray", "Thunderbirds", "Captain Scarlet", "UFO" and "" and "Space Precinct".
* Chris Carter, creator of "The X-Files", "Harsh Realm" and "Millennium".
* Russell T Davies, revived the "Doctor Who" franchise and created its spinoffs "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures".
* Kenneth Johnson, producer and director of "The Six Million Dollar Man", "The Bionic Woman", "The Incredible Hulk", "V" (also creator) and "Alien Nation".
* Sid & Marty Krofft, producers and creators of "Land of the Lost" and its 1991 remake, "The Lost Saucer", "Far Out Space Nuts", and "Electra Woman and Dyna Girl".
* Nigel Kneale, writer and creator of the "Quatermass" serials.
* Ronald D. Moore, creator of the "re-imagined" "Battlestar Galactica"; producer and writer for ', ', and "Roswell"
* Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks in "Doctor Who", and of his own shows "Survivors" and "Blake's 7".
* Sydney Newman, creator of "Doctor Who", "The Avengers" and other telefantasy shows.
* Rockne S. O'Bannon, creator of "Alien Nation", "seaQuest DSV", and "Farscape".
* Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "", "Earth: Final Conflict", and "Andromeda".
* Rod Serling, creator of "The Twilight Zone"
* Leslie Stevens and Joseph Stefano, creators of "The Outer Limits"
* J. Michael Straczynski, creator of "Babylon 5".
* Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Angel" and "Firefly".
* Robert Hewitt Wolfe, writer, producer, and/or executive producer of "", "Andromeda", "The Dead Zone", "The 4400", and "The Dresden Files"cite magazine
author=Malcom, Nollinger, Rudolph, Tomashoff, Weeks, & Williams
title=25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends
magazine=TV Guide

ee also

* Science fiction film
* List of Sci Fi Pictures original movies
* Cultural impact of Star Trek
* Fantasy television
* Lengths of science fiction film and television series
* Definitive Guide to Science Fiction Television Encyclopedia
* List of Black Actors in Science Fiction Film and TV


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  • Science fiction fandom — or SF fandom is a community of people actively interested in science fiction and fantasy literature, and in contact with one another based upon that interest. SF fandom has a life of its own, but not much in the way of formal organization… …   Wikipedia

  • Science-Fiction — Pour les articles homonymes, voir SF. La science fiction, prononcée /sjɑ̃s.fik.sjɔ̃/ (abrégé en SF), est un genre narratif (principalement littéraire et cinématographique) structuré par des hypothèses sur ce que pourrait être le futur et/ou les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Science Fiction — Pour les articles homonymes, voir SF. La science fiction, prononcée /sjɑ̃s.fik.sjɔ̃/ (abrégé en SF), est un genre narratif (principalement littéraire et cinématographique) structuré par des hypothèses sur ce que pourrait être le futur et/ou les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Science fiction — Pour les articles homonymes, voir SF. La science fiction, prononcée /sjɑ̃s.fik.sjɔ̃/ (abrégé en SF), est un genre narratif (principalement littéraire et cinématographique) structuré par des hypothèses sur ce que pourrait être le futur et/ou les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • SCIENCE-FICTION — L’«effet science fiction» commence au niveau de la phrase. Ainsi Michel Jeury, dans Les Enfants de Mord , fait dire à l’un de ses personnages: «Vous devez savoir que Louis Catalina n’est pas mort. Enfin, il n’est plus mort.» Un autre ajoute un… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Science fiction and fantasy in Poland — Science fiction in Poland dates to the late 18th century. During the later years of the People s Republic of Poland, social science fiction was a very popular genre of science fiction. Afterwards, many others gained prominence. Currently there… …   Wikipedia

  • Science-Fiction et Fantastique Québécois — classification de la catégorie Culture québécoise Architecture Architecte · Édifice · Monument …   Wikipédia en Français

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