In many ways, the unfulfilled promise and and demise of gritty and edgy sci-fi shows, matches the unfulfilled promise of the Space Race. By the onset of of the 21st Century, the Space Age should have replaced the Space Race. That never happened but when the whole Space Programme was being controlled by Governments that comes as no surprise. History has shown that new territories are often opened up and developed via private enterprise. The East India Company (in spite of having its own private army,) was able to open up, develop and exploit the opportunities and riches of the East, thus paving the way for two hundred years of British rule in India. It is only now that Sir Richard Branson via private enterprise is advocating space flight via his startup company Virgin Galactic. Something Nasa should have pioneered. Who can ever forget the PanAm Space Plane flying to the rotating wheel (satellite) in the sky?
Science Fiction stories and films have always echoed the age they were written and made in, much like the Western movie genre. The demise of the Gritty Space Opera is a reflection of mankind not fulfilling the early promise of the Space Race to take us to ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before’. And that is a sad fact that we are now ten years into the 21st Century – A Century that was often seen as The Future – Therefore The Future is Now – The Future is Today – The Future is The Present. The only reminder of the above is the smartphones, IPods, IPads and gadgets I see around me, some of which I own. Even James Bond seems very dated now because everyone has gadgets and drive cars ladened with gadgets.
Still I am saddened that the Space Age got left behind somewhere in the past. Sci-Fi realises this, and responds accordingly. Once we begin reaching for the stars again, will the above be realised.
Everybody talks about the fact that there’s no more space opera on television, and only the occasional movie. What’s easy to forget, though, is that just a decade ago we appeared to be on the verge of a brilliant new era of space adventure.