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What would it take for a TV show set in space to become as big of a cultural phenomenon as Game of Thrones?

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and Amazon is making a series based on the Iain M. Banks Culture novels

YESH!    This has most of what you'd need.   Flashy future developments that make you want to live in that world.  Amazing ships and worlds.  Telling modern people how to survive a machine world.  (Therapy).    Showing the Roddenberry-ish persistence of the human spirit.  Delving into that tech future where we "should" be obsolete but instead we've managed to find our niche and maintain our sense of purpose and self definition, though the machines are our shepherds and guardian angels watching from orbit.   The bipeds keep their spunky personality and our mixed bag of species traits thrives in a galaxy of scary alien domains competing for territory , making it a cultural story too.   

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21 minutes ago, Werthead said:

 BSG was GoT way before its time.

Maybe it's impossible to deliver a successful ending to these things people have been fascinated by for years.  The viewers came up with their own scenarios, like we have for Ice & Fire.  Whatever the show does will set in stone how they didn't do it right (exactly the way anyone pictured).   Because they wanted to surprise us, they get bold enough to make a final decision on some things the whole series held off from deciding till that moment.  So the finale fundamentally sets itself apart from everything else, and feels suckish.   But if they 'Learn their lesson' from this and do a bland finale that conforms to the feel of the rest of the series, then we'd say it sucked because it fizzled out.  No way to win.  That's why Martin has found the winning move of leaving it open and unfinished, so the fascination stays.

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37 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

 

Funny how you basically just decribed Battlestar Galactica. I don't think you're too far off the mark (although the fact that arguably the four biggest cultural phenomena in modern media history are Star Wars, LotR, the MCU and Harry Potter does make me somewhat think that the mainstream's intolerance for nerd shit is sometimes somewhat overstated) but sometimes you can have all the ingredients but still not pop, of course.

True. BSG was very close I think to the right formula. 

I do think however that it was simply too gritty, too dark, too political and too confusing to really ever take off with a mainstream audience. 

It did a lot of things right though in that regard, sexy cylons was a good start.

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4 minutes ago, The Mother of The Others said:

 

 

Maybe it's impossible to deliver a successful ending to these things people have been fascinated by for years.  The viewers came up with their own scenarios, like we have for Ice & Fire.  Whatever the show does will set in stone how they didn't do it right (exactly the way anyone pictured).   Because they wanted to surprise us, they get bold enough to make a final decision on some things the whole series held off from deciding till that moment.  So the finale fundamentally sets itself apart from everything else, and feels suckish.   But if they 'Learn their lesson' from this and do a bland finale that conforms to the feel of the rest of the series, then we'd say it sucked because it fizzled out.  No way to win.  That's why Martin has found the winning move of leaving it open and unfinished, so the fascination stays.

I think I would have much preferred a bland ending to the way that BSG ending up going. It all felt like such a betrayal of a show that you think is one thing, but ends up being something completely different. 

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

Funny how you basically just decribed Battlestar Galactica. I don't think you're too far off the mark (although the fact that arguably the four biggest cultural phenomena in modern media history are Star Wars, LotR, the MCU and Harry Potter does make me somewhat think that the mainstream's intolerance for nerd shit is sometimes somewhat overstated) but sometimes you can have all the ingredients but still not pop, of course.

There might be another factor against BSG being a cultural phenomenon that if you are wanting a show to build a wide audience beyond SF fans it might be easier if it isn't initially airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. To be a big phenomenon it probably helps to be on a channel (or streaming service) that is either very widely available or had the high profile that HBO does. Word-of-mouth might be able to overcome that to some extent, but it could be an uphill struggle.

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1 minute ago, williamjm said:

There might be another factor against BSG being a cultural phenomenon that if you are wanting a show to build a wide audience beyond SF fans it might be easier if it isn't initially airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. To be a big phenomenon it probably helps to be on a channel (or streaming service) that is either very widely available or had the high profile that HBO does. Word-of-mouth might be able to overcome that to some extent, but it could be an uphill struggle.

I think Expanse will be a good litmus test for this.  The birth on SyFy (is that how they still spell it?  Like some sort of venereal disease???) to now being picked up on Amazon which has much more cache these days.

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:


True, although I don't think BSG ever got anywhere near as bad as GoT got. It made shit plot decisions but it was always at least interesting in a character sense and it also just never got as incompetently written.

But despite all the awards and panels at the UN BSG never got close to as big as GoT was, which is kind of the point I was making.

I think that between the Love Quadrangle of Doom, Lee Adam not having anything remotely close to a coherent character arc after the start of Season 3, Adama being reduced to a crying wreck for most of Season 4 and the writers not having a clue what do with either Baltar or Starbuck after New Caprica, there's quite a lot of crappy writing and character decisions to wail on.

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and Amazon is making a series based on the Iain M. Banks Culture novels

 

Given the sheer length of time that's elapsed since the announcement, I think this is now on the backburner or has been abandoned completely (along with the Ringworld show).

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First secure the backing of Nintendo.

Hide their involvement using a shell corporation.

Your main character is actually Samus Aran but you don't reveal that until the end of season one when the local star cluster is threatened.   Until then, your viewers are immersed in the daily life of the future society and what's possible while on shore leave, including entire segments of the show nobody can even follow because we have no correlary for the crazy shit that's a part of life for them. 

The phenom would be the mindbending predictions and revealing new conceptions of a future nobody has pictured before.  People would know the show was shaping the future, the way trek gave us flip phones.   New things to aim for in realworld R&D.  Our best projections on where tech trends would take us, the Wretched and Transcendent.   Plugged in to those predictions would be larger than life characters taking advantage of the future landscape, so viewers would have something to viscerally connect with and drive word of mouth growth for the show.  Put believable human nature onto all the far fetched stuff in a way that reveals the inevitability of it.   Maybe not that exact character, but someone just like them will occupy that foreseen place in history.  Because.... we're who we are. 

And if we're shown as different, it'd be because the rest of the species died off trying to stay like we are now.   Thought provoking junk like that, with wild twists to match GOT and make it look rustic.    Magic would be alien tech we're unable to reverse engineer, so it's beyond us as much as Merlin ever was.

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12 hours ago, williamjm said:

There might be another factor against BSG being a cultural phenomenon that if you are wanting a show to build a wide audience beyond SF fans it might be easier if it isn't initially airing on the Sci-Fi Channel. To be a big phenomenon it probably helps to be on a channel (or streaming service) that is either very widely available or had the high profile that HBO does. Word-of-mouth might be able to overcome that to some extent, but it could be an uphill struggle.

This is why I didn't include BSG because it wasn't a ratings hit. I think more people watched it in the UK than the US because it was on a "prestige" channel and not syfy. The same could be said about B5 and farscape. Great shows but they never reached a massive audience. Lost and GOT were shows you could bring up at the work canteen and most people would interact. The other examples would most likely fall on deaf ears unless you had a particularly geeky workplace.

 

As for Klingon recognition, surely part of the problem is they keep overhauling their appearance? Try getting someone who has only watched TOS or TNG to pick out a klingon in discovery.

If the GOT spin off has 4 legged 2 winged dragons covered in fur and green white walkers a similar recognition problem could occur!

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13 hours ago, Heartofice said:

I think I would have much preferred a bland ending to the way that BSG ending up going. It all felt like such a betrayal of a show that you think is one thing, but ends up being something completely different. 

BSG got so bad I just quit halfway through the last season. I never even went on wiki to see how it finished. Absolute disaster towards the end. 

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Just now, BigFatCoward said:

BSG got so bad I just quit halfway through the last season. I never even went on wiki to see how it finished. Absolute disaster towards the end. 

I remember the moment I realised the whole show had gone to shit. I had the box set of the first 2 seasons and got

through them in about 3 days. I was utterly addicted.

Then was downloading season 3 as it was being released. 
 

It was by an episode I think about a boxing match and a riot that I first became aware  of the term ‘filler episode’. I realised most of the new episodes were becoming filler.

Then the nonsense about them all hearing the same song happened and Wow it went downhill from there 

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16 hours ago, Leofric said:

One question is will about whether Game of Thrones will have the longevity of Star Wars and Star Trek and become a brand name.    This will depend on how the first spinoff series does.  Will GoT: House of the Dragon ultimately be as successful as Star Trek: The Next Generation or Star Trek: Deep Space 9  or the Star Wars Prequel trilogy, Sequel trilogy, or the Mandalorian?    And will we be seeing life in the GOT franchise 40+ years after the initial series endedOr will Game of Thrones be a one off, mostly forgotten in 10 years.

I'd say no it won't, unless House of the Dragon is just as good as GOT. GOT definitely has the source material to work with and if GRRM can stay involved it has a chance.

To put either in the same category as Star Wars makes no sense to me. Star Trek IMO was never on Star Wars level of phenomenon. 

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Given that the GoT went to shit after original material dried up, I'm not that confident that spin-off series would reach the quality of first couple of seasons of GoT.

EDIT:

Time will tell, I guess.

Edited by baxus

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19 hours ago, Werthead said:

I think that between the Love Quadrangle of Doom, Lee Adam not having anything remotely close to a coherent character arc after the start of Season 3, Adama being reduced to a crying wreck for most of Season 4 and the writers not having a clue what do with either Baltar or Starbuck after New Caprica, there's quite a lot of crappy writing and character decisions to wail on.

 

Fair enough, there's a lot of stuff and I've not rewatched it for a while, but I certainly never found it as bad as the end of GoT. Even the idiotic thing about getting rid of all the ships was one awful decision in an otherwise decent finale, for me. I don't really remember Lee's entire arc but I enjoyed his stint as a lawyer.


 

20 hours ago, Heartofice said:

I think I would have much preferred a bland ending to the way that BSG ending up going. It all felt like such a betrayal of a show that you think is one thing, but ends up being something completely different.  

I assume you mean the way it went all mystic-religious at the end (it's a lot of people's problem with it, anyway), but honestly, that didn't bother me, because that wasn't new- all that stuff had been in the show's DNA right from the start.  

 

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44 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

I assume you mean the way it went all mystic-religious at the end (it's a lot of people's problem with it, anyway), but honestly, that didn't bother me, because that wasn't new- all that stuff had been in the show's DNA right from the start.  


 

It was there but it mostly wasn’t the focus, it was an element that seemed to be there as a way of building characters and also adding mystery ( talking mostly about visions and religious affinity etc)

Also it just wasn’t the bit that was interesting about the show. For me the show was a brilliant take on the original shows premise. It was apocalyptic and there was a sense of dread with the ever dwindling numbers of humans. It was actually the realism and the human story that made it so gripping. 
 

What wasn’t interesting was nonsense about angels and that load of bollocks. 
 

The show went down the completely wrong path as far as I was concerned. Everything good about the first 2 seasons seemed to have been discarded by the end and it just seemed like the writers were more interested in telling a very different story.

Edited by Heartofice

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2 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

Also it just wasn’t the bit that was interesting about the show. For me the show was a brilliant take on the original shows premise. It was apocalyptic and there was a sense of dread with the ever dwindling numbers of humans. It was actually the realism and the human story that made it so gripping. 

 

I agree that this is what was best about it but I disagree that the religious stuff was ever really just flavour. Like, iirc very early on there is a certain miraculous healing, and the visions and prophecies are a central focus of the plot.

Like it was definitely a show that had itself planned out until Exodus (still one of the best SF stories ever told on screen, along with the Pegasus/Resurrection Ship story) and afterwards it started to wander but it still had great moments and it never totally lost me.

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5 hours ago, dbunting said:

I'd say no it won't, unless House of the Dragon is just as good as GOT. GOT definitely has the source material to work with and if GRRM can stay involved it has a chance.

GRRM hasn't written anything good in the main series since 2000. I'm not sure his involvement is any guarantee of success. 

Though the novellas were good, so he still 'has it' somewhere within him. 

 

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12 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

 

I agree that this is what was best about it but I disagree that the religious stuff was ever really just flavour. Like, iirc very early on there is a certain miraculous healing, and the visions and prophecies are a central focus of the plot.

Like it was definitely a show that had itself planned out until Exodus (still one of the best SF stories ever told on screen, along with the Pegasus/Resurrection Ship story) and afterwards it started to wander but it still had great moments and it never totally lost me.

From my point of view you could have watched the first 2 seasons and not noticed the religious elements at all. Even the visions I was expecting some scientific explanation for. 
 

That the writers decided to make it the fundamental reason for the entire show felt like not just a betrayal but a lazy one too. ‘God’ is usually a pretty stupid explanation for anything.

That said, I didn’t actually hate the ending, it wasn’t too bad. The show had pretty much lost my interest by that point and it had become a chore to watch it almost.

The time jump around the exodus episode , fat suit and all was just a massive thing for me at the time, words can’t describe how exciting that all was.

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:47 PM, Luzifer's right hand said:

Is GoT it still a cultural phenomenon? People around here seem to have forgotten about it after it ended. 

Given that people regularly whine about it on here and other places (looking at you, /freefolk), I'd say yeah, it most definitely left an impact. People complaining about SW doesn't change how massive it was and continues to be. 

Game of Thrones has also shaped the tv landscape and is the main reason every streaming service is investing so much money in high fantasy. Not to mention how much it popularized the deaths of main characters and redemption arcs. There's a reason the phrase "they pulled a Ned Stark/Game of Thrones" whenever a main character is killed off is a thing. 

It absolutely is a cultural phenomenon regardless of how one might feel about the ending.

 

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On 1/23/2020 at 10:05 AM, baxus said:

If we're talking about who had more viewers, then GoT takes that one, but huge viewership does not make something a cultural phenomenon.

Star Trek had much more influence on the general public. We all know about Spock, "Beam me up, Scottie", "live long and prosper"... You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who couldn't recognise a Klingon from a picture. There are other series that ran for decades after the original series ended, numerous big blockbuster movies. Hell, there are people around the world who speak Klingon!

Sure, GoT had breasts but is, as others have already said, almost forgotten barely a year after the last episode.

Most of the people I know don't know what a Klingon looks like or what they are. You are severily overestimating Star Trek's impact.

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