Is there a psychological reason for TV viewers being turned off by anything set in space?


Dec 25, 2019
I heard a guy on a forum dedicated to a sci fi show say that mainstream TV and movie viewers seem all too ready to watch things that involve our future near extinction by things from Space or by other means. They don't want to see a new Space Opera, but they do want to see how we fight back against the Aliens or Zombies that nearly killed off the human race. And they will go in droves to see humans who have superpowers in Space or wherever else.

Is he right? If so then why? Is it because the post apocalyptic and superhero shows are of better quality? Is it because the stress of their lives make them feel powerless and that causes them to flock to superheroes and zombie apocalypses?

Or has space become too damn boring for most people?


Achieved Score: "None Correct"
Aug 27, 2019
The Netherlands
I don't have an answer for you. I can only say that I have opposite tastes; I'll watch anything set in space, but am not interested at all in (films about) superheroes. Or zombies. Or vampires.
I suppose different people have have different set of imaginations. I cannot imagine or suspend disbelieve temporarily to accept superheroes or zombies as real. But adventures in space, once our technologies have advanced sufficiently, I can accept as a possibility. Other people perhaps cannot imagine anything that is not Earth-based.

Are post apocalyptic or superhero shows of better quality than other shows? Perhaps it is just that Film companies are prepared to invest more money in projects of which they feel that huge crowds will eventually watch. People don't watch because the CGI is of high quality, but the high quality is there because many people are expected to be willing to pay for it.
It has always annoyed (and baffled) me when people who, after having always derisively responded to my love for SF, suddenly are waxing lyrical after watching movies about superheroes or alien invasions and NOT see that as SF/F.

BTW space IS boring. Very little happens between the stars.


None The Wiser
Jul 24, 2003
Superhero TV and movies (with the notable exception of the Watchmen series) are becoming increasingly tedious. Space, on the other hand, still holds the magic for me. Space Opera is like any other genre - done well, it’s sublime.

Ori Vandewalle

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2020
Greenbelt, MD
Star Trek has had 7 or 8 series over the last 50-odd years, so I'm not sure I accept the premise. That said, space-based shows can be expensive and hard to film. Look at all the trouble The Expanse has had as one of the only shows out there that doesn't just say "uh yeah they've got anti-gravity that never, ever fails."


All Hail Skaven!
Aug 22, 2007
Hunting in the woods
I don't think space is the key part of your comparison, its more the comparison between "opera" and "action". In general people are easy to get behind in an action film - the plots are simple, they focus on a lot of cool looking action and the overall general morality and thoughts are often fairly easy to get behind. Fantasy, modern times, aliens, zombies, whatever they are all fairly similar at their core.

Opera or more serious heavy sci-fi is like a lot of other "heavier" shows. Whilst they can be very popular, they can also be harder to get into. You can't miss 5 episodes and just jump back in; you do have to pay attention and not have it on as background noise*; their plots might touch on sensitive subjects or even complex interactions. They might not even have a weekly formula so there's no pattern of expectations. This is the same no matter if its sci-fi; fantasy or anything else - with the fact to remember that sci-fi often requires more lore building to get a basic understanding of the setting. So sometimes if you miss that key episode where they outline how some fancy thing works, you can end up confused in latter episodes.

*a lot of action type shows (esp those that have a weekly formula) you can totally ignore the visuals and still keep up whilst doing other things.