Why was there a stigma to fantasy and sci fi TV in the 2000s and early 2010s?

CmdrShepN7

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I wish we had things like this on TV during the 2011-2014 time period!



But it seemed like in 2013 someone hit the "idiot button".

There also seemed to be some sort of stigma attached to both sci fi and fantasy sci fi in the early 2010s. People who watched those type of shows were seen as "People who live in basements" but when "Game of Thrones" showed up the stigma around fantasy disappeared overnight but the stigma to shows like "Babylon 5" and "Battlestar Galactica" seems to persist to this day.

Why was there a stigma to fantasy TV? Why is there still a stigma to shows like "Babylon 5" and "Battlestar Galactica"?
 

Extollager

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There was? News to me. Gobs of sf movies and shows were made, schools and colleges had been offering courses for credit in sf and fantasy for decades... I mean I took courses like those in the Seventies and taught them in the 1990s and 2000s. Public TV all the way back in the 1970s sunk the money to make an adaptation of Le Guin's Lathe of Heaven.

There might be criticism of shows that were not very good, mostly just special effects, but that is not a stigma against the genre.

No offense, but you might be imagining something.
 

Phyrebrat

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I think a lot of it was down to things like the Scifi channel rebranding itself as Syfy and moving away from sf and towards ‘documentary’ shows like ancient aliens and other crapola.

But I’d not categorise it as stigmatised. Just not as commercially-mined. But with streaming services now so crammed with genre shows we’re making up for lack of content!
 

Overread

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I think Phyrebrat has a good point. I wouldn't say there was any stigma against it; it just wasn't the current "in" thing all the studios were chasing. Plus its easy to forget that back then there were fewer studios with the capacity to do things like science fiction and fantasy - both of which are pretty demanding in props, sets and special effects.


Today we've a glut of steaming services paying for studios and teams to work on loads more projects. Plus CGI has become more and more accessible at a good level of quality. So the result is that many more shows can be made and with increased competition it means there's more viability for studios to chase after niche markets (which can then turn into mainstream with the right show).


Another aspect is to consider what studios have access too. The BBC does a lot of period dramas because they've got the props, sets, actors, costumes, tailors, access to buildings and more. They've done so many that they can more easily do more because they aren't starting off at the bottom.
So studios that are now building sci-fi skill and equipment bases are building up to be able to do more of the same in the future.
 

BAYLOR

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I wish we had things like this on TV during the 2011-2014 time period!



But it seemed like in 2013 someone hit the "idiot button".

There also seemed to be some sort of stigma attached to both sci fi and fantasy sci fi in the early 2010s. People who watched those type of shows were seen as "People who live in basements" but when "Game of Thrones" showed up the stigma around fantasy disappeared overnight but the stigma to shows like "Babylon 5" and "Battlestar Galactica" seems to persist to this day.

Why was there a stigma to fantasy TV? Why is there still a stigma to shows like "Babylon 5" and "Battlestar Galactica"?

I wish Scienc action has been taken more seriously then it was back in the 1970's
 

Swank

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To be fair, the new SF shows aren't broadcast television. They are episodic streaming shows with budgets like feature films paid for by subscription dollars rather than commercials. It's a somewhat recent development and has made possible some pretty crazy stuff, as well as high end films that go right to stream.
 

Overread

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Exactly, the TV scene has changed dramatically over the last few years. It's opened up to a lot more niches, but also different kinds of presentation. In the past most programs were episodic with changes and big events happening generally in the first and last episodes with perhaps a few key ones around the middle. The majority would be "adventure/event of the week" which could often be seen out-of-order and you'd still grasp what was going on.
These days you can more reliably pitch a story where there is no episodic structure. You don't have to repeat the formula. I think its reflecting a change in watching habits. When things were in fixed (or nearly fixed) time slots each week without things like catch-up or streaming; the show had to fight for your watching time. So they had a system whereby if you did miss an episode, it wouldn't matter too much. The big show start and end would generally get the most attention and people would be hooked on them to see them; but the middle you could skip weeks and still come back easily. You could also pick the show up mid season and quickly get the formula.

Today with streaming and on demand systems you can watch any time that suits you. Even if it releases on a weekly rota you can watch it all in one go in bits; you never need miss an episode. So now the formula structure isn't as important. If anything if programs continue along this path we might even see things flip over with episodic becoming a niche as things move toward a "long film" approach.
 

paeng

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It's probably because during the twentieth century we sometimes imagined that the twenty-first would be a space age.
 

Toby Frost

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Just glancing down, this seems to be about the fifth time a thread with pretty much exactly the same title has been started in the last year. Maybe some of those might help answer the question?
 

Indoril Nerevar

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i think prior to the 2010s we got very pulpy and "nerdy" sci fi television like star trek and stargate but then we got a slew of films in the 2010s that eventually (in the present) changed studio perception on sci fi and how marketable it is. consider that in the last decade we got the following critically acclaimed box office successes: interstellar, the martian, blade runner 2049, ex machina, inception, and edge of tomorrow. as more sci fi films succeeded, the TV shows started to get greenlit.
 

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