About Speculative Genre on TV

I hope everyone had a great labor day. And for those of you who aren’t in the US, I hope you had a Happy Monday. Anyway, I’m back and as the title of this post entails, I’ve been having some thoughts about the increasing prevalence of speculative genres on TV.

Science Fiction and Fantasy has been on TV for a long time. It is far from being anything new, but in the past it came in small doses. We had shows like the Twilight Zone, that pushed Science Fiction TV to a new level. In fact, I believe that Rod’s Serling’s excellent story telling and intriguing premises pushed all boundaries of Science Fiction, not just the TV variety. As for Fantasy, we had the likes of The Munsters and The Addams Family. Both shows had very similar premises, but the configuration of characters was different. I was a big fan of The Munsters. You can’t forget about I Dream of Genie and Betwitched either.

These older shows of the speculative genres have been around for a while. As a kid I used to watch a lot of old TV, mostly because they used to show it on network TV in the 90s. I was exposed to a lot of great speculative genre shows from a different era and it was great. The shows I mentioned were simply the shows that I were available to me, but I’m sure those who grew up in that era know of many more shows that would fit under the category. I say all of this to make it clear that science fiction and fantasy shows were around back in the day.

The only difference between then and now is, the old shows are still around to inspire people. I believe this is part of why we are at the start of a boom in speculative genre TV, When network television embraces genre it is a sign of it being accepted by society. The Fact that ABC will be behind Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a sign that speculative is something that the mass of a populace is interested in. I’ll be honest, I expected the show to be on Fox, but with ABC’s success with Once Upon A time, I’m not too surprised. Now, if we can get CBS to majorly get on board with the speculative genre it will be completely cemented in our culture.

Current Line-up
Just to bring a perspective of how many shows are genre shows are on each network, I’m going to list them. FYI- I’m only including the major 5 (Yes, I know CW is the ugly stepchild of the bunch, but I love CW). This is both Current and Upcoming.

FOX- Almost Human, Sleepy Hollow
ABC- Once Upon A Time, Once Upon A Time: Wonderland, Marvel’s Agents of  S.H.I.E.L.D., The Neighbors, Resurrection, Carrie
NBC- Grimm, Revolution, Hannibal, Dracula, Believe, Crossbones(Possibly, depending on if they go more historical or fantasy, it’s still genre)
CBS- Under the Dome
CW- Supernatural, Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, Beauty & the Beast, The Originals, Tomorrow People, Star-Crossed, Reign (Historical), also two back door pilots The Flash, and a spinoff of Supernatural

Rise of Horror
Now, like I said, I wasn’t around in the 60s and I don’t have any solid memories of much before 1996 (I was born in 90, give me a break), but I’m pretty sure there weren’t many horror TV shows before. Since the success of American Horror Story, a string of Horror TV shows have been cropping up. This past year, in addition to the yearly mini-series like American Horror Story, we had the premiere of Bates Motel (related to Psycho) and Hannibal (obviously related to the Hannibal series). The most important part of it all was that Hannibal came on network TV, rather than cable. I’ll ignore that it may have simply been NBC grasping at straws to regain viewership, but I’ve heard it is a fantastic show. With the critical reception of these shows, it holds high hopes for horror. I’ll be looking forward to see new IPs coming to be, as I imagine the horror genre will continue to flourish.

Do you enjoy science fiction, fantasy, or horror TV? What’s you favorite show?

3 thoughts on “About Speculative Genre on TV

  1. While I’m thrilled that speculative television has become so prevalent, I wish that more of it was of a higher quality. If only more genre TV could be as intelligent and well crafted as “the Twilight Zone.”

    I’m looking forward to “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” because even bad Whedon (“Dollhouse”) is good.

    “Game of Thrones” can be a bit uneven but is more than worth it for how good it often is.

    “Doctor Who” somehow manages to be the best science fiction show of all time. It flies in the face of all sense, really.

    I’m enjoying “Siberia” more than I thought I would. It’s a shame that they had to largely abandon it’s “reality TV” format, but the characters were distinct enough that it survived the transition fairly well.

    • It’d be positively ecstatic if more shows were pushing boundaries and bringing their respective genres collectively to a better standard. Although the quality has improved since the 90s.

      We’re finally moving to a place where speculative genres are being taken more seriously. I’m a fan of that shift.

  2. Pingback: About September 2013 Roundup | So, I pondered...

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