Let me start with showing you an image. The following photograph is of the most awesome Spock poster I found at Forbidden Planet (the best sci-fi store I have ever come across. EVER.) a month ago and is now carefully tacked up on the wall behind my bed.
In case you can’t figure it out, Spock’s face is made up of thousands and thousands of tiny screenshots from the Star Trek series. Apologies for sounding like Po (from Kung Fu Panda) but this one radiates pure awesomeness.
Spock is probably the first of many fangirl crushes I’ve had on sci-fi characters. I think it’s the ears and his Vulcan cool that attracted me. Please remember I was probably all of 7 when I first came across Star Trek (my mother has taught me well in the ways of the sci-fi Force). I ended up fancying many more sci-fi swashbucklers – Hans Solo, Chris Halliwell, Angel, Spike, Max (from Roswell), John Crichton, James T Kirk… I could go on.
I’d like to pause here and thank my mother, without whom I doubt I would’ve entered the fantastical world of sci-fi as early on as I did. It was through her I started watching TV series and films such as Star Trek, Star Wars and James Bond (yes I was quite young, but I promise I closed my eyes in an appropriately squirming fashion when Sean Connery decided to ravish a woman in his James Bond movies). I fondly remember a time when the Star Wars movies were being shown at the now-defunct Al Nasr cinemas (I must’ve been 11?) and we both went to see The Empire Strikes Back because at the time, I hadn’t found it on VHS and therefore hadn’t seen it yet. As I grew older, my interest grew. Mom and I regularly watched sci-fi TV shows and films together. Roswell, Buffy, Angel, Stargate, Charmed and more.
Where is sci-fi going today? We have shows like Fringe, Lost, Heroes, The Event which have been colouring the sci-fi landscape for a few years. Lost was great, but my interest waned after two seasons. Only the first season of Heroes truly appealed to me. Currently, Fringe is holding steady, as is The Event. I’ve also recently discovered shows that I missed the first time around (i.e. when they initially aired) such as Farscape and Firefly.
The story is such an important part of sci-fi – how coherently the story is (no matter how fantastical) is important. You can throw in all the vampires or aliens or action scenes, you want. If the story doesn’t grip the audience, it flops. Case in point would be Enterprise, the Star Trek spinoff. It was just not appealing to me. Storyline is important for all series/movies (remember how The Phantom Menace was just…*shakes head*) but I think even more so for sci-fi.
Apart from the way sci-fi boosts my imagination, I think I love it for allowing an escape from regular life, and its ability to weave intricate yet believable stories.
I’m going to be that person with a room full of DVDs (or BluRays or whatever else the format du jour is) and a majority of them will be…sci-fi.