Why is it so hard for space adventure that is not Star Wars to become mainstream on TV?

I’ve enjoyed The Mandalorian greatly but I prefer sci fi space adventure like “The Expanse” or “Mass Effect”. I love the Iain M. Banks “Culture” novels.

Space adventure like that seems to have a hard time on TV.


Has science as we know it and all the problems we are bombarded with on the daily news have made it hard to imagine humanity having a future in space? I think this is a big reason why superheroes were so big in the 2010s.

There also seems to be a stigma going on. People have no problem with watching things with zombies, dragons, and even superheroes in them but are apathetic or even downright dismissive of things with spaceships that are not Star Wars.

Has space sci fi become too “dark and gritty”? Has it lost it’s optimism and sense of wonder?

One of the futuristic worlds I loved was the one shown in “Big Hero 6”.

I also loved the world of the anime “Planetes”.

I imagine that money is a big factor. Shows with lots of special effects and elaborate sets cost a lot to produce, and the potential audience isn’t big enough to compensate. It’s more profitable for networks to put another reality show on the air instead.

I love Star Wars and Mando. The new Battlestar Galactica was one of my favorite TV series ever. And RIP beloved Firefly.

My husband read all The Expanse books and loves the TV series. I tried it but didn’t get engaged. It was literally dark (visually), and I didn’t find any characters to root for . . . Granted, it was one episode, but “gritty” is seldom my thing. I watch TV for escape from reality, and freely admit partiality towards at least some romance and main characters who are essentially good.

Other shows I’ve liked are Star Trek TNG, Stargate SG1, The West Wing, Sherlock, Avatar TLA, and WandaVision. Should I try The Expanse again?

1 Like

We watched about half a season of The Expanse and just found it too depressing. Very good, but oof. We may try it again as our son stuck with it. Science fiction has always been a bit of a niche market - with books too. I’m amazed that nobody has tried filming Elizabeth Moon’s books, or taken a stab at the Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. I think they’d make a great TV series. One new series that I think was seriously underrated was Seth McFarlane’s The Orville, it manages both to be an homage to Star Trek, is often very funny and has the same episodic little parables of the original series.

My husband and I are not sci fi enthusiasts generally but we are loving The Expanse. We’re good with dark; Amos is my favorite character. The visual effects, sets and costumes are stunning, and the premise is intriguing, but the show is dragged down sometimes by weak acting, though there are strong performances as well. They obviously assembled an international cast of English-speaking actors, so I’m not sure why acting quality is a problem.

It’s not so much space adventure, but a space adventure worth watching. I think we’re all tired of Star Wars at this point. Star Trek isn’t worth the subscription fee. I really enjoyed Lost in Space on Netflix.

I am a huge SciFi fan. I have tried getting into the Expanse four times. Just. Can’t. Do. It. The Expanse makes one critical error in my mind. SciFi can either be hard SciFi or not. But, if you claim to be hard SciFi, then be hard SciFi. Everything I have seen or read says that The Expanse is hard SciFi…but, it’s not. The science in it is bad. So, I cannot watch it for that. Then, what am I watching it for? The fiction? But, the story moves at a snail’s pace. Look, I am fine with a slowburn, but let’s at least move. Saving major plot development to the back end of a season is just plain lazy. Lastly, good SciFi, occasionally has standalone shows that are good on their own. I despise ST:Disco. But, the first Harvey Mudd show involving time, was brilliant. Good SciFi. That fact is that SciFi is hard. You have to have a good story and meld the fiction. Star Wars is not SciFi. It is space opera. There is nothing science about it. Good stories. No science.

1 Like

There is an awful lot of space adventure on right now. Two Star Trek series, Mando, 99 junky series on Netflix, subtitled stuff on Netflix…

Fun fact. Through a convoluted path DS has an established pedigree in Star Trek. In a recent scholarship it was discussed AT LENGTH with interviewer.