Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Finest Television Science Fiction Series of All Time

Orson Scott Card, sci-fi author of Ender's Game, has a commentary piece in the L.A. Times in which he argues that the death of Star Trek is overdue:
Little of this [excellent science fiction literature] seeped into the original "Star Trek." The later spinoffs were much better performed, but the content continued to be stuck in Roddenberry's rut. So why did the Trekkies throw themselves into this poorly imagined, weakly written, badly acted television series with such commitment and dedication? Why did it last so long?
Here's what I think: Most people weren't reading all that brilliant science fiction. Most people weren't reading at all. So when they saw "Star Trek," primitive as it was, it was their first glimpse of science fiction. It was grade school for those who had let the whole science fiction revolution pass them by.

Link. Notably, Card praises my favorite current show:
Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof have created "Lost," the finest television science fiction series of all time … so far.

I'm pumped that there's a new episode of Lost tonight, as I am every night there is a new episode. It does a good job at what we demand of television shows: walking the fine line between well-crafted literature with deep complexities and frivilous superficial entertainment. I love that every episode divides its time between the backstory of one of the marooned ensemble and the present events on their strange island, with at least one and often both of these threads ending in a bizarre twist. I love that there are constantly emerging truths, never quite explained. I love that the series is trying hard to work as an allegory about the formation of society out of a state of nature, going so far as to include characters named Rousseau and John Locke. And so, while I am wary that Card's praise is premature--that there's only been one season of the show and we don't know how it will hold up, that we can't even be sure that it's science fiction yet--I am glad that the show is getting high-profile recognition. And I'm positively stoked for tonight.

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