- Christopher Mills - "blog is dedicated
to the science fiction films and television series
of the 1970s - give or take a few years (say, 1969-1983)"
Solar Sci-Fi Television/Web
While there have been many valiant attempts, there
has yet to be a realistic style, solar system based
space sci-fi drama that has achieved long running success,
at least not in the US market.
The success, however, of the non-fiction From the
Earth to the Moon mini-series dramatization of the
Apollo program proved that contemporary space exploration
can in fact be made exciting and captivating.
So we have reason to hope that eventually a Roddenberry-type
visionary will come along with a series concept that
holds the right combination of a realistic, hard-science
scenario and likeable characters to create a successful
Sci-Fi TV series.
It is becoming increasingly common to see programs intended
not for film theaters or for TV but for web audiences.
Here are some with a space theme.
Race - this on line program offers a high-quality
animation adventure/education series for kids.
- "a hard science fiction dramatic miniseries for
online distribution" led by Stanley
Von Medvey. The plot involves a crew coming out
of suspended animation after the return from the first
manned mission to Barnard's Star. They hear no signals
from an apparently devastated and lifeless Earth and
come upon a giant O'neill cylinder-colony at the L5
Lagrange point that is empty and airless.
The project will use the social networking model for
funding via the Kickstarter
site. They "are seeking to raise $10,000 for the
a ten-part improv-reality-sitcom about
living and working on the International Space Station.
The four actors playing the ISS crew must develop
strategies on the fly in response to surprise situations,
which are loosely based on actual ISS data uncovered
by monochrom. In space no one can hear you complain
about your job.
webpage provides videos of the shows, images and
backgrounds of the "crew". The first episode was recorded
recorded in front of a live audience on March
Actors: Jeff Ricketts (Star Trek: Enterprise,
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly), Maciej Salamon
(Musicals: Barbarella, Tanz der Vampire, Sweeney
Todd), Claire Tudela (Carmen, Musical: The Producers),
Geoff Pinfield (Aoterroroa, Lovepuke)
Directing (aka live torture of actors): Johannes
Grenzfurthner and Roland Gratzer
Short-run British sitcom in fall of 1981 (6 episodes)
about the first British space mission. Two men, a woman
and a dog were living in a Skylab type spacecraft for
A 1995 weekly show based on the lives and adventures
of the NASA space shuttle astronauts and support crews.
Very much a near term, contemporary scenario. A medium
budget syndicated show, it nevertheless had fairly high
production values and a good cast.
However, with no space station, moon base or Mars missions,
the show struggled to come up with exciting plots that
involved just the shuttle going up, delivering or servicing
a satellite, and coming back down. The series only lasted
Several clips are available at Youtube such as this
Escape from Jupiter Joint Australian/Japanese production 1994 about
the adventures of five children who try to make their
way back to earth on a dilapidated spacecraft after
their colony on the Jupiter moon IO is accidentally
destroyed. Thirteen 30 min episodes.
Highly realistic style space drama set in 2050 among colonies
and ships in the Jupiter system. Commissioned by British
Satellite Broadcasting in 1989, over 150 episodes were
made with high production values. It was quite popular
and the series has been run several times on Sci-fi channels
This ER in Space was a short lived series on
the UPN TV network in the US in 1998. Followed events
on the hospital space station Mercy Point, which
provided emergency care to space dwellers of all species.
Eight episodes were made but only 3 shown before it
was canceled. Later 4 episodes were aired.
1- George Leonberger
Salvage 1 was a short lived but interesting series from
the late 1970's. Andy Griffith builds a rocket to go to
the Moon to salvage equipment left by the Apollo astronauts.
George Leonberger has collected lots of info and pictures
about the show. Ultimate
A. Michener's Space
1985 mini-series dramatized Michener's book Space
in 6 episodes. The realistic style novel depicted how
Apollo 18 might have gone if it had not been canceled
by Nixon's budget cutbacks.
Short lived series in the 1977 about spaceflight school.
Class was never this much fun at your school...the
students at Space Academy major in adventure!
Under the guidance of their instructor Commander
Isaac Gampu (played by Lost in Space's Jonathan
Harris), the young cadets attending Space Academy
in the year 3732 include Captain Chris Gentry,
his telepathic sister Laura Gentry, action-oriented
Tee Gar Soom, brainy Lieutenant Paul Jerome, and
the pretty, young Adrian Pryce-Jones. Joining
the Blue Team for learning and adventure are the
robot Peepo and the blue-haired mysterious orphan
Airing on CBS in the 1977 season, Space Academy
was another ground-breaking live-action series
from Filmation Studios. With special effects by
some of the technical wizards who had created
Star Wars that same year, space Academy proved
popular with audiences both young and old. Later
rerun on the network and in syndication worldwide,
Space Academy also launched a line of character
dolls and other memorabilia, and a spin-off the
following season called Jason of Star Command.
This British drama about seven people on a space station
lasted for two seasons (1997-1998). Said to have realistic
effects and plots with good acting.
This project started out with the goal of developing
an animated TV show. The scenario is set in the solar
system during the 29th century. Strange Frame
"follows the interplanetary flying hunk of junk
'The Lone Mango' as she hauls her musical crew to
explore the brave new humanity wrought by hundreds
of years of genetic engineering and biomodification."
In the spirit of Solar
SciFi , the program assumes no faster-than-light
travel or alien encounters. However, humanity and it's
genetically modified offshoots have spread throughout
the solar system and make it a very interesting place.
The diverse societies, lifestyles and conflicts that
the Lone Mango encounters will provide limitless possibilities
for exciting adventures.
The program's style is inspired by Japanese anime,
as well as graphic novels, and is aimed towards teens
and adults. See more in the press release.
By 2011 the project had reoriented itself towards an
independent film and a number of notables in the industry
For a low budget indie film Strange Frame has an
incredible sci-fi cast. Actors doing voices include
Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ferngully),
Claudia Black (Stargate SG1, Farscape), George Takei
(Star Trek, Heroes), Michael Dorn (Star Trek, Transformers),
Ron Glass (Barney Miller, Firefly, Serenity), Alan
Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity, Transformers), Juliet Landau
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ed Wood), and Claudia Christian
Roger Waters gave them a Pink Floyd song because
the innovative combination of style and content resonated
Academy Award winner, Gary Rizzo (Inception, Titanic,
Star Wars, Dark Knight, and The Incredibles) is doing
the sound mix at Skywalker Ranch.
Two globe-trotting adventurers join the international
effort to mine Helium 3, a new energy source discovered
on the moon. This near-future sci-fi series chronicles
mankind's struggle to conquer space.
Puppet style scifi in B&W that preceded
Fireball XL5 and Thunderbird
Devoted to science fiction from the early days of
TV, especially the years 1949 to 1955, this fun site
was built by enthusiasts for shows like Captain
Video and His Video Rangers, Tom Corbett
Space Cadet, and Space Patrol.
Includes interviews, images, art-work, space toys
from the era, etc.
Devoted to "Space Opera", this site seeks
to "preserve some of the early history of Science
Fiction Television." Lots of resources about
popular sci-fi series of the late 1940's and early
Hard sci-fi style drama made during the immediate
post-Sputnik period. Aired 1959-1960. Astronauts rode
X-15 style spaceplanes to orbit to build a space station
as a base for the going to the Moon. (That is, they
did it the way it should have been done!)
Galactic Space Programs HobbySpace is devoted
to space development that can happen in our own solar
system, in our own lifetimes. So this Space TV section
focuses on programs that had at least a near term focus
if not a totally realistic approach to spaceflight.
See the Solar
Sci-Fi section for futher resources along that line.
However, it would be a bit silly not to mention programs
like Star Trek that have had enormous impact
on popular attitudes towards space.
There is a whole universe of online resources related
to Star Trek and other popular sci-fi series. So I just
give some brief samples of online resources here.
- Creation of full-length videos made by amateurs
that emulate a particular show like Star Trek. Many
of these projects have become quite sophisticated.
This was one of the best space-related sci-fi program
series ever made but unfortunately it didn't last even
a year. Despite very high production values, good stories
and well-drawn characters, it couldn't find an audience.
This had a lot to do with being placed on Friday nights
and having the sequence of shows scrambled by the network,
which made it quite difficult for viewers to understand
the basic scenario of the program and the background
and motivations of the characters.
Initially I thought it was fantasy space scifi but
it actually had many Solar
Not much in the way of magic technologies. E.g.
the weapons used are mostly the plain old bullet sort.
Some action occurs in a star system outside of Earth's
but this wasn't really emphasized. The colonies where
the episodes took place were said mostly to be on
terraformed moons. They could just as easily have
all been on planets, moons, and O'Neill
habitats within the solar system.
A few non-fiction and solar
sci-fi style made-for-TV movies have appeared
over the years. (Unfortunately, many are very difficult
to find on videotape and even more so on DVD.)
Movies section gives brief descriptions of
While countless space documentaries have
appeared on TV since the 1950's (see the Multimedia
section for sources of space documentary videotapes/DVDs),
there have been very few dramatizations of true life
The 12 part mini-series From the Earth
to the Moon sponsored by the US HBO network partly
made up for this deficiency. Perhaps its success will
give rise to more such true story space dramas in the
Live TV from Space
While sci-fi writers and space advocates in the early
20th Century predicted human spaceflight and flights
to the Moon, few expected that the public would watch
the initial efforts on a home viewing device. The TV
broadcasts from US space flights, especially during
the Apollo moon missions, were one of the genuine "sci-fi"
features of the Space Age.
Here are some resources about various aspects of space
The late planetary scientist Carl Sagan hosted this
13 part series starting in 1980 on Public Television.
With his eloquent writing and melodic voice, he presented
from a personal perspective the history, current development,
and future of astronomy, space science and cosmology.
Sagan became one of the most famous public figures in
science during the 1970s and 1980s, especially after
be became a regular on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.
& Space The Disney Channel occasionally re-broadcasts the
programs in its 1950's space series: Man in Space,
Man and the Moon, and Mars and Beyond.
All three were made in collaboration
with Wernher von Braun and helped to influence in
a positive way US public opinion on spaceflight during
the 1950s. They also inspired the Tomorrowland section
Mars and Beyond was shone on the Disney
Channel Mar 29, 2001- Series/Family, 60 Mins."Legendary
Disney animator Ward Kimball directed this 1957 look
at space travel that includes a trip to Mars on an atomic-powered
Men - Hunting, collecting and selling meteorites
has become a worldwide industry. The new weekly program
on the Science Channel called , which follows professional
meteorite hunters Geoffrey Notkin and Steve Arnold
as they scour the world for extraterrestrial rocks.
Mars extravaganza from Discovery
Channel Canada that includes a 4 episode dramatization
of a manned mission to Mars and then a 6 episode
documentary for a total of 10 hours of programming.
The programs are narrated by William Shatner.
Space - a 6-episode documentary series by
the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and The
Learning Channel. It is narrated by actor Sam Neill
and produced by Richard Burke-Ward. First broadcast
in 2001. Internet
/ Sci-Fi Channel
The home site of the Sci-Fi channel that is available
on cable and satellite Shows both original programming
and reruns of old sci-fi, including many space programs.
The online site for the Canadian Space Channel TV network.
Fiction TV Remakes
For decades the sci-fi fan-fiction phenomema
has grown into a vast subculture. Devoted fans of various
sci-fi and fantasy TV programs and movies write their
own stories, episodes, and whole books based on the
scenarios and characters in those dramas. Increasingly,
their efforts extend even to short films and full-length
Trek: New Voyages (Also called Star Trek:
This group treats Kirk, Spock and McCoy as written
characters, such as James Bond, who can be portrayed
by different actors, each giving their own interpretation
of the particular character. So they don't do
impersonations of Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest
Though still non-profit, the productions have
gotten increastingly professional in quality and
some top actors like George Takei and Denise Crosby
are taking roles in the episodes.
Trek Continues - Space: The Final Frontier...
- In Star Trek original series stye. High production
quaility. "The new Star Trek Continues Web
Series carries on the original 5-year mission.
Star Trek Continues begins right where the original
left off. Check out the rest of our website for
the latest news, photos and information surrounding
this ground-breaking series produced by Farragut
Films and DracoGen Strategic Investments."
- 1 full episode and three "vignettes"
as of June 2013
- "reality" show in which the participants
were tricked into believing they had received real
training and had actually gone into orbit. (They fell
for some silly explanation as to why they were not