Science fiction looks different these days

Well, I survived yet another trip to Amsterdam and have since been working a lot. Mostly for the Syfy channel. The combination of brain-battering in both places fused together to make me wonder about something that would not bother most. At least I hope not or humanity really needs to focus.

What I noticed was that alien planets in the fictional future of my childhood look different from alien planets in the fictional future of today.

The Vasquez rocks or an alien planet?

The Vasquez rocks or an alien planet?

In my youth alien planets¬†were desert but today they are forests. To be specific, in my youth they looked like the Vasquez rocks outside LA and now they look like a Canadian forest. The former strikes me as more realistic as most extra-terrestrial planets (not the gas giants obviously) are desert-like in appearance. Look at Mars. Or Venus. I should stress that this probably won’t bother most people but it does me and this is my site. If you do care and you want proof, here goes.

Star Trek Original series. Arena.

Star Trek Original series. Arena.

In a classic episode of the old Trek called Arena, James T. Kirk is beamed down to a planet and made to fight a green lizard thing that is the captain of another ship.

Spoilers: They are placed there by an alien intelligence to see which species should be allowed to survive. It’s a fight to the death and Kirk manages to make gunpowder and shoots a diamond at the alien with a piece of bamboo.

Which is exactly what I’d have done. He refuses to finish the alien off and humans turn out to be er, humane and we’re let off.

Notice the background?

Same episode but with alien

Same episode but with alien

In the highly under-rated Futurama, cartoon Vasquez rocks:

Futurama does Star Trek

Futurama does Star Trek

Buck Rogers went there in the 25th Century:

Buck Rogers

Buck Rogers

There’s a great¬†bit in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey where they watch the Arena episode and then a few minutes later get thrown off the very same rocks. I couldn’t find a photo of this but here they are in preparation:

From fantazone

From fantazone

Evil Bill and Ted meet Good Bill and Ted

Evil Bill and Ted meet Good Bill and Ted

Ok so it is all to do with budgets and nearness to the studio. It’s just that my youth has been filled with images of the Vasquez rocks. The Flinstones movie has these rocks behind Bedrock. A godawful movie called Shockwave features them. In Friends, Joey is going to be in a low budget Sci Fi film that is set here.

Here’s Airwolf episode 1:

Airwolf!

Airwolf!

Austin Powers!

Austin Powers!

So there I am watching old Sci Fi juxtaposed with new Sci Fi. The difference is glaring. New Sci Fi looks like this:

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica

Stargate

Stargate

As stated, it is obviously about budgets and this entry is making no point whatsoever. Except maybe don’t go to Amsterdam and then watch the SyFy channel for three 12-hour shifts in a row. Especially if you’re a bored pedant.

 

Hopefully soon, some big budget movie will come along and return to the planets of my youth with its Vasquez like rocks. Actually… that’s happened. Guess what movie? In a joke that would appeal to sad Trekkies, JJ Abrams’ brilliant new Star Trek film featured a picture of Vulcan.

It looks familiar and god bless him:

Vulcan in the new Star Trek. Genius.

Vulcan in the new Star Trek. A return to Vasquez. Genius.

Next blog entry: something completely different.

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