Reflecting on science fiction television

Published 5:21 pm Friday, September 13, 2019

I’m the kind of person who loves to rewatch my favorite TV shows. It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen it a hundred times; I still love the characters and stories enough to immerse myself again and again.

Recently, I’ve gotten swept up in rewatching Stargate SG-1, a long-running sci-fi series full of both action and comedy. (Action comedy is my personal favorite combination for any TV show or movie, to be honest.) It has been so long since I’ve last seen some of these episodes, it’s almost like watching the series for the first time. Watching it over again has made me feel quite nostalgic since the show had been one of my favorites in high school, one that I often spent lots of time discussing with my friends.

Science fiction has been one of my favorite genres since I was a kid recording episodes of Star Trek Voyager on VHS to watch later because it aired each night at 10 p.m. which was well past my bedtime in those days. That’s another show which always make me feel nostalgic. I absolutely have watched through that series hundreds of times.

There have been plenty of other sci-fi shows over the years that have caught my attention too. The other various Star Trek series, for example, and Farscape and Babylon 5. In more recent years, it’s been shows on the Syfy Channel like Defiance, Dark Matter, and Killjoys.

What do these shows have in common? Well, a lot of them are centered on the specific kind of science fiction focused on space travel and aliens.

The characters of Stargate SG-1 travel through a wormhole to other planets to try to defeat an alien race determined to take over the galaxy. Killjoys is a story about a couple of bounty hunters hopping from planet to planet and banding together to thwart an alien threat to their solar system. Farscape follows the story of an American astronaut who accidentally ends up very far from home and meets plenty of strange aliens along the way.

You get the picture, right?

But the thing I really love about sci-fi series is that they’re often an entertaining way of looking at humanity and its future, both the positives and the negatives. Some series, like Star Trek, are optimistic. Others are a bit more pessimistic. But all challenge the viewer to consider complex ideas like what it means to interact with and live alongside others who are different from you. There is always conflict, of course—that seems inevitable no matter what—but the message is often focused on learning how to work together to overcome that conflict.

I love science fiction because it sparks my imagination, makes me feel like I’m flying amongst the stars, shows us all kind of exciting futures, and presents new ways to look at the world around us. But also, perhaps, I just like that it encourages us to keep exploring the universe for more, for something better than life is now.

So I’m having fun watching Stargate SG-1 again through my nostalgia goggles. It’s been great to be reminded of all the science fiction I used to enjoy and to reflect on which parts have made an impact on my life.

Maybe you have a favorite TV show (or movie or book or story) like that too.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at 252-332-7206.