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Sci-Fi Heaven

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader

2016-10-09


Iím amazed at the amount of great sci-fi movies and TV series that are being released each year. It wasnít too long ago that sci-fi was relegated to late night TV syndication or movies of the week, but these days the most popular films are all sci-fi in nature and there are a plethora of quality sci-fi TV series too.

What sci-fi movies am I talking about that are so popular? To me, just about each and every superhero movie is sci-fi in disguise. Donít believe me? Superman is an alien, both Spider-Man and Captain America were created by experiments gone awry and The Guardians of the Galaxy takes place on far off planets in the depths of space.
Even ones that donít directly contain sci-fi tropes none-the-less have sci-fi elements from Iron Manís robot-like armor to Batmanís crazy gadgets.

And those are just superhero movies. Thereís also loads of great obvious sci-fi movies too.

One of my favorites of the last few years was the underrated Tom Cruise/Emily Blunt movie Edge of Tomorrow about a soldier whoís trapped in a time loop and is forced to live the worst day of his life over and over again during an alien invasion. Thereís also the new Planet of the Apes franchise thatís taken a story thatís been around nearly 50 years and put a fresh spin on it and even the latest Mad Max: Fury Road thatís based on a nearly 40 year old film series and recently won the most Oscars at the 2016 ceremony.

And itís ostensibly a movie thatís a big car chase that takes place in a post-apocalyptic future!

And letís not forget the two grand sci-fi franchises of the 20th and 21st century; Star Wars and Star Trek. The current Star Trek film franchise has been around since 2009 and has produced three movies, the latest of which was the number one movie in the country for a few weeks running. And Star Wars returned last year with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and earned more than $2 billion at the box office. Now there are new Star Wars movie due out every year forever ó or until the movies stop making money.

Because TV series costs less to make than a movie things are even better for the sci-fi genera on the small screen. There, series like The Expanse on SyFy is a classic ďpeople in very large ships in outer spaceĒ series updated for the modern day while The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime brings movie adaptation stalwart Philip K Dick to a TV series and even the oh-so-good Stephen King/Steven Spielberg/1980s mashup Stranger Things on Netflix.

In fact thereís so much good TV on these days I could go on and on and on. I didnít mention the awesome Black Mirror on Netflix or even Doctor Who on BBC America with seemingly more sci-fi series announced each month.

Next year brings the return of Star Trek to TV screens for the first time in 12 years with Star Trek: Discovery. Discovery is co-produced with Bryan Fuller who created the amazing Hannibal series and was also a Star Trek writer in the 1990s. Which means thereíll be two totally separate Trek properties, one in movie theaters and the other streaming to TVs.

And because sci-fi is so popular and makes so much money these days the immediate future looks nothing but bright. The superhero genera is so popular there are SEVEN big-budget movies due out in 2017 and the next Star Wars movie Rogue One premiers this winter. What has me most excited are upcoming movies like Annihilation based on a book series of the same name, another Alien prequel and a new King Kong movie all due out next year.

Surly all this gold canít last ó one day sci-fi will return to the geeky depths that it emerged from earlier this century. Nothing this good can last forever, but until the bubble collapses Iíll be spending my time with my favorite stories and characters at the movies and on TV every week.

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