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Dark Matter, S1 E02 - Episode Two

Dark Matter Dark Matter: Season 1

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#21 RJDiogenes

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Posted 01 July 2015 - 06:18 PM

Okay, I watched episode three.  But there's another thread for that.  :lol:
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#22 Cybersnark

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 10:28 AM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 29 June 2015 - 06:09 PM, said:

I can dig it.  I am very hungry for good Space Opera, but this and Killjoys are not doing it for me.  I'm not sure if I'll try another episode of each or not.  We still have The Expanse to look forward to.
Perhaps spinning off a different discussion, but I'm not sure I'd characterize either of these as Space Opera; they're more in the Space Western genre.

To my mind, Space Opera (like Soap Opera, Horse Opera, and Opera Opera) tend to be larger-than-life tales featuring people who wear uniforms and think of things far "above" most of the audience (and who seldom have to worry about things like food, medical care, and tech that works).

Space Westerns tend to be more "grounded," focused on the lives of regular folks that the audience can (sort-of) indentify with, looking to put food on the table, with tech held together by duct tape and chewing gum. "The people history steps on," as Joss Whedon phrased it.

Star Trek, Stargate, and most Gundam series are Space Opera, while Firefly, Cowboy Bebop, and StarHunter are Space Westerns. Star Wars has elements of both (through Han & Leia), and Farscape and Guardians of the Galaxy are both about a bunch of Space Western characters unwittingly dropped into the middle of a Space Opera (while Battlestar Galactica and early Andromeda tend to be the opposite; Space Opera characters thrown into a Space Western setting).

Both Dark Matter and Killjoys fall toward the "Western" end of the scale, more notably in Killjoys (Dark Matter has hints of Operatic themes, in the conflict between the megacorps, the obviously well-equipped starship, and Five's talk of a castle).
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#23 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 06:35 PM

I don't disagree. I was just thinking today, in fact, that both of these shows have little, if any, Sci Fi to them, even in the broadest interpretation of the term.  Space Opera has traditionally cast a wide net, but I find your distinction between Space Opera and Space Western appealing.
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#24 Christopher

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Posted 05 July 2015 - 06:08 PM

View PostCybersnark, on 02 July 2015 - 10:28 AM, said:

To my mind, Space Opera (like Soap Opera, Horse Opera, and Opera Opera) tend to be larger-than-life tales featuring people who wear uniforms and think of things far "above" most of the audience (and who seldom have to worry about things like food, medical care, and tech that works).

Space Westerns tend to be more "grounded," focused on the lives of regular folks that the audience can (sort-of) indentify with, looking to put food on the table, with tech held together by duct tape and chewing gum. "The people history steps on," as Joss Whedon phrased it.

I don't think most people would make that distinction. Originally, "space opera" meant something like "Doc" Smith's Lensmen or Star Wars -- larger-than-life epics about cosmic battles of good and evil, with enormous stakes and thinly drawn characters. Eventually, it became a derogatory label applied to all space-based science fiction at a time when that was considered outdated and SF in print was turning its attention more toward Earthbound subjects like cyberpunk, genetics, and the like. But then the term was reclaimed by a new generation of writers who brought new innovation and legitimacy to space opera, like Iain M. Banks and Alastair Reynolds. I think it still tends to be used to mean space-based SF in general, but without the snide condescension it used to have.


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Star Trek, Stargate, and most Gundam series are Space Opera, while Firefly, Cowboy Bebop, and StarHunter are Space Westerns.

I seem to recall that the "bumpers" on one Cowboy Bebop episode reprinted a portion of what was presumably the series proposal or bible, and it said something about how the idea behind the show was, instead of space opera, to create a genre that could be called "a kind of space jazz." While there are Western influences in Bebop (in more than one sense of "Western"), I'd say it's too much of a conceptual hodgepodge to be called strictly a space Western.
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