Science Fiction Differences Between Britain and America

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“Live long and prosper” may be the words which bring back good memories for the average geek in America but this may not be the case for a typical British geek. This is despite the fact that science fiction series in television have been hugely popular in both the U.S. and the U.K. all throughout history. After the 1960s, ‘New Wave’ science fiction began to take over television screens. ‘New Wave’ refers to science fiction which was characterized by a high degree of experimentation (Wolfe). It was during this time when the U.S and the U.K started to telecast science fiction series which had a huge impact on society. Star Trek became the forefront of American science fiction series in television while British science fiction series could be best represented by Doctor Who, a hugely successful production which started in 1963 and still runs today. Both nations revolutionized the way science fiction was shared and interpreted, being the leaders behind this ‘New Wave’. Yet, the unique socio-cultural differences between both societies lead to slightly differing tracks of science fiction television series.

The influence which both sets of series had on the media and society is unremarkable. One of the most prominent series in the U.K., Doctor Who, is the longest running science fiction show in the world. The show was so successful that many science fiction spin-off series emerged throughout the show’s history. Examples include other hugely successful science fiction series such as The Sarah Janes Aventures and Torchwood. Star Trek’s success has made it a cult phenomenon, spawning many references in pop-culture and the construction of the Klingon language (used by a certain species called Klingons in the series) (Day). The series was t...

... middle of paper ... improve this situation and a good example would be the inclusion of Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, the first woman to take the role of the Captain in the series.

Unique cultural differences between Britain and America may have influenced the way science fiction was shown on television; in terms of plot, casting and the audience appeal. Yet, they are essentially science fiction series, fiction based on science and technology in the future which has paved the way for millions to set sights on the unknown and to imagine the impossible.

Works Cited

Wolfe, Gary G (2005) “Coming to Terms” in Speculations on Speculation. Theories of Science Fiction, James Gunn and Matthew Candelaria (Ed.), Scarecrow Press Inc, Maryland

Day, Dwayne. "Star Trek as a Cultural Phenomenon." US Centennial of Flight Commission. n. d. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.
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