After looking at 4 of the biggest changes to the status quo just a few weeks ago, I thought it might be an opportune time to take a moment to see just how that status quo emerged in the first place. In most sci-fi works, or hell, most works set in the future at all, there are a few easy ways to fill in that gap between the story’s setting and the present era, and the main one is with a war. Wars happen all the time in real life, so it’s a logical thing to carry forward into the future; and wars, as most obviously seen in World War 2, often have huge effects on the balance of power and shape the world for decades to come. It’s a good way to explain why things are so different, or even why they aren’t quite as different as they should be. So here are 4 (usually offscreen) wars that helped establish the sci-fi worlds we’ve come to know and love.
A lot of the time in long-running shows, or even just shows that manage a few seasons, there will be some big things that are brought up, and then never heard from again. Often it’s because the answer would’ve been a huge shakeup for the status quo, but not always. Sometimes it’s just a plot thread that was left hanging in case the writers ever decided they wanted to revisit it. But then the story started to go in a different direction, and it didn’t really make sense any more to dust that idea off and drag it out of the closet. So looking back on the finished shows later, it can become a rather large mystery for the fandoms: what is the deal with this unresolved plot thread?
In that vein, here are 4 big questions raised by series, usually early in their runs, that were never answered.
In the time of episodic television, the status quo was king. No matter how bad things got, you’d always know that by the end of the episode, things would be back to normal. The rare exceptions were two-parters, but even then, it almost never had a lasting effect on the characters or the world. In sci-fi, this was usually a little more justifiable; when Kirk and company take off, they leave the planet of the week behind, and all the problems along with it. Other shows that didn’t have a starship at their disposal had a much harder time escaping that fact, often to the show’s detriment. And even running away aboard the Enterprise didn’t excuse the lack of character development that, say, Kirk’s infamous trysts should have had on him.
But once in a while, an otherwise episodic TV series would make a bold step, and that changed the show (or sometimes the entire franchise) forever. It might be a profound character moment, or the side effect of a planned retool, or even something as simple as a marked change in tone, but for whatever reason, these episodes took that status quo and shook it up so much that it never was quite the same.
And surprise, surprise, this list includes SPOILERS for the tagged shows, so proceed at your own risk if you aren’t caught up.
We’re going to try something new this month. Instead of a season for a show that was canceled, it’s going to be a look at the plans for a series that never actually materialized at all. Hopefully it’s just as popular, as I’ve got a few more of these we can examine in the future, and let’s face it–there are a lot of canceled shows, but not all of them had enough planning and forethought put into them that they could fill out a full article. And what better place to start out than in the franchise that featured in the first “What Could Have Been?” That’s right, we’re looking at a Star Trek series that never got produced: a continuation of the original series, with new characters and an upgraded ship called Star Trek: Phase II.
The theme around here of late has been all about the actors behind our favorite characters–or sometimes the smaller characters, who are important nonetheless. When it comes to casting in a shared universe, sometimes it turns out the best man or woman for the job might look a little… familiar. You go back and look, and yep, they’ve already had a part somewhere in there! Sometimes this results in a reworking of the plot, changing the new character to be the same as the old, like Stargate Atlantis did with David Hewlett’s Rodney McKay. Other times, there’s a little joke where the resemblance is brought up, or the problem is ignored altogether. So here are 4 cases where the actor or actress previously showed up in a small part before breaking through to the main cast, and how the show dealt with it.