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Space TV/Web


Real space on TV, anime, made-for-TV & made-for-the-web,
movies, mini-series, documentaries, etc.

This section provides resources dealing with space related television programs. We include sci-fi, non-fiction historical dramas, docoumentaries and any other sort of program involving space.


Space TV News from
Space-for-All Blog

See archives for older Space TV articles...


News Sites

Solar Sci-Fi Television/Web

While there have been many valiant attempts, there has yet to be a realistic style, solar system based space sci-fi drama that has achieved long running success, at least not in the US market.

The success, however, of the non-fiction From the Earth to the Moon mini-series dramatization of the Apollo program proved that contemporary space exploration can in fact be made exciting and captivating.

So we have reason to hope that eventually a Roddenberry-type visionary will come along with a series concept that holds the right combination of a realistic, hard-science scenario and likeable characters to create a successful Solar Sci-Fi TV series.


Made-for-Web Space Programs
It is becoming increasingly common to see programs intended not for film theaters or for TV but for web audiences. Here are some with a space theme.

Astronauts
Short-run British sitcom in fall of 1981 (6 episodes) about the first British space mission. Two men, a woman and a dog were living in a Skylab type spacecraft for several months.

The Cape
A 1995 weekly show based on the lives and adventures of the NASA space shuttle astronauts and support crews. Very much a near term, contemporary scenario. A medium budget syndicated show, it nevertheless had fairly high production values and a good cast.

However, with no space station, moon base or Mars missions, the show struggled to come up with exciting plots that involved just the shuttle going up, delivering or servicing a satellite, and coming back down. The series only lasted one season.

Cast included Corbin Bernsen and Adam Baldwin

Escape from Jupiter
Joint Australian/Japanese production 1994 about the adventures of five children who try to make their way back to earth on a dilapidated spacecraft after their colony on the Jupiter moon IO is accidentally destroyed. Thirteen 30 min episodes.

Jupiter Moon
Highly realistic style space drama set in 2050 among colonies and ships in the Jupiter system. Commissioned by British Satellite Broadcasting in 1989, over 150 episodes were made with high production values. It was quite popular and the series has been run several times on Sci-fi channels in Europe.

Mercy Point
This ER in Space was a short lived series on the UPN TV network in the US in 1998. Followed events on the hospital space station Mercy Point, which provided emergency care to space dwellers of all species.

Eight episodes were made but only 3 shown before it was canceled. Later 4 episodes were aired.

Entry at SciFi2k.com has pictures from the episodes.

Moonbase 3
A 1973 BBC series about a lunar colony in 2003. The 6 episodes explored both the technological and psychological challenges of living on the Moon.

Salvage 1- George Leonberger
Salvage 1 was a short lived but interesting series from the late 1970's. Andy Griffith builds a rocket to go to the Moon to salvage equipment left by the Apollo astronauts. George Leonberger has collected lots of info and pictures about the show. Ultimate Sci-fi
James A. Michener's Space
1985 mini-series dramatized Michener's book Space in 6 episodes. The realistic style novel depicted how Apollo 18 might have gone if it had not been canceled by Nixon's budget cutbacks.

Space Academy
Short lived series in the 1977 about spaceflight school.

  • Space Academy - The Complete Series 4 DvD - Navarre :
    • Class was never this much fun at your school...the students at Space Academy major in adventure! Under the guidance of their instructor Commander Isaac Gampu (played by Lost in Space's Jonathan Harris), the young cadets attending Space Academy in the year 3732 include Captain Chris Gentry, his telepathic sister Laura Gentry, action-oriented Tee Gar Soom, brainy Lieutenant Paul Jerome, and the pretty, young Adrian Pryce-Jones. Joining the Blue Team for learning and adventure are the robot Peepo and the blue-haired mysterious orphan Loki.

      Airing on CBS in the 1977 season, Space Academy was another ground-breaking live-action series from Filmation Studios. With special effects by some of the technical wizards who had created Star Wars that same year, space Academy proved popular with audiences both young and old. Later rerun on the network and in syndication worldwide, Space Academy also launched a line of character dolls and other memorabilia, and a spin-off the following season called Jason of Star Command.

Space Island One
This British drama about seven people on a space station lasted for two seasons (1997-1998). Said to have realistic effects and plots with good acting.

Star Cops
Space detective series set in first half of 21st century. Created in 1980's for the BBC. Unfortunately, only 9 episodes were made.

Strange Frame

Strange Frame
This project started out with the goal of developing an animated TV show. The scenario is set in the solar system during the 29th century. Strange Frame

"follows the interplanetary flying hunk of junk 'The Lone Mango' as she hauls her musical crew to explore the brave new humanity wrought by hundreds of years of genetic engineering and biomodification."

In the spirit of Solar SciFi , the program assumes no faster-than-light travel or alien encounters. However, humanity and it's genetically modified offshoots have spread throughout the solar system and make it a very interesting place. The diverse societies, lifestyles and conflicts that the Lone Mango encounters will provide limitless possibilities for exciting adventures.

The program's style is inspired by Japanese anime, as well as graphic novels, and is aimed towards teens and adults. See more in the press release.

By 2011 the project had reoriented itself towards an independent film and a number of notables in the industry were involved:

For a low budget indie film Strange Frame has an incredible sci-fi cast. Actors doing voices include Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ferngully), Claudia Black (Stargate SG1, Farscape), George Takei (Star Trek, Heroes), Michael Dorn (Star Trek, Transformers), Ron Glass (Barney Miller, Firefly, Serenity), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Serenity, Transformers), Juliet Landau (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ed Wood), and Claudia Christian (Babylon5)

Roger Waters gave them a Pink Floyd song because the innovative combination of style and content resonated with him.

Academy Award winner, Gary Rizzo (Inception, Titanic, Star Wars, Dark Knight, and The Incredibles) is doing the sound mix at Skywalker Ranch.

More info at

Anime - Space
Anime is a distinctive Japanese style of animation. Some of the anime programs have involved space stories plots within solar system scenarios and depicted in a semi-realistic manner.
Puppet Space Shows
Early Sci-Fi TV
  • Roaring Rockets
    Devoted to science fiction from the early days of TV, especially the years 1949 to 1955, this fun site was built by enthusiasts for shows like Captain Video and His Video Rangers, Tom Corbett Space Cadet, and Space Patrol. Includes interviews, images, art-work, space toys from the era, etc.
  • Solar Guard
    Devoted to "Space Opera", this site seeks to "preserve some of the early history of Science Fiction Television." Lots of resources about popular sci-fi series of the late 1940's and early 1950s.


The Space Explorers video excerpt at YouTube

Galactic Space Programs
HobbySpace is devoted to space development that can happen in our own solar system, in our own lifetimes. So this Space TV section focuses on programs that had at least a near term focus if not a totally realistic approach to spaceflight. See the Solar Sci-Fi section for futher resources along that line.

However, it would be a bit silly not to mention programs like Star Trek that have had enormous impact on popular attitudes towards space.

There is a whole universe of online resources related to Star Trek and other popular sci-fi series. So I just give some brief samples of online resources here.

Firefly
This was one of the best space-related sci-fi program series ever made but unfortunately it didn't last even a year. Despite very high production values, good stories and well-drawn characters, it couldn't find an audience. This had a lot to do with being placed on Friday nights and having the sequence of shows scrambled by the network, which made it quite difficult for viewers to understand the basic scenario of the program and the background and motivations of the characters.

Initially I thought it was fantasy space scifi but it actually had many Solar SciFi features:

  • No aliens
  • Not much in the way of magic technologies. E.g. the weapons used are mostly the plain old bullet sort.
  • Some action occurs in a star system outside of Earth's but this wasn't really emphasized. The colonies where the episodes took place were said mostly to be on terraformed moons. They could just as easily have all been on planets, moons, and O'Neill habitats within the solar system.

Resources:

Defying Gravity
A near future space sci-fi program set to air in the summer of 2009.

"Plot Concept: The story is set in the near future and revolves around eight astronauts from five countries who take on a mysterious six-year mission through the solar system."

More info:

Other Space Programs

Made-for-TV Space Movies
A few non-fiction and solar sci-fi style made-for-TV movies have appeared over the years. (Unfortunately, many are very difficult to find on videotape and even more so on DVD.)

The Space Movies section gives brief descriptions of the following:

  • Stowaway to the Moon (1975)
    The title speaks for itself.
  • Return to Earth (1976)
    Non-fiction dramatization of Buzz Aldrin's difficult adjustments to "normal" life after Apollo 11.
  • Starflight: The Plane that Couldn't Land (1982)
    A sub-orbital hypersonic airliner skips out of the atmosphere and can't get back to earth.
  • Plymouth (1991)
    Moonbase scenario - the inhabitants of a small mid-western town are hired by a larger corporation to move in mass to a Moonbase to run their mining operations.
  • The Cape (1996)
    The pilot for the series (see above) about the shuttle program with Corbin Bernsen.
  • Special Report: Journey to Mars (1996)
    The first human mission to Mars is presented as seen in a TV special report.

Non-Fiction Space TV

While countless space documentaries have appeared on TV since the 1950's (see the Multimedia section for sources of space documentary videotapes/DVDs), there have been very few dramatizations of true life space stories.

The 12 part mini-series From the Earth to the Moon sponsored by the US HBO network partly made up for this deficiency. Perhaps its success will give rise to more such true story space dramas in the future.


From the Earth to the Moon
A dramatization of the Apollo project, the series was heavily influenced by Andrew Chaikin's book A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts.

Produced by Tom Hanks, this was one of the most expensive ($68M) TV productions ever. Well worth the money, it won numerous awards and attracted a high number of viewers.

Factual accuracy was very good and little was sacrificed to sustain the dramatic stories and fascinating characters.

Each 1 hr episode had a different director 1998, HBO, 12hr.

Live TV from Space
While sci-fi writers and space advocates in the early 20th Century predicted human spaceflight and flights to the Moon, few expected that the public would watch the initial efforts on a home viewing device. The TV broadcasts from US space flights, especially during the Apollo moon missions, were one of the genuine "sci-fi" features of the Space Age.

Here are some resources about various aspects of space TV.

Carl Sagan's Cosmos
The late planetary scientist Carl Sagan hosted this 13 part series starting in 1980 on Public Television. With his eloquent writing and melodic voice, he presented from a personal perspective the history, current development, and future of astronomy, space science and cosmology. Sagan became one of the most famous public figures in science during the 1970s and 1980s, especially after be became a regular on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.

Disney & Space
The Disney Channel occasionally re-broadcasts the programs in its 1950's space series: Man in Space, Man and the Moon, and Mars and Beyond. All three were made in collaboration with Wernher von Braun and helped to influence in a positive way US public opinion on spaceflight during the 1950s. They also inspired the Tomorrowland section of Disneyland.

Mars and Beyond was shone on the Disney Channel Mar 29, 2001- Series/Family, 60 Mins."Legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball directed this 1957 look at space travel that includes a trip to Mars on an atomic-powered spaceship."

Documentaries/Non-Fiction Space TV

Space TV Resources

Related HobbySpace resources:

  • Movies - space related films
  • Multiple Media - videos: links to space related video sites, DVDs, etc.
  • SpaceCasts - the internet is becoming the major conduit for television programming. See the SpaceCasts page for links to current space related webcast streams.
  • Solar Sci-Fi - resources for print science fiction with a realistic, solar system focus

Cyber Sci-fi Network
This fledgling internet TV network aims to produce and transmit original Sci-Fi programming over the Internet.

  • Mars & Beyond is a drama about exploration of space and includes a supported role for Majel Barrett Roddenberry.
  • Stardust - a space sheriff keeps order in the last frontier .

On Line Video
The following video collections include some science fiction TV shows.

SciFi.com / Sci-Fi Channel
The home site of the Sci-Fi channel that is available on cable and satellite Shows both original programming and reruns of old sci-fi, including many space programs.
Spacecast
The online site for the Canadian Space Channel TV network.

Fan Fiction TV Remakes
For decades the sci-fi fan-fiction phenomema has grown into a vast subculture. Devoted fans of various sci-fi and fantasy TV programs and movies write their own stories, episodes, and whole books based on the scenarios and characters in those dramas. Increasingly, their efforts extend even to short films and full-length movies:

 
Other TV resources

 

 


Nasa Toys and Gifts

Photo To Space
The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
New Space Watch

 


Includes
Walt Disney's
Man in Space
,
Man and the Moon, &
Mars and Beyond
.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Analog
Analog Science Fiction & Fact
Amazon: US 

Analog Science Fiction and Fact contains compelling, hard-to-put-down futuristic sci-fi stories and scientific features.

Sci-Fi Magazine
Amazon: US 

What's hot in Sci-Fi movies, TV & games from the official Sci-Fi Channel magazine.

  
 
 
 
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