When sci-fi becomes the new normal - GulfToday

When sci-fi becomes the new normal

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

If you’ve gone past any cinema in the last week you must have noticed that the ‘Avengers - End Game’ is finally out. It is the last movie in the ‘Avengers’ franchise. It’s so popular that, in many theatres, fifteen shows are playing, often almost back to back. But I am almost embarrassed to admit that when I first heard the first ‘Avengers’ movie’s name I thought it was something else. Back in the mid-70s there was a British show called by almost the same name, ‘The Avengers’ and was about a crime fighting trio comprising Mrs Peel, Steed and Gambit. They had no supernatural abilities, just the ability to do great detective work which often involved avenging someone; hence the name.

The reason I thought it was the same show is because back in the late 90s or early 2000s the show was turned into a movie starring Ralph Fiennes as Steed, Uma Thurman as Mrs Peel and Sean Connery as the villain. I honestly thought that the very same movie was running again when it was being advertised by one of the local television channels. Of course I was wrong and a bit surprised how close the two movies’ names were. Moreover, I think I am showing how dated my memories are of movies…

But speaking of movies in general and dated, isn’t it odd how there seems to be an obsession for producers and movie fans to want to watch sci-fi, period and costume dramas? The list of such productions does go on. Over time we’ve had Game of Thrones, Vikings, Lincoln, Far From the Madding Crowd, Vanity Fair, The King’s Speech, Elizabeth, War & Peace, Downton Abbey and Rome, which was absolutely vile and disgusting to watch, by the way.

Some of these are historically accurate, sometimes too accurate (ugh!) but others are pure fiction like Game of Thrones. I personally find most of these unwatchable and switch channels when they’re on, not because they’re period dramas but because of their sheer numbers. I don’t know if you will believe me when I say that I have never seen Game of Thrones, Avengers, or Vikings and all are currently running on one of our local channels. I am also baffled that prime time news anchors make it a point of putting it in their headlines, that Game of Thrones and Avengers are coming to the end. Who cares? I am sure that at some point the novelty of such shows and movies will wear off.

We’re also inundated with science fiction movies and series. They used to be quite rampant in the 70s and 80s but they seem to have had a huge revival of late. From various versions of Star Trek to new releases of Star Wars. Aside from the original Star Trek series and its 3 original movies starring the original series’ cast, I find a lot of the sci-fi movies and series very contrived and unbelievable. That being said, I did like ‘Contact’ and I would love to see ‘Interstellar’.

You know, at least costume dramas tend to have a historical base so we might learn some facts about how people lived way back when. With sci-fi, you don’t learn any facts simply because they are, as the genre indicates, fiction. The list of sci-fi entertainment is also lengthy. Along with Avengers, a newcomer is ‘Alita Battle Angel’ and the good old ‘The Fantastic Four’, ‘Hellboy’ which I’ve never been able to watch past the first scene, ‘Agents of Shield’, ‘AI’ and ‘Sunshine’. Some of these films are interesting to watch, like ‘The Fantastic Four’ (1 and 2) and ‘Sunshine’. However, don’t you agree that having an obsession with comic book characters, something that the whole world seems to have now, is rather ‘teenagerish’?

Alita, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Superman and Spiderman all started off as mere cartoon drawings in comic books. In fact, in the 70s Superman and Spiderman were turned into cartoon characters for small schoolchildren to watch during the school holidays. At the time, adults didn’t care for it or even watched it. But that all changed when Superman first came out in the  90s and ‘The Incredible Hulk’ series came out in late 70s and early 80s. It starred the late Bill Bixby. Way back then I had no sense and watched Dr David Banner quite diligently on Saturday afternoons. I highly doubt I would do that now.

I think that there’s a level of childhood fantasies about these movies. They say that every adult is a child at heart and, thus, enjoys such movies, and I think that producers have cottoned on to these ‘weakness’ and may continue down the sci-fi genres path. The difference might be that, as technology advances, film makers will find more and more innovative ways to enhance the sci-fi experience. Maybe they’ll become more interactive. Who knows, maybe as technology really gets ‘out there’ they’ll be more than just 3D where the characters jump off the screen. Maybe in the future we will be able to jump into the screen. I’m not a sci-fi fan, unless there’s some pre-determined fact weaved into the storyline, but if there’s a chance in the future where I might be able to jump into the screen, I’m certainly going to that one.

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