What I Like to See: Sci-fi and What It Means for Me

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So, this is a series that I want to try out about the kinds of things I like see in a particular type of show. I don’t really want to say “genre”, because they tend to be vague, and there are some ideas I have that don’t map to genres at all. That being said, I want to start simple, so I’m going with sci-fi as a genre in this first post. There’s no Darling in the Franxx episode this week, so I thought this might be a fun way to fill the gap.

Exploring the implications of technology

I may have said this before on separate occasions, but I’ve always believed that sci-fi is at its best when a show takes technology and explores how society evolves around it. I think Black Mirror is a good example of a show that does this in an interesting way, as it tends to focus on unpredicted downsides of advancement.

In recent anime, I’m sorry to say that Beatless is actually a great example of this concept, even if the story itself is questionable. The key thing I notice in Beatless is the fact that the technology of the world consists of devices which seem attainable or already exist in some capacity, such as self-driving cars or air-conditioned clothing. You could reasonably see these advances happening in the real world within your own lifetime.

Another series that did this well was Psycho Pass. I thought the show did a great job of exploring how society changes when crime can be predicted, specifically how the justice system adapts. It also portrayed the reaction to an individual who broke these assumptions well. However, I felt like the truth behind the Sibyl System fails a bit at keeping the technology grounded in some kind of realism, but I won’t get too much into spoilers.

Time Travel

I’ve written on time travel multiple times in the past, so it’s probably not too surprising that it pops up as a contributing factor. With its inherent paradoxes and other implications, time travel has always been fascinating to me as a topic to ponder. The easiest example to give here is Steins;Gate, as I felt like the show did a great job of capturing how unforgiving the effects of time travel can be. It really drives home the idea that you can try to change the past in your favor, but the effect could be much more drastic than a single shift in your present state.

For me, the opposite end of the spectrum is a show like Orange. The quality of the show’s message aside, I always thought that the show kept to this idea that time can be edited surgically. The events of the show do not deviate drastically from the events described in the letters from the future. As a result, it felt like the main characters were just replacing the bad events and keeping the good events, which felt unrealistic.

Giant Robots

I think there will always be that child inside of me who just loves watching giant robots battle it out. There’s honestly not much more than that. Most of the shows I watched as a kid involved giant robots, so I just think it’s an unchanging part of my tastes. I will say, though, that I’ve always thought that large-scale space battles are particularly cool.

So, what are your favorite things to see in a sci-fi show? What do you look out for when you’re watching? Or, if you’re not a fan, what elements in sci-fi bother you?

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