Category Archives: 20 Minutes into the Future

Weekly rundowns on the latest science fiction television series by Sherryl Vint

20 Minutes into the Future Infinity

Technology, Entertainment, Design: SyFy’s Helix

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DESPITE SOME B-grade acting and melodramatic character back stories which do not inspire me to take their emotional depths seriously (i.e. Alan’s (Billy Campbell) childhood and his dull flirtation with Sarah (Jordan Hayes), whose secret cancer seems another tired cliché), SyFy’s Helix continues to fascinate me with its world building. This week we saw some […]


20 Minutes into the Future Revolution

The Future, As Seen on TV

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In 1982, cultural critic Fredric Jameson published “Progress verses Utopia: or, Can We Imagine the Future” which argued against the commonplace belief that science fiction was about the future. Instead, he suggested, the role of science fiction is “not to give us ‘images’ of the future” but “rather to defamiliarize and restructure our experience of […]

20 Minutes into the Future SF_column_11214 MG Original

The New Posthuman: SyFy’s Helix

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THE BIG NEWS in sf television this week is the premiere of SyFy’s Helix, from producer Ronald Moore whose reboot of Battlestar Galactica did more than any other series to convince mainstream audiences that science fiction can be relevant to contemporary experience. The premiere event was organized to gain a mass audience as quickly as […]


20 Minutes into the Future BadRobot

Who would win in a fight between Bad Robot and Mutant Enemy?

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THERE IS NO QUESTION that two of the dominant forces in genre television right now are J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon. Abrams’s Bad Robot company logo lies behind many of the science fiction programs currently on the air, including Revolution, Person of Interest, and Almost Human. Abrams himself is associated with the celebrated series Lost […]

20 Minutes into the Future SFimage12813

Back to the Present of the Future: Continuum and the War on Terror

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By Jonathan Alexander I’LL BEGIN WITH A DISCLAIMER: as much as I love SF, time-travel stories are my least favorite.  Granted, notable exceptions abound: H. G. Well’s Time Machine, which arguably launches the genre of SF as a whole, and Greg Benford’s Timescape are both brilliantly executed fables that use time travel to meditate on […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 8 almost human

Robot Revolutions: “Almost Human”

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THE LAST OF THIS YEAR’S new science fiction programs, Fox’s Almost Human, debuted this week, a co-creation of J.H. Wyman and J.J. Abrams, who seems to have his hand in most things science fictional these days. Wyman and Abrams first teamed up for Fringe, a reinvention of The X-Files with less government conspiracy theory and more of […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 6 Vint 1117

Superheroes and TV IV: Possibilities and pitfalls of contemporary television

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THE TERM TVIII has been used in television studies to describe the state of television in the 21st century. This third state of television comes after TVI, the origins of the medium in a few broadcast networks whose programming was limited to certain times of day, and after TVII, the period of deregulation and expanded […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 5 Dracula-poster-

Steampunk Dracula

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SCIENCE FICTION television this season continues to work through the anxieties of our contemporary moment in coded ways, from Revolution’s staging of another civil war in the battle between the “patriots” and the United States (although, confusingly, these patriots are those opposed to the ethos enacted by the Patriot Act); to Arrow’s defense of the […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 4 outcasts

One Season Wonders: “Outcasts” and “Terra Nova”

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by Jonathan Alexander ONE OF THE PLEASURES of TV these days is the Netflixable delight of watching entire seasons in a weekend. You might have to wait till the series is done to binge properly, but the bingeing is sometimes worth the wait. And the complexity of the long TV narrative is better appreciated, in […]


20 Minutes into the Future, Week 3 Identity

Men Behaving Badly: White Masculinity in Science Fiction Television

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TELEVISION IS A PLACE where we work through our cultural anxieties and project idealized versions of our selves. Even if no one really believed that Father Knows Best, it was comforting to imagine a benevolent patriarchal authority. As male series leads became more complex, viewers nonetheless inevitably sympathized with protagonists, seeing the good heart beneath […]