Lack Of Fantasy Shows On U.S. TV

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Lack Of Fantasy Shows On U.S. TV

Post by Cardcaptor Takato » Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:19 pm

Why are there so many sci-f shows on American TV but there's so few fantasy series on TV? Even mainstream shows lately have been incorportating supernatural sci-fi elements into otherwise ordinary plots like Ghost Whispherer and Medium, but you rarely see any fantasy shows on TV. The only ones I can think of at the top of my mind are the upcoming A Song Of Ice And Fire TV series and The Dresden Files, but that show got canceled after one season. You'd think that since sci-fi and fantasy appeals to the same type of audiences that we'd see more fantasy, and fantasy is clearly popular with books and movies with stuff like Harry Potter and LOTR having lots of fans, but for some reason there's just not very many American fantasy TV shows.

At first I thought maybe it's because fantasy might be more expensive to produce than sci-fi, but then even with animation, the majority of American cartoons are either action shows or comedy. Avatar The Last Airbender is the only American fantasy cartoon I can think of that's currently on TV. I just don't get it, why is sci-fi so popular in the U.S. as TV shows but there's such few fantasy TV shows yet people apparently love fantasy movies and books?
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Post by Tiff » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:53 pm

My theory is maybe becuase fantasy shows can be really hard to pull off. They tend to end up really cheesy, and therefore, end up unpopular. Some of the older fantasy cartoons are a good example, whereas Avatar is an exception (and an incredible one at that).

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Post by Rin » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:09 am

Well fantasy shows would be quite expensive if they were live action.

The best route to go would be to animate them, but animated shows are not that popular among adults unless they contain adult humor.

Though it would be nice to see some fantasy shows on TV. Maybe in the future they'll be computer generated.
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Post by Senshi_of_Vision » Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:19 am

I agree with Rin on the expensive thing. To pull off the kind of fantasy you would want to actually watch it would need very good special effects. And while cgi can do this its not a cheap process from what I hear. On top finding good actors who arent already big named can be hard as well. And alot of fantasy stories that id like to see become shows or movies would need good actors and effects to pull them off. Id love to see more fantasy but they would have to find a true core audience for it first its all about the ratings and even having core fans may not be enough for a show to last if the ratings arent good enough. I guess us fantasy fans arent as rabid as the sci fi ones yet till we are we wont get satisfaction on the small screen lol.
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Post by Gamer8585 » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:03 am

The biggest problem I see for Fantasy shows is that they require the creation of a whole complex world: with history, art, religion, creatures, rules of magic, cosmology, and sometimes even original languages. Then you have to find a narrow part of the history that can work independently to bring people in, but still have enough depth to make the world seem lush.

Also, such fantasy usually works best when fleshed out early by one creator. Even if other's later take it in original directions, most of the basic stuff and first few stories really must be developed by a single author. Most people just don't have the kind of time or imagination necessary and the industry doesn't want to have to pay the people that do what they deserve. Plus naming things is hard, and if not done right can make a show seem very ridiculous (See: "Alpha Squad 7: The New Tek Jansen Adventures" for copious examples).

A lot of Sci-Fi franchises have been similar to fantasy, but due to the difficulty it is to create fantasy most recent Sci-Fi shows have been leaning more on the "Sci" then on the "fi." Since using known technology (or currently speculated technology), reusing common themes, and placing it all on modern day Earth, is just easier to do.

Finally, fantasy worlds can become very niche and they may be seen as not having enough "mass-market" appeal. Some people may be interested, but they just wouldn't have the time to fully delve into the world. Since shows like this can get complex people could loose interest fast if they can't keep on top of it. So studios might not want to gamble on investing in something that big, with potentially such a limited market.

This is why Fantasy stuff is relegated to movies more then TV. The movies almost always adapts a book or book series. The investment costs are usually on par with other blockbusters, and everyone can experience the whole story at the same time. They usually attract a wide audience, and the big screen is the best way to show fanciful lands and creatures. Then the niche appeal can be captured in secondary marketing (You've seen the Movie now wear the T-Shirt, play with the action figures, read the comprehensive guide book, and Do-the-Dew!).
Last edited by Gamer8585 on Thu Dec 13, 2007 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Sailormars Obsessed fan » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:40 am

I would consider Buffy the vampire slayer and Angel to be fantasy, but those shows arent on anymore.
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Post by Senshi_of_Vision » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:50 am

I think Gamer made valid points. And while yes Buffy and Angel can both be considered Fantasy, I think CardCaptor Takato was refering to fantasy in general, from storytellers like Weiss, Pierce, Tolkein, Goodkind and the like you know where worlds are almost midevil like but different magic and fantasy creatures such as sprites and dragons run about or demons and all that stuff. Id love to see a show pulled off that is fantasy in that spirit but as its said before it would have to have a core audience, and while taking a chance with shows like Angel and Buffy were a win for the WB (now cw) Vampires have a cult following so that was a no brainer there. It would be hard to produce a tv version of elves and the like and find a core audience for it not impossible but hard still to make up for all the budget that would entail for it. And while companies like HBO try hard to bring new series with different twists on it the moment ratings are shot the show is nerfed (ie Carnivale). Id love to see it happen but I can take seeing Movies over tv shows that way nothing is cut out or made to look cheesy as Tiff pointed out.
"Have you been half asleep? And have youve heard voices?
I hear them calling my name."
Is this the sweet sound, that calls the young sailors?
The voice maybe one in the same.
Ive heard it too many times to ignore it,
its something that I sposed to be..
Someday we''''ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lover, the dreamer, and me..."




*Being a bad girl is such hard work....

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