On April 19, following the return of Orphan Black, BBC America will deliver the debut of a four-part documentary chronicling the history of Science Fiction in film, television and literature.
In addition to chronicling the history of the genre the series will feature interviews with some of its best known names including William Shatner, Nathan Fillion, Ronald D Moore, John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman, David Tennant, and many, many others.
From BBC America's web site:
From Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and from Jurassic Park to Doctor Who, each program is packed with contributors behind these creations and traces the developments of Robots, Space, Invasion and Time. Narrated by Mark Gatiss, Doctor Who writer, actor, and co-creator of the BBC’s Sherlock, the series determines why science fiction is not merely a genre… for its audience it’s a portal to a multi-verse – one that is all too easy to get lost in.
Among those taking part are: William Shatner (Star Trek), Nathan Fillion (Firefly), Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek), Steven Moffat (Doctor Who), Richard Dreyfuss (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Chris Carter (The X-Files), Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactica), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Schlock), David Tennant (Doctor Who), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), John Carpenter (Dark Star, The Thing), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, Stardust), Kim Stanley Robinson (Mars Trilogy), Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Star Trek: Enterprise), Ursula K Le Guin (The Left Hand of Darkness), Syd Mead (Blade Runner), Kenny Baker (Star Wars), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Peter Weller (Robocop), Edward James Olmos (Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica), and many more.
The first episode (Robots, April 19) looks at one of man's oldest fascinations - the creation of life. Will robots turn against us? Or work for us? Will we get Frankenstein's monster or R2D2? The episode will take a look at the theme through people involved with Blade Runner, Terminator, the Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, Robocop and Battlestar Galactica. (Yes, Star Wars is technically fantasy, but the robot parts are still sci-fi.)
The second episode (Space, April 27) looks at the night sky. If there is something that has fascinated humans for a longer period than the creation of life it is space. Since we first thought to look up at night we have wondered what is up there. Starting with the work of Jules Verne, this episode will look at some of our best loved stories about the universe including Star Trek, Star Wars (again, technically fantasy), Dune, Firefly and more.
The third episode (Invasion, May 4) looks at what happens if they visit. If there is life 'out there' what would happen if it came here. This has been a favorite topic of sci-fi writers in all mediums. Sometimes the answer is scary (the War of the Worlds, Independence Day), sometimes it's not so scary (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and sometimes it's a mixed bag (District 9, and Doctor Who - along with Daleks and Cybermen).
The fourth and final episode (Time, May 11) looks at the future. Some people want to go back in time, some want to visit the future, some just want to predict it and science fiction has a home for all of them. According to Doctor Who "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect. But actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey... stuff." According to Douglas Adams "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so." The last episode will look at these ideas and others through Doctor Who, Back to the Future, H.G. Wells' the Time Machine and more.
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