The 2016 Emmy Awards happened a couple of weeks ago, crowning Rami Malek, the star of USA’s hit sci-fi show, Mr. Robot, the king of primetime TV. Shortly thereafter, the internet was riddled with articles celebrating not only Malek’s acting chops, but his sense of fashion as well. He was donned one of the evening’s best dressed…which got me to thinking: Science fiction sure is glamorous these days.
Remember the 2016 Met Gala? It is the fashion industry’s most elite event (it might even be the most elite event, period), and this year the theme was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.”
Shortly thereafter, designer shop windows were lined with tech and sci-fi inspired apparel remember those Pac-Man pumps I was fawning over in May?), solidifying the trend.
Why, all of the sudden, is science fiction, like, the coolest?
I for one, and THRILLED about the genre's new-found popularity (it's what my platform is all about - turning people on to science fiction). Of course, the genre has always been commercially viable…there’s an entire channel dedicated to it (the SyFy channel, duh), but is it just me, or does it seem like there are more sci-fi shows on TV than ever before? I've probably missed a few, but if you include shows that are on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, the major broadcast and cable channels boast 23 currently being aired, and six to premiere before the end of the year (and no, I did not include CBS’s now cancelled, Brain Dead, which I’m still really upset about, btw).
And these shows are winning awards. I already mentioned Malek’s 2016 Best Actor in a Drama Series win for Mr. Robot…the Best Actress in a Drama Series award went to a science fiction actor too: Tatiana Maslany won her portrayal of Sarah Manning on BBC America’s, Orphan Black, a drama about a government conspiracy.
So, what is it about the genre that not only is suddenly attracting top talent, but is also convincing studios to produce show after show?
Well, Anna Wintour’s aforementioned most recent Met Gala theme certainly helped. If she says something is fashionable, it simply is. Her gala, on its own, makes technology, science, and science fiction, cool. And...as much as I hate to admit it, if a Kardashian is present (four of them were in attendance this year), the event soars to pop culture greatness.
But I think most of the credit is due to the rise, and consequential popularity, of the tech and space exploration industries. Movies like The Hunger Games made us curious about the future, and technology and science help us really imagine it. Mr. Robot is sexy because it is a story about a hacker, determined to take down the world’s biggest corporations. Who nowadays can’t relate to that? Almost all of us were affected by the recession in 2008, a recession brought about by corporate greed and insatiability. And computer hacks continue to get bigger and bigger, from the Chinese to the Russians and now maybe even our own government (it is speculated that the US hacked Yahoo just last week), who can we trust?
The future is unknown. It is mysterious and now glamorous…but no matter what it holds, science fiction is there to help us imagine it, one television show at a time.
Sci-Fi TV Show Listings:
(SyFy channel shows are not included...visit their website for their complete schedule!):
Sources: ABC.com, AMC.com, Amazon.com, BBCAmerica.com, CBS.com, ComedyCentral.com, CWTV.com, IMDB.com, HBO.com, Hulu.com, Netflix.com, Showtime.com, TBS.com, TNTDrama.com, USANetwork.com