January 19th, 2011 | By: Peter Lang
Last night the season premier of the PBS retrospective series Pioneers of Television focused on science fiction, highlighting the works of Irwin Allen, Gene Roddenberry and Rod Serling. From camp to catharsis, these innovators of televised science fiction have walked a fence between formula and function. Should small-screen science fiction simply entertain or are these future visions the perfect vehicle for (veiled) social commentary? Such questions permeated a premier that was much more than a superficial retrospective of Lost in Space, Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. Despite the constraints of its own time slot, the hour-long program did an adequate job of presenting this conceptual fissure with a surprisingly dialectical veneer (if only accidentally).
It almost worked. (more…)