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date: 15 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys the history of radio and television science fiction, emphasizing the development of industrial and aesthetic approaches to narrative, the integration of cultural concerns into SF narratives, and the creation of ambitious narrative experiences rivalling those offered by film. Radio readily recognized the speculative appeal that is at the heart of SF, helping to establish an “electronic” audience for the genre on which television would capitalize. The chapter chronicles how television SF quickly recognized its potential to visualize new imaginative spaces, from The Twilight Zone to Star Trek, The X Files to Battlestar Galactica. While TV SF was initially limited by minimal budgets, movie-serial-type plotting, and a near absence of special effects, in recent decades it has greatly expanded its scope with large casts, elaborate effects, and epic plot trajectories that recall big-budget films.

Keywords: science fiction radio, science fiction television, audiences, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, The X Files, Battlestar Galactica, special effects

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