Science fiction TV shows used to be about scientists playing God — now our intrepid heroes meet God, instead. The overt religious discussions on Battlestar Galactica stood out as unusual, but now every SF show brandishes a bible. What happened?
Oh, and there are some spoilers for upcoming TV shows here.
We can't help noticing the odd religious moments in a lot of the fall's biggest SF TV shows, and how shoehorned-in the references to God or the Bible often seem to be. Unlike Firefly, which featured a man of God as one of its major supporting characters and naturally sparked theological discussions, or BSG, which took place during an apocalypse, the newest crop of shows seems determined to mention God even when it doesn't make that much sense.
Take the scene above from the season opener of Fringe, where FBI agent Amy Jessup goes through all of the Fringe Division's cases and compares them with Bible verses — it's all in the Book Of Revelation! (Thanks to Meredith for suggesting this one.)
Or FlashForward, whose pilot includes one character who randomly questions whether God gave everyone on Earth a glimpse of the future as a punishment. Leaving aside the fact that clairvoyance seems like an odd shape for divine punishment to take. There's also the fact that the slutty/Christian babysitter just happens to be making out with her boyfriend (while the girl she's looking after is asleep) and thus feels guilty — so she decides that God gave the entire world a future vision just to punish her for making whoopie on the couch. Make sense? Absolutely not. Unless you think that some studio exec in a meeting said, "We need a religious angle here. There oughta be one character who decides that this was all God's doing. Because that'll play well in the God states."
And then there's V, which — spoiler alert — has aliens visiting us and claiming to be benefactors, who've come to help us. Plenty of people are suspicious of these allegedly enlightened visitors, but then we meet a Catholic priest who's decided to preach that these aliens are "God's creatures," with the implication being that they're sent by God. And the priest tells his underling, Father Jack, that he must preach the aliens are divinely sanctioned — or else. It's even sort of implied (if I remember correctly) that the Vatican has made support for the aliens official policy. WTF? Why would the Catholic church come out in support of random aliens that we know nothing about? It's one of the few moments in the V pilot that literally makes no sense whatsoever, and it inspired much head-scratching when we saw it at Comic Con.