Everybody talks about the fact that there's no more space opera on television, and only the occasional movie. What's easy to forget, though, is that just a decade ago we appeared to be on the verge of a brilliant new era of space adventure.
In the early 2000s, space opera was being reinvented. Gone were the shiny sets and pastel uniforms — and in their place came a new gritty realism, with handheld cameras and flawed characters. Space opera was coming of age at last. And then, it was gone. What happened?
With space opera all but vanished from the mass media these days, it's actually kind of weird to remember how much the subgenre appeared to be renewing itself in the early 2000s. (This year, the only space movies are Prometheus, Gravity, and maybe Lockout. And on television, there's bupkis, unless Syfy hurries up and gets Untitled Robert Hewitt Wolfe Project on the air this fall, hopefully with a catchier name.)