I recently had a chance to revisit Disney World and was struck by how optimistic Disney's view of the future was - if you've ridden the "Carousel of Progress", you know exactly what I mean. The image of the future was downright Utopian for many Americans during the 50's. A sort of "Jetsons" concept of the upcoming century may seem comical to the jaded and cynical world of today, but this futuristic vision of a "brighter tomorrow" was honestly seen as a reality waiting to happen right around the corner in the 1950's mind.
I'm happy to report that many movies and TV shows in the proceeding years kept the Utopian torch aflame. I mean, dystopian movies like Blade Runner and Children of Men make me want to slit my wrists. I like my sci-fi a bit more groovy. Here's a few of my favorites:
- Irwin Allen productions like "Lost in Space" and "Land of the Giants" were bursting with fun and vibrant colors. Basically technicolor comic books for the TV. Allen would later bring his flair for the flamoyant to the big screen with his many disaster films like The Poseidon Adventure.
- "Star Trek" featured a chick-magnet captain, foxy alien ladies and a lot of groovy outfits. To me, "The Next Generation" with its holodeck and Whoopi Goldberg just didn't have the pizzazz of the original (big surprise on a blog called retrospace, right?).
- "UFO" - who says a show about aliens harvesting us for our organs has to be depressing? This British show was easy on the eyes and had all its female MoonBase personnel wearing purple wigs!
- 2001: A Space Odyssey - I put this one on here just to show you that you can still be heavy and fab at the same time.
- "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" is perhaps the best example (second only to "The Jetsons") of how fun the future can be. With episodes like "Vegas in Space" and guest stars like Gary Coleman, what's not to love? Sadly, by the second season, Gil Gerard had taken creative control of the show and made it more "serious". Naturally, the show died.
- Logan's Run had a rather depressing concept, but who cares when you've got Farrah Fawcett, gobs of sexy outfits and sci-fi silliness galore. The original script and novel were much more intense and less campy (what a shame). The television show was even better; however, it is unavailable on DVD as of yet, but can be found on iTunes.