The time, the context

One thing to remember about this show is what was going on in the world when it came out. We had just started to put men into space. Human space travel was brand new, and thus speculation about intelligent life on other planets (specifically Mars) was rampant.

This is why a show like MFM probably would not work today. Space travel is so passé, most people don't even care about it anymore.

Same thing is true of I Dream of Jeannie, and the movies 2001 and Marooned. They were all products of their times. Art does not exist in a vacuum.


Although 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN hardly had any special effects, it WAS DONE in recent times and dealt, very effectively with aliens living normal lives on Earth...and conversely, it would have never worked in the 60s, as well, because of all that had come before it.

I love THIS series - precisely because I DO remember the Space Race, Sputnik and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Therefore, I can relate to this show so well. I like recalling what the world was like then. It has always been imperfect, but it was nevertheless a charming time.

Art may not exist in a vacuum, but good art is timeless, no matter the context.

Enrique Sanchez


Enrique I love your final quote!
I disagree completely with the OP, no offence. People today thurst for even more sci-fi then they did perhaps even during the space race. Star Trek deal with ET's from every quadrant of the universe, Doctor Who is going strong with the concept of "a mad man in a blue box" and there's so many "end of world" invasions shows. Firefly had us living in space as a normal way of life, with no ET's. We thankfully now have more women in space battling for survival as well. Now that we know & understand more about our universe we long for answers and stories! As we fight with Congress on funding NASA appropriately (Penny4NASA) our imagination and more importantly our desire to explore makes space travel a cool subject again. As we get closer to humans traveling to Mars we beg for stories of "what if". Doctor Who's "Mission to Mars" is a perfect example of how to make Mars still a dangerous place w/ life coming from the unexpected. "Star Trek" was rebooted after having 5 television series simply because we still want action, adventure & a bit of sex. Another successful reboot was the highly popular "Battlestar Galactica", followed by "Caprica". "Stargate sg-1" was on the air for 10 years and had a few spinoffs. "Eureka" is still one of my favorite top 5 sci-fi shows even though I don't remember any aliens. "Torchwood" definitely deals with the darker side of aliens & their dangerous tech. "Red Dwarf", another series we can thank the Brits for is simply hilarious. Am I allowed to include "MST 3000"? After all it is in space! "The X-Files" was certainly popular and dealt with "grey's" among their other topics. "Alien Nation" is a bit older than the others I've mentioned here but still a great show with more than a few followers. As for somemore "dated" shows you have "Buck Rodgers" and "Twin Peaks" (yes, b/c aliens were involved.) And even further back is the '84-'85 miniseries "V" (preferably not the newer series). "From the Earth to the Moon" was extremely successful for HBO b/c we still want to know about the space race. We just can't get enough! StarTalk is a popular show and Dr. Neil degrasse Tyson is remaking "Cosmos" with Seth McFarlane producing it. Let's not leave out Farscape, Babylon 5 & even Futurama! But the show most near to the MFM concept must "Mork and Mindy"!
I'm not making such a long comment on sci-fi shows to start an argument. I really feel, & it's quite evident that we have a large amount of sci-fi to watch and watch it we do!! The great thing is that the love of sci-fi is growing which gives us plenty if more shows to watch. Unless they're on FOX. There they will be cancelled way too soon! What we owe to shows like MFM & "Twilight Zone" is the first steps they took inspiring many other shows down the road. And hey, at least I didn't add Alf to the list!


The basic premise could work today, but the style of humor would not.
We don't have cartoonish or slap stick comedies today.
They tend to have a more realistic quality and many comedies are a mix of drama and comedy, dramadies.

There are parallels between the dramas of the 60's and today's shows, but show me today's Gilligan's Island, McHale's Navy or Car 54. They don't exist.

I would argue, in fact, that those shows would work better on the stage today because they come from a more theatrical tradition of comedy.

I was born in the house my father built


I would argue that "McHale's Navy" wouldn't work because it was meant, like "Hogan's Heroes" for the WWII Generation, and acted as a coping mechanism for the Nation. You'll notice that in "McHale's Navy" they even had "lovable Japanese characters" which, considering the times was groundbreaking."Hogan's Heroes" also had fairly sympathetic, even endearing German characters, with the notable exception of the Gestapo or SS characters. People these days forget the animosity that many Americans kept against our WWII antagonists, especially the Japanese. I was born in '57, but I got "soaked" in those feelings during childhood which were expressed every weekend with the movies which were made during, and immediately following the War.

As for "2001: A Space Odyssey", it is a timeless gem for the thoughtful viewer. "Interestingly", it's true "meaning" was the idea of bioengineering the Human Race into being sentient, and raises profound questions about the Nature of God. Recently "Prometheus" seems to be delving into the bioengineering realm, but "2001" was lightyears ahead of the "herd". One other thing, there was another movie, which came out, strangely, just before "2001" (the buzz of "2001" killed it commercially) which delved into the same water. The British made/named movie was "Quatermass and the Pit", released in the US as "Five Million Years to Earth", extremely well made, thought provoking film. Check it out!


So what?

(Referring to Jim's post)