Article written in the framework of the collaboration between the writing Culture of Figaro and the IPJ Paris-Dauphine.
Nostalgia geek ( Stranger Things ), dystopia ( Black Mirror ), cyberpunk ( Altered Carbon ), space exploration ( Lost in space ), rétrofuturisme ( Maniac )… Netflix knocks down all the cards from science fiction to attract, and particularly retain, its viewers. A strategy has paid off, since 12% of the site’s users have chosen this genre as their favourite at the beginning of the year 2018. All the more reason for the american giant to entrust offciellement 16 November in Howard Overman, the creator of Misfits adaptation in the series of The One , the famous novel by John Marrs. A dive in the near future where, through a simple DNA test, it is possible to find the perfect partner.
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And this passion for SF should not deny them. The site Business Insider has questioned Ampere Analysis, a firm specializing in market research which reveals that 20% of the next programs made available online on the platforms of streaming would be science-fiction or fantasy. Programs redeemed, but also more and more original productions, since in recent years, Netflix has been constantly to increase the budget of its contents homes. By the end of 2017, the platform has announced a budget of 8 billion dollars for its content houses (all genres and formats). In comparison, in France, TF1 is investing 150 million euros per year in its fiction programming.
On Netflix, the first series of original SF was launched in 2015. Sense8 followed the story of eight people around the world are linked together by telepathy. For the scenario and the realization, the site had been chosen by masters of the genre, the sisters Wachowski, the origin of Matrix , and the program had quickly acquired an audience passionate about.
If the science-fiction films such as Annihilation (with Natalie Portman), or The Cloverfield Paradox – two contents redeemed at the Paramount – have had success mixed in 2018, the next series, things are better. Sense8 or Stranger Things have been widely popular, and new programs are trying, sometimes with difficulty, to achieve the same feat.
Fever SF in the world series
This year, the series Altered Carbon there may not be inspired by the critics, but his world robotics with the look of film noir has gathered a recommendation of 98% by the spectators who have noted it. Lost in space , space opera following the adventures tumultuous of a family of settlers has been little viewed in France but has received a good reception at the international, and a score of 93%. The small last, Maniac , traces the dreams of neurotics of two patients in a therapeutic experience. Upon its release, its aesthetic rétrofuturiste and its luxury casting (Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux) had enthusiastic reviews.
The success of the SF can be explained by a recent resurgence of legitimacy. The genre has always had success, but the quality of the productions these past few years has helped expand its audience. “It is difficult to find a trigger to this phenomenon,” explains Florent Favard, phd in film studies and audiovisual and author at Armand Colin the book The story in the series of science fiction – From Star Trek to X-Files *. Game of Thrones (released in 2011), however, is a good marker. HBO, its diffuser, which is a string of cable that has an excellent reputation with an artistic line marked products are well-made series, author. It attracted an audience geek, that waits for a imaginary universe complex, but also of the spectators who would perhaps not turn to this kind and who appreciate the quality and the function of social criticism that may have science-fiction.”
Wild West robotics
The SF, therefore, has rarely been as attractive in the universe of the series and Netflix is not the only one to explore it. In recent years, cannot be passed to the side of The Handmaid’s tale , a fresco dystopian dictatorship macho, or Westworld , the last-born of HBO, which immerses the spectator in a Wild West robotics. And in the future, the productions dantesque multiply: the adaptation of the cycle Foundation Asimov launched by Apple, the series inspired by the Lord of the Rings at Amazon… so Many projects ultra-secret budgets of the pharaohs (nearly a billion dollars for the declination of the trilogy, Peter Jackson), in order of battle to compete with Netflix.
The platform is preparing its counter-offensive with the development of ever more programs. One of his next productions of science-fiction original, is a French series. Osmosis , an adaptation of a series of Arte, broadcast in 2015 (video below), is described as a story “of anticipation and suspense that discusses the final frontier reached by the technology, the love”. Hugo Becker ( black Baron ) and Agathe Bonitzer ( Cherchez Hortense ) are expected in the casting of the series, which is expected to be put online at the beginning of 2019.
In pursuit of new myths
For Natacha Vas-Deyres, researcher and lecturer-specialist of the SF, this return to grace of the genre in the universe of the series is symptomatic of our time. “Science fiction is changing with the times, scientific innovation,” she says. Today she comes paradoxically at a time when inventions that were once a dream have integrated into our society, such as artificial intelligence, robots, space travel. These topics have become our new myths.”
“The science-fiction wonders not only on technological advances, but on the after of these inventions and their use”, analysis still Natacha Vas-Deyres. In 2012, the robots of the series of the Swedish Real Humans anticipated personal assistants that are smart that are blooming now in many homes. Success must of Netflix (bought in the uk channel Chanel 4 after its second season), Black Mirror questions our relationship to technology, to its progress, but also and to its dangers. And as it evolves and catches up with us, it produces without doubt the material for the content of the future.
Eric Nahon IPJ
Cinema, theatre, music… students-journalists of IPJ, Institute of Journalism of the University of Paris Dauphine, offer their views on current cultural events. A publication in partnership with Le Figaro culture.