The Real History of Science Fiction

Star Wars. The Time Machine. Doctor Who. Star Trek. Science Fiction has dominated popular culture and our collected imaginations for centuries. This illuminating documentary tells the definitive history of Sci-Fi, sharing the stories of the genre’s greatest pioneers: the filmmakers, writers, actors, and graphic artists whose obsession and imagination has taken them, and us, deep into the unknown.

This show is not currently available on BBC Select but browse through the below titles for more documentaries available to stream on BBC Select.

The Real History of Science Fiction on BBC Select

Ep 1: Space
Imaginations have always been fueled by the idea of escaping Earth and exploring space.

Science Fiction has always fed upon our need to explore and wonder what could be out there. This fascinating science documentary looks at Sci-Fi’s depiction of space exploration from Jules Verne’s earliest stories to Star Trek being used to recruit NASA’s astronauts. It reveals the deep-sea inspiration for Avatar and discovers how Stanley Kubrick was able to make 2001: A Space Odyssey seem so believable.

Ep 2: Invasion
How have sci-fi pioneers depicted the fear and paranoia associated with alien invasion?

Much of science fiction explores what people will do when aliens land on Earth. From The War of the Worlds to Independence Day, Men in Black and District 9, this documentary looks at our fears of extraterrestrial invasion. David Tennant explains the appeal of Doctor Who’s Daleks while John Carpenter and Chris Carter explore the paranoia fueled by hidden aliens in The Thing and The X-Files.

Ep 3: Robots
Robots have played a huge role in Sci-Fi. But what happens when they turn against us?

The idea of creating artificial life has fascinated society since the earliest days of science fiction. Robots transport viewers from Frankenstein’s monster to the threat provided by the Terminator and the world of Cyberspace. This revealing documentary shares secrets from the sets of Star Wars and Blade Runner and looks at the iconic robots featured in Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who.

Ep 4: Time Travel
Time travel in science fiction has led to endless possibilities and classic creations.

If you could travel through time, would you change the past or the future? The notion of time travel in science fiction is explored in this intriguing documentary. This is a journey from H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine through the ideas expressed in films such as Back to the Future, classic TV series Quantum Leap and, of course, the professional time traveler that is the ever-popular Doctor Who.

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