My family and I enjoy watching science fiction on TV. Recently we have been working through the Stargate series on DVD. The two episodes we watched tonight were classic sci-fi plots:

  1. Strange alien life form looks like something inert (in this case water), is inadvertently “captured” and wrecks havoc trying to return home.
  2. Main character(s) get caught in a “time loop” in which they keep repeating the past few hours over and over again. They must convince their comrades that this is happening and figure out how to get out of the loop.

This caused me to reflect on other classic sci-fi plots:

  1. Alien “energy” life form takes over the bodies of the crew members and nearly destroys everyone, but it turns out to be only a lack of communication.
  2. Discovery of a very advanced race that has outgrown their need for bodies and now lives as pure minds that control the external world through their technology.
  3. A primitive civilization that lives in a world controlled by technology left behind by an advanced race. However, they are not free to grow and learn, so of course the advanced technology must be destroyed.
  4. The malfunction of some device sends the team into the past. They just happen to end up at a crucial time in history in which one wrong move could destroy the future (=their present) as they know it.
  5. Team members return from a mission, only it turns out that it is really some aliens/clones trying to infiltrate the home base.
  6. An exploration team discovers a paradise world that seems to be too good to be true, which of course it is. Gradually they discover the sinister side of this “paradise.”
  7. Team members are on a mission, but eventually discover that the whole thing is being projected into their brains by some alien technology. Their bodies are actually strapped to tables in a lab somewhere.

I have seen all these plots turn up numerous times in various shows. So now you know. If you want to write your own sci-fi series all you have to do is fill in the details.

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