20 May 2016

FWS Military Sci-Fi Oddities: SeaQuest DSV and SeaQuest:2032 (1993-1996)

It is often said that the "real" accessable final frontier is the mostly unexplored oceans of Terra. While science fiction has explored the coldest depths of outer space for over an hundred years, underwater sci-fi is more rare. In 1993, NBC greenlit one of the most expensive sci-fi television shows of all time: SeaQuest DSV. From 1993-1996, SeaQuest DSV and SeaQuest: 2032 would struggle to find stories, viewers, and a purpose among the icy depths of Earth's oceans. In this installment of Military Sci-Fi Oddities, we will be exploring and attempting to explain the oddity that was SeaQuest DSV and SeaQuest: 2032.

What is SeaQuest DSV and SeaQuest 2032?

In 1993, some big names in the American entertainment sphere pushed out a very different science fiction show on a mainstream American network, NBC. Universal, Amblin Entertainment, Steven Spielberg, and even Dr. Robert Ballard were involved in creating an underwater more-science-than-fiction-television-show that would showcase scientific discovery, the nations of Earth attempting to use the oceans to solve the ills of society peacefully, and different types of stories using the aquatic setting. The first two seasons of the show were set in 2018(!) with the original purpose of the SeaQuest DSV 4600 being an US naval military submarine, the largest and most advanced. Then after the Livingston Trench Incident and the near nuclear war, the United Earth Oceans (UEO) was formed to attempt the peaceful use and settlement of the oceans...and the SeaQuest DSV 4600 was placed under UEO command as their peacekeeper, explorer, and symbol.
The original DSV 4600 is destroyed at the end of Season One, and the UEO constructs an new SeaQuest with new technology and a more organic design. In the 2nd Season, the show would set stories on dryland as well as the deep oceans. This season would display some of the more outlandish plots of the whole series, with the new SeaQuest DSV being abducted and transported to an alien world called "Hyperion", which is in the middle of an civil war and millions of lightyears from Earth. The new DSV is destroyed at the end of the episode, and the crew is trapped on Hyperion.
With Roy Scheider leaving the show and cancellation all but certain, it was believed that this was the end of the show. Surprise! NBC gives the greenlight to an 3rd Season with a jump in time to 2032 with the DSV reappearing on Earth in the middle of a cornfield and as the world is falling apart both above and below the water. The new captain of the DSV 4600 is badass actor Michael Ironside. While the new theme and tone of 3rd Season was more realistic than Season Two, despite a time travel episode similar to the 1980 film The Final Countdown it was too late for the wounded series and it was cancelled just 13 episodes into season three.

Historical Context of SeaQuest DSV
Here in the United States, there have been few science fiction shows that have survived more than a few seasons on major network TV. The four major US networks: NBC, FOX, ABC, and CBS; all have a lukewarm track recorder with keeping science fiction shows on more than two seasons. While there are few, the landscape of cancelled TV shows is packed with sci-fi shows. Even franchises like Trek have had issues remaining on the airwaves. During the 1990's, sci-fi was becoming more popular on non-main stream networks, and all the major networks attempted to bring sci-fi shows to their schedules...only Star Trek: Voyager would survive on UPN for years and multiple seasons.
NBC gambled with two shows that I watched back in the day: Earth 2 and SeaQuest DSV. One day, FWS will cover Earth 2 for posterity, but like other shows in the 1990's, they struggled to justify their budgets and boost their low ratings. By the end of the 1990's, only Star Trek: Voyager was still on the air on a major network, and Babylon 5 was shipped to TNT...if that counts. During the middle of this major network expansion of sci-fi shows, SeaQuest DSV would take its chances on NBC during one of the network's golden eras of popularity and ratings. However, like the vast majority of sci-fi television shows of the time period it would be cancelled at the Season 3 mark.

What Happened to SeaQuest DSV?
The simple answer this that the show collapsed under it's own concept, low rating, big budget, and the pressure from NBC executives. The high standard of scientific adventures, exploration, and peacekeeping of Season One could not be fulfilled in a weekly show format. Soon after the pilot, SeaQuest DSV was in trouble with so-so stories and dipping ratings. The show also attempted to market itself with an line of toys, an SNES/Gameboy/Genesis video game, models, books, and comics. But it did not help. This forced a change in the types of stories told during Season Two that alienated the star of the series Roy Scheider, who was quoted as saying "It's childish trash...I am bitter about it. I feel betrayed." That is a damning indictment of the series and it direction after Season One. The second season storylines had aliens, time travel, an ocean god, and the SeaQuest vehicle being transported to another planet! It could have been interesting to have the original premise of the show being an oceanic expedition to another world, similar to 1990's Expedition by artist Wayne Barlowe. By alas, none of Season Two added up to anything, because Season Three altered the crew, mission of the DSV, and the basic setting of show. While SeaQuest:2032 is much better than Season Two, the damage had been done, and the audience had jumped ship. On June 9th, 1996, SeaQuest aired its final episode, just 13 episodes into the third season. One of the reasons the show was not cancelled earlier was due to some of the people behind it, the popularity of NBC at the time, and that there was no good replacement for the show. If it had been today, an crappy reality show would have replaced it for much cheaper. The network didn't help the show either with football cutting into the show and airing some of the episodes out of order as well. The final episode of Season One also felt like the end of the series all together, and many did not think it would come back after the destruction of the SeaQuest submarine...and it some ways, it did not.

Is SeaQuest DSV Even Military Sci-Fi?
Yes and no. Throughout the internet and this blogpost, much is made of the original founding concept of the show: Star Trek underwater. It wanted to be a show about using the oceans for peace and a positive future for mankind, and not to be an "sci-fi show" with aliens, laser guns, and combat. The original ideas about the SeaQuest DSV submarine, the UEO, and the crew is comparable to Starfleet, where it is an organization of peacekeeping and exploration rather than modern naval organizations. The show throughout Season One & Two flirted with military themes and combat, but it was not until Season Three that the SeaQuest DSV submarine, the UEO, and the crew became more like an aquatic military organization, making the final season in the military Sci-Fi category.

Why is SeaQuest DSV an Military Sci-Fi Oddity?
The very concept of SeaQuest is an oddity in of itself because of the setting. There are few science fiction television series that take place underwater in general, and the setting is rare in science fiction literature, games, movies, and comic books. One of the oddities of SeaQuest is that it is military science fiction at all. The original concept and the first season attempted to show the submarine and the UEO as a peacekeeping organization that used words over laser beams or torpedoes. The basis of the show was to be underwater exploration, not combat. The creators and producers wanted to take the high-minded storytelling of Trek, but change the Enterprise to the SeaQuest, the Federation to the UEO, and outer space to the oceans.
However, this did not last. Over the course of the nearly three season run of SeaQuest, it changed format no less than three times, alienating the original actors and producers enough to force the bulk to leave by Season 3. The more science show of Season One was replaced by an more sci-fi "monster-of-the-week" format in Season Two, then followed by the more realistic political/military theme of Season 3. In the 3rd Season, SeaQuest was a shadow of its original self, and it was more of an military sci-fi show with it being retitled SeaQuest: 2032, and showing tensions between the UEO and the Macronesian Alliance. There have been few shows that have survived a major shift in characters, producers, and setting; SeaQuest was not one of them. All of this adds up to SeaQuest being an oddity of sci-fi television.

SeaQuest Today
For some science fiction works that fail to find an original audience in the time of their release, they can transition into the status of Cult Classic, like BLADE RUNNER, but others do not, and they languish in obscurity and memory. The interwebs helps with some forgotten works to find an audience, but SeaQuest is not one of them. Even searching today, there is not much on the series. Some site, like this one, devoting some time and space to the series, toys, and unqiue place in science fiction. Even Youtube is devoid of any real videos about the series with a few clips here and there.
Today in 2016, this mainstream underwater sci-fi series is relativity forgotten by the masses, and even Universal has a prickly relationship with the series as seen in the home media releases of the show. It took years for the show to be released on DVD and even then, it was only Season One. At the moment, you can buy an fully fleshed out DVD edition of Season One, and a barebone DVD release of Season Two, but Season Three is yet to be released on physical media. However, the entire series is available on NetFlicks for streaming, and Blu-Ray editions are being released for Seasons One and Two. Once again, Season Three is the odd-man-out..again.
What gives SeaQuest DSV some longevity is the DSV 4600 submarine itself. The overall design is organic and bold, making the SeaQuest the real star of the show and not that fucking talking dolphin! Even today, when type certain phases into Google, the show's submarine pops up, and the the model kits of the SeaQuest DSV command a great price than all of the toys released for the series combined. This speaks to the uniqueness of the series in the community of sci-fi. SeaQuest DSV was one of the few underwater sci-fi TV shows, and the futuristic submarine itself was one of the few seen in all of science fiction. This rarity makes for some hits on searches and index sites, like TV Tropes. Hell, it is hard to get high-res images of the series, that is why much of the images here on this blogpost look like they were taken from an old worn-out VHS.

My Own Experiences with the Series
This show would air during a time when most people I knew were tuning into NBC, and the network made a big deal of SeaQuest DSV at the time with tons of promos and adverts. When the show premiered on September 12, 1993, when I was an Junior in high school in Oklahoma. I would watch the pilot episode with my mom and dad, who hated it calling it "hippie, tree-hugging shit." Which meant that set my VHS to tape it...and some of the time, football ate into the show, making the show hard to find and support. While the premier episode was rather good, the following episodes were not. Week after week, SeaQuest DSV could not delivery the stories to compel us to make the show a priority. By the end of Season One, I was pretty much turned off. Then Season Two happened, and I stopped watching after the insane plots and storylines. I never saw much of Season Three because I didn't care and I was in college up to no good.

Next Time on FWS...
Star Wars is often given the label of military science fiction by many, including io9.com, but the connection is weak, at best. In 2005, the world of Star Wars would finally get an out-and-out military science fiction video game shooter: LucasArts' Republic Commando. In this game, you are RC-1138 "Boss", commander of the elite Delta squad Commando unit. You are the best-of-the-best of the Republic Army, and you and your brothers are tasked with the hard missions during the Clone Wars. This first person shooter set in the Star Wars universe is beloved by fans and gamers, and it is considered of the best SW games of all time. However, this game was lost to time after an cancelled sequel and lack of updating. In the next blogpost, FWS will be discussing The Forgotten Classic Republic Command

11 May 2016

FWS Broken Promises: The ALIENS Sequels


In the wide wild world of science fiction, there are films that come along and alter the entire genre forever, and leads to a new understanding of science fiction. We have that with Star Trek. Star Wars, and then in 1979, we got ALIEN. This dark sci-fi/horror film reset the entire genre and and forged millions of fans to the dark vision of the alien and its prey humans. It was nothing short of an revolution. Then in 1986 came one of the best sequels in science fiction of all time: ALIENS. That film became the favorite film of millions and the best military sci-fi of all time.Truly, these two films were masterworks of science fiction. There was nosebleed high hopes for the 3rd ALIENS  film in 1992...but then we got ALIEN 3...and then ALIENS: Resurrection  happened. After this, the once promising world of ALIENS became a cold, stale landscape of broken promises and bewildered fans.  In this installment of Broken Promises, FWS will be attempting to explain what the hell happened to the ALIENS franchise.

The Gold Standard: ALIEN (1979) & ALIENS (1986)
In 1979, an unlikely film altered the course of the entire genre of science fiction forever. Much like Star Trek in the 1960's, and Star Wars in 1977, 1979's ALIEN combined genres to form something unique. ALIEN fused horror with a dose of sci-fi, form a serious sci-fi horror film the likes that had not been seen since 1956's Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Every element of Ridley Scott's masterpiece would be dissected, studied, honored, and ripped-off as seen in such films like Forbidden World (1982) and Alien Contamination (1980). Every sci-fi horror film that came after 1979's ALIEN has been compared to ALIEN because it became the gold standard and rightly so. 
That film is packed with a dark looming atmosphere, tense mood, creepy sets, broken dysfunctional characters, an evil corporation, and one hell of a well-designed hostile alien monster species birthed by the dark mind of H.R. Giger. It all worked, and it reminds a giant in the world of horror and science fiction and still has not yet been matched. Unlike other films of the time, a sequel to ALIEN would hibernate for seven years as rumors flew about in the pre-internet days of what an sequel to ALIEN would look like. But no one suspected the twist and turn that 1986's ALIENS would be. Much like the first film, the sequel would alter the direction of science fiction as a whole forever, and become the masterwork of military science fiction cinema. Terminator's James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd would be tapped for the job based on that 1984 film and script by the ALIEN producers, and Cameron and Hurd would take the dark world established by Ridley Scott and H.R. Giger and give it teeth and gunfire. This "combat film" is near perfect in its extending the world of ALIEN and further the development of the creatures and Ellen Ripley. 
Since its release, ALIENS has been a source for creators since (like me!), and is groundbreaking in different ways than it predecessor, but both films became gold standards in sci-fi cinema that may have been copied countless times, but never surpassed. It is the high standard that ALIEN and ALIENS forged in the minds of fans and the studio that made the string of broken sequels such a bitter disappointment to swallow.    

The Promise of the Dark Science Fiction Universe of ALIENS
Prior to 1979's ALIEN, there was nothing really like this dark universe in science fiction and it was in direct contrast to the bright-and-happy Trek universe and the space-fantasy of Star Wars. There was something dark and compelling about ALIEN and ALIENS that attracted fans by the millions. It was not just the hostile alien species, but the way the human universe worked, the realistic nature of human beings and their society that was more grounded and honest than Trek or Wars. For me, the first time I saw ALIENS on CBS, I bothered me in a way I'd never experienced with sci-fi before...and I wanted more. ALIENS was the first time I bought an movie on VHS and I hunted down any comics, models, and information I could. It became a part of me and my mental universe. My first book, Endangered Species, is a love letter to ALIENS. To me, the dark seduction of the ALIENS universe was a promise of something beyond the normal of mainstream sci-fi and horror that compelled you to look into the cold heart of the darkness of outer space and humanity.

The First Blow: ALIEN 3 (1992)
ALIEN 3 is not an easy film for fans, and many are conflicted on if the 3rd film is good, bad, or just a broken promise. The studio and the powers behind the third film were also confused. For years, we fans heard of rewrites, directors come and go, and a massive paycheck to get Sigourney Weaver to come back. When filming began, the script was not yet complete. This chaos, the studio intervention, and the newbie director all added up to a stumbling beginning. Some regard it has a beautiful dark failure that brought the series and the character arch of Ripley to an end...sort of. But the actress wanted the story of Ripley to end once for all once she had heard about an ALIENS vs. Predator film in development. She wanted to distance herself and her career away from the original films.
All that had been taken from her by the company and the aliens was over with her selfless act of sacrifice of ending the dream of the company for a queen and the desire of the aliens to take Earth as a breeding colony. Others see it as a failed, depressing, broken sequel to the powerhouse that is ALIENS, and the legacy of the 1992 film is proof along with the box office returns. Either way, I think that this film is a broken promise. Even if you are fan of the 3rd film, it is not the film that most of the public or some of the fan base wanted. It broke the promise of the ALIENS sequels and halted the franchise to wonder on it path after the death of Ripley for years. One of the ways I regard ALIEN 3 has a broken promise is that it allowed ALIENS: Resurrection to come into existence. Another way I call this an broken promise is that it killed off Newt and Hicks. One wonders if the "Assembly Cut" of the film had been shown, would the ALIENS community have the mixed opinion about this 1992 film?

The Second Blow: ALIEN: Resurrection (1997)
While fans are divided on Prometheus and ALIEN 3, they are not divided on ALIEN: Resurrection...because it is shit. Pure stupid shit that Skynet should travel back in time to abort. It tells you something when to bring back Sigourney Weaver, it cost them $11 million dollars...that is a big pound of flesh! When I've watched this 1997 film, I just cannot help but think I am seeing a project that should have been a comic book, fan-fiction, or failed video game, because the basic plot and concept are just wrong...so horribly wrong.
There are some wrong casting choices, wasted talent (Michael Wincott), Brad Dourif being Brad Dourif, and basic storytelling elements fucked up. The idea to recycle Ripley and combine her with xenomorph DNA was okay, and Sigourney Weaver is clearly having fun with her role, but the alien/human hybrid baby was against nature...it haunts my nights. Anyway, the real broken promise of ALIEN: Resurrection is that has prevented any more ALIENS films from being made until Prometheus...maybe that was a good thing?!
Honestly, this is not a film that should exist, it is DUNE-weird, ugly, boring, and unholy. One of the interesting promise breakers of ALIEN: Resurrection was the switch in tone. An Youtuber by the name of LittleJimmy835 discussed how the previous films were an survival-horror genre mixed with dark sci-fi or military sci-fi or both. However, ALIEN: Resurrection was a parody of itself...and fans of the franchise do not wanting a parody of their dark murderous xenomorph alien species. Needlessly to say, it was a bomb at the box-office, with fans, and critics. This piece of shit shows how wrong and twisted things can get. I don't have enough middle fingers for this film and the people who made it.


Then the Dark Horse Comics Begin to Slide...

After ALIENS in 1986, we fans did not know when or even if there would be sequel to continue the ALIENS franchise. Then in 1988, Chicago independent comic publisher Dark Horse secured the rights to ALIENS and Predator from 20th Century Fox. The original six part limited black-&-white series in 1988-1989 picked up the story of Newt and Hicks about a decade later, and it was awesome, dark, interesting, and disturbing. It was everything we could have asked for in the next installment of the ALIENS franchise. Dark Horse Comics lead that with an airbrushed colored series from 1989-1990 detailing the aftermath of the xenomorphs take-over Earth and the misadventures of Newt and Hicks on a colonial world. This was even better than the 1988 series and it was the highpoint of the Dark Horse ALIENS comics. But, as physics tells us, what goes up must come down...way down. After the first two amazing series, Dark Horse led that up with one of the worst ALIENS comics of all time: ALIENS: Earth War
The art is a war crime, the story is pure shit, and it ruins the momentum of the entire comic line. After this 1990 abortion, the comics became hit-or-miss. Some, like ALIENS: Genocide, ALIENS: Hive, and ALIENS: Tribes were very good and advanced the entire dark universe of ALIENS. But, comics like Colonial MarinesLabyrinth, and Salvation were just plain bad. I stopped collecting the Dark Horse ALIENS comics after this and never looked back especially when they reworked the original two comic serials to fit within the ALIEN 3 storyline. This was a giant middle finger to the fans. In the late 1980's and very early 1990's, the Dark Horse ALIENS comics really set the bar high for us fans, and it was that dark vision that we expected with the 3rd film in 1992...sadly, the promise of the comics made the broken promise of the 3rd and 4th ALIENS films that much more of a jagged pill to swallow.  

Then SEGA/Gearbox ALIENS: Colonial Marines Video Game Failed...
There is a long line of attempted ALIENS video games that began in 1982 and continues today. Sadly, most are just plain bad and don't live up to the hallowed name of ALIENS. A few years ago, FWS cataloged all of the ALIENS video games here. But, back in 2012/2013, there were high hopes for the SEGA/Gearbox ALIENS: Colonial Marines first-person shooter that would be set on LV-426 and involve a detachment of USCM. But, it went all wrong...very wrong and the resulting product was one of the most disappointing ALIENS video games of all time, causing more broken promises and shockwaves through the ALIENS fan community. How could they fuck this up so badly?! Gearbox studios, based here in Dallas, are huge ALIENS fan-nerds and they still allowed the video game to be listed among one of the most disappointing moments of ALIENS history.

Prometheus...Step in the Right Direction Or Just Another Broken Promise?!
When it was announced that Ridley "God" Scott would be stepping back into the dark world of ALIENS, it was the best news we fans could have heard. Maybe, just maybe, Ridley would get the franchise back on track with something that the fans could be proud of and not make excuses for. That 2012 film was a prequel set in 2093/2094 and it was called Prometheus. The misadventures of the team funded by Wyland Corporation to an moon called LV223 in the Zeta Reticuli star system (39.17 LYs) was not the film we fans thought we were getting in an prequel to 1979's masterpiece ALIEN...but is Prometheus another broken promise? The fan community is deeply divided on this issue.
 I honestly really like Prometheus and it is still one of the best 3D IMAX films I've ever seen, and it was a creepy, beautiful film that was misguided in parts. It may be the best ancient astronaut theory film of all time, however, plot holes, maddening characters, and loose connections to the wider ALIENS universe did not give us the complete film that the franchise needed. Instead we got this oddball hybrid film that answered nearly nothing and left us with more questions that still are not answered. To me and others I've talked to, Prometheus is a small step in the right direction, but it is too muddied to be the messiah of the wider ALIENS franchise. Some feel betrayed by Ridley making the Space Jockeys into the Engineers, other feel that it was an original solution to the derelict alien spaceship in ALIEN. Prometheus may be one of those films that is debated by fans for years to come. Will the 2017 sequel, ALIEN: Covenant prove the vitality of Prometheus? I guess we will have to wait until 2017 for the answers...

Step in the Right Direction: 2014's ALIEN ISOLATION
Soon after the hurricane of pain and tears that was ALIENS: Colonial Marines by SEGA/Gearbox, another video game came out: ALIEN: Isolation, and it would take us fans by surprise and by the balls, and demonstrate to us how an good ALIENS game could be done. Unlike most ALIENS video games, this 2014 SEGA/Creative Assembly survival-horror game pit Amanda Ripley against a single xenomorph warrior drone. It is more in-line with 1979's ALIEN than 1986's ALIENS. Less combat, and more survival and stealth. It is the game we fans have been waiting for, and it is finally a great ALIENS video game that gives the respect to the xenomorph species that they deserve and demand. Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel?

Why the Hell Can't They Make an Good Fucking ALIENS Movie?!
Since 1986, we fans have been waiting for an "good" sequel to ALIENS, and despite Prometheus, we are still waiting. There has yet to be a film to rival or extend the ALIENS dark universe in a positive and honest way. Hell, there has not been a film even half as good as either ALIENS or ALIEN! While there was one good video game and a handful of comics, there has been a great drought of creativity in the ALIENS cinema universe, and appears that is not going to change anytime soon unless ALIEN: Covenant is good. While there is no concrete reason why there has not been a good fucking sequel to ALIENS, I do have a theory. At its heart, the ALIENS franchise is an survival-horror film set in outer space with an the aliens in place of the monsters or zombies.
We have to remember that the central story of the ALIENS universe is constructed around the journey of our hero Warrant Flight Officer Ellen Ripley. In the original film, set in 2122, Ripley is a single mother, pilot, and employee of the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. She is attempting to get back to Earth for her daughter Amanda's tenth birthday and take time off from the long-haul cargo runs. When the encounter at LV426 takes place, it rips Ripley's life apart, and steals her future, altering Ripley's destiny forever. The first film is the transformative event that alters the path of our hero. Her crew and daughter are taken away from her by the alien species and the machiavellian actions of the company. By the end of the time, Ripley is a drift in hypersleep with just her cat and her luck. Fifty-seven years later, our hero is awakened to find everything that she knows gone and LV426 colonized by the company. Her journey to LV426 with the Colonial Marines is her redemption, to take back what was taken from her by the aliens and the company, to find a foster daughter in Newt and a possible love interest in Hicks.
By the end of the second film, Ripley has destroyed the Engineer cargo ship, killed the queen, and rescued her new family. The journey of Ellen Ripley is complete in a two-act story arch. That should have been it, and the Ripley character exits gracefully out of the ALIENS universe...but the studio and creators could not somehow imagine the ALIENS universe without her, and twice more, Ripley is brought back into the ALIENS sequel films that betrays the organic original stories in the first two films. ALIEN 3 twists the fate of Ripley in a Christ-like messiah story and ALIEN: Resurrection is just wrong...so wrong. That is my best theory on why the ALIENS sequels have been a shitty mess since 1986: they cannot let the character of Ellen Ripley go. Her story was done in the second film, any sequel should have taken a different path with new characters or shown the path of Newt or Hicks, as Dark Horse did in the original 1988 series. Of course, Dark Horse injected Ripley in the very end panel of the second ALIENS comic 1990 series, but I think everyone knew that was coming....and I didn't like that either at the time.
But, these are just one fan's theories and honestly, I just don't know why the studio has not made a solid sequel to the original holy two films. There is just so much promise and opportunity in the dark universe of ALIENS that it deeply vexes me on why the promise cannot be delivered to the silver screen. It seems like the writers and creators pushing the ALIENS universe forward with quality stories are not being considered by the studio when it comes to mainstream releases and projects. The same can be said of the Predator and ALIENS vs. Predator stories and projects. Why didn't FOX make the 1990 Dark Horse ALIENS vs. Predator comic series into a film instead of those piece of shit films that destroyed the promise of ALIENS vs. Predator? I don't want to be Fox Mulder, but maybe there is a conspiracy to keep down good ALIENS sequels?


What Could be Done to Save ALIENS Franchise?

While Ridley Scott is working on his side-universe to the ALIENS universe with Prometheus and ALIEN: Covenant, we fans need a solid ALIENS film to give the franchise a win and set the tone for the future...if there to be one. To me, if I was in charge of the studio, I would get the amazing dark and fulfilling 1992 Dark Horse ALIENS: Tribes graphic novel made into a film. This is one of the finest ALIENS comics or even stories ever made, and it could make one hell of a film that would transform the ab used and battered ALIENS franchise anew with an hardcore survival-horror film that deals with the humans as well as the aliens. If you have not read 1992's ALIENS: Tribes...then do yourself a favor read it today!

Will Neil Blomkamp's ALIENS Project Succeed Where Others have Failed?
At the moment, there is debate about if Neil Blomkamp ALIENS 5 movie will move forward or die on the vine. Both stars have signed on to reprise their roles, and fans want the script to move forward with the promising concept art that has been released....but the real question is the his vision of ALIENS 5 what should happen to the abused franchise? I am not sure, Neil Blomkamp is undoubtable talented, and most of his films are great...well, not CHAPPiE, but in everyone's life, some rain must fall. Anyways, we know so little of the story of ALIENS 5 and some rumors say that Neil will reject the 3rd and 4th films to "free up" some room to tell his story of Ripley, Hicks, and Newt in the post-ALIENS 22nd century. Some say that Ripley and Hicks are attempting to destroy the last samples that the company has during a backdrop of Earth being overrun by the xenomorphs. Michael Biehn has been quoting has saying that they will handing over the ALIENS universe to Newt and other new characters as they exist stage left. Will even be made? Will Neil success where others have failed? Stay tuned...

Next Time on FWS...
Let us travel back in time to the 1990's, when science fiction television shows were being greenlit by the major American networks, Dr. Who was still for geeks, and "real" Star Trek was being made. It is during this interesting time in small-screen sci-fi that NBC boldly journeyed to not outer space, but under the seas to set their near-future show SeaQuest DSV. In the next installment of Military Sci-Fi Oddities, FWS will be exploring and explaining the nearly three year run of SeaQuest DSV. 









02 May 2016

FWS News Feed: Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and History Channel's SIX

COD: Infinite Warfare
It is May, and it is time for shopping for your new bikini, new flip flops, and your next installment of Call of Duty. This time, Infinity Ward is up to the plate with their next entry into the COD universe: Infinite Warfare. This pushes the story and setting of COD into outer space and further into the future! We know very little of the story of COD: IW, and I do not believe that is connected to COD:AW or COD: Ghosts. From what little has been revealed in the teaser material and the dropped trailer, some organization called "the Settlement Defense Front" has attacked Earth from space in a devastating Pearl Harbor/September 11th style surprise attack. Millions are death, and Earth has responsed with an out-all assault on the Settlement Defense Front.
We see in the trailer tons of tactical transports loaded with futuristic warfighters, weapons, mecha, and war-bots. We also see Earth forces launching into orbit to strike at the SDF(!) forces in Earth orbit. In November, we will get to see if the Call of Duty franchise can go boldly out there without alienating long-time fans of the shooter games. To sweeten the pot, the original COD 4: Modern Warfare is being remastered for this generation. Like or not, COD has been pushing the bulk of military sci-fi shooter games for awhile now and maybe we will get something that generates a series of games and not just a stand alone game like Ghosts and AW. Given the history of the single-player campaigns for COD, I will not be buying this at full price in November.

History Channel's SIX
History Channel has been teasing their new military show centered on NAVSPECWAR: DEVGRU or SEAL Team Six for awhile now (January), but was during a recent Vikings episode we started to see the teaser of the show, and this has left me wondering about the future of SIX. Will we see something like Vikings, 24, or will it be more like CBS's The Unit or NBC's E-Ring? Mainstream American television has had issues with airing shows about the military. While there is M*A*S*H, it there are a number of other military-themed shows that have not lasted or not fulfilled on their promise. 24 was good for two seasons then dipped into bullshit territory for much of its run. CBS's The Unit was always half-baked, causing it not to be compelling or an accurate depiction of life in the ranks of the US Army' DELTA Force. But, its heart was the right place, and maybe SIX will pick up where The Unit left off. From the limited information, SIX will follow door-kickers from DEVGRU and their families as these sailors track down evildoers in A-Stan and back here in the USA during an 2014 mission that reveals hidden roots of terrorism in the US. There are some heavyweights behind the show as well in front of the camera, and the 8 part first season could be the right way to go with the episodes being more laser-focused on the core story rather than trying to fill an entire season with stories, as The Unit ran into. History Channel and SIX's production staff is promising a great deal with this show...FWS will be watching for it.

What We Will Fight Over: Inner vs. Outer Colonies

Distance in any relationship is deadly and it naturally breeds hostility and isolation, stressing relationship to the breaking point. This also pertains to the settlement of exo-planets and how far they are from the influence and control of Terra. In this continuation of the blog article serial: What Will We Fight Over, FWS will be exploring this often used trigger of interstellar conflict: the Inner and Outer Colonies.

What Do We Mean by "Inner" and "Outer"?
Some sci-fi creators treat outer space in a similar way to the geography of Earth, giving little to the realities of distance and depth to deep space; let alone the grandeur of the scale of the Milky Way galaxy. Classically, the measure of outer and inner colonial settlements is their distance from the Sol System or other important central locations like the Citadel from Mass Effect, Tarn-Vedra from Andromeda, or even an important space station or military outpost like Babylon 5 or Reach from HALO. These inner and outer distances could made via their proximity to an hostile government, like the Star Trek Neutral Zone, or a frontier, like the Red Line from BSG. After all, distance and location are all relative. An alien empire may regard the Terran settlements near their border as the "inner" or closest Terran presence to their space. We would have to take in account several factors when labeling some colonies as inner or outer, but it is likely that most sci-fi creators will continue to judge these distances from the location of Terra and how far they either control or have explored.

How Distance Breeds Strife Between the Inner and Outer Colonial Settlements

Proximity to Other Governments and Species
One of the common themes with the frontier colonies is their proximity to the enemies of humanity or that they are on the frontier of explored space. Either way, this exposes the outer frontier colonies to contact with other governments, societies, and species. This could alter the outer colonies' opinion on interstellar politics or a conflict with the enemies of Terra. Colonists of these outer colonies could be more friendly or sympathetic to the issues of Terra's enemies. Or it could mean that these more distant colonies are forced to defend themselves from the alien threat and they become less reliant on Terran and/or the inner colonies. At times, the geography of the interstellar political landscape can cause these outer colonies to be the first to be attacked in the advent of conflict or dispute. In addition, it could mean that the outer colonies are the subject of increased government involvement due to their proximity and/or these outer colonies need greater resources for protection from the central Terran government.

Formation of Individual Colonial Culture
Depending on the existence and function of FTL propulsion, the outermost colonial settlements of Terra would began to develop their own culture, separate from where the settlers come from. Colonies closer to the Sol System would be more connected and influenced by the home system. Add more distance, and you increase isolated cultural and sociological development of individual colonial culture. This formation of individual colonial culture increases the more generations that are born, live, and die on the colony.  This has been seen in the real world with the wild diversity of human culture across the globe, especially in how the Americans differ from Europe. This culture would further isolate the colony from Terra when new generations of children are born that have never seen or experienced Terra in the first-person. This would begin these settlers to translation from being Terran to originate from their colonial world. The experiences of the settlers on their world will also separate them from the rest of humanity, and depending on the environmental conditions, humans would continue to evolve due to local conditions. This adds up to the increased likely of conflict between the colonies...much like what happened in Mexico in the 1520's.

Pioneering Culture and Mindset
It takes a certain type of person to go out further than civilization and establish that point as home. Pioneers have also been a breed apart that brave the challenges and push humanity, society, and history forward. When it comes time for off-world colonization, there will be pioneers and that culture will cause the rift between Earth, the inner colonies, and the ones who go boldly into the night of deep space. It is that which will separate those colonies from the ones closer to shore. That mindset of being on your own and hacking your destiny on alien soil under unfamiliar stars is held by people that do not want a government lightyears away dictating policies, rules, and lifestyles. This was seen in the development of the Southern states of America, and how their colonial culture led to the Civil War. This was idea and historical example was mined for the civil war seen in Firefly.

Travel Time 
How we get to the stars could determine a great deal about the people that colonize exo-planets and time will be a factor as well. If it will indeed take generations of real-time to get to an habitable world, than it is likely that hibernation and/or embryonic methods will be used to settle these distant points of light. Deep-frozen humans could sleep lifetimes, arrive at the colony site, and began the process of founding the colony long after everyone and everything they knew on Earth has been dead for centuries. That travel time to the colonial site will organically separate these deep space colonies from the innermost. If embryonic space colonization is the only way to counter the horrors of the travel time from our solar system to the objective, than artificial grown humans will be raised by robots and computers in the warm glow of another star. These native-born colonists will be alien to any Terrans that show up to the colony....all thanks to the travel time between the planets.

To Be or Not To Be: FTL Propulsion
In science fiction, Faster-Than-Light propulsion systems and drives are as common as Smartphones in today's society: nearly every major sci-fi work contains an fictionalized FTL propulsion system to get from Point A to Point B in a relative shorter travel time than what we understand today about space travel. This plot device allows for the majority of fictional space travel stories we enjoy. Just having an FTL drive system in your fictional work alters your fictional universe from the real-world, due to the fact that we have not YET proven or tested an FTL propulsion system. How fast your FTL system is, its operation, and established limits, sets certain conditions for your creation and issues within your story. This also directly affects the subject of this blogpost: inner and outer colonies.
If we obey the established physics of the known universe, there is no magical faster-than-light propulsion system and time dilation exists as a consequence of light speed travel. In the hard science world, inner and outer colonies might as well be the same damn thing for the most part. Most habitable worlds will be lifetimes beyond Terra and its current society, politics, and technology. The closest rumored Earth-like world is Wolf 1061 "C" in the Wolf 1061 star system, some 13.8 LYS from the Sol System. Even at near the speed of light, we are talking about a one-way trip decades in travel time without FTL. This puts a "close" star with an rumored livable exo-planet lifetimes beyond us...would this be an inner or outer colonial world?
Then there is another thing to consider, if there was indeed an dickhead marauding alien species in this hard science universe, the colony on Wolf 1061 "C" would be most likely on their own to defend themselves from the asshole alien aggressors. Help from Terran space marines or even robotic soldiers would be generations in arriving...the battle would be long over by then. The only inner colony in the hard science universe is within our solar system or maybe Alpha Centauri.
Now, in most soft science sci-fi works, FTL allows for the inner and outer colonies to be reached in a relatively short length of time or in the case of Star Trek, within an commercial break. Outer colonies in these soft sci-fi universes could be days, weeks, or months away, but they are still reachable and they are only "outer"  until their spacefaring society pushes out to that point. Much like the American frontier was always being pushed back further and further out west due to increased settlement and the railroad. How does this affect wars and conflicts between closer to Terra and ones farther away? Without FTL, any colony beyond the Sol System would be an outer colony that develops nearly independently from Terra to the point that these colonial societies would as alien as the Aztecs, Mayans, and Inca were to the European explorers. Any contact between them could be hostile as an invading alien species. With FTL, inner colonies would be directly affected by the Terran government, society, and politics. While the outer colonies would more independent and less reliant on Terra or her government, much like we saw in the Firefly universe.

Will Inner Colonies and Outer Colonies Really Wage Wars?
Often this rift between Inner and Outer colonial settlements is used to be genesis of conflicts and wars in all types of science fiction works...but in the real world, would this actually happen? It is with near certainty that mankind will push out beyond the solar system to expand or save humanity. With FTL not being a reality (yet), colonization of exo-planets will be low and slow, with generations passing, and colonial societies evolving in vastly different ways, as we have seen with human evolution. Those space-flung colonial societies will be as alien, in some ways, to Terrans as the Aztec were to the Spanish or modern humans were to neanderthals. That alone could breed wars and conflicts. However, they may never met if there is no magical FTL propulsion system or even know each other. For there to be war between inner and outer colonies, it will as we've seen in Mobile Suit Gundam and Firefly....within the star system. We could see Titan or Mars rebel against Earth's rule.

Science Fiction and the Inner/Outer Colonial Wars
When it comes to the genesis of many wars mentioned in science fiction across all media, we see a correlation of interstellar conflicts being started by rifts between the Inner Colonies/Terra and the outermost colonial settlements. Why is this such a common reason for space wars? Some of it rests in the tense history of the relationships between colonies and their founding nations. In America, we owe our very existence as a nation to a war between the colonies and the founding government. The same is true of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Haitian Revolution, the American Civil War, and Latin American revolutions. These all serve has an historical foundation for conflicts in outer space and justification of inter-colonial conflicts being born out of distance from Terra and the core colonies.
At times, sci-fi creators show the outer colonists as the resistance to an authoritative regime that opposes them, as we saw in B5, Star Wars, Renegade Legion, and Firefly. Other times, the sci-fi property shows war between different ideas and either are right or wrong...grey area...which is rare in sci-fi. However, it was seen in Star Trek: TNG and Battletech. Other times, the outer colonies are treasonous to the core systems, and their rebellion threatens the safety and security of the citizenry, as with the Clone Wars from Star Wars. This can be applied on a smaller interstellar scale. In a previous blogpost, we picked apart why Mars is a source of future conflicts in science fiction. This could be also considered an outer colony vs. inner colony conflict, depending on how developed the solar system is in the scenario. Either way, this reason for future wars in outer space seems secure in sci-fi and we will see more in future worlds.


Examples

The League of Free Worlds vs. Earth Empire from the Colony Wars video games
Okay, the open cut-scene for this game really beats it over your head that the Earth Empire is evil and wants to control the colonies absolutely. According to the opening cinematic, this imperial power from Terra sees all, knows all, and punishes all. To protect themselves from the pillaging Imperial Navy that imposes the iron will of the empire, the colonies form the League of Free Worlds to oppose the draconian Earth Empire. The League is led by "the Father", who turns out to a serious dickhead in the later games. The background of the oppressive government from Terra is one that gives logical rise to the wars seen in the game series. Terra and other Sol system settlements were exhausted of resources, and the government on Terra relayed and on the outer colonies to supply it with the material and resources to allow the Earth and settled worlds in the Sol System to operate. Soon that reliance led to the Earth Empire's leader, the Czar, to demanding that all of the outer colonial resources go to the Sol System, and thus began the war between the inner colonies and the outer colonies.    

The IMC vs. the Frontier Militia from the Titanfall Universe
Titanfall is maddening game. In one way, it is an epic multiplayer mech shooter game that delivers on its promise beautifully, and it appeals to hardcore mecha geeks like me. However, the story of inter-colonial warfare is lost in the rush of combat and insanity that results in Titanfall online matches. That has been one of the main faults of the game: lack of story-driven gameplay. Long-term players of Titanfall could be excused from understanding or explaining the story that does exist...somewhere...in the gameplay. The Frontier Militia is like many pioneer movements to settle distant lands for their and their kids' futures.
The Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) is the company that constructed the Titans and Specters and like many historical heavily industrial powers, the IMC needs raw material to continue their domination of the war-machine market. That means that the IMC came to the colonial frontier with the purpose of controlling the raw resources of those backwater worlds. The Frontier Militia is the resistance movement to the IMC aggression. One of the elements that Titanfall wisely explores is the the people caught in the middle of the armed struggle between the IMC and the Militia. From the Militia POV, the IMC are imperialist, coming to the frontier to take and strip the resources from the settlers who paid their dues in settling these worlds. The IMC regards these militia forces as terrorists standing in the way of progress and their financial backers in the core colonies. After all, the IMC is one of the primary economic engines of the entire colonial economy, much like the RDA from AVATAR. If the IMC fails to be profitable, it could spell economic doom in the core colonies and on Terra.

The Commonwealth vs. The TOG from the Renegade Legion Universe by FASA
In one of the forgotten classics of 1980's tabletop wargames (foreshadowing), Renegade Legion, we see a struggle between the Terran Overlord Government (the TOG) and the Commonwealth in the 69th century. This is the basis for the wars in the 1980's FASA game that shows combat with anti-gravity tanks, aerofighters, and combat starships. The story is that the TOG is an response to an Reptilian alien invasion that took control of Earth and her colonies. The Terrans pattern themselves after the Roman Empire and won their rebellion against the Kess Rith aliens. After the senate is killed in a supposed terrorist bombing, the Overlords and their Caesar rule over the human race in a society that makes the Roman Empire look like a Mormon compound. Some of the military, human colonies, and alien races band together under the Commonwealth, against the TOG after it attempts to bring the entire Milky Way under its authority. These human settlements or nations, are the most distant in the galaxy, and far from the core regions of the galaxy and the TOG. The war in the 69th century, is the struggle of the distant Commonwealth vs. the innermost TOG. One day soon, FWS will be examining Renegade Legion in an Forgotten Classics blogpost.

The Unification War from Firefly
One of the best examples of the inner colonies fighting the outer colonies comes from one of the best sci-fi television shows of the 21st century: Firefly. In the backstory of the show, humanity has abandoned Earth-that-was for another star system, the 'verse, due to pollution and climate change. The 'Verse is a cluster of stars that orbit a central star, making the 'Verse, a complex web of planets, moons, and asteroids. After the era of terraforming, the 'Verse became home to many different factions of humanity, and wars started. To avoid the mistakes of Earth-that-was, the central planets formed the Union of Allied Planets and they attempted to bring peace to the 'Verse, and then it got twisted.
The original good of the Alliance twisted into a desire for control and homogeneous culture of the 'Verse colonies and settlements. This started the Unification War. The more core worlds of the Alliance squared off against the more outer border worlds of the Independent Planets AKA "the Browncoats". From 2506-2511, the Browncoats fought a losing war against the superior Alliance. In 2511, the last major engagement of the war was fought: the Battle of Serenity Valley on Hera. After this, the Independents were unable to mount any serious armed resistance to the Alliance and the war ended shortly after in 2511. This allowed the Alliance to achieve dominion over the border worlds, and the vets of the war never forgot. Tensions between the Core and the Border are still high. To avoid another repeat of the Unification War, the Alliance ordered the Miranda Pax experiment on a newly founded colony. This is one of the better examples of inter-colonial warfare in sci-fi.

The Strife between the 12 Colonies of Kobol from Battlestar Galactica 
In the rebooted series and the cancelled show Caprica, while the 12 Colonies of Kobol were "at peace", there was strife between the heart of the 12 Colonies society, Caprica, and the poorer colonies of Gemenon, Sagittaron, and Aerilon. While there had been open warfare in the past, it was the treatment of some of the more outer colonies by the more inner colonies that bred strife. For years, the imperialistic habits of Caprica fueled a series of insurrections, terrorists groups, and protests. In the more powerful core colonies, Tauron, proved to be a source of tension to the rule of the colonial government, adding more tension. Some of this infighting was cooled by the Cylon Wars, but it did pick up against after the Cylons left the 12 Colonies.  It is unknown what would have happened if the Cylon apocalypse had never happened.

The 2nd Rebellion the Hunger Games Universe
When we look at more unconventional example, we can see the struggle between the inner colonies and the outer colonies causing wars in the Hunger Games story. Even before the 2nd Rebellion that made a messiah out of Katniss Everdeen, there was interior strife between the Panem districts and the capital, namely the 1st Rebellion. The rumored nuclear response of the capital government against the rebellious District 13, kept the rest of the District, along with the Hungry Games and the economic/military superiority of the Capital, in line. This all changes with the emergence of Katniss Everdeen, the Mockingjay symbol, and the truth of District 13. By the end of the story, the Districts unite and topple President Snow and the Capital in an climactic fight in the capital itself. 

The Spacers vs. Earthers from Issac Asimov's universe
Here is oldie, but goodie: the tension between the Spacer Worlds and Earth from Asimov's Robot novels. In most of these conflicts between the outer colonies and the inner colonies, the outer colonies are the backwater frontier worlds that are controlled by inner colonies and Terra. Or they are wild, and do not take kindly to the control of Earth and the older, more established inner colonies. In the Caves of Steel, the Spacers were the descendants of the original colonial pioneers into deep space, and they had grown technologically than the more backward Earth. Unlike the crowded Earth, the 50 Spacers worlds were low-population worlds with most Spacers living in vast estates with robot labors greatly outnumbering the Spacers. In some ways, the Spacers were nearly aliens to their Terran cousins.
In some text, the Spacers colonies were originally called "the Outer worlds". The conflict between the Outer Worlds and Earth began when Earth attempted to force the issue of more immigration from Earth to the off-world colonies. The Outer Worlds refused and the result was the Three Weeks War and the Great Rebellion resulting the Outer Worlds gaining their freedom from the Earthmen. To punish the Earth and show off its superior in social and technological development, the Spacers blockaded Earth from any further space travel and even communicating with the Spacer Worlds. This blockade altered Earth, fueling the development of the massive underground cities seen in The Caves of Steel. However, the situation on the Earth is reaching crisis point, the Spacers attempt to solve the problem by establishing an outpost in New York City along with the introduction of robots. After the core Robot novels, the Earth enters a new phase of colonization led by Baley's son, but unlike the Spacers, the Earthmen found new worlds without the aid of robots. Soon, the Spacers are isolated on their fifty worlds and begin to die off. The Earth colonization movement leading to the foundation of the Galactic Empire of the Foundation and Galactic Empire novels.

The Arm of Orion Rebellion form Section 8
Section 8 was an military sci-fi shooter video game by Timegate Studios on last generation consoles that had the player taking the role of an powered armor wearing Special Forces soldier named Alex Corde. In the backstory to the multiplayer game, an group called the Arm of Orion was "disconnecting" frontier colonial worlds from Terra, and given the slow pace of space travel in the Section 8 game, the Arm of Orion was at an advantage. This struggle between the distant imperialistic Arm of Orion and the Terran government was conducted by the 8th Armored Infantry unit. While the frontier colonies were not rebelling against Terra, it is still an example of an conflict between the core central government and the frontier settlements.   

The Strife between the Colonies from Dynamo Joe
In one of the best military science fiction American comics, Dynamo Joe from First Comics (1986-1988), we see a ongoing strife between the colonies of Terra in the 35th century. In the comic backstory, the Terran Confederation has a serious rift between their inner and outer colonies, with the outer colonies being under attack from pirates, slavers, and the Blood Nation attacks. This causes the Terran Confederation to mount a serious pirate suppression activity for the outer worlds. This costs a great deal of money, and Terra and her inner colonies resent the outer colonies for their helplessness. Then the table turn. In 3415, when an unknown alien race attacked the galactic rim. Faced with an aggressive species of unknown origin, the Terran Confederation decided to attack the hostiles with the full might of their fleet. At the Rim Battle Massacre, half of the Terran fleet was wiped out, and the aliens made a direct path for Terra and Londree. For years, the combined forces of three civilizations banned together (sort of) to repel the invaders. Because the aliens were laser-focused on attack Terra and Londree, the outer colonies were uninterested in funding "Terra's War", because they were not under direct threat from the aliens. Once again, the rift between the inner and outer colonies reached a breaking point. This tension between the inner and outer colonies in Dynamo Joe was the origin-point for this blogpost

The Maquis from the Star Trek Universe
Even in the big, happy Federation, shit can go wrong, especially on the edge of Federation space with an hostile alien race on your doorstep. During final peace talks between the Cardassian Union and the UFP, after a brief war years before TNG started, it was decided to from an DMZ with planets changing hands. The Federation worlds were home to frontier settlers and these were their homes...they were not going to give up and move for the sake of peace with an aggressive alien government. That was the setting that Trek introduces us to one of the more un-Trek like elements of the 24th century: the Maquis.
Taking their name from the underground French resistance movement of the 2nd World War, this 24th century Maquis were labelled many things: terrorists, freedom fighters, troublemakers. However, they are a symbol of how a policy made between Terra and an hostile species, the Cardassians, could result in tensions and conflicts way out on the border/frontier. This is a struggle between the central government and the frontier, where things are different and less clear-cut that back on the utopia of Earth. One of the interesting things I learned about the Maquis during my reading up on the topic was that the concept of this group goes back to 1993 when the foundations of what would be Voyager were being laid. The Maquis were developed for that show to provide the tension on the long-lost starship and the Starfleet crew. Over time of Deep Space Nine and TNG, the Maquis were more developed, and many fans sympathized with the quest of the Maquis.  

The Insurrection of the Outer Colonies from the HALO Universe
From 2494 to 2537, the UNSC fought an board violent insurrection against their rule over the outer colonies. This was the genesis of the SPARTAN-II program. The outer colonies of the UNSC were tired of the politics and policies of the Colonial Administration Authority/ When protests did not work, the violence started. The actions of the UNSC fueled more volunteers to the cause of the insurrection, especially after the use of nuclear weapons on Far Isle. However, the out-and-out civil war of the outer colonies against the UNSC was the Insurrection were able capture the UNSC warship Callisto in 2494. When the UNSC set three warships to recapture the Destroyer, the Insurrection was able to use an nuclear device to break apart an asteroid, and pepper the three UNSC warships with the natural kinetic projectiles. With one ship destroyed and two others wounded, this became the wake up call to the UNSC on the power of the Insurrection in the outer colonies. This war in the outer colonies even touched as far into the interior of UNSC space as Reach, and even after the Covenant invaded the UNSC, there was still conflict between the UNSC and her outer colonies. Some in the government even feared the Insurrection would attempt to made a deal with the aliens to betray the UNSC. One of the more interesting points I've read about the Outer Colonial Insurrection is that it prepared the UNSC, as a whole, for the Human-Covenant War, especially with regards to be the reason for the creation of the SPARTAN-II Program that saved humanity from the Covenant.   

Earth Alliance Civil War from Babylon 5
At the beginning of the B5 television series, the President of the Earth Alliance, Santiago, was killed by an conspiracy to bring Morgan Clark to the office. It was during the 2nd and 3rd Season that the shit really hit the fan, as EarthGov was twisting into being more anti-alien and wanting for the Earth Alliance to be more aggressive in the galaxy. During this, Captain Sheridan and others on B5 learned of an vast conspiracy and the draconian goals of Clark, and the connection to the shadows. Part of this was the creepy Nightwatch movement.
It was during the apex of this, that Joint Chiefs General Hague staged a coup as Proxima III, Mars, and Orion VII broke away from the Earth Alliance, and Sheridan sided with others breakaway colonies as Mars is bombed by Clark's forces. Also during this, the sci-fi CNN, ISN, revealed the truth and was shut down by Clark's goon squads. Seeing B5 as a support and safer harbor for the rebellion, Clark ordered an taskforce to retake the station, resulting in one of the best episodes of the entire series. B5, with help from the Minbari, repel the Earth Alliance attack, and this made the station a beacon in the darkness. During the Shadow War, there was an ensuing tension between EarthGov and B5, and it was only after the Shadow War, that attention was turned to liberating Earth from Clark. The final episode of Earth Civil War, we see Clark take his own life, and the end of the darkness. While the show was building to the Shadow War, I always preferred the Earth Civil War storyline. There is less of a struggle between the inner and outer colonies here, but it does show an Terran based government attempting to take control of their colonies and the most distant Earth off-world installation: Babylon 5.

Earth Federation vs. the Principality of Zeon from Mobile Suit Gundam
In the Mobile Suit Gundam universe, the One Year War from 0079 UC-0080 UC, was a transformative event that had the breakaway  Principality of Zeon wage war against the  Earth Federation. In 0058 UC, the Side 3 O'Neil Colony station near Luna declared themselves independent from the Earth Federation and the other space colonies, calling themselves "the Principality of Zeon".  After the One Year War, this outer colony was brought back into line with the Earth Federation, but the die had been cast for colonial resistance.
The Clone Wars from Star Wars
While the real genesis of the Clone Wars was an grand machiavellian Sith plot to wipe out the Jedi Order, erode the power of the Republic, and installing an Sith-controlled Galactic Empire. On the surface however, the Clone Wars were an outgrowth of tensions on the outmost regions of the galaxy that started with the Trade Federation, the Siege of Naboo, and the formation of the Confederacy of the Independent Systems. While some of the tension between the rim and Coruscant was rooted in real issues of economics, government, and bureaucracy; there was a great deal of Sith engineering to destabilize the galaxy and foster tensions between the rim and the core systems. This peaked in the First Battle of Geonosis and the discovery of the existence of the Cloned Army. By the end of the 2nd Prequel film, there was an all-out war between the Republic and the Separatists that engulfed the galaxy. Most of the war was fought away from the central systems, however, there was the battle over the Coruscant at the beginning of The Revenge of the Sith. By the time of Order-66, the war was over, and when the Empire rose, it too, would find controlling an entire galaxy was too difficult a task. Another reason mentioned for the Sith-engineered Clone Wars was to eliminate the possible resistance to an new Sith-based empire. By the Sith uniting powerful groups, like the Banking Guild, the Techno-Union, against the Republic, they could destroy these groups that might oppose the new Empire via the war.

The Foundation vs. the Barbarian Galaxy from Isaac Asimov's Foundation Universe
In an odd examples culled from one of the titans of science fiction Isaac Asimov, we look to the Foundation established on Terminus and the crumbling galaxy after the fall of the Galactic Empire. In the iconic 1940's science fiction novel, Hari Seldon, founder of the Psychohistory, was moving to safeguard the knowledge of the galaxy has the Galactic Empire was crumbling after 12,000 in power. He predicted using Psyhohistory that the galaxy would be under barbarism for 30,000 years until it would reunite. Seldon and others wanted to shorten that to about 1,000 years and the Foundation on Terminus was the answer. Assembled there on the edge of the Milky Way was the best and the brightest, devoted to the Encyclopedia Galactica. As the galaxy collapsed around Terminus, newly formed savage kingdoms came to Terminus for their storehouse of old Imperial and technology. While this is a stretch of the core concept of the blogpost, it does show the very distant settled world of Terminus against these new kingdoms. Why the Foundation was way the hell out there was due to it wanting to protect itself and its knowledge from the savagery of the new galaxy situation after the fall of the Galactic Empire. In someways, the Foundation represents the Byzantine Empire after the fall of the Roman Empire to the barbarian invaders, as Isaac Asimov intended.

Next Time on FWS...
"Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings"...or the once hallowed ALIENS franchises. In the next blog article on FWS, we will sadly exploring and attempting to explain the broken promises of the sequels to ALIEN and ALIENS in all media. Yes, this includes the shitstorm that was Colonial Marines