Into the Void

Prometheus dives into a dangerous genre--the space opera

Set Design by Helen Friel for TIME

As high-concept high-wire acts go, there aren't many genres as risky as space opera. Starting with that name, which almost nobody likes. I'm using it here, for lack of a better one, to refer to that particular strain of science fiction that involves large-scale, far-future action, staged with massive spaceships powered by space-smearing faster-than-light drives, in which good-looking humans traverse the void in order to meet alien species and exchange laser fire with them, pew pew pew.

I don't use the term pejoratively at all. When it succeeds, space opera is magnificent. The great ones--Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, the Mass...

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