I’m a fan of Science Fiction. Always have been. Books, movies, shows, cartoons, video games, comics, RPGs… love ’em all. The one thing I really love about sci-fi video franchises is that they are basically hours and hours and hours of one movie. Obviously the list of sci-fi franchises is long. And I won’t even be getting into anything other than movies and shows — no books, comic books, games, etc. My list consists of 3 franchises that I enjoy, and one that I’m including just to illustrate just how absolutely vast some of these “worlds” can be (and to impress my boss).
Each entry will give a brief synopsis of the franchise setting, a bit of history and “real world” context, and all of the relevant info regarding just how many hours you can be sitting in front of a screen absorbing the storyline(s).
Firefly is a Space Western set in the year 2517, in another star system. Everyone there is human, as humanity has come there from Earth. The setting is not-so vaguely reminiscent of post-Civil War America. In fact, several of the characters had fought in a civil war, and were on the losing side. Everything has a frontier feel to it.
Firefly aired its first episode on September 20, 2002, and its last on August 4, 2003. It was cancelled after only 11 of its 14 total episodes had aired. And I think you’d be hard pressed to find saltier sci-fi fans than people who were Firefly fans in 2003… In addition to the 14-episode show, there was one movie produced, along with five short-films to promote the feature film. Serenity, the film, was released on September 30, 2005 — just three years after the TV show first aired (and slightly less than two years after it ran its last episode). Prior to the release of Serenity, five 8-minute short films were released as a viral marketing device.
The show consists of less than one season of 14 episodes at 44 minutes each. A feature film at 119 minutes. Five viral marketing short videos at 8 minutes each. That’s a grand total 775 minutes, or just shy of 13 full hours, of watch time (not including special features and extras). Right about two good work days.
Fringe is set in the present, in Boston, on Earth (and one of its parallels). The story follows the activities of Fringe Division, an X-Files-esque Joint Federal Task Force that investigates “fringe” science and weird occurances. The primary team members are Olivia, Peter, and Walter — the “agent,” the renegade “jack-of-all-trades,” and the “mad scientist,” respectively.
At the start of the series, each episode was basically a stand-alone “weekly mystery,” but the plot definitely let you know there were some factors that tied it all together. And by the end of the series you realized how it all fit together. That “fit” has to do with the interaction of two parallel universes, and the “double” characters from each.
The show was created, in part, by J.J. Abrams, and borrows some of the feel from shows like Lost, The Outer Limits, The Twilight Zone, and X-Files (among others). The show first aired on September 9, 2008, and ran until January 18, 2013. For a total of five full seasons (with one pilot film).
With the one 81-minute pilot, 100 episodes (20 at 50 minutes each, 80 at 43 minutes each), and no spin-offs, mini-series, or full-length movies… the series will run you a grand total of 4521 minutes, or just about 75 and a half hours (not including extra features). This is either two good work weeks, or one horrible one.
Babylon 5 is a Space Opera (sci-fi soap opera) that takes place in the latter part of the 23rd Century. Humanity has reached the stars, colonized the Solar System and beyond, and has made contact with several alien species and civilizations… Some friendly, some not so much.
The Babylon is a massive space station that is located in “neutral zone” space. The “5” in the name indicates that this is the fifth (and final) iteration of the Babylon Project. It is owned and operated by Earth, but is open to everyone. It became the unofficial epicenter of intergalactic commerce, diplomacy, and intrigue. Every episode centers around a member of the crew, an inhabitant, or the B5 itself.
One seemingly unique quality of the core series is that it was specifically created and written so that it had a cohesive start, middle, and finish. Everything was essentially written before the series even began. And all the spin-off series and TV movies were based on that core plotline. So, plot points that come up in the first season, sneak back up on you all the way in the fifth (and final) season.
Babylon 5 was created by prolific sci-fi writer and producer J. Michael Straczynski. It first aired on February 22, 1993, with the pilot. The core series ran its final episode on November 25, 1998, but the franchise is still working on productions even now.
With five 22-episode seasons of the original series, 2 spin-off series, and six films, the franchise will run you 5942 minutes (not including all those sweet extras). That’s less than an hour south of 100 full hours of B5 amazingness — or close to three really easy work weeks.
Now… let’s be honest, Star Trek doesn’t need any kind of introduction. Not the original series, The Next Generation, any of the movies — originals OR reboots. And not any of the seemingly countless spin-offs. The Star Trek franchise is vast.
I’m including this franchise for two reaons:
- These numbers are crazy.
- Alex [Sandboxx News’ Editor] loves this stuff.
So, let’s get to these numbers. We’re going to include all video content (that’s animation, too)…
That’s nine current or previous series — with a whole lotta seasons and episodes between them all — netting you approximately 33,523 minutes of Trektacular fun. (Now, I say approximately there, because some of the newer series’ episodes are of varying length, and I couldn’t find them all online… so I averaged.) That’s 559 hours. Which is 14 40-hour work weeks. And we’re still only on the shows.
These 13 feature-length films are definitely going to add at least a few more solid hours of at-home viewing. Right about to the tune of 1517 minutes, or 25 and a half hours. Give or take.
So, again keeping in mind that we are not counting all of the HOURS of special features on these DVDs and BluRays, that’s 35,040 minutes of Trekking. Hour-wise, it’s 584. That’s anywhere from 15 to 20 typical work weeks.
To wrap this all up in a nice epic binge-watching final score, if you sat down to make it through all of these you’d spend 46,278 minutes — 771+ hours — earning your black belt in Sci-Fu. To some of us, that would tally up to about 20 full-time work weeks.
What are you waiting for?