Worldbuilding Done Right

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Happy Wednesday, gang. Don’t forget you have the rest of the week to enter my little giveaway! Just link back to this blog and show me in the comments that you did, or sign up to receive email updates, and you’ll get entered to win a Kristin-made craft!

Secondly, be sure to check out my new post over on Spellbound Scribes, Casting from Hell, in which I discuss how sorry I feel for actors that would portray my characters. Those poor suckers would be crying all the way to the bank.

Thirdly, check out Liv Rancourt’s new post, Anita Blake, Christian Warrior?, sparked by a comment she left in Friday’s discussion of Religion in Urban Fantasy.

Phew, that’s a lot of business for one day. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming.

Does anyone else remember when Battlestar Galactica was the best sci-fi show EVER? (Oh, good heavens, no, not the original one—the new one that aired from 2003-2009.)

Alcoholic, cancer patient, daddy-issues, sociopath, hallucination, sleeper agent: now there’s a slice of humanity. Image via Battlestar Wiki.

In the early seasons, the characterization, the suspense, and the knowledge that no one was safe drove the show to unbelievable emotional heights, and then it jumped the shark and everything got weirdly religious and super-depressing.

Yep, that’s a teaser for an upcoming religion-and-sci-fi post.

But the main thing that made this show so engrossing was almost unnoticeable, even though it was visible in every single shot of the show: the worldbuilding. You can see it in the aesthetics (there are no square corners), the costumes (female pilots wear the same thing as male pilots), the language (“Frak!”). It’s everywhere, and it makes this world complete.

Take the episode, “Water,” one of the most tension-fraught television episodes I’ve ever watched. In the midst of the paranoia and worry over the future, Commander Adama and President Roslin stop to have a conversation about books.  They discuss A Murder on Picon, just one of the many examples of arts and literature in this universe, and both know the book—wildly different characters have common cultural ground.

And that’s how it should be done. Check it out: you won’t find better worldbuilding on television.

What are some other examples of stellar worldbuilding, readers? I love me a brave new world to watch or read.

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6 thoughts on “Worldbuilding Done Right

  1. I get your point about world building, but BSG was a poor example because while it had great elements, it was plotted like a Soap Opera (IN SPACE) rather than a solid sci-fi drama it could have been .

    • Kristin McFarland

      I both agree and disagree with you — it started out as a fantastic show, in my opinion, but after they landed on “New Caprica,” the show completely jumped the shark. Love triangles, machine babies, religious cults… yeah, after that, it was a soap opera.

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