6 ways to show ‘outer space’ on TV

Vada Pao, Gate way of India and may the local train – these are easy markers to show Mumbai. TV and movies have often relied on props and visual cues to showcase the setting their story is based in. Instead of just saying “It Mumbai”, the viewer feels they are in Mumbai

But what if your show is set in outer space? How will you make us “feel” this distant, never visited outer space? How will you make space both alien yet familiar?  Here are 6 ways to go about it!

On.e Space Walk (have to!)

The best way to make you feel space, is to actually put you in space. Put on the astronaut suit and walk into silent vacuum surrounding by stars. One feels away from earth immediately. Bonus points in the blue planet is in background.

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Source Show : The 100, The CW

Tw.o Defy laws of physics

Nothing feels alien more than defying physics laws on earth. Jet packs to Jump. Gravity that too high and makes it difficult to walk.  It has to be different space.

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Source Show : The Expanse, SyFy channel

Thr.ee Spaceships

Big, small, cargo, passenger, military – fill it with all the ships in the universe. FTL engines, warp drives, blasters – design as alien or as familiar you would like. Nothing says space like spaceships. Else, why even have a show in space right?

battlestargalactica

Source Show : Battlestar Galactica, SyFy channel

Four. Upgrade wardrobe

When in Rome…space is a great reason to design your own wardrobe. Will it be practical or ceremonial. Pristine or raggedy. Take inspiration. Juxtapose cultures. Create, create, create.

syfy-the-expanse-cast-header

Source Show : The Expanse, SyFy channel

Five . Future Tech

Display touch control panels, tele-transporting beams, implants to communicate, holograms to plan with. Change the tech to give it the space feel. Or go retro – but change the tech from this era.

CBS_STARTREK_DISCOVERY_105_HD_IMAGE_1920x1080_R_1270773_640x360

Source Show : Star Trek Discovery, CBS

Six. Alien Species

Nothing says space like having species that cannot be from earth. And get creative as you can, how will a planet away from sun be, how will a species living on desert planet evolve?! As small a difference as pointed ears to as big as devourer of worlds. Space time is your oyster.180221_3671727_Krypton_Official_Trailer_1500x844_1166768707963

Source Show : Krypton, Space channel

These were my top 6. If you are building this universe, what would you like to build into it to showcase the possibilities of outer space? (Alien cities, alien language, alien dating?!)

Footnote:

The image references are from, in order : The 100, The expanse, Battlestar Galactica, The expanse,Star Trek Discovery, Krypton. You can check most of these online. I personally love the first 3 shows and can’t recommend enough the space opera, The expanse.

If you are in India, head to Netflix for The 100, The expanse, Star Trek Discovery. While Amazon prime has the epic classic BattleStar Galactica.

This interesting post discusses a bit about how a show brings future into communication devices : https://medium.com/kineviz-blog/lessons-from-the-expanse-in-space-no-one-complains-about-the-documentation-7be065e145d 

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