What rules would you establish for your ideal SF or fantasy tv series? Sarcasm aside– fans occassionally suggest better ideas than the creators and producers of various shows.

I’ve listed five. They reflect my own personal ideas. I suspect a good many people here would enjoy voicing theirs.

ONE CAVEAT: Avoid just saying, “X was, like, the best show ever, so I’d make my show just like X!” Be more creative than that. Derive a rule from whatever element made X worth watching.

1. Think through the implications of elements you introduce, and live by them– or don’t introduce them in the first place.

If godlike beings wander around your cosmos and routinely interfere with human affairs, if Joe Anybody can cast magic spells, if the tech to create androids exists– then follow through with the implications. How did Picard ever know it wasn’t just Q being funny? Joyce’s android lover on Buffy is of unknown origin, and is later dismantled, so I’ll buy him– but why didn’t Warren become a multi-trillionaire by marketing pleasure-bots?

2. Hire genre writers now and then.

Seriously, the best eps of the original Star Trek were written by actual SF writers, the kind of people Berman & Braga seem loathe to hire.

Also: SF writers don’t need to be scientists, but it doesn’t hurt if they have at least a vague clue regarding what science is.

3. Continuity is not god and it’s going to get violated now and then, but at least attempt to avoid flatly contradicting previous episodes.

4. Story arcs are not a Tool of Satan, however…

…The soap-opera approach encourages the sloppy writing of flabby scripts where nothing in particular happens. Such eps seldom seem worth watching.

5. Regardless of genre, good tv features interesting characters who engage the story in ways that make sense, in context.