Masters of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror

Masters of Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Horror
Since television’s infancy, its capacity to tell stories that stretch the bounds of reality has made it an incubator for science fiction, fantasy and horror programming.

TelevisionWeek has surveyed the broadcast, cable and syndication landscape to identify the leaders whose current projects and track records make them Masters of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror.

Escapism Artists

They are heirs to a legacy of programming that stretches back to “Buck Rogers,” “Captain Video and His Video Rangers” and “The Twilight Zone.”

The sheer volume of science fiction, horror and fantasy programming makes any list of standouts incomplete, and the library is set to expand with new shows from giants such as George Lucas. Fans’ thirst for the genre is supporting new networks and pushing into new media with Web channels and video-on-demand offerings.

TVWeek will be watching to see which shows stand out, and which creative forces and network executives should be added to the pantheon in future incarnations of the Masters list.

The genre’s power to inspire rabid fans has manifested itself by establishing cultural touchstones such as Trekkies and Comic-Con. Here are some of the names that have made their mark in that milieu.

Abrams

Sci-Fi: J.J. Abrams

He’s quickly becoming known as a film director (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek”) and producer (“Cloverfield”). But J.J. Abrams’ heart will never be far from television. Mr. Abrams, who often cites “The Twilight Zone” as one of his major cultural influences, started out on the small screen with the very un-sci-fi “Felicity”... More »


Cohen

Sci-Fi: David X. Cohen

David X. Cohen, co-creator and executive producer of “Futurama,” has the “science” part of science fiction down pat. Mr. Cohen graduated from Harvard with a bachelor’s degree in physics, followed by a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Southern California... More »


Cuse & Lindelof

Sci-Fi: Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof

Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly get plenty of screen time on “Lost,” but they’re not the stars of the show. That would be Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. It would be unfair to call the executive producers of ABC’s island mystery drama mere showrunners since, in fact, they now preside over an entire “Lost” empire: DVDs, board games, elaborate Internet worlds. Mr. Lindelof and Mr. Cuse even stage a tour de force live show at Comic-Con every July... More »


Eick & Moore

Sci-Fi: David Eick & Ronald Moore

“Battlestar Galactica” co-executive producer David Eick thinks sci-fi on TV has been true to the origin of the genre more than in other mediums, serving as an “allegory” for many human truths and emotions. Mr. Eick and fellow “Battlestar” executive producer Ronald Moore will continue in that tradition with their upcoming prequel “Caprica,” which they are working on with former “24” executive producer Remi Aubuchon... More »


Fuller

Fantasy: Bryan Fuller

Like the piemaker at the center of “Pushing Daisies,” creator Bryan Fuller likes to give his shows a special touch. His first series, Showtime’s “Dead Like Me,” featured a girl who became a grim reaper after being killed by a falling toilet seat from the Mir space station. His second, Fox’s short-lived “Wonderfalls,” had inanimate, animal-shaped objects giving instructions to the show’s heroine... More »


Haines

Sci-Fi: Tim Haines

Tim Haines’ “Walking With …” series has a simple goal: Present extinct animals in a realistic and naturalistic manner. His “Walking With Dinosaurs,” produced for the BBC in 1999, used puppetry and computer-generated images to show dinosaurs as living creatures, eating, mating and rearing their young. Imagine “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” meets “Jurassic Park”... More »


Halmi Sr.

Fantasy: Robert Halmi Sr.

Robert Halmi Sr. came to the United States in 1950 with a still camera around his neck. Fifty-eight years later, Mr. Halmi and son Robert Jr. have produced more than 200 made-for-TV moves and miniseries. Their productions have won 104 Emmys. Just last year, their production company, RHI, developed, produced and distributed 43 TV movies and miniseries to broadcast and cable networks around the world... More »


Howe

Sci-Fi: David Howe

If science fiction/fantasy is a genre, it’s just about the broadest one there is, says David Howe, president of the Sci Fi Channel. “We’re far from just about space,” he said. “It’s anything in the realm of the speculative, anything set five minutes into the future or using technology that’s not quite real”... More »


Kring

Sci-Fi: Tim Kring

Looking at Tim Kring’s resume during the 1990s and early 2000s, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine that he’d go on to create “Heroes,” one of the biggest sci-fi hits in years. He worked on shows such as “Chicago Hope” and “Providence.” He created the “Quincy, M.E.”-like crime drama “Crossing Jordan.” There was the 1999 drama “Strange World,” about freaky medical and scientific discoveries, but it lasted just three weeks on ABC... More »


Kripke

Horror: Eric Kripke

The CW may be synonymous with rich-teen fare like “Gossip Girl” and “90210,” but a horror show is thriving on its Thursday-night schedule against heavy competition from “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI.” That CW show is “Supernatural,” in which creator Eric Kripke brings the film world’s taste for horror to the small screen... More »


Tapert

Fantasy: Rob Tapert

Rob Tapert, executive producer of ABC Studios’ syndicated series “Legend of the Seeker,” is returning to the syndie market after several years of being frustrated with the business. Mr. Tapert, along with his partner, director Sam Raimi, produced notable fantasy first-run syndication staples including “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”... More »


Whedon

Sci-Fi: Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon became a staple of sci-fi TV with his series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly.” However, he said his highly anticipated “Dollhouse,” slated for a midseason debut on Fox, is a genre show mostly in its framework. “There isn’t really a lot of sci-fi accoutrement,” he said. “It’s very much a deconstruction of human relationships. The genre element is really there just to let us examine the different ways that people can behave in these situations”... More »