Monday, April 23, 2012


Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that takes many Victorian/Industrial Age technologies, and then thrusts it into a futuristic world. In a steampunk world, there might be flying machines, computers, and ray guns - but built from copper, wood, brass, and using steam as a power source. It's a unique blend of the future and the present that makes steampunk unique.

Steampunk hasn't enjoyed a whole lot of success on the small screen. However, there have been some excellent examples of steampunk settings/stories featured on a few television shows.

The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. Bruce Campbell, a Western setting, science fiction stories, and steampunk gadgets. Sounds like a winner, right? Wrong. This show went the way of Firefly. A wonderful show that just didn't get any traction. It ran back in 1993-1994.

Fox, you need to bring this show back. And while you're at it, how about Firefly?

The Wild Wild West. This great TV show ran from 1965-1969, and I would consider this program way ahead of its time. The setting is a wonderful combination of the Western, spy show, and steampunk technologies. The story centered around a gunslinger and a gadget-master, traveling by train that had its own laboratory. Doesn't get anymore steampunk than that.

Not the movie version. It sucked!

Avatar - The Last Airbender. Steampunk and Asian mythology. I watched this great show on Nicklodeon. It's filled with mysticism, legends, and steampunk airshps and battle ships. Did you see the spin-off, Legend of Korra? If not, go check it out NOW. In my opinion, The Avatar series is one of the best TV shows ever. And I can watch it with my kids. Not a whole lot of Asians on TV, so bravo to Nicklodeon!
This film version sucked too! It did not do this great show any justice.

Doctor Who - the long-running TV show (goes back to 1963) is a perfect fusion of true science fiction with steampunky elements. The show centers around a time/space traveling alien that can regenerate his body whenever he's severely injured and his machine called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space)
Look at all that steampunk goodness!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Brisco County was an awesome show. (Big Bruce Campbell fan.) And I grew up watching The Wild Wild West.

Brinda said...

I haven't watched any on this list. I know that most people love Dr. Who and I wouldn't mind watching it sometime soon.

farawayeyes said...

Loved the Wild Wild West (TV) and even saw few episodes of Brisco County. No TV today,so nothingon the newer shows.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: Bruce Campbell rocks! He was actually in another steampunk TV show, but I can't recall what it was called.

Brinda: If you have Netflix, that's a good way to catch up.

faraway: I don't watch much TV either these days. Too much to do, so little time.

Laura Eno said...

Wild, wild west (TV show) was great! I haven't watched TV in years though. Everytime I like something it gets cancelled, so I don't bother anymore. :)

Kelly Barnes said...

I agree with you on Wild Wild West, the movie was just plain silly.

Batman (hey, I was six) and WWW were my favorite shows. I even had a WWW lunchbox (I wonder how much that would be worth today).

Rusty Webb said...

I used to live Brisco County - stupid fox.

I can't believe you didnt mention Warehouse 13! I don't recall dirigibles - but HG Wells is a reoccurring character and lots of there gadgets were invented by Tesla. They definately have the look down.

Great stuff - we're in the home stretch for the A-Z.

David P. King said...

Bruce Campbell, the man that people say I resemble the most. I remember watching Brisco as a kid! Now I know what happened to it.

And Legend of Korra is incredible so far! :)

M Pax said...

Fox knows how to kill a great TV show. That's all I'm saying.

Jay Noel said...

Laura: I hear ya!

Kelly: I was so pissed when that movie came out. Lunchbox is probably worth several million.

Rusty: Yeah, I know. I wish they'd get the episodes on Netflix.

David: Hmmm...Legend of Korra is a big time winner! Love it!!!!!

Mary: That's true. Everytime I hear "Firefly," I get angry.

DEZMOND said...

could FIREFLY be steampunk in some way too? Or maybe not?

jen@ living a full life said...

I know I'm dating myself here but i grew up watching the original Wild Wild West, was a terrific show.

Then they go and muck it up by trying to make modern day versions of the movie which never in a million years live up to the original show.

Nancy Thompson said...

If you like steampunk, you might like Adam Heine's blog, Author's Echo.

Good choice for T. I’m a new follower via the A to Z. Nice to meet you!

Jay Noel said...

Dez: That's an excellent question. There are some steampunkish elements - especially with bringing some of the Wild West into space.

jen: I agree. I watched reruns in the 70s when I was little.

Nancy: Very very cool. Thanks so much!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I haven't seen any of those shows you mentioned, so can't really comment on them. But you know, the latest Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. seem a little steampunkish to me, too. But I guess those are movies and not television, huh?

Jay Noel said...

Carolina: The BBC show, Young Sherlock Holmes has some steampunk elements. But the latest Holmes movies have some very steampunkish stuff in it too, for sure!

Pk Hrezo said...

I vaguely remember Brisco, and I've heard so much about Firefly but never seen it. Avatar definitely rocks! Ive not seen the sequel tho. I hated Dr. Who as a kid but i need to give it another go.

Melissa Bradley said...

Briscoew County Junior ruled and so did Firefly. Browncoats forever! Do we share a TV brain? I am a huge fan of all these. :)

Jay Noel said...

Pk: You'd LOVE Fireflay. Trust me on that one. Doctor Who is really good these days. They upped the tension and it's no longer boring.

Melissa: I think we do, my dear!

Christine Rains said...

Ah, I miss seeing Bruce on TV. And I wouldn't have thought of Doctor Who as steampunk, but you're right. There is a lot that fits the genre!

Anonymous said...

The Doctor and Brisco County in the same post? Awesome on a whole new level. I just acquired the complete Brisco County series on DVD a few months ago. Can't wait to watch them all again.

Anonymous said...

Also, I think the other steampunky show you were talking about with Bruce Campbell was called Jack of All Trades.

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