|Order in the Court! Intergalactic crime and punishment, on Justice League.|
It's an odd thing to consider, but Perry Mason (1957-1966) -- a golden age TV series involving a 20th century defense attorney played by Raymond Burr -- has perhaps proven one of the biggest and long-lasting influences on science fiction TV series.
Specifically, just about every cult TV series in history has, at one time or another, put its heroic lead character on trial.
Through almost universally wrongly accused (President Baltar excluded, of course...), some of these unfortunate souls have even negotiated alien and draconian brands of justice and punishment.
Seeing so many episodes featuring sci-fi heroes standing trial, decade-after-decade, franchise after franchise, I began to wonder about the "why." Is it just the fact that court-room drama is intertwined with mystery...and who doesn't love a good mystery?
Or has the sci-fi court room drama become a staple of the genre because we all wonder about the shape of justice in our future, a future of new breakthroughs, no doubt. Since sci-fi deals with technology and with shifting senses of morality, the sci-fi "crime and punishment" episodes from various programs really get to the heart of human nature and the human quest for justice.
Humanity Fading in the Shadow of the Machine: Star Trek's "Court Martial"