[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/RobotChicken http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/star_trek_wrath_of_khan_opera.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[VisualPun Le Wrath]] [[Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan di Khan]]]]

->''"It'll be fabulous, believe me, Jerry. It's ''[[Literature/TheGrapesOfWrath Grapes of Wrath]]'' in outer space! Oh, it's got heart, it's got laser battles, it's got a timely message of interstellar poverty--!"''
-->-- '''Lorne''', ''Series/{{Angel}}'' ("Life of the Party")

Space Opera refers to works set in a spacefaring civilization, usually, though not always, set in the future, specifically the far future. Technology is ubiquitous and secondary to the story. Space opera has an epic character to it: the universe is big, there are usually many sprawling civilizations and empires, there are political conflicts and intrigue. The action will range part of a solar system, at least, and possibly a whole galaxy or more than one. It frequently takes place in a StandardSciFiSetting. It has a romantic element which distinguishes it from most HardScienceFiction: big love stories, epic space battles, oversized heroes and villains, awe-inspiring scenery, and insanely gorgeous men and women.

Historically, it is a development of the PlanetaryRomance that looks beyond the exotic locations that were imagined for the local solar system in early science fiction ([[ScienceMarchesOn which the hard light of science revealed to be barren and lifeless]]) out into an infinite universe of imagined exotic locations. PlanetaryRomance was more or less HeroicFantasy [[AC:In Space]]. While works such as ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'' by Creator/EdgarRiceBurroughs were pure PlanetaryRomance, ''ComicStrip/BuckRogers'' and its imitators had essentially codified the SpaceOpera concept in the popular imagination by the late 1930s, though the earliest strips took place on an AfterTheEnd future Earth. (''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'', at least in the classic Alex Raymond era remained resolutely PlanetaryRomance, tied to the planet Mongo.)

Expect to see a dashing hero cavorting around in a CoolStarship, {{Green Skinned Space Babe}}s, CrystalSpiresAndTogas civilizations full of SpaceElves, {{Wave Motion Gun}}s capable of dealing an EarthShatteringKaboom on a daily basis, and an evil [[TheEmpire Galactic Empire]] with a StandardSciFiFleet, including an entire universe full of [[UsedFuture beat-up mechanical objects]] capable of being resurrected with PercussiveMaintenance.

Note that this is quite different from the original definition of space opera, which was originally a derogatory term, following "horse opera" ([[TheWildWest cheap westerns]]) and "SoapOpera" (so named because soap operas began as hour-long ads for soap), which requires no explanation. The phrase was coined in 1941 by Wilson Tucker to describe what he called "the hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn space-ship yarn". (It's said that before 1975 or so, the only author who ever intentionally set out to write a space opera was Creator/JackVance, who wrote a novel, ''Space Opera'', literally about an {{opera}} company in space.)

Via semantic drift, well-regarded works such as the ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' series are today held up as prime examples of SpaceOpera. As more authors and writers came to embrace the style, the term came to lose many of its negative connotations. Assisting that process were writers who regarded all tales of action and adventure in space as bad, and so tried to pejoratively label it all "space opera"; [[AppropriatedAppellation they succeeded with the label, but not with keeping it pejorative.]]

The ideal space opera, as described by Creator/BrianAldiss, contains most if not all of the following criteria:
* 1. [[SavingTheWorld The world must be in peril.]]
* 2. There must be [[TheQuest a quest]],
* 3. [[TheHero And a man or woman to meet the mighty hour.]]
* 4. That man or woman must confront [[AlienTropes aliens]] and [[SpaceWhale exotic creatures]].
* 5. Space must [[FasterThanLightTravel flow past the ports]] like wine from a pitcher.
* 6. Blood must rain down the [[SupervillainLair palace]] steps,
* 7. [[FighterLaunchingSequence And ships launch out into the louring dark.]]
* 8. There must be a [[DamselInDistress woman]] or [[DistressedDude man]] [[HundredPercentAdorationRating fairer than the skies]],
* 9. And a [[EvilOverlord villain]] [[TheDreaded darker than a Black Hole]].
* 10. And all [[HappyEnding must come right in the end.]]

''Franchise/StarWars'' is inarguably the most famous modern example of space opera. (Indeed, ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' may have shifted "space opera" from insult to a more neutral genre descriptor, due to the involvement of veteran sf writer Creator/LeighBrackett.) In ''Star Wars'', technology is either [[MagicFromTechnology magic]] (the Force) or jazzier versions of today's gadgets ([[FrickinLaserBeams blaster rifles]], hovercars, space ships). Any ''Star Wars'' character ([[TheEmperor evil emperor]], {{farmboy}}, [[SaveThePrincess princess]]) would feel at home in a [[{{Doorstopper}} thick fantasy novel]], in part because editor-publisher Lester del Rey derived the "epic fantasy" template partly from ''Star Wars'' and partly from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', though also because these works borrow from the same source of Jungian imagery.

The genre is useful for long [[StoryArc story]] and [[CharacterArc character arcs]] but also expensive to film, unless rendered in animated form, like countless {{anime}} series.

While [[MohsScaleOfSciFiHardness Hard Science Fiction]] defines itself in part in opposition to space opera (and vice versa), in recent years, however, there has been a trend towards incorporating hard science fiction elements ''into'' space opera, as in ''Anime/StarshipOperators'', the 2000s ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'', ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' and especially [[Creator/AlastairReynolds Alistair Reynolds']] ''Literature/RevelationSpace''. In fact, "New Space Opera" has gained some currency as a term referring to works that combine fast-paced adventure plots with some degree of hard SF rigor.

See also SpaceWestern, TwoFistedTales, PulpMagazine, and WagonTrainToTheStars. In many ways, this is the [[JustForFun/SciFiCounterpart science fiction equivalent]] of HighFantasy.

Note that while many more famous space operas go to the "ideal" side of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, more recent ones are [[MohsScaleOfSciFiHardness harder]] and more cynical: ''Series/BabylonFive'', ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'' and ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' being most prominent in LiveActionTV.

[[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Sadly]], there aren't too many actual {{Opera}}s set [[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE!]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/AngelLinks''
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop''
* ''LightNovel/CrestOfTheStars''
* ''LightNovel/CrusherJoe'' The first written by HarukaTakachio immediately after seeing ''StarWars''.
* ''Franchise/DragonBall'': [[Manga/DragonBall The original series]] was entirely Earth-based, but starting with [[Anime/DragonBallZ the Saiyan Saga]] it began to exhibit a more galactic scope. In the Namek / Frieza Saga, the heroes travel to a faraway planet on a quest to revive their friends, only to end up in a fight for their lives - and the fate of an entire species - against an irredeemably evil GalacticConqueror and his minions. It does mostly stay back on Earth after Frieza's defeat, though, although a good chunk of the menaces, including from the NonSerialMovie villains, come from space.
* ''Manga/TheFiveStarStories''
* ''Anime/{{Gankutsuou}}'': ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'' IN SPACE! (Quite different from the Creator/AlfredBester novel ''The Stars My Destination'', which does the same way, though not in a SpaceOpera way.)
* ''Manga/GingaSengokuGunyuudenRai''
* ''Anime/GlassFleet''
* The ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' franchise, notable for its ([[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 usual]]) [[AbsentAliens lack of aliens]] and plausible space colonies.
* ''Anime/HeroicAge''
* ''Anime/IrresponsibleCaptainTylor'', albeit PlayedForLaughs.
* ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'', a large scale space opera set in the century old clash between an Empire and a Republic.
* The classic works of Creator/LeijiMatsumoto.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha''
* ''Manga/{{Outlanders}}''
* ''Anime/OutlawStar''
* ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman''
* ''Manga/SpaceAdventureCobra''
* ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'', the first space opera anime and among the first space operas to use large scale battles between fleets of spacecraft. Among the first space operas to involve the legend Creator/{{Leiji Matsumoto}}.
* ''Anime/StarshipOperators'', notable for its extreme realism, one of the hardest space operas out there.
* ''Anime/StellviaOfTheUniverse''
* ''Anime/StrainStrategicArmoredInfantry''
* ''Anime/TenchiMuyoRyoOhki'' has many Space Opera elements despite taking place mostly on Earth, while spinoff ''Anime/TenchiMuyoGXP'' and the second half of ''Anime/TenchiUniverse'' are clear-cut examples.
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', which begins as DesertPunk, turns into one of these after the TimeSkip.
* ''Manga/TowardTheTerra''
* ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' (more so in the manga).
* ''LightNovel/{{Tytania}}'', the closest thing to an anime ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' and written by the same author as ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'' though it is an independent story.
* ''Anime/{{Ulysses 31}}''
* ''Anime/{{Vandread}}'': Humanity has split into two factions: Men and Women, who are continually at war with each other. Our story starts with a shipful of women and three guys, all thrown together and having to cooperate to stay alive. As a metaphor, the technology of the two factions combines together to become far greater than the sum of the parts, barely keeping them alive and fueling the story line.
* ''Anime/{{Voltron}}'' (the vehicle one) / ''Anime/DairuggerXV''

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Comicbook/TwoThousandAD'':
** ''ComicBook/TheBalladOfHaloJones'', a borderline example in that it overlaps with MundaneScienceFiction.
** ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': Though mainly set in a {{Dystopia}}n WretchedHive on Earth, several stories (especially ''The Judge Child Quest'') have seen Dredd traverse space and visit many different alien civilizations, both friendly and hostile.
** ''ComicBook/{{Shakara}}'' is an incredibly {{Troperrific}} take on this genre, covering the RoaringRampageOfRevenge of a KillerRobot who was made to avenge the deaths of its species at the hands of the evil alien alliance. [[EarthShatteringKaboom Planets blowing up]], [[SpaceBattle spaceship battles]], and {{time travel}} ensue.
** ''ComicBook/NemesisTheWarlock''.
* ''ComicBook/AlbedoErmaFelnaEDF'' mixes this with UsefulNotes/FurryFandom, albeit it's also a desconstruction of both genres, being more realistic than the regular space opera.
* ''ComicStrip/BuckRogers'' and its imitator ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'' are the {{Trope Codifier}}s, though the former began as an AfterTheEnd story and only moved into space and the latter originally stayed on the planet Mongo, where Flash, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkoff were stranded. (The story takes place in the present day.) However, the popular image and later iterations of the strip have Flash Gordon adventuring in space. ''Star Wars'' began after Lucas failed to obtain the rights to ''Flash''. King Features, realizing their mistake, made the ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}'' film after the wild success of ''Star Wars''.
* ''ComicStrip/DanDare''
* ''{{Dreadstar}}'' by Jim Starlin.
* ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' has a foot firmly placed in SpaceOpera, especially in CrisisCrossover comics like ''ComicBook/SinestroCorpsWar'' where Sinestro himself [[spoiler: set the war up so [[XanatosGambit he wins either way.]]]]
* Creator/MarvelComics turned the cosmic part of their SharedUniverse into one giant SpaceOpera, since 2006. Starting with ''[[ComicBook/XMen X-Men: Rise and Fall of the Shi'Ar Empire]]'' and ''ComicBook/{{Annihilation}}'', we got one epic story after another -- ''ComicBook/AnnihilationConquest'', ''ComicBook/WarOfKings'', ''ComicBook/TheThanosImperative'' and adventures of many cosmic-themed heroes, like Comicbook/{{Nova}} and ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy between them.
* AlexandroJodorowsky's ComicBook/MetabaronsUniverse, particularly ''ComicBook/TheMetabarons''.
* ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' goes into Space Opera territory sometimes, such as for the Xadhoom Trilogy.
* ''ComicBook/{{Prophet}}''
* ''ComicBook/{{Saga}}''
* ''ComicBook/{{Valerian}}'' essentially TropeCodifier, as it went on to inspire many seminal Space Operas, including ''Star Wars'' and ''The Fifth Element''.
* ''ComicBook/XMen'' ventures here occasionally, in the ''ComicBook/TheDarkPhoenixSaga'', for instance.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''FanFic/SoldToTheHighestBidder'' is a rather [[DarkFic dark]] one of these, covering the political, emotional, and interpersonal complications of an intergalactic [[SexSlave slave trade]].
* ''FanFic/UndocumentedFeatures''
* ''Fanfic/EarthsAlienHistory'' is a collaborative project MegaCrossover between numerous Sci-Fi franchises (including many of the ones listed elsewhere on this page), which quickly expands into a truly massive universe. The [[Franchise/MassEffect Reaper]] WarArc alone could constitute a full story all on its own, and a spinoff featuring {{Colony Ship}}s sent to the Andromeda galaxy has begun as well.

* ''Film/{{Barbarella}}''
* ''Film/BattleBeyondTheStars'', a fun B-Movie ''Star Wars'' clone.
* ''Film/CaptainEO'', a Ride/DisneyThemeParks 3-D movie, is less than 20 minutes long but clearly takes place in this genre: A dashing hero with a [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits crew of misfit alien creatures]] is sent on a mission to transform a grim, H.R. Giger-esque planet. There's a skirmish with the evil Supreme Commander's fleet of starships, and later the heroes are taken captive by her forces -- but they use ThePowerOfRock to turn into it a land of CrystalSpiresAndTogas and its people (including the ruler) into happy, Day-Glo dancers.
* ''Franchise/TheChroniclesOfRiddick''
* ''Film/{{Dune}}'' -- features a galactic jihad in a FeudalFuture containing Spacing Guilds and spice mines.
* ''Film/TheFifthElement'', a SpaceOpera with [[AtTheOperaTonight an opera in space!]]
* ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}'', though it does not technically count. It set out to emulate the success of ''Star Wars''.
** ''Star Wars'' was originally going to be a GenreThrowback of the original ''[[Film/FlashGordonSerial Flash Gordon]]'' serials.
* ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' and [[Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2 its sequel]].
* ''Film/TheIcePirates''
* ''Film/JupiterAscending.''
* ''Kai: Death of Dreams''.
* ''Film/{{Pandorum}}'' has a love story (Bower's wife), battles, a dashing hero (Mahn) and a insanely gorgeous female lead (Nadia).
* ''QueenOfOuterSpace'', intended by script writer CharlesBeaumont as a StealthParody.
* ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'' (although technically, it's a ''parody'' of SpaceOpera.)
* ''Film/StarOdyssey''
* The ''Franchise/StarTrek'' films, except for ''[[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome The Voyage Home]]'', which [[OutOfGenreExperience was a comedy]] set on [[NextSundayAD then-modern]] Earth.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' is perhaps the most famous modern example (as noted in the main description), with its grand and fantastical tale of heroic rebels fighting against the evil Empire set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."
* While the rest of the franchise doesn't qualify, ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' certainly builds off of this genre.
* ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie''. Some edits even have the OpeningCrawl.
* ''The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy''

* Creator/CJCherryh's enormous Literature/AllianceUnion universe. Probably the "[[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness hardest]]" of all SpaceOpera, with FasterThanLightTravel being the only deviation from known physics.
* ''Literature/AncillaryJustice'' by Ann Leckie.
* ''Literature/ASymphonyOfEternity'' by ''R.M.Solea'', the first book's tagline is: When the universe is at war, which side are you on?; nuff said.
* [[ChurchOfHappyology Scientology]] founder Creator/LRonHubbard's opus ''Literature/BattlefieldEarth''.
* Parodied by Creator/HarryHarrison in his ''Literature/BillTheGalacticHero'' and ''Literature/StarSmashersOfTheGalaxyRangers''.
* Adam Christopher's ''The Burning Dark'' uses a Space Opera setting for what is basically a haunted [[strike: house]] space station story, [[spoiler: Throwing in Eldritch Abominations in towards the end for flavor]]
* The Commamder Toad picture books by Creator/JaneYolen are a parody of space opera.
* ''Literature/TheConquerorsTrilogy'' by Creator/TimothyZahn.
* Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/CountToTheEschaton''
* ''Literature/TheCulture'' books by [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]], although again it does have a society changed by technology - in particular near-perfect medicine and a lack of the need for money due to massive technological advances.
* Simon R. Green's ''Literature/{{Deathstalker}}'' books.
** The ''Literature/{{Deathstalker}}'' series is both a parody and an homage to more traditional Space Opera's and exaggerating or taking various tropes to their most extreme conclusion.
* Creator/WalterJonWilliams has a couple:
** His ''Literature/DreadEmpiresFall'' is space opera on the fairly hard science side, edging into [=MilSF=] territory.
** His ''Literature/DrakeMaijstral'' trilogy, by contrast, is a tongue-in-cheek comedy of manners space opera, starring an interstellar GentlemanThief.
* ''Literature/{{Dune}}.''
* Creator/EdmondHamilton: Has big love stories, epic space battles, oversized heroes and villains, awe-inspiring places, gorgeous women, and they usually rule the universe - or at least a star kingdom to boot.
* ''Literature/TheFlightEngineer'' trilogy by S.M. Sterling and Creator/JamesDoohan.
* ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'', by Creator/IsaacAsimov, an extremely influential series inspired in part by Gibbon's ''Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'' and which in turn partly inspired ''StarWars''.
* ''Literature/FutureHistory'', a novella set in this genre.
* Stephen R. Donaldson's ''Literature/TheGapCycle'' is this, as it's Music/RichardWagner's ''Theatre/RingOfTheNibelung'' cycle InSpace. Newer editions of the first volume have a cool author's note explaining how the dramatic elements (and thus, tropes) of {{Opera}} work in a sci-fi setting.
* ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' derives a lot of its humor through parodying space opera conventions. The unrealistic elements typical of the genre are either {{lampshaded}} or replaced with [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum even sillier ideas]].
* Creator/DavidWeber has an extensive one in ''Literature/HonorHarrington''. As well as everything else he's written.
* Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'' series. It adopts many SpeculativeFiction tropes but plays them for SpaceOpera themes.
* The ''Literature/HyperionCantos'', by Creator/DanSimmons
* ''Literature/TheIndrananWar''
* ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'' and other PlanetaryRomance novels contain elements of SpaceOpera, making it an UnbuiltTrope.
* Creator/LarryNiven's ''Literature/KnownSpace'' universe.
* ''Literature/{{Lacuna}}'' is firmly in the "New Space Opera" (space opera with hard science) genre.
* Philip Reeve's ''Literature/{{Larklight}}'' series, which combines SpaceOpera with SteamPunk.
* The ''Literature/{{Lensman}}'' series by Creator/EEDocSmith is generally given as the [[UrExample defining example]], along with its predecessor and spiritual twin the ''Literature/SkylarkSeries''.
* Hugh Howey's ''Molly Fyde'' series is a Young Adult version.
* John Barnes' ''Literature/ThousandCultures'' series.
* ''Literature/PerryRhodan'' series (over more than 2500 books that span from 1971 to 5050).
* Most of Peter F. Hamilton's books, though technological advances have significant societal and cultural impacts.
** ''Literature/PandorasStar''
* The ''Literature/RedRising'' seriees by Pierce Brown, consisting of one main trilogy, with a prequel comic and a SequelSeries on the way.
* Creator/AlastairReynolds' Literature/RevelationSpaceSeries actually ''does'' consider seriously how changes in technology would affect culture and even language.
* ''Literature/TheSagaOfSevenSuns''
* Greg Egan's ''Literature/SchildsLadder''. Probably even harder than Literature/AllianceUnion, with no FasterThanLightTravel whatsoever.
* ''Literature/TheSiranthaJaxSeries'' by Ann Aguirre.
* John Maddox Roberts' ''Space Angel'' has larger-than-life characters, epic space battles, exotic worlds, and an alien species that inhabits the cores of galaxies. Not a planet in the core of a galaxy, mind you - the ''whole core''.
* The ''Literature/SpaceCaptainSmith'' series by Toby Frost is a very tongue-in-cheek version.
* Parodied and lampshaded in Creator/JackVance's ''Space Opera'', which is a space opera about - yes - a touring {{Opera}} company.
** Many of Vance's works - such as ''Literature/TheDemonPrinces''- are more straightforward examples.
* ''Literature/SpaceVulture'', a GenreThrowback to the original pulp SpaceOpera, by Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Meyers.
* Julie E. Czerneda's ''Literature/SpeciesImperative.''
* Creator/MichaelFlynn's ''Literature/SpiralArm'' series
* ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination.''
* Creator/MargaretWeis' tetralogy ''Literature/TheStarOfTheGuardians''.
* The ''Literature/{{Stardoc}}'' series has elements of both this and MedicalDrama.
* ''Literature/TheirsNotToReasonWhy'' is firmly in SpaceOpera territory, with PsychicPowers, EnergyBeings, multiple types of FasterThanLight, etc.
* The ''[[Literature/TowerAndTheHive Rowan]]'' series by Creator/AnneMcCaffrey.
* Creator/DavidBrin's ''Literature/{{Uplift}}.''
* Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'', complete with an in-story Space Ballet.
* Karin Lowachee's ''Literature/WarchildSeries''.
* Stephen Baxter's ''Literature/XeeleeSequence'' may well be the ultimate example in terms of scale, as well as being much harder sci-fi than the average space opera.
* Creator/VernorVinge's ''Literature/ZonesOfThought'' series.
* ''Literature/LucifersStar'' by Creator/CTPhipps is a dark space opera story about how the RedBaron-esque pilot of a FeudalFuture nation discovers his side was ''gasp'' the bad guys in a war and has to deal with the consequences. It also includes bioroid slavery, Elder Races, and a massive interplanetary war.
* ''Literature/{{Aeon 14}}'' is an epic about a colony ship, ''Intrepid'', trying to leave the insanity of slower-than-light life in Sol, only to run into even bigger problems and ultimately SleepThroughTheApocalypse and land in a more typical FasterThanLightTravel setting.
* ''Literature/TheSecretKing'' by Dawn Chapman is a series similar to the 1970s ''LiveActionTV/BattlestarGalactica'' with a race of aliens fleeing their doomed homeplanet to travel to Earth in the present day.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'': Originally created by Creator/GeneRoddenberry, pitched by Majel Roddenberry, and steered by Robert Hewitt Wolfe (of ''Deep Space Nine''). It was a Vancouver production and it shows. You'll see the ensemble recycled in other Canadian productions from that era: ''SG-1, Lexx'', etc. These days, it is best remembered for Lexa Doig in tight outfits. Can't blame Michael Shanks for knocking her up, though it did remove her from the show for a while.
** In Season Three the network pushed for a more episodic show with more focus on Kevin Sorbo's character. The last year (''Hercules: The Legendary Space Journeys'') was terrible.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': A kind of "five-year miniseries" which rewards multiple viewings. The tone of the show varied quite a a lot: If their direct competitor borrowed from [[SpaceWestern old westerns]] and war movies, [=B5=] was a [[RecycledInSpace space-based]] Middle Earth, as seen from the POV of mostly-mundane [[{{Cyberpunk}} cybertopia]]. The "techno-mages", a monk-like order of scientists, are sort of a manifestation of this dual nature. You also had some Arthurian legend and Ripperology mixed in there, giving it an UrbanFantasy feel.
** The {{aftershow}}, ''{{Series/Crusade}}'', suffered from network meddling and budget restrictions, and it probably isn't worth the time unless you're a fan. The second spinoff, ''Legend of the Rangers'' (LOTR...geddit?), is basically the ''Babylon 5 Christmas Special'': 15 minutes of G'kar (one of Andreas Katulas' final performances before he died) and 1 hour and 45 minutes of wasted time.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica1978'' and ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'' are at opposite ends of the [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism Idealist-Cynic]] scale. Both had their share of movies and spin-offs.
** ''Series/Galactica1980'' was more FamilyFriendly.
** Ron Moore's ambitious spin-off series, ''{{Series/Caprica}}'', had positive critical reviews, but it suffered from the same fate all prequels do: A central tension between the new characters (who [[RememberTheNewGuy do not appear or get mentioned]] in the later saga) and the predecessors to the originals (whose fate is [[ForegoneConclusion already known to us]]). A second prequel series, set during the First Cylon War (''[[Series/BattlestarGalacticaBloodAndChrome Blood & Chrome]]'') was pretty much all-action, with none of the gravitas/nuance viewers had come to expect from the BSG brand.
* Although ''Series/{{Doctor Who}}'' is not Space Opera in itself, some individual stories make use of the subgenere.
** "Mission to the Unknown" and the epic twelve part "The Daleks' Master Plan". Oddly, "Mission to the Unknown", the prelude episode feels like an Unbuilt Trope version of the sort of stories ''Star Trek'' popularised. "Mission to the Unknown" has the Space agent Marc Cory discovering the Dalek plot to invade Earth's solar system [[RedShirt but dies before]] he can even send a message of warning. Earth's central government, which encompasses the whole system also has a subtly [[{{Dystopia}} dystopian]] feel to it.
** "The Space Pirates"
** "Frontier In Space" and "Planet of the Daleks", which taken together form a twelve part story like the earlier "The Daleks' Master Plan", though of a very different kind. The Doctor wants to prevent a war between two space empires, while the Master is trying to start one so the Daleks can wipe out both sides once they've exhausted themselves.
** "Earthshock".
** Creator/RussellTDavies' era has several notable examples:
*** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E12BadWolf Bad Wolf]]"/"[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E13ThePartingOfTheWays The Parting of the Ways]]" - Set on a satellite in a bleak UsedFuture, it starts with our heroes trapped in deadly game shows and ends with them facing down an entire Dalek army led by TheEmperor.
*** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E8TheImpossiblePlanet The Impossible Planet]]"/"[[Recap/DoctorWhoS28E9TheSatanPit The Satan Pit]]", with an added dose of LovecraftLite. A drilling operation on an asteroid orbiting a black hole [[DugTooDeep unearths the Devil himself.]]
*** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E12TheStolenEarth The Stolen Earth]]"/"[[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E13JourneysEnd Journey's End]]" - The heroes of the main show and both its spinoffs join forces against Davros and the Daleks, who have stolen multiple planets to build a DoomsdayDevice the size of a solar system.
** "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E11WorldEnoughAndTime World Enough and Time]]"/"[[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E12TheDoctorFalls The Doctor Falls"]] - The Doctor, Bill and Nardole are trapped on a spaceship with an army of Cybermen and ''two'' versions of the Master. One of them is developing a conscience, the other one ''really'' isn't. Time dilation, personal tragedy, dramatic last stands and plenty of explosions are involved.
* ''Series/EarthFinalConflict'': Another botched series from Roddenberry. The lead actor was run off the show because the studio felt that it needed to be more episodic. The tone of the show changed from a sci-fi detective story ("Who are the Taelons and what do they want in exchange for improving Earth") to a cop show with very few sci-fi concepts beyond those already established.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': The Marmite series, unafraid to resort to {{fanservice}}, {{Dutch angle}}s, and LargeHam actors to spice up a lukewarm script. (As happened often.) It starts off relatively tame, but then the show stops pulling punches and shows how savage the universe can be. Though it can be esoteric and [[ContinuityLockOut hard to follow]], the puppets are mostly well done, and the show has a very grim atmosphere to it.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'', which has the unusual distinction of being both a SpaceOpera [[SpaceWestern and a]] [[TheWestern Horse Opera]]. However, ''Firefly'' is only a borderline Space Opera, as it has no aliens and according to WordOfGod is set in a universe with no faster-than-light travel (although this is difficult to reconcile with some of the on-screen events).
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers''
** ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'' had begun to to drift this way before the season ended. The Rangers spent more and more time in space fighting evil or trying to rescue Zordon, and the villains were slightly more fleshed out than usual, with the apparent main villain being the franchise's first case of LukeIAmYourFather.
** ''Series/PowerRangersLostGalaxy'' followed suit, depicting a human colony ship's season-long journey to a new world. Along the way the Rangers deal with SpacePirates, a ruthless AntiHero with a tragic past who ends up sacrificing himself, and the (temporary) death of one of their own.
* ''Series/{{Lexx}}'': One of the crewmembers is an escaped sex slave. The ship is a literal dildo. Don't say we didn't warn you.
* ''Series/SpaceCases''
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'', perhaps the most famous example in television, with its grand tales of interstellar exploration, romance, intrigue, and war. Though there is (some) serious consideration of how technology and science would change society (not surprising, given that creator Creator/GeneRoddenberry originally envisioned using the setting to address social issues that could not have been dealt with in a normal drama back in the [=60s=]). Coincidentally, there was in fact a Star Trek Opera performed on stage in New York.
* The Franchise/StargateVerse is a borderline example. Technically the center-of-operations is on a single planet (Earth in ''Series/StargateSG1'', the Atlantis base in ''Series/StargateAtlantis''), but with the instant wormholes provided by the Stargate, the bases function like a spaceship or space station in a standard Space Opera, as far as most story purposes go. Both series also have the Big Universe, Big Empires, Big Heroes, and Big Villains elements in spades, and it gets bigger yet once Earth has a space fleet. However, many individual episodes, especially in early seasons, feel more like PlanetaryRomance. ''Series/StargateUniverse'', the second spin-off, is probably closer to a traditional Space Opera.
* Franchise/SuperSentai often have heroes or villains from outer space but in general, it doesn't fit this trope thanks to being set mostly on earth. Until Series/UchuSentaiKyuranger that is, which fit neatly into Space Opera. It's set on a future world where the villain pretty much rules the entire galaxy. The heroes and heroines comprised of [[HumanAlien Human Aliens]], a wolf-man alien, and robots. It's actually set in space as the protagonists travels the galaxy using their CoolStarship, which also functions as their headquarters, to defeat their enemies.
* ''Comicbook/TheAmoryWars'' a {{metafiction}}al SpaceOpera comprised of five {{Concept Album}}s by Music/CoheedAndCambria.
* Music/{{Ayreon}} is one of the most prolific examples of this and NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly ProgressiveRock in one package. The most prominent examples include... pretty much everything. The notable exception is ''The Human Equation'' album, [[spoiler: up until the very end]].
* Music/IronSavior is this too. Their first five albums (and a EP) are almost entirely the story of the titular starship.
* ''Warp Riders'', the third album by The Sword is a sci-fi fantasy epic about another eponymous starship.[[/folder]]

* The long-running ''The Stars My Degradation'', (a parody of the Alfred Bester classic SF novel ''The Stars My Destination''), a cartoon strip that ran in the ''Sounds'' music paper in the 1970's-80's:
--> ''Dempster Dingbuster is my name, Sputwang is my nation;''
--> ''The depths of space gob in my face,''
-->''The stars, my degradation.''
** It was drawn and written by a then-nearly-unknown Creator/AlanMoore. Examples may be seen '''[[http://sequart.org/magazine/8899/alan-moore-the-stars-my-degradation/ here]]'''

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'': the backstory and novels put the [[SoapOpera Soap]] back in SpaceOpera.
* The Cathedral setting in ''TabletopGame/BigEyesSmallMouth'' is intended for this kind of adventure.
* ''TabletopGame/FadingSuns''
* The forgotten board game ''Imperium'' was used as a source for some of the ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' universe. In it, a young and expansionist [[TheRepublic republic]] on earth, conquers a VestigialEmpire in space. There are a number of other SpaceOpera board wargames, but this one is notable for historical reasons.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'' has the Three Galaxies setting, a Space Opera with the same blend of magic, technology, and plain weirdness as the main setting. As may be expected, it's way way down on the hardness scale, but it has pretty much all the elements of the StandardSciFiSetting.
* ''TabletopGame/RocketAge'' only covers our solar system but the epic themes and intrigues of space opera are definitely there. Just replace TheEmpire with actual Nazis.
* There was a RPG '''named''' ''Space Opera''.
* Pacesetter's 1980s ''TabletopGame/StarAce'' RPG, in the spirit of ''Franchise/StarWars', but set in an original universe with fewer mystical undertones.
* The TabletopGame/StarDrive setting originally made for the TabletopGame/{{Alternity}} system and later reused for TabletopGame/D20Modern.
* Paizo's second game, ''TabletopGame/{{Starfinder}}'' is set in the same universe as ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' but advanced thousands of years into the future, with technology and magic being equally ubiquitous among the solar system.
* ''TabletopGame/StarFrontiers'' was TSR's attempt to do D&D in a space opera setting.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' was the first RPG set in the Space Opera genre, and set the standard for those that followed. It's in the harder end of SpaceOpera and a lot of work went into the {{Backstory}} including fairly realistic science and social science. ''Traveller'' is flexible enough that a wide variety of flavors of SpaceOpera can be played, since the setting is one designed for the telling of stories.
* ''TabletopGame/TwilightImperium'' may as well be the TropeCodifier for space opera board-games. Spice-dealing, trader lions, peaceful turtle-people who smoke weed, living flames put into mechanical bodies, snake-women who have psychic powers; the Twilight Imperium's got it all.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' is overloaded UpToEleven with adventure, battles, intrigue, and fantasy (including SpaceElves, [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Orks]], and even Gods), all in a setting where mankind possesses a galaxy-spanning empire with planet-spanning cities and a population in the trillions. However it's also overloaded with about as much cynicism, grimness, and darkness as you can ''get'' (hence the common description "grimdark").

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Many a science fiction TBSG (turn based strategy game) - most prominently ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion II''
* ''VideoGame/AdventRising'': You play as the SoleSurvivor of a human world that has been destroyed by aliens. Another alien race takes pity on him and helps him develop his latent psychic potential to basically become a demigod and take the fight back to those other aliens who destroyed his homerworld, getting involved in epic space battles all throughout.
* ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' has some of this. It's mixed with South Asian Mythology.
* ''VideoGame/ColonyWars''
* ''VideoGame/CrisisOfTheConfederation'', a GameMod based on ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings II'', retains the original game's focus on dramatic character actions and interactions and [[RecycledInSpace transplants it to an outer-space setting]].
* Creator/{{Bungie}}'s ''Videogame/{{Destiny}}'' is a fairly direct example, set in a distant, fantastical future where intrepid Guardians [[TheChosenMany wielding the power of "The Traveler"]] seek to reclaim humanity's lost empire from "The Darkness". The creators themselves [[http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-03-18-bungie-destinys-scifi-fantasy-setting-gave-us-this-freedom described the setting as]] "mythic science fiction" and a "mix of science fiction and fantasy", with the game being something of a throwback to the idealistic HighFantasy roots of the genre.
* ''VideoGame/EndlessSpace''
* ''VideoGame/EveOnline''
* ''VideoGame/{{Freespace}}''
* ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel'' gameverse
* ''[[http://www.moddb.com/mods/grand-theft-auto-anderius GTA Anderius]]'' a.k.a Alien City. A [[CloudCuckooLand very wacky]] [[GameMod total conversion]] of ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas San Andreas]]'', although only available in Russian.
* The ''{{Franchise/Halo}}'' series is a blend of this and more conventional MilitaryScienceFiction, with the games mostly set on the exotic and ancient artificial worlds created by the [[{{Precursors}} Forerunners]], whose own technological feats [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien border on the outright fantastical]]. Additionally, the franchise as a whole has shown plenty of the intrigue, mystery, and adventure to be had in a multi-species setting spanning the Orion Arm and beyond, filled with LostTechnology and complete with a galaxy-threatening EldritchAbomination.
* ''VideoGame/InfiniteSpace''
* ''VideoGame/{{Killzone}}''
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfAThousandSuns''
* ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}''
* The ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series could be seen as putting the Opera back into Space Operas, with lavish and often dreamy environments, exotic cultures, and tales of great personal tragedy. At the same time, it ranks suprisingly high on the [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness Scale Of Science Fiction Hardness]], is quite serious in tone, and takes place in the relatively near future (2180s to be precise). Like many other newer Space Operas, it also has LovecraftLite elements thanks to the series' main antagonists, the Reapers.
* The ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'' series, although this slides more towards AfterTheEnd PlanetaryRomance in the context of individual games. Played straight with ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'' and ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'', as they are the only games in the franchise that internally take place on multiple planets, and the latter shows a bigger interaction with [[TheFederation the Galactic Federation]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Otherspace}}''
* ''Franchise/RatchetAndClank'', a space opera with a hefty dose of WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes [[JustForFun/XMeetsY thrown in]].
* ''VideoGame/SentinelWorldsIFutureMagic'' can be seen as a spiritual predecessor to ''Mass Effect'': you play as a BadassCrew of a CoolStarship sent to a remote star system to deal with enigmatic [[SpacePirates space raiders]] who keep attacking civilian freighters. Along the way, you may get into space dogfights, explore strange planets in an all-terrain vehicle, and blast away enemies on-foot with lasers and other futuristic guns.
* ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire''
* ''VideoGame/{{Spore}}'s'' Space Stage.
* ''VideoGame/StarControl''
* ''VideoGame/StarFox'' mixes {{Funny Animal}}s with SpaceOpera.
* The ''VideoGame/StarOcean'' series, when you aren't exploring underdeveloped planets.
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft''
* ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'' aesthetically, and tends towards this generally, though the procedurally generated galaxy and/or player intervention for [[VideoGameCaringPotential better]] or [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential worse]] can make it more utopian or more grimdark.
* ''VideoGame/SunlessSkies'' is an unorthodox example that mixes SpaceOpera with GaslampFantasy. An immortal QueenVictoria reigns from the city of London, transplanted into space after [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu murdering]] a [[SentientStars sun-god]]. [[{{Steampunk}} Steam-powered]] spacecraft of the Royal Navy wage war against plucky colonists determined to win their independence from the New British Empire. The most popular local form of AppliedPhlebotinum is time itself in material form, [[AsteroidMining mined from asteroids]] and refined in massive [[EternalEngine Workworlds]].
* ''VisualNovel/{{Sunrider}}'' ticks most of the boxes. The plot involves the crew of a single ship trying to liberate their home planet from a galaxy-conquering tyrant, and getting embroiled in a war between two interstellar superpowers in the process. The main hero is the dashing captain of the aforementioned starship. There’s action, romance, [[HumongousMecha robots]], LostTechnology from a bygone era, SpacePirates, and plenty of space battles. The only thing missing is [[AbsentAliens the presence of intelligent aliens]].
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', depending on the plot and series involved.
* ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation''
* Warhammer 40,000: ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar''
* The ''Franchise/WingCommander'' franchise, which was conceived by its creator Creator/ChrisRoberts as being "UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo in space". It also has elements of Film/TopGun as well (with main character Christopher Blair's [canon] callsigh "Maverick" being a direct shout out).
** Chris Roberts' current project, the MMO game ''VideoGame/StarCitizen'' is also an example. Furthermore, it has been conceived as a persistent online universe that's constantly evolving. In addition, there's also its single player campaign "Squadron 42", described as a SpiritualSuccessor to the above mentioned Wing Commander franchise.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}''
* ''{{VideoGame/Zigfrak}}''
* ''Webcomic/{{Angels 2200}}''
* [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20090725.html This]] story arc in ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' is explicitly identified as a Space Opera, complete with [[StandardStarshipScuffle spaceship battles,]] [[LoveDodecahedron love dodecahedra,]] [[OccupiersOutOfOurCountry space politics,]] StarfishAliens, [[{{Kaiju}} giant monsters,]] [[OurDragonsAreDifferent space dragons,]] a CardCarryingVillain, and the requisite [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses beautiful princess.]]
* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt''
* ''Webcomic/LegostarGalactica'', which is essentially a satire of SpaceOpera.
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary''
* ''WebComic/{{Terinu}}''
* ''Webcomic/CaptainUfo''
* ''Webcomic/DenmaTheQuanx''

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/ArtemisNeo''
* ''Literature/CaelumLex''
* ''Podcast/TheEndlessNight''
* ''Literature/TheLastAngel''
* ''WebVideo/NatOneProductions'' has the ''Denazra'' story-line, where the protagonists are members of an interstellar Marshall service tasked with catching intergalactic political refugees and criminals. Then the [[AIIsACrapShoot titular machines show up]]...
* ''WebOriginal/OrionsArm'', a [[{{Transhuman}} transhumanist]] SpaceOpera.
* ''Literature/SPARKOfTyranny'' is a SpaceOpera with an AntiHero Captain and his RagtagBunchOfMisfits, struggling against the [[EvilPlan behind the scenes machinations]] of the [[HumanoidAliens Kilon]] [[TheEmpire Federation]], which has created a VichyEarth.
* ''Franchise/TailsFromTheFederation'': A collection of titles set in the overall Franchise/ColorWorldUniverse, featuring a WorldOfFunnyAnimals:
* ''Literature/SpacePirateCaptainMacTaggart'', a humorous {{Funny Animal}} take on the genre, with the title character, the Epic Hero, a female sword-wielding raccoon.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers''
* ''WesternAnimation/BenTen'' falls into this sometimes.
* ''ComicBook/BuckyOHareAndTheToadWars''
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainSimianAndTheSpaceMonkeys''
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers''
* ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad''
* ''WesternAnimation/FinalSpace''
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'' is an AffectionateParody of this genre as well as plenty of other science fiction tropes and settings.
* ''WesternAnimation/GreenLanternTheAnimatedSeries''
* ''WesternAnimation/JayceAndTheWheeledWarriors''
* The french cartoon ''Once Upon a Time... Space'' (''WesternAnimation/IlEtaitUneFois l'Espace'')
* The page image comes from a skit in ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' which makes ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'' into [[ExactWords an actual opera]] [[GratuitousItalian sung in Italian.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/RoughnecksStarshipTroopersChronicles''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Silverhawks}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/StarchaserTheLegendOfOrin''
* ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE''
* ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'' has all the trappings of a Space Opera, despite being a comparatively more personal affair.
* ''WesternAnimation/VoltronLegendaryDefender''
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' is a very tongue in cheek take on the genre.
* ''WesternAnimation/WingCommanderAcademy''