Captain Video’s Al Hodge and Don Hastings at a less-than-realistic control panel. Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons.
In order for me to really enjoy a sci-fi film or television show, I have to be convinced that the story world is real(ish). For that reason, it’s important that the technology employed by characters is realistic.
Does it matter much to you whether technology in sci-fi texts is realistic or can you look past the props even if they are less-than-realistic?
Most of the time I don't know enough about whatever technology it is to know whether it's realistic or not. I tend to prefer sci fi that's more character based anyway, so the characters might not know how stuff works either, any more than the average person really understands how their computer works. It might bother me if a prop is really silly looking, but I grew up on Doctor Who so mostly I can look past that.
I think it's all about context and suspension of disbelief. You give me a show set in the present day and all of a sudden the main character pulls out a piece of sci-fi tech just to fit the story, I'm going to be disappointed. Now if the same thing were to happen in a show set 50 years in the future, it makes sense. If I can believe it in the context of the story, then it's okay with me.
It MUST be realistic, or I get turned off quickly.
I look at it as insulting my intelligence.
People have become quite smart about what looks right,
and what is so fake.
Gone are the 50's and 60's 'make it up as you go'.
It depends on the seriousness with which the show considers itself. If a show puts itself forward with its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek then cardboard and duct tape enhances the show but if it is putting itself forward as a show with high production values, then the set designers need to be on the ball.
That's a mixed bag for me. I suppose it depends on the show's intention. If they are trying to be taken seriously then weird or dodgy tech can spoil it for me. If it's a less serious or intentionally camp show I can easily look past it.