Aerodynamic Space Ships
Since there is no friction in space there is no need to go through the effort of making a space ship smooth and aerodynamic in shape. Star Trek had the best grasp on this. Most ships varied in design, but were for the most part designed around how the inside would layout more than the outside. Since any large ship would not be able to travel through atmosphere by taking advantage of lift or any aerodynamic properties but more through thrust or anti-gravity of some sort, then a large scale ship would most likely look like a box or typical disc UFO shape.
In all honesty, I’m not sure if we have the slightest clue what a nuclear explosion would look like in space, but it would probably be a lot less impressive. It may in fact come off more like a fire cracker. One big pop with a bright flash of light, but since there is no matter to carry the pressure wave of the explosion, it would probably come off as a flash bulb and then, unless you were stuck by a piece of debris flying at 100 miles/second, you would probably not be able to visibly detect any other aspects of the explosion.
I always think it’s funny when a landing party is on an alien planet and still reference time like they expect a 24 hour day to accrue. I head a funny one on Stargate SG1, where they arrived on an alien planet for the first time and the commander said, “It will be dark soon.” If a planet had enough moons and large enough star at the core of it’s system, it may never get dark at all, let alone that within a few minutes it would be hard to tell if it was morning or evening and the rate at which the planet was rotating.
If alien life developed in two different planes of technological advancement until they both reached the point to finally meet for the first time in space, the true conclusion to that event would be that the two ships would most likely only be able to acknowledge each others presence, but communications would most likely not function between the two ships. If you traveled to the other side of this planet, you would find that most of your communications technology and video equipment would not function, let alone with an alien ship. But in the movies, audio and video seem to function fluently between alien ships.
In the typical scenario, your ship has shields, yet when your shield take a hit, all your blinking light consoles and computers explode and short out in your ship. What kind of crappy shielding did you buy for your ship. And why don’t you have surge protectors on your computers. Even if shields existed, when your ship was shot, the force from that blow may not effect your ship, but it would effect your ships velocity. A real space battle you would need to keep pushing forward while under attack and while firing. For example, when you shoot your big gun from the front, you would need to also fire a trust from the back or you would in effect be moving away from your target or worse, sending yourself into a tumble. This could be calculated for your firing solution, but not for getting hit. In a real space battle, the first ship to get a hit would probably be the only one to continue hitting it’s targets. Of course quality science fiction always has the solution technology. Some dampener, field emitter or something that solves the problem automatically.