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Science And Shenanigans



I'm turning into a couch potato, and it's all the fault of Star Trek. Now that the original series and Next Generation are back on the screen, I spend my afternoons and evenings staring dull eyed at the antics of sex crazed Starfleet officers hell bent on being nice people.


I need help.


Worse still I've started watching that awful Ultimate Force series, the one starring Ross Kemp as a Seriously Argumentative Soldier. The strange thing is, although I've never gone out of my way to watch the program before, every episode seems to be the one I saw the first time around.


I need more help.


{i]Red Dwarf[/i], Farscape, Stargate, Stargate Atlantis, and finally at last the original Doctor Who series has started showing on sundays. Great to see all the old doctors back on television again, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker....


Okay. I surrender. You can stop helping me now. I've begun to realise that all this science fiction is distracting me from the reality of my difficult financial situation, rather like the cold war players of the space race fifty years ago. All I need to do now to achieve victory and assume my place in society as a successful jobseeker is walk on the moon. I mean, all I need is a television studio, right?


Cometary Landing

In case you haven't heard, scientists have landed a small space vehicle on a comet way out there in the dim depths of our solar system. At last the Dinosaurs get revenge. You are going to blow it up, aren't you?


Childhood Lost

With Professor Brian Cox holding a season ticket on science related programs on television, it's pretty well inescapable that I will at some point encounter his master class physics and intellectual whimsy. Hasn't anybody else noticed he smiles whistfully every time he tells us that the Earth is doomed and the Universe will enter a an eternal deep freeze?


But there he was, holding a copy of Spacecraft 2000-2100AD, a book with pages of science fiction paintings of exotic futuristic craft and bogus histories surrounding them. He told us how he especially liked the pages about the Martian Queen, a fast luxury liner that plied the spacelanes. Yes. I remember that too. I was also a convert to the Book Of Speculative Starships, the very same volume. So like him I was thrilled by the shape of things to come, only he gets to be a television celebrity and I get to argue with claims advisors. I had the same start as him. Where did it all go wrong?


Maybe I was too positive. So, having learned Proferssors Cox's lesson - Hey - We're all doomed, especially me.


Blaming Something Else

This is one of those 'a friend of a friend' stories you sometimes hear, but worth repeating. There's this guy who goes out clubbing one saturday night and as chance would have it, gets off with a young lady, so it's back to her place for coffeee and whatever else he hoped to persuade her into cooperating with.


Once there she went off to slip into something more comfortable, which was a problem because he wasn't comnfortable at all. Desperate for a pooh, and not wanting to spoil his chances of a fun night in (and maybe more), he opted to exploit a cat litter tray.She won't notice, right?


Wrong. She spotted it immediately, and from that point forward she was never able to understand how her six week old kitten had left a pooh bigger than it was.


Conclusion of the Week

It dawned on me last night. Was the reason I had been savaged at the Job Centre for no apparent reason and forced to close my benefit claim because David Cameron wants good statistics about uneplyment to present to the public when he goes to polls in the near future?


If Cameron wants to pound his fist at media briefings and ponse around the world stage as if he's someone important, I'd rather he did that at his own expense, not mine. That's one lost vote Cameron. How many more do you want?


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I'm a bit of a sucker for sci-fi myself, Caldrail.  Looking forward to BBC2 sci-fi season this saturday.


I enjoyed Prof. Cox's sci-fi offering, though 'Into Infinity' was a let down.  I remember watching it first time round as a schoolboy and being totally blown away.  This time, the dreadful1970s production values (I shouldn't judge when looking back from my post-Avatar point in time) outweighed any nostalgia.


However, the overly drawn out US TV sci-fi we get nowadays always starts with some promise, but by episode 6, when nothing much has happened since episode 2, I always lose interest.  For example, Intruders, Under The Dome, etc.

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Drawn out? You mean like the plot vacanct modern Doctor Who which assaults the emotional state of the viewer for an hour just because someone wants to say "See you later?".


But I do see your point about US series in general. They do occaisionally have screen writing issues (Next Generation did - the whole thing was nearly scrapped early on and emergency writers were brought in) but then writing for television is a very mutable process. Anyone submitting a script has to accept that the end result might not be anything like their conception.


Very often an american sci-fi series, especially these days now that sci-fi is marketable, is that someone will sell an idea to a producer and the series only gets written once the market returns enough interest. They're often single idea themes that get gradually stretched further and further, often seen as proving grounds for up-and-coming actors rather than saleable stars, re-worked to conform to american media sales concepts, and unlike Dr Who, which has a strong writer basis, american series can easily lose steam because they were never fully planned out in terms of series plotlines and because they rely primarily on a self contained story format for each episode. You can always tell when someone is getting bored - cue the flashback episode.

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