Sci-Fi Thread

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Ygern
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by Ygern » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:41 pm

Do I detect the presence of Browncoats around here?
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by mkaobrih » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:43 pm

Ygern wrote:Do I detect the presence of Browncoats around here?
Yes - loved firefly :(
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by munsterdevil » Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:01 pm

Yep, proud Browncoat as well, excellent series and a very good film IMHO to finish it up, had a soft spot too for the Ship's mechanic Kaylee!

The only gripe I had with it though was since it was on the FOX channel, the religious theme was, though subtle, kind of pushed. For instance we had the presence of the Christian Shepard (Pastor) Book who often guided the captain, and the idea of aliens was never entertained, because we all know that God only created life on Earth :?
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by Ygern » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:01 pm

I'm not sure that I agree at all.

Joss Whedon is an atheist himself and although he does not push The Atheist Cause™ in any of his shows, the fact that the one religious man in Firefly is portrayed as one of the good guys isn't really to my mind an indication that religion was being given a hat-tip. The hero Mal is quite overtly an atheist (and an angry one at that) and the troubled wunderkind of the series, River, is an atheist too. Remember the episode where she tears Shepherd Book's bible up for being wrong? Also, Book's history seems to be a possibly shady and malevolent one. On more than one occasion there are hints that his turning to religion was a result of trauma from his previous career.

The no aliens in space thing was in my understanding nothing whatsoever to do with God only creating life on earth. It's one of the possibly less benign after-effects of Star Trek that there is a general assumption that Sci-Fi must mean has talking aliens in. It was a brave move to try to do Sci-Fi that broke away from this slightly unlikely idea that the galaxy is populated by other humanoid species to the entirely plausible idea that we might well be the only space-faring species out there at this particular time.

I'd love to discuss this in more detail if you'd like.

Video of Joss talking about his atheism
The universe is huge and old, and rare things happen all the time ~ Lawrence Krauss
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by munsterdevil » Thu Nov 04, 2010 10:26 pm

Ygern wrote:I'm not sure that I agree at all.

Joss Whedon is an atheist himself and although he does not push The Atheist Cause™ in any of his shows, the fact that the one religious man in Firefly is portrayed as one of the good guys isn't really to my mind an indication that religion was being given a hat-tip. The hero Mal is quite overtly an atheist (and an angry one at that) and the troubled wunderkind of the series, River, is an atheist too. Remember the episode where she tears Shepherd Book's bible up for being wrong? Also, Book's history seems to be a possibly shady and malevolent one. On more than one occasion there are hints that his turning to religion was a result of trauma from his previous career.

The no aliens in space thing was in my understanding nothing whatsoever to do with God only creating life on earth. It's one of the possibly less benign after-effects of Star Trek that there is a general assumption that Sci-Fi must mean has talking aliens in. It was a brave move to try to do Sci-Fi that broke away from this slightly unlikely idea that the galaxy is populated by other humanoid species to the entirely plausible idea that we might well be the only space-faring species out there at this particular time.

I'd love to discuss this in more detail if you'd like.
Wow that's a rebuttal! and I don't mean that in a mean sarcastic way, as I had no idea that Whedon was an atheist and I had forgotten/overlooked the part of Shepard's past.

I remember reading something in the Star Trek Encyclopaedia on an episode (not sure what series) where it was discovered that an ancient alien civilization seeded a load of planets, thus explaining all the humanoid species in the universe. It was merely a way of glossing over the fallacy of the Star Trek universe containing mainly humanoid species. Ironically, this in essence was introducing the idea of intelligent design, even though the original creator Roddenberry was an atheist! But I suppose they didn't have a choice, the bed had been made with the original series and nobody really questioned the whole humanoid species in the galaxy when Star Trek was first created, so it's hard to fault them on that one. To be fair they did introduce Species 8472 in Voyager, which as a far as I remember were not humanoid, but took on humanoid forms in order to communicate with Janeway and the crew, never really liked Voyager though, it tired Star Trek some bit, and Enterprise just pulled the plug on it. Still, to the best of my knowledge the franchise has never supported the idea of a benevolent god that created the universe and/or life.

Going back to Firefly, I suppose I always just get a bit paranoid with anything FOX produces, a lot of this has to do with I doing a module on Deconstruction while I was doing literature in college, I just analyse everything to the max! Look at the Simpson's (FOX again) some people say it's a bad example to children, and yes it can be if you are picky, but it is also pretty conservative when you begin to deconstruct it. That's how I analysed Firefly, preacher on board, no aliens, and the overriding factor of FOX!. I also assumed Whedon to be a believer, especially with his involvement in Buffy, where the supernatural was the central theme. Looking at it now, I was jumping to conclusions...
Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying. Arthur C. Clarke
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by munsterdevil » Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:00 pm

Ygern wrote:I'd love to discuss this in more detail if you'd like.
Forgot to answer you on this one, feel free to do so and I'd love if you did :)
Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying. Arthur C. Clarke
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by Tulip1 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:17 am

What kind of serie is caprica? What can you compare it with?
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by Ygern » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:49 am

As far as I know the "All aliens should be humanoids" directive was a Paramount studio rule, the original series where Roddenberry had more creative control often had aliens that were not only not humanoid but also not able to communicate with humans such as the Horta and the weird flying jelly parasite creatures. Humanoids are "easier" for audiences to relate to. You can have Vulcans falling in love with Klingons; but can anyone see Captain Kirk going for the alien in Predator or District 9?

The Next Generation episode The Chase was written long after Roddenberry had any input in the show. It was trying to explain the slightly suspicious prevalence of very similar humanoid species; and on the whole it's a nice little episode (although biologically completely incorrect). The problem there is that your average Hollywood scriptwriter is as scientifically literate as a hedgehog ª. But even if they did keep up with the science world, they still have write stories that work from a dramatic point of view. The intelligent design idea was fine as it made aliens not the supernatural the ones who did all the fine tuning.

The problem isn't just humanoids, its that since the 60s almost every Sci-Fi show has had intelligent talking aliens, be they the weirdos from the Mos Eisley Cantina to the Daleks to ET to the hammerheads of Independence Day.
But there is a very big difference between believing that there is alien life somewhere out there, and believing that that alien life will include intelligent bipeds in spaceships.

Anyway, back to Joss.
Buffy was his creation back in 1992 when he brought out the movie with Kristy Swanson & Donald Sutherland playing Buffy & Giles. It was a parody of all the clichés of horror movies. The subsequent TV series took itself a bit more seriously for good reason. Parodies are rarely as big a crowd-pleaser as a drama. However, Buffy was always quite tongue-in-cheek and on the whole the religious symbols were in the show not because of any latent Christian message but because they are the mainstay tropes of the vampire genre. I wasn't really a Buffy fan, but if memory serves although crucifixes seem to "work" on vampires; the show was not particularly pro-religion. You would make as strong a case for saying it was pro-wiccan or pro-librarians. There were plenty of fairly anti-religious moments: the psychotic woman-hating preacher Caleb and Buffy's cute little quip: “Note to self: religion freaky”. The show was constantly complained about by the Catholic League.

However, it is true to say that a lot of people think that the show is all about religious symbolism. But I think people see messages that they want to see. Joss put the crucifixes in for the same reason he put stakes in. Other people then interpret that as "Buffy proves Jesus is your saviour". But it ain't necessarily so.

---------
a. In my opinion this is why Voyager managed to suck so much.
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by munsterdevil » Fri Nov 05, 2010 12:52 am

Tulip1 wrote:What kind of serie is caprica? What can you compare it with?
It's difficult to say Tulip, there are no scenes in outer space and that is something they outlined from the beginning, it was a risk and it appears that it hasn't paid off. Also, there has only been one episode where scenes (not a whole episode) occurred on a different planet.

It's set on the planet Caprica (obviously) in a culture that is almost identical to Western cultures on Earth, only that they are slightly ahead of us technology wise, for instance they are on the threshold of developing super sophisticated Artificial Intelligence, the main premise of the show.

If a person was a fan of BSG and asked me your question then I would just tell them that it was a prequel to BSG, but for a person that never watched BSG I would say the above.
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Re: Caprica Season 1.5

Post by munsterdevil » Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:29 am

I agree, there is a problem with humanoid aliens speaking, also, I always think the view from scientists to look for life on other planets in the goldilocks zone (not too hot ,not too cold, just right planets) is kind of flawed. I mean who is to say that life originated on a planet that has no water, oxygen, etc? There could be a planet out there teeming with life that breathes in Carbon Dioxide and drinks some liquid that is totally toxic to us. Their goldilocks zone might be radically different to ours and when looking for a habitable planet that might contain life they might ignore the poisonous planets with water and oxygen! This may sound ridiculous, but it's not impossible, and if it is true, then alien life on these types of planets would be radically different to ours. But I suppose with the resources that are available scientists have to look in the more obvious places first.

One excellent episode (I'm sure you know it, it's a classic) from TNG was when Picard was stranded on a planet and met an alien who could only communicate by reciting tales of his cultures heroic heroes. It made the ever convenient "translator" obsolete and it was ever so clever, who knows there maybe an alien species out there who might communicate similarly!

Going back to Whedon and Buffy, yes, it was the crucifixes I was thinking of that kind of influenced me to believe Whedon as a believer, but I suppose Whedon partially used this prop to stick with the whole vampire genre.

Staying with vampires, the last decade or so has seen a lot of films and TV series using the genre. This is me being my deconstructive self but there has to be some cultural reason for this. I mean when people in the USA were living in fear of a communist take over, Westerns and Alien movies were the order of the day. It is a well established fact that the "indians" and "Aliens" in these films were a metaphor for communists, and usually the Aryan US forces saved the day. I'm just wondering in years to come when analysts are looking back on this genre, what will they establish the vampires to be representing? The same can be said for the reimagined series of "V", already people have criticised it because they believe the aliens in the series represent the Obama Administration. But as you say Grania, it's all about what people want to see...

PS: I changed the title of the thread to "Sci-Fi Thread"
Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying. Arthur C. Clarke
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