SciFi Friday: Spock Meet Spock, Doctor Who, and Changes for 24

After weeks of rumors, J.J. Abrams has announced that Zachary Quinto, of Heroes will play Spock in the upcoming Star Trek movie. Leonard Nimoy will also make an appearance as an older Spock–I wonder if we’ll find out how those negotiations with the Romulans went. Recently there have been reports that William Shatner has said that Nimoy would appear but he would not. There has been speculation that Kirk’s death in Star Trek Generations prevented the movie from showing an older Kirk. in Abrams now says that Shatner will likely appear.

What if Trekies ruled the world? Worth 1000 has a series of pictures to show what it would be like.

Last week Doctor Who returned to New New York for the biggest traffic jam ever. The key moment at the end was when the Face of Boe informed The Doctor that he is not alone. By the way, anyone find any resemblance between Boe and another character? This week Doctor Who takes place in old New York as the Daleks invade Manhattan. It has also been announced that the third season DVD might be available as early as November. Torchwood, a spin off of Doctor Who, will be available on DVD in January, but will also air later this year on BBC America.

Howard Gordon, Executive Producer of 24, was interviewed by If Magazine. Previously I questioned the idea of having part of the show take place in Africa, wondering how Jack could travel between the United States and Africa without it taking up much of the 24 hours of the show. It turns out that they were going to break with the format and skip ahead twelve hours:

“We were going to do a time jump twelve hours ahead and have Jack Bauer in Africa for a couple of hours in real-time and then jump it forward long enough to get back to America,” says Gordon. “So we were going to defy the real-time thing.”

I would think that this would be a bad idea, unless the Africa story was really good. It turned out the story wasn’t that good and it was cut. i wouldn’t mind a change from the format of the entire show taking place in 24 hours, but it sounds like cheating to continue the format except for one gap. I’d like to see them try something different from the real time stories, such as have the show take place over 24 days or weeks instead of one day, which is very limiting to plot development. Another possibility would be to have each episode cover events in a single but different one day period.

The next season will be shot in Los Angeles but will be portrayed as occurring elsewhere, most likely Washington D.C. It will take place three years after the events of last season, leading to a contradiction with the real time idea:

“The show picks up roughly three plus years later,” says Gordon (even though technically, isn’t Bauer about 65 at this point?) “Time has a very metaphorical quality on 24. Even though it’s real time, the distance technically would be fifteen years older than when Kiefer started. We obviously don’t play it that way, it’s funny, even [Director/Executive Producer] Jon Cassar and I have a running argument that it’s actually 2015 on the show and that accounts for some of the science fiction conceits. But it really takes place in a nebulous, near future present. We have one of the most rigorously literal time things on a TV series, yet we are the most loose-jointed about it [in between seasons].”

Mary Lynn Rajskub will return as Chloe O’Brian. There will also be a female President, played by Cherry Jones. CTU is gone, but the old set may become the Washington FBI office.

There’s much more to say about Harry Potter, but I hear that there are a handful of people around the world who have not finished reading it yet. I’ll give them a little longer before writing a post full of spoilers on the conclusion of the series.

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7 Comments

  1. 1
    Brett says:

    I know you disagree, but I feel that the death knell for “24″ would be abandoning the real-time, one day format. By portraying a plot, and the characters’ experiences, moment by moment, never interrupting the action, in a small window of chronological time, the creators of 24 have created a work of art that is truly unique. I would be hard-pressed to find a novel that follows the characters and their thoughts second-by-second through one 24-hour period, or even one night. For five seasons, “24″ did that successfully, and it would be a shame if they gave that up.

    The problem with Day Six was not the format. It was the poor planning. It was a lack of ideas. It was a lack of imagination. The literary concept of uninterrupted plot action over one day for the characters’ lives has limitless potential. I feel that the creators failed in that they focused too narrowly on terrorism-related plots, and didn’t think outside the box. It was a failure of courage, not concept.

    And, thank you, I just received my copy of Deathly Hallows today, and would not want any more spoilers to be revealed to be. (I already know that one character does something noteworthy, but, fortunately, it was a vague and blurry spoiler, like the initials R.A.B. on the fake Horcrux. I don’t know what it really means.) So don’t please comment at all about the final installment until, like, a month has passed. Thank you.

    I would like to share some opinions to you on Harry Potter. Don’t feel the need to respond. Earlier, before you actually read the book, you predicted that Harry Potter would live in the end, because, after all, “it’s a children story.” I disagree; the series has grown steadily darker over the years, and, as particularly grim scenes in Book Six have demonstrated, it is no longer for children. It’s more of an adult novel. While Book One was certainly whimiscal and “for children,” I feel that Book Seven will be much more dark and better suited for a mature audience (befitting the bildungsroman nature of the overall series), and I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry does die. But those are just my thoughts. If they’re wrong, don’t feel offended. Also, don’t feel the need to respond. I don’t want to be spoiled any more. Just wanted to get that out there.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    The current format for 24 would be fine if they could do a good job with it again. Considering how they ran out of ideas last year, I just wonder if they could do a better job without such constraints.

    I might write about Harry Potter soon, but I would include spoiler warnings and not put spoilers on the novel in the midst of SciFi Friday. Either I’d make it a separate post, or do something so the rest could be read without hitting hte spoilers.

    Without giving any spoilers, you are right about the series becoming darker, and this is seen in the final book. That does not mean I don’t still consider it to be a children’s series (which is also appreciated by adults) regardless of Harry’s fate.

  3. 3
    Terry says:

    Ron, here’s an article about 24 that you really
    should read:

    http://www.newyorker.com/print.....fact_mayer

    Because of the corrosive influence of 24,
    officers and troops are now more likely now to
    support torture than in the past.

    What this means, is that thanks to 24 prisoners
    are now more likely to be tortured than in previous
    wars, and those officers and troops unwilling to
    actually torture are more likely to “see where
    the torturer is coming from” and thus less
    likely to turn them in for torturing.

    The big defense for 24 is that it is in many
    ways a left-wing show. But whether right-wing
    or left-wing, it is most definitely pro-torture.

    I hope you will consider boycotting this evil
    show, or at the very least not promote it.

    Here are some quotes from the article:

    “…Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan,
    the dean of the United States Military Academy
    at West Point, flew to Southern California to
    meet with the creative team behind “24.” Finnegan,
    who was accompanied by three of the most experienced
    military and F.B.I. interrogators in the country,
    arrived on the set as the crew was filming.”

    “Finnegan and the others had come to voice their
    concern that the show’s central political
    premise—that the letter of American law must
    be sacrificed for the country’s security—was
    having a toxic effect. In their view, the
    show promoted unethical and illegal behavior
    and had adversely affected the training and
    performance of real American soldiers.”

    “Finnegan, who is a lawyer, has for a number
    of years taught a course on the laws of war
    to West Point seniors—cadets who would soon
    be commanders in the battlefields of Iraq
    and Afghanistan. He always tries, he said,
    to get his students to sort out not just
    what is legal but what is right. However,
    it had become increasingly hard to convince
    some cadets that America had to respect
    the rule of law and human rights, even
    when terrorists did not. One reason for
    the growing resistance, he suggested,
    was misperceptions spread by “24,” which
    was exceptionally popular with his students.
    As he told me, “The kids see it, and say,
    ‘If torture is wrong, what about “24”?’ ”
    He continued, “The disturbing thing is
    that although torture may cause Jack Bauer
    some angst, it is always the patriotic
    thing to do.”

    “Gary Solis, a retired law professor who
    designed and taught the Law of War for
    Commanders curriculum at West Point,
    told me that he had similar arguments
    with his students. He said that, under
    both U.S. and international law,
    “Jack Bauer is a criminal. In real
    life, he would be prosecuted.” Yet
    the motto of many of his students was
    identical to Jack Bauer’s: “Whatever
    it takes.” His students were particularly
    impressed by a scene in which Bauer
    barges into a room where a stubborn
    suspect is being held, shoots him in
    one leg, and threatens to shoot the
    other if he doesn’t talk. In less
    than ten seconds, the suspect reveals
    that his associates plan to assassinate
    the Secretary of Defense. Solis told me,
    “I tried to impress on them that this
    technique would open the wrong doors,
    but it was like trying to stomp out
    an anthill.”

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’ve already discussed the torture issue in the past. There are a number of conservative attitudes expressed in the show, but at least there have been some opposing views also. We had a rogue President get taken down last year, and questions over the civil liberties ramifications of fighting terrorism have been raised.

    The balance still does shift towards the conservative side, but the fact remains that it is a major television show and I will continue to look at aspects of the show beyond the torture issue. At least they did decide to tone down the torture as last season went on.

  5. 5
    Terry says:

    Ron wrote:

    “There are a number of conservative attitudes
    expressed in the show, but at least there have
    been some opposing views also. We had a rogue
    President get taken down last year, and questions
    over the civil liberties ramifications of
    fighting terrorism have been raised.”

    I’m sure you’re right here. But, I think we
    can both agree that 24 promotes (very effectively)
    torture.

    For me, torture is pure evil. So whether
    a TV show is designed to promote torture from
    a right-wing or left-wing perspective, for me
    doesn’t matter. What matters is that 24 is
    very effective product-placement for torture.
    Keifer Sutherland has done a brilliant job
    making torture sexy and glamorous, providing
    an effective justification for it, and making
    torturers sympathetic.

    Please keep in mind that people are being
    tortured in Iraq because of 24 (Jack Bauer
    provides the “moral” cover & justification).

    If you want to write about 24, then fine.
    why not condemn it (in detail) instead of
    promoting it as something intelligent and
    worth spending time on?

    For some inspiration:

    http://www.alternet.org/story/46757/

    http://www.digbysblog.blogspot.....7079742580

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/comm.....60,00.html

    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0925-26.htm

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Terry,

    I have criticized the show over torture in the past. I do not thnk it is necessary to repeat this every time it is mentioned, especially in posts which are more oriented towards television news than politics.

    I also think that the blame for using torture must be placed upon those who engage in it. 24 is a television show. Those who are responsible for interogating prisoners should know the difference between a television show and reality.

    Arguments can also be made that television shows have a number of otheer negative influcences. These are discussed from time to time, but not in every article about television shows. Extending that logic even further, watching television itself could be called bad because television watching correlates with the incidence of health problesms such as Type 2 diabetes (due to people being more sedentary).

    In addition, the producers of 24 have announced they are reducing the use of torture, and they did cut back considerably mid season last year. They are revamping the format of the show, and it is best to wait and see what they do. If they return to their old use of torture, then they should be criticized for this again.

  7. 7
    Terry says:

    Ron wrote:

    “I also think that the blame for using torture must
    be placed upon those who engage in it.”

    I agree, those who torture should be held responsible
    for their evil actions. But those who encourage torture
    also are to blame. For example, after the Timothy McVeigh
    bombing, a lot of people on the left condemned Rush Limbaugh,
    and those of his ilk, for their endless screeds on how the
    country was being destroyed by the Federal Government.
    Timothy McVeigh actually thought he would be lauded as a
    hero for his fight against the Federal Government.
    Yes Timothy McVeigh is responsible for his actions, but
    those who taught that we were under attack from the
    Federal Government also are to blame for spreading
    hatred.

    24 doesn’t teach hatred perse, but it does teach that
    against those you hate, no action is too vile, even
    torture.

    “24 is a television show. Those who are responsible
    for interogating prisoners should know the difference
    between a television show and reality.”

    Well I’m sure the torturers are well aware that 24 is
    just a TV show, and is not literally true. Although
    they would argue that the show contains deeper truths
    such as the torturer as hero, willing to give up his
    humanity for the sake of his country.

    Here’s a well written post from a right-wing blog
    discussing the deeper meanings of 24:

    http://www.americanthinker.com.....t_911.html

    Also just because something is fictional doesn’t mean
    it can’t be politically effective. For example
    the only reason Fred Thompson is so popular (among
    Republicans) is because of his acting on a fictional
    TV show, same thing with Arnold Shwazzannegger and his
    very fictional movies.

    Here are some examples of fictional novels that have
    had a large political effect:

    “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncle_Tom%27s_Cabin

    “Animal Farm”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_farm

    “Atlas Shrugged”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_shrugged

    “Nineteen Eighty-Four”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

    “The Turner Diaries”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_Diaries

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