SciFi Weekend: A Virtual Wreck; The Next Doctor


Ron Moore’s Virtuality was shown on Friday night and, after viewing, I can see why Fox left it to die by airing it on a Friday night in June. Moore just tries to throw too much into this, which perhaps would have left him with many avenues for future television series but it leaves the pilot looking like a mess.

The premise is that a ship is on a ten year mission to another solar system and, to keep the crew from going nuts or killing each other, virtual reality is used. This is to keep the crew from feeling claustrophobic and to allow them to interact with other people, even if only computer generated. The claim is that this is not a series of holodeck stories because each crew member uses their own goggles (like the virtual reality in Caprica) as opposed to being in a specific room as in Star Trek. That hardly matters.

Of course something goes wrong  in the simulations (as in Life on Mars). As this was intended to be a pilot we have a lot of mysteries and no answers. We don’t know if it is a computer glitch, a crew member messing with the programs, or perhaps Cylons influencing the ship. Crew members are attacked in their simulations, and one is even raped.  One good aspect of the show was to treat the virtual rape as meaningful to the woman involved as it had the same psychological impact as if real.

The virtual reality simulations aren’t the only place where something goes wrong. Perhaps 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL is involved as there is even a murder involving the air lock.

If this already seems to be throwing ideas from many sources together, it gets worse. The crew is also being filmed as the cast of a reality television series. It was amusing when Doctor Who used reality series for one episode (Bad Wolf), but this was too much for a pilot. The idea is that the company running the mission might also be playing mind games with the crew to affect their behavior and improve ratings.

If they haven’t already thrown in enough, there is yet another crisis. After they left it was suddenly found that global warming is real and life on earth is doomed (especially if you live around London or Florida).

With all this, the show still managed to deal briefly with events of the space mission. A lot of time was spent creating false drama as to whether the mission would go on or return to earth as they approached their last moment  to decide this. Of course viewers realized they would go on. Even when the captain announced this to the crew there was still false drama when they complained that the captain made the decision to go without consulting the crew. There was more time wasted as everyone got a chance to vote, and all voted to go.

This was intended to be largely a show about people in space but with twelve crew members it was difficult to really get interested in any of them. Perhaps if the show made it as a series this would have provided for more potential stories.

BBC America aired the first of this year’s Doctor Who specials. I previously reviewed The Next Doctor here when it originally aired on the BBC.

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  1. 1
    Florida Events says:

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    Florida Events says:

    #florida #events SciFi Weekend: A Virtual Wreck; The Next Doctor – Liberal Values …: After the..

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