Friday, June 11, 2010

Lessons from television; an idle post

(Specifically, the TV series[es] Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Eleventh Hour (U.S.), Lost, and Star Trek:Enterprise)

If radio whispers messages into your ear, what does television do?

I'm not a seasoned TV watcher, but in the last several years I have seen episodes from the aforementioned shows, & so feel entitled to inflict upon you, gentle reader, my impressions of what messages they delivered.

BattleStar Galactica:
Honor is good. Warriors are good. Strong authoritarian leaders are essential. The press is an irritant that serves no useful purpose. Intellectuals are wishy-washy and incredibly dangerous, and can morph into silly (and dangerous?) religious cult leaders.
(BSG was the anti-Avatar)

Dr. Who:
Interracial relationships and homosexuality orientation are unremarkable. Caring and honor are expected. Thinking, creatively, is encouraged and can really pay off. Reaching out a hand to help is essential, even to villains, even though, being villains, they will probably be too far gone and so will spurn your offer. Everyone, even the lowest, has a role to play, to help. Turning away and not stepping in to help is unthinkable.
(Nobody's an intellectual, since the Doctor is so far beyond us.)

Eleventh Hour (U.S. version):
Al Gore is a joke and environmentalists are evil enough to commit terrorism and destroy their environments to further their (wider, more abstract, more debatable) goals. Science does scary bad things, although technology is essential for shedding light on what the science has done.
Polyester is fashionable.

Intellectuals are evil, as are people with dermatological issues; nothing they say can be trusted. Scientists are either evil or wimps, or some mixture thereof, although they can do some interesting things.

Star Trek: Enterprise:*
George W. Bush is a strong, masculine fellow who would make a fine starship leader and kick Suliban butt.

If you'd care to play, feel free to contribute in the comments...


Don Pelton said...

Wow, I'm impressed with your ability to encapsulate the dominant themes in these programs (I haven't seen them all).

I may have a go at trying this myself with ... what ... Foyle? Brothers and Sisters? (a guilty pleasure, a soap opera, a weird mixture of inspired and stupid).

Anna Haynes said...

> "...ability to encapsulate the dominant themes"

I don't know that they're dominant, just that they jumped out at me.

Here's one I forgot, from Lost - the absolute creepiest thing about the scientist-intellectual types (which pretty much boil down to Ben) is when they say they're acting for the greater good.

Toby said...

I took BSG as good space opera fun, but the ending was awfully unconvincing. The "insurgency" part seemed to be anti-Iraq war. But you are probably right about the heroic "wise leaders" being oversold.

On Lost, again the ending kinda disappointed. I took Ben to be more a politician/ demagogue than an intellectual type. Parallel-Ben was an history teacher. Jack was a doctor, and seemed to me to be the rational/ scientist leader.