I did start a post on Monday, but the topic of said post has had me on a YouTube and downloading binge since the weekend, sucking up most of my free time, and thus I haven't gotten around to finishing my thoughts. And this renewed passion of mine deals with something I haven't thought much about in twenty years and probably all of two people will care what I have to say on the subject. If anyone can guess what I'm talking about from that incredibly vague description there's a virtual cookie in it for you. (Accept for beccatoria, who is already privy to my insanity. ;)
In order to dip my tow back in the meta waters, I have a few thoughts about Virtuality. frolicndetour has a great discussion going on on her LJ about my main problem with the pilot.
I try to avoid, if possible, watching depictions of rape on TV and in movies. It's not just that it makes me uncomfortable, it's that too many writers use it as a shortcut in storytelling. For instance, a situation isn't really bad until a woman is raped. But for every twenty rape depictions I find unnecessary or handled badly, there's a writer who gets it right and includes it in a way that is vital to the overall story he or she is trying to tell. Ron did this during the 'Pegasus' arc on Battlestar Galactica. Gina's brutalization wasn't shown just to shock. Suddenly, our sympathies shifted. It was Gina who was the victim of horrific actions. We became the villains. We could see ourselves as the Cylons saw us. And her rape showed, damningly, how dehumanized the crew of the Pegasus had become under Cain's command and served as a stark contrast to Adama's command. The Galactica had it's own Cylon prisoner, Athena. For her to be brutalized as Gina had been was something unfathomable to Adama. Ultimately, Gina's ordeal showed people's worst fears being realized. Lines had been crossed and the question was asked, is humanity worthy of survival?
Billie's rape was completely unnecessary in making the point that something was horribly wrong on the ship. The crew's well being was already shown to be at risk by the faulty VR devices. Pike had been 'killed' twice; Rika and the doctor once. Being murdered in their sleep, experiencing the terror of dying, was the equivalent of the Big Red Rambaldi Ball showing up - something is very, very wrong and you need to be worried. But, no, we needed to have a woman brutally raped. And to make matters worse, with the exception of the ship's psychiatrist, none of the men took the assault seriously. Which left me wondering, what if it had been one of them who had been raped? Why wasn't one of the men raped? You want to push boundaries and shock people, Ron, that might have done it.
And the more I think about it, why was Billie unable to rip off her visor as soon as the attack began? Why was she immobilized? When the others were 'killed' they were able to react and not actually die. So why was Billie pinned to the bed unable to move?
It's a shame that, in a desire to shock, my enthusiasm for the project was dampened. As the pilot progressed I was becoming more and more interested in the characters. Though, I don't know if I should read anything into the two couples (one gay, one mixed race) being in the background for much of the pilot. I'll assume, had the series been picked up, we would have gotten to know them better. And I worried a little about Pike veering into Adama territory as he seemed to be a selfish ass who made everything about him. At the same time, I was intrigued at the prospect of seeing a dead character continue to 'live' in the virtual world. Did his consciousness survive Or is Virtual Pike merely a shadow of his former self? Would Rika continue to love him and choose a virtual life with him over a real life with her husband?
Finally, did anyone else not care for the reality TV aspect of the series? The critics seem to have liked the idea, but I found it distracting. With so much going on I wondered if it had seemed like a neat idea on paper, but didn't really help to support the more complex aspects of the story.
For my fellow Farscape fans, in case you haven't heard, the rumored Farscape panel at Comic Con is a go! Ben, Claudia, Brian Henson, and Rockne will be there. I was curious as to why there might be a panel since there is currently no series and the webisodes are still in development. Well, soon after the panel announcement came news of the entire series being released on DVD! Thank you A&E Home Entertainment!
Speaking of cons, Dragon Con is only 64 days away! It seems like it was just October and I was making my room reservation...which I reconfirmed yesterday. I'm already seeing posts about get togethers. I'd love to meet up with whoever I can, though logistics can be a nightmare when dealing with four host hotels and 40,000 people. I'll be arriving Thursday and leaving Monday and you should be able to find me standing in lines for Star Trek, Stargate, and BSG panels.
And for those interested in how the most recent Star Trek film changed from script to screen, check out Star Trek - What You Missed Most of the cuts I agree with, but I really would have liked to see more of Nero's backstory. His missing scenes would have helped to explain a lot.