Just a quick note this mornin’. For a while I’ve been hearing about two relatively new TV shows: Life on Mars and Fringe. I know that LOM is based on a British show of the same name, and I know the basic premise. I know that Fringe is a procedural about a cop of some sort investigating fringe-science stuff, sort of an X-Files scented beast. That’s about it. Some folks have told me good things about them.
So the other night I watched my first episode of Fringe, and it sucked. Now, like a lot of TV shows, it didn’t suck in execution: It was tightly directed, well acted, the dialogue had some zing, and the overall look was quality. The story, however, was terrible. A computer virus that liquefies peoples brains, unleashed upon the world by a disgruntled programmer, targeting the loved ones of people who’d wronged him.
A computer virus. That liquefies brains. This was a bad idea 20 years ago, and it remains a bad idea now.
Was this just a bad example? Maybe. Maybe other episodes rock and I’d be cheering the show on. I will not, however, find out anytime soon, because 1 hour of my life is all any show gets to impress me.
I haven’t seen an ep of LOM yet. I hadn’t any plans to watch; it seemed like I got the premise and wasn’t very interested in it: Cop gets shot, is in coma, is either actually transported to 1973 or is just imagining it in his comatose state, it all wraps up in with a deep mystery and whether or not anything is real. Not a bad idea, of course, but just didn’t excite me.
Then, this morning, I saw this on IO9. Now that’s something I didn’t expect from what I knew about the show, which is apparently: Nothing. That might get me to watch. My god, if the network had promoted tiny robots seeking proof of the human soul in its advertising, I’d have been there on day 1, because that ain’t typical broadcast SF fare.
This underscores the way mainstream SF is being sold nowadays: All the ads for this show make it look like a zany cop show with one single bizarre twist (2008 cop sent back to 1973). There is almost nothing else in the ads that would make this show SFnal.
Of course, I’ll finally tune in to LOM one of these days and I’ll probably get the episode where he encounters a computer virus from the future that liquefies brains. Dammit.