Monday, August 28, 2006

Do You Believe?

Thanks to the wonders of free cable television, I accidentally watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager last night.

For those less geeky types that may not know, the premise of Voyager centres around a spaceship that is catapulted to the other end of the galaxy. The main point of each episode is trying to get the crew home. Remember this, it's important.

The episode I watched last night was about a civil war within the Q Continuum, a race of omnipotent, interdimensional beings. For whatever reason, one of them, known only as Q, decides that the only way to stop the war is to plant his omnipotent seed in the vessel that is Captain Janeway.

Who wouldn't? Look at that smile, that stance, that hair.

The scene was played out in fantastical fashion, with Janeway viewing the activities through the device of an American civil war era translation, due to her (and our) limited intellect as bipedal beings. This, I could handle. After all, it is science fiction and we are talking about interdimensional beings who all have the same name. But then I lost my belief in the story entirely. Q propositions Janeway again, this time with the promise of returning her crew to Earth.

Returning her crew to earth. The goal of the whole series.

All Janeway has to do is give birth to the child of an omnipotent being and her crew will be returned to their homes. One hundred people rejoined with their families before they all grow old and die. I think it's a pretty worthy sacrifice. But no, Janeway has moral issues. She says they'll do it through hard work instead of a quick fix. I wonder what the crew would have said if they found out? I'm thinking mutiny would be well on the cards.

This is where the story mechanics show their gears. Obviously if Janeway takes Q up on the offer, the series is over. It's no longer Voyager. It's Star Trek: Stay At Home. Isn't quite as catchy.

The rest of the episode was a joke. Another member of the Q Continuum, this time a hot redhead, is stranded onboard Voyager and somehow stripped of her powers. Yet she is still smart enough to help the crew bend the laws of astrophysics to enter the Continuum itself, decked out in full Civil War regalia. A gunfight ensues, and Janeway and Q are rescued from the firing squad.

Janeway then passes on more of her superior morals by convincing Q to get with the hot redhead and give birth to a baby Q. They copulate right in front of Janeway, ET style, by touching glowing fingers.

I turned the TV off before the credits rolled.

Anyone else had an experience with a book or movie where the suspension of disbelief was broken?


Sandra Ruttan said...

Oh yeah. Plenty of times. I mean, there's a certain amount of suspension of belief needed for lots of things we read or watch... especially watch. For me, the hardest thing I read was a book set where I used to live. The author had a street gal being rushed to emergency at a specific hospital. There had been niggling things until then, but that blew it for me. The hospital was a geriatric hospital, strictly, and had no emergency room, performed no surgeries. My best friend had worked there for years, so I was very familiar with their mandate and function. Further to that, a simple web search typing in the hospital name showed in the top 10 hits it had been closed due to government funding cuts a few years before the book was published. The real trick was, I'd seen an article by the author talking about how to do proper research to make your book authentic. I never finished reading it, one of those books I put down 80 pages in and completely forgot about, other than my annoyance. I'm guessing other things weren't working for me as well, as I think you tend to be a bit harder on a read when it's not quite working.

JD Rhoades said...

Voyager sucked. ST:TNG rules.

Christa M. Miller said...

It depends on how seriously the book, movie, or show is trying to take itself. A movie like "Independence Day" was ridiculous, but that was its whole point. Same with the James Bond films. "The Historian," however, was a disappointment, especially at the end.

Then there are other movies, like "Halloween," where there are several "Oh come on" moments, but personally I don't care because the characterizations make up for them.

This seems to happen most often in sci-fi, by the way. Limited minds, indeed!

Daniel Hatadi said...

Sandra: I think you've mentioned this somewhere before. I find it very hard to let go of a book once I've started, but TV or movies are much easier. Some kind of obsessive need to finish keeps me reading.

JD: Too true, although I always liked the opening intro to VOY.

Christa: Scifi movies definitely have that problem, but mostly because they resemble action films rather than the scifi novels that inspired them. In recent times, Gattaca is one of the few scifi films that really worked on both levels.