Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New Tv Shows: Virtuality and Glee! (and effortless diversity)

Been taking advantage of hulu recently, given I cancelled cable. And watched two very promising pilots.

Virtuality (watch on hulu) is BSG creator Moore's latest creation, full of sci-fi tropes--a ship alone on a 10 year mission in lonely space (like that kids in space movie from ages ago whose gimmick was a starship on a decades long mission of sub-light travel, so the ship is crewed by children so that they will live long enough), mega-corporations, a creepy corporate man ala Aliens, Star Trek's holodecks, a ghost in the machine ala ghost in the machine or 2001, and Matrix questioning of what is reality, or space as hell like Solaris or more trashily Event Horizon)

I dig the effortless diversity, with blacks and a gay couple and asians, effortlessly integrated, and unmentioned, like Glee. (a huge change from just a few years ago, when West Wing was introduced, when network tv had zero non-white stars, and Dule Hill was later added as token black guy, playing the part of the dutiful servant of course, ironic that even such a liberal show had an all white cast).

The reality tv angle was cool. The conceit is that the megacorporation financing the expedition had made a reality show to help fund the trip. The intro of the show looks like the Real World, and the show is complete with a confessional room.

Given the virtual reality look of the show, gives it a cinema verite. I appreciate that it takes AI to a sophisticated new level (something I'd expect from the BSG creator). But also shows some psychological depth if only cursorily. And given the long format, may be able to explore the big questions about reality that Matrix raised, and actually do them justice.

Hopefully both of these shows will catch on. Virtuality seems to be worthy bsg replacement but currently looks unlikely. Like Whedon's move to the big leagues with Fox, that move is fraught with peril for the smart sci-fi show. Glee has a better chance, and I look forward for its post-cynical take on high school.
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