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  • Showing only topics in ~tv with the tag "science fiction". Back to normal view / Search all groups
    1. My not so nice thoughts on Battlestar Galactica

      I watched the 2003 miniseries which I thought was decent enough. It certainly piqued my interest, so I went into the show itself with an open mind and kind of excited that I had a nice, long...

      I watched the 2003 miniseries which I thought was decent enough. It certainly piqued my interest, so I went into the show itself with an open mind and kind of excited that I had a nice, long sci-fi series to get into.. but.. I'm now solidly underway with season 1, a lot of it falls totally flat. I just finished episode 5 and while it's not the worst show I've ever watched, it certainly isn't great either and I have to say I don't understand why this show is praised. It feels really dated.

      There are some truly awful scenes where it feels like I'm being preached to, like "remember to go in for your breast cancer screening!" and "prisoners aren't slaves!" and the scene from this episode where the president appears on the Galactica just to tell the commander "ackshually 45000 people are more important than just 1!" as though it's some deep philosophy, and then he changes his mind off of that, but like, his character really isn't dumb enough to not have already considered the morality of the situation. He should have perfectly well realized that they'd expended half of their fuel reserve searching for the downed pilot, and that's more than they can afford. He is not stupid, but the writing certainly can be.

      There are also a ton of cliches and cheap story beats like fake-outs, cliff-hangers, characters that could solve all their problems if they simply communicated, dundundun dunnn moments with fabricated tension, not to mention the amount of halfway meaningless filler. It's a shame because the lore and overarching plot is interesting, but when every episode has so much pointless conflict in them that always gets resolved 10 minutes later, it starts to really drag. The episodes are self-contained and I get that, but I mean most of it is to the point that it's borderline a soap opera.

      And it's not even filmed or directed well or anything else to make up for it. The desaturated colours are depressing as fuck, there is no cinematography to speak of, the special effects are (understandably) very cheap, everything is truly ugly which while I understand that's the point, it just detracts even more. The lighting is also inconsistent between some scenes, and the fight choreography is honestly laughable. You also have shoddy camera work and obnoxious, never ending close-ups of every actor's face - I have seen all of their pores by now, thank you very much. And omg why are they so obsessed with wide shots of the ships and then snap zooming not once, but twice, every time!!

      Also, variations of the word "frak" is just so grating but I'm nitpicking at this point lol

      I apologize to any fans of the show because this turned into a bit of a rant, but goddamn.. I'm kind of grasping at straws to find things I actually like about BSG. Maybe it's because it's a network production? Perhaps I'm too young to watch and truly appreciate it/its era of American network TV? Like the only of these kinds of shows we had in my country that I watched when they were current was things like Friends, Monk, Desperate Housewives etc., so I missed out on all of these supposedly great shows back then (I was only 11 years old when BSG started airing). I really love some of the other things from the 00's that I've watched much later on though, but those were cable shows like The Wire, so it's not just because it's from the 00's.

      Anyway, all of the above reasons (and more) are why I usually stay far away from network shows with 20-episode seasons, but I thought BSG was going to be different because it's my impression that it has a really good reputation? Like I said in the beginning, the miniseries was decent so I'm not sure what changed between it and season 1? I think I'm gonna demote it to a background show unless the next few episodes pick up a bit. Should I keep going? Does it get better after season 1?

      23 votes
    2. I have an issue with the 3 Body Problem

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      Alright, a 2nd spoiler disclaimer for those who accidentally clicked it anyway.

      When it became apparent to me that the alien race had sent over two 10-dimensional supercomputers folded into the size of a proton trying to halt human scientific progression in an attempt to maintain its technological advancement while making the travel towards Earth, something doesn't sit right with me.

      Why oh why, if you were a 10-dimensional supercomputer being nearly all-knowing yet having only the capacity to be at one point in time and space to deny or halt scientific progression, you wouldn't just write code to A) make copies of yourself to then B) hack all the systems and possible computers in the world to halt anything and everything and basically just plunge humanity back into the dark ages if not outright spreading a deadly virus that would eliminate us from the face of the earth if we are such a big threat to them.

      And over the concept of lying and then not being able to coexist with that even though you have the technological head start? And why only communicate with a human to figure out about us if you have two quantum entangled super computers capable of overseeing everything and anything all the time anywhere to gather pure 'scientific' data about us as a species.

      10 votes
    3. Ahsoka doesn't really work

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      I just finished this show, having waited for it all to come out before getting into it -- other Disney+ Star Wars series taught me the lesson that they are much better binged than watched week to week and I was not wrong.

      Spoilers below

      The endless references to a children's animated show that I have less than zero interest in viewing really drags it down, which is why my main take away as per the title is that it doesn't really work. Most of the premise of the show is finding Thrawn and Ezra -- two characters you have no way of knowing about unless you watched that cartoon. Yet these two characters are constantly referenced and for some reason important, but you're never really sure why.

      It kind of works with Thrawn because there's a mysterious villain type of thing going on. But Ezra? Why do we miss him? Who is he? What did he do? Almost none of my questions are ever answered, even after we find him! Aside from simply being told by other characters that he is important, I am never told how or why. Nothing they say or do makes me care about him. They don't show me anything that makes me want to get emotionally invested in him. And no, I am not watching hundreds of hours of cartoons to understand the context. That is simply too much.

      This show is in a very strange place between obviously trying to cater to a large audience (it is a Disney property after all, so $$$), but it simultaneously can only be fully understood by extremely hardcore Star Wars fans. I consider myself a fan. I have watched all live action movies and shows, even the laughably bad stuff like the Boba Fett and Kenobi shows. That they intentionally mix together animated and live action storylines though -- especially with any context lacking -- is a major misstep.

      I like the Star Wars universe a lot. And while a lot of it is entertaining, it feels very bad to feel left out. It would be different if it was a small cameo or name drop once in a while. But the main storyline gets impacted by this, and it just kind of leaves a sour taste after finishing it.

      I was decently entertained and it had some very good moments, particularly the Baylan and Shin duo was intriguing -- which is ironic as I understand that they are among the only original characters in this show. Regurgitating old canon is not the way.

      7/10. Entertaining but unsatisfying.

      37 votes
    4. Futurama Season 8 Episode 2 discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      This thread may contain spoilers.

      I thought it was pretty good! Better than the last episode, we were pleasantly surprised here at house Godzilla. We actually watched the older episode where Kif gets pregnant the night before, so we were very curious to see how Amy would handle everything. Feels were had.

      What were your thoughts? Let your voice be heard!

      24 votes
    5. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds S02E04 - "Among the Lotus Eaters" Episode Discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      The first three episodes didn't quite hit the mark for me, but this felt like proper TOS style Star Trek.

      Starfleet messing up the Prime Directive. A villain who is actually a victim. Spock is challenged on feelings versus logic. The overall theme of exploring the importance of personal memories and the straight forward metaphor of fascist regime controlling the people, didn't feel as hamfisted as I have found some of the other newer trek episodes. It does stand on its own as a well rounded singular trek story. I do however still have a bit of a problem with how newer trek seems to like hand to hand combat violence so much. Feels unnecessary in most cases.

      23 votes
    6. Futurama Season 8 Episode 1 discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      The first episode of the new season is out! What do you think of it?

      I thought it was pretty okay. It was too self - referential for me. It kept making too many "we're back" jokes but they kind of did that the last time they were cancelled and brought back. They eased off those kind of jokes eventually the last time it happened.

      I was worried about how they would handle references to more modern things as "Attack of the killer App" was really painful to watch. But it seems like they handled it pretty decently.

      I'm slow, but it took me a while to realise that Scary Mirror as a replacement for Scary Door was a jab at Black Mirror.

      I didn't think the episode was very funny, but it wasn't bad either. What was good about it shows promise, so I'm hopeful.

      39 votes
    7. 'Silo' season finale: book reader discussion

      Warning: this post may contain spoilers

      I would like to have a discussion of the season finale and season as a whole of Silo with other book readers who know the overarching plot. Non book readers are welcome obviously, but spoilers will be here.

      Click for spoilers

      Overall I think it was decent and I like a lot of the additions they made. Some of the episodes in the middle were very filler-y and kinda boring. But I wasn't a huge fan of the reveal in the show vs the books, for the screen and especially for the tape. The heat tape is like the determining factor here and they really glossed over it. I'm not sure if I would have gotten it if I didn't read the book.

      However there are still mysteries, I was wondering where they were going to go with Lukas since he got busted in the last episode. Now he's going to the mines??? Who is she going to talk to over the radio now? Also where do the mines go to avoid other silos lol? Although I'm not really mad about the change if Lukas doesn't end up being Bernard's shadow. In the book it was very "hey you random dude, be my shadow now suddenly"

      And what about that mystery door? Are they connected to the other silos somehow? Bernard seemed kind of surprised when Jules mentioned it and said there were many mysteries... I wonder if he actually knows anything about them or not. I was surprised Sims didn't know about the fake helmet screen, but I guess he wouldn't know that if wasn't actually Bernard's shadow yet. I really question if he will actually end up being Bernard's shadow though...

      Overall, would watch season 2. I wanna know what ends up happening.

      21 votes
    8. How do the human-like Cylons work, in 'Battlestar Galactica' (2004-2009)

      First It was mentioned that, there are 12 of them. If one dies there memory is uploaded and another gets activated, I thought it was somewhat like cylo in star wars. later, we see all of them...

      First It was mentioned that, there are 12 of them. If one dies there memory is uploaded and another gets activated, I thought it was somewhat like cylo in star wars. later, we see all of them operating together, so they sync continously or at certain period? I'm wondering how do they actually work, in data sharing/sync scenario?

      PS. My heart weeps for firefly.

      6 votes
    9. The Expanse: Thoughts on railguns

      Having finished out the Amazon Prime series "The Expanse" I'm now working my way through the novels and I keep coming up against a problem with with railguns. Specifically, the way that railguns...

      Having finished out the Amazon Prime series "The Expanse" I'm now working my way through the novels and I keep coming up against a problem with with railguns. Specifically, the way that railguns are used in The Expanse doesn't mesh well with the way they're portrayed.

      First, some background. Ships in The Expanse are generally unarmored. There are a bunch of reasons for this but the short version is "most things that can hit you in space will kill you anyway" and armor adds mass which makes every manuver more expensive in terms of reaction mass. So no one has armor. This is important because it means that ships in the Expanse can get ripped up by something as mundane as a stray bullet from a Point Defense Cannon (PDC). PDCs are... well, they're guns. Regular guns which are flinging around much less mass and at much lower velocities than railguns.

      Thus, ships in the Expanse are equipped to handle impacts but nothing much bigger than a sand-grain moving at a few km/s.

      When we're introduced to rail-guns in the series we're given to understand that they use magnetic acceleration to chuck a 5kg chunk of tungsten and/or uranium at a target at an "appreciable percentage of C." That's much faster than a bullet or any micrometeors ships are likely to encounter. Even 1% of C is ~3,000 km/s.

      5 kg of Tungsten is less than you think. Some back of the envelope math suggests that's about cube about 2.6 inches on a side... which is not big. That works out to an incredible energy density which would make a lot of sense if railguns were routinely being fired at planets or asteroids but, since they seem to mainly target ships, the vast, vast majority of the energy that goes into flinging that slug at its target is going to carry through to the other side of the ship.

      All total we're talking about 488.5 million Newtons of force for 1% of the speed of light. Helpfully, this scales roughly lineraly so long as we don't get too close to C and induce relativistic mass issues, so 10% of C is 4.8 billion Newtons and so on. So, that railgun slug is carrying a lot of energy. At 1% of C it represents 22.5 trillion joules of kinetic energy. Written out long-ways so we can appreciate all those zeros it's 22,500,000,000,000 J. At 10%, we're talking 2.25 quadrillion joules. To give some sense of scale, that means that, at 1% of C, three rail-gun slugs are delivering about as much energy as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. At 10% of C one round carries about 537 kilotons, or about the yield of a modern, city-busting hydrogen bomb.

      Those are absolutely titanic amounts of energy but, realistically, they'll never deliver that much power to a target. After all, a railgun round can only push on its target as hard as the target can push back on it. If the round just punches through the entire ship like it's made of paper, most of the energy stays in the railgun slug as it exits the other side of the ship and you get a neat hole rather than a gigantic flash as trillions of joules of kinetic energy turn into heat.

      And obviously, if we're trying to kill things, we want the latter. The solution to this problem is fairly obvious: you need fragmentation. While it's great to have a tungsten cube all tightly packed together as you accelerate it, if you're shooting at a ship, you want a fairly diffuse impact, especially if we're talking about a 10% of C railgun slug. There aren't a lot of things out there in the solar system which can take 500 kilotons of hate and come out the other side in one piece. Moreover, at the distances at which a rail-gun fight happens, that spread would help ensure that you hit your target. Like a shotgun loaded with birdshot, a fragmenting railgun round would provide a cone of impact rather than a line, making dodges less effective.

      And, as I mentioned earlier, you don't need a ton of mass to make this work. If a PDC round can go straight through a military craft then we can safely assume that a chunk of tungsten with the same kinetic energy will do the same thing. PDCs look rather a lot like the close in weapons systems in use on many naval ships today so we'll use those as a guide. The 20mm cannon on a Phallanx CWIS tosses out rounds at about 1,035 m/s. Those rounds weigh about 100 g (0.1 kg) which gives them a kinetic energy at the muzzle of 53,422 J.

      So, if we could predictably shatter our 1% C railgun round into 421,136 pieces, each would have about the same kinetic energy as a PDC round and be able to hole the ship. At 10% C we could go even smaller and do the same thing with upwards of 40 million shards. 1% is plenty though. Each hull-penetrating piece of our original 5 kg bullet needs only weigh about 1/100th of a gram, which works out to being about 1/100th of the size of a grain of sand.

      Put another way, if the fragmentation of a rail round could be precisely controlled, a target ship would experience hundreds of thousands of individual hull breaches with the mean distance between them determined only by the geometry of the ship and the angle of the attack. The result of this would be either the delivery of a titanic amount of energy to the ship itself as the armor attempts to absorb the impact or, if no armor is present (as seems to be the case in the Expanse) the rapid conversion of the interior of the ship to a thin soup.

      This, however, seems never to happen in the series and what leaves me scratching my head. As a book and TV series, The Expanse does an otherwise bang-up job with hard science fiction. Most things in universe make sense. This, however, does not. We have take as a given that the materials science technology exists to allow the mounting and firing of a railgun on a ship -- there are a lot of challenges there -- but the straight-line-of-fire use of them is a rare problem with the world-building.

      Any fans have any suggestions to help me square this circle?

      45 votes
    10. The Mandalorian Season 3 finale. What did you think?

      I thought it was pretty good, it's just that the whole season seemed a little off. I feel like the actual overarching plot of the season didn't even start until over halfway through. Still enjoyed...

      I thought it was pretty good, it's just that the whole season seemed a little off. I feel like the actual overarching plot of the season didn't even start until over halfway through.
      Still enjoyed it overall and can't wait for the next season.

      11 votes