Tag Archives: Reality TV

Science Fiction Today – Television

TAlready the way we watch television is transforming and changing every day. Already we are no longer tied to cable or even a traditional television. Some of the issue is there are a lot of things that could be mentioned about television.

One is changing the way we watch we television. No longer is it limited to just the physical television in the living room. Now our phones are portable televisions that we can take anywhere.

Not only is it about how we watch television, but the type of programming. In many Science Fiction stories we see an increase in reality television, but how the reality television gets put together and who participates evolves and changes. At the same time with the increase in technology there are a lot of options for how television programming might get put together in the future.

How We Watch

There are a lot of examples in Science Fiction for how we watch television. Sometimes it is the idea that we have multiple screens all with a different show on. The idea of multi-faceted watching is already starting with how many places and devices that we can watch. At the same time the next step might be to add interactivity to the television, which on some level is also already happening (think Live Tweeting).

This requires people to watch live and use phones and other things, but what if the live “studio” audience could people watching in the comfort of their own homes? Suddenly you can participate in the television show on a whole different level. No longer just passive participation, but being able to actively be there in some form.

What We Watch

The other piece that comes up, only somewhat is what we watch on television. Often times in Science Fiction it is almost like television becomes the new gladiator ring. Either by the use of people who have no other choice (such as prisoners) or basically doing it as a form of conscription when your number is up you get thrown into the games for everyone to watch – like in the finale episodes of Doctor Who series 1.

The other direction this could go is people voluntarily filming their lives (which we already have a lot of now), but the increase in technology and personal devices makes that more of a possibility. In some ways it is not just about advancing the technology, but the access the technology grants. There is a question of whether we will reach a pinnacle of entertainment technology for television, but with the access to have everyone creating new shows for people to consume – unless YouTube replaces TV first…

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Science Fiction Today – Prisons

PThere were a couple of good topics to cover today for the letter P, but I think I’ll save the other for a longer post. It was also waiting to see what we talked about in regards to the Justice System. There we talked about what could happen if the law, the police, could act upon justice at a moment’s notice – or in advance of a crime!

Today is more a discussion of if the police stay kind of like they do today – they capture people, they have normal sorts of trials, and then they go to prison. Overflowing prisons, perhaps. Privatized prisons, run by corporations that are there to make money from the prisoners – not rehabilitate them. Private prisons already exist, so these are perhaps realistic fears for the future. And the history exists for prisoners to do more than just be prisoners – but to entertain us as well, like gladiators. So let’s look at these possibilities!

Private Prisons

So we recently watch the movie Escape Plan with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, and we were expecting it to be a ridiculous cheese-fest like The Expendables. As it turned out, not really. It was a near-future or alternate-present sort of story, with a professional prison-breaker who helps build better prisons. Someone stole all his best ideas, and built a floating fortress – and trapped him in it. The prisoners were all held basically as long as someone kept paying for them to be in there. Held in international waters, with no jurisdiction over them. And with no escape.

You also see prisons like this existing in full-fledged Science Fiction space societies. Often an entire planet or space station exists for the sole purpose of being a prison, like Crematoria in the Chronicles of Riddick. Or in Mass Effect 2, where you go to get Jack from a prison, where you pay to have her released – until they decide that they can make far more money by keeping Shepard prisoner instead!

Prisoners as Gladiators

Often this is seen as an extension of Reality Television, the idea that competition shows aren’t enough – and eventually Reality TV turns into blood sports. And who better to participate in a blood sport, with everything on the line, than prisoners? Generally something like a shortened sentence or outright freedom is dangled in front of them, and they compete for that.

There are many ideas for what the competition might look like, with those details updating over time even if the basic plot remains the same – like with Running Man and Gamer. Hey look, Arnold Schwarzenegger again… Still, it’s pretty much the use of prisoners as gladiators to entertain the rest of us. And sometimes, freedom isn’t really guaranteed, like for Duncan Idaho in the Dune prequels – where it really is just for the amusement of it.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Are the Nerds nerds?

Something we didn’t cover much in our post yesterday is, are the contestants geeks or nerds? There has been some hubbub about this, but it seems like there always is. We feel like we have covered this conversation a bit in our Geek Versus Nerd post. A solid read if you haven’t read that one before – the dictionary definitions, in particular, are a bit disturbing for geek and nerd.

While we felt like we have definitions of what geek and nerd mean, the commenters disagreed and people we talk to… everyone seems to view this a bit differently. Some people proudly accept the mantle, and so then people like them are geeks or nerds. Others decide it is people more socially awkward, or into other things, than they are. And who’s to say who’s right? Self-definition seems to run into the “real” geeks and nerds creating things like the fake geek girl meme.

What does it mean???

What does it mean???

So what does this mean for the show? Continue reading

King or More Likely Queen of the Nerds

My guilty pleasure as of late has been King of the Nerds. The reality show on TBS which is a bunch of geeks/nerds competing against each other to sit the Throne of Games and be crowned King of the Nerds. They have been tested on their knowledge of superheroes, cosplay, fantasy, science fiction, geek music, science, etc. Each week ending with one nerd leaving the house.

At the beginning they had 5 girls and 6 guys. Each “nerd” brought a different set of skills and abilities to the table. There were scientists, professional gamers, bloggers, game designers, and just major fans. Next Thursday is the finale where the final four will compete to see who will be crowned. The coolest thing about the finale is that it is 3 girls and 1 guy (even the final 5 was 4 girls and 1 guy).

With all the prevalence of the “fake geek girl” and the argument that geek girls are this rare creature and yet in the battle for King of the Nerds it is mostly girls duking it out. Now as a geek girl myself this does excite me. It is nice to see geek girls coming out on top. I do wonder if the reason they came out on top is that maybe the competition, at least at first, underestimated them.

Continue reading