Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Music on My Mind

Bosshouse featuring Amanda Abizaid, "A Place in Time (The 4400 Theme)". I've just gone through a 4400 marathon, so it's very much in my head. The 4400 is one of the better science fiction series in recent memory; highly recommended if you've never seen it. One of its strengths is characterization; it's the series since Babylon 5 that best managed to have character arcs that were both plausible (given the premises of the show) and central to the story.


  1. John Perry11:15 PM

    What a great show! Well, mostly. That series had a great beginning, and much of the rest was inspired, too. After a while, though, it devolved into a directionless attempt to avert a dystopia that didn't seem (from what little they revealed of it) especially original.

    The past decade saw a bunch of great sci-fi shows start, but I can't think o a single one that came to anything resembling a satisfying conclusion. Lost didn't seem to know what to do with itself, and chose one of the most unsatisfying ending possible. If some rumors are to be believed, Battlestar Galactica decided to change its endpoint after the 1st or 2nd season, and ended up in a respectably absurd ending. As for V, it's a good thing ABC pulled the plug when they did, because it had passed the line separating the sublime from the ridiculous. Then there's the remake of The Prisoner, which I am increasingly convinced was, indeed, sacrilege on a grand scale.

    I rather liked The Lost Room, too, for what it's worth, though I don't think I cared for its ending, either.

    At least we have Person of Interest now. Anyway, reading this makes me want to watch the 4400 again, but I wonder how much of it I'll find interesting.

    You know what the world needs? A TV adaptation of Anathem -- but with a better ending. ;)

  2. John Perry11:24 PM

    Ah, shoot, I forgot the punchline: the lack of good teleology in Sci-Fi plots over the last decade reflects, perhaps, the lack of any teleology in contemporary society.

    I guess here is where I learn that I've misunderstood the meaning of teleology, but at least I'll get an education!

  3. branemrys9:29 AM

    It's interesting that the producers and directors of The 4400, I think, agree with you -- I was watching a commentary where one of them was talking about how they started slowly going off rails with the promicin episodes because the show became less and less about ordinary people trying to deal with the extraordinary. And its true that the more striking episodes in seasons 3 and 4 are all episodes that have more of a first-season feel, and move the overall arc only as background.

  4. branemrys9:36 AM

    No, I think that's right. All television shows are complicated productions that have to deal with external forces (actors leaving, getting pregnant, getting sick; writer's strikes; whims of corporate executives; short deadlines; inconsistent budgets) that make imperfection inevitable. But Babylon 5 at least had the right general rule: every real story is constituted by the characters' answers to the questions, Who are you? What do you want? Where are you going?

    I think a lot of them make the mistake of thinking they can't have any destination because they have to surprise the audience. M Night Shyamalan syndrome.


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