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JunkMonkey
November 30th, 2007, 09:15 AM
Unto the Most Stupid Moments in Science Fiction Thread (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18172) - a daughter, where the noble art of shooting fish in barrels with anti-tank weapons can be enjoyed without fear of criticism from the more literate and bookish amongst us.

First out of the bag: The 'Proximity Detector' on Firefly (episode 3) which goes Whoop! Whoop! and flashes a red light only when the approaching object is within 15 feet of the ship and (more importantly) right in front of it so it can be seen out of the boat's windscreen. Thus, incidentally, proving the oft quoted analogy used to explain Einstein's theories of gravity warping space (which usually goes along the lines of "Imagine space is a sheet of stretched, rubbery material, now imagine the sun, or any other massive object, is a bowling ball sat on the rubber material".) The truth is if TV SF is to be believed, this is in fact the real nature of things out there in deep space. Space IS a two dimensional rubber sheet on which everything moves about and all orientated the same way up. (I would like to have been at that meeting. All the sentient races of the universe gathered together for a pan-galactic limb wrestle to determine a Universal definition of 'Up'.)



(Stupid moments in any version of Star Trek only score half of what any stupid moments in any other show would.)

Fung Koo
November 30th, 2007, 09:33 AM
I'm just going to go ahead and put the entire 3rd season of BSG up for consideration in this category. Somebody REALLY dropped the ball on that one....

JunkMonkey
November 30th, 2007, 11:08 AM
I'm just going to go ahead and put the entire 3rd season of BSG up for consideration in this category. Somebody REALLY dropped the ball on that one....

You can't nominate a whole series! What was the single most stupid moment of the season for you? When did the wheels finally fall off?

Apart from anything else I for one have not seen any of the New Battlestar Galacticas so I can't make any kind of judgement as to their bazookability until you come up with some details.

Fung Koo
November 30th, 2007, 11:30 AM
If you get the miniseries, you'll immediately see what was great about the new BSG. The first two seasons are amongst the best SF of its kind. The tensions between morality and survivalism, the pace of the story, the mythos and integration of religious elements (granted there is irritating prophecy crap, but they make it work somehow)...

Then the third season hits after a bunch of crappy webisodes and there's the humans, stuck on a planet ruled by their cylon overlords, and each episode gets worse and worse. The show used to successfully incorporate a variety of themes into each episode, and every episode fit into the story arc. The third season became like Star Trek - each episode examining one issue at a time, as if they're suddenly, inexplicably, independent of each other.

Lee Adama goes from being a cut military dude, maybe 190 lbs, to a 300 lb fatty a year later. Ok, that I can see. Then they escape the planet (which was pretty cool, I'll admit) and run away. They rescue everyone and Lee is suddenly ripped again! Is it because they've run out of food? Now up til this point, the technological limits have been fairly consistent. But suddenly they detect a planet covered in nutritious and delicious algae! (I guess Galactica's Draedus got an upgrade from the Enterprise?) There's enough to feed us all! Except that its on the other side of a radioactive wall of stardust and swirling energy! Our FTL drives can't get us across for no apparent reason even though we've done point precision jumps before! We have to go through! It'll take several trips! Many humans will die! Oh no, we need the cylon to help us! Let's all hug and bond! Cue retarded love story...

So that was like "whaaaaaaaat?!?!?"

And then there was the boxing episode. I think it cost them maybe $8 to make. Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-ap. Don't get me started. Don't EVEN get me started...

But the end of the third season makes the fourth and final seem very promising. The trial of Baltar was well done. So we'll see...

goldhawk
November 30th, 2007, 01:06 PM
The 'Proximity Detector' on Firefly (episode 3) which goes Whoop! Whoop! and flashes a red light only when the approaching object is within 15 feet of the ship and (more importantly) right in front of it so it can be seen out of the boat's windscreen.

OK, I'll go for the half point and mention that ST:TOS have a flashing red light that when "Whoop! Whoop!" whenever another spacecraft approached the Enterprise. It worked better too; it started flashing and whooping when the other ship was 1000 km away.

For another half point: Star Trek ship battles at a few thousand kilometers from each other. Even at 1/4 impulse, two ships that past each other will be 150,000 km apart in one second. That's right, in the time you read this sentence, the other ship is already out of range.

Mice9
November 30th, 2007, 01:07 PM
In an attempt to avoid the easy, or obvious ones (at least for now), I will offer 2 bloopers from the movie Contact. This is one of my favorite movies, although I suppose I would admit that it got a little melodramatic at times.

************************************************** *****
When the alien signal is heard for the first time and Ellie and her colleagues are excitedly recording data, they state that the star Vega is about to set. Yet outside the window the radio telescope array is clearly still pointing up at the sky, when it should be pointing to the horizon as it would be for a setting star.

Ellie has two telescopes set up to watch the Leonid meteor shower (during a flashback). Telescopes are useless to view meteors because of their tiny field of vision.

************************************************** *****

- 9.

KatG
November 30th, 2007, 04:48 PM
Well, I sort of liked the boxing episode of BSG. But what drove me nuts when I tried to watch it with my husband was that they were doing suicide bombings. What was the point of that? To freak out the human prisoners so they'd be willing to attempt to escape? Because killing the president meant nothing -- he was just a puppet to the Cylons and if he were dead, they'd just use someone else. The leader Cylons would just download into another clone of themselves, and the bucket Cylons are considered expendable -- they just make more. It's not like they are going to get scared, which is the point of suicide bombings -- terror. So it does absolutely no damage except to lose them human rebel fighters. What they needed to work on blowing up were the Cylons' resources -- equipment depots, fuel supplies, buildings, etc. so the Cylons would have to keep getting new stuff from their ships, whereupon you could bomb their planes. Although even that might have been a minor blip to the Cylons, which is why they should never have attempted to set up a colony on the planet anyway. Clearly the suicide bombings were there just to draw a parallel to the modern day, not out of any logic. Which annoyed me.

And then, whathisname kills his wife who was trying to save his life because she spied for the Cylons. That was totally unnecessary. And here they are, short of pilots and engineers, and what do they do -- they blast one of them out an airlock for collaborating because he thought he might be able to keep people from getting killed if he were with the Cylon cops. After that, I gave up, because I was starting to root for the Cylons to come and kill all these stupid people. They don't seem to get that they are on the run and have to conserve resources.

Fung Koo
November 30th, 2007, 04:57 PM
I'm right there with you, KatG. Obviously the suicide bombings were meant to be a way to show the other side of the coin -- the desperation of people living under a terrifying regime. So it was sort've a punk element to show that there is a (twisted) logic we can all understand to suicide bombing.

I think the goal of the bombings was to show the humans that compliance would not be tolerated, and to show the Cylons that humanity is willing to sacrifice itself to prevent becoming like them. Remember that the goal of the Cylons is no longer to eradicate humanity, but to make humans like them (monotheistic, logical, dispassionate) and use their biological goo for reproduction. And to show us viewers that the rest of the world doesn't much care to be under the all-powerful all-seeing watchdog that is the United States, and that maybe, just maybe, American foreign policy is where the hatred comes from...

But beyond that justification, I'm right there with you. The whole series lost its direction in season 3 and was no longer sure what points it was even trying to make.

But the boxing episode??? Really?? :eek:

JunkMonkey
November 30th, 2007, 06:26 PM
In an attempt to avoid the easy, or obvious ones (at least for now), I will offer 2 bloopers from the movie Contact.
Both good ones - neither of which I noticed on my only viewing. It's in my to be revisited pile. A good movie aside from the final reel. I know why they did it but I was literally jumping up and down yelling "Repeat the experiment!" at Jodie Foster's character when she seemed to forget that she was a scientist in all the hearings and enquiries at the end.

But to get back to the 'easy, obvious ones' (It's Friday Night after all) Star Trek (and as you might have guessed by now, this is a totally enjoyable big fish, small barrel, pump-action bazooka scenario for me) I think the most half points I can garner from a single movie is for ST Number VI the Undiscovered Script:

The following is lightly edited from my ranting review of it over at the IMDb



The main problem I had with this film, apart from the totally ludicrous Scooby-Doo type unmasking of the would-be assassin, and Spock's plodding Jessica Fletcher impression, is the film maker's assumption that the audience is totally stupid.

For example: towards the end of the film, faced with having to find an invisible spaceship (a "cloaked Warbird" no less), the crew of the Enterprise come up with the wizard wheeze of attaching some of "that atmospheric equipment we're carrying to catalogue gaseous anomalies" to a torpedo that will seek out the Klingon ship's exhaust. They hurriedly attach the gear to a torpedo and blow the baddies' space ship to bits. Hurrah! This is great - except this is the first mention of the Enterprise carrying "all that atmospheric equipment". There was scene at the start of the movie on board a totally different ship, commanded by Sulu, which had just finished surveying "Fifty-four planets - and their gaseous atmospheric anomalies" in which we are told the "sensing and analytic equipment worked well" but there's no mention of the Enterprise lugging this kind stuff around - until the script demands it. This is just lazy. It assumes the audience cannot remember what happened 80 minutes ago. It's insulting. Why when they were attacked by the cloaked Warbird didn't they look for the suspicious "Neutron emissions" that Spock noticed just before the attack? If the Warship was venting "Plasma" (which is very hot) why didn't they bung a night sight on their 'sensors' and look in the infra-red spectrum? "Stuff me! There's something really hot over there, captain. Can I shoot it?"

Other moments of stupidity include:

The galley having a gun rack just so a crew member can vaporise a chicken and prove a point about the alarm system. Why the hell would the ship's kitchen need a gun rack? Maybe there is a setting lower than 'stun' for melting the sugar on a Crème Brulet. Or shooting customers who complain that their burger didn't come with fries? Who Knows?

The assassin's magnetic boots being left in a locker so they could be found later. Why didn't the bad guys just bung them out of an airlock or, even better, 'transport' them off the ship into the convenient undetectable, invisible space ship hanging about outside. But no, this is a Star Trek movie. Only the heroes are allowed to be smart (and that is only by comparison which means everyone else has to be REALLY stupid). Having found the boots, the locker's owner is brought forward and challenged to put them on to see if they fit. The camera pans down the suspect's legs to reveal he has huge webbed feet. Bare, huge webbed feet. No socks, no shoes, just ugly rubber feet. I guess this was supposed to be funny but it just made me think 'Starfleet only provides uniforms for Humans? Oh come on! Grow up, people!'

And what's all this guff about the Klingons only having 50 years? If Earth's moon exploded with the force that the Klingon home-world's moon did it - it was a big enough bang to rock a Federation ship light years away (how?) - it would have done more than cause "deadly pollution of their ozone" it would have wiped all life of the face of the Earth, Mars, and any other colonised planets in the Solar System.

For years, we are told, an uneasy peace has been kept along the border between Klingon and Federation space. A Federation ship is warned by the Klingon High Command to "Obey treaty stipulations and remain outside the Neutral Zone!" Later, when the Enterprise zooms to Kirk's rescue, it scoots into Klingon space at top speed with big coloured zoom lines trailing behind it and a loud stereophonic Swoooooosh! on the soundtrack. The Klingon's response? A bored and sleepy guard hails them and asks them who they are. He hails them in voice only mind you - the first time ever in the history of the Trekyverse that I can remember that people haven't communicated via wall to wall TV - because if they had communicated via the usual wall to wall TV, the bored and sleepy Klingon guard would have seen he was talking to humans and pushed the panic button - how convenient for our heroes was that! On board the Enterprise Uhura and company frantically page through old Klingon glossaries, manuals and dictionaries they just happen to have lying around and bluff their way past the Evil Empire's borders by mumbling "We art delivering food... things and...supplies to Rura Penthe... over...". Okay, says the guard, on you go. And that's it! No passwords, no words of the day, no sign of any basic military security measures at all. Nothing. So much for the mighty warlike and evil Klingon empire. It's pathetic.


So how many half points was that? Is anyone keeping score here?

goldhawk
November 30th, 2007, 06:59 PM
But to get back to the 'easy, obvious ones' (It's Friday Night after all) Star Trek (and as you might have guessed by now, this is a totally enjoyable big fish, small barrel, pump-action bazooka scenario for me) I think the most half points I can garner from a single movie is for ST Number VI the Undiscovered Script:

A pump-action bazooka. Now that's a thought. Of course I wouldn't want to be near the thing when somebody fired it.



The assassin's magnetic boots being left in a locker so they could be found later. Why didn't the bad guys just bung them out of an airlock or, even better, 'transport' them off the ship into the convenient undetectable, invisible space ship hanging about outside. But no, this is a Star Trek movie. Only the heroes are allowed to be smart (and that is only by comparison which means everyone else has to be REALLY stupid). Having found the boots, the locker's owner is brought forward and challenged to put them on to see if they fit. The camera pans down the suspect's legs to reveal he has huge webbed feet. Bare, huge webbed feet. No socks, no shoes, just ugly rubber feet. I guess this was supposed to be funny but it just made me think 'Starfleet only provides uniforms for Humans? Oh come on! Grow up, people!'

I always thought that the boots were a deliberate plant; something to throw the investigators off.


Of course, the assassin was a Vulcan. Which makes it strange that a Vulcan would take an illogical action. Except, of course, when an illogical action is logical. To throw off the investigators, an illogical action would point away from Vulcans, and would be logical, in this circumstance.