Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nightflyer on SYFY isn't very good

Who wouldn't want a chance to create a series based on short stories by George R.R. Martin given the overwhelming success of Game of Thrones on HBO?  However so many things have to go right to duplicate success and these things did not happen with Nightflyers.

This horror and sci-fi mash-up is jammed with every sci-fi trope you can think of. 

Dying earth
Colony ship
Mysterious enigmatic aloof aliens
Messed up lead scientist
Messed up team of scientists
Evil (?) telepath.
Secret telepath.
Outlawed telepathy.
Crazy computer/haunted ship
Lost ship with crazy people
Not one but two cults
Jacking in to the computer
Genetically engineered humans

It is a predictable at times and then chaotic.  As I watched I felt little sympathy for the characters because they didn;' seem to do things in any sort of a logical manner letting their pathologies and obsessions drive them to do ridiculous things.  The pacing is slow, perhaps to give it gravitas, but I long for a 1.5X button like in my podcasts to just speed it along a little.  Spending this much time to hate watch it implies I do like it, but I just want to find out what happens.  Will it have any type of acceptable finale?

I am only to episode six and I have counted three separate virtual reality simulation technologies. 

The first is the memory room with lasers shooting holograms into the eyes of its users.  Users only seem to want to relive the worst memories of their lives.  In the future people will only watch the pictures of their deceased relatives in the saddest situations over and over again, just like every other dystopia.

The second is more virtual: the computer interface that Lommie the computer technician uses when she jacks in to the computer.  There she finds the mansion and grounds created by the dead mother who inhabits the computer system.  Later she makes her own virtual reality.

Finally, the telepath can project scenarios into peoples minds that feel as real as reality.  He gets a whole team basically addicted to these lives, which inevitably turn dark as people need a more and more powerful fix.

I should add as an honorable mention that the holographic projection system all over the ship can show lifelike images.  At first we, and even the characters, who surely should have read the orientation documents, don't know whether these images are hallucinations or ghosts.  When they are revealed to be merely holograms we wonder why the crew doesn't seem to realize that.

Given all of this why should we believe anything we see on screen, why would the characters who know about all of this technology?  Is there such a thing as unwilling suspension of disbelief?