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Old November 14 2011, 03:31 AM   #151
sojourner
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

The key difference between zombies and Borg is intelligence. It becomes much harder to survive a zombie horde if they had an intelligent hive mind.
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Old November 14 2011, 03:35 AM   #152
Temis the Vorta
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Yeah, the Borg are zombies on steroids with that hive mind thing. But it's still crucial that the Borg not have any more individual intelligence than zombies to - that way lies madness!

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's zombies sometimes act like there's some intelligence directing them, or at least hive-mind-type behavior. They migrate towards gunshots but not, I guess, towards other loud sounds like thunder or a tree falling in the woods from natural causes? How do they know one is the dinner bell and one isn't? Or is everything the dinner bell to them? I'd like to see how they behave in a thunderstorm. Lots of jumping?
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Old November 14 2011, 03:39 AM   #153
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Kegg wrote: View Post
Well, no.

As was kind of observed upthread, the Borg have some similarities to zombies, and multiple zombie stories can be told without personalizing them.
Except zombie stories do have a personal stake, because zombies are specifically going after people, and because they can be the corpses of people who used to matter to the characters. The Borg as originally defined in "Q Who" had no interest in people, only technology, and their drones were grown in incubation vats, not assimilated. In order to give subsequent Borg stories more of a personal stake, the Borg were changed to be more zombie-like than they had originally been, becoming interested in assimilating people and turning them into Borg. In TNG this was a rare process; Picard/Locutus was the only person it was shown to happen to. But in First Contact the zombie analogy was embraced wholeheartedly, with assimilation becoming a routine practice, and Voyager followed that precedent.
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Old November 14 2011, 10:26 AM   #154
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

The problem with the Borg is that they were presented as completely unstoppable. Then they were stopped every other week or so.
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Old November 14 2011, 04:50 PM   #155
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Christopher wrote: View Post
Except zombie stories do have a personal stake, because zombies are specifically going after people, and because they can be the corpses of people who used to matter to the characters. The Borg as originally defined in "Q Who" had no interest in people, only technology, and their drones were grown in incubation vats, not assimilated. In order to give subsequent Borg stories more of a personal stake, the Borg were changed to be more zombie-like than they had originally been,
True, but that didn't necessitate the Queen, so no, zombie-type villains do not need to be given a 'face' to continue to work in stories.

(A vaguely related argument would be whether or not assimilation was necessary either - in some senses, the Queen is the natural response to the assumption the Borg enslave new minds, rather than have them birthed. An ant-like society of hive mind drones may not have individuality, but they may not be slaves, either - since the decisions of the whole would come organically from that collective, a transhuman one-brain one-vote system... or not.)
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Old November 14 2011, 05:06 PM   #156
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
The problem with the Borg is that they were presented as completely unstoppable. Then they were stopped every other week or so.
Yup, that's always a problem, when you've got an "unstoppable" character/race, and you use them often, you end up de-fanging them by repeatedly beating the "Unstoppable".

One way around that, IMHO, if you want to use them frequently, is to use a small number frequently, it's OK to beat a few of them often, and then, every once in a while, you throw in a large number, and let the "unstoppable" character/race win that round, to show they actually are a threat.
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Old November 14 2011, 05:54 PM   #157
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Kegg wrote: View Post
True, but that didn't necessitate the Queen, so no, zombie-type villains do not need to be given a 'face' to continue to work in stories.
It's dangerous to take any analogy too literally, and that applies to this whole "zombie" business here. The decision to create the Queen was another application of the same principle: making the story more personal. The Queen, like Locutus, Hugh, Seven of Nine, etc., gave the Borg a face and a voice, enabled them to be treated on a character level rather than a force-of-nature level. True, there had been prior ST movies with impersonal threats -- V'Ger, the Whale Probe -- but the most successful ones usually had memorable villains like Khan or Chang. (And even V'Ger was given a spokesperson in the Ilia Probe.) Clearly they were going for the same sort of thing, and while I agree that it was a significant reinterpretation and something of an oversimplification of the Borg, it seems to have worked, since FC was the most popular and successful of the TNG movies.


(A vaguely related argument would be whether or not assimilation was necessary either - in some senses, the Queen is the natural response to the assumption the Borg enslave new minds, rather than have them birthed. An ant-like society of hive mind drones may not have individuality, but they may not be slaves, either - since the decisions of the whole would come organically from that collective, a transhuman one-brain one-vote system... or not.)
I've always preferred to interpret the Queen merely as a central processing and decision-making node for the collective consciousness -- sort of like the frontal lobe of the human brain. It's the whole collective doing the thinking and deciding, but the "Queen" unit is the nexus that links and coordinates the whole process, and so to our human eyes it gives the illusion that the Queen is an individual doing all the thinking and deciding.

The fact that Queens were later established to be replaceable and interchangeable reinforces this notion. Destroy one Queen body, and another takes its place, indicating that the body doesn't house the actual Borg consciousness but is merely a cog in the machine -- a vital cog, but one that can be swapped out.
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Old November 14 2011, 06:27 PM   #158
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Sindatur wrote: View Post
One way around that, IMHO, if you want to use them frequently, is to use a small number frequently, it's OK to beat a few of them often, and then, every once in a while, you throw in a large number, and let the "unstoppable" character/race win that round, to show they actually are a threat.
By the time the Borg appear in ST Voyager a single ship can seem to stop the collective.
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Old November 14 2011, 06:46 PM   #159
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

DarthTom wrote: View Post
Sindatur wrote: View Post
One way around that, IMHO, if you want to use them frequently, is to use a small number frequently, it's OK to beat a few of them often, and then, every once in a while, you throw in a large number, and let the "unstoppable" character/race win that round, to show they actually are a threat.
By the time the Borg appear in ST Voyager a single ship can seem to stop the collective.
Right, which is by the Borg got so de-fanged. As said in an earlier post, you can't make someone out to be Unstoppable, and then beat them every other week.
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Old November 14 2011, 07:13 PM   #160
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Except it's somewhat justified in VGR by giving them an ex-Borg crewmember to give them insights into the Borg's Achilles heels and help upgrade their technology with Borg knowledge.
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Old November 14 2011, 10:08 PM   #161
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Sorry to interrupt the Borg discussion, but here's an interesting sci fi drama! Too bad it's on NBC but it's nice to see the networks still think that they can do sci fi at all. I've been wondering if they'd just give up:

Beautiful People (NBC) - character-driven futuristic “what if” drama where families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population… that is until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken.”
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Old November 14 2011, 10:10 PM   #162
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

I'll watch that pilot.
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Old November 14 2011, 10:48 PM   #163
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Sorry to interrupt the Borg discussion, but here's an interesting sci fi drama! Too bad it's on NBC but it's nice to see the networks still think that they can do sci fi at all. I've been wondering if they'd just give up:

Beautiful People (NBC) - character-driven futuristic “what if” drama where families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population… that is until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken.”
Ah, the TV version of AI and I Robot. We'll see if it makes it. so many pilot TV projects don't make it past 3 episodes on regular network TV because of the production costs. Let's face it, sci-fi is expensive to make compared with the ever so popular shows like Dancing with the Stars and Idol.
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Old November 14 2011, 11:12 PM   #164
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

3 episodes? Most aren't lucky enough to make it to pilot.
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Old November 14 2011, 11:22 PM   #165
Temis the Vorta
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Re: the state of sf/f TV development for 2012-13

There's a limit to the market for reality TV, and for cop/doctor/lawyer shows. By avoiding the expense of genre TV, networks are also losing a chunk of their audience who don't see sci fi and reality TV as interchangeable. Instead, they flee to cable or they switch off the TV altogether and play video games or the internet etc. It's a bad long-term strategy to avoid a whole part of your business just because it's difficult. NBC tried to do that (remember Leno 5 x week?) and that really did not work out for them.

NBC's current lineup this year is pretty uninspired (in addition to unsuccessful overall) but it's the product of the old guard, before the new CEO Bob Bob Greenblatt was hired from Showtime. Now that he's got a development cycle to fully control, he does appear to be making somewhat more gutsy choices, like an adaptation of Hannibal (maybe too gutsy for broadcast? sorry, Bob, the FCC isn't going to let you re-create Dexter) and JJ Abrams' Revolution, assuming it doesn't turn out to be something old-hat like another spy show.

sojourner wrote: View Post
3 episodes? Most aren't lucky enough to make it to pilot.
Yeah, that's part of the reason why I'm keeping the monster list. I'm curious what proportion of those shows make it all the way through the process. I know it's low, kind of like baby sea turtles hatching and scrambling for the ocean. Most of them get gobbled up by seagulls before they even hit the surf, much less ever grow to maturity.

But anything that NBC is developing will automatically have the benefit of being on a network that is going to need a large number of new shows next fall, as per usual.
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