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Old August 8 2014, 10:11 PM   #1
Asbo Zaprudder
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Location: On the beach
Virtuality -- five years on

I've just watched the Virtuality pilot on Netflix in the UK, five years after it aired in the US. I was quite impressed and intrigued even though there were some silly bits like supposedly professional people behaving like dickwads (which I shall term the Prometheus syndrome), explosive decompression taking a very long time and not being very explosive, and the unnecessarily clumsy waldo-interface for loading nukes into the Orion drive (when the original soft-drink vending machine concept would have been better ).

The whole vibe was similar to a melange of Frank Herbert's Destination Void and Ken Catran's Deepwater Black. I liked it a lot more than Defying Gravity -- also produced in 2009. Perhaps everyone is a clone as well as reality possibly being a simulation?

I guess we'll never know how the story would have developed. Presumably TPTB at Fox felt it was too complex and confusing for an audience to follow and would quickly tank in the ratings. Or perhaps they felt much the same as Sheldon Cooper did about Babylon 5: "It fails as drama, science fiction and is hopelessly derivative." I always identify more with Leonard, anyway.

So I wonder how the story would have turned out five years down the line -- did the producers have a plan or were they just winging it like on nuBSG?
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Old August 8 2014, 10:33 PM   #2
Locutus of Bored
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Re: Virtuality -- five years on

I thought it was a great pilot, with a fantastic cast, a cool ship, and the Orion startup sequence past Neptune while the Chemical Bros. Alive Alone played was one of my favorite TV scenes ever.

That being said, the premise makes it kind of limiting, since there would be no chance to introduce new characters or events on their interstellar voyage other than through the virtual reality simulation or through flashbacks or communications with Earth (since I believe they had the conceit of instantaneous or rapid comms, right?), most of which can get tedious when overused. They might have been able to pull it off, though, I don't know. I wish they would have gotten a shot.

You can also watch the pilot here on Veoh for those who don't have Netflix.
'First Contact' is the tale of a man who just wants to cash in on his creation so he can get wasted on an island full of naked women, but his fans keep insisting that he's a saintly visionary who has profoundly altered the world. AKA - 'I Don't Want to be a Statue: The Gene Roddenberry Story.'
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Old August 8 2014, 11:12 PM   #3
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: Virtuality -- five years on

In the pilot they mention the time delay for communication is several hours so no instant comms -- I don't think I saw any examples of such. They didn't discuss time dilation but a ten-year subjective round trip to Epsilon (?) Eridani 10.5 light years away would seem to imply an average speed of about 0.9 c (Lorentz factor of at least 2) and an Earth elapsed time of at least 21 years (I think -- Christopher can correct me later).

For a gravity assist, Jupiter would be better than Neptune (the maximum possible boost is twice the planet's orbital velocty IIRC) but I guess the radiation environment would be a problem. Any burn should take place at periapsis to take advantage of the Oberth effect.
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Old August 18 2014, 12:52 AM   #4
Lieutenant Commander
Re: Virtuality -- five years on

Its amazes me how many half ideas there is out there and yet so few that actually make it to popularity.
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