12 Monkeys pilot greenlit by Syfy

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dream, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Quite right, as I acknowledged in post #25. The comment you quoted above was about the movie specifically.

    I refer the right honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a moment ago. ;)
     
  2. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think all of the time travel in the movie is awesome and all, but no, the past is never changed. Any time travel into the past in the context of the film is a predestination paradox; always happened and always will.

    ...unless you care to think that Jones may have stumbled onto something new, but we don't get to see where things go with her, or from the "present" perspective where things might have gone with her.

    Might have been interesting if Cole had run into Jones or another time traveler in the past before they had been sent into the past, so he could tell Future Folks that they would be sending someone into the past.

    You know, as fond as I am of the theory that time travel into the past means that you've crossed over to a parallel timeline, I think in this particular case I'm not going to spend any time trying to unravel this movie in such a manner. :)

    Also, I seem to remember the movie credits mentioning that there was a novelization. Does anyone else recall this, much less seeing the novelization itself? Because that would be...well, I don't even know...
     
  3. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Premium Member

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    When you stop to think about it, predestination paradoxes don't work if you have sufficient information. If you know your history well enough to know exactly what you did in the "past", you can easily do something different.

    You could do a Donnie Darko-style twist, where changing the past is possible but destabilizes things to the point where it must be avoided. You could do a Source Code-style twist, in which time travel doesn't change anything but can create a new timeline alongside the old. But a pure predestination paradox only works in very limited conditions.
     
  4. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Fair enough. However, my point is that, in the movie, they gave a hope of saving those people's lives. The television show would presumably give the same hope. In order to do that, they have to leave open the possibility of being able to change time. The movie seemed to leave open this possibility as well. So far, the concept is exactly the same. The only difference is we've seen the movie and know that they were just teasing us when they seemed to leave it open.

    This discussion started with the idea that watching a television series where we knew most of the people we meet are going to die would be a downer. I tend to agree, but I don't think being faithful to the source material requires this.
     
  5. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^Except the whole point of a predestination paradox is that you -can't- do something different regardless of how much you try. Anything you do to try to escape the paradox is something you did previously.
     
  6. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think I ever -really- felt that hope...though, are you talking about hope to the audience or hope to the characters?

    IIRC James Cole says early in the film that his goal isn't to change the past precisely because the past can't be changed. His goal is to gather information that can be used to alter his present.
     
  7. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Except we only know for a fact that it's a predestination paradox because we've seen the movie. Before we watched it, we didn't know this.

    He was told that right at the beginning yes. But he changed his view and wanted to actively stop it. There would be no dramatic tension at all unless we believed he had at least a theoretical chance of succeeding. The movie led you to believe that the claims about it being a predestination paradox and impossible to change might be wrong - that it was, in fact, possible to change. That meant hope for both the character and the audience, at least on the first run through watching the movie.
     
  8. Mister Fandango

    Mister Fandango Fleet Captain

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    There's always the possibility that time travel won't play a major part in the series. That's what the movie was about, but the series could very easily just be about the future timeline and other efforts to find a cure.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Exactly. The principle is that the laws of physics themselves constrain your choices. Free will is a matter of context; in some circumstances our choices are more constrained than in others. For instance, if you're walking in an open field, you have considerable freedom of movement in two dimensions (though hardly any in the third), but if you then fall off a cliff, your freedom to choose your direction of motion becomes severely constrained. By the same token, someone who travels into their own past might lose the freedom of volition and choice they have in the present, because, quantum-mechanically speaking, they're already correlated with the future they came from and thus will correlate their surroundings with it as well, effectively forcing the universe to conform to their own future (at least as perceived within their frame of reference). Now, the simplest and most likely way to guarantee that is for time travel to be impossible, for the energy feedback to disintegrate the traveler before they reach the past. But theoretically, if a time traveler could reach the past, they'd be compelled to bring about their own future and incapable of creating a different one.
     
  10. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Have you ever watched Odyssey 5? :lol:
     
  11. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I admit I can't remember whether I thought, when I first saw the film, that Cole might at any point be able to change the course of things. The evidence that anything he might do had already occurred was significant, though. Certainly at the point where Railly leaves the voicemail that Cole's already heard.

    I think this may be a case for me where the dramatic tension was more about the journey than the destination. What does the dream mean? How does the virus get released? Is Jeffrey responsible for it?

    Of course the ending is a delicious combination of Hope and Tragedy, as Cole decides to fight against what he's believed for the majority of the film -must- happen...and pays the ultimate price for it, closing his own loop.

    On a side note, I absolutely love that Bruce Willis ended up playing a not dissimilar character years later. Looper was another fun ride for me.

    On a second side note, Lost dabbles with predestination paradoxes, but what I find more interesting in this context is that it dealt with the idea that when Fate has plans for you there's simply nothing you can do to change things.
     
  12. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    Sure, and I'm only going on my own memory here. The idea of him fighting it seems to really take center stage when he starts to think that he's responsible for causing it (after speaking to Brad Pitt's character). Maybe this theme was only in my head. However, it's possible to make it more explicitly in the television show without actually changing the ground rules of the movie (or, if they want to, to change them).

    I think, in the end, it plays a bit like a Greek tragedy where his fate was always sealed, but I do think the hope part is an important part that can only work if the audience thinks he has a chance to do more than observe.

    While true, I was referring to the end of Season 5, which addresses this squarely. It's kind of what I had in mind for playing with the rules in a predestination paradox (the past in Lost wasn't any more changeable).
     
  13. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just because altering the timeline didn't happen, that isn't necessarily the same thing as its having been impossible. We're just seeing a case where someone tried to alter the outcome and failed.

    :techman:
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  14. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Admit it, you are only saying that because you are a writer and you like to write time travel in a certain way. ;)

    The simple fact is this: since IRL, time travel is impossible and probably always will be, the only rules it can ever have are those assigned to it by writers of fiction. It is possible to change history if the writer says it is. I realize this is a cop-out, but it is the only thing we have to go on.

    If, in the original film, they at least TRIED to change history - but failed in the attempt - then that's something, at least. But to never try in the first place? That is unrelentingly bleak and nihilistic, and not something I would ever enjoy watching. To simply dismiss the deaths of billions of people with a hand wave, a sort of "Meh, we can't change things, and should never even bother trying", is almost as bad as killing them directly.

    Oh, and the line about Jones? That is an easy out. :)
     
  15. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    I think there are some good stories that have predestination paradoxes. The Prisoner of Azkaban, the original Terminator, etc. It's just a mechanic of time travel that can be interesting if done right. The Twilight Zone probably did it a bunch of times.

    ETA: They do it a bunch of times in the episode where a guy tries to kill Hitler.
     
  16. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I have.

    Did you?
     
  17. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I love that show. Clearly you need to watch it a few more times if you think 12 Monkeys and Odyssey 5 are similar plot points.

    The only think the same is that there is time travel and trying to save the Earth. However 12 Monkeys the humans are using time travel themselves to save themselves in the past. Humans are alive, just not well. O5 is the whole fucking planet is blown to bits and an alien happens to come around to send them back in time.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^That's splitting hairs. Yes, the details are different, but they're both premises about people going back in time in hopes of averting a future disaster.
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Erm, but one of the whole points of 12M, which we've already discussed, is that the humans aren't trying to save themselves in the past because they don't believe (and perhaps they have good reasons for not believing) they can. For them time travel is essentially a recon mission. Learn what you can and return with it.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^And I've already discussed that the TV series would not be exactly identical to the movie. So how the movie defined the nature of time travel and the characters' mission isn't binding on how a weekly TV series would define it.

    The paradigm generally used for time-travel shows along these lines, such as Odyssey 5, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, FlashForward, and Continuum, is the avalanche/tidal-wave model of history: the idea that there's a powerful flow of causation pushing events in a certain direction, so that while you can change bits and pieces here and there, it won't necessarily be enough to prevent the big thing you're trying to prevent (or in the case of Continuum, won't necessarily erase the future the heroine is hoping to preserve). This is a logical model for an ongoing series of that format to adopt, from a dramatic standpoint -- because on the one hand, you want your audience to feel that the heroes have some chance of accomplishing their goals rather than being slaves of predestination, but on the other hand, you don't want them to achieve their goals too easily or the show will be over. So the best compromise is to at least suggest that the future can be changed while making it clear that it's very, very hard to make more than minor changes.

    And naturally the people adapting a movie into a television series will have "Make it work as a TV series" as a higher priority than "Slavishly copy the movie." They'll change whatever they need to, just like any adaptation does. So it's likely they'll go for the "changing the future is very hard but potentially doable" model like so many other similar series have done, rather than just copying the movie's "changing the future is impossible" model.

    Heck, even if the show purported to be in the same continuity as the movie, rather than a complete reboot, they could just say that the movie's assumptions about time being immutable weren't entirely accurate, that it's just really hard to change rather than impossible. After all, that's basically what Terminator 2 and TSCC did -- retconned the first film's fatalistic time-travel paradigm into a mutable one.