CBS crime dramas spilling over into sci fi

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Temis the Vorta, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    CBS's need to find new topics for crime procedurals seems to be leading them into some unintentionally interesting sci fi-ish territory lately.

    An untitled procedural

    There's a risk of this topic giving the public the impression that there's nothing scary or wrong with authorities tracking down criminals based on their DNA (brrr) but there's also the potential to delve into the ethical issues raised by the intersection of genetics and law enforcement. That's a topic I wish real sci fi series would tackle, and not in a fantastical/metaphorical way.

    And there's also the upcoming CBS series Person of Interest, with a premise that sounds like a real-life take on Minority Report, but with high tech standing in for psychics, starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson.

    Persons of Interest:

    And once again, they're delving into an area where the lines between civil liberties and law enforcement are vague, especially since these guys are freelance vigilantes.
     
  2. Hound of UIster

    Hound of UIster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    CBS a few years back also did a courtroom drama set in the far future.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It doesn't sound like it has a fanciful element, at least any more than something like CSI or Numb3rs or any profiler show exaggerating the efficacy of its science (if you can call profiling a science at all -- I've read articles suggesting it's no more reliable than guesswork).


    Near future, actually. Century City was set in 2030, and was intended as an exploration of the legal and ethical issues that could arise from plausible near-future technologies such as genetic engineering, cloning, bionic implants, etc. In fact, as I recall, it was originally meant to be a couple of decades further in the future, but the network wanted it closer to the present so they modified it, which created some continuity or plausibility glitches in a couple of episodes (things being a little too advanced for 2030 or character ages being off -- like the then-68-year-old Anthony Zerbe playing a former member of a boy band, something that would've made more sense had the show been set 45 years in the future instead of 25).
     
  4. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    nothing new here:
    “Murmurs” Sci-Fi time-travel drama by CBS in development

    ABC did "Life on Mars", there was going to be a reboot of Alien Nation to be remade by TIM MINEAR on SyFy
    and 'Gattaca' series on TV -as a dramatic police procedural

    CBS loves crime dramas. As a Wired magazine writer Clive Thompson wrote in January 2008:
    So by CBS going a little Sci-fi they can keep telling crime stories but by altering reality they become different.

    this topics was also discussed in the thread: Why is there no pure Sci-Fi on TV today? Part Deux
     
  5. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you watch Dexter, you get the impression there's nothing wrong with being a serial killer as long as you only kill other murderers.

    And in shows like NCIS, 24 and others, wiretapping, torturing/threatening with torture, and vigilante justice are perfectly okay.
     
  6. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I dunno, if you've seen Brian Harvey of East 17 lately, you won't find it all that far-fetched that he'll look as old as Zerbe in 20 years..
     
  7. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Christopher, can I ask which articles? As for whether profiling is little more reliable than guesswork, that is what profiling is. It is educated guesswork based on decades of interviewing serial killers, serial rapists, and other degenerate scum by Federal Agents and police officers that pooled their resources into a vast database. While TV shows like Criminals Minds (and the short-lived spin-off Suspect Behavior - which was derogatorily named the Women's Intuition Unit) do exaggerate for artistic license, they do have (or did in the early seasons) one of the founders of FBI's Behavioral Science Unit as a consultant.

    Catching people with faulty wiring is going to involve a great deal of guesswork since everyone is different. But as with medical conditions, certain behaviors can be linked to specific causes and thus a profiler can say that Killer A is doing what he's doing because this and that happened when he was a child. The known progression of behavior that serial killers often follow (torturing and killing animals, etc) is not really guesswork as there's plenty of evidence to back it up. Serial Rapist B would have likely been a peeping tom or an opportunist growing up, a womanizer, etc.
     
  8. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ There have been a few high-profile cases in the UK, wherein the work of profilers led to utterly disastrous police investigations, focussing on the wrong man and allowing real killers to strike again, as a result. Google 'Colin Stagg' and 'honey trap' for an example.
     
  9. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Admiral Admiral

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    And they probably have a better chance of survival because they'll draw in viewers who'll watch CSI and NCIS but have no interest in watching something like Fringe which is more overtly SF. The odds are still very much against any SF series made for mainstream commercial networks lasting beyond a dozen episodes, so the ends justify the means.

    Mind you, according to the Saturn Awards, the original CSI is actually science fiction; if so, then unbeknown to a lot of SF fans, that show has broken the American SF-series longevity records set by Stargate SG1 and Smallville. Though the Saturns seem to be the only place where CSI is ever considered sci-fi.

    Alex
     
  10. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In that particular case, the profiler messed up big time and I believe that he should have something more than a verbal slap on the wrist which is what happened in essence. Profilers make mistakes, yes, but as was recently pointed out me again, you can't tar all profilers with the same brush. Britain does not have access to the same resources or killers/serial killers that America has to build up a good basis for profiling. David Canter's work is the foundation for British profiling and even he accepted his work's flaws.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think it's a fairly valid way of looking at it. One definition of science fiction, or at least a certain subset of science fiction, is fiction in which the protagonists are scientists, the stories are driven by the scientific process, and the problems are solved through the application of scientific knowledge. CSI is certainly that. What would you call fiction about doing science, if not science fiction?

    True, it's generally required that the science in SF be at least slightly ahead of what exists in the real world, that there be a speculative component to it. But I submit that there is a lot about CSI that is more speculative than real. In the CSI universe, forensic science is more powerful, more accurate, and considerably faster than in reality. The CSI franchise's scientists often use technology that is more advanced than what exists in reality, such as CSI:NY's coroners using a holographic imaging system to perform virtual autopsies. (Not to mention the detail that there even is a "CSI" unit in New York City, as opposed to the real-world NYPD's CSU.) And most of all, in the CSI universe, forensic scientists participate actively in police investigations, arrests, interrogations, and so forth, despite the enormous conflict of interest that would create in reality. That's extremely fanciful, a conjectural element of the franchise that makes it very distinct from our reality.

    So yeah, I think CSI can validly be called science fiction. It's an alternate universe where science and technology more advanced than our own is integrated more fully into police work. This universe also tends to have a disproportionate number of serial killers who follow the careers of these glamorous science cops and go out of their way to challenge them.
     
  12. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Fortunately there is no criminality gene. There is also no single gene for "psychopathy" at best there are several, strangely enough very common and no correlation with symptoms. Hey I love the ACLU but even I think they are worried about nothing.

    There is nothing vague about vigilantes. If you are one you are a criminal. How it's handle is purely about politics not law or ethics.
     
  13. Whofan

    Whofan Fleet Captain

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    I seem to recall "Bones" (Fox's Emily Deschenal/David Boreanaz "Crime dramedy") had a hologram in it's first season, but that was let go in later seasons.


    CSI had an episode about the Lizard alien guys. They also did that story shortly after Lawrence Fishburne joined about a murder at a sci-fi convention, that was a send-up of Trek & BSG. It even had Ronald Moore, Grace Park and Kate Vernon in it! The term "Frakking" was also used but in a different context in a recent episode (One that actually had Katee Sackhoff, interestingly enough) Also NCIS, Criminal Minds and a few others have been sneaking in Doctor Who references here and there.

    X-files I think did some crime drama style stories, especially with Scully doing all those forensic stuff. (I've only seen the first one and a half seasons, so I'm not sure it shows up later).
     
  14. Pingfah

    Pingfah Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That was awful. I recall one episode where the case was only broken because they had access to this non-existent technology, which is such a big cop-out for a forensics procedural show.
     
  15. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    CSI Miami has a holographic table and these 3D curved glass viewscreens (like in Avatar). I think they even do fancy autopsy using a hologram.

    And CSI New York once had a time machine episode. I didn't watch the end of that one, so I can't say if they really went that route or not.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Worth noting that CSI's showrunner at the time, and for most of its run, I think, was Naren Shankar, a veteran of ST:TNG, Farscape, and other genre shows, and the Trek-parody episode "A Space Oddity" was scripted by DS9/BSG alumni David Weddle & Bradley Thompson (who joined CSI's staff after BSG ended) from a story by Shankar. Also, the two CSI regulars who were portrayed in the episode as the biggest fans of the Trek-pastiche show, Hodges and Wendy, were both played by actors who have guest-starred on Star Trek.
     
  17. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting - I had no idea that CSI had any sci fi content.

    I'm assuming the "psychopath gene" show is inevitably going to go beyond the boundaries of accepted science because with someone from Dexter on board, it's inevitable that the main character is going to start having psychopathic tendencies caused by that nasty little gene. :rommie:

    When the show started out, it was more of a question whether it's ok to be a serial killer if you only kill other murderers. But the show really hasn't continued to emphasize that point, and Michael C. Hall's charisma makes it hard to see the opposing viewpoint. The first season was really the only time they made an effort to depict the guy as truly dangerous and not just a vigilante who got his start in an unorthodox way.
     
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    When did the Saturn awards pronounce CSI an SF show? Saturn awards include the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror/Thriller and Action/Adventure. (These four genres are the categories they give Movie nominations from; for TV, they just nominated shows in "Network" and "Syndicated/Cable".) I'm pretty sure that CSI was there for the "thriller" part. Just like "The Closer", for instance.
     
  19. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    Cbs "source code" drama

    Http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplayl...to_become_a_weekly_sci-fi_procedural_tv_show/

    When i source code i figured it could be a tv series.


    Via
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/source-code-be-adapted-tv-236071
     
  20. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Interest in sci fi at CBS? That is news! I thought since Jericho's cancellation, they had given up on sci fi working on their network at all.

    But the problem still remains that any show that wants to survive on CBS has a high ratings hurdle. Person of Interest is light enough on sci fi that I think it has a pretty good chance. Multiple-reality scenarios might be pushing it, but it sounds like CBS is doing a lot more than "tweaking" the premise, and it's going to be more akin to Quantum Leap.