Sunday, December 26, 2010

When Thinking Ruins TV

Sometimes I wonder if I think too much. In many cases, my enjoyment of entertainment is ruined by my thinking.

Star Trek

For instance, last week, I finally got to see the new Star Trek movie. After the final Star Trek: TNG movie, Nemesis, I wasn’t planning to see another Star Trek movie. I figured the franchise should remain in my past where I enjoyed it more. But, I’d heard good things about the new movie, which sort of departed from the present by visiting the past. I saw it, and loved it.

However, as a former Navy man, and as an engineer, my thinking in some ways ruined the experience for me. OK, what would a sci-fi action movie be without some epic fight scene in some vast space with small platforms suspended in mid-air? But still, during the final fight scene between young James T. Kirk and that Romulan miner-turned vengeance guy, I spent the whole scene wondering “what freaking idiot would design a ship with that much space, populated by tiny platforms? It’s not like you’d design a mining ship just so Kirk could fight a bad guy at the end of a movie.

I also had some minor issues with the whole “3 year cadet becomes Captain of a starship after 1 mission, no matter how successful”. The military can certainly violate its own rules, but career paths are there for a reason. In the Navy, line officers must do so much time in each department. I had several division officers who transferred from or to engineering after a brief stint in my division. It’s only the specialized officers (chaplains, supply, medical, dental, etc) who only do one thing for their entire careers. If you want to be a captain of a Naval ship, you have to do time in engineering, deck, operations, combat systems, etc. Sometimes, you go back. The first captain I served on the U.S.S. Oldendorf under was promoted to O-6 and left to be the Chief Engineer on an aircraft carrier. From CO to department head.

Stargate Universe:

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I enjoy SGU. But, especially in the 2nd season, I agonize over one annoying detail: only 1 member of the crew has managed to find the pilot house. I know, the show centers around Air Force personnel. It may not naturally occur to them that ships have a central point from which they’re operated or navigated. But still, had I been a member of the crew, the first thing I would have done is locate the pilot house (bridge). Also, I would have looked for something like a CIC. But they spend the entire 1st season using some “control interface room”, then in the 2nd season, Dr. Rush “accidentally” stumbles across the pilot house and decides not to tell anybody he found it. And since the concept never occurs to the other members of the cast, he is able to keep it hidden for a while.

I would have found it long before that. But again, I only grew up in the Air Force. I didn’t serve in it.

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