Tuesday, March 28, 2006

D For Dreary

There are some programmes which are quiet, unassuming little works of genius. Somehow, A For Andromeda managed to be a quiet, unassuming little work of twaddle. I'm not exactly sure what BBC Four expected to achieve with this 90 minutes of mind-numbing blandness, but assuming it wasn't to create 90 minutes of mind-numbing blandness, they didn't manage it. What was so annoying, was that it wasn't even spectacularly rubbish, just... really dreary. The fact is, it's very hard to successfully update old sci-fi, because us plebs know so much more nowadays - both about really what is out there, and also how the powers that be would deal with it. The greatest scientific discovery for a century was received with a general 'meh' and about three people in the whole world seemed interested. I'm all for suspension of disbelief, but in any sort of fiction, there are still boundaries of belief at work, albeit greatly widened, and it all felt a bit ludicrous.

It was not, however, a complete waste of an hour and a half, because it introduced me to Tom Hardy, whom I've managed to avoid for far too long, seeing as though he has actually been on tv a lot recently (The Virgin Queen, Gideon's Daughter...). He's a massively watchable guy, and acted everyone else off the screen.


HolyhosesRob said...

Now, I just started watching that, but only got 10 minutes in. Does Jane Asher bake a cake? I'm not watching the rest, if not.

It's something of a hobbyhorse of mine that TV and film SF is just plodding and ordinary compared to SF as she is writ. And I'm not talking about stuff that requires a special effects budget or a cast of thousands. Just stories that soar into the imaginative stratosphere and attempt to evoke other in a way that doesn't involve the stock threat-to-earth/humanity.

And you're right. Why are the BBC giving us warmed up old cod when we know about nanotech? The answer is simple. It's because the people who work in production are all bloody former Arts students, and yet astonishingly poorly read. They'd rather do another documentary about John Wyndham, than pick up something written in the last 10 years.

AnnaWaits said...

"bloody former Arts students"
Hey! 'They' will soon be 'me'! But point taken. I guess. ;)

Rob Buckley said...

The original was supposed to be a classic. It's more or less been wiped so there's not enough left to test that hypothesis. However, I tried to watch the remaining parts of the sequel, The Andromeda Breakthrough, but it was extraordinarily dull. So perhaps the original was dull and BBC4 were just being faithful to the original.

I haven't watched the remake yet. That's a pleasure for later.

HolyhosesRob said...

I too am a bloody former Arts student. It takes one to know one.

I'm watching the rest of it now. It's slow, you're right, and for scientists, they sure have to ask each other a lot of "what does that mean?" type questions. I love the way the BBC always have to explain things down to the level of all the people who aren't ever going to be watching. If they did the same thing to Shakespeare, say, they'd change the script so that the characters explain all the original lines in plain english after they're spoken. Hamlet would be about 10 hours long.

Rob, they took the original script and randomly tossed in a load of 21st century buzzwords gleaned from the Blue Peter Handbook of Modern Scientific Jargon. Firewall. Genome. That kind of thing.

AnnaWaits said...

Haha so true. Man thinking about the whole thing just makes me slightly depressed.