Archive for November 8th, 2011

Maximizing the enjoyment of music

The kind of music I listen to in the last few years is highly visual. For a synesthete like me it’s easy to close my eyes and create images, and whole stories to accompany a musical piece (kind of like a personal music video). But people wouldn’t “get” such music without an accompanied music video, since these melodies are different than standard pop & require extra work from the listener.

Even myself I don’t always “get” immediately some music without visual help. I largely passed through the “Keep Shelly In Athens” band in the last few months, but its video below made me understand it better after watching it for the first time tonight. Within a few minutes I was already a fan, while just cursorily listening to the band’s music in the past didn’t grab me as much. Funnily, I also just found out that the band is actually Greek, and that they play close to my home tomorrow night! How’s that for timing?

Playing back the visuals of a song in my mind, it’s not nearly as powerful as… being in them though. There are two ways to potentially go around this limitation. First one is to hook up in a machine that could take over my visual cortex and let me see & live what *I* want to see. Just as with recreational drugs though, that’s probably a pretty dangerous affair: “fooling” your brain for too long might ending up burning it. The second way is via a Holodeck-style room/device.

Whatever the solution though, today I feel constrained by our technology (and… gravity). Such technology won’t exist for another 100 to 200 years from now, and by that time I would be long gone. But when it does arrive, it would be the ultimate high. Living music. Feeling it, and seeing it all around you. Some kinds of music, is meant for such an experience.

Five TV remakes I’d like to see

Doing a remake for TV or the big screen is always risky business. Your effort must be accepted as better than the original, and even then, you’d still have the old fans cursing at you for your blasphemous remake. But you know, I’m not scared off that easily.

I have a few original ideas of my own for TV shows, but if I had to do a remake of a sci-fi show, these will be the ones I’d go re-imagining. And since I like fair business, none of these shows would last more than 3 seasons, with 12-16 episodes per season, and they would be fully serialized, mysterious, and complex (no episodic crap for me). I like my entertainment with a solid pre-plan, and a real, well thought-out ending. Having writers in an office brainstorming mid-season about where to go with their TV series, is my worst nightmare. If I can’t trust my fantasy land that I escape to, what can I trust?

– Alien Nation
Original run: 1989
Why Remake it: Because the original was too simplistic & formulaic.
Sub-genre: Political & social drama.
Year it takes place: 2020.
Background: A bunch of aliens who try to fit in on the daily lives of Earthlings with extremely narrow tolerance. The aliens that are unleashed on Earth are genetically engineered (hybrids) in order to be able to breath here. They look something between humans and their parenting alien race. None of the hybrids are more than 30 years old. The “parent” aliens who made them are a dying race and can’t breathe on Earth, therefore they have to stay in their 5 landed spaceships until they die out (can’t speak English either). As a thanks to the Earthlings for letting their legacy be remembered, after the last one of them is dead, their technology will be shared with the Earthlings. The hybrid aliens are like their parenting aliens in all intends and purposes, they just look more human than they do. The hybrids are hermaphrodites, and they can mate with humans too, either men or women. The engineered aliens are the only “good guys” in the whole story. Both the humans (who feel invaded), and parenting aliens (who feel screwed) have their own secret agendas. Humans want to get hold of the alien tech faster in order to use it against the aliens and get rid of them, while the parenting aliens want Australia & New Zealand, which are big and remote-enough, in order to terraform them by creating a micro-climate for the survival of their own (parenting) race. Obviously, the story is more inspired by popular modern mythology (Greys & human-Grey hybrids) than the original TV show, but I think it’s time someone tells the story from the point of view of the hybrids: unleashed into a strange & unforgiving world, and being the guinea pigs for both sides.

Space: Above & Beyond
Original run: 1995
Why Remake it: Because the original was cheesy & banal.
Sub-genre: Political & military action drama.
Year it takes place: 2190.
Background: I’d keep a lot of the original elements from the original show, but make it “more”. More characters, more complex story, more thrilling, more serialized, more political, more mysterious, and with a wider scope of the universe depicted.

Earth 2 / Outcasts
Original run: 1994 & 2011
Why Remake them: Because the originals were myopic & slow.
Sub-genre: Political, social, scientific action drama.
Year it takes place: 2170.
Background: A show about the struggles of the first human colony into an Earth-like planet, shortly after the invention of traveling via wormholes (still takes 3 years to get there). Is the planet really barren, or does it have intelligent life currently hiding? Similar concept to the original shows but with a more contemporary delivery, and I’d go a step beyond: the 10,000 colonizers might escaped Earth (which is in bad shape), but what if that new planet was once in as a bad shape as Earth? What if the new colonizers had to pay for past mistakes lingering in the planet, while also fighting the baggage they bring with them from Earth?

– The 4400 / Flashforward
Original run: 2004 & 2009
Why Remake them: Because the 4400 morphed into a soap opera, and FF into a hot mess.
Sub-genre: Mystery.
Year it takes place: 2017.
Background: Three months after a mysterious mental black-out that knocked out most people in the Northern hemisphere, 100 previously missing people come back from what appears to be 50 years in the future. They all have their memories intact of being kept into a future facility for 3 months. They all now have a higher IQ, better memory capacity, better health, better eyesight, maximum endurance & fitness, and can’t get diseases easily (no lame super-powers though). They’ve been shown bits of the past (our future), so when they come back, they’re able to predict public news, proving that they’ve been into the future. Or have they? Story is told from the abductees’ point of view, as they piece together what really happened to them. In the meantime, the abductees are blamed when the rest of the world starts dieing from a new, strange virus.

Babylon 5
Original run: 1994
Why Remake it: Because the original was cheaply made, and with bad dialog at times.
Sub-genre: Military, political, social, philosophical action drama.
Year it takes place: 2256.
Background: This would be the most difficult one to top off. Babylon 5 hit its stride on mid-season 3, making it one of the best TV shows of all times. It’s a true classic. I’d change/enhance a few things on the show, but the way things developed on the original series were pretty spot-on, so I’d keep that pace and the wide array of things depicted (politics, Mars, Earth, exotic aliens, war etc). The original was shot for very cheap, so even just 15 years later the visuals/dialog don’t do justice to the rest of the story anymore (while the story is more current than ever). A remake in this case would strive to mostly be better visually and with a more modern take on relations, rather than a full re-imagining.