Bad science: Forked Thread: Heroes: (Volume Three: Villains) The Second Coming
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  1. #1
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    Bad science: Forked Thread: Heroes: (Volume Three: Villains) The Second Coming

    Forked from: Heroes: (Volume Three: Villains) The Second Coming--Season Premiere

    We had been discussing Heroes, and I was griping about Mohinder's bad science.

    Quote Originally Posted by Felon
    Been said before, but it bears saying again: real science is great and all, but it just doesn't work too well at explaining highly unrealistic things. Sometimes you gotta fudge it, y'know? Can't always just say it's magic.
    Well, here's the thing - real science can work well at explaining highly unrealistic things, if you bother to put in a little effort.

    I am not at all bothered by fantastic science. I don't even mind when they apply modern science terms to it. I mind when they apply modern science terms, and to it wrong - a thing a science-minded editor or even a trip to wikipedia could fix.

    Now, the Heroes premier is by far not the worst offender here - when Mohinder is rattling off stuff about adrenal glands, at least he's talking about chemicals that are, in fact, produced by the adrenal glands. They gain a point there.

    However, he also goes on about how the powers are not "in the blood", but in the adrenal secretions. Um, guys, how do you think those secretions get around the body? By Pony Express, perhaps?

    The absolute best example of what I'm talking about - thoroughly repairable bad science - was seen in The 4400, a character was writing a paper for a biology class, and we see the title: "The Mitosis Phase of Cell Division". Cell division does have phases. But Mitosis is not one of them. In fact, Mitosis is cell division (or, the basic form, anyway).

    Ain't no way I'm going to accept "sometimes you have to fudge it" for errors like that. If you're going to do a science fiction show, and earn millions of dollar on it, shell out a few extra bucks for a competent science editor, already, and stop making excuses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    However, he also goes on about how the powers are not "in the blood", but in the adrenal secretions. Um, guys, how do you think those secretions get around the body? By Pony Express, perhaps?

    I took that to mean in the actual blood cells not the system.

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    I kind of agree with you, the days of just throwing terms out should be over and done with, today you have so many tools available that you can get the science right or at least your techno-babbel.

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    I'm a big fan of the idea that the actual science in a work of science fiction is as important as the piece itself makes it out to be. It's only subject to the criteria it sets out for itself. If a show presents itself as a series work as a kind of 'science procedural', or a series work involving scientific extrapolation, or if the plot hinges on real science, then accuracy is (more) important.

    Given that Heroes is about teleporting, time-traveling, flying, phasing, brain-fondling instant-evolving comic-book superheroes, it gets a total pass from me, science-wise.

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    The bad science bugged me a little about the Heroes premiere, too. Another thing that bugged me...when Mohinder [spoiler]injected himself with the super-serum[/spoiler], he jabbed the needle directly into his arm, at about a 90 degree angle. This wouldn't have actually injected the stuff into his bloodstream (as he said earlier, that's how it's transferred throughout the body), but just into the muscle tissue of his arm. It's a nit-picky complaint, though. It looked more dramatic the way he did it. Makes it more of a "Dammit, Nurse Robinson, there's no TIME for testing!" kind of cheesey, b-movie moment which is fine, if that's what they were going for.

    As for the topic in general, I don't think heroes (or the 4400, or star wars, etc) is really "science fiction". It's fantasy, with vaguely pseudo-science trappings. As such, I don't see that it has any responsibility to live up to any kind of scientific accuracy. I just wish, if they're going to use techno-babble, they'd just go all-out with it. "My God! It's all clear to me now! These powers all center around the release of Melatizine, from the recently-discovered Occipital Fargastular Gland! It all makes sense now..."

    If you're gonna use silly pseudoscience, go ahead and make it silly pseudoscience, for the sake of Flux Capacitors, everywhere.

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    I see science in Heroes like I see it in comics...best ignored or you'll get a headache.

    I mean, all these years later and we still know NOTHING about the X-Gene, and more people that look into it that don't go mad start to think its probably not a gene at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by F5 View Post
    I don't think heroes (or the 4400, or star wars, etc) is really "science fiction".
    What gave it away? Was it the teleporting, time-traveling, flying, phasing, brain-fondling instant-evolving comic-book superheroes?

    If you're gonna use silly pseudoscience, go ahead and make it silly pseudoscience, for the sake of Flux Capacitors, everywhere.
    Don't forget the Oscillation Overthrusters...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
    I took that to mean in the actual blood cells not the system.
    Yes, and that could have been made clear with the addition of one word. Not exactly a long way to go to get massive improvement in terms of cringe-production

    That is, in large part, my point. You don't have to go nearly as far as some might think to make the technobabble work out okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by F5 View Post
    As for the topic in general, I don't think heroes (or the 4400, or star wars, etc) is really "science fiction". It's fantasy, with vaguely pseudo-science trappings. As such, I don't see that it has any responsibility to live up to any kind of scientific accuracy.
    I'm a physicist and a Star Trek fan. I don't require actual accuracy, or that things in a sci-fi/fantasy show work by real-world rules.


    "I just wish, if they're going to use techno-babble, they'd just go all-out with it. "My God! It's all clear to me now! These powers all center around the release of Melatizine, from the recently-discovered Occipital Fargastular Gland! It all makes sense now..."
    Agreed. It is perfectly acceptable for them to make words up to cover the fantastic elements. I think they do have a sort of responsibility - if they use real terms, use them correctly. We'd be all over them if they started using words for colors wrong, why should we accept them using words for science-stuff wrong? It is still English, and we expect proper language use, in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallus View Post
    What gave it away? Was it the teleporting, time-traveling, flying, phasing, brain-fondling instant-evolving comic-book superheroes?
    Hey, teleportation, time-travel, flight, phasing, and brain-fondling have all been the focus of perfectly good hard sci-fi stories!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mallus View Post
    What gave it away? Was it the teleporting, time-traveling, flying, phasing, brain-fondling instant-evolving comic-book superheroes?
    What are you talking about? Star Trek is certainly considered a sci-fi TV show--definitely so--and it's got its share of teleportation, time travel, and other fantastic elements. "Science fiction" is a pretty broad term.

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