Rules for sci-fi television

I've had a few days off recently and it's been coupled with a bit of insomnia so I've managed to get through quite a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It's cheesy and the first couple of seasons are awful - I've said many times that if you can get through Season 1 of Star Trek: TNG then you can get through almost anything. It's truly craptastic. Having watched so many episodes in a row I think I've become a bit of an expert on the rules for portraying either the future of humanity or an alien race on television.

1. The Small Government Rule
The entire planet may consist of several continents and contain 15 billion people (or creatures), but it is ruled by a central government consisting of 3 or 4 people. All decisions, affecting the entire planet, will be made by these people. If the planet does not have free elections then one of the government leaders will definitely be a power-hungry dictator who is madder than a cut snake.

2. The Homogenous Culture Rule
Everyone in the future is super tolerant and PC, and accepting of all different alien cultures. There is, however, absolutely NO cultural diversity or difference within individual planets. All creatures of the same alien race will dress alike, follow the same religious beliefs and build their houses on roughly the same pattern.

3. The Tailored Savages Rule
The more 'primitive' and violent the culture, the more elaborate their cultural dress. Aliens who enjoy ripping other cultures limb from limb seem to want to clothe themselves in many layers of leather, buckles, furs, padded shoulders and sharp, angular accessories.... because when you're in a bloody, hand-to-hand battle, you want to spend 30 minutes doing up buckles and making sure your animal-talon hair accessory is straight, right?

4. The Highbrow Humanity Rule
In the future, humans have 'evolved' beyond such crass entertainment as television or movies. Fortunately, in the future there is enough classical music, literature, art and the occasional highbrow play to suit everyone. And of course these things will suit everyone since in the future we are all interested in the same things (see The Homogenous Culture Rule).

5. The Cross-Species Breeding Rule
With the advent of space travel, more and more alien cultures are meeting other interesting alien cultures. As luck would have it, most cultures are roughly humanoid in shape and almost all seem to have sexual practices and genetics that are compatible with each other. This means that virtually any alien species can cross-breed with another. The fact that this is approximately equivalent to a canary successfully breeding with a labrador has apparently escaped everyone's notice, despite the fact that everyone in the future is a scientist in their spare time. The resultant offspring of this cross-breeding catastrophe won't favour one parent or the other; they will always look like a 50/50 mix of both parents.

6. The Random Numbering Rule
At some point, all the planets across several galaxies got together (possibly at some huge intergalactic freshman mixer) and thought, "Hey, you know what? It would be really fun if we all numbered our planets as well as naming them." This resulted in a proliferation of planets named things like Earwax 4 and Wobblybutt 8. The numbers are arbitrary since no one has ever heard of Earwax 1-3 or Wobblybutt 1-7. The exception to this rule is Earth, of course. We don't need a number... we're Number One!

I'm sure there are plenty more rules... feel free to add your own in the comments. :)


Hippomanic Jen said...

He, he, he, HAR HAR HAR, heee, he.

Well done! Haven't watched any Next Gen for years, but your rules seem so true.

And everyone from one planet is exactly the same, except for Deanna Troi, who is the only Betazoid ever heard to speak with that accent - the exception that proves the rule.

Femina said...

Deanna Troi's accent used to come and go in a very strange manner, but perhaps that's because she's only half-Betazoid??

Givinya De Elba said...

When I saw your post, I wanted to read Hip Jen's comment (for there was sure to be one!) Now I have read post, comment and counter-comment, and although it has served my completion neurosis, I am no more out of the dark regarding Next Gen than when I used to hear Hip Jen speaking on the subject. Perhaps I should watch it and learn something?

Crazy Sister said...

I love it! I've been watching heaps of The Original Series this week, and I've taught one rule to my avidly interested little kids:

Captain Kirk MUST rip his shirt in fighting to save either his crew or a hot alien chick.

BGSydneyside said...

Yes! The whole "Aliens can inter-bred" thing has always worried me. Great post Femina!

Long dark hair, blue eyes said...

so true.

by the way let me know if you want the "Twilight" series to read. I will post it to you.

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