Masters of Science Fiction 11 Aug (spoilers)

What’s this episode based on?

From the ABC website:

And because the local ABC station is showing a Carolina Panthers game tonight, it’s not being aired here until 2:35 am. Fortunately, I have a DVR.

WTF? :dubious: God sends a bunch of angels to Earth, man overcomes fear and embraces peace (at least for the moment), and all language barriors are removed (Tower of Babel reference)? Well, at least next episode looks funny.

I noticed that the title of the story this was based upon was truncated in the credits. It was listed as "The General Zapped . . . "

The actual title was “The General Zapped an Angel”

This was better than the previous episode, but still too talky; it would probably have been better if it were cut down.

Howard Fast…Wasn’t he a novelist?

This was strictly MST3K material-- horrendously mawkish, predictable, with a quasi-religious world peace message straight out of the Cold War (I think the story was written in the 70’s, and it shows). If this is going to be the level of quality of this show, it’s no wonder they buried it in this time slot. Why pick a story as dated as this one? It came off like a bad episode of Amazing Stories.

On the up side, it was nice to see William B. Davis again.

Man, that was a piece of crap. Bad acting, horrible story, totally unbelievable characterization of the major political figures. And…angels? Huh?

And we get it: the writers hate the Iraq war. That’s two episodes in a row where the President of the United States is a warmongering boob who doesn’t listen to anyone and tries to destroy mankind. In the meantime, the leaders of Russia and China are peace-loving diplomats, with pointed messages about pre-emptive attacks. Gah. Writers, next time you feel the need to hammer your politics into my brain, just use a sledge. It’ll be over quicker.

I dread seeing what these clowns do to Heinlein. I think next week’s episode is supposed to be ‘Jerry is a Man’, but from the preview it looks like they’ve turned it into some kind of Paris Hilton parody or something.

Whew… I really wanted to see the “Jerry was a man”, and was worried I’d missed it.

Of all the RAH short stories, they picked a rather low key one, I must admit.

I’m with Sam Stone on this one. So far the series has been craptacular. What is it about anthology science fiction that makes it so hard to pull off? Is it because there’s no time for characterization so all the characters have to be painted with as broad strokes as possible? If that is the case, why were so many of the old 30 minute Twilight Zone episodes so good? It’s got to be the writing, I’ve seen too many good actors in awful roles.

He wrote a small number of metaphysical sf short stories, most notably “The Large Ant,” and “The Wound,” both of which would have been better candidates for dramatization than “The General Zapped an Angel.”

The problem so far in the series was stretching things out to an hour. A half hour would have tightened things considerably, and even better would be to set this up like “The New Twilight Zone” and film episodes at the length they’re best suited for.

I’m with the folks above – very disappointed in the series and their choices of science fiction for dramatization. I’m waiting to see how they manage to work a US President seriously trying to launch Armageddon into next week’s Robert Heinlein story.
So far we’ve had a psychological study and a piece of mystic mumbo-jumbo. I’m still waiting for the science fiction.

The Packers / Steelers game was on locally, didn’t see MoSF on the schedule.

Brian

As I had mentioned earlier, my local ABC affiliate delayed it until 2:35 am because of a Carolina Panthers game. My DVR picked it up just as the title of the episode was shown, and I have the feeling that I missed a bit of the opening.

Not that I much care, as I agree with the general consensus that the SF content of what’s been presented. Along with Sam Stone, I’m dreading to see what they do to Heinlein next week.

I agree. If the episodes that ABC is actually airing are this bad what are the two they pulled like? :eek: At least next week looks like there’ll be alot of futuristic costumes and funny animals (6-legged dachshunds :stuck_out_tongue: ) for us to laugh at and rip on.

I don’t think it’s hard to pull off at all. The Twilight Zone had many excellent episodes.

No, the problem here seems to me that A) the producers have no respect for the genre, and therefore feel free to improvise, B) the stories they’ve chosen have been lousy so far, and C) they’ve apparently found some hack writers who don’t know science fiction, don’t care, and therefore write scripts that are thinly-veiled attempts to make political points (so far).

The whole thing has the feel of someone’s pet project gone horribly awry. This happens sometimes - someone who cares has a good idea for a project, and in the process of making it happen some suit takes control, or it gets handed to a director who demands creative control but doesn’t have the talent to back it up, and the whole thing descends into a mess. Word gets out that they’re making a pile of crap, so no one tries very hard. Everyone just collects their paychecks and heads for the exits.

There are probably 500 short stories in the SF world that would make fantastic short films. So far, they apparently haven’t found any of them. Even Heinlein, my favorite author, doesn’t look well served by the choice of his short story. “Jerry Was a Man” is minor Heinlein. How about ‘The Long Watch’? Or “By his Bootstraps”? Or “All You Zombies”? Or any of a dozen short stories by him that would have been better?

And so, the human race disarmed and put away all its terrible weapons.
And then the aliens enslaved us all and used our wimmenfolk for depraved and unnatural purposes and harvested human babies as food. Well, I would have preferred that ending, anyway.

Wow, that was a truly painfully bad hour of TV.

I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I kept waiting for the twist, or at least a bit of ambiguity. Bah! Embarrassingly bad.

I mean, the president, with five minutes on the clock, cannot decide whether launching a global nuclear war is a bad idea or not? Especially when God, or whoever, has demonstrated the ability to neutralize nuclear weapons? How long after launch would a missile hit China anyway?

Not that small. I have two story collections, and “General” is in another (from 1970). I swear I read it, but haven’t tracked it down yet. Fast also wrote “Visitor to a Small Planet.” a play which was made into a movie. F&SF published his stuff in the late '50s.

I agree. We spent way too long a time for the President to make his decision, and I didn’t get how Skinner knew to use the angel as a microphone. There was hardly a scene in this script that wasn’t a cliche.

I only wish the war-loving general had “Equivalent Cities in Megadeaths” on his desk.

Or if, after all the nukes had been rendered inert, the command bunker monitor screens had lit up with: “All your base are belong to us!” Fade to black.

Have to agree with most everyone. The story almost had potential, but that ending sucked all kinds of bad. I hoped that there was a twist, even one as cliche’ as the bald dude discovering they were going to eat our babies and informing the president just after he gave the order to stand down, but before it was carried out.

Also, I’m sick of “science fiction” that includes dead relatives coming back.