suspension of disbelief vs. the unbelievable

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suspension of disbelief vs. the unbelievable

Postby Hissmonster » Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:09 pm

It really is a shame when you want to really fall into a story and let yourself take the ride, but then something glaringly "off" pulls you up short sending the fantasy crashing to the floor in odd shards.

I love scifi and I gobble up various shows when I get the chance, but when the writers forget the viewers by either insulting our intelligence or making such a ridiculous mistake, I have to wonder if they are really just phoning in the scripts for a pay check.

Recently, I have discovered a BBC show called Torchwood.

It has it flaws I will admit it, but I found that I could overlook many inconsitency for the sake of the ride. In other words, I was willingly suspending disbelief to follow the ride...well that is until the recent turn of events.

There is a character named Owen on this show who not only is the "medical doctor" for the series but is supposed to be a genius.l

Unfortunately Owen gets killed and Captian Jack (through mysterious alien technology) brings him back from the dead, but essentially he is a corpse.

Well Owen is going through a difficult adjustment phase becoming a walking corpse with no body heat, need to sleep or eat, but what made my "disbelief bus" go crashing off the cliff was this bit.

He can't save an old man who needs CPR to live because he "can't breath" or as he puts it "I have no breath."

this made my head twitch around like a dog hearing a funny noise they can't place, how can he SAY this...

did our writer miss biology 101.

Well dear writer let me enlighten you.

How does one speak? The actual functioning that produces sound from a human being?

Don't know...well you should have done your research on Vocal Cords:

"Either of two pairs of bands or folds of mucous membrane in the throat that project into the larynx. The lower pair vibrate when pulled together and when air is passed up from the lungs, thereby producing vocal sounds.

If Owen has no Breathe how can he speak?

If he can't feel touch how can he hold things, how does he know when to close his fist when catching a scapel he is flipping in the air?

If his system has COMPLETELY shut down, how is he able to move?

their are a lot more incongruities I could mention, but these actually stopped me in the middle of Owen's conversation w/ other characters.

Look, I can deal with a Bi-sexual captain who is immortal and riddled w/ secrets.

I can deal with a girl in love w/ said captain, on the eve of her wedding to another man, gets impregnated by an alien's bite and then hunted by it's mate who wants to rip the 'egg' from her womb, but I can't get passed a walking, talking corpse w/ no breathe and no explanation of how this is plausable.


I think as writers we need to remember our readers and not just think they "will go along with it"

We need to offer plausible explanations for our scifi worlds...Owen at a minimum should be freaked if not wildly fascinated at these peculiarities and be obsessed with figuring them out...but no...not in Torchwood?

Why do writers short change readers/viewers in this manner?
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Postby pengwenn » Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:42 am

I hate to say this but maybe the writer's don't think their audience is smart enough to think about things like this. Maybe they think the audience will just accept anything placed in front of them and that the average intelligenct of people is not smart to see through it. Consider yourself smarter than the average person! :)

I had a similiar experience reading a Star Wars book. It's been an interesting ride reading some of the SW novels. Some are brilliant overall. Some are brilliantly written but not much of a SW story. Some are porrly written but a brilliant SW story and some are just dreadfull all around. One novel (I can't remember the name) had the whole planet as a senient species or more acturately a living organism. Okay, that's a bit of a stretch but there are a lot of religions that believe that the Earth is one entity so I can buy that. What threw me out of the story was that Anakin was able to communicate with the planet, tell it that it was in danger AND THE PLANET DECIDED TO GET OUT OF THERE. The planet decided to get up and move to another star system so the bad guys that were on the way couldn't blow it up. Didn't the writer know anything about climates and their relationship to the sun? If the planet moved away from it's orbit it's climate is going to change. Yes, the planet is an organism and could possibly store heat for the "journey" to another star system, but that was a pill too large for me to swallow. That one simple fact of a planet altering it's course and leaving it's own star system threw all laws of physics, biology, astronomu and everything out the window. The error was so bad that I haven't been able to pick up a SW book since.
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Postby Hissmonster » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:58 pm

That's what I mean, you can deal with a lot, but when the writer crosses the line and goes that one step too's can't get the fantasy back. I mean I watched Torchwood this weekend and there was more about him not having any breath, but nothing about how that relates to his ability to speak and nothing about how he is avoiding decay with everything 'shut down'.

I think I'm now watching it for the incongruities and not the story lines anymore. It's a bummer really. Some of it would be fun, it reminds me of when we were kids inventing aliens to battle and weapons to defeat them there was a lot we could 'ignore' back then, but even then we wouldn't hiss our the word Breath while saying we didn't have any.

Anyone else have an example of how the author has either ignored their audience (at best) or has just assumed that the reader was stupid?
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Postby LizGrayson » Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:52 am

I guess if they didn't mention all the things Owen can't do, then we'd have to assume the alien whatsits that took over his body were keeping him alive and from decaying. But if we're supposed to assume that, then they shouldn't keep making all these contrary statements. It's like they'll have no idea we'll notice.

Yeesh, science fiction of all things should take into account the intelligence of their audience.

That's pretty much why I haven't watched Torchwood since they killed Owen.
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Postby jt752 » Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:57 am

Considering it's a Dr. Who spinoff, you'd think they would get something right.
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