By Martin Morse Wooster: Here is what I learned from last night’s premiere episode of Salvation.
(1) The science fiction writer’s profession was revealed because she carries around a notebook with an inspiring quote by Isaac Asimov on the cover. She falls in love with the brilliant astrophysics graduate student, and reveals that she has sold a short story to “a publisher.”
“What’s it about?” the grad student asks.
(2) If you are a brilliant tech billionaire and a Defense Department contractor you can eliminate all security protocols and admit anyone you want into the Pentagon by handwaving. This includes access to the really secret underground bunker in the basement of the Pentagon whose existence is only known to 40 people.
(3) The showrunners for Salvation realized that naming the asteroid that will crash into the earth in 186 days “XJ42” is not scary. So the asteroid is code-named “Samson.”
(4) The brilliant tech billionaire has a spaceship ready to be tested that has room for 180 people, because some theory—I think it’s called “Maximum Plot Stupidity”—says that you can repopulate the earth is you save 180 people.
(5) Should I be delighted or terrified that Neil deGrasse Tyson is a recurring character on Salvation?
At the risk of being pedantic, is Tyson actually a character on the show? He isn’t appearing on IMDB as being associated with the show either as a character or as a technical advisor.
If he’s appearing as an actor (even if he’s playing himself, his contact will list him as ‘talent’), then he will have little influence on the scripts.
I haven’t seen it, but Googling reveals that he’s in the pilot as himself.
Ah, well, I made the mistake that IMDB was current. I should know better. Much better.
I’ve only had a chance to watch the first 15 minutes, but Tyson shows up as himself at the very beginning as a newscast commentator on the Russian meteor explosion of a couple of years back. No connection to the actual plot or any other character, at least that far in. His name was in the opening credits though.
(SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD)
I thought it was more than a bit anachronistic/out of touch to have the young SF writer be recognized for having an Asimov quote on her notebook. While I am an old and tired fan (who just celebrated my 50th straight Midwestcon), I would doubt that many new writers read or quote Asimov. I think it would have been more believable to have someone like Neil Gaiman, Neil Stephenson, Mira Grant, Cory Doctorow or, if they wanted to me more ‘Classic,’ William Gibson or Octavia Butler.
Ed Green: I mentioned Tyson because in the Salvation credits it says, “with Neil deGrasse Tyson.”