Continuing with my current nostalgic streak, I’ve been binge watching a show I remember liking from my youth. It came up in one of the weekly Twitter chats, or in response to one of the Twitter chats later, actually (I think), but either way, I’m finding that I don’t like it as much now, which is a bit of a shame.
I suppose on some level it proves that whole idea that our memories change the further away from an event we are, chronologically speaking. You know, that whole, “back in my day,” thing, when back in whatever day wasn’t really all that different (or at least not that much better) than the current time. We remember things fondly, or in some cases more negatively than they actually were.
I would have told you such a thing wasn’t entirely true because if I press myself, I can remember very specific details about certain things.
My favorite example comes from the first date with the Boy. I still remember which direction we were sitting at the little table outside while we were drinking our Bubble tea, and the comment he made as he laughed at me when that first tapioca ball came shooting up the straw and into my mouth. I remember my feelings, the color of his shirt, the way his breathing changed when he dropped me back off to my car after he drove me around to show me a few places that were significant memories for him around the city…
But I couldn’t tell you the name of the tea place. I remember the construction along one of the streets because he had to give me specific directions on how to actually get out of the parking lot.
There are other memories like that, too, just that one will always stand out to me. Even with the really disgusting Pho (I really do not like Anise, which is a key ingredient), it was easily the best date I’ve ever been on.
But to be fair, I still remember the steps to the first marching show I was ever in when I was standing in for a flute my eighth grade year…which has been quite a while ago. Sometimes, it hits me for no reason whatsoever and all of a sudden I’m marching as if the contest were tomorrow. And I remember my first kiss. It was a part of a game of Truth or Dare, also in Junior High, maybe 7th grade, but probably only 6th, and it was embarrassing because I started humming to calm down.
Now I know that’s a stim. At the time, it was just really embarrassing because I was kissing a boy I’d had a crush on since preschool, and he commented on it.
Occasionally that memory comes back unbidden, too, and I’m uncomfortable and embarrassed and hate my life for a good five minutes while I try to will the memory to just disappear. I remember where everyone was sitting on the bus when it happened, even now, many, many years later.
And yet, now as I’m rewatching this show that I remember really enjoying, I find myself getting angry at certain things. Things I wouldn’t have known were wrong at the time, but now it seriously unnerves me that either it wasn’t fact checked, or it was a conscious decision to completely ruin mythology and science…
The show is SeaQuest DSV, which even as I look at it on IMDB it immediately shows some of the inconsistencies I’m having issues with. Even the name is different. On IMDB it is listed as SeaQuest 2032, which I don’t know when it changed, first of all, and second, if 2032 is supposed to be the year, it doesn’t match with the timeline set up in the first season, which never specifically mentions it, but there’s some evidence to suggest it’s set right around 2020.
Before I start to completely ruin this show that I’d really like to like again, let me remind you what it is. SeaQuest is set in the not too distant future on our planet, but instead of going into space, we’ve colonized the oceans.
It’s basically Star Trek in water, but instead of a Vulcan, there’s a talking dolphin… Or a dolphin who gets his speech translated into English, since (as it was pointed out to me on Twitter) all dolphins technically speak, it’s just not a language that we understand.
It’s obvious that it was trying to compete with Star Trek: The Next Generation because you can see similarities in the characters. It’s got a female doctor who is in a very subtle romantic relationship with the older captain who becomes something of a father figure to the boy genius. There’s even a scene in one episode where a group of commanding officers is playing poker, like happens regularly in ST:TNG…
Even the intro sounds oddly close to the Star Trek intro.
The first season introduced the idea of psychics, including the hint that the captain had some ESP powers of his own, but other than that everyone was pretty normal. The story seemed linear, though there wasn’t any real connection between episodes, I suppose.
But by the second season, to up the interest factor and make it more comparable to ST:TNG, they started including modified people. There’s a convict who agreed to get gills in order to get out of prison, and a GELF, genetically engineered life form, who looks like Frankenstein because he’s camouflage with all the colors of all the different races on the planet, and is a hulk of a guy, but has the IQ of a 4 year old.
They’re not aliens, but they’re as close as you can get and be reasonable for a show that exists in a universe where humans chose to live under water instead of heading out to the stars.
But wait… I’m only in season 2 as far as my binging is going, and we’ve already encountered two completely unrelated alien races!
Can you see why I might be disappointed now?
The first season was very science based. It was important that the ship wasn’t actually a military vessel, but was actually a joint military and science vessel, and most of their missions were science based. Studying lava flows, trying to find a cure when their dolphin gets sick, a handful of different diseases and technological advances (from the boy genius), all somewhat legitimately believable sciencey things.
And sure, there were a couple episodes that dealt with astronauts either rescuing them as their pods fell into the ocean after re-entry (which is plausible), or because some geneticist was doing experiments in space and the SeaQuest crew happens upon the evidence in the lost shuttle, but those were still believable.
The first season isn’t without it’s weird episodes. There was an episode with ghosts, and then there was the first encounter with aliens!
An alien ship was found deep in a trench on the ocean floor. Or a seismic activity uncovered it… I’ve watched a lot of this show in a very short time and it’s starting to get jumbled… but the aliens were dead, and it was interesting that they had come to speak to the DOLPHINS, not the humans.
That episode, I’d buy that aliens were here millions of years ago and came to talk to the dolphins instead of us. Dolphins are very intelligent creatures, and even have sex for fun, like humans, but are much older than us. It makes sense. I totally buy it.
But something happened between season 1 and season 2. Season 2 has been a clusterfuck of aliens and archaeology. They found artifacts from Atlantis, but not the island itself, and there have been ghosts and spirits of all kinds galore. They touched on Greek myth (not Atlantis) and Native American legends.
They revisited the aliens from before, plus a second one-off episode with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker himself) playing a shape-shifting alien from another galaxy who’d been hiding on this planet most of his life, as a BLIND astronomer. And he was a leader in the field!
Now that’s just silliness. So here’s where it’s starting to bother me. While, as I’m watching, there are a few episodes that within five minutes of watching it I can remember the entire episode and I remember liking the show, I think I won’t be able to continue binge watching for long. As much fun as I had with the first season, and a handful of episodes from the second, there is NO consistency.
In the Atlantis episode, they established a particular character(Ortiz) as an expert on myths. They’ve been consistent that a particular character (O’Neill) is their translator, but he’s the communications guy, so that totally makes sense! So when they found the artifacts, it made sense that O’Neill would be the one to translate what was written. But he’s the one who established that Ortiz was an expert on myths, because Ortiz was so enthralled with Atlantis that he read the Timaeus and Critias.
For those of you not as obsessed with that particular island as I am, those are two pieces written or spoken by Plato, and often published together, as they make up the tale of Atlantis. The first telling of the island, as a matter of fact. They are the Atlantean equivalent to Homer’s Iliad, which told the story of the Trojan war, which was later found to be at least somewhat true, as archaeologists were able to locate Troy, but for many years, it was thought to be nothing more than a morality tale.
My point is, if the character had read those, he would have at least been moderately familiar with Greek mythology. Particularly because Poseidon is credited with being the father of the first king of Atlantis.
This becomes important later… or it would if the episodes were in anyway linked to one another, which apparently they aren’t.
In the episode where they reference Greek mythology. They tell a very inaccurate account of *ahem* Neptune and Minerva and Medusa…
Those are Roman names applied to the Greek myth. First problem.
The story that our translator tells, and our Atlantis expert doesn’t know (Poseidon is the God of Atlantis, Neptune is the Roman version of Poseidon… yeah, he’d know that), is the story of how
Minerva Athena was in love with Neptune Poseidon, and was heartbroken when he had a love affair with Medusa, and so she turned her into a monster who would turn people to stone.
At least they got part of the Medusa story right.
Athena is a virgin goddess, and she and Poseidon have a pretty constant feud. They had a war over who would be the patron of Athens… guess who won.
Meanwhile, Medusa was so beautiful that people fought over her to win her hand, so she became a priestess of Athena, and took a vow of chastity. Poseidon raped her in the temple of Athena, and Athena was so outraged by this that she turned Medusa into a gorgon, a monster with snakes for hair who could turn people to stone if they so much as looked at her.
Yeah, blaming the victim is a long standing tradition in sexual abuse…
The fact that Ortiz the Atlantis “expert” didn’t know this story bothers me.
Furthermore, the guy who was seeing ghosts in the Atlantis episode (Ford) doesn’t want them to report that they went into a pyramid shaped temple (which has apparently become covered with soil somehow and is now an island) and were confronted with the giant spirits of Neptune and Minerva… who in this is played by a black woman.
Now, I’m all for having more ethnic characters in TV shows and movies and all that, but the descendant of Atlantis was played by an African male, yet the helmet and sword they found from Atlantis were of Roman design and as old as ancient Egypt… and now Athena, who popped right out of Zeus’s head is supposed to be an African American female?
I don’t mind having ethnic characters, but don’t screw with my myths, man.
Yeah, this show is obviously one of those things that I remember being way better than it apparently was. No wonder it didn’t become as big a phenomenon as Star Trek! I’m over halfway through the entire run of the show though, so I’ll probably finish it.
The episodes I remember are as good as I remember them, but now the question is, did I not watch the show regularly? Or did the inconsistency bother me even way back when while I was only a preteen? Maybe I gave up early in the second season. I guess we’ll find out.
Oh nostalgia… why do you warp things so?