I’ve discovered a new TV series that got my interest up very quickly. THE PROPHETS OF SCIENCE FICTION airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday nights on The Science Channel. I missed the first four episodes that aired back in November, but before the new show debuted last night, featuring Isaac Asimov, they ran three of the four previously shown episodes: Philip K. Dick, H. G. Wells, and Arthur C. Clarke. They left off the pilot, Mary Shelley. Ridley Scott is the host.
That Mary Shelley show came under a lot of criticism as it attempted to link her novel, FRANKENSTEIN, to modern day developments such as organ transplants, supercomputers, and DNA research. This one wasn’t shown as mentioned earlier and I got this from Wikipedia, so take it for what it’s worth.
I recorded the four they showed and have only watched the Dick episode. The format seems to cover some of his better known works and introduce modern developments that mirror some of his predictions. DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? showed developments in android technology, with brief bits by scientists working in the field covering everything from the supple skin technology to the mechanical works inside the body. They even had a Dick android, though only the head seemed to have any movement and, man, did it look real. The prediction was that in twenty years, with new A.I. brains, we would have those androids so human-like that one could not tell talking or looking at them.
The movie TOTAL RECALL, and the short story it was based on, WE CAN REMEMBER IT FOR YOU WHOLESALE, discussed today’s world of computer games and the intoxicating effect they have on kids today. And not just kids. I have a relative that will play these games for hours on end.
MINORITY REPORT talks about software that can predict crime based on past events in areas under concern.
Also during the show, they talked about Dick’s life and the twin sister that died after six weeks, though through his active imagination he talked to her most of his life. I don’t know enough about Dick to know how much of that was fanciful and how much was true. His paranoia and experiments with drugs was covered. They have some reenactments of incidents as well(and the gut playing the Young Dick might well be a relative; just kidding).
Kin Stanley Robinson and David Brin spoke of Dick, as well as one of his his biographers and everyone from theoretical physicists to experts on the mind.
I enjoyed this and look forward to seeing the other episodes I have recorded. Next week, they have a show on Jules Verne, with Heinlein, and -George Lucas?- the following two weeks. Their website is HERE.
Below is the trailer:
and below is that Mary Shelley episode from YouTube: