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read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 19th Sep 2003, 22:50, Rank: Patrician )  reply

I've just finished watching the first episode. Odd.


The first segment seemed to go out of its way to make the protagonist as unlikeable as possible. Although at that point I wasn't sure whether they were doing it deliberately (which seemed like an odd choice), or whether they were actually hoping that people would identify with her. While I'm sure that it's a realistic portrayal of many teenagers, I have no interest in spending time with such people.

As it progressed, I concluded that it was deliberate - the line about "You weren't doing anything with your life anyway" was presumably there to emphasise that she's better off this way. And she did seem a bit more cheerful after that. Mind you, I was thinking about Lorna's comparison to "Early Edition" (a series that I liked), and it struck me that this was basically the opposite of that. The reapers are in the position where they know that people are going to die needlessly, and are in a position to stop it, but choose not to. So, it makes sense that heroic characters wouldn't really be suited to a job like that.

Once she got her first job, I wondered whether they were planning a bait-and-switch approach, along the lines of her going renegade (something similar to what happened in "Dark Skies"). Hunting down all the gravelings would be a good start. But this turned out not to be the case.

I can see what they were trying to do, by establishing that it's necessary for people to die "on schedule". However, I don't think that it really made any sense. Even though they went out of their way to avoid any religious affiliation, the idea that the soul is immortal is pretty much a standard. And even based on what's been shown in the episode, the soul obviously continues after death (since they're collecting it).

On the plus side, there were some funny moments (even if it is rather morbid humour); I haven't seen "Six Feet Under", but from what I know of it, I can see the similarity.

I'll watch it again next week, but I doubt that I'll stick with it in the long term.

It's odd - what they're doing isn't really any different to the way that Death operates in the Discworld novels, and he's one of my favourite characters there. It just seems to bother me more here. On the other hand, "Mort" is one of my favourite novels, where a character gets put into a situation like this and refuses to play by the rules. I guess that I lean more towards the views expressed in "Johnny and the Bomb" - basically screw destiny, we're always changing the future.

There was a Superman comic a while back (set between his death and resurrection) where some time-travellers from the future were debating whether to save him. They decided not to, on the basis that once you start picking and choosing, where do you stop? However, while I thought that the comic made a valid point, I don't see that the same thing applies here. There's a difference between stopping accidents and abolishing death altogether.

read biography for - John Kirk

 John Kirk ( 11th Oct 2003, 18:45, Rank: Patrician )  reply

I haven't actually seen any more episodes since the first one, but that's mainly due to forgetting about it being on. However, a couple of additional thoughts about the first episode (SPOILERS)...

What did the little girl actually die of at the end of the episode? They'd already established that having the soul removed wouldn't kill someone - there is actually a physical cause required (such as having a piano dropped on your head).

On a related note, if someone is still capable of walking around, talking, and making decisions after the soul has been removed, what would happen if the death was then averted? I'm thinking about the B5 episode where Dr Franklin recusitated a child, and his parents believed that he was some kind of undead monster. Without getting into a discussion of "real world" religion, I'm curious about the way it works within the framework of the series.

Did later episodes actually address these issues at all? Being cynical, I suspect that the writers didn't quite think their premise through, which doesn't really bode well for the series.

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