Friday, February 18, 2011


My friend Mark and I have seen the first two episodes of the BBC's new sci-fi series 'Outcasts'. (It's unknown when or if BBC-A or Syfy will pick it up for American viewing.) We liked it a lot - morally challenged characters, heftier topics than just plasma breaches and temporal rifts, plus the scenery for the planet Carpathia is stunning. (The series was filmed in South Africa.) And there are lots of great actors - a personal favorite in Hermione Norris ('MI-5', 'Kingdom'), Daniel Mays ('Ashes To Ashes'), Amy Manson as Fleur (a lot tougher than her name!) and Erik Mabius of 'Ugly Betty' - who looks to be a cross between Dr. Zachary Smith and Kodos the Executioner. Also, Jamie Bamber ('Battlestar Galactica', 'Law & Order: UK') did a great job in the time-honored tradition of being the Big Name appearing only in the pilot to help launch the series.

But - yeah, there's usually a "but" - I do have one complaint for something I see as a major flaw - apparently the series is set in the year 2040, less than thirty years from now.

Add to this that it was about fifteen years earlier when they left Earth to come to Carpathia.... There's just not enough time - if Toobworld is following the same path as the real world - to discover Carpathia and learn enough about whether or not it can sustain human life, and then build about nine huge space arks that can make the voyage in just five years. (They'd been on Carpathia in FortHaven for about ten years. So that means an incredible leap in the development of rocket power!) And by the second episode we learned that they had mastered at least the basics in cloning humans.

(I'm not worried about the technology that allowed the security forces to read the minds of suspects and see their memories actually visualized. This could have been developed from the technology that was seen in 'The Prisoner' episode "A, B, or C?")

Had they made it 2140, I'd be okay with that. I'm not going to be around to know for certain anyhoo (as if I'll be here for 2040!), but just think of all the scientific advances we've had in the last century......

I don't think I've heard the actual year mentioned yet in the show, but if the press pack says it's 2040, then there must be a reason for it.

And the only reason I can see for it so far has been that this is written by somebody who needs the crutch of pop culture references. And the pop culture references used so far could be understood by somebody thirty years into the future, but would probably be incomprehensible even a century later.

'Outcasts' plays hob with the established timeline for Toobworld. This takes place just five years after the manned exploration of Mars, as seen in the finale of 'Life On Mars' (the American remake).

Something has to be done about the 'Outcasts' timeline to keep the series in the dimension of Earth Prime-Time. Otherwise, off it goes to some backwater TV dimension.

So here's my splainin, one that doesn't have to worry about being later Zonked by something mentioned in the series... hopefully.

The people of Forthaven are working with a new timeline.

It would be much later in the Toobworld timeline, perhaps even thousands of years. (I could see this tying in nicely to the events that led up to the 'Doctor Who' episode "The Beast Below".)

But there must have been some kind of major event that made everybody decide to reboot the Earth's timeline, something like the demarcation point chosen to be that for the birth of Christ, to separate the B.C. timeline from the A.D. timeline.

It could have been apocalyptic, something that nearly wiped Mankind out on a global scale; or cosmic - like the first major encounter with an alien civilization. But whatever and whenever it was in the future, (and I think it has to be at least far enough into the future to avoid clashing with events established by shows like 'Star Trek' and 'Babylon 5'), the world decided to start fresh in their chronology. I don't know what they might have used to identify this new timeline, on the order of "B.C." or "A.D.", but it would now be 2,040 years since that event occurred.

We don't go around saying it's 2011 A.D., so why would they bother saying it's 2040 P.Q. (Post Quarantine?) or whatever?

There are only eight episodes for this series (so far, but with the ratings falling - from what I've heard - there might not be any more.) I've got a feeling, though, that my theory will be shot down over the course of the show....... BCnU!


Nik Nak said...

Didn’t know if you’re going to be following Outcasts, but here’s what I
’ve made of the first four episodes …

Anonymous said...

Maybe it could be the destruction caused by the Xindi, as seen in "Enterprise"? It would just take some time to accept the reckoning....