Last month, one of Westworld’s science consultants stopped by my school. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist who advised the show’s staff for season two, and his co-author Anthony Brandt visited to chat with students about their new book on creativity, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World.
When it was time for Q&A, I had big questions for him—but they weren’t about the book. I wanted to grill him on something from Westworld that bothered me for the duration of season two: the continuity of consciousness problem.
The portal to the fifth dimension has opened yet again. The Twilight Zone is coming back, and this time, Academy Award-winning director and comedy king Jordan Peele will be behind the spooky wheel. What can we expect from this latest edition of the anthology classic? To answer that question, we have to enter the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge… we have to enter The Twilight Zone.
In the early 2000s, Stargate was the sci-fi franchise to beat. Star Trek was running both Voyager—generally held to be the weakest series in the franchise—and Deep Space Nine, now a critical hit but representing a vast divergence from The Original Series and The Next Generation. Enter Stargate SG-1, a live-action series based on Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s 1994 film Stargate, a tale about an ancient portal allowing for interstellar adventures. SG-1 would go on to run for ten years, accompanied by a line of toys, books, and even Stargate-shaped coasters.
Rainy, cloud covered grey skies, towering skyscrapers, neon lights, muted colors and a dim prognostication of our future: if this type of imagery brings to mind certain anime titles, you may be surprised to learn that many of them share a unlikely common origin. While not the only film to ever influence anime, and certainly not the only sci-fi film to do so, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner shares an inordinate amount of importance in developing many of the anime classics we know today, and influencing many of anime’s biggest directors.
After a long, arduous day at the office and a particularly hellish commute, you finally make it home to your apartment. All week, you’ve been thinking about an old video game you used to play, and tonight is the night you finally have time to break out your old game system and relive a bit of your childhood. After a bit of setup, and with pizza in hand, you’re all ready to go. You power on your TV, blow dust out of the cartridge, and turn the system on. For the first few levels, it’s exactly as you remember it. The sword slashes feel just as satisfying as you remember them and you even remember where a few hidden items are located. But, as you progress through the game, you start to notice that things are a bit peculiar. It’s just small glitches at first–a bit of garbled dialog text or a misplaced graphics sprite. But soon the glitches get worse. Characters appear with no eyes, the leaves of trees render as red instead of green, and areas begin to shift and change when you revisit them. You become increasingly frustrated, but continue to play, feeling almost strangely compelled to continue. The graphical glitches take a more and more macabre turn until trees look as if they are made of skin, ghastly faces appear in every window, and all of the water appears rust colored. Suddenly your TV goes black, and a line of text appears: “Your Weekly Guide to VRV.”
Attention all spacefaring individuals, incoming transmission from Stargate Command. Please stand by.
The expansive science fiction universe of Stargate is coming to VRV! All of the theatrical films, television shows, and accompanying bonus material and featurettes will all be available to stream on VRV Select starting today, March 15th! Based on a speculative version of the present where mankind is linked to intergalactic civilizations through spacetime gateways, the Stargate franchise spans four movies and three television series, including the brand new Stargate Origins, released this year.