Monday, February 21, 2011

Why? Part 2

Did you miss part 1? You can scroll down or click here.

At first, I just started writing seaQuest fanfiction as a way to keep in practice with my writing. These were characters and a setting I absolutely adored and I got a bee in my bonnet about a certain episode I wanted to “fix”. You see, the writers did something with my favorite character that really chuffed me off. It was out-of-character and it was (in my opinion) a cheap shot that they pulled for the sake of time or drama. I understand that a TV show has certain limitations, but I don’t have to operate under those stupid limitations.

My favorite character is the communications officer, Lt.JG Tim O’Neill. He’s brilliant. Fluent in half a dozen languages and pretty good in another dozen. That’s EIGHTEEN languages, folks! And not only that, but he’s always fixing the hardware. He’s under the counter with a zillion wires everywhere and he can figure it out. And while the boy genius Lucas gets most of the info-dump lines and the gee-whiz solutions, Tim gets them out of scrapes with his vast store of knowledge more than once. He is very valuable and he’s respected, on the submarine anyway.

But even though Tim is brilliant, he’s a big-time nerd. The actor who plays him is cute, but not handsome (Ted Raimi). He wears very thick glasses in the geekiest possible frames and he’s socially awkward. His dates are disasters. While all the other guys are shown in tank tops or bare-chested at the beach (their volleyball game is a total hunkfest), Tim is wearing a BLACK shirt and has zinc oxide on his nose. He slurps on straws when he drinks. Cringe-worthy stuff.

So in this one episode (Dagger Redux), they have poor Tim try to resign his commission because he feels like he’s “going nowhere”. Okay, he’s way overdue for a promotion, but that isn’t even addressed. Seems he wants to throw all 18 languages and the electronics expertise out the window and be a painter (but he can’t paint worth beans). Puhleeeze! Couldn’t the screenwriters come up with something better than this? Captain Bridger refuses to accept his resignation (duh) and sends him on a 30-day leave to come to his senses. Tim simultaneously alienates female models and invites public ridicule because he paints so badly.

Meanwhile, the baddie of the episode, a handsome guy in a wheelchair who thinks aquatic bug fossils are the key to cold fusion, breaks a hot guest-star babe out of prison so she will help him get seaQuest (that’s the fancy submarine they named the show after). They need seaQuest out of the way to take over the world, I think. It’s really kind of nebulous why Mr. Wheelchair attacks the big submarine. But does it matter? He’s the Baddie so he’s not going to succeed anyway.

Handsome Baddie and Very Hot Chick need an insider who can give them the secret bridge control override codes to seaQuest and of course Handsome Baddie somehow happens to know that they just dropped off their communication officer in a convenient beach town all alone. Very Hot Chick finds him effortlessly and distracts him by offering to pose for painting, dropping her clothes before he even agrees. Of course, his bug-eyed, drop-the-paintbrush reaction to her casual stripping is great TV. Ted pulls it off like a pro. But this is just before Very Hot Chick zaps clueless Tim with some kind of badass tazer so she can kidnap him.

Next time we see them, she’s got him restrained in a force-field on an advanced submarine headed toward seaQuest. Hot Chick asks Tim for the codes and he refuses. She hits him with a single jolt of energy and he spills the codes. Just like that. No struggle. She gets the upper hand in the underwater battle for a while and in the midst of her attack, Captain Bridger hits his head and is out cold. But Hot Chick has no experience and wastes all her torpedoes and even her giant squid that’s supposed to be genetically engineered to eat seaQuest’s bio-skin.

Hot Chick is about to lose, but wait, she has a hostage. She puts Tim on the vid-link but he tells Commander Ford (who’s in charge now with Bridger unconscious), “It’s my fault. Do what you have to.” He’d rather die than be used as a pawn.

Commander Ford does the unthinkable and negotiates with the Hot Chick terrorist, trading Tim for letting her get away. Tim comes back home and all those supposed doubts about his career are gone, he doesn’t feel badly, and in the next episode he’s right back to the same guy.


My biggest beef is that they would NEVER have let one of the handsome characters spill the codes, especially under so little apparent duress. It didn’t even look that painful. When Ford gets beat up in another episode, he not only doesn’t crack, but he manages to bark out orders that ensure everyone else’s safety. Not even the middle aged Bridger would have cracked. If it’s not because he’s the least good-looking, then why did they write him wimping out? If it’s because he’s the professed and practicing Christian, then I’m even more miffed.

Even if you accept the cracking under pressure as a fluke, they still showed Tim getting over this too easily. Hello? He’d feel terrible if he gave up codes that put all his friends at risk, especially if he did it with so little struggle.

So, for fun and practice, with no expectation that I would share it, but just to set things square for dear sweet Tim in my own mind, I started writing what I assumed would be a short story or possibly a novela, but of course ended up a full-blown novel (because I just can’t ever keep anything short).

There's more to this explanation if anyone cares. Click here to read more nonfiction rambling.

Want to read the GOOD STUFF? Check out the fiction result of all this rambling instead:

Redemption, Chapter One on
(black text on white background, ability to leave reviews, ads all over)

Redemption, Chapter One on
(white text on navy background, hosting ad at top, some pictures)

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