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Ascension (2014)

 
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Rocky Jones
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:55 pm    Post subject: Ascension (2014) Reply with quote

This was a limited run series on SyFy that ran for three consecutive nights on in December of 2014. If you missed it I highly recommend watching it on Hulu or the SyFy site. I was very impressed with this series and think it's one of the best new productions I've ever seen on SyFy. It's certainly the most intelligent.



This is one of those that you really don't want to talk about too much to avoid spoilers, but the story centers around the lives of 500 people on the first interstellar generation ship. The idea that's difficult to swallow is that it left Earth secretly in 1963. I was at first put off by the absurdity of this idea, but hung on because of the excellent story, acting and production values. Before the first ep is over the concept not only makes sense, but is quite compelling.

I won't go into too many details here, but apparently the Ascension craft was conceived to use the linear acceleration method of artificial gravity, something I don't recall seeing on screen since (maybe?) the single stage rocket movies of the 1950s. As I understand it with this method you accelerate for the first half of you journey, than spin around and decelerate for the second half. I'd love to see how they handle the spin on the Ascension.

http://www.hulu.com/ascension
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orzel-w
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:10 am    Post subject: Re: Ascension (2014) Reply with quote

Rocky Jones wrote:
As I understand it with this method you accelerate for the first half of you journey, than spin around and decelerate for the second half.

I read a short story about a ship like that many years ago. As I recall, in that particular story they had pivoting engines in order to keep the radiation shield facing the direction of travel. (This is the radiation produced by the random particles scattered throughout interstellar space impacting at high velocity.) Then something happened en route that disabled the pivoting mechanism, so they had to keep accelerating to get out of the galaxy into an area of lower particle density to either make repairs or turn tail-first to decelerate (I don't recall which). But by the time they exited the galaxy, they were going so fast that the advantage of the lower particle density was nullified. And so on.

But I digress...

I'll have to check out Ascension.

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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rocky, I sense that you liked Ascension a heck of a lot more than I did. When I discovered the Big Surprise in the plot, I was so disgusted I just skip quickly through the rest of the DVR I had made of all three episodes.

Admittedly the Big Surprise explained why the mini-series seemed so totally clueless in the science department. For example, the spacecraft did not spin and did not have artificial gravity, but that didn't bother any of the people on board -- they just walked around as if they were still back on Earth . .
. Rolling Eyes
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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intriguing TV-movie with a fine cast & production values.

The interior of the ship was enormous & looked like it was created on a major sf motion picture budget!
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Rocky Jones
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
...I was so disgusted...

That was when it became the most interesting to me. The second part surfaces science fiction elements you don't entirely get in the first and by the third things get pretty hectic. I'm really hoping SyFy finds some way to continue it as a weekly down the line.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strictly speaking this story wasn't science fiction -- it was soap opera. And not even good soap opera at that.

I mean, didn't the characters seem a bit less than brilliant for being tricked the way the were -- for decades?

And I was flabbergasted by the ridiculous suggestion that a group of allegedly intelligent people would keep the same fashions and cultural norms from the 1960s for decades! Other than religious fanatics, people don't blindly wear the same kinds of clothes, decade after decade. I mean, seriously -- miniskirts on all the girls for over half a century?

I'm sorry, but I just couldn't take this story seriously.

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Sat Jun 18, 2022 1:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Rocky Jones
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many things on the SyFy channel can anyone take seriously? But as a creative work I found Ascension succeeded on several levels. Instead of just being another space travel story it takes a turn unlike I've seen on TV before, which interested me a lot. With movies/TV I've often found the behind-the-scenes creative operation more interesting that the fictional reality created on screen. I think the idea of taking the audience beyond the forth wall into a second on screen reality is a very interesting exercise. You rarely see this sort of exploration except in art films. Roger Rabbit's opening sequence is one of few popular works I can recall that did it.

I think what Ascension is doing is mimicking the parallel between false reality and "real" reality experienced by fans of, say, Star Trek. As hard core sci-fi fans we mentally must fluctuated between the inside reality of the work, and the outside world. I can see how having that sort of sci-fi reality shattered within a work could be offensive to a more traditional sci-fi enthusiast, though. I suspect a lot of others had the same type of reaction to Ascension that you had.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2022 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rocky Jones wrote:
I can see how having that sort of sci-fi reality shattered within a work could be offensive to a more traditional sci-fi enthusiast, though. I suspect a lot of others had the same type of reaction to Ascension that you had.

Rocky, you'd make a great therapist. Very Happy Clearly my sour reaction to Ascension was caused my disappoint in what it wasn't, rather than a disapproval of what it was.

I had expectations that simply didn't adjust when I discovered the story's true nature. Sort of like what a person feels when they're hoping for a green water gun for Christmas and they got an expensive leather jacket.

It's not that the jacket wasn't a great gift -- it just wasn't a water gun.

I'm bettin' if I wait a while and watch Ascension again (all the way through this time), I'll feel very differently about it.

Thanks

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Pow
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2022 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lovely Andrea Roth plays Dr. Juliet Bryce on Ascension.

Andrea had another very interesting science fiction credit earlier. In 2006 she played Dr. Toni Newman in the SF TV-movie/pilot reboot of Irwin Allen's The Time Tunnel.

This iteration was a much more intriguing and better thought out premise than the 1966~1967 television series. It's a shame that the FOX network did not pick up this pilot for a weekly series.
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