Cleo questions for which I'd like your feedback! :)
#1
I'm in the process of writing some kind of overview of the series, to coincide with the dvd release, so that when people start doing "searches" online to see what the *&%$ this show by Sam Raimi is, that they've never heard of before, with the chick from "Alias" and the Matrix movies, and the other one from "Mutant X," they may get some kind of idea. If their search leads them here, that is. Wink

And I'd really like to lure in other hardcore sci-fi fans like Bailey, Gloriosus and myself, which is why I want to make reference (see the "influences" thread) to all the traditional themes addressed.

But without any videotapes to refer to, I find my memory failing. Plus, 5 years after, I am realizing how little we ever really found out about the world of the Underground.

For example - why do the Baileys (Bailies?) create Betrayers to begin with? Do they see mankind as a pest, to be exterminated even after they've fled the surface? Are the Dworks tolerated only as a supply of new Bailey models? Or did the Betrayer-dad in "Choices" give us a clue? Do the Baileys see humankind as something to be improved, via cybernetics? i.e by giving them the memories of the original model, are they creating an improved and indestructible version of themselves?

And... what do people use for money in the Underground? Granted, there's obviously the barter system....but do we ever see any of the girls pay for their drinks with anything?

I take it we are to believe that much of the Underground is like the Wild West - individual levels and shafts are ruled by whoever is strongest - usually an outlaw gang like the Black Watch, or a mutant strong man like Sluggo. Presumably there are isolated communities like in "Choices" that keep to themselves, and then presumably levels and shafts unite under the leadership of someone like Marla when feasible and practical.

But in "Mind Games," some "authority" was imprisoning Raina. And there was a news broadcast announcing her escape. Can we imagine that this was an especially large, powerful and lawful level or alliance of levels? perhaps one of the ones that Marla united?

And those mutants. Do we think they resulted from some unspecified nuclear war? Perhaps even a final war with the Baileys? Or do we think living in the lower levels caused the mutation?

I get the impression that a lot of places - like all the bars - are sort of neutral areas, a la Rick's in "Casblanca."

And cyborgs. What is/was Sluggo exactly? Surely he wasn't a robot designed to be as we saw him! :laugh: Was he at some point in his life human, and either his brain or just his consciousness was placed into an android body? And that guy who tells the girls "Once you go cyborg, you never go back" - do we think he's all mechanical? Or are parts of him human, a la the Bionic Woman?

And those scientists in "Perceptions." And the real Edward and Kara Mauser, who worked on power reactors. And Voice and Creegan and Hel's dad, back when they all worked together. OK, who's paying them for all this research work? Do people with tech savvy just set up somewhere to ply their trade, and then charge whoever wants their services? Like a guy might build a mill somewhere, and quickly become the person in town to go to to grind your grain, and another guy might set up a blacksmith shop, and soon have the local corner on the market.

OK, reactions? ideas? Comments?
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#2
This was sent to me on one of the mailing lists:

Quote:Bailies create Betrayers to infiltrate the underground, since they are
prevented from doing so by the shaft guns; since Bailies are organic in
origin, they cannot exterminate humanity "they need us."; given the
answers to the previous 2 questions, the 3rd should be obvious.

Hmmm...thoughts? I recall Creegan said "they are us...."
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#3
august Wrote:For example - why do the Baileys (Bailies?) create Betrayers to begin with? Do they see mankind as a pest, to be exterminated even after they've fled the surface? Are the Dworks tolerated only as a supply of new Bailey models? Or did the Betrayer-dad in "Choices" give us a clue? Do the Baileys see humankind as something to be improved, via cybernetics? i.e by giving them the memories of the original model, are they creating an improved and indestructible version of themselves?
Quote:This was sent to me on one of the mailing lists:

Bailies create Betrayers to infiltrate the underground, since they are prevented from doing so by the shaft guns; since Bailies are organic in origin, they cannot exterminate humanity "they need us."

Hmmm...thoughts? I recall Creegan said "they are us...."

Actually, it was Hel's dad, Carter, who said (in "Truth be told") something like "In a sense, they are us". His explanation was that the Bailies needed human neural tissue to create new Bailies.
To me, this sounds more like a theory than fact. The Bailies can create a perfect clone of a human in a few minutes, but they can't create neural tissue? That doesn't sound logical. I don't think the Bailies really need to depend upon humans to continue their existence.
As far as I know, with the right tech, all you need is a few stem cells, and you can grow any kind of tissue from that. Stem cells can be "harvested" without having to kill a human. Maybe the Bailies once needed to get organic tissue from humans, but with their advanced tech, they should've evolved beyond that. They can manipulate matter at least down to the molcular level, so it seems logical to assume that they can use nanotech to build the kind of organic tissue they need, from the molecular level and up.

I don't think that the original Bailies had any organic parts at all. If Creegan were one of the scientists who created the Bailies, it would mean that they were created in the 22nd century. Most likely they would have been entirely mechanical in origin, or at best bio-mechanical - but not organic. There wouldn't have been any good reason to give them any organic parts, when they were originally created. For example: an inorganic computer as a "brain" would probably be more reliable and easier to repair and replace than an organic brain.
For all we know, the organic parts may have been something they developed and created themselves. I think it's likely that they improved upon their own design up through the centuries.


As for why Bailies creates Betrayers, I think it's more complex than that it's just because they can't get down the shafts, because of the shaft cannons. If the Bailies had really wanted to exterminate humans, they could just have dropped several big bombs down the shafts and obliterated the Underground. (The shaft cannons seemed to only react to something that looked like a Bailey). Also, they wouldn't have allowed Dworks to live on the surface.
Betrayers are the most practical way for the Bailies to control and get info about the human subterranean population.

If the Bailies think that humans need to be improved upon, I think that it would be a mental adjustment, not a physical enhancement, which would make them even more difficult to control.

Now, if Creegan told the truth when he said the Bailies had originally been created as environmental control units, I would assume that they had been programmed to protect the environment, i.e. nature, and all life forms on the planet. At one point they developed a mind of their own (true "artificial" intelligence, with self-awareness, and free will, at least to a certain degree), decided that humans were the greatest threat to the environment, and that some serious human pest control was needed.
I think that the reason the Bailies haven't wiped out humans, is because of how they once were programmed. Their programming might have developed into their "nature" - they protect the environment, it's why they exist, it's who/what they are. Now, humans are a part of the environment they protect, so exterminating a species might go against their programming/nature, but reducing the population should be acceptable. A smaller population means better control and a lesser threat to the environment.

There's no need for the Bailies to allow any humans to live on the surface, not just for having a Betrayer clone livestock. With the chaos that exists in the Underground, it's pretty easy for them to abduct people when they need to create Betrayer clones. The original Betrayers might have been androids, and as the Bailies' tech grew more advanced, these androids could abduct humans. The older Betrayer models seem indeed to be a bit more mechanical than the newer ones.
So, maybe allowing some humans to live in very low-tech societies on the surface is part of an experiment, to see if humans can be given the proper mental adjustment (properly controled/trained), so that they're not a threat to the environment.


I'll come up with some more comments on the other stuff you wrote, August, when I get back from my holiday.
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#4
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#5
YAY August you posted it! But it's still a work in progress? It's late, I'm tired, and your essay is much longer than I expected; I'm about halfway through but will read all of it more carefully asap. What I've read so far is excellent.
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#6
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#7
... bumping so I don't have to go searching for it; see

https://www.sf-fandom.com/vbulletin/show...stcount=45

and around there for related discussion ...
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#8
"... the Baileys rules the surface, but allow small primitive communities of humans to exist, presumably as a herd of models for future Betrayers, and possibly as an experiment to see if humans can be allowed to continue to exist at all."

There are strong hints throughout the series that the Baileys could have some kind of symbiotic relationship with humans. Darkamber mentioned some of these above (e.g. the "In a sense, they are us" line). Then there is the mystery at the end of Season 1 as to why the underwater Bailey healed Sarge, allowing the underground to be saved. If I remember, this episode was also the start of the recurring theme in which Cleo seems to have some special connection to Baileys (e.g. Pod Whisperer, Juggernaut Down, ... other eps?). As far as the Dworks, I favor the simplistic theory that humans are a natural part of the environment, and so are allowed on the surface (as long as they exist in a state that is harmless to the environment). Assuming that the mission of the Baileys is to protect the environment and not to destroy humans would also explain some other things, like betrayers, who would have (with this theory) a primary mission of gathering intelligence in order to keep track of what the underground humans are up to - as long they stay there, and have no plans that would harm the environment (such as "taking back the surface"!), the Baileys can essentially ignore them. The preceding ignores the issue of the possible symbiotic relationship, which unfortunately there was never an opportunity to more fully explore due to the premature ending of the series.

To me, Hel and Highwater II (last of the season one 1/2 hour eps) seemed like a turning point - the plot thickened! As far as I can remember, this was the first time the motives of the Baileys had ever even been mentioned.

But all of this is not the key point - what you've written is fine, there were all kinds of theories, and endless discussions - which is that in the space of the first season of fourteen 22 minute episodes, somehow they managed to develop an extremely full, complex, and seemingly self-consistent future world, together with a number of mysteries, both at the world level (e.g. what do the Baileys really want?) and the individual character level (e.g. character backstories). Furthermore, the acting and characterizations were wonderful - fully believable 3-dimensional characters - and yes, I'm including Mauser as well! (I'm thinking of Mauser's Day Out, although that was Season 2). I think you've managed to capture this key point with what you've written so far.

Well, more to say, but Outer Zone is starting. Preceding written with the help of the Whoosh episode guide btw.
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#9
Some random thoughts about how incredibly well done the 1/2 hour (or as mentioned really 22 minutes) episodes were. When I was young (think maybe high school age or younger), for some reason I can't remember I didn't care for science fiction short stories - I don't know, I suppose I wanted my SF in huge gulps. Later, the short story became my favorite format (along with quite a drastic change in favorite authors!). There is something incredibly beautiful about a really well done short story in which (besides telling the story) an entire world is created in the reader's mind, and (the following is for good short stories in general) complete images of the characters are formed, all with a minimal number of words. I don't know how it's done, but some authors are somehow able to do it. It's possible that creating a complete SF world with a minimal number of words only works for readers who have already been exposed to a sufficient amount of SF literature, which could explain my change in taste. I would compare almost all of the 22 minute episodes to some of the best science fiction short stories in both of these regards (world creation and characterization).

August, are there any thoughts or viewpoints you can work with there, and in the preceding post, to help you conclude the essay? I think there are a number of topics in your to-do list that can reasonably be omitted, but won't make any suggestions since you may have some favorites that you definitely want in there. In any case
Quote:As with so much in life, timing is everything. Had Cleo debuted in 1995 as an hour-long feature, there’s little doubt in my mind that it, not Xena would have been the show to dethrone DS9 and go on to make syndie history.
is clearly not part of the Playing with Conventions section; in fact it could be the concluding sentence of the final section (?). You need a concluding section title here maybe? OK I will suggest something clumsy which may motivate you to improve on it and then finish the essay! How about "Cleopatra 2525's place in the world of science fiction"?


(note: edited to change "best science fiction stories" to "best science fiction short stories" above, for clarity)
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#10
Oh I just thought of another characteristic that contributes to making it great science fiction: a total lack of exposition (any form of explicit explaining to the reader or viewer what the characteristics of the SF world - the technology, the inhabitants, etc. - are). This is particularly remarkable because in the time traveler (which Cleo in essence is, although by the more or less reasonable means of cryogenic suspension) to the future world formula, the man/woman from the past presents an almost irresistible target for exposition (I suppose I should mention, if it's not obvious, that exposition in SF stories is bad since first it's totally unrealistic - for example, people, like us, take our technology completely for granted, with absolutely no clue - with very rare exceptions - as to how it works - and second, it detracts from the story).

I'm not sure, but I think I remember that Hel's and Sarge's curt answers or non-answers to some of Cleo's questions may have been a source for some of the early humor.
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#11
... thought of more to say! ... was just thinking, the over-the-top-ness of Creegan and Raina reminds me in a way of some of the characters in Jack Vance's works, in particular some of the characters in the collection of related short stories forming The Dying Earth ... the outlandish dress and makeup (Creegan), the theatricality of their speech - over the top, yes, but totally believable (at least to me) due to context.

Next,
Quote:While exploring traditional sci-fi themes like virtual reality, artificial intelligence vs. sentience, underwater cities, artificially implanted memories, contagion vs. immunity, mind/body transfer, trans-dimensional displacement, psionic mind control...

OK this (expanded suitably) could be incorporated in a (possible?) concluding section, clumsily titled (as above) "Cleopatra 2525's place in the world of science fiction" (with the improved title provided by August). The idea would be to expand this list by providing a few more details for each item, possibly include some other observations such as lack of annoying exposition, comparison of 22 minute eps to SF short stories (if this is a reasonable comparison), let's see, you might mention overall continuity of the on-going plot (example: the ghost in Perceptions turns out not to be supernatural after all - which was great, because supernatural is not science fiction - but rather Hel's missing father in the psionic reality plane, which we only discover much much later - in Truth Be Told I think?), throw in some of your favorite topics from the rest of the to-do list, and you're done! Essay complete!

August, what do you think?
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