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TrekToday - Braga Discusses 'Threshold' Paranoia

Braga Discusses 'Threshold' Paranoia

By Michelle
October 25, 2005 - 9:48 PM

Brannon Braga believes that it's mostly coincidence that paranoid '50s-style science fiction is predominating on the television network this fall, but he adds that "it's important to note that science fiction and horror usually reflect something going on in the national psyche."

Speaking to Newsday, the former Star Trek: Enterprise executive producer and other science fiction writers spoke of the fears of terrorism that may have helped fuel not only Braga's Threshold on CBS but NBC's Surface, and ABC's Invasion, each of which has also been compared to ABC's sophomore mystery-thriller Lost. "Aliens in our midst, insinuating their godless thoughts into our brains, commandeering our bodies. Paranoia lies like a poison fog upon the land," wrote Neil Holston in his summary of body-snatching TV extraterrestrials.

World Fantasy Award-winning novelist Lewis Shiner pointed out that when the optimism of Star Trek was created, civil rights were making progress and the US was in an expansive era. Since 9/11, however, "We're seeing the government using it as an excuse to subvert the Constitution. People getting paranoid and repressive. Scapegoating people."

Braga notes that during the 1950s, people were afraid of communism and the prospect of nuclear war. "Now there's a certain fear about terrorism and people infiltrating our culture and doing terrible things. It's kind of similar to the Red Scare business." He compared the experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and the emergence of Godzilla movies, saying, "It couldn't be a more powerful icon of what that nation went through. It's a monster movie, but it's a metaphor for the bomb and everything that it meant."

While some of the producers see their shows as hopeful, demonstrating that society can rebuild after a threat, Braga said that artists and writers are still trying to cope with the changed world after 9/11. "Look, many people would tell you that we may not be living in the dark ages, but we're very much in the dim ages," he explained. "It's not exactly a hopeful time when we've got enough of the world's problems solved that we can look to the stars and start dreaming again."

The original article is here.

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