Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Life Lessons about Technology

I just got through watching the first episode of NBC's new series, Life, a little while ago. If you missed it, I recommend it...I enjoyed it a lot. It's about a former cop, Charlie Crews, who went to prison for over a decade, was exonerated for the crime and let go, then got a ton of money (some say millions) as a settlement for the false imprisonment. Along the way, his wife divorced him and re-married, and Charlie picked up some interesting philosophy and a rather spiritual (for lack of a better word) outlook on life. In the meantime, part of the settlement is that he's back on the force as a Detective, so he can try to figure out who framed him for the crime.

The running gag throughout the show was how much Charlie was out-of-touch with technology that's come along in the last ten years or so. He had no idea what an I.M. was, he wasn't used to cell phones that fit in his pocket, and he absolutely freaked out while driving his car when his Detective partner called him and the car's Bluetooth system answered it and he began having this conversation to "thin air". Oh, and let's not forget when his old (pre-prison time on the force) partner wanted to take a picture with him, and Charlie told him "that's a phone"; he didn't know about cameras in cellphones yet. Or when his current partner sent a mug shot to his cell phone.

Hmmm...other than the IM, the majority of the technology changes Charlie didn't know about was cell-phone related. There's been a whole lot of other tech developments in the last decade, right? DVDs (and now Blu-ray and HD DVD), for starters. Surround sound in the home. HDTV sets and high-end LCD or Plasma screens that are super-thin and hang on the wall like a picture...something right out of The Jetsons to a guy like Charlie. Smaller and lighter laptop computers, as well as PDAs and Blackberries. Wireless computing in general. Universal remotes. Modern digital cameras and video-cams. iPods and MP3s instead of CDs. The sheer realism of modern videogame systems (PS3's instead of PS1's!). Wii's. The advancements of portable videogame systems, and cell-phones (whoops...okay, I went there!) that play videogames that used to cost a quarter or two in arcades back in the day. XM and Sirius. TIVO. DirecTV. Archon units. Does he know about cameras at red lights that check to see if you're speeding?

Heck, forget technology: just stick the guy in a grocery store and have him comment on changes in the supermarket since 10 years ago. Wanna go the tech route in that store? Okay: paying for groceries by credit card and debit card wasn't all that common a decade ago. How about RFID tags?

I'm not saying that any of this is realistic for someone sent to prison for a decade. I'm just wondering where the writers will go with this stuff. It's an interesting, thought-provoking sideline in a show that's already entertaining in other ways. But it makes you think more about the technology we already take for granted, that we didn't have available to us all that long ago.

What do you think?


At September 27, 2007 4:07 PM, Anonymous Leah said...

I liked this show quite a bit. I think once they get through character intro and stuff, it'll be A LOT better.

At first I was like, has stuff really changed that much in the past 12 years? Then I realized I was 12 then, so yeah, LOTS of stuff has changed. No one I knew had cell phones or laptops or anything. We didn't even have a computer in my house. WE didn't have cable either.

So, once I thought about it, I liked it more.

The only thing I really didn't like about the show was it seemed a little uneven. An example is the 2 scenes where det. crews was driving in his car. He kept saying something like, I'm not attached to this car, I think it was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't.

you should create a blog over in the tvguide community, if you have time. It's a great place to talk to people who are just as into tv as you are.

At September 27, 2007 5:56 PM, Blogger David Lambert said...

re: "you should create a blog over in the tvguide community, if you have time"

Actually, here's some news: we'll be shutting down this blog in the near future and setting me up a blog over at TV Guide similar to the one Gord has. We're just getting started on movement in that direction, so no ETA yet.


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