Examining how science is used in science fiction and popular TV shows:
"Of course, there are plenty of groan-worthy gaffes in the Buffyverse, too, as there are in just about any form of popular entertainment that dares to inject a bit of science. That’s why nerd-gassing is such a popular and time-honored pastime among the geekerati. I went to see J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot with five PhD physicists, and the post-movie nerdgassing reached Olympic proportions. Their unanimous conclusion: 'Red matter' didn’t have to happen.
"Some people are in favor of this kind of sci-fi handwaving, as detailed in this post by Steven Padnick at Tor.com. I think Padnick is right in principle (science fiction should stretch the imagination and look beyond what is currently possible, and you don’t want to bog down your story with lengthy technical explanations) and wrong in the specific example of red matter, which is so ridiculous that it actually pulls the viewer out of the story — something no self-respecting creator of a fictional world wants to do."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 27, 2013
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2481 words)