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A Law Show Set 25 Years from Now 413

aaron240 writes "CBS will be airing a pilot of a new show called 'Century City' tonight, Tuesday, March 16th. CNN has the story. The executive producer, Ed Zuckerman, had this to say about the future state of the law in America: 'Our future is a positive future. We assume that things are basically going to get better, progress will continue,' Zuckerman says. 'There will be problems -- new inventions, new technologies will bring with them difficulties -- but it's a bright future.' He also makes it clear that 'This is not a 'Blade Runner''. Is there any chance it will offer a decent treatment of the issues Open Source advocates worry about today? If he's so positive, could he possibly know anything about software patents to say nothing of SCO?"
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A Law Show Set 25 Years from Now

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  • by andyrut ( 300890 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:28PM (#8583144) Homepage Journal
    This might turn out to be a great show. But really, there's already a glut of legal shows on television (The Practice, Judging Amy, JAG, etc.), and using a gimmick like setting it in the future won't attract me to it.

    Is there any chance it will offer a decent treatment of the issues Open Source advocates worry about today? If he's so positive, could he possibly know anything about software patents to say nothing of SCO?

    Don't expect it to even come close to issues important to us nerds.

    There's just something lacking in a show that focuses on such riveting legal issues as "should a player with a super-accurate bionic eye be allowed to play professional baseball?" Really, this is an actual plot line [nynewsday.com] that will be in "Century City."
    • Won't this just end up like every other show about lawyers? Sex, Lies, and more sex..
      • by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:36PM (#8583270) Homepage Journal
        No, I'm betting it gets cancelled before it has a chance to get that far. I've seen the previews, and for the most part, it just looks silly and contrived. Sort of like "The Practice" spent a steamy night in a seedy motel with "Minority Report," and this was the unhappy result.
        • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:45PM (#8583370)
          Let's face it, Minority Report had some great vision-of-future-tech bits with an absolutely lame story. Maybe there is something interesting in the daily civil lawsuit during that time frame...
          • That's what you get when you take a ~45 page Philip K. Dick short story and try to turn it into a feature film. Same problem that you have with 'Paycheck', way to much filler for the producer to over-produce.
            • In those ~45 pages, he completely examines the implications of all the time paradoxes that other writers just leave alone.

              The short story is so much better than the movie.

              In short, the information you have now determines the choice you make now which determines your future.

              In order to make a different choice than the one you made because of your knowledge of the future, you'd need NEW knowledge of the NEW future that was based upon your decision.
          • Funny, I thought the oppisite.

            The first time I saw it I was so bothered by the "futuristic atmosphere" I almost left the theatre (I have never actually left a movie). I watched it on HBO later and actually got kind of into it. And it wasn't because I was too stupid to understand it or anything. It was the damn 3-d interfacing. The imposible to see anything on clear displays, and the highway system in general that bothered me.

            Other stupid little things too (like how can his eyes still be authorized to
            • [OT] Minority Report (Score:3, Interesting)

              by mdfst13 ( 664665 )
              "(like how can his eyes still be authorized to the top secret area when he is most wanted)"

              This is one of those things that may be hard to believe but is very realistic. The key to it is understanding that the top secret area was not connected to any of the rest of the systems and was essentially hard coded. The reason for this was to keep it from being compromised (compromising the exterior systems does not help compromise the interior systems).

              It would have been very difficult to change that system to
        • One review article: (Score:5, Informative)

          by Greedo ( 304385 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:49PM (#8583419) Homepage Journal
          From The Globe and Mail [theglobeandmail.com]:

          Just imagine the pitch some scriptwriter must have delivered for the new series Century City (CBS, 9 p.m.): "Sexy lawyers in the future! And they're practising law!" It must have seemed a good idea at the time.

          Certainly, the network would like the show to become a breakaway ratings hit (not likely), but more likely, it's airing it because it's already spent the money.

          The show is set in a high-end L.A. law firm, circa 2030. The company is managed by a few salty old-schoolers, Hector Elizondo among them, and a few young upstarts, including the necessary young idealist (Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd), best known from several turns as the lead in C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower on A&Eand wildly miscast here.

          The first episode veers between two cases customized and contrived to fit the futuristic format: A scientist (David Paymer) is arrested for cloning, although he was doing it only to save his son's life. A septuagenarian rock star (Anthony Zerbe) is sued by his band mates for refusing to undergo procedures to look young.

          Sad to report, the future looks pretty much the same as the present does, except with cleaner air and fancier laptops. There are a few advances: Pre-trial hearings are accomplished via holograms. Characters marvel about cherries without pits. But where are the moving sidewalks, the sassy robot maids and other conveniences promised to us by Alvin Toffler and The Jetsons?

          Nothing is exceptional about Century City, neither its concept nor its cast, made up largely of vaguely familiar TV faces, which includes a bit player from Suddenly Susan and a woman from Judging Amy. They are actors at a way station -- on the rebound from one show and on their way to the next.
          • The show is set in a high-end L.A. law firm, circa 2030.

            Already the show is exceedingly unrealistic. No reasonable person would expect Southern California to be around in 2030.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:33PM (#8583227)
      It's a logical extension of current issues like "Should players be allowed to chemically enhance their bodies?"

      You may not be interested in sports, but I am, and I'd be curious to see how they argue it, pro and con.

      Too bad I don't have a TV anymore.
      • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:36PM (#8583889)
        Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't those enhancements already violations?

        A better scenario would be.....when fetal manipulation is practiced, does that make the person who was manipulated/enhanced ineligible for sports? Particularly because it was done TO him/her instead of BY him/her.

        Would there be a test for such?

        Would there be a seperate division for enhanced athletes? Would the "pure" athletes lose viewership because of that? Could they sue?

        And that's just chemical/bio enhancement. They're still thinking too small and focusing on individuals.
    • by somethinghollow ( 530478 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:35PM (#8583256) Homepage Journal
      Not to mention that a show about OSS would be more boring to the general public than any given APT show (note: I said GENERAL public, which might not be YOU). OSS just isn't good entertainment unless 1) it's real and 2) you're a geek. Hell, I wouldn't watch it. Speculating about the future of OSS would be pointless. Things that adhere to evolution via demands (as OSS projects do) don't always stick to a plan.
      • Remove the last S from OSS. Sure, whether I can construct my own OS or web browser in the future is completely boring. But start applying Open Source to hardware--can I construct my own robot? My own von Neuman machine robot? My own nanomachines? Can I genetically engineer my own pets? Can I synthesize my own medicine? My own drugs? Really, making it a legal drama kind of presupposes an answer to all of these questions: "only if the government says you can." Which is why Century City sounds boring t
    • by El ( 94934 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:37PM (#8583280)
      should a player with a super-accurate bionic eye be allowed to play professional baseball? Should women with breast implants be allowed to compete in wet T-shirt contests?
    • Well, it is obvious that I won't be watching it tonight. A new episode of Scrubs is on at the same time that deals with causality and the chaos theory. A subject much more interesting to me.
    • In a country ruled by lawyers, does this really surprise you?
    • There's just something lacking in a show that focuses on such riveting legal issues as "should a player with a super-accurate bionic eye be allowed to play professional baseball?"

      Yet another case ripped from the headlines [businessweek.com]
    • by kettch ( 40676 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:42PM (#8583943) Homepage
      It'll probably be like some of the other shows that I started to watch. Whether they are lawyer shows, medical shows, or whatever. They start out dealing with interesting topics/situations. However, at some point the characters start having a personal life. They start banging other characters. Then they start banging clients. Then the show starts bringing in a new outrageous guest star every week. Then they start swapping new characters in every month.
      Another thing they do is to do "ripped from the headlines" plots. And since it takes months for a show to go through production and actually make it to TV, I never remember what the hell they are talking about.

      I hate TV
    • I am curious. If everyone hates lawyers, why do so many people watch all the shows about them?
    • by macdaddy357 ( 582412 ) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:19PM (#8584268)
      This show looks like a bunch of crap. The future isn't going to be shiny and polished like Star Trek. You want to know how law will be in the future? Two men enter. One man leaves. Bust a deal, face the wheel.
    • There's just something lacking in a show that focuses on such riveting legal issues as "should a player with a super-accurate bionic eye be allowed to play professional baseball?"

      By taking place in the future, it might free up the writiers to deal with touchy issues of the present, without treading on someone's toes (think Murphy Brown, Dan Quail, and unwed motherhood). Looks like they already have some, but here's a few future issues that could spark some controversy:

      human cloning for disease treatment

    • ANOTHER law show? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:09PM (#8585093)
      Actually this will probably be the only show to deal with today's most important legal issues.

      The 'future' setting in television shows is always just a plot device to handle controversial modern issues without getting shot down by the network censors (the 'standards and practices' department).

      Television in the USA is always a fine line between pissing off the commercial sponsers and attracting viewers. The material must be 'hot' enough to attact viewers from cable and internet but not to 'hot' to invoke the possiblility that the commercial sponsor will flip out.

      However today since the media corporations own so much of the rest of the economy (or, more precisely, the media corporations are owned by giant conglamerates who own large chucks of the economy), it is more important not to piss off anyone in the government.

      Television is stupid because there are very few types of progamming that meet those exact requirements, and all the possible plots and scenarios were already developed and aired twenty years ago.

      Television would probably have to go off the air anyway by December 2006 without government decree. They simply have run out of things to show.
  • by Tongue In A Box ( 664849 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:30PM (#8583164) Journal
    Microsoft is currently appealing the latest decision orcing them to break apart...details in the next law show set 25 years ahead of this one.
  • Call me crazy, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mike the Mac Geek ( 182790 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:30PM (#8583166) Journal
    But I think this will be more along the lines of family law, divorces, and criminal defense rather than copyright law, etc.

    Not too many people find copyright law and open source law rulings terribly entertaining.
    • Re:Call me crazy, (Score:3, Insightful)

      by millahtime ( 710421 )
      Well at the rate we are going there will be something like a 90% divorce rate, sex and drugs will be rampant, athletes will be cyborgs. I mean will there really be families as we know it?? Will marriage even be something really??? It's going to be law meets star trek meets larry flint.
    • Not too many people find copyright law and open source law rulings terribly entertaining.

      Hey, if they get the babes from "All My Children", I'll watch. Hell, Matlock and Perry Mason have nothing on SCO and the patent/copyright soap operas currently online. This is even better than Professional Wrestling, because the outcome hasn't been fixed.(as far as I know)
  • C'mon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:30PM (#8583171)
    "a legal drama set in the year 2030, where the lawyers find that though laws change, people remain the same."

    Does that sound like something that would discuss issues like software licenses? No, it sounds like a legal soap opera. I don't think this will outlast a season.

  • They'll STILL be waiting for SCO to tell us which code is in violation.
  • by raider_red ( 156642 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:31PM (#8583195) Journal
    One of the features of the show will be the premiere of the 256th Law and Order spinoff: "Law And Order: Illegal Cloning Investigation Unit".
  • neat idea, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JeffSh ( 71237 ) <jeffslashdot@noSpam.m0m0.org> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:32PM (#8583204)
    here's the pilot info:

    A young boy's father wants the right to use the boy's genetic embryo clone to develop a baby who could donate a portion of his liver to save him. The firm also takes on the case of a boy band that is suing its lead singer for not adhering to his contract to keep up his physical appearance.

    It doesn't look like they are going to tbe dealing with technology very much/not at all.

    moreover, it looks like the 2 issues they picked for their pilot are both things that don't require much foresight to envision, not to mention that the clone thing should happen alot sooner then 25 yrs..
    • by elflet ( 570757 ) *
      The core of a good science fiction story lies in the people, not the technology. Theodore Sturgeon defined it wonderfully: "A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without its scientific content."

      He's not alone in this belief -- peruse the Definitions of "Science Fiction" [panix.com] page and you'll see the same sentiment echoed by many successful authors (e.g. Ray Bradbury: Science fiction is really sociological stu

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      These are the enduring issues of technology. All the computer stuff we are going through is just a phase. Few other than historians will remeber or care. How many of you know there was a tiny part of the steam engine that had significant effects on the course of history due to it's legal ambiguity? How many of you talk about the technological wonder of a shovel or sewage pipes even though both of these had profound effects on the course of civilization. Does anyone even think of tube television as a te
  • by Godeke ( 32895 ) * on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:32PM (#8583211)
    I find the timeline a bit aggressive. Supposedly set in 2030, the issues at hand seem more in line for maybe 2070 or beyond. Not to belittle the advances of the last 25 years (all hail the microwave) but twenty five years ago was not that *radically* different from today.

    Perhaps the date was chosen to avoid appearing to be "too much like science fiction", but I must express my doubts that LA will have maglev monorails and all cars will be fuel cell powered by then. The death of paper seems even more unlikely, as does robotic kitchens.

    Aw, who am I kidding: 1950's scientific optimism plus the moral dilemmas of progress... I may actually watch this just to see if it is ham fisted or actually well thought out.
    • by mattkime ( 8466 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:39PM (#8583301)

      twenty five years ago was not that *radically* different from today.

      I beg to differ.

      There was no slashdot.

      I mean really, what did people do at work back then?

    • You're kidding, right? In 1988, I had _7_ casettes and 3 or 4 records...my iPod has over 200 albums worth of content and it's 25% of my (legal) collection. The surest way to get predicting the future is to TRY to predict the future. Ya think Back to the future part II was over the top when it failed to predict disposeable cellphones, electric paper, and MEMS? (all of which are really here now.)
    • by IronBlade ( 60118 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:51PM (#8583436) Homepage
      but I must express my doubts that LA will have maglev monorails and all cars will be fuel cell powered by then.

      Well, if the site I link to [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net] is any indication, then the cars will have to run on something other than petroleum products.
      Would be interesting to see if the coming energy crisis [dieoff.com] will be covered at all...
      Somehow, I doubt it, as ignorance (and/or denial) is bliss...

    • >twenty five years ago was not that *radically* different from today.

      25 years ago people were changing typewriter ribbons. Music came on huge fragile disks that wore out a little each time you played one. Research was something you did in a library during hours when the library was open.

      I have a car from that era. There are five transistors in the entire car, and all of them are in the radio. My other car is an internetwork which treats the engine, the electric motor/generators, the battery pack and me
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is Wonderland [www.cbc.ca] is a new CBC show that is genuinely funny, and a great drama too. It is by far the best new Law show I've seen, and is better than Law and Order SVU, although it covers similar turf with some of it's cases.

    One problem with legal shows, is that they are 95% of the time, based in the USA, and so don't have Crown Attourneys, and other Canadian twists.

    I'm too young to remember the Street Legal days, but this is one series that I hope lasts as long, and catches on. It is very entertaining.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is Wonderland [thisiswonderland.com] offical website.

      Last week a prostitute was aquitted for the more serious charge of sexual interference with a minor, a 13 year old boy in his hospital bed, because he lied about his age. In Canada, the age of consent is 14, and the show took a jab at American TV which mis-informs Canadian youth about the age of consent.
  • This article seems pretty well centered around Hector Elizondo [imdb.com], however this show could be pretty interesting. I'll try to catch the first episode this evening, however I really hope this isn't the next Law and Order style courtroom drama. I'm much more apt to waste some time watching a CSI style show anyday.
    Seems like cop/courtroom drama is the next reality TV... CBS was definatly all over that (read: Survivor)
  • by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:33PM (#8583223)
    Pity Leni Riefenstahl isn't around to consult on such positive outlooks of the future.
  • by upstart1234 ( 201823 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:35PM (#8583251) Homepage Journal
    Why would someone doing a tv show about law in the future really give a damn about the issues with SCO or anything about Open Source. Please people do you really think anyone out in the world but us (ie the slashdot crowd) gives a rat ass about these things?
  • by klipsch_gmx ( 737375 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:35PM (#8583259)
    Kay McFadden is a respected TV show reviewer in the Seattle and had this [nwsource.com] to say, among other things:

    "The stories tend to lean on loopholes -- cases and laws post-dating 2004. By any entertainment standards, the writers do a middling job of courtroom preparation and a really bad one with soap-opera histrionics.

    At the end of tonight's episode, the verdict is clear: "Century City" is an argument against the kind of research that leads networks to mindless replication. Just say no to cloning."
    • In other words they do to law what Star Trek did to physics. That's what turned me off of the various Trek series; they invented fake science to solve fake scientific problems, and expected us to care.

      "You honor, we plead cybernetic estoppel."
      • by jeff.paulsen ( 6195 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:20PM (#8583738)
        I'll see your cybernetic estoppel and raise you one affidavit of positronic imbalance.

        This is way more fun than the tv show is, I bet. Just sitting around making up future law show stuff.

        Your Honor, I object! The precedent set in United Posidyne vs General Subatomics clearly establishes that transmissions by tachyon mail cannot be used as an affirmative defense against a charge of q-spectrum barratry!

        Objection sustained. The bailiffbot will mindwipe the jury regarding the last piece of evidence, and counsel will approach the hoverbench.
  • If he's so positive, could he possibly know anything about software patents to say nothing of SCO?"

    Of course. SCO will not exist 25 years from now. Any reference made will simply be "SC-Who?"
  • OSS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:37PM (#8583283)
    Can somebody please explain to me what OSS has to do with a futuristic law show? I swear, I expect any day to see a story on something even *more* inane, such as a new color for Pepsi, and somehow, /. is going to relate that to OSS. There really IS more to life than OSS, people! Hell, there's a LOT more to *geek* life than OSS!
    • Congrats! You got a Score: 1, Troll, at least as I'm posting.

      However, you are absolutely correct. I read the blurb and the poster's comments and thought: "How the hell does Open Source or SCO factor into a futuristic 'Law and Order'?"

      Seriously, I will do a post about March Madness or the Final Four and perhaps add: "But will the winning university switch from Microsoft to Linux in their campus library? Only time will tell."

  • by jezor ( 51922 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:37PM (#8583286) Homepage
    As someone who runs a business and technology law institute at Touro Law Center [tourolaw.edu] in Huntington, NY, I'm really looking forward to this show. Yes, it'll be soapy, and no, it won't go into the issues discussed on Slashdot, but I am tickled by the thought that someone is projecting out the other kinds of legal questions that may come up for my students, tomorrow's tech-savvy lawyers. But hey -- no law show ever showed licensing or similar lawyers; negotations over ownership provisions ("Work Made for Hire!" "No, Limited License!") or warranties and representations never make for good television. {Professor Jonathan}
  • If he's so positive, could he possibly know anything about software patents to say nothing of SCO?

    Somebody didn't read the "Important Stuff" about posting, namely "Please try to keep posts on topic."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Zoic [zoicstudios.com], the effects house behind Firefly and Battlestar Galactica are doing the effects for this one so it should have some neat visuals... if nothing else
  • mmm sci-fi lawyers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:40PM (#8583313)
    Actually, I think if they made it a sci-fi show rather than a lawyer show it would be fantastic. When I say sci-fi I mean proper cautionary tale sci-fi. It would be a great way to explore future legal ideas and even some current legal issues should they not be overturned [or not implimented in some cases]. It won't be though I bet. It will be the same things that have been covered before and better by other sources. Only now it's in the prime time, and will be dumbed down to make sure nobody gets lost.
  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Operating Thetan ( 754308 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:42PM (#8583331) Journal
    This is not a 'Blade Runner'

    Well done. Blade Runner is well written, original and high quality. This is network sci fi/law drama, respectively the worst written* and the most overused of TV drama settings

    *Some of it may be good, but for every Star Trek or Babylon 5 there are 2 Milleniums or Space:Above and Beyonds
    • Re:Well (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well.... Good thing I have karma to burn because here it goes...

      *Some of it may be good, but for every Star Trek or Babylon 5 there are 2 Milleniums or Space:Above and Beyonds

      Can you really hold up Star Trek and Babylon 5 as examples of good science fiction? I admit that I enjoyed some Star Trek every now and then, but it was totally space opera, they so rarely had interesting, original science fiction concepts that when they did it was a cause for celebration. Maybe I never gave B5 a chance, but the fe

  • The Right to Read (Score:4, Informative)

    by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:45PM (#8583368) Homepage Journal
    This is a good time to catch up on RMS's essay titled theThe Right to Read [gnu.org]. gnu.org seems to be down right now, so here's the google cache link [].

    This is a must read for anybody worried about patent_laws/copyright_laws/DRM/DMCA/etc. It outlines a future scenario where a student can face imprisonment for sharing/borrowing books/software which she could not afford.

    There was a time when one would've considered this scenario farfeteched. With the new draconian laws, unfortunately it doesn't seem so anymore. A *must read* for any concerned Slashdotter AND to these folks trying to paint a BRIGHT picture for the current legislative system.

    For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college--when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan. This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her--but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong--something that only pirates would do.


    Later on, Dan would learn there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay. There were independent scholars who read thousands of pages without government library grants. But in the 1990s, both commercial and nonprofit journal publishers had begun charging fees for access. By 2047, libraries offering free public access to scholarly literature were a dim memory.

  • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etartsnefd>> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:47PM (#8583385)
    Begin Rant
    Our future is a positive future. We assume that things are basically going to get better, progress will continue,' Zuckerman says. 'There will be problems -- new inventions, new technologies will bring with them difficulties -- but it's a bright future.'

    You know one huge improvement in our lives that this show likely won't consider? Erasing every single law on the books every 5-10 years.

    Does anyone find it odd that we have to live, for fear of imprisonment, under a set of laws and regulations so conflicting, non-intuitive, and complex, that one needs a 6 year education to begin to understand the law?

    Need an example? Look at Martha Stewart, soon to be imprisoned for basically lying to cops about a crime they couldn't prove she did anyway. Over an amount of money that was a fraction of what it probably cost to prosecute her. And she wasn't under oath. I care nothing about Martha Stewart personally, but the scenario stinks to me.

    The US Code is hundreds of thousands of pages. Most of it is rot, laws set by legislatures to grant special priveleges to certain constituencies- or a sketchy, contrived delegation of Congress' lawmaking power- The EPA, anyone?- that we could dispense with and make the country a better place. I doubt anyone can go a full year without breaking a good half dozen laws, even with the best intentions.

    So many laws and regulations could only come from a body who is deluded into thinking that the cure to any percieved societal ill is even more government. I suppose I can't blame them too much- when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail- but it's far past time to clean house.

    Oh yeah, another lawyer show- woo-fucking-hoo. No, I did not read the FA. /Rant

    Oh yeah, vote for me when I'm old enough to be a Senator, so I can try- likely in vain- to fix it. Thank you.
    • This is an idea I've heard before, and while it's not practicle, there is a good argument for making legislatures reconsider things every few years.

      Let's take social security. Today it's an entitlement. Everyone expects to have it and that it be run the way it always has. The problem is that when it was established, there were something like 50 people working for each person collecting SS. Today it's like 2 or 3 if that. But it's been done the same way so long that people are "entrenched" and will fight al

  • What is Sci Fi? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GPLDAN ( 732269 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:47PM (#8583393)
    I would feel better if the Sci Fi channel were handling this. A lot (not all) Sci Fi deals with social and political questions. The culmination of this, of course, is Dune. Dune deals in many ways with the British occupation of Afghanistan, and it resonates so soundly today it's frightening. Spice is oil.

    If I had the CBS writers in a room, I'm not sure what I'd pass out. heinlein, Herbert, Orsan Scott Card, and maybe Necromancer. All required reading even before you get to start the first script. Really good sci-fi, the kind of stuff that clearly understands and reflects history is very rare and very special. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and guess the people who pen the jokes on 'Everybody Loves Raymon' or the plots on 'CSI' are going to be up to the challenge of writing good sci-fi.
  • by Sylver Dragon ( 445237 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:47PM (#8583394) Journal
    Boy, the writters really had to dig deep fot this idea. Then again, this might just be a way for Hollywood to make everyone think that all the laws that they are buying are really good for the average citizen.
    I can see the episode already:
    *Two lawyers sitting in a cafe*
    Lawyer 1 : Well, looks like they finally broke up that piracy ring
    Lawyer 2 : Wow, I would have thought that with all of the consumer protection laws that were passed in the early 2000's that people would have given up trying to steal music.
    Lawyer 1: Nope, seems that some people never learn that piracy is bad. After all, its the reason the economy crahsed in 2010.
    Lawyer 2: Its a good thing that the Digital Rights Act of 2013 was passed. It was only by allowing the record labels the right to raid homes, and confiscate pirates computers that we managed to end that black time.
    Lawyer 1: Yes, and the extension of copyrights to 1000 years was just the right thing to do, afterall, the creators should be allowed to gain the benifits of thier work.
    Laywer 2: And don't forget about clearing up the whole problem with analog copies, allowing that to continue could have had seroius side effects.
    Lawyer 1: Yes, indeed. If only people had realized earlier that they have no right, or valid reason to make any copy, we might have avoided the whole crash of 2010.
    *break for commercial*

    Or maybe I'm just being cyical today.

  • by 3Suns ( 250606 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:48PM (#8583398) Homepage
    Is there any chance it will offer a decent treatment of the issues Open Source advocates worry about today?
    I heard a radio ad for this show this morning. The quote was "Ma'am, is it true that you started a relationship with this man for the purpose of downloading his personality?"

    So I'd say, probably not. Sounds like more far-fetched, yet hackneyed sci-fi cliches inserted into Law&Order.
  • The thing I like about this, more than the premise of the show or its upbeat, Pollyanna tone, is that science fiction is now so mainstream that a lawyer show, at least exploring possibilities of technology and the pros and cons of an imaginary future, can be pitched to a network.

    Television and film have really only scratched the surface of the deep field that is science fiction. The future of the genre will be a thing of beauty to behold.

  • So when does "Law & Order: Intergalactic Criminal Intent" air? Nothing is more exciting then the criminal justice system of the future (pronounced "FUUuuuuuTURRrrrrrre").

  • Bright future (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frodo from middle ea ( 602941 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:50PM (#8583426) Homepage
    Our future is a positive future.
    Hopefully he is not saying this from a lawyer's perspective. Here is hoping 25 years from now, the law will have a LOT more common sense than it does now. here is hoping corporate america won't be able to use the law as means of terrorizing joe america.

    Here is hoping no 14 year kid gets sued and branded as a criminal for something as trieft as downloading a song or two. Here is hoping no one company can sue and lay claim on the product of hardwork of millions of developers across the globe.

    And finally here is hoping that the law and courts be used to settle much more pressing issues like corruption, and crime and not trivial issues like carving of some 10 commandments in front of the court.

  • Pepsi kids (Score:3, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @06:52PM (#8583452) Homepage
    So are they going to have an episode where they show a synopsis of all the kids who got busted by the RIAA that were on the pepsi commercial? It'll show a short summary of their lives after they stole music and where they are today. One of em is a crack whore on the street, another moved on to Grand Theft Auto after getting a taste of stealing from Kazaa, etc.

    I'm sure this show will be doubleplusgood.

  • Is there any chance it will offer a decent treatment of the issues Open Source advocates worry about today?

    Like getting dates?

  • by thasmudyan ( 460603 ) <thasmudyan@@@openfu...com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:19PM (#8583727)
    Don't expect any cool tech references or innovation from this. It seems like a pretty standard law show with just about enough standard sci-fi things to make network PHBs believe that they are innovating. Networks don't go for new concepts right now, they're just combining already proven elements from older shows.

    See, the average consumer is already scared about "modern life", it's all sooo comlicated and confusing. People get the feeling that they're lost in everyday life, tech/scientific advancement scares them if it doesn't come disguised as something familiar. The last thing Joe Sixpack wants to see on TV right now is a freaky, complicated show with scary new ideas. Just give them LA Law and Melrose Place all over again, everything will be fine.

    Shows that tried to do something different have all failed recently, because they were not suitable for the average consumer. Firefly went down pretty fast - and to stay with the Joss Wedon thing - Angel got cancelled right away when they made their first remotely intelligent season. Those examples may be shows you like or dislike a lot, doesn't matter, just as long as you can acknowledge (for the sake of argument) that they were radically different from the simplified, standardized and sanitized world people have come to expect.

    By the way, from a geek point of view, the research team for Century City doesn't seem to bright anyway. There is a poll in the website:
    Should bionic players be allowed to play professional baseball?
    - Yes, they have as much right as anyone
    - No, it's not fair to the other players
    - It's hard to say

    Obvious geek answer: if bionic extensions are superior to natural parts, just tune them down until they match average natural performance. (The example case was a bionic eye, it's really simple with that.) Yeah, so bionics can help you just enough to overcome a disability and it can make you a super athlete. But it doesn't have to be EITHER OR, does it? Can't it just be configured to make you "normal"? (OMG, I'm actually discussing a stupid TV show argument with myself, I must be pretty bored)

    So, anyway... don't expect anything ground-breaking from this show. Speak after me: there *are* no new ideas.
    - /me waves hand jedi-like

  • What if USA PATRIOT, Software Patents, Closed Source, all of our hot button issues, all of it work out ok, and that humanity does get better and life does go on, and that, the chicken littles of today really turn out to be chicken littles?
  • Trek (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:23PM (#8583773)

    The Star Trek spinoffs already did a lot of this "ponder the ethical ramifications of new technology" type of thing. The genetically enhanced Dr. Bashir of DS9 raised the same issues as the bionic baseball player this show will have. Picard's arbitrations in various alien disputes were essentially legal drama in space. Janeway's constant ethical delimmas come to mind, particularly the way she always tried to follow her principles even when it was not the best thing for the crew -- much as the justice system must uphold legal principles, even when it is not the best outcome for the specific litigants. In Enterprise, the episode where Tripp is cloned to harvest his brain has obvious parallels to the current debates on human cloning, stem cell research, and so forth.

    I'd expect something that puts forth these same kinds of delimmas, but with technology much closer to our own, and an emphasis on resolving them through the legal system. No starship battles, Borg, or aliens with funny latex foreheads. Sci-fi often uses futuristic settings to explore hypothetical ethical issues -- consider The 6th Day (what would widespread cloning do to society?), Minority Report (is knowing someone WILL commit a crime, does that justify preemptive punishment?), or Star Wars (if you have a big spacecraft, is it okay to blow up Alderaan?). Just kidding about the last one. This show sounds like it will be sci-fi lite, taking the same approach to exploring the questions new technology brings, but set in a society that is still a lot closer to our own.

  • Wait... (Score:3, Funny)

    by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:28PM (#8583825)
    You mean people under 60 actually watch CBS?
  • by coldtone ( 98189 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:39PM (#8583912)
    Not what we are doing. The progress we have made over the past 25 years is more about many things becoming easier to do or in some cases obsolete. I mean all Tivo is just an automated VCR. You hardly ever put disks or anything into your computer. Using internet banking just saves a trip to the bank or the mail box. It's now very simple to send messages to anyone anywhere in the world for almost free.

    In 25 years from now it will be much more of the same. Tax preparation may become a thing of the past because computers have it nailed. Gas stations might be completely automated. Typing things into a computer could be fully optional, (But people still will). People will probably live longer. It will cost even more to live in New York. You get the idea.

    I hope that we will have one or maybe even two OMG technologies. (Anti Gravity, Warp Drive, Sentient AI, you get the idea.) But these things tend to only come around once every hundred years. (Fire, Farming, The Wheel, The Gun, The Car, The Light Bulb, The Computer) so it might be asking for a bit much.
  • Seriously.. (Score:3, Redundant)

    by jimmyCarter ( 56088 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:41PM (#8583938) Journal
    Is there any doubt that EVERY episode will be about cases involving patent law(suits)?
  • by RoboOp ( 460207 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:45PM (#8583965)
    Divorce: Kitt from Knight Rider divorces life partner Michael for alimony and a monthly oil change. But who gets the fuzzy dice and the beaded seat cover?

    Product Liability: Customer sues when a vegetable becomes mixed into his Soylent Green.

    IP: RIAA sues ancient space faring race for IP infringement (Their eons-old anthem bears a striking resembelance to theme of 'Growing Pains'). Aliens carpet bomb Earth.

    Technowhiz: Geek invents a lawbot the size of a hearing aid that translates between legalese and english. The firm goes bankrupt -the lawyers into the wilderness for the spin-off "Lawyers in the deadzone"

    Murder: Peta activists genetically engineers sentient dog. Dog tells PETA to F-off and insists on his right to eat meat. Activists then kill animal under the defence of 'its just an animal'

    Libel: Snake Pliskin hires firm to sue the guy that publicizes his death.
  • Wolfram & Hart (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @07:53PM (#8584040)
    My favorite sci-fi/fantasy series about a law firm is 'Angel'. But it's about an eeeevilllll law firm (is that redundant, or what) called 'Wolfram & Hart'. Apart from that, I'm tired of television's endless stream of doctor / lawyer / cop / reality shows. Probably why I don't watch much TV anymore.
  • by angryelephant ( 678279 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:32PM (#8584364)
    Something along the lines of the robots from Futurama trying to hold legal proceedings. Imagine a tense courtroom full of judgebots, jury bots, shady criminal defense bots, idealistic district attroney bots, a comical oafish bailiff bot. Robot Judge: Before us stands the accused Bender. You stand on trial for five counts of stealing gin from orphans, 3 counts of vehicular petty larceny involving heavy construction equipment and 1 count of jay walking. How do you plea? Bender: Bite my shiny metal a$$ Robot Judge: I sentence you to 100 years gas mining on the sun. Bender: aww crap
  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <snoopdoug AT geekazon DOT com> on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @08:43PM (#8584446) Homepage
    I'm from the future. Century City was cancelled after 3 episodes, resurrected in 2005 after a fan email campaign, then cancelled again after the campaign proved to be the work of a lone haxx04 named dl3374, whose brain as of 2047 was still serving a 200,000-hour sentence as the CPU of the Volograd sewage treatment facility.

    Television ceased to be a commercial medium after the Copyright Wars of 2019, when the Distributed Fiction Experiment proved that all copyrighted material could be randomly generated.
  • by OnanTheBarbarian ( 245959 ) on Tuesday March 16, 2004 @10:57PM (#8585408)
    Yeah, sure. What a schmuck this Zuckerman fellow must be.

    What kind of low-grade moron doesn't know that the SCO lawsuit and an overly liberal regime of granting software patents is the direct pathway to a horrifying, Blade-Runner-style future where gangs of midgets tear the fittings off your police aircar given half a chance?

    I think it's very, very important for any show like this to offer detailed depictions of OSS-type issues. These issues should arise every other show at the very least, and possibly feature verbatim quotes of essays by Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman. A major character might take time out from the courtroom scenes, sex and scandal and face the camera and talk for about 10 minutes about the difference between 'free as in speech' and 'free as in beer'.

  • by btempleton ( 149110 ) on Wednesday March 17, 2004 @02:44AM (#8586606) Homepage
    Interesting idea with lots of potential but poorly executed. The show tried to do way too much. Instead of just doing the basic clone-importing case which they could have made good, they need to throw in a long series of surprises, plans to harvest organs, that the boy is already a clone and so on. It was too much to put in one show, especially with two cases to do.

    Can't say I cared much for the overacting or dramatics either.

Would you people stop playing these stupid games?!?!?!!!!