ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
These episodes of the apocryphal show Schrodinger's Heroes  were fully scripted, but never produced. Some of them were completely revised and approved, others drafted but not all the way through the approval process. Some episodes included sequential aspects placing them firmly in the first season, but others were intended as stand-alones that could be dropped in later as needed. There wouldn't have been time to air all of these in the first season even if the show had continued, based on the point it started. The writing crew did have the last two episodes for Season One scripted: "The Fourth Wall" and "The End of the World as We Know It."

"Where the Caged Bird Flies" was in progress at the time of cancellation, so a number of its scenes exist on film. All of the special effects for that episode also exist; many of them were already complete and Stacy Anderson finished the rest for free.

Unscreened Episodes

"Where the Caged Bird Flies" -- In this nanotech story, the heroes visit a dimension with sophisticated science, in hopes of refining the Teferact further. They discover a project aimed at destroying prejudice by changing everyone's characteristics. It's hard to discriminate over race, sex, orientation, etc. when everything is malleable. People are attached to their traits, though; violent protests break out, endangering the heroes. Alex does manage to abscond with a piece of technology that she believes will improve the Tef's control over manifesting alter traits onto Core personalities.

Again, Quinn's flexible nature lets him cope better than most other characters, and he helps keep everyone else balanced. Bailey keeps his eye on the prize, locating desired hardware despite the nanotech distractions. Tim does not appear in this episode.

"Rubbing the Lamp" -- The characters develop psychic powers. Each one has a different method of activation and a different drawback. Alex perceives the future as a fractal path with statistically weighted branches, activated by thinking about quantum mechanics. The drawback is that it tends to overload her brain, and Alex spends much of the episode hampered by blinding migraines. Ash gains long-range telepathy, activated by skin contact such as massage; the drawback is that she picks up on other people's arousal, which is unpleasant. She finds Alex and Tim to be the safest partners for this activity. Bailey can talk to hardware, activated by proximity to inanimate objects. The drawback is that inanimate objects won't shut up, and it's hard for him to distinguish human voices amongst the hubbub. (The script contains a note to the sound department to supply "crowd noise" for scenes in Bailey's perspective.) Kay gets visual flashes of danger, activated by physical pain. She can see risks both to herself and to other people. The drawback is that the visions don't include how to prevent them; Kay has to figure that out on her own, and winds up pestering Alex for help. Pat gains a variation of telekinesis that allows him to speed up objects, including his own body. It's activated by caffeine. The drawback is that it stresses the body, and he runs himself to collapse. Ultimately the characters decide that the costs tend to outweigh the benefits; Ash and Bailey do most of the work of getting the talents to go away.

This episode establishes the existence of paranormal powers, presumably in some andervector that the Tef can tap into. The same (or different) powers also appear often in fanfiction; there are hints that these powers may occasionally recur for the characters even in canon, though it's not a major storyline in any of the extant episodes.

"Time, Like an Ever-Flowing Stream" -- Further study of the Teferact reveals the existence of andervectors where time runs slower or faster, allowing access to historic or futuristic dimensions. Quinn enjoys the chance to study variations of the past. Morgan and Tim are more interested in the future, continuing their project to build a working starship. (This is the first time they've gone beyond theories and blueprints to a model of an engine.) Alex and Ash discuss the implications, partly in Dinè (Navajo); Alex finds this useful, but then gets frustrated because nobody else understands either the language or the explanations of quantum mechanics.

This episode subtly foreshadows "The End of the World as We Know It." Pat's people skills get a workout trying to balance everyone's different interests and keep Alex and Ash connected with everyone else.

"A Thorn in the Foot" -- An evil version of Midge comes through the Teferact and attempts to sell out the team to the local military. One early clue is evil!Midge saying, "What happened to Schrodinger?" -- she thought he was a white   cat. Fortunately core!Midge has enough blackmail material on various people, Alex has enough money, and Pat has enough negotiating skill to maintain the status quo. Plus certain people remember what happened in "Landing the Eagle." Jayden reappears in this episode, doing far more sensible things, including the ultimate capture of evil!Midge. The script actually has two alternate endings, one with evil!Midge returned to her home dimension and one with Jayden taking her into custody.

Implies the existence of morally attuned andervectors. Introduces the concept of white!Schrodinger in the context of evil.

"Skin Deep" -- Searching the manifold for different examples of cultural evolution brings two-way interaction with a dimension where slave revolts proved wildly successful. The eastern and southern parts of America are predominantly black, while the rest is Native American; whites ("blanks") are a definite underclass, though not actually enslaved. The alters want the portable terminal for the Teferact, but are appalled to discover it was invented by a white Alex.

Chris is at a loss dealing with oppression. Pat, Ash, and Morgan are respected at first but then the alters are disgusted to find out that they are "blank-lovers." Alter!Pat has a splendid set of dreadlocks which core!Pat admires. Alter!Quinn is an activist on par with Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Core -- and is playing the revolutionary en homme and the pacifist en femme, with no one the wiser. The interaction ends on a dark note when Kay plants a bomb to disable the alter!Tef and Alex closes the connection between the two dimensions. Bailey and Ash quietly discuss how disappointed they are that this dimension didn't turn out any more tolerant than their own. The episode concludes with an obviously haunted Chris inviting Pat out for a drink.

This episode presents the most powerful version of Quinn, who gives some moving speeches (and helps Kay get supplies for the bomb). It also shows the deepening relationship between Chris and Pat, and Chris' growing discomfort with some of the attitudes he grew up around.

"Compass of the Heart" -- The latest attempt to manipulate alter trait acquisition with the Tef causes some of the characters to switch sexual orientations. Ash becomes sexual and romantic. She comes on to Kay, who resists her advances, not wanting to create complications at work. Morgan becomes omnisexual and kinky, and also goes after Kay, but after being rebuffed switches to Pat. But Pat has become monogamous and homosexual. Quinn is now asexual and regards the whole mess with detached amusement. The changed characters are generally upset by the changes (except for the unflappable Quinn), both during and after the events. Alex and Bailey, unaffected, manage to fix the glitch in the Tef and restore everyone to their Core orientation.

While most of the relationships just get jumbled, one step forward is stable. Tim and ace!Quinn find common ground and spend much of the episode together. Interestingly, ace!Quinn almost   understands Tim's explanation of tentacle sex -- but is unable to explain it to anyone else or remember later why it made sense at the time.

"The Fourth Wall" -- A breakdown in reality barriers within the manifold causes random traits to bleed through from other dimensions, along with sudden character transits, ghostly voices, mirages, and other surreal bits (some of them excerpted from previous episodes). The script includes cameo appearances of several important members of the production and writing crew. Within the show's context, the "fourth wall" is said to be the barrier between the three physical dimensions and all the others; but in meta context, it's also a nod to the theatrical usage, which refers to the imaginary barrier between the action onstage and the audience. Quinn is blithely unperturbed by this, and observes that if the other characters had spent more time exploring psychotropics, they'd be better equipped to cope. Tim attempts yet again to get home, with no luck. After the Core reality reasserts itself, most -- but not quite all -- of the things changed by the surreal effects are returned to normal. The episode closes with Alex and Ash trying in vain to figure out a pattern as to what reverted and what didn't, and why.

Jayden reappears in this episode, as does Vic. She is pragmatic about the weirdness; he is enough of a control freak to be rather unsettled by it. Male!Midge also appears. Everyone starts looking over their shoulders for evil!Midge (who fortunately does not appear).

"The End of the World as We Know It" -- Ash gets yanked into a dimension where Bailey is the last man on Earth. He only had the power to activate the Tef once, in receptive mode, and was hoping to bring in a mate for himself. He was aiming for Kay, but missed; as Bailey puts it, "I'm no Alex." He is still grieving the loss of alter!Ash and everyone else, which adds to the tension. Alter!Bailey is desperately lonesome and tries to barter company and cuddling for an occasional round of procreative sex. Core!Ash is, of course, asexual and reluctant.

As time passes, the two characters grow closer. What core!Ash doesn't realize is that core!Alex is working desperately to retrieve her. That takes a long time, subjectively, as the timeflow is different across these two dimensions. When core!Ash is finally rescued, alter!Bailey is left behind because nobody knew about him.

Ash turns out to be pregnant. She is upset over having stretched her sexuality, and torn between wanting to be with people she missed vs. feeling overcrowded. Her relationships with both core!Alex and core!Bailey are strained. Core!Alex feels kind of jealous of core!Ash for her closeness with alter!Bailey. While core!Bailey assures core!Ash that he would "never do" something like pressuring her into sex, core!Ash feels that he would do so in alter!Bailey's circumstances; plus she both misses and resents alter!Bailey. Now that core!Alex knows about alter!Bailey's predicament, she swears to relocate his dimension and rescue him if he wants to come. Core!Ash agrees but has mixed feelings about this too.

This was the Season 1 conclusion and cliffhanger. Note that while the episode shows some progressively affectionate touching between alter!Bailey and core!Ash, no overt sex is shown nor is it implied by placing the characters in bed together. This subtly leaves open the interpretation of how she conceived: it could have been procreative sex, but could also have been artificial insemination. Fans tend to love or hate this script.

* * *

For more about the episodes, see:
"The Television Show (Part 1)" for aired episodes
"The Television Show (Part 2)" for unaired episodes


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

April 2019

  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 181920

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags