Originally Posted by tighr
I feel that if the show bases the blackout on the premise of "it's a show, pretend its real", that people on the interwebs will go along with it.
No they won't.
It has to have something in there that sounds plausible. There has to be some sort of cool, sciency name or a realistic sounding theory on how it works or it ends up being silly in a series that takes itself seriously. Just saying it works isn't enough. It has to sound like it works, like a warp drive or a deflector shield.
When Doc Brown tells us that time travel is made possible by the flux capacitor, we take his word for it.
It should be pointed out, that the premise of the flux capacitor is that it came about after Doc Brown wacked his head on the toilet. But, even when it's conceived that way, it still has plenty of other stuff to support it: the flux capacitor runs on plutonium, has a time computer to control it and specifically uses a DeLorean (due to its stainless steel exterior) that must travel at 88 MPH to achieve time travel. That's a lot of excellent detail for a comedy movie where the main character dates his own mother.
When the Priest tells us that the Fifth Element when combined with the other four can stop great evil, we believe him.
This idea has been a cornerstone of thousands of years of mythology. The idea is, the Earth has balance. When you achieve balance, you can unlock the full potential of the power of the Earth. Combine that with the Gaia concept (essentially Mother Earth), and you have the foundation of not only creation myths aplenty, but the plots of several movies including Final Fanatasy: The Spirits Within.
Essentially, it's a concept supported by religious beliefs that make it no more rediculous than movies depicting Christian concepts.
When Peter Parker is bit by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like superpowers, we're on board with the concept.
But has anyone other than the fictional Peter Parker ever been bitten by a radioactive spider? Who knows what would happen. We believe it because we distrust nuclear technology and fear all the ways it can affect us.
When Han Solo tells us the Millenium Falcon does .5 past light speed, we believe him. When Han Solo says it made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, that's when we start to get suspicious. The latter makes no sense.
We believe the speed because there have been many speed barriors in the past that have been broken after decades of scientists saying it couldn't be done. If you ask anyone on the street if they thing that faster than light speed travel will eventually be possible, most will say yes no matter what the boys at CERN say.
The Kessel Run is a different matter. We can only assume it's along the same lines as making it it from Times Square to the Upper East side in less than 10 minutes: we all are certain it's impossible, but there's always some guy that says he's done it. Since we all know you can't go to light speed without certain calculations to avoid astroids and such, we join Luke in questioning Han's claim.
Where LOST went wrong is when it tried to tell us everything had a basis in reality, when it obviously didn't. There was no scientific (or even pseudo-scientific) explanation for a magic light cave, whether in-show or not. Everything else was presented as having a valid explanation, whether real or not, except for that cave. They just said, "Hey, look over here! This cave glows, chewed up that other guy, and spit him out as a smoke monster!"
Up to that point, everything had some sort of logical explanation to the point where it was really impressive how they brought some of the stuff together. As soon as time travel came into the mix, we knew that was slipping away since time travel is usually the way you reset a plotline that can't be resolved logically in any other way.
The problem with a device than can kill every electronic device is that it's not usually something you can turn on and off. In most cases, the device that kills electronics usually kills itself in the process, meaning it's one and done.
However, its sounds more likem their using something along the lines of a Star Trek style dampening field, which interferes with electonic and electrical devices by affecting the way electrons flow. Such a device is ually controlled at a distance to keep it out of the way of itself and is focused to prevent it from coming back at itself. That makes it able to be turned on and off, as well as blocked.
The issue is, we are electrical as well, so one would have to assume our bodies would be affected by such a thing. Further, the idea that another device would be able to block it as opposed to a whole lot of sheet lead is a bit iffy. Not to mention, once the communications shown in the promo leave the range of the "anti-dampening field device", it would seem logical that those bits of data would fail to continue down their path since they would use low power currents to transport them to whomever they are instant messaging to. Granted, these factors are unlikely to be questioned by most viewers, so it's more forgivable.
What they'll have to do a good job of selling the audience on is a) how this was able to be a massive occurance as opposed to an isolated event due to the amount of power needed and the infrastucture needed to generate and focus such a dampening field and b) why guns seem to have been replaced by bows and arrows. If the answer is "it just seemed more anti-technology and looks cooler" then that's lame. If the device can stop guns from working, it can be assumed they don't cook anything since making a gun not fire would mean fire doesn't exist anymore. If that's not the case, then I'll take a gun, thank you.
I just fear this show will fall into the typical trap of being too over-arching withthe concept. What starts out as a premise where technology has been decimated and we have to start over gets tweeked to having every device that plugs in being gone from our world. I doubt that would ever happen. We figured out how to build these things from the raw materials in the first place. We could certainly do it again if we had to start from scratch.
When you start ticking off too many items from the list of things that work, you start having too many inconsistencies. Light bulbs don't work, but somehow someone is going to be driving a muscle car (becuase muscle cars are driven by all the cool villains) and making cappuccino in a secret lair. Resources will be limited, but the characters will waste them like they can't stop loving the eighties. Food will be scarce, but everyone's hair will be fabulous.
Like I said earlier, I hope this will be good. I just fear the writers may already be backed into a corner and will focus instead on banal relationships and annoying levels of angst. I'll be very pleased to be wrong, though.