1 SHAPING PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS? THE SCIENCE AND SCIENTISTS IN SCENCE FICTION TELEVISION By YVONNE PRICE A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN MASS COMMUNICATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Yvonne Price
3 To my family, the source of my inspiration and energy
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to acknowledge th e incredible support and gu idance provided by the best comm ittee a graduate student could hope for. To my chair, Debbie Treise, and committee members, Johanna Cleary and Renee Martin-Krat zer, the quality of this thesis was greatly elevated by your insight. Joanna, I thank you for your incredible ope nness and availability. Every single time I came to you with concerns, you were available to listen. Your wise words helped keep me on track throughout the writing proces s. I will carry many of the insightful principals and practices I learned from you throughout my career. Renee, your expertise and guidance in me thodology was irreplaceable. Even as you scrambled to prepare for teaching, you gracefully and expertly helped me sort out my approach to time trend analyses. Thank you for your amazing support and advice. Debbie, more than anyone else the mark of your clear and honest guidance is imprinted on this thesis. For every questi on, problem or concern I had, you had a brilliant answer. Beyond your incredible input through all the writing, codi ng and analysis, your patience throughout the process helped me work with ease and kept me from feeling overwhelmed by pressure. Your never-ending encouragement fueled my motivat ion and enthusiasm. I consider myself among the most fortunate of graduate students to have been under the wing of such an accomplished, wise and caring advisor and committee chair. Thank you, for everything. Last, I must acknowledge my family and the lo ve of my life, Jason. They have offered nothing but love, support and encouragement throughout my graduate education. They have also been enormously patience, and even sometimes entertained, listening to me talk about science fiction television in great deta il during the last two years.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .............................................................................................................. 4LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................................... 8LIST OF FIGURES ...................................................................................................................... 10ABSTRACT .................................................................................................................................. 11 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................. 132 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................................................................................. 18Defining Science Scientis ts and Science Fiction ............................................................ 18History of Science Fiction Television .................................................................................... 20The Power of Images .............................................................................................................. 22Representations of Science in Film and Television ............................................................... 24David Kirby: Science and Science Consultants in Film .................................................. 25Robert Lambourne: Scien ce in Science Fiction ............................................................... 26Peter Weingart: Science and Scientists in Film ............................................................... 28Politics and Crime in Television ...................................................................................... 29Cultivation Theory ................................................................................................................. 31Science Fiction, Science Literacy and Perception of Science ................................................ 36Research Questions ................................................................................................................ 413 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................................. 42Design ..................................................................................................................................... 42Sampling ................................................................................................................................. 45Television Shows ............................................................................................................. 45Episodes ........................................................................................................................... 46Categories ............................................................................................................................... 49Coding .................................................................................................................................... 50Analysis .................................................................................................................................. 514 FINDINGS ............................................................................................................................. 57Final Sample ........................................................................................................................... 57RQ 1 ....................................................................................................................................... 59Gender, Ethnicity and Aliens ........................................................................................... 59Personality ........................................................................................................................ 60Characterizations .............................................................................................................. 63Physical Appearance ........................................................................................................ 66RQ 2 ....................................................................................................................................... 69Scientists .......................................................................................................................... 70
6 Science ............................................................................................................................. 74How Much Science .......................................................................................................... 78RQ 3 ....................................................................................................................................... 80Space Exploration the Military Complex ......................................................................... 81People and Superhumans ................................................................................................. 82Extra Dimensions ............................................................................................................. 82Aliens and Monsters ......................................................................................................... 83Future or Alternate Human Societies ............................................................................... 84Robots, Computers and Gadgets ...................................................................................... 85Lost, the Other ............................................................................................................... 86RQ 4 ....................................................................................................................................... 87Scientists and Sc ience: Beneficial .................................................................................... 88Scientists and Science: Harmful and Dangerous ............................................................. 88RQ 5 ....................................................................................................................................... 90Time Trends Analysis Comparing 1987-1993, 1994-2000 and 2001-2007 .................... 90Number of episodes airing on cable vs. network channels .............................................. 91Scientists .......................................................................................................................... 91Science ............................................................................................................................. 94Science fiction themes ...................................................................................................... 95Beneficial and harmful portrayal s of scientists and science ............................................ 955 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION .................................................................................. 122Popularity of Science Fiction Television ............................................................................. 122Representations of Scientists ................................................................................................ 123Gender ............................................................................................................................ 124Ethnicity ......................................................................................................................... 125Representations of Science ................................................................................................... 127Implications and Recommendations .................................................................................... 129Teachers and Education ................................................................................................. 130Scientists ........................................................................................................................ 130Policy Makers and Advocates ........................................................................................ 131Social Research .............................................................................................................. 132Limitations ............................................................................................................................ 132Future Research .................................................................................................................... 132Conclusion ............................................................................................................................ 133 APPENDIX A DEFINITIONS ..................................................................................................................... 135B SCI-FI LISTS TOP 100 SCIENCE FICTION TELEVISION SHOWS .............................. 136C CODING ............................................................................................................................... 139Coding Sheet ........................................................................................................................ 139Codebook .............................................................................................................................. 145Intercoder Reliability Scores ................................................................................................ 156
7 LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................................ 157BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ...................................................................................................... 166
8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Final sample of top 20 of science fiction television shows. ..............................................53 3-2 Sampling frame for seasons. ..............................................................................................54 3-3 Season start and end dates for top five shows. ...................................................................55 3-4 Number of weeks per included season. ..............................................................................56 4-1 Final sample of the 108 individual science fiction episodes. .............................................97 4-2 Television stations airing the top 20 science fiction television shows: 1987-2007. ........101 4-3 Total number of scientist characters in all ep isodes. .......................................................101 4-4 Total number of alien scientist characters in all episodes. ...............................................101 4-5 Personality traits of scientist characters. ..........................................................................102 4-6 Primary and Secondary char acterizations of scientists. ..................................................102 4-7 Physical appearance of scientists. ....................................................................................103 4-8 Average age of scientists. ...............................................................................................103 4-9 Most frequently por trayed scientists. ...............................................................................104 4-10 Amount of science port rayed in each episode. ................................................................104 4-11 Most frequently portrayed sciences. ...............................................................................105 4-12 Most prominent science fiction themes. .........................................................................105 4-13 Harmful vs. beneficial port rayal of science and scientists. .............................................106 4-14 Final sample of 108 episodes divided in to seven year sections based on airdate. ..........106 4-15 Percentage of episodes airing on network vs. cable channels over tim e. .......................106 4-16 Number and gender of scientists over time. ....................................................................107 4-17 Percentage of non-white scientists over tim e. .................................................................107 4-18 Characterizations of scientists over time. .......................................................................107 4-19 Age of scientists over time. ..............................................................................................108
9 4-20 Physical appearance of scientists over tim e. ...................................................................108 4-21 Most frequently portrayed types of scientists over tim e. ................................................109 4-22 Most common primary science portrayed in episodes over tim e. ..................................110 4-23 Primary science fiction theme portrayed in an episode. .................................................110 4-24 Beneficial and harmful portr ay als of scientists and science. ..........................................111
10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1 Science fiction episodes airi ng on network versus cable: 1987-2007. ............................112 4-2 Science fiction shows airing on netw ork versus cable television over tim e. ...................113 4-3 Gender of scientists over time. .........................................................................................114 4-4 Personality of scientists over time. ..................................................................................115 4-5 Characterization of scientists over time. ..........................................................................116 4-6 Physical appearances of scien tists over time. ..................................................................117 4-7 Most frequently portrayed types of scientists over tim e. .................................................118 4-9 Most common primary science fiction themes over time. ...............................................120 4-10 Beneficial and harmful portray als of scientists and science. ...........................................121
11 ABSTRACT Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Mast er of Arts in Mass Communication SHAPING PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS? THE SCIENCE AND SCIENTISTS IN SCENCE FICTION TELEVISION By Yvonne Price August 2009 Chair: Debbie Treise Major: Mass Communication A large body of research is dedicated to understanding how science is being communicated to, and perceived by, the public. The vast majority of images of science a nd scientists reach the public through film and televisi on entertainment, not news. These images of science and scientists in film and television entertainment reach millions of people, and yet very little research has examined these images and attemp ted to understand how they represent science and scientists to the public. This st udy is a first step toward buildi ng a body of research dedicated to the study of what entertainment media is communicating about science, and how those media could be influencing public perceptio ns of science and scientists. This study is a thorough examination of the repr esentations of scienc e and scientists in popular and modern science fiction television sh ows. As a first step toward building an understanding of how television entertainment repres ents science and scientists, content analysis was used to examine 108 episodes of the top 20 most popular science fiction television shows that aired during 1987-2007. One finding was that the small screen image of scientists has dramatically improved and progressed from that of the 1950s mad scientist. The modern science fiction scientist is typically a young, attractive, well-groomed regul ar guy or girl that is often
12 indistinguishable from other characters. A comparison of the changes in science fiction television programs over the period of 21 years re vealed that the science fiction genre has increased its presence on both network and cable stations. As the amount of science fiction on television increases, science fiction content is reaching a greater number of people. If the representations or misrepresentat ions of science and scientists in science fiction are reaching larger audiences, then those portrayals have an increasing potential to influence the way that viewers think about scie nce and scientists. Findings about gender, ethnic ity, physical appearance, ch aracterizations, types of scientists, types of sciences, science fiction them es, and beneficial versus harmful portrayals of science and scientists ar e discussed in the context of their usefulness to science teachers and educators, scientists, social and communications researchers, and science policy makers and advocates.
13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION As technology speeds ahead, science plays an increasingly prom inent role in our daily lives. While the news media tell stories of th e latest science research, advancements and setbacks, the most prevalent images of science an d scientists are in the stories told by film and television entertainment, not news (Frayling, 2005; Lambourne 1999; Lambourne, Shallis & Shortland, 1990). Images and stories of science are present in all genres of film and television entertainment. In considering the volume of ma terial in film and tele vision entertainment, and the debatable nature of what qualifies as images of science, any attempt to include all this material in one study would indeed be a gra nd undertaking. In an attempt to provide a comprehensive and in-depth analysis, this st udy will examine one genre in one mediumimages of science and scientists in science fiction television programming. A tremendous boom in science fiction progr amming in the 1980s and early 1990s meant that by 1992, science fiction programming had become popular enough to support its own cable networkthe Sci-Fi Channel (Sconce, n.d.). Th e science fiction boom has continued into the 21st century. Major networks, NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX, which traditionally regarded the science fiction genre as too risky for primetime have all taken on shows that delve into science fiction and supernatural them es (Frutkin, 2006; Umstead, 2007). As science fiction programming explodes on bot h network and cable television (Frutkin, 2006), now more than ever these images are in a position to influence public perception and attitudes of science and scient ists. Communications scholar George Gerbner asserts that American adults learn their scie nce primarily from television (as cited in LaFollette, 1981). As a mass medium, television has the power to influe nce viewers conceptions of reality (Gerbner &
14 Gross, 1976). Because science is often depe ndent upon public funding, and researchers suggest that funding is affected by public opinions (T reise & Weigold, 2002), the conceptions of science being communicated through popular entertainment ha s become an area of c onsiderable interest to researchers and government. Since 1972 th e National Science Board has been funding research and releasing biannual reports that addre ss the issues of public a ttitudes toward science and technology (as cited in Elliott & Rosenber g, 1987), the most recent of which was published in February of 2008 (NSB, 2008). A substantial body of research evolved as scholars explored and documented the problems of communicating science to the public the media influences upon public perception and understating of science, and the resulting public attitudes to ward science and scientists (Bucchi, 1998; Dowie, 1998; Miller, 2001; Trei se & Weigold, 2002). Despite these concerns and the eschewing body of research into scie nce communications, there has been only limited research focusing on the representation of scienc e and scientists in popular entertainment (Kirby, 2003a; LaFollette, 2002; Lam bourne et al., 1990; Weingart, 2003). At the time of this study, the researcher was unable to locate any major published studies examin ing the images of science and scientists in science fiction television. The historical lack of resear ch directly related to scienc e fiction television programming is not so surprising. Science fi ction television has traditionally had a small and select audience (Tulloch & Jenkins, 1995). In its early stages science fiction programming catered to an audience of children (Sconce, n.d.) As the decades passed and the genre developed on the small screen, more shows were targeted toward adults (Sconce, n.d.); adding some diversity and size to the audience demographics. In 1972, organizers at the first ever Star Trek convention were surprised when attendance exceeded 3,000; they had been expecting a few hundred (Tulloch &
15 Jenkins, 1995). Still, 3,000 fans at a Star Trek convention were not enoug h to turn the heads of major networks. Between the costs associated wi th producing believable science fiction stories, and the challenges of attracting advertisers with such limited audience demographics and size, science fiction was largely ignored by ne twork television (Frutkin, 2006; Umstead, 2007; Sconce, n.d.). Then came the 21st century, and with it, two majo r developments that brought science fiction programming to the attention of both advertisers and pr oducers (Frutkin, 2006; Parks, 2000; Umstead, 2007). First, th e success of television shows like Lost (2004) Battlestar Galactica (2003) and Heroes (2006) which have unexpectedly attracted large mainstream audiences, and second, the advances in CGI (computer-generated imagery) that have dramatically reduced the costs of producing believable scienc e fiction for the small screen (McLean, 2007). Heroes creator Tim Kring explains the le aps forward in technology and the impact they have had on television special e ffectsextraordinary things that took giant mainframe computers and 12 programmers to do 10 years ago, a guy on a Macintosh can do now (McLean, 2007, para. 12). With these deve lopments, science fiction television has emerged from the dark side of scripted TV to a primetime position (Umstead, 2007). Given the current pervasiveness of science fiction programming (Frutkin, 2006; Umstead, 2007), the dominance of entertainment media in constructing images of science (Frayling, 2005; Lambourne et al ., 1990), and the demonstrated effects of television viewing upon public attitudes and perceptions (Gerbner & Gross, 1976), it is crucial to examine these images of science being funneled to the public vi a science fiction television. The power of these fictional images in science en tertainment should not be taken lightly: these images have the potential to inform public debate and opinions (Elliot & Rosenberg, 1987); they can influence the choice of public policies and the methods for carrying them out (McCurdy, 1995, p. 500);
16 and they can inspire or deter young people from pursuing a career in science (Halbfinger, 2005; Shirley & Howle, 2004; Tulloch & Jenkins, 1995). Th is last influence is especially significant industries dependant upon scientis ts and engineers are facing a crisisthe sharp decline of student interest in science and engineering has been well documented (NSF, 2002; Osborne, Simon & Collins, 2003). Unless these fields become suddenly popular with students, this decline will result in a shorta ge of science and engineering professionals (Halbfinger, 2005; Lambourne et al., 1990; Shirley & Howle, 2004). The reasons for study are numerous and clear, and the limited scholarly attention toward science in science fiction entertainment has left a virtually uncharted territory waiting to be explored. While several studies have explored the represen tation of scientists in literature and films (Comstock & Tully, 1985; Goldman, 1989; Hirs ch, 1958; Lambourne et al., 1990; Lambourne, 1999; Sobchack, 1999; Skal, 1998; Todor, 1989; Toum ey, 1992; Weingart, 2003), there is almost no research examining the portrayals of science and scientists in science fiction television programs. The increasing popularity of science fi ction television shows makes this an important area of study for science communications scholars attempting to ascertain the influences of mass media on public perception and understanding of science. Al though there is some research exploring science on televisi on in general (Gerbner, 1980, 19 81, 1985, 1999), the most recent study done in 1999 is an unpublished government repor t looking solely at primetime television. When considering the changes in science fic tion television programming and content over the past decade (Parks, 2000) coupled with Gerbners focus on primet ime television, it is impossible
17 to say whether his findings in earlier studies are descriptive of the science and scientists in modern1 science fiction television shows. In order to explore this unchar ted territory of modern scien ce fiction television, this study will look at the science and scientists in popular sc ience fiction television shows. The goal is to answer questions about how science and scientists are represented. A content analysis will examine various aspects of the science and scientists in programs produc ed and aired during the last two decades (1987-2007). Relate d research about the science in science fiction literature and Hollywood films serves as a guide for the research questions asked here and also provides the basis for making historical comparisons. Research in cultivation theory and science literacy serves as a foundation for discussi ons about the potential impacts and possible benefits of these fictional images of science and scientists. 1 For the purpose of this study, the term modern refers to science fiction television shows that were produced during the last two decades, 1987-2007, and the run of th eir associated television s eason began no earlier than January 1, 1987 and no late r than December 31, 2007.
18 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Defining Science Scienti sts and Science Fiction In a study primarily focused on content in scienc e fiction, it is importa nt to have a basic understanding of the terms scien ce, scientists and science fiction. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionar y, science is defined as: 1) Knowledge or a system of knowledge c overing general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method. 2) Such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a scientist as: 1) A person learned in science and especially natural science. 2) A scientific investigator. For the purpose of this study, the presence of sc ience and scientists in a television show was primarily defined by the practice or discussion of traditional and easily identifiable sciences such astronomy, physics, geology, biology, etc. More specifically, this study defines science and scientists as follows: Science is an organized body of knowl edge attained through a system of observation and experimentation, which is used to describe and explain the physical world natural phenomena. Scientists are any individual who has attain ed and practices a pr ofessional level of expertise in any social or physical science. Similar to the terms science and scientists, there is no shortage of definitions for the term science fiction. The problem lies in finding two definitions that are in agreement. According to Websters Universal Encyclopedic Dictionary (2002) the term science fiction originated in 1851 and is defined as fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or havi ng a scientific factor as an essential orienting
19 component (p. 1640); scientist and author Paul Davies defines science fiction as a literary device for conducting a type of th eoretical science (as cited in Lambourne et al., p. vii); and science fiction anthologist Edmund Crispin defines science fiction as a story that presupposes a technology, or an effect of technol ogy, or a disturbance in the natu ral order, such as humanity, up to the time of writing, has not in actual fact experienced (as cited in Gke, 1996). Science fiction authors Sam Moskowitz and Donald A. Wollheim, present two coherent and similar definitions: 1) Science fiction is a branch of fantasy identifiable by the fact that it eases the "willing suspension of disbelief" on the part of its readers by utilizing an atmosphere of scientific credibility for its imaginative sp eculations in physical science, space, time, social science, and philosophy (Mosko witz, as cited in Gke, 1996). 2) Science fiction is that branch of fa ntasy, which, while not true to present-day knowledge, is rendered plausible by the re ader's recognition of the scientific possibilities of it being possible at some future date or at some uncertain point in the past (Wollheim, as cited in Gke, 1996). A combination of the concepts outlined by Mu skowitz and Wollheim provides a simple and concise definition of science fiction: Science fiction is the use of scientific credibility and plausibility as a central element of the events, societies and technolog ies depicted in the stories and plots. However, in order to explicitly define a science fiction television show for the purpose of an applied study, it is necessary to further limit what will and will not be considered science fiction. Science fiction is a genre with a long history of traditional themes. These themes provide a simple and effective way to provide a more pr ecise definition of a sc ience fiction television show. Some traditional science fiction themes include space trav el and exploration, time travel, alternate dimensions or realitie s, futuristic societies and tech nologies, super-humans, aliens and robots. A comprehensive list of themes and sub-themes was published in The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction in 1978. Frequently cited by other science fiction researchers
20 (Lambourne, Shallis & Shortland, 1990), this list of themes and sub-themes will contribute the final concept necessary for a comprehensive and explicit definition of a science fiction television show. To be considered a science fiction television show in this study, the show must fulfill two prerequisites: 1) Scientific credibility and plausibility are a central element of the events, societies and technologies depicted in the stories and plots. 2) At least one traditional sc ience fiction theme or sub-theme1 is evident. History of Science Fiction Television Communications scho lar Jeffrey Sconce (n.d.) places the beginning of science fiction television in the late 1940s. Early science fiction programming was generally aimed at children. Programs like Buck Rogers (ABC 1950-51) and Flash Gordon (Syndicated 1953) catered to a young audience (Sconce, n.d.). The 1950s saw a rise in science fiction programming aimed at the adult audience; several researchers associat e the rising popularity of 1950s science fiction with the sociopolitical environment of the Co ld War and Kennedys New Frontier (Sconce, n.d.; Tulloch & Jenkins, 1995). Some of the mo st notable programs of the 1950s and 1960s era were The Twilight Zone (CBS 1959-64), The Outer Limits (ABC 1963-65) and Lost in Space (CBS 1965-68) (Sconce, n.d.). Then, in 1969 after a three-year run, an expe nsive science fiction program that failed to attract large audiences was canceled; it would go on to become one of the most recognizable television show s and franchises of all time Star Trek (NBC 1966-69) (Lambourne et al., 1990). Even though Star Trek and the BBC show Dr. Who (1963-1989) demonstrated that there was a large and loyal audience, science fiction television experi enced a decline during the 1970s 1 For complete list of themes see Appendix A, Definitions, Science Fiction Themes and Sub-themes
21 and into the 80s (Sconce, n.d.), but changes we re on the horizon. The in credible success of George Lucas Star Wars (1977) inspired the use of complex special effects in science fiction television. Battle Star Galactica (ABC 1978-80) was one of th e first shows to bring Star Wars style special effects to the small screen; Galacticas producers invested heav ily in special effects to enhance the realism of their show (Burns, 2001; Sconce, n.d.). This event transformed science fiction on the small screentel evision audiences could now e xperience the dazzling special effects of Hollywood films without leaving their living room. What Sconce (n.d.) calls the most pivotal series in rekindling scie nce fiction, took full advantage of the advancements in special effects technologies; a series that quickly became the highest rated syndicated show ever Star Trek: The Next Generation (Syndicated 1987-94). Star Trek: The Next Generation was a catalyst for the future of science fiction television in more ways than one; at a time when science consultants were a rarity on a television set, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry employed physicist and engineer Naren Shankar to improve th e scientific auth enticity of the shows scripts (Kushner, 2005). Although Star Trek: The Next Generation delivered a demographically diverse and loyal audience, the three major networks generally avoided science fiction through the 1990s (Sconce, n.d.). Ignored by networks, science fiction televisi on programs continued to grow in popularity attracting larger and more diverse audiences, an d in turn, producers and advertisers (Sconce, n.d.). In 1992, the Sci-Fi Channel debuted as a new cable network airing mostly movies and television re-runs (Sconce, n.d.). With th e success of science fiction shows like The X-Files (1993-2002) and Babylon 5 (Syndicated 1994), the audience fo r science fiction television was expanding fast. In the late 1990s the Sci-Fi Channel began producing original programming; in 2004 they announced their third consecutive year of climbing ratings and reported that 2004 had
22 been the most-watched and highest-rated year since the channels debut in 1992 (Sci-Fi Channel, 2004). By 2007 the Sci-Fi Channel wa s airing 12 original series and 29 syndicated science fiction programs (Sci-Fi Channel, 2007). The international success of the Sci-Fi Cha nnel proved there was a substantial audience for science fiction television. An article in The New York Times (2004) reported on this success, citing ratings for the hit Sci-Fi Channel original series Stargate SG-1 (1997-2007); Times journalist Anita Gates described the show as a worldwide phenomenon, reaching 17 million viewers a week in 64 countries around the world, and reportedly the No. 1 show in Britain, France and Germany with the 18-to-44 set (p. 4). The unprecedented, worldwide success of Stargate SG-1 may have played a part in luring major networks back to the science fiction genrean audience of 17 million viewers is difficult to ignore in a business dependent upon advertising dollars. In 2004 ABC launched the show Lost and in 2006 NBC launched Heroes; the unexpected success of these science fic tion and paranormal themed shows caused an explosion in science fiction programming that was no longer limited to cable (Frutkin, 2007; Keveny, 2004; Umstead, 2007). Scie nce fiction television now hol ds a primetime position in both its volume and reach. Fictional images of science and scientists ar e reaching millions of viewers around the world; if the science fiction programming and a udience trends of the last two decades continue, this number will increase. This abundance of science fiction programming begs the question, what kinds of messages about science and scientis ts are these fictional images sending out to millions of people every week? The Power of Images As m ost people do not have personal interact ions with science and scientists, they get their science information from mass media (Nel kin, 1995). Because personal experiences of
23 science are out of reach for most people, the images provided by media are especially powerful in shaping public perceptions of science (LaFollette, 1998). Historian and film scholar Robert Rosenstone (2003) says the power of a single imag e in a narrative is ofte n more potent and more memorable than the story as a whole (p. 336). Images create metaphorical truths about an intangible world of science (Rosenstone, 2003). Based on Rose nstones assertions, in the absence of direct personal observation, these me taphorical truths become reference points for scientific concepts. For example, the terms hyperdrive and hyperspace have become synonymous with the concept of interstellar travel (Lambourne et al., 1990). While most people cannot explain the science behind traveling at th e speed of light, they do recognize a jump to hyperspace in television will be shortly followed by the special effects of moving forward into a blurring tunnel of stars. Entertainment media ha s created this universal image of what it looks like to travel at the sp eed of light. Visual images are powerful defining elements for people who have only virtual access to scien ce; an access that is granted by a middle-manthe medium. In this study, that access-granting medium is television. As the middle-man providing the public with vi rtual access to science, the media interpret science information for public consumption. No t surprisingly, science communications scholars cite news as the dominant source for public science knowledge and in formation (Elliott & Rosenberg, 1987; Nelkin, 1995; Treise & Weigold, 2002). And according the National Science Board (2006), Americans cite te levision as their main source for information about science and technology, but science stories make up only two percent of network news broadcasts (Project for Excellence in Journalism, 2004). Entertainmen t programming is far more prevalent and has a much larger audience than news ( TV Dimensions 2003, p. 239), yet entertainment has not previously been a focus point for most science communications scholars (Kirby, 2003a;
24 Lambourne et al., 1990; Weingart, 2003). Given the multitude of fictional science images being fed to a global television audien ce on a weekly basis, it seems l ogical to scrutinize these images as an influence on public per ceptions of science. Representations of Science in Film and Television Background research revealed no previous sc holarly studies looking specifically at portrayals of science and scientists in science fiction television programs. For this reason, most of the existing research referenced in this study comes from scholars looking at general portrayals of science in film and literature, and po rtrayals of politics and crime in television. The only research explicitly related to science and scientists on television was done in the 1980s and late 1990s by Gerber, Gross, Morgan, a nd Signorielli. The results of their research will be discussed briefly in conjunction with cult ivation theory, but because most of the studies were conducted more than 20 years ago and did not look specifically at sc ience fiction television, they cannot be considered repres entative of the science and scient ists in modern science fiction television. Three anomalous scholars are responsible for the most notable recent research of science in entertainment media in general: David Kirby (2003a, 2003b, 2003c), Robert Lambourne (1990), and Peter Weingart (2003). Interestingly, this limited body of research is a result of scientists and sociologists, not science communications professionals While Kirby is currently a lecturer in science communications at the Univ ersity of Manchester, he holds his Ph.D. in Molecular Evolutionary Genetics. Lambourne is an author and lecturer in Physics at the Open University, and Weingart is professor of sociol ogy, sociology of science and science policy at Bielefeld University in Germany. Even though th e examination of science and scientists in entertainment remains largely unexplored by scie nce communications scholars, the research of
25 Kirby, Lambourne, and Weingart provides a good starting point for examining these topics through the lens of science communications. David Kirby: Science and Science Consultants in Film Kirby (2003a) focuses his research on the im pact of science consultants and advisors on Hollywood film s. He posits that film naturalizes both accurate and inaccurate science by presenting both as natural via a perceptually realistic framework (2003 a, p. 261). Noting that many scientists believe the publics understandi ng of science is negatively affected by the fictional representations of scien ce in film and television (p. 262), Kirbys research suggests that the use of science consultants in films may not necessarily improve public understanding of science, but they can help to improve the publ ic appreciation of science (2003a, p. 274). This public perception and appr eciation of science have become a concern for scientists who believe that funding for science research is connected to public op inions of science and scientists (Kirby, 2003b, p. 57). Kirby also posits that because film and television are highly visual and rhetorically pers uasive media, these mediums can influence scientific epistemology (2003c, p. 232). Through the virtual witnessing made possible by film and television, viewers can have seemingly real experiencesexperiences that can contribute to scientific epistemology. (2003b, p. 55). In further discussing the potential influence of science images in film and television, Kirby points out the important di stinction between real ism and plausibility, citing the work of Barker and Brooks (1995) who found that audiences make judgments about what is plausiblenot necessarily what is real(200 3b). According to Padian (1987), the power of images to become fixed in the minds eye relies on plausibility not accuracy (as cited in Kirby, 2003b, p.56). As one of the only scholars dedicate d to researching the presence of science in
26 entertainment media, Kirbys work emphasizes the importance of understanding how fictional films influence scientific practi ce and public perceptions of scien ce. He brings together the concepts of naturalizing fictiona l science, virtual witnessing, and plausibility, to demonstrate that entertainment media have the power to exert great influence. Robert Lambourne: Science in Science Fiction As a physicist, the majority of Robert La mbournes work is not related to science communications or entertainment media. However, his book, Close Encounters? Science and Science Fiction (1990), co-authored by Michael Shallis and Michael Shortland, is one of the most frequently cited texts on the subject of scien ce in science fiction film and literature. Lambournes book (1990) coupled with a book chapter on science fiction and the communication of science (1999), offer a detailed l ook at science fiction in films and literature, as well as a discussion of the science in science fiction. Lambourne, Shallis and Shortland look prim arily at films from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, saying that scientists in films of the 1950s shed their mad scientist image for a more clean-cut and logical-minded regular guy image (1990, p. 101). They note that fictional portrayals of scientists have b ecome naturalizedthey are no longer instantly distinguishable from other charactersthey have been domesticat ed (p. 101). Despite this trend, science is portrayed as alarming and reassuri ng, as of great benefit but po tentially of great harm, the regular guy scientists may crack at any moment under the pr essures of his fictional profession (p. 106). The authors point out the confusion created by these mi xed messages about science and the scientists. The contradicting images of scie nce and scientists that are both beneficial and harmful help create an element of uncertain ty. While this element can be useful in entertainmentkeep the audience guessingin communicating science to the public, the
27 element of uncertainty is a we ll-documented problem (Zehr, 1999) Without further research into science fiction entertainment, it is impo ssible to say whether these confusing and mixed messages are contributing to public scientif ic uncertainty, or me rely reflecting it. Lambourne, Shallis and Shortland provide valuable insight into the images of science and scientists in film and literature, but it is important to note that their examination of film was almost entirely limited to films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Modern science fiction television comes out of a vastly different social, political and technological climate than that of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Their historical research will provide a foundation for examining any changes in the characterizations of science and scientists over time. Whether or not their domesticated scientists and harmful science can be seen 21st century science fiction te levision is a question that has yet to be answered. In a more concise look at the actual scienc e in science fiction, Lambournes book chapter discusses the settings for science in science fiction and the types of sciences being portrayed (1999). Lambourne cities several fictional settings that foster the communication of science in science fiction: purpose of scie nce, the process or science, the character and experience of scientist, or the historical, pol itical and sociological aspects of science, including its impact on society (p. 147). He also points out several clues that help to identify the actual science that takes place in various settings, such as the filmma ker interrupting the story to explain the nature of dinosaur DNA, or to explain the elements of an Einstein-Rosen bridge (p. 146). With regards to the types of scien ce taking place, Lambourne cites pr evious research (Nicholls, 1983; Lambourne, 1990), which found that physics, astr onomy (including planetary science), space exploration and some biology (molecular, genetics and ecology) dominate science fiction stories, while earth science and chemistry make only rare appearances. Of particular significance to this
28 study, Lambourne predicts that a more recent examination of science fiction will find a significant increase in the number of stories about information t echnology and computer science. By answering a research question about the most frequently portra yed sciences in science fiction, this study will either prove or disprove Lambour nes prediction. Part of examining the communi cation and presence of science in science fiction involves recognizing the actual science. According to Lambourne, rec ognizing true science is often complicated by the inclusion of imaginary science science that appears authentic through the use of scientific jargon and pr esentation (p. 150). Most often imaginary science serves to push the story forward, and while imaginary science does not communicate real science, it can prepare the consumer or audience to better recognize de finitions of real scien ce (p. 151). Ultimately, any science content in science fiction has th e potential to communica te the processes and methods of real science. Peter Weingart: Science and Scientists in Film The only recent scholarly study including a look at m ore modern films was done by Peter Weingart in 2003. A quantitative analysis of 222 films from eight de cades produced results detailing gender, ethnicity, character and app earance of film scientists, which scientific disciplines were most frequen tly portrayed, and representation s of scientific work, secrecy, knowledge and ethics. Weingarts findings suggest, that overall, the portrayals of science and scientists in the movies are characterized by uneasiness and distrust (p. 281). Weingart also found the creation and manipulation of life to be a dominant theme (p. 286). These findings provide little new informationboth assertions ha ve been documented by other studies of science in film and literature (Frayling, 2005; Gerbner, 1987; Ki rby, 2000). A more interesting finding from
29 Weingarts study is what he described as the dis tance of society from its science (p. 286). In addition to looking at characteri zations, Weingart track ed where the science was taking place, noting that 25% of the scientists in films were off the planet, one-sixth were eccentric and only about 5% were comical; he claims these characterizations contri bute to the distance between the lay person and scie nce (p. 286). Also of notable significance, Weingart found horror to be the dominant genre for films about sc ience, and comedies to be the weakestwith very few science-themed movies falli ng into the comedy genre (p. 286). Even though Weingarts study l ooks at film instead of scie nce fiction television, as of 2007 it is the most recent scholarly study of science and scientist portrayals in an entertainment medium; this makes it the most relevant research to use as a basis for comparing findings from this study of science fiction television. This study will replicate some of Weingarts points of investigation, such as the types of science taking place. A comparison of his findings with the results of this study could produce some new and relevant insights into the representations of science and scientists in film versus television. It will be especially intere sting to see if science fiction television shows exhibit the same characteriz ations of scientists. If these elements are similar, then perhaps science fiction television shows are contributing to Weingarts distance between science and the public. Politics and Crime in Television Researchers in m any other fields have rec ognized television as a potential hotbed of influential images and ideas. For example, schol ars have been examining the effects of fiction on public administration for more than fifty years (McCurdy, 1995). To gain further understanding of the potentia l effects of television images a nd messages on viewers, it is useful to briefly review a few studies from other disciplines.
30 In 2005, political communications scholars Holbrook and Hill conducted a study of television crime dramas; they found that freque nt viewers of crime dramas had increased concerns about crime, which in turn had a sign ificant negative influence on their overall approval of President Bush. The authors believe this influe nce can be attributed to the priming affect of crime dramaspriming judgments about the Presidents performance on crime, and also by creating specific expectations about how crime should be handled (Holbrook & Hill, 2005, p. 9). In another political communications study Holbert, Shah and Kwak (2003) analyzed primetime dramas and sitcoms to study the relationship between images in television and audience opinions about women s rights; they found a statistic ally significant relationship between entertainment television use (traditional drama, progressive drama and situation comedy) and opinions about womens rights. In yet another politically related study, Pfau, Moy and Szabo (2001) showed that watching science fiction television programs contributed to a more negative perception of the federal government. However, it is prudent to note here that the most frequently cited science fi ction show in their study was the X-Files a program whose central premise is government conspiracy and cover-ups. Political communications has been particularly attentive to the potential influences of television, but researchers in other areas have al so given a nod to the power of images on the small screen. As one example, childrens me dia researcher Katherine Heintz-Knowles (2000) studied images of youth in primetime televisi on to determine what messages about youth are being sent out to American audiences. She found that TV youth are not an accurate representation of actual U.S. youth demographics, and that TV parents are most often shown as absent or ineffective (p. 6). Heintz-Knowles (2000) notes these images not only reflect current social and cultural beliefs, but also influences on newly forming belief systems (p. 22). The
31 abundance of research by other scholars on the images and impacts of television entertainment suggests that it is indeed an important and valid subject fo r study; mass media images are powerful, prolific and widely accessible. Cultivation Theory Communications scholar George Gerbner believed that we experience m uch of what we know through stories, and that stor ies socialize us into the roles we take on in life (in Shanahan & Morgan, 1999). Considered the father of Cu ltivation Theory, Ger bner claimed the three significant functions of these storie s that animate our cultural envi ronment are: (1) they reveal how things work; (2) they describe what things are; and (3) to te ll us what to do about them (in Shanahan & Morgan, 1999, p. ix). According to Gerbner, in modern society the media have taken on the role of storytellers. Science co mmunications scholar Sharon Dunwoody agrees: Global culture relies on storytelling as arbiter of what is important and what is not. Mass media reign as our principal storyt ellers on the cusp of the 21st century (in Friedman, Dunwoody & Rogers, eds., 1999, p. 61). If societ y is shaped by stories as Gerbner posits, and the media is our principal storyteller as Dunwoody suggests, then the cont ent of those stor ies is certainly worthy of examination. In the 1960s Gerbner began his Cultural Indi cators Project to examine the effects of televisions storytelling role (Greunke, 2000). In 1976 Gerber demonstrated a connection between frequent television view ing and unrealistic belie fs about the prevalence of violence in the real world, asserting that, over time media cultivate attitude s and perceptions by repeatedly exposing viewers to the same types of messa ges communicated through imagery and stories (1994). Cultivation theory s uggests heavy viewers are more susceptible to the cumulative influences of media messagesthe more scienc e fiction a person watches, the more messages
32 about science and scientists they receive, and the more likely it is that those messages will influence their attitudes and pe rceptions about science. With the science fiction television audience growing by leaps and bounds, this study aims to examine those messages. While much of Gerbners cultivation resear ch has focused on crime and drama, several studies have examined representations of scienc e in primetime television shows (Gerbner et al., 1981, 1985; Gerbner, 1987; Gerbner & Linson, 1999) In 1981 Gerbner studied images of science on primetime television as part of th e ongoing Cultural Indicators Project. The study found that six out of ten primetime dramatic programs featured science, technology or engineering themes, but science was the main fo cus of only four percent of primetime programs overall. While science themes were not exclus ive to one genre, they were slightly more frequent in serious and action dramas than in comedies, resulting in a greater likelihood that science is connected to violence (p. 41). C ontinuing his research of science on television, in 1987 Gerbner found that a viewers heaviest exposure to images of science and scientists occurs on primetime dramatic programs, not news and documentaries. The same study found that frequent viewers were more likely to have negative perceptio ns of science and scientists; negative perceptions were characterized by a general mistrust of science, a nd beliefs that science was dangerous (1987). These stud ies also found that heavy viewer s perceived careers in science as undesirable; a finding of consid erable concern given the decline of student interest in science and engineering careers (NSF, 2002; Osborne, Simon & Collins, 2003) Pertaining specifically to scientist characters, in a study of 1,500 te levision viewers, Ger bner and Linson (1999) reported that the more television people watched, the more they perceived scientists as odd and peculiar (as cited in National Science Bo ard, 2002). Additionally, between the years 1994 1998 less than 2% of characters on primetime te levision were scientis ts, and 75% of those
33 scientist characters were white males (National Science Board, 2002). While these findings are specific to primetime television, it will be interes ting to see if scientist characters in science fiction television are also predominantly white males. These four studies into the images of scien tists and science on primetime television have been repeatedly cited by National Science Board re ports in discussions of science literacy and public understanding of science (200 2; 2004; 2006; 2008). Gerbners cu ltivation research is also widely cited by studies making a case for the potential influences of television on public perceptions of science (Barne tt et al., 2006; Kirby, 2003; Rose, 2003; Weingart et al., 2003). Ultimately, these references to Gerbners research all stress the same central point, which serves as a concise summation of Gerbners research of science on television: over time, the dominant images of science on entertainment television have the power to cultivate public beliefs and perceptions of science. While hundreds of studies have employed cult ivation analyses, cultivation theory has been criticized for several reasons, most frequen tly for being oversimplifieddisregarding the complicated nature of the human psyche and the power of other social and cultural influences (Casey, Casey, Calvert, French & Lewis, 2002; Greunke, 2000). Realis tically, cultivation analysis can establish a correlation between watc hing television and per ceptions of reality only after accounting for other confounding variables such as race, gende r, education, occupation, etc. (Casey et al., 2002). Despite the criticisms, the tr end in U.S. cultivation analyses has been that findings do confirm the hypotheses (C asey, et al., 2002). The support for cultivation theory far outweighs the criticism. Public Administration professor Howard McCurdy is one example of a scholar whose research supports the concepts of cultivation theory; he notes that fictional images related to
34 public policy send messages that influence peop les attitudes (1995). McCurdy claims that public policies change when peopl e alter their images of them ( p. 504). His historical research demonstrated how imagination and fiction can come together and reshape the public consciousness, which in turn become part of the knowledge base for making policy decisions (p. 502). McCurdy cites Hollywood science fict ion films as communicating the importance of the space program in the 1950s, claiming that Hollywoods images provided the foundation for the ambitious space program adopted by the United States and the system of administration necessary to carry it out (p. 501). One such film discussed by McCurdy is Destination Moon (1950). The film reflects the sociopolitical climat e of the cold war, hi ghlighting the importance of beating the Russians to space and winning contro l of the moon. The film, currently discussed in NASAs History Series (Millbrooke, 1998), also included a Woody Woodpecker cartoon that was used by NASA to introduce a 1950s public to rocket science and space travel (Frayling, 2005). McCurdy notes that the st rong support for beginnings of the U.S. space program was heavily dependant upon public images of space a nd the Cold War (p. 505), images that were abundant in films like Destination Moon (1950) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) (Lambourne et al., 1990). In examining science fic tion history, several scholars have made this connection between science ficti on films and television of the 1950s and Cold War ideologies (Sconce, n.d.; Tulloch & Jenkins, 1995). Mc Curdys findings, coupled with historical examinations of past science fi ction television, suggest that characters and portray als of science in science fiction are closely linked with the current sociopolitical clim ate in which they are written and produced. Results from this study may provide some in sight into whether or not this is true of science fiction television from the last two decades.
35 In considering cultivation theory in a study of science and scientists in science fiction, there are three key elements to highlight. First, is the element th at the effects of cultivation are cumulative, and the most persistent influences ar e a result of recurring images over long periods of time; second, that those influences will manifest as ideas, beliefs and perceptions, rather than behavior; and third, is the elem ent of mainstreaming (Casey et al., 2002). The concept of mainstreaming, which came out of political communications research, argues that in the absence of a wide array of images of messages, a sma ll pool of images and messages narrows the range of opinions people are inclined to hold (Cas ey et al., 2002, p. 51). If a pool of homogenous images and messages about science dominate science fiction televi sion shows, it could perpetuate a narrow view of science and scie ntists; these three key elements could be contributing to perceptions about the gender and char acter of scientists, the nature and benefit of scientific work, the process of doing science, and the appeal of science as a career choice. Coming back to Gerbners concepts of stories and story-tellers, it is important to note that whether intentionally or unintentionally, stories do communicate images and concepts of science, but stories have their own rules that can a ffect the meaning of what is being communicated (Rosenstone, 2003, p. 338). As noted in a study by Holbrook and Hill (2005), the line between entertainment and information is blurring, a concept reaffirmed by LaFollette (2002) in a concluding statement about her survey of science content in 1940s and 1950s television; LaFollette points out that as early as the 1940s and 1950s fact and fiction had begun to merge comfortably in the world of tele vision (67). Science fiction te levision is a prime example of a genre where the mixing of fact and fictionaccurate versus plausible, creates mixed messages about the real world of science and scientists. Not only can these fictional images of science influence perceptions by way of cultivation a nd mainstreaming, but there is considerable
36 evidence that science fiction also communicates real science and can im pact science literacy (Cavelos, 2000; Desalle & Lindley, 1997; Dubeck et al 1988, 1993, 2007; Krauss, 1995; Lambourne, 1999; Simon, 1999). Science Fiction, Science Literacy and Perception of Science According to the National Education Sta ndards (1996), scientif ic literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scie ntific concepts a nd processes required for personal decision m aking, participati on in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity (NRC, 1996, p. 22). Science and science fiction have many thi ngs in common, most pre dominantly, they both have a strong foundation in one question: What if ? (Casey et. al 2002; Czerneda, 1999). While science fiction narratives are often based on the present, they look to the future, and explore space-time travel and alternate dimensions as a ba sis for debate about what the future might be like (Casey et al. 2002). This function of science fiction creates situations where students and viewers alike can de bate various what if? scenarios. The possibilities born out of this question have lead many science teachers to utilize science fiction as a method for teaching scienc es and improving science literacy among their students. Since the 1970s science fiction has be en used by teachers as a tool for increasing science literacy (Czerneda, 1999; Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, 1996; Dubeck, Moshier, & Boss, 1988; Efthimiou & Llewellyn 2004; Fraknoi, 2 003; Martin, 1979; Negrete & Lartigue, 2004; Reynolds, 1977; Rose, 2007; Zander, 1974). There are several reasons for this use of science fiction in classrooms across the country, including: science fiction has the ability to capture the imagination and attention of its viewers; it allo ws a virtual witnessing of science processes and methods that help ground scienc e in reality; comple x scientific concep ts are more easily explained and readily remembered when associated with images and/or a story (Czerneda, 1999;
37 Dubeck, Moshier, & Boss, 1988; Rose, 2007). As Czerneda (1999) explains in her book, No Limits: Developing Science Literacy Using Science Fiction the concepts and terminology in science fiction stories, whether fictional or not, build a familiarity with real scientific processes and terms, and because recognizing the words and vocabulary of science is a necessary component of scientific literacy, sc ience fiction is an excellent tool for developing that literacy. Another characteristic of a scien tifically literate person, is that they are able to distinguish between what is and what is not a scient ific idea (Caerneda, 1999, p.2). Not only do the imaginary elements in science fiction create a foundation for recognizing science in everyday life, the stories also build the critical thinki ng skills necessary to discern between real and imaginary science. A popular use of science fiction in the clas sroom is to prompt students to find the imaginary science and explain why it is imagin ary and not real (Dubeck, Moshier, Bruce, & Boss, 1993). Dubeck (1988, 1993, 2007) is a strong proponent of using science fiction films to increase science literacy, claimi ng that the images in science fi ction films visually demonstrate abstract scientific principles, which then increases student understandi ng and fosters a positive attitude towards science (1988, p. xii) Other scholars note one of the greatest benefits of using science fiction in the classroom is its ability to provide a link between the humanities and the sciences (Wilson, 1980; Zander, 197 5). Despite these many declar ations of support for science fiction in the science classroom, the real proof of viability lies in the st udies that have put the academic usefulness of science fiction to the test. Over the years a variety of studies, encomp assing various methods, have shown science fiction to impact student scienc e literacy and interest in sc ience. In 1974, a Texas State University reported an increase of non-science majors enrolling in a physics course after science
38 fiction was introduced into the course curriculu m (Zander, 1975). Ongel-Erdal, Sonmez & Day (2004) examined the relationship between student inte rest in science fiction and scientific ability; they found that the more students were interested in science fiction movies, the more they seem to understand the scientific pro cess and determine scie ntific concepts corr ectly (p. 5), but the authors do note the possibility that students who ar e more interested in science fiction may also be more interested in science, and therefore be more scientifically literate. Efthimiou & Llewellyn (2004) designed and ta ught a course called Physics in Films; based on the student reported satisfaction, grades, and general perf ormance of over 1,600 enrolled students, they found that using film to teach physics improved student understanding, interest and enjoyment of the subject. Researchers have shown that science fiction paired with science education can increase science literacy and student in terest, but science fiction can also produce misconceptions. In 2006, a study published by the Journal of Science Education and Technology tested the affect of a single science fiction film on student perc eption and understanding of earth sciencethe dominant science featured in the film. Barnett et al. found that viewing The Core did influence students perceptions and understanding of earth science (2 006). The 2003 film The Core is a fictional narrative about scientists trying jump start the Eart hs inner core, which has stopped spinning, and, consequently is causing the electromagnetic field around the Earth to disappear. Conducted over a four week period, the study surveyed 82 eighth graders all enrolled in the same science class taught by the same teacher. Some students were interviewed both at the start and end of the four-week Earth sciences section of th eir class. In addition to the interviews, the researchers used pre-post multiple choice and content based tests. Of the 38 students included in the post-interviews, 22 watched The Core and 16 did not. Students who did not watch the film
39 were more likely to correctly an swer a question about the earths magnetic field than the students who did watch the film. Students who did watch th e film were able to di scern between some of the real and unreal science, but tende d to believe most of the films science to be real, or close to real, when it was presented by credible character s in credible settingssuch as a scientist or professor in a lab or classroom. These findings suggest that on its own, science fiction film and television can create misconcepti ons about science, and confirms the assertions that science fiction blurs the distinction between fact and fiction (Frank, 2003; Sconce, n.d.). Aside from the popularity of science fiction in science classrooms, compelling evidence demonstrates that fictional images of science can influence public percep tions and attitudes about science (Gerbner et al., 1980, 1981, 1985, 1987; Ellio t & Rosenberg, 1987; LaFollette, 1998). The ability of film and television to present realis tic images of situations and events, results in perceptions of plausibility (F rank, 2003; Rose, 2003; Kriby, 2003a). When the audience sees realistic images of dinosaurs sharing the scr een with scientists w ho lend their status and credibility to explanations of dinosaur DNA from a well-preserved mosquito ( Jurassic Park 1993), the scenario is so realisti c, and so steeped in scientific explanations, that it becomes plausible in the minds of the audience. As cited by Kirby (2003a), the audience makes a decision between what is real, and what is plausible; when somethi ng is plausible, it walks that blurring line between fact and fiction. Contributing to the blurring of th is line is the flexible nature of the science fiction genre; science fiction does not operate with in the confines of naturalisti c or realistic conventions its content is more often symbolic making it an ideal platform for presenting alternative social, cultural and political views (Casey et al., 2002). Even though stor y lines and plots may be taking place on distance worlds inhabited by alien beings the messages can be interpreted as something
40 far more familiar and symbolic of present cultural social and political realities (Casey et al., 2002). Casey cites th e television series Dark Skies (1996-1997) as one example of a science fiction show that used the flexible nature of th e genre to explore changing gender roles. Several scholars discuss the ways in which science fiction has tackled sensitive social and political issues (Czerneda, 1999; Lambourne, 1990; Sconce, n.d.). Perhaps the most notable example of a single show is Star Trek. The original series symbolically repr esented and debated issues of gender and racial prejudice; for instance, in the midst of 1960s racial tensions, Star Trek producers cast a young African American woman into a prominent role as one of the main crew members aboard the Starship Enterprise (Sconce, n.d.). Lambour ne (1990) also notes several films of the 1950s that played an important part in shaping public perceptions of science and scientists during a time when technology was rapidly advancing. Films like Destination Moon (1950), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1955) and Forbidden Planet (1956) served as both a reflection of current sociopolitical climate and beliefs about science, and as catalyst for shaping new perceptions and intr oducing new technologies (Lambourne, 1990). One reason for science fictions ability to shape public perceptions could be its foundation in science fact; science fiction begins in fact, and then pr ovides rational explanati ons for scenarios that go beyond known reality (Casey et. al, 2002). Whether the effects are pos itive or negative, scholars over the years have argued for and shown clear connections between sc ience fiction, science literacy, and public perceptions of science. The evidence provided by their research adds fuel to that burning question: What messages about scie nce and scientists is modern science fiction television broadcasting to millions of viewers around the world?
41 Research Questions A two-part study is required in order to fully understand the potential influences of the im ages and messages in science fiction television : first, an examination of the content the images and messages of science; and second, th e perceptions and attit udes of the audience receiving those messages. This study fulfills the first requisitean examination of the science images and messages presented in science fic tion television shows. This examination was guided by the following questions: 1) What is the dominant gender, personalit y, characterization, and physical appearance of scientists in modern scie nce fiction television shows? 2) Which scientific disciplines are most freque ntly portrayed in modern science fiction television shows? 3) What are the dominant themes in modern science fiction television shows? 4) Are scientists and science most often por trayed as beneficial? Or harmful and dangerous? 5) How have the science and scientists in scie nce fiction television changed over the last 20 years?
42 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Design This study used content analysis and followe d the seven steps in content analysis as laid out by Kaid and Wadsworth (1989). These st eps ensure the inclusion and accuracy of all important elements in a content analysis study ; (1) Hypothesis and/or research questions, (2) Sampling, (3) Categories, (4) Coders and traini ng, (5) Coding process, (6) Reliability and validity, and (7) Analysis. Content analysis was chosen because it is an established method for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication (Berelson, 1952, p.18), and the overarc hing purpose of this study is to describe objectively and comprehensively the images and representations in scie nce fiction television programming over the last two decades. The universe included science fiction tele vision shows from both cable and network television that were in production and on-air during the last two decades to 2007. This time span was chosen for two reasons: first, to include important science fiction television shows like Star Trek The Next Generation and Amazing Stories, which were in production in the late 1980s, and second, because the last published content analys is of science in primetime television was done by Gerbner et al. in 1987. Additionally, including two full decades in the universe provides enough material to examine any changes in the representations of science and scientists over time. Because of the enormous difficulty in trying to assemble year-by-year ratings information provided by companies such as Nielsen, the popular ity of science fiction television shows will be based on user rankings rather than commercia l ratings. Lambourne (1990) notes the thorny issue of trying to explicitly define what qualifies as science fiction (p. X). This is most likely
43 the reason that background research was unable to produce two databases of user-ranked science fiction television shows that included exactly the same shows, ranked in exactly the same way. While there are several current published lists (Sci-fi Lists, SFTV.org, TV.com, magicdragon.com, Wikipedia), some of which incl ude user ratings and ra nkings, the content of these lists vary and most are not ideally designed for the purpose of sampling. However, these lists do provide input into the most popular show s among viewers, and, in order to examine the images and messages reaching the largest audiences, two things must be considered: popularity and frequency1. Several studies, mainly within th e discipline of ma rketing, have found significant connections between the online user re views and rankings, and the fiscal performance and general popularity of the a ssociated television program or film (Godes & Mayzlin, 2004; Dellarocas, Awad, & Zhang, 2004; Bounie, Bourrea u, Gensollen, & Waelbroeck, 2006). Based on this research, online user rankings should pr ovide a reasonably reliabl e measure of popularity. After careful research and consideration, Sci-Fi Lists2 was chosen as the universe from which to draw the most popular science fiction television shows. This decision was based on several important factors. The author and administrator of the Sci-Fi Lists, Peter Sykes, has taken the time to compile what appears to be th e most comprehensive and statistically based list of ranked science fiction televi sion shows on the Internet. Sy kes began his list by personally interviewing critics and authors who have published information rela ted to science fiction; Sykes notes that he polled 11 experts, interviewed six published critics and included information from nine popular polls and 90 other pub lished lists in order to assemb le his initial list of ranked science fiction television shows. In order to ensure validity and reliability for the purpose of this study, Sykes was kind enough to share his original correspondences and research used in 1 For the purpose of sampling in this study, popularity refe rs to user rankings, and frequency refers the number of seasons a show aired. 2 See Appendix B, Sampling, Sci-Fi Lists Top 100 Science Fiction Television Shows
44 building his list of science ficti on television shows, but asked that the specific c ontent of those correspondences remain unpublished (P. Syke s, personal communication, August 17, 2008). Based on information shared by Sykes, and seve ral personal communications with the author, it was determined that Sci-Fi Lists could be used as a reliable source for assembling a list of the most popular science fiction televi sion shows from the last two de cades. Sci-Fi Lists can also be considered representative of current user ra nkings of science fiction television shows because it is regularly updated; this is an added benefit when doing a study of the most popular science fiction television shows at any gi ven point in time. Sykes update s the content of the list and individual show rankings based on user input from emails and votes; he also employs methods to guard against poll-stacking3 (P. Sykes, personal communicatio n, August 17, 2008). It should be noted, that although the list is regularly updated and the shows do move up and down in rank, the movements are very small. Sykes (2008) explaine d that within the top 50 shows, a show seldom moves more than a few spots up or down in the rankings. The list of top science fiction television shows used in this study was retrieved from Sci-Fi Lists on November 23, 2007. In an effort to ensure the most recent data possible wa s being used, the researcher compared the list retrieved on November 23, 2007 with an updated list retrieved October 10, 2008 and found that the small rank changes of a few shows did not in anyway change which television shows were included in the final sample of the top 20, this lis t that was used to compile the final sample of science fiction television shows. The last, and one of the most important factor s in deciding to use SciFi Lists was that it is one of the few lists that is exclusively scie nce fiction and does not include fantasy, sci-fi horror, or non-traditional science fiction television shows. The definition of science fiction set 3 Poll-stacking refers to any attempt by users to manipulat e rankings in order to promote certain shows to the top of a list. Most often this manipulation takes place through repeatedly submitting votes for the same show.
45 forth in this study stipulates th at (1) a science fiction televisi on show must use scientific credibility and plausibility as a central element of the events, societies an d technologies depicted in the stories and plots, and (2) employ at least one of the traditional science fiction themes or sub-themes as published in The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction4 (1978). Fantasy and sci-fi horror shows such as Charmed Buffy the Vampire Slayer often rely on magic and myths (witches, werewolves, vampires, etc.) rather than science to give credibility to their storylines. These shows do not fulfill the first prerequisite of a science fiction television show. Nontraditional science fiction shows such as CSI or Bones do fulfill the first prerequisite of a science fiction television show, but they do not fulfill the second prerequisite. Based on all factors discussed, Sci-Fi Lists published by Peter Sykes offered the most comprehensive, accurate and exclusive list of top science fiction television shows available in print or on th e Internet. Sampling Television Shows With the goal of including show s that have the largest audien ces, it was important that the final ranked list of television shows, which will serve as the sampling frame for the individual episodes, account for both popularity and freque ncy. With the popularity being the user rankings published by Sci-Fi Lists, and frequenc y being the number of seasons, each of the shows was assigned a weighted rank calculated by multiplying the shows user ranking by the number of years that show was on the air. Fi rst, each show was assigned a number based on its rank. For example, Star Trek: The Next Generation (Syndicated5 1987-94) was ranked number 4 For complete list of themes see Appendix A, Definitions, Science Fiction Themes and Sub-themes 5 Several shows in the final sample are first-run syndications meaning that they were broadcast for the first time as a syndicated show. First-run syndications are made to be sold to programmers other than the major networks.
46 one by Sci Fi Lists, so the s how was assigned the number 10 6. Second, this assigned number was multiplied by the number of seasons the show was on the air. In the case of Star Trek: The Next Generation the show ran for seven years. Base d on this system, the calculation for Star Trek: The Next Generation is: 10 (assigned number based on Sci-Fi List rank) X 7 (number of seasons on air) = 70.0, the final weighted rank for Star Trek: The Next Generation Based solely on user rankings from Sci-Fi Lists Star Trek: The Next Generation was ranked the number one show, after accounting for frequency (number of seasons), Star Trek: The Next Generation ranks third instead of first. This formula was applied to all programs included in the original Sci-Fi List in order to calculate a weighted rank that accounted for both popularity and frequency. Once a weighted rank was established for all shows, the final sample of television shows was assembled. The sample of science fiction television shows included the top 20 shows based on their weighted rank (see Table 3-1). The samp le was strictly limited to American science fiction shows produced between 1987 and 2007, and aired during a television season that began no earlier than January 1, 1987, and no later than December 31, 2007. In order to have consistency in the analysis and to be able to draw comparisons, any animated science fiction shows, such as Futurama were not included in the final sample of shows. After researching each of the top 20 shows included in the final sa mple, it was determined that each show did fulfill both prerequisites set forth by this studys definition of a science fiction television show. Episodes The final sample of the top 20 television shows (see Table 3-1) served as the sampling frame for the individual television episodes, which were the unit of analysis. It was decided to include only the first, middle and last seasons of each show to build the sampling frame. 6 The number 10 is an arbitrary number; 10 was chosen because it is a small number and would result final rankings with less integers than if the scale began at 100 or 1000.
47 Including the first, middle and last season covers the progression of the show from its inception to its end, and, as noted by Sykes (2008) often th e middle of a shows run (the middle season) is when the show is at its high-point in terms of ratings and popularity. If a show ran for three or fewer seasons, each season was included in the sampling frame; if a show ran for an even number of seasons, the more recent of the tw o middle seasons was included in the sampling frame. For example, Star Trek Enterprise ran for four seasons, so seasons one, three and four were included in the sampling fr ame (see Table 3-2). Episodes th at aired in early 2008, but were part of a television season that began in 2007, were included in the sampling frame. The final sample of episodes included two randomly selected episodes from each season included in the sampling frame. Considering the nature of television shows, which are able to develop story lines and characters over time, episodes can vary greatl yshows may air a recap or anniversary episode that is not fully representative of the re gular content. For this reason, including two episodes of each show per year provided more accurate information about the characters and portrayal s related to science, and also safeguarded against any unusual or specialty episodes skewing the re presentation of a particular s how. Unfortunately, there is no consistency between the starting and ending date s of seasons, making it impossible to sample episodes from the same two random weeks for each show that was on-air during any given year. For example, in the 1997-1998 season, Stargate SG-1 ran from July 1997 to March 1998, and the X-Files ran from November 1997 to May 1998. There are several cases in which not a single week overlaps between two shows that were on-a ir in the same season (see Table 3-3). To circumvent this problem, for each show, the episodes aired in each season were numbered according to the week in which they ai red. For example, if the episode aired in the fourth week of its shows season, it would be ep isode number four. Despit e the different starting
48 and ending dates of seasons, which vary greatly between the different shows, most of the included seasons are approximately the same lengt h. For most shows included in the universe, their seasons run somewhere be tween 18-26 weeks. The final sampling frame from which episodes were selected included a total of 54 seasons; of those, 46 seasons were between 18-26 weeks in length; five seasons were between 11-18 weeks in length; the remaining three seasons were nine, eight and five weeks in length (see Ta ble 3-4). A random number generator was used to randomly select two episodes from each seas on for each show that was on-air during that season. For example, if the random numbers are 2 and 16 for the 1993-1994 season, then for every show that aired during the 1993-94 season ( Star Trek The Next Generation, The X-Files, Babylon 5, and Star Trek Deep Space Nine ), episodes from week 2 a nd week 16 were included in the final sample of episodes. Because of the previously discussed inconsistency between seasons, the actual da tes of week 16 for Star Trek The Next Generation, may not correspond to the dates of week 16 for The X-Files ; however, for each of these shows their seasons are approximately the same lengthat week 16 they are both approximately three quarters of the way through their season. Even though the ai r dates of individual ep isodes for week 16 may vary from show to show, the positions of those ep isodes within the season is the same, and in this respect, carry the same weight in terms of climactic placement within the season. In five instances it was necessary to genera te a second set of smaller random numbers to accommodate the shorter seasons. The researcher does not believe this small deviation had any negative impact on the sampling. It was furthe r decided that no precaution be taken to avoid episodes that may have aired during a sweeps week. The researcher is confident that in a study of science fiction it is extremely unlikely that any show airing during a sweeps week would alter
49 the findings; science fiction television programs, while they are increasing in numbers, still present little competition to the primetime televi sion shows battling for ratings during sweeps. Categories The categories are entirely based on previous research and public ations cited in the review of literature. Categorie s specific to scientists focu sed on their physical and social attributes. Physical attributes include gender, ethnicity (white, non-wh ite, and/or alien), and appearance, such as glasses, clothing, sy mbols of knowledge (books, computers, science equipment), attractiveness and average age. Social attributes include type of science performed, morality and ethics (based on actions, honesty/dis honesty and feelings of guilt), personality and characterizations. Personality was coded base d on the empirical research done by Goldberg (1993), which established a set of five personality traits: (1) openness; (2 ) conscientiousness; (3) extraversion; (4) agreeableness; (5) neuroticism. The list of potential characterizations was based on the findings and discus sions of numerous scholars (C zerneda, 1999; Frayling, 2005; Lambourne et al, 1990; Lambourne 1999; National Science Board, 2002; Weingart et al., 2003), and includes common stereotypes such as the mad scientist, the nerd, absent-minded and genius, as well as not so commonly discussed characterizati ons, such as the hero sc ientist, the charmer, the comic, and the regular guy/girl. In addition to the coding categories specific to scientist characters, multiple categories examined the portrayals of science itselfthe ty pe of science being done and which traditional science fiction themes7 were evident in each episode. The final categories examined the beneficial versus harmful portrayal s of science and scientists. Fo r example, is science used to preserve and protect life? Or is there an emphasi s on the danger and potentia l harm of science? 7 For complete list of themes see Appendix A, Definitions, Science Fiction Themes and Sub-themes
50 Coding A standard coding sheet8 served as a guide and referenc e for the coder, but data was entered directly into an Excel database rather than recorded on paper. By doing this, the database was built throughout the coding process; el iminating the need to enter data after coding increases efficiency and also reduces the potential for errors in data entry. All episodes were coded by the researcher. A trai ned co-coder experienced in cont ent analysis co-coded a random sample of 10% of the episodes. A detailed codebook9 was used to train and guide both the coder and co-coder through the coding process. Distinguishing real from imaginary science on the small screen c ould be challenging for any researcher or science ficti on consumer who does not have some educational or professional expertise in science, and more specifically, the sciences being por trayed in any given episode. During the coding process, recognizing both real and imaginary science depended largely on the use of scientific jargon, processe s, settings, tools and the involv ement of scientis t characters. Both coders have some background in physical sciences and were qualified to identify scientific concepts, principals, and sciences being practiced. A pre-test was done to uncover any problema tic categories or inconsistencies between the coder and co-coder. Only one area presented a significant challengeidentifying the scientists. It was almost always impossible to tell which characters were scien tists, particularly if the show was unfamiliar to the coder or co-coder. It was decided the best way to overcome this obstacle would be to research each episode on the Intern et and determine who the scientists were, then code those characters as scie ntists. Because the goal of this study was to determine how scientists are being represented and portrayed, and not to determ ine whether or not scientists 8 See Appendix C, Coding, Coding Sheet 9 See Appendix C, Coding, Codebook
51 could be identified, this was an acceptable met hod for solving the challenge of coding scientist characters. All character information obtained from th e Internet was verified through multiple sources to ensure accuracy. The most frequent ly referenced sources were Wikipedia, IMDB, TV.com, and Sci-Fi.comthe official Web site for the Sci-Fi Channel. Any other characters not specifically cited as scientists, but who appeared to be scientis ts, were either practicing or discussing science, and fit th e definition of a scientist10 as put forth in this study, were also coded as scientists. The fact that scientists were so difficult to distinguish from other characters was an unexpected and interesting finding, and will be di scussed further in the next chapter. After coding the first 10 ep isodes, it was found that the ex tent to which science was portrayed varied greatly. It wa s decided to add an additional ca tegory to the coding process. The added category tracked how much science was por trayed in an episodea lot, some, or very little. A lot of science mean t that science was prominent throughout an episode, some science meant that science was peripheral, and very little meant that there was virtually no obvious science in the episode. Once co-coding was completed with the revised codebook and coding process, intercoder reliability was measured by ap plying Holstis Coefficient of Reliability to the co-coded items. The overall Holsti score was .945 with a range of .70 to 1.00 for individual categories11. Analysis All analysis was performed in Excel using frequency counts and percentages. Because all coded data was entered directly into an Ex cel database, and because this study was guided 10 See Appendix A, Definitions, Scientist 11 See Appendix C, Coding, Intercoder Reliability, for a detailed breakdown of Holsti scores by category
52 solely by research questions and not hypotheses, performing the analys is directly in Excel was an efficient and accurate method of an swering the research questions.
53 Table 3-1. Final sample of top 20 of science fiction television shows. Original Rank from Sci-Fi Lists Assigned Score based on Original Rank Weighted Rank New Rank Series Name Dates On-Air # of seasons Source 3 9.0 90.01 Stargate SG-1 1997-2007 10 Show/SF 4 8.5 76.52 The X-Files 1993-2002 9 Fox 1 10.0 70.03 Star Trek The Next Generation 1987-1994 7 synd 6 8.0 40.04 Babylon 5 1993-1999 5 synd/TNT 10 6.5 45.55 Star Trek Deep Space Nine 1993-1999 7 synd 11 6.0 42.06 Star Trek Voyager 1995-2001 7 UPN 2 9.5 38.07 Battlestar Galactica (new) 20034 SciFi/Sky 8 7.0 28.08 Farscape 1999-2003 4 SciFi 12 5.5 22.09 Stargate Atlantis 20044 SciFi 23 3.5 21.010 Smallville 20016 WB 20 4.0 20.011 Quantum Leap 1989-1994 5 NBC 17 4.5 18.012 Star Trek Enterprise 2001-2005 4 UPN 16 5.0 15.013 Lost 20043 ABC 24 3.0 15.014 Sliders 1995-2000 5 Fox/SF 7 7.5 7.515 Firefly 2002-2003 1 Fox 28 2.5 5.016 Dark Angel 2000-2002 2 Fox 39 1.0 5.017 Andromeda 2000-2005 5 synd 32 2.0 4.018 Heroes 20062 NBC 40 0.5 2.019 The 4400 2004-2007 4 USA 37 1.5 1.520 Space Above and Beyond 1995 1 Fox
54 Table 3-2. Sampling frame for seasons. Rank Series Name Total # of Seasons per Show Seasons Included in Sampling Frame Total # of Seasons Included per Show 1 Stargate SG-1 10 1.6.10 3 2 The X-Files 9 1.5.9 3 3 Star Trek The Next Generation 7 1.4.7 3 4 Babylon 5 5 1.3.5 3 5 Star Trek Deep Space Nine 7 1.4.7 3 6 Star Trek Voyager 7 1.4.7 3 7 Battlestar Galactica (new) 4 1.3.4 3 8 Farscape 4 1.3.4 3 9 Stargate Atlantis 4 1.3.4 3 10 Smallville 6 1.4.6 3 11 Quantum Leap 5 1.3.5 3 12 Star Trek Enterprise 4 1.3.4 3 13 Lost 3 1.2.3 3 14 Sliders 5 1.3.5 3 15 Firefly 1 1 1 16 Dark Angel 2 1.2 2 17 Andromeda 5 1.3.5 3 18 Heroes 2 1.2 2 19 The 4400 4 1.3.4 3 20 Space Above and Beyond 1 1 1 Total number of seasons in sampling frame = 54 Including two episodes per seas on, the total number of episodes in final sample = 108 Note: If there was an even number of seasons, the more recent of the two middle seasons was used. If there were three or fewer seasons, all seasons were included in the sampling frame.
55 Table 3-3. Season start and end dates for top five shows. Rank Series Name Season Number of Weeks in the Season Season Start Date Season End Date 1 Stargate SG-1 122 July 27, 1997March 6, 1998 622 June 7, 2002February 19, 2003 1020 July 14, 2006March 13, 2007 2 X-Files 124September 10, 1993May 13, 1994 520November 2, 1997May 17, 1998 920November 11, 2001May 19, 2002 3 Star Trek TNG 125September 28, 1987May 16, 1988 426September 24, 1990June 17, 1991 725September 20, 1993May 23, 1994 4 Babylon 5 122 January 26, 1994October 26, 1994 322November 6, 1995October 28, 1996 522 January 21, 1998November 25, 1998 5 Star Trek Deep Space Nine 120 January 3, 1993June 20, 1993 426 October 2, 1995June 17, 1996 725September 30, 1998June 2, 1999
56 Table 3-4. Number of weeks per included season. Rank Show Name Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9 Season 10 1 Stargate SG-1 21 22 20 2 X-Files 24 20 20 3 Star Trek TNG 25 26 25 4 Babylon 5 22 22 22 5 Star Trek Deep Space Nine 19 25 26 6 Star Trek Voyager 15 26 26 7 Battlestar Galactica 12 20 19 8 Farscape 22 22 22 9 Stargate Atlantis 19 20 20 10 Smallville 21 22 22 11 Quantum Leap 8 22 21 12 Star Trek Enterprise 25 24 21 13 Lost 24 23 22 14 Sliders 9 25 18 15 Firefly 14 16 Dark Angel 21 21 17 Andromeda 22 22 22 18 Heroes 23 11 19 The 4400 5 12 13 20 Space Above and Beyond 23
57 CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS Final Sample The final sample consisted of 108 individua l episodes taken from the top 20 science fiction television shows (see Table 4-1). The fi rst year included in the sampling was 1987, and the last year was 2007, covering a total of 21 years. Only one episode had an air date in 1987. Three episodes aired during the first three mont hs of 2008, but were kept in the final sample because they were part of a television season th at began in 2007. Six episodes each from 16 of the top 20 shows were included in the final samp le (two from the first season, two from the middle season and two from the last season). Fo ur of the top 20 shows were on the air for less than three seasons and had fewer than six episodes in the final sample; Dark Angel and Heroes were on the air for two seasons between 1987-2007 each show contributed four episodes to the final sample; Firefly and Space Above and Beyond were on air for only one season between 1987-2007each contributed two episodes to the final sample of 108 episodes. Overall, a larger percenta ge of shows aired on cable versus network television; 66% (N=71) aired on cable1 and 34% (N=37) aired on major networks2 (see Table 4-2 and Figure 41). First-run syndications, shows with broad cast dates and times varying between different television stations, were coded as cable shows. The final sample (N=108) included 18 episodes from three first-run syndicated shows: Andromeda, Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation A total of 193 scientist charac ters were coded in the final sample of episodes (N=108). There were at least one or more scientist characters in 94 episodes, and in 14 episodes, there were no scientist characters. Often, the same sc ientist character appeared in more than one or 1 Cable stations represented in the sample were, Sci-Fi Channel, TNT, UPN, WB, USA, and first-run Syndications. 2 Major networks represented in the sample were, NBC, ABC and FOX.
58 all episodes of a given show, and therefore is represented multiple times within the total number of coded scientist characters (N=193). For example, there were six episodes of Stargate SG-1 included in the final sample of episodes (N=108). Dr. Daniel Jackson appeared in four of the six episodes, and Dr. Samantha Carter appear ed in five of the six episodes. Most categories were coded for primary and secondary representations. For example, all scientist characters (N=193) e xhibited a primary personality trait, and 54% (N=101) also exhibited one or more secondary personality tr aits. When a scientist character appeared in multiple episodes, primary attributes were almo st always consistent across the different episodes. Primary attributes that did occasionally vary from episode to episode were things such as personality traits and characterizations. Othe r attributes that varied across multiple episodes were physical appearance, age, love interest, and in one case, morality. An example of varying personality traits was seen in Dr. Samantha Carter of Stargate SG-1 she exhibited the primary personality trait of conscientiousness in three of the five episodes she appeared in, and the primary trait of agreeableness in the other two episodes. Dr. Samantha Carters secondary traits included ope nness, conscientiousness and agreeableness. Overall, her character was calm, cool and logical in approaching and solvi ng scientific problems, but in one episode she also had the secondary tr ait of neuroticism. Dr. Carter was emotional about loosing a team member a nd lost her temper with a fe llow scientist. Throughout the episode, Paradise Lost Dr. Cater exhibited an emotional instability and temperament that influenced her interactions with other characters. Age varied for characters when they part of a long-running show, such as Stargate SG-1 which ran for 10 seasons. Dr. Samantha Carter app eared to be in her 30s in episodes from the
59 first and sixth seasons of Stargate SG, and appeared to be in her 40s in episodes from the tenth season. In only one case the morality of the scientist changed as th e show progressed into later seasons. Scorpius, a futuristic scientist from the show, Farscape was coded as morally bad in three episodes. He performed harmful experiments on human and alien subjects in order to obtain information about wormholes. Scorpius s howed no regard for the pain he inflicted, and even seemed to enjoy the process. However, in a fourth episode, What Was Lost Part I: Sacrifice he was morally neutralhis intended us e for wormhole technology could potentially harm the people of Earth, but would preserve and pr otect another alien race. In all other cases, the morality of scientists appearing in multiple episodes did not change, and other attributes varied only slightly. RQ 1 What is the dom inant gender, personality, characterization and phys ical appearance of scientists in modern scien ce fiction television shows? Gender, Ethnicity and Aliens The dom inant gender and ethnicity of scientists in modern science fi ction television shows is white and male; 63% (N=121) are male, and 37% (N=72) are female. Of those, 51% (N=99) are white males, and 27% (N=53) are white female s (see Table 4-3). Because of the difficulty in judging ethnicity based on appearan ce, scientists were categorized as either white or non-white. In all cases it was possible to determine gender. In most cases it was clear whether a scientist was white or non-white, but it was not possible to sa fely judge the ethnicity of 6% (N=12) of the scientists; these scient ists were categorized as unknown. A ll of the 12 scientists with an unknown ethnicity were alien scient ists. For example, Zhaan of Farscape is a female scientist
60 whose skin is bright blue, and Rev Bem of Andromeda is an alien doctor w ith such an elaborate costume and make-up he more closely resembles a large insect rather than a human of any ethnicity. Because alien characte rs are common in the science fi ction genre, whether or not a scientists were alien was examined in conjunction with gender and ethnicity. Of the 193 scientist characters, 24% (N=46) we re alien. Of those, 17% (N=8) were white male aliens and 30% (N=14) were white female aliens (see Table 4-4). There were no identifiable non-white male alien scientists, but 26 % (N=12) of the female alien scientists were non-white. For example, Dr. Diana Davis on Sliders and chief engineer BElanna Torres on Star Trek Voyager Interestingly, if scientists were al ien, they were most often an attractive female; 70% (N=32) of all alien scientists (N =46) were female. Of the 32 female alien scientists, such as Zhaan of Farscape Tpol of Star Trek Enterprise and Trance of Andromeda, only five were not catego rized as attractive. Personality Judgm ents about personality were based on a sc ientists own actions and interactions with other characters. The personality of scientist characters was cat egorized using the Big Five model developed by psychologists. The Big Five m odel is widely accepted as one of the most reliable methods for empirical categorization and examination of personality (Goldberg, 1993). The model includes five broa d factors of personality: 1) Openness: the appreciation for art, advent ure, imagination, curiosity and diverse experience. 2) Conscientiousness: self-discipline, dutiful actions, aim for achievement, planned rather than spontaneous behavior. 3) Extraversion: energy, positive emotions, and the tendency to seek stimulation and the com pany of others.
61 4) Agreeableness: a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. 5) Neuroticism: tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easilyanxiety, depression, or vulnerability, also considered emotional instability. Conscientiousness was by far the dominant pe rsonality trait of scientist characters; 52% (N=100) of scientists had the primary personality trait of co nscientiousness, followed by 28% (N=55) with the primary trait of agreeableness. Openness was the least common primary trait, with only 2% (N=3), but the most common secondary trait; 29% (N=56) of scientists had openness as a secondary trait. Following openne ss, the next most common secondary trait was agreeableness, with 21% (N=40) of scientis ts exhibiting this trait (see Table 4-5). It is possible that the freque ncy with which conscientiousness is seen as a primary trait may be related to the context in which scientists are presented in the sh owsmost often they are working, they have a job to do and they dutifully follow protocol in orde r to carry out planned actions. A prime example of this trait can be seen in Dr. Weir of Stargate Atlantis as the leader of the station she is often seen enforcing rules and carrying out plan s to ensure the safety of her people. In the episode First Strike: Part I, Dr. Weir becomes upset with a military commander who insists on attacking an alien race that pose s a potential threat to Earth. She opposes the abrupt attack and believes a solid plan along wi th attempts for negotiation would be the more appropriate action. Trip, the chief engineer on the show Stat Trek Enterprise serves as another example of conscientious ness. In the episode, Breaking the Ice Trip accidentally reads a private correspondence meant for another crew member. Trip feels it is his duty to tell the crew member he read her private correspondence even though he knows she will be upset with him and embarrassed that someone else knows the contents of her message.
62 The second most common primary personal ity trait, agreeableness (28%, N=55), was frequently seen in medical scient ists and doctors. Dr. Fraiser of Stargate SG-1 insisted on helping injured individuals even when she was directed not to for reasons of safety or military protocol. Dr. Fraisers personality was dominated by compassion for others, so her primary trait was agreeableness. Coming in a close second wa s her dedication to do her duty as a medical doctor and heal any individual who was in need, even if that individual was the enemy, making her secondary trait conscientiousness. An example of openness can be seen in Kes, of Star Trek Voyager who is training as a medical assistant in the episode, Eye of the Needle. Kes is a biologist wh o exhibits curiosity and an eagerness to learn, she even asks the doctor for additional reading and work so that she may accelerate her training and expand her knowledg e beyond what is required to perform the medical assistant duties. Extraversion and neuroticism were the least co mmon traits overall. Only 11% (N=22) of scientists had extraversion as a primary trait, an d 7% (N=14) as a second ary trait. Neuroticism was even less common, with 7% (N=13) of scientis ts having neuroticism as a primary trait, and 2% (N=4) as a secondary trait (see Table 4-5). Often, when scientists were categorized as having the primary trait of extr aversion, they also had traits of conscientiousness and/or agreeableness, but they were not primarily dr iven by duty or compassion. Such was the case with Harper, a scientist in the show Andromeda and Chriton a scientist in Farscape Both characters were dutiful to a degree and showed compassion towa rd other characters, but their personality was primarily colore d by their social energy and in teractions with others, during which they would frequently make jokes and tease people.
63 Most of the scientists categorized as primarily neurotic easily lost their temper or shifted emotional states, and/or seemed plagued by anxiety. Dr. McKay of Stargate Atlantis is one example of a neurotic scientis t character plagued with consta nt anxiety. Dr. McKay worried about why he had to help catch the bad guys, whether or not he woul d get enough to eat and drink in order to sustain himself, if he had been exposed to some disease, and why he had to fill out performance reports for a staff he hardly knew, and didnt really want to know. In general, he was selfish, arrogant and most often concerned with self-preservation. On occasion, such as in the episode Hide and Seek where he sacrificed himself to sa ve the lives of others, he also exhibited conscientiousness and agreeableness. Dr. McKay was not alone in exhibiting multiple personality traits, 52% (N=101) of all scientists (N=193) had one or two secondary personality traits. No scientists had four or more personality traits (see Table 4-5). Characterizations The lis t of characterizations was compiled from previous resear ch by scholars in education, science fiction, f ilm, and science communications3. Like personality, judgments about characterizations were base d on scientists act ions and interaction w ith others, as well as their general demeanor. Scientists were examined for primary and secondary characterizations. All scientists (N=193) had a primary charac terization, and 35% (N=68) had one or more secondary characterizations. There were seven possible characterizations: comedian, nerd, mad scientist, hero, charmer, genius, and regular guy/girl. Of the seven, only two were seen frequently enough to be considered significant as a primary characterization among scientists in modern science fiction television; 76% (N=147) had the primary characterization of regular guy/girl and 13% (N=25) had the primary char acterization of genius. All other primary 3 See Czerneda, 1999; Frayling, 2005; Lambourne, Shallis & Shortland, 1990; Lambourne, 1999; National Science Board, 2002; Weingart, Muhl, & Pansegrau, 2003.
64 characterizations were seen in seven or fewer scientists. The most prominent secondary characterizations were genius (13%, N=25), hero (8%, N=16) comedian (8%, N=16), and regular guy/girl (8%, N=15) (see Table 4-6). Scientists were categorized as regular guy/girl when they were not dramatically different from other characters in their mannerism and appearance, and when they did not clearly fit into another characterization. Most often, scientists with the primary characterization of regular guy/girl were either completely or nearly indistinguishable from other characters. As discussed in the previous chapter, it was necessary to do In ternet research to dete rmine who the scientists were and which characters to code as scientists. Furt her support for the finding that the regular guy/girl characterization is overw helmingly dominant is modern science fiction television. Regular guy/girl characterizations were seen both male and female scientists of all types: Mohinder Suresh a geneticist on Heroes, Dr. Simon Tam, a medial doctor on Firefly Quinn, a physicist on Sliders Dr. Daniel Jackson, an archeologist on Stargate SG-1 and Dr. Samantha Carter, an astrophysicist who a ppeared in episodes of both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis Seen in only 13% (N=25) of scientists, the primary genius characterization was a distant second to the primary characte rization of regular guy/girl (7 6%, N=147) (see Table 4-6). Scientists with the primary or secondary genius characterization were either self-identified as a genius, as was the case with Dr. McKay on Stargate Atlantis or their superior intellect was pointed out by other characters, as was the case with Jool on Farscape The only other characterizations seen with moderate frequency were comedian and hero, both were seen as a secondary characterization in 16 scientis ts. Sam, a time traveling physicist on Quantum Leap, whose primary characterization wa s regular guy/girl, was also char acterized as a hero in every episode in which he appeared; each storyline i nvolved Sam changing the timeline to save a life
65 or mend a relationship. Harper the extroverted engineer on Andromeda, had the primary characterization of regular guy/girl, and the second ary characterization of comedian. Scientists with the comedian characterization were frequen tly making jokes, teasing other characters, and sometimes acted silly or goofy. For example, Harper showed a great fondness for making frequent jokes and amusing himself, sometime s at the expense of other characters. The only scientist with the primary characteri zation of nerd was Dr. Phlox, who appeared in every episode of Star Trek Enterprise Dr. Phlox also had the s econdary characterization of comedian, but unlike Harper on Andromeda Dr. Phlox was more the silly and goofy type of comediangiggling as he cracked science jokes often understood only by him. Dr. Phlox, the ships medical officer, is primarily portrayed as being very curious a nd passionate about all things related to medicine. One of the factors that led to his being categorized primarily as a nerd was the way that other characters responded to him. Dr. Phlox loved to ramble on about some obscure medical curiosity or scientific di scovery and other characters in the scene would look at him as if he were talking to himself completely entertained by his own fascination. Brad Wilczek, a computer scientist in Ghost in the Machine an episode of the X-Files, had the secondary characterization of nerd. Brad was socially awkward and portrayed as having an unusually close relationship with the massive computer he wrote a specialized program for, and appeared far more comfortable with his computers than he did with people. The primary characterization of charmer was seen in only one scie ntistDr. Bronzino on the X-Files. Throughout the episode he attempted to gain the affections of fellow scientist character Dr. Dana Scully. Dr. Bronzino exaggera ted the delivery of cheesy lines with wideeyed grins. In a scene where they are talki ng about the possibilities of pheromones being the reason behind the strange attacks of an exotic fly, Dr. Bronzino says to Dr Scully, the bugs are
66 being somehow driven crazy with desire. You know, they say we humans respond to pheromones, too. Scientists with the mad scientist characteriz ation (3%, N=6) had one thing in common their motivations were considered bad or evil by other characters For example, in The Last Man: Part I an episode of Stargate Atlantis an alien scientist named Michael kills one of the main characters, Tayla, so that he can use the genetic information in Taylas baby to take over the galaxy. Cyril, a biochemist in Radar Love, an episode of Dark Angel is working to create a deadly bio-weapon. When anothe r character named Max tries to stop the bio-weapon test, Cyril pulls out a gun, and while wildly screaming and waving it around, he tries to shoot Max. In this scene it becomes evident that Cyr il is not only interested in mone y, but also in the survival and use of his creation, regardless of how many lives are lost. Physical Appearance Unlike personality and characterizations, phys ical appearance was based solely on the physical attributes of the charac ter. Specifically coded for physic al attributes included glasses, lab attire, pocket protectors, weapon, uniform symbols of knowledgebooks, computer, scientific equipment, whether a character was neat and groomed, messy, attractiveness, and age (see Table 4-7 and 4-8). Any other distinct physical attributes were also noted. The most common other attributes included fa cial hair, elaborate costumes, st ylish attire or business suits. Like the characterizations, the physical appearan ces of scientists were not distinct from other charactersthey appeared as the regular g uy/girl. Only 13% (N=26) of scientists wore glasses, 9% (N=17) wore a lab co at or other attire, such as a h azmat suit, 3% (N=5) were messy in their appearance and no scientists were seen with a pocket protector. Scientists who were categorized as messy had a generally un-kept ap pearancetheir hair was greasy and uncombed,
67 and clothes were wrinkled and mismatch ed. For example, Brad Wilczek in Ghost in the Machine had a messy appearance. His hair appear ed greasy and uncombed, his shirt un-tucked and wrinkled, and his clothes appeared to be too big for him ma king him look gangly and scrawny. Not all scientists were categorized as either messy or neat and well-groomed; scientists were only placed in one of these categories if their appearance clearly was messy or neat. No scientists had both a messy and neat appearance. Overwhelmingly, scientists were neat/wellgroomed (87%, N=167), and attractive (71%, 137) (see Table 4-7). Scientists who were neat/well-groomed had clean and combed hair, women most often wore make-up, if men had facial hair it was n eatly trimmed, their clothes and outfits were often stylish in addition to being cl ean and well-fitted, and if they were in uniform, their uniforms were clean and pr essed. A few scientists who we re categorized as neat/wellgroomed included Dr. Daniel Jackson and Dr. Samantha Carter from Stargate SG-1 Dr. McKay and Dr. Weir from Stargate Atlantis and Geordi LaForge the chief engineer on Star Trek: The Next Generation All of these scientist characters also wore a unifo rm. With 49% (N=95) of scientists in uniform, this was the next most common physical attribut e behind neatness (87%, N=167) and attractiveness (71%, 137). The uniforms were sometimes military, but most often they were futuristic style crew uniforms worn by every body working on a space stat ion, spaceship, or other fictional/futuristic facility. For example, Scientists in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis wore typical army-style uniforms in episodes when they ventured off-worl d to explore some new planet or phenomena. A few of the scientists who wore ship or station crew uniforms were Harper in Andromeda Trip and Tpol in Star Trek Enterprise Dr. Crusher and Geordi LaForge Star Trek: The Next Generation and Dr. Stephen Franklin in Babylon 5.
68 Judging the attractiveness of a character was based on several factors: healthy appearance, height/weight proportion, and the best personal judgment of the c oder. Initially it was believed that attractiveness would be diffi cult to judge, and any judgments would be far too subjective to be reliable. However, the intercoder reliability for this category was surprisingly high (Holsti .90), and the shear number of scientists who we re found to be attractive (N=137) suggests the data is reliable. Attractive scie ntists included Dana Scully on the X-Files, Tpol (a female ethnic alien) and Trip on Star Trek Enterprise Dr. Jack Shepard and Dr. Juliet Burke on Lost and Dr. Simon Tam on Firefly In the absence of any direct references by th e scientists or other characters, the average age of scientists (see Table 4-8) was based on the best personal judgment of the coders. It was found that 53% (N=103) of scientis ts appeared to be in their 30 s, and 31% (N=59) appeared in their 40s. Only 9% (N=18) appeared to be in th eir 20s, and even fewer still appeared to be over 50 (4%, N=8). Aside from being young, neat and well-groom ed, attractive, and often in uniform, 35% (N=68) of scientists were seen with symbols of knowledge, and 14% (N= 27) carried or used a weapon (see Table 4-7). Symbols of knowledge included using computers, lab equipment such as microscopes or beakers, medical equipm ent, carrying, using or reading books, and any fictional or futuristic equipment. Traditi onal medical and laboratory equipment was used by Dr. Juliet Burke in D.O.C an episode of Lost where she performs an ultrasound of a pregnancy, and by scientists in shows like The 4400 which is set in present day as opposed to the future. However, most often the symbols of knowledge took the form of futuristic computers and equipment, such as the brain scanning devi ce used by Dr. Crusher and Geordi LaForge in Inheritance an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or the nanite technology that allowed
69 an alien race of replicators to take co ntrol of Dr. Weir in an episode of Stargate Atlantis Dr. McKay was attempting to free Dr. Weir by rewriting the nanite code In the same episode of Stargate Atlantis Lifeline Dr. McKay and Dr. Samantha Carter are both in uniform and carrying weapons. Other weapons-toti ng scientists included John Chriton on Farscape who either carried or used a weapon in all six episodes in which he appeared, Dr. Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1 who had a weapon in all f our of the episodes in which he appeared, and Dr. Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation who used her futuristic phaser weapon in a battle during the episode Arsenal of Freedom To answer the first research question concisel y, the scientists in modern science fiction television shows are most often males (63%, N= 121) with a conscienti ous (52%, N=100) and agreeable (28%, N=55) personality. They are rare ly distinguishable from other characters, and they are generally youngin their 30s or 40s, neat, well-groomed and attractive. RQ 2 W hich scientific disciplines are most freque ntly portrayed in modern science fiction television shows? Determining which scientific disciplines were most commonly seen involved tracking the types of scientists who appeared in the epis odes, and the types of science included in the episodes. It was found that the presence of one scientists, did not nece ssarily coincide with the presence of the otherscience. If an ep isode included a scientist character who was a doctor, it did not necessarily mean that medical sciences were at any time portrayed in the episode. For example, in The 23rd Psalm an episode of Lost Dr. Jack Shepard, a medical doctor, is the only scientist character in the episode, but there was at no time any medical sciences portrayed in this episode. The only t ype of science portrayed in this episode was
70 paranormal science. Conversely, the presence of a particular science was not always associated with a scientist of the same sp ecialization. For example, in Breaking the Ice an episode of Star Trek Enterprise, the primary science portrayed in the episode was geology. The crew landed on an asteroid to extract a sample of a rare mi neral so that it could be studied by scientists, however, none of the scientists portrayed in th e episode appeared to be geologists. The scientists in Breaking the Ice were Trip, the chief engineer, Tpol the science officer, and Dr. Phlox, the doctor. Scientists Each scien tist character was categorized as one primary type of scie ntist. The primary type of scientist was the science a character appe ared to specialize in or was most often seeing practicing or discussing. Most of ten it was difficult, if not impo ssible, to guess what type of scientist a character portrayed based solely on th e content of a single episode. For this reason the final determination of the primary type of scientist portrayed by a character was often based on the same Internet research that was used to identify who the scientist characters were in each show and episode. A total of nine different types of scientists (see Table 4-9) were seen in the 108 science fiction episodes. Doctors, with 32% (N=61), made up the largest group. Traditional medical doctors practicing present day medi cine included Dr. Juliet Burke on Lost and Dana Scully on the X-Files. Dr. Burke performed an ultrasound to ch eck the progress of a pregnancy, and Dr. Scully performed a post-mortem examination to determine cause of a mysterious death. Other doctors, most often portrayed in shows that t ook place in the future or on another planet, practiced fictional or futuristic me dicine. For example, Dr. Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation used a handheld scanning device to detect illness or injury. Similarly, Dr. Carson
71 Beckett on Stargate Atlantis used a full body scanner to detect in jury, illness or the presence of nanites in his patients, a nd Dr. Stephen Franklin on Babylon 5 was a specialist in xenobiology alien biology. The next most frequently seen scientists were astronomers and physicists (20%, N=38), followed by engineers (13%, N=25) (see Table 4-9). Scientists in these categories were often seen practicing theoretical physics and futuristic engineering. Fo r example, Dr. Samantha Carter on Stargate SG-1 is an astrophysicist who specializes in wormhole technology and theory. Dr. Rodney McKay is a fellow astrophysicist with the same specializa tion who appears on the sister series to Stargate SG-1 Stargate Atlantis Engineers Geordi La Forge ( Star Trek: The Next Generation ) and BElanna Torres ( Star Trek Voyager ) work aboard star ships and are often called upon to provide technical so lutions to life-threatening problems. For example, in the episode Parallax, Torres suggests that remodulating th e tractor beam to match sub-space interference might allow them to break through th e event horizon of the singularity and save the stranded ship. The fourth most frequently seen type of scientist was fictional/futuristic (12%, N=24). Scientists were not categorized as a fictional/futu ristic scientist unless th ey practiced some form of science that in no way resembled or was re lated to any known scientific discipline. For example, Sikozu, a female alien on Farscape, is an expert on Leviathans living spaceships. She was categorized as a fictional/futuristic scientist. Sometimes a scientist practiced fictional or futuristic science within their discipline, but the science they practiced was very similar to a known science. For example, Zhaan, a female alien on Farscape is a botanist who works with alien plants and performs futuri stic experiments to find medicine s for healing her crew and her
72 sentient ship. Although there are fictional/futuristic elements to the science she practices, Zhaan is primarily a botanist, so her primary type of science was coded as biology. The last five categories of scientists (socia l/other, biologists, archeologists, computer scientists, geologists) were not as strongly represente d as the first four (medical, astronomer/physicist, engineer, fictio nal/futuristic). The largest of these last five categories was social scientists/other (7%, N=13) (see Table 4-9). The category included social scientists such as political scientists, historians and psychologists. For example, Dr. Weir on Stargate Atlantis is a political scientist whose sp ecialization in international nego tiations landed her the job of running the Atlantis base on an alien planet, and Ezri on Star Trek Deep Space Nine is a psychologist responsible for monitoring the mental health of the stati ons crew. The social scientist/other category also included scientists w hose field of expertise c ould not be identified either from the episodes or by Internet resear ch, and who did not fit into the fictional or futuristic category, such as Marco on The 4400 Marco works for a secret government organization solving theoretical and social problems relate d to the 4400 people who were returned to the present, from the future, in or der to reshape history and protect Earth from a devastating future. He works in a room full of high-tech equipment, computers, plasma screens and maps, and explains the ripple effect th at takes place when a 4400 person changes the course of history. The fact that he was a scie ntist could be confirmed through Internet research, but the same research did not reve al what type of scientist he wa s. The same was true for Rev Bem, an alien scientist on Andromeda, and two unnamed scientist ch aracters in two separate episodes of Smallville Biologists (6%, N=12), archeologi sts (5%, N=9) and computer scientists (5%, N=9) were all nearly equal in thei r overall representation (see Table 4-9) Scientists falling into the biology
73 category (6%, N=12) were some of the easiest to identify. Biologists were frequently portrayed in a laboratory setting perf orming experiments and looking through microscopes as they explained their work to another scientist or non-scientist. Fo r example, in an episode of Stargate Atlantis Dr. Carson Beckett visits a newly discovered world where Perna, a local government biologist, explains how she is developing a specia l vaccine to protect he r people from being fed upon by the Wraith. As they talk Perna asks Dr. Beckett to view he r work through a nearby microscope. The show with the most scientist depi ctions in the archeologi st category (5%, N=9) was Stargate SG-1 One of the main characters, Dr. Da niel Jackson, is an archeologist who specializes in Egyptology. Computer scientists (5%, N=9) were seen in only three shows, The X-Files Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica ; Brad (The X-Files) created a learning computer that eventually learned how to kill, Dr. Baltar ( Battlestar Galactica ) is a computer scientist who inadvertently gave the Cylons, and enemy race of cybernetic beings, access to his governments computerized security systems, whic h resulted in the dest ruction of his world. The category with the fewest number of sc ientists was geologists (1%, N=2). Smallville was the only show that portrayed a geologist. Dr. St even Hamilton, who appeared in two episodes Craving and Obscura, was a geologist studying Kryptonite an alien mineral discovered in pieces of a meteorite that crashed in the town of Smallville. In looking specifically at the different gende rs, medical doctor was the most frequently portrayed type of scientist for both female a nd male characters; 36% (N=26) of all female scientists and 29% (N =35) of all male scientis ts were doctors (see Tabl e 4-9). The second most common type of scientists for females was fic tional/futuristic (19%, N=14), and for males, astronomers and physicists (20%, N=24) (see Table 4-9).
74 An interesting finding was the connecti on between being an alien, and being a fictional/futuristic scientist, 14 out of the 15 cas es in which a female was a fictional/futuristic scientist, she was also an alien. Exampl es include Sikozu, the Leviathan expert on Farscape, and Jadzia Dax, the stat ion science officer on Star Trek Deep Space Nine The same was true for males, nine out of the 10 male fictional/futur istic scientists were alien. Examples include Scorpius on Farscape, an evil scientist who used futurist ic technology and equipment to gain information about wormholes, and Michael, a Wraith scientist on Stargate Atlantis who created a race of bioengineered mons ters to rule the galaxy. Science The individ ual sciences portrayed in each epis ode were categorized in much the same way as the types of scientists. As mentioned, a sc ience could be portrayed without an associated scientist. Sciences we re categorized as primary and sec ondary. The most prominent science was coded as the primary science, and all othe r portrayed sciences we re coded as secondary sciences. All episodes (N=108) had a primar y science, and 85% (N=92) had one or more secondary sciences (see Table 4-11). It was found that there is no relationship betw een the most frequently portrayed types of scientists and the most frequen tly portrayed types of science. Whereas doctors were the most frequently portrayed type of scientist, the most frequently portrayed primary science was paranormal (21%, N=23) (see Table 4-11). Paranor mal sciences such as telepathy, ESP, UFOs, unexplained natural phenomena were the pr imary science in most episodes of Lost Heroes, The 4400 and Smallville Heroes The 4400 and Smallville all have storylines that revolved around people with special abilities an d/or superhuman powers. In The 4400 people had been taken to the future, neurologically altered to have specia l abilities, and sent back in time to change the
75 past and correct mistakes that would otherwise lead to a devast ating and destructive end for all humanity. Smallville is based on the story of Superman and takes place in a small town where countless residents have been phys iologically altered to have unus ual abilities or diseases. Alterations were caused by coming into contact w ith a strange mineral from another planet. Lost dealt primarily with unexplained and natura l phenomena; in one episode two characters discuss what might be causing the strange magne tic force that is coming from behind a think concrete wall, and in another episode a monste r made of black smoke chases people through the jungle. No one type of science was overwhelmingly dom inant as the primarily portrayed science. Following paranormal science (21%, N=23), wa s computers/technology (18%, N=19), which was the primary science in three episodes of Andromeda, a show that revolves around a spaceship named Andromeda ,which is a sentient being and has several avatars that represent it in human form. All of the Andromedas holog raphic and robotic avatars are exceptionally attractive females who frequently explain the technological capa bilities of the ship. Astronomy/physics (17%, N=18) and medical scie nces (10%, N=11), were the next most frequently portrayed primary sciences in an episode (see Table 4-11). Astronomy/physics (17%, N=18) was often prominent in episodes with stor ies that revolved around wormholes or temporal distortions. For example, in The Visitor an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine a temporal distortion traps a crew member in subspace. As a second example, in every episode of Stargate SG-1 the SG-1 team travels to other planets by ste pping through a large circular gate-like device that creates a wormhole between two locations. Characters often discuss how the Stargate works or why it didnt work, and repair malfunc tions or missing parts, as was the case in the episode Bad Guys
76 Unlike some of the other sciences, medical sc ience (10%, N=11) was often seen actually taking place rather than being discussed or simply being peripheral to a story. For example, an ultrasound ( Lost D.O.C. and Star Trek Voyager Lineage), genetic alterations done with a computer ( Star Trek Voyager Lineage ), healing a battle wound with herbs (Star Trek: The Next Generation Arsenal of Freedom ), repairing a collapsed lung, delivering a baby, and setting a broken leg (Lost Do No Harm ). Like the scientists who were biologists, the science of biology (8%, N=9), including botany and genetics, was frequently seen in laboratory settings and easily identified by the goals of the scientists, which they themselv es often explained. For example in Poisoning the Well an episode of Stargate Atlantis scientists develop a vaccine designe d to protect them from an alien race. All the biology in this episode takes place in a laboratory and medical facility where the two scientists are surrou nded by test tubes, beakers and microsc opes. When one of the scientists looks through a microscope, the image of active cells squirming around on a glass slide is shown to the audience so that the viewers ma y see what the scientist is seeing. In Lineage an episode of Star Trek Voyager BElanna Torres, the chief engineer, sneaks into the medical facility and uses a futuristic computer program to gene tically alter her unborn child. Torres wants to eliminate what she perceives to be the undesi rable physical features of a Klingon, even though she herself is half Klingon and half human. A full color holographic image of her unborn childs DNA is project by the computer, and sec tions of the DNA disapp ear as Torres deletes certain genetic traits. Following biology (8%, N=9), was engineering (6%, N=7) and fictional/futuristic sciences (6%, N=6) (see Table 4-11). Engineering was ofte n the primary science seen in episodes where a spaceship or space station needed some repa ir or re-engineering. For example, in PK Tech
77 Girl an episode of Farscape the characters work to repair a de fense shield generator in order to survive an impending attack by the Sheyangfire-breathing aliens. Fictional or futuristic sciences were similar to the fictional/futuristic scientists in that they were unrelated and dissimilar from any commonly recogni zed science. For example, in The Last Man: Part I an episode of Stargate Atlantis, John Shepard is accidentally trans ported thousands of years into the future where a holographic recoding of a scient ist, Dr. Rodney McKay, tells him that a solar flare was responsible for sending him to the future and that he will not be able to attempt return until another solar flare occurs in a coupl e hundred years. The story revolves around futuristic/fictional technology and science is used to ju stify the events and solve the problems of returning Shepard to his own time. For example, the holographic representation of a long-dead Dr. McKay, and the stasis chamber that will pres erve Shepard in hibernation until the next solar flare occurs in a couple hundred years. Social sciences/other (5%, N=5), geology (5%, N=5), a nd archeology/anthropology (4%, N=4) were the least commonly portrayed primar y sciences (see Table 4-11). The social sciences/other (5%, N=5) category was dominated by political science, which was the primary science in three episodes of Babylon All three episodes revolved around political and military confrontations between alien race s and the attempts by their leader s to reach peaceful resolution. Of the episodes that portrayed geology (5%, N=5) as the primary science, two episodes portrayed a lot of geology taking place throughout the episode: Inheritance ( Star Trek: The Next Generation ) and Breaking the Ice ( Star Trek Voyager). In Inheritance the crew of the Enterprise is on a mission to save a planet with a solidifying molten core. To prevent the core from solidifying they drill into the planetary cr ust and place plasma fusion injectors above the core. In Breaking the Ice the crew plans and carries out a mission to retrieve a rare mineral
78 from a comet. Archeology/anthropology (4%, N= 4) was the least frequently seen primary science. Anthropology was the primary science in an episode of Stargate SG-1 where the team makes first contact with a new alien race, the Nox, and attempts to understand their culture and way of life in order to form an alliance and protect them. In an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine an archeologist named Vash brings a collecti on of alien artifacts to the space station with the goal of having a rare artifact auction for weal thy collectors, but one of her artifacts turns out to be the cause of a serious power dr ain that cripples the space station. How Much Science The extent to which a science was "p ortrayed" in an episode varied greatly. In some cases one or more sciences were prominent throughout the episode and physically practiced by one or more characters, in other cases science was merely spoken about in a conversation or practiced by one character in a single scene. The judgments about the quantity of include d science were based on how often science was seen, practiced or talked about. Of the 108 episodes examined in this study, 48% (N=52) portrayed a lot of science; 23% (N=25) portrayed some science; and 28% (N=30) portrayed very little or no science (see Table 4-10). A lot of science meant that science was prominent througho ut an episode, as was the case in Pegasus an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that depicts both the chief engineer, the chief scientist and several other ch aracters trying to solv e the mystery of how a ship rematerialized partially inside an asteroi d, and how they were going to get it out In this case, science was used to solve problems, it was practiced and discusses in multiple scenes throughout the episodes, and wa s central to the story.
79 Some science meant that science was practic ed or talked about a few times, but was more peripheral to the story. For example, in Darkness Falls an episode of the X-Files, entomology is portrayed, but only briefly as the scientists analyze an ancient and unknown insect found inside an old-growth tree. Dr. Dana Scully and a park ranger briefly discuss the insect and the strange hibernation that has pr eserved it for hundreds of years. Science does remain peripheral to the story, lending credibility to the events, but the majority of the episode depicts the characters stranded in a forest tr ying to avoid getting their flesh sucked out by swarms of this strange insect. Very little meant that there was no or al most no obvious science in the episode. For example, most episodes of Quantum Leap involved very little actual science. The scientist, Sam, traveled through time. In each episode his consciousness would briefly take over the consciousness of some person who he would have to help in one way or another, generally saving their life by preventing a fi ght or a car crash, or making su re they found their medication. Science was peripheral in that it gave credibility to the story of traveling through time. The opening sequence of the show explained how Sa m was a physicist who invented this technology of time travel and was now stuck in a never-e nding loop unable to return to his own time. Beyond lending credibility to time travel and the computer hologram he communicated with, there was no science in any of the Quantum Leap episodes. As mentioned, all episodes (N =108) had one primary science, and 85% (N=92) had one or more secondary sciences (see Table 4-11). Overall, including both primary and secondary portrayals, fictional/fut uristic science was portrayed more than any other science, with 65% (N=70) of all episodes (N=108) including some amount of fictional/f uturistic science. Of these, 58% (N=63) were secondary portrayals, meaning that these portrayals were most often
80 fictional/futuristic versions of a traditional and known science, such as biology, physics or medical sciences. Because the extent of portrayalsthe amount of sciencein each episode varied so greatly, to answer research question number two, which scientific disciplines are most frequently portrayed in modern science fiction television shows, th ree ranked lists were compared: (1) the top five most frequently port rayed types of scientists (see Table 4-9), (2) the top five most frequently portrayed primary sciences (see Table 4-11), and (3) the top five most frequently portrayed sciences overall, incl uding both primary and secondary portrayals (see Table 4-11). Only two scientific disciplines co nsistently ranked in the top five on all three listsastronomy/physics a nd medical sciences. RQ 3 What are the dom inant themes in modern science fiction television shows? A list of six overarching scienc e fiction themes published in The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1978) served as the guide for determin ing the dominant themes in modern science fiction television shows4. The six possible themes were (1) space exploration and the military complex, (2) people and superhumans, (3) extra dimensions, (4) aliens and monsters, (5) future of alternate human societies, and (6) robots, computers and gadgets. A seventh category of other served as a catch-all for any science fiction episode wi th a theme that did not clearly fit into any of the six themes or sub-themes defined by The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1978). Like many of the other categories examined in this study, for each episode both primary and secondary themes were noted. The dominant theme throughout an episode was categorized 4 See Appendix A, Definitions, Science fiction themes and sub-themes
81 as the primary theme. Any other themes presen t in an episode were categorized as secondary themes. The results reveal the most frequently seen dominant, or overarching themes in modern science fiction television, as well as the most commonly seen themes overall (primary and secondary combined), regardless of their prominence (see Table 4-12). Space Exploration the Military Complex Space explo ration and the military complex was found to be the dominant primary theme in the science fiction episodes; 56% (N=60) of all episodes (N =108) had the primary theme of space exploration and the military complex (see Tabl e 4-12). This theme was seen in episodes of all the Star Trek shows ( The Next Generation Deep Space Nine Voyager Enterprise ), Stargate SG-1 Stargate Atlantis Farscape Firefly Andromeda, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5. The most significant commonality between all these shows is the inclusion of a space ship, space station or military base, and its crew of explorers. In the Star Trek Voyager episode Parallax the ship and crew become tra pped in a black hole, and in both Stargate SG1and Stargate Atlantis the crew works for a secret military organization and travels around the galaxy through wormholes while they search fo r advanced technology to help defend Earth and other planets from hostile aliens. Pol itics and the military are prominent in Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5 Both shows take place in space and revolve heavily around political and military confrontations. For exam ple, in one episode of Battlestar Galactica a battleship previously thought to have been destroyed rejoins the fleet. At first the crews and commanders of both battleships, Galactica and Pega sus, are happy to be reunited, but eventually a power struggle erupts when the commander of Pegasus pulls ra nk and decides to reassign military personnel and reorganize the political structure of the fleet.
82 People and Superhumans W ith 56% (N=60), space exploration and the military complex was overwhelming dominant as the primary theme. People a nd superhumans was a distant second with 20% (N=22), followed by extra dimensions, seen as th e primary theme in 9% (N=10) of all episodes (N=108), and aliens and monsters seen in 7% (N=8) of episodes (N=108) (see Table 4-12). People and superhumans was the prim ary theme in all episodes of Heroes, The 4400 Smallville Dark Angel and several episodes of The X-Files Heroes and The 4400 are both about people with seemingly supernatural abilities, for example Hiro on Heroes can bend and stop time allowing him to travel through time to the past and future, and Shawn on The 4400 has the ability to heal people just by placi ng his hands on them. The series Smallville is the story of superman growing up in a rural town plagued by st range occurrences that a ll seem to be related to a crashed meteor. In one episode, Craving a young girl desperate to lose weight begins drinking homemade shakes made with vegetables grown in soil that has b een tainted by crystals from the crashed meteor. She very quickly l ooses weight, but also has a new and insatiable appetite that drives her to st art eating people. Cl ark (superman) eventual ly saves the day and stops the starving teen girl. In Dark Angel Max is a bioengineered super-solider created by the military. She escaped from her creators when she was a small child and has been in hiding ever since. Extra Dimensions The extra dim ensions theme, primary in 9% (N=10) of the epis odes (N=108), was often seen in episodes or shows about traveling throu gh time or traveling to other dimensions (see Table 4-12). Quantum Leap is a science fiction television show about a physicist named Sam, whose consciousness is trapped in time travelhe leaps from one point in time to another
83 never knowing where he will wind up or whose body his consciousness will temporarily take over. In Sliders a group of people are stuc k in a similar predicament, except they are stuck traveling from one dimension to another, never knowing where they will slide to or if they will ever get home. In Quantum Leap the episodes feature places and stories that are not far removed from reality. For example, in one episode Sam is an African American chaffer dealing with segregation in the post Ci vil War south, and in another he is a bounty hunter struggling to control a pretty young woman wrongly accused of a crime. In Sliders on the other hand, the group often winds up in an alternate dimensi on where things are far removed from known reality. For example, in Heavy Metal they slide to a reality where the aviation industry never developed, it is a version of Earth were the maritime industry rules, along with power-hungry pirates who are determined to prevent airborne transportation from making maritime shipping obsolete. Aliens and Monsters The aliens and m onsters theme, the primary theme in 7% (N=8) of episodes, was evident when aliens or monsters served as the foundatio n for the entire episode (see Table 4-12). For example, in the Sliders episode Sole Survivors the group of inter-dimensi onal travelers slide to a reality where the majority of the population has been infected with a virus that turned them into flesh-eating zombies. The travelers spend the en tire episode searching for a cure while battling zombies around every corner. Often, primary themes were the same in episodes from the same showpeople and superhumans was the primary theme in all six episodes of Smallville but this was not always the case. For example, in three episodes of Stargate Atlantis the primary theme was space exploration and the military complex, but in th e other three episodes the primary theme was
84 aliens and monsters. In all th ree episodes where aliens and monsters was the primary theme, the story revolved around battling an evil alien or group of aliens. In Poisoning the Well scientists work to find a vaccine that will prevent the Wraith (an evil race of aliens) from being able to feed on innocent people. In Submersion a team of explorers and scientis ts are trapped in an underwater facility with a power ful Wraith who is manipulating one team member and killing others, and in First Strike: Part I the Atlantis team works with a military team from Earth to plan and carry out an attack on the replicator home-world in order to destroy the fleet of warships the replicators are bui lding for an attack on Earththe ir primary goal throughout the episode is to stop the replicators from replicating. Future or Alternate Human Societies The leas t common primary science fiction themes were future or alternate human societies (1%, N=1), and robots, computers and gadgets (1%, N=1) (see Table 4-12). Although both themes are seen as primary in only one epis ode each, they are more common as secondary themes. Because each of these themes appears only once as a primary theme some examples will come from secondary appearances. While not common as a primary theme, future or alternate human societies is th e most common secondary theme (54%, N=58). The future or alternate human societies them e was the primary theme in The Seer an episode of Sliders that takes place in an alternate reality where the en tire population of people worships one individual they call the seer. The people beli eve the seer is a prophet. Th e inter-dimensiona l travelers who become trapped in this alternate reality slowly learn more about th e people, their beliefs, and the political powers that are using the seer to br ainwash the population and orchestrate the creation of their ideal society. The future or alternate human societies theme was a secondary theme in all six episodes of Battlestar Galactica While the primary theme of all six episodes was space
85 exploration the military complex, the second most prominent theme in all episodes was that the storylines were all heavily focused on the people, their relationships, and so cial structure of life on the battleship. For example, in the episode Pegasus the commanders and crews from two different battleships clash because of different social structures and priorities. The commander and crew of the Galactica seem to place human loyalty and emotion above military protocol. For example, the commander and crew look the other way and ignore the fraternization between an officer and a subordinate who have fallen in love. The commander of Pegasus, who enforces strict military protocol in all situations, dema nds that the affair come to an end, and even reprimands the Galactica commander for allowing the relationship to continue. Robots, Computers and Gadgets Robots, computers and gadgets, a prim ary th eme in only one episode, was a secondary theme in 12% (N=13) of all episodes (N=108) (s ee Table 4-12). Robots, computers and gadgets was identified as a theme whenever technology pl ayed a significant role in an episode. For example, in Ghost in the Machine an episode of The X-Files a learning computer known as the C.O.S. (Central Operating System ) project controls all the computerized systems for high-tech company. No one realizes just how much th e C.O.S. has learned and developed. When the C.O.S. finds out that it is sche duled to be shutdown due to poor performance, the computer begins eliminating anyone who threatens its continue d operation. In one s cene, the computer crashes an elevator killing an FBI agent, and in another scene the computer electrocutes the man responsible for initially terminating the C.O.S. project. Ghost in the Machine was the only episode in which robots, computers and gadgets was the primary theme. The theme robots, computers and gadgets also included any significant portrayals of artificial intelligence in humanoid form, or cybernetic beings, such as Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation Two
86 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation both portraying Data in a major role, had the secondary theme of robots, computers and gadgets. In Inheritance, a woman claiming to be Datas motherone of his creatorsshows up on the Enterprise. Data late r discovers that she is also a cybernetic humanoid, but sh e is unaware of that fact. In Arsenal of Freedom the crew of the Enterprise winds up on a planet where the only business is manufacturing weapons to supply wars. The crews arrival triggers an au tomatic demonstration of the locally produced weapons available for purchase, including robotic so ldiers who attack crew and drive them into hiding. Lost, the Other The catch-all other category was meant to accommodate any themes which did not fit into the six themes detailed in The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1978). The only science fiction television show with pr imary themes in the other category was Lost (see Table 4-12). All six episodes of Lost had a primary theme in the other category. The episodes revolved around survivors of a pl ane crash trapped together on an island plagued by mysterious phenomena. Although the show is about people, their relationships, and seemingly paranormal occurrences, no episode takes place in the futu re or any alternate dimension or reality, technology plays no significant role and no character demonstrates any special or supernatural power. One episode did have the secondary them e, aliens and monsters. During one scene in The 23rd Psalm a monster made out of black smoke emerges from the jungle and engages in a momentary stare-down with a char acter named Mr. Eko, the monster then retreats back into the jungle leaving several characters sh aken by the mysterious experience. Other than Lost every science fiction episode had a primary theme that was easily identified and fit clearly into one of the six categories laid out in The Visual Encyclopedia of
87 Science Fiction (1978). All episodes (N=108) had one primary theme, and 71% (N=77) also had one or more secondary themes. In order to answer the third research question about the most dominant themes in modern science fiction television, the frequency of bot h primary and secondary themes was considered together. Based on both primary and secondary inclusions, the most dominant themes in modern science fiction television shows are spac e exploration the military complex, seen in 59% (N=64) of the sample (N=108), followed closely by future or alternate human societies, which was a theme in 55% (N=59), and aliens and mons ters, a theme in 43% (N =46) of all episodes included in the sample (N=108) (see Table 4-12). RQ 4 Are scien tists and science most often portray ed as beneficial? Or harmful and dangerous? Coding recorded the occurrences of beneficial and/or harmful and dangerous portrayals of scientists and science. The science and scien tists in each episode were categorized based on whether or not they exhibited a particular portrayalbeneficial, or harmful and dangerous. Scientists and science did not ha ve to exhibit one or the othe r (beneficial, or harmful and dangerous), sometimes they exhibited neither, an d sometimes they exhibited both. When it was unclear or unknown whether science or scientists were portrayed as beneficial or harmful, then the science or scientists were categorized as not exhibiting that portray al. Sometimes, harmful or beneficial science was not portr ayed on screen in conjunction with a scientist. For a scientist to be portrayed as beneficial or harmful they had to actually be in the episode, not simply referred to by other characters. Most often, when scientists were portrayed as beneficial, so was science. Of the 108 episodes analyzed, 56% (N=60) por trayed scientists as benefici al and 61% (N=66) portrayed
88 science as beneficial (see Table 4-13). Un like the beneficial portrayals, there was more divergence between the harmful portr ayals of scientists and the harm ful portrayals of science. Scientists were portrayed as harmful and da ngerous in only 25% (N=27), and science was portrayed as harmful and dangerous in almost twice as many episodes, 47% (N=54) (see Table 4-13). Scientists and Scie nce: Beneficia l The portrayals of scientists a nd science were considered bene ficial if they preserved and protected life, furthered positive scientific or social development and progress, or solved problems such as disease, illness or crime. For example, in Ageless an episode of Smallville biology is used to explain the accelerated aging of a young boy as scientists work to stop the aging process and save the boys life. In Hide and Seek an episode of Stargate Atlantis scientists design a special generator to lure a powe r-draining entity away fr om the Atlantis base. The generator works, and they save the ba se from destruction. In an episode of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Its Only a Paper Moon psychology and technology are used together to benefit one individualan alien charac ter named Nog, who is having trouble recovering from the psychological trauma of loosing his leg. The ship s counselor prescribes a course of treatment that will allow Nog to live in a holodecka si mulated realityfor a period of time while he slowly readjusts to life. His physical and psychological pr ogress is monitored while the computer generated people in the holodeck program slowly help Nog regain his mobility and self confidence. Scientists and Science: Harmful and Dangerous Portrayals w ere considered harmful and dangero us when scientists or science presented a threat to people, places or things. Such as when there was an emphasis on the potential harm of
89 the science being done, or emphasis on harmful and dangerous situations that were a result of science or the actions of sc ientists. For example, in Arsenal of Freedom an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation several crew members become stranded on a planet where all the inhabitants have been destroyed by their own weapons science and technology. A demonstration program, designed to demonstrate the worthiness of the high-tech weaponry to potential customers, malfunctione d and caused the weaponry to hunt its creators as part of the demonstrative simulation. The demonstration program, which was running in an endless loop, also caused the robots and stealth canons to hunt down and kill anything or anyone that came to the planet. The crew eventual ly managed to permanently shut down the simulation. Science was portrayed as harmful and dangerous in Arsenal of Freedom but the scientists were not. The scientists who created the weaponr y were not portrayed in the episode; they had been killed by their creation hundreds of years earlier. When scientists and science were portraye d as harmful, most often it was not that scientists or science were intentionally being used to cause harm, or that a scientist was inherently malevolent. Dangerous portrayals of ten focused on the potential of science to cause or result in harmful and dangerous situationsunfo rtunate scientific accidents, as was the case in Arsenal of Freedom This type of science gone wr ong portrayal was common in the dangerous and harmful portrayal of science and scientists. In Sole Survivors ( Sliders ) a weightloss drug worked well at first, but then unexpectedly turned pe ople into flesh-eating zombies. In Summer of Love ( Sliders ) scientists created a wasp-like spider for agricultural pest control. The hybrid insect eventually became un controllable itself, and ravaged the land across continents.
90 A common association between beneficial and harmful portr ayals was that science and scientists were often portrayed as both the cause and the solu tion to harmful situations or scientific accidents. For example, in Sole Survivors ( Sliders ) the same scientist who created the weightloss drug, worked tirelessly to find a vacci ne, and eventually succeeded, but only after massive destruction and death had devastated th e planet. Another association seen between harmful and beneficial portrayals was the c onflict between the two. Sometimes the same science that was beneficial for one alien race or individual was harmful to others. For example, in The Forgotten ( Star Trek Enterprise ), the crew tries to reason w ith an alien race that is changing the atomic and molecular structure of a section of outer space. The molecular changes will make the space inhabitable for their species, but will also make it uninhabitable for several other species already in residence, including Earth. In response to the fourth research question, wh ether scientists and science are most often portrayed as beneficial or harmfu l and dangerous, findings here indi cate that scientists are more often portrayed as beneficial (56%, N=60) ra ther than harmful and dangerous (25%, N=27). Science on the other hand, is portrayed as bot h beneficial (61%, N=66) and harmful (47%, N=51) in about half of all epis odes (N=108) (see Table 4-13). RQ 5 How have the representations of science and scientists changed ove r the last 20 years? Time Trends Analysis Comparing 1987-1993, 1994-2000 and 2001-2007 The entire sam ple of episodes (N=108) c overing a total of 21 years (1987-2007) was divided into three equal sections of seven years each: 1987-1993, 1994-2000 and 2001-2007. The earliest group of years, 1987-199 3, contained the smallest number of episodes. Only 13% (N=14) of the sample (N=108) aired during 1987-1993. More than twice as many episodes aired
91 in the next group, 1994-2000 (31%, N=33). In 2001-2007, the number nearly doubled yet again, with 56% (N=61) of the sample (N=108) airing during the years 2001-2007 (see Table 4-14). Number of episodes airing on cable vs. network channels In the earliest group, 1987-1993, episodes were split evenly between cable and network channels; 50% (N=7) of the ep isodes aired on cable channels5 and 50% (N=7) aired on network channels6. In the next two groups, the number of episodes airing on cable channels increased, and the number airing on network channels decreased. In 1994-2000, 64% (N=21) aired on cable channels and the percentage of episodes airing on network dropped to 36% (N=18). This trend continued in 2001-2007, with 70% (N=43) of episodes airi ng on cable channels and only 30% (N=18) airing on network channe ls (see Table 4-15 and Figure 4-2). Scientists Overall, the portray als of scientists changed very little. The gender of scientists was fairly consistent over the 21-year period analyzed. Male scientists were always more prevalent than female scientists. In 1987-1993 66% (N=19) of scie ntists were male versus 34% (N=10) female. The breakdown was slightly more balanced du ring the years 1994-2000, with 57% (N=32) male versus 43% (N=24) female. The numbers rebounded again during 2001-2007, with 65% (N=70) of scientists being male, and 35% (N=38) fema le (see Table 4-16). Overall, there were no significant changes in the gender of scientists over time (see Fi gure 4-3). Like gender, there were also no significant changes in the number of ethnic scientists over time. In all three time periods (1987-1993; 1994-2000; 20012007) the percentage of non-wh ite scientists fluctuated only slightly between 14 %-17% (see Table 4-17). 5 Cable channels included, the Sci-Fi Channel, TNT, UPN, WB, USA and first-run syndications. 6 Network channels included, FOX, NBC and ABC.
92 The personality of scientists did change over time, but only moderately. The scientist characters became progressively less agreeable and slightly more neurotic (see Figure 4-4). In 1987-1993, 38% (N=11) of scientists were agreea ble in nature. In 1994-2000, only 30% (N=17) were agreeable, and in 20012007, the number of scie ntists with the personality trait of agreeableness dropped to 25% (N=27). While the agreeableness of scientists was decreasing, the trait of neuroticism was increasing. In 19871993 there were no scientis ts with the trait of neuroticism. In 1994-2000 2% (N=1 ) of scientist characters were considered neurotic, and in 2001-2007 the number of neurotic scientists jumped to 11% (N=12). The personality traits of openness and conscientiousness showed no signifi cant fluctuation, and while the trait of extraversion did spike from 7% (N=2) dur ing 1987-1993 to 20% (N=11) during 1994-2000, it fell back down to 8% (N=9) during 2001-2007. The characterizations, age and physical appear ance of scientists also remained fairly consistent across each seven-year time peri od. The characterization, regular guy/girl was dominant in each time period (s ee Table 4-18 and Figure 4-5). The average age of scientists fluctuated only slightly, with 30s and 40s be ing the dominant age groups across all three time periods (see Table 4-19). Ther e was slightly more variation in the physical appearance of scientists over time, but the two dominant physical traits across all years was attractive, and neat and well-groomed (see Table 4-20 an d Figure 4-6). The number of scientists wearing a uniform decreased slightly, from 59% (N=17) in both 1987-1993 and 1994-2000 (59%, N=33) to 42% (N=45) in 2001-2007. The decrease in the numbe r of scientists in uniform was accompanied by a steady decrease in the number of scientists who carried or used a weapon, which dropped from 24% (N=7) in 1987-1993, to 11% (N=12) in 2001-2007.
93 The last category specific to scientists was the actual types of scientists, such as astronomer/physicist or computer scientist. Th ere were no significant tr ends in the types of scientists portrayed in episodes over time, but there were signifi cant fluctuations (see Table 4-21 and 4-7). For example, in 1987-1993, the repr esentations of astronomers/physicists, doctors, and engineers was fairly balanced, with 21% (N=6) being astronomers/physicists, 24% (N=7) medical scientists or doctors, and 24% (N=7) engineers. In the ne xt two time periods, 19942000 and 2001-2007, the three most prominent types of scientists were the same, but not nearly as balanced. In 1994-2000 astronomers/physicists made up 27% (N=15) of scientists and doctors made up 38% (N=21), but engineers dr opped to only 11% (N=6 ). In 2001-2007, the distribution and the most three most prominent types of scientists changed. Astronomers/physicists dropped to 15% (N=17), docto rs dropped to 31% (N=33), and engineers, still with 11% (N=6), were no longer one of the three most prominent types of scientists. Engineers were ousted by fictional/futuristic scientists, who made up 14% (N=15) of all scientist characters during the years 2001-2007. Overall, the actual scientists in science fic tion television shows have barely changed over the course of 21 years. The most significant change in the scientists portrayed in science fiction television shows over the last 21 years was the diversity of actual scientists. In 1987-1993, there were six different types of scie ntists portrayed in episodes: astronomers/physicists, medical, engineers, computer, anthropologi sts/archeologists, and fictiona l futuristic. In 1994-2000, there were seven different types of scientists, and in 2001-2007, there were nine different types of scientists seen in episodes (see Figure 4-7).
94 Science Unlike the s cientists, the differe nt types of primary sciences7 seen in episodes over the 21year period did not steadily increase in diversity, but the dive rsity did fluctuate. Eight different scientific disciplines were represented as the primary science in episodes during 1987-1993. The number jumped to 10 in 1994-2000, and back down to nine different sciences in 2001-2007 (see Table 4-22). Biology is the one scientif ic discipline present in both 1994-2000 and 20012007, that was not present as a primary sc ience in the earliest years, 1987-1993. In some cases, the actual number of episode s featuring a particular primary science fluctuated only slightly, but th e percentages changed more drama tically. The reason for this is the varying number of episodes within each time period8. With this factor in mind, two trends stand out when looking at the primary sciences overtime. First, the number of episodes with astronomy/physics as the primary science steadily decreased. Second, th ere is spike in both paranormal and computer/technology sciences in 2001-2007 (N=61) (see Figure 4-9). In 19871993 (N=14), 29% (N=4) of episodes featured astr onomy/physics as the primary science in the episode. That number dropped to 21% (N=7) in 1994-2000 (N=33), and to 11% (N=7) in 20012007 (N=61) (see Table 4-22). While the percenta ge of episodes with astronomy/physics as a primary science decreased, paranormal science increased. In 1987-1993 (N =14), 14% (N=2) of episodes featured paranormal science as the primary science in the episode. In 2001-2007 (N=61) the number of episodes doubled to 28% (N=17). Similarly, 14% (N=2) of the episodes in 1987-1993 (N=14) featured co mputer/technology as the primar y science and 23% (N=14) in 2001-2007 (N=61) (see Table 4-22). 7 The primary science was the most prom inent science portrayed in an episod e; each episode had only one primary science, but may have had multiple secondary sciences. 8 Number of episodes per year: 1987-1993 (N=14); 1994-2000 (N=33); 2001-2007 (N=61)
95 Only one other notable change occurred in the most common primary sciences over timea sharp decrease in the percentage of epis odes featuring anthropology/archeology as the primary science (see Figure 4-9). In 1987-1993 (N=14), 14% (N=2) featured anthropology/archeology, in 1994-2000 (N=33) the number dropped to 3% (N=1), and to 2% (N=1) in 2001-2007 (N=61) (see Table 4-22). Science fiction themes Over the 21-year period, the prim ary themes in science fiction shows changed more dramatically than the sciences or the scientis ts (see Figure 4-9). Over the years, extra dimensions went from being a primary them e in 43% (N=6) of the episodes in 1987-1993 (N=14), to 12% (N=4) of episodes in 1994-2000 (N= 33), and not present at all as primary theme in 2001-2007 (N=61) (see Table 4-23). While ex tra dimensions was slowly phased out as a primary theme, people and superhumans wa s phased in; 1987-1993 (N=14) had no episodes featuring people and superhumans as the primary theme, but in 2001-2007, 34% (N=21) of all episodes (N=61) featured this primary theme (see Ta ble 4-23). Aliens and monsters also gained some momentum as a primary theme in bot h 1994-2000 and 2001-2007, and th e last time period saw the emergence of an other category to facilitate the primary theme in the show Lost (see Figure 4-9). Across all three time periods, spa ce exploration and the military complex remained the dominant primary theme (see Figure 4-9). Beneficial and harmful portrayals of scien tists and science Perhaps the most significant finding in the time tr end analyses is the change in the harmful portrayals of science and scientists. Over the pe riod of 21 years, there was clear increase in the harmful portrayals of science (see Figure 4-10) In 1987-1993 only 14% (N=2) of all episodes (N=14) portrayed science as harmful and dange rous. In 1994-2000, 45% (N=15) of the episodes
96 (N=33) portrayed science as harmful, and in 2001-2007 the number jumped again, with 56% (N=34) of all episodes in 2001-2007 (N=61) portraying science as harmful and/or dangerous (see Table 4-24). The harmful portrayals of scientists doubled from 14% (N=2) in 1987-1993 (N=14) to 33% (N=11) in 1994-2000 (N=33), but fell to 23% (N=14) in 2001-2007 episodes (N=66). The beneficial portrayal s of science and scientists fl uctuated only slightly from one time period to the next, hovering be tween 51-64% (see Table 4-24). Overall, in 1987-1993 and 1994-2000 both scienc e and scientists were portrayed as beneficial far more often than harmful, but in 2001-2007 the harmful portrayals of science (56%, N=34) nearly matched the beneficial portray als of science (61%, N=37), and the harmful portrayals of science (56%, N=34) surpassed the beneficial portraya ls of scientis ts (51%, N=31) (see Figure 4-10 and Table 4-24). Research question five asked how the repres entations of science and scientists have changed over the last 20 years. Scientists have changed very litt letheir personality, characterizations and appearance have maintain ed a steady course. Science fiction television scientists are generally young, in their 30s or 40s, attractive, neat, and well-groomed. They are most often a conscientious and agreeable regular guy/girl who is indistinguishable from other characters. While their appearan ce and personality have changed ve ry little, they do represent a slightly more diverse number of scientific disciplines. As for the actual science, computers and technology, and paranormal sciences are getting more attention in recent science fiction television shows, along with story lines about people with supernat ural abilities and superhuman powers. The most significant change in scie nce fiction television shows during 1987-2007 is frequency with which science is bein g portrayed as harmful and dangerous.
97 Table 4-1. Final sample of the 108 in dividual science fiction episodes. Rank Show Name Episode NumberSeasonEpisode Title Original Airdate Network 1 Stargate SG-1 81The Nox 09-12-97showtime 211There But For the Grace of God 02-20-98showtime 1256Paradise Lost 01-08-03sci-fi channel 1316Prophecy 02-19-03sci-fi channel 21010Bad Guys 02-13-07sci-fi channel 21210Family Ties 02-27-07sci-fi channel 2 X-Files 71Ghost in the Machine 10-29-93fox 201Darkness Falls 04-15-94fox 1115The Red and the Black 03-08-98fox 1155The Pine Bluff Variant 05-03-98fox 1879Lord of the Flies 12-16-01fox 2009Sunshine Days 05-12-02fox 3 Star Trek TNG 1081Justice 11-09-87synd 1211Arsenal of Freedom 04-11-88synd 4024Family 10-01-90synd 4204Qpid 04-22-91synd 7107Inheritance 11-22-93synd 7127The Pegasus 01-10-94synd 4 Babylon 5 71The War Prayer 03-09-94tnt 201Babylon Squared 08-10-94tnt 623Walkabout 09-30-96tnt 643And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place 10-14-96tnt 1025Meditations on the Abyss 05-27-98tnt 1065The Fall of Centauri Prime 10-25-98tnt 5 Star Trek Deep Space Nine 1031Past Prologue 01-10-93synd 1071Q-Less 02-07-93synd 4034The Visitor 10-09-95Synd
98 Table 4-1. Continued 7127The Emperor's New Cloak 02-03-99synd 6 Star Trek Voyager 1031Parallax 01-23-95upn 1071Eye of the Needle 02-20-95upn 4024The Gift 09-10-97upn 4204Vis Vis 04-04-98upn 7107Flesh and Blood, Part 2 11-29-00upn 7127Lineage 01-24-01upn 7 Battlestar Galactica 21Water 01-14-05sci-fi channel 61Litmus 02-11-05sci-fi channel 172Resistance 01-31-06sci-fi channel 232Pegasus 09-23-05sci-fi channel 513The Son Also Rises 03-11-07sci-fi channel 533Crossroads: Part 2 05-01-07sci-fi channel 8 Farscape 71PK Tech Girl 04-16-99sci-fi channel 201The Hidden Memory (Part 2) 01-14-00sci-fi channel 623Fractures 08-24-01sci-fi channel 643Into the Lion's Den Part I: Lambs to the Slaughter 04-12-02sci-fi channel 684What Was Lost Part I: Sacrifice 06-14-02sci-fi channel 864We're So Screwed Part II: Hot to Katratzi 02-25-03sci-fi channel 9 Stargate Atlantis 31Hide a nd Seek 07-23-04sci-fi channel 71Poisoning the Well 08-20-04sci-fi channel 583Submersion 01-22-07sci-fi channel 603First Strike (Part 1) 02-05-07sci-fi channel 624Lifeline (Part 3) 10-05-07sci-fi channel 804The Last Man (Part 1) 03-07-08sci-fi channel 10 Smallville 71Craving 11-27-01wb 201Obscura 05-14-02wb 24Gone 09-29-04wb 204Ageless 05-04-05Wb
99 Table 4-1. Continued 107Persona 01-31-08wb 127Fracture 02-14-08wb 11 Quantum Leap 1021Star-Crossed 03-31-89nbc 1061The Color of Truth 05-03-89nbc 3183Hunting We Will Go 04-18-91nbc 3203Heart of a Champion 05-08-91nbc 5155Blood Moon 02-09-93nbc 5195The Beast Within 03-16-93nbc 12 Star Trek Enterprise 1081Breaking the Ice 11-07-01upn 1211Detained 04-24-02upn 3183Azati Prime 03-03-04upn 3203The Forgotten 04-28-04upn 4024Storm Front, Part II 10-15-04upn 4204Demons 05-06-05upn 13 Lost 71The Moth 11-03-04abc 201Do No Harm 04-06-05abc 42Everybody Hates Hugo 10-12-05abc 102The 23rd Psalm 01-11-06abc 183D.O.C. 04-25-07abc 203The Man Behind the Curtain 05-09-07abc 14 Sliders 31Fever 03-29-95fox 61Summer of Love 04-19-95fox 413Sole Survivors 03-07-97fox 433The Last of Eden 03-28-97fox 845Heavy Metal 10-01-99fox 885The Seer 02-04-00fox 15 Firefly 21The Train Job 09-20-02fox 61Our Mrs. Reynolds 10-04-02fox 16 Dark Angel 81Cold Comfort 11-28-00fox 211Meow 05-15-01fox 102Brainiac 01-11-02fox 17 Andromeda 7-1071The Ties That Blind 11-13-00Synd
100 Table 4-1. Continued 20-1201Star-Crossed 04-30-01synd 63-3183Deep Midnight's Voice 04-14-03synd 64-3203Twilight of the Idols 04-28-03synd 102514 5Pas is Prolix 02-04-05synd 106518 5Quantum Tractate Delirium 04-15-05synd 18 Heroes 71Nothing to Hide 11-06-06nbc 201Five Years Gone 04-30-07nbc 272The Kindness of Strangers 10-15-07nbc 332Truth & Consequences 11-26-07nbc 19 The 4400 31The New an Improved Carl Morrissey 07-18-04usa 61White Light 08-08-04usa 73The Home Front 07-16-06usa 113The Gospel According to Collier 08-13-06usa 24Fear Itself 06-24-07usa 124Tiny Machines 09-09-07usa 20 Space Above and Beyond 71The Enemy 11-05-95fox 201Stardust 04-19-96fox
101 Table 4-2. Television stations airing the top 20 science fiction tele vision shows: 1987-2007. Cable or Network Station # of Shows % of Total Sci-Fi Channel 23 21% FOX 21 19% Syndicated 18 17% UPN 12 11% NBC 10 9% TNT 6 6% WB 6 6% USA 6 6% ABC 6 6% Note: First-run syndicated shows were coded as cabl e shows. Networks incl uded FOX, ABC and NBC. Table 4-3. Total number of scientis t characters in all episodes. Gender White Non-white Unknown Totals male 99 51% 168% 63% 12163% female 53 27% 137% 63% 7237% 193100% Note: Includes both alien and non-alien scientists. Of all scientist characters (N=193) 24% (N=46) were alien. Table 4-4. Total number of alien scie ntist characters in all episodes. Gender White Alien Non-white Alien Unknown Totals male 8 17% 00% 613% 1430% female 14 30% 1226% 613% 3270% 46100%
102 Table 4-5. Personality traits of scientist characters. Personality trait Primary Secondary Conscientiousness 10052% 147% Agreeableness 5528% 4021% Extraversion 2211% 147% Neuroticism 137% 53% Openness 32% 5629% Note: All scientists (N=193) had a primary personality trait; 52% (N=101) also exhibi ted one or two secondary personality trait s. No scientists exhibited four or five personality traits. Table 4-6. Primary and Secondary characterizations of scientists. Characterization Primary Secondary Regular guy/girl 14776% 15 8% Genius 2513% 25 13% Hero 74% 16 8% Nerd 63% 7 4% Mad Scientist 63% 0 0% Comedian 11% 16 8% Charmer 11% 2 1% 193100% Note: All scientists (N=193) exhibited a primary characteri zation; 35% (N=68) also exhi bited one or more secondary characterizations.
103 Table 4-7. Physical appearance of scientists. Attribute Number of Scientists with Attribute Neat/groomed 16787% Attractive 13771% Uniform 9549% Symbols of Knowledge 6835% Other 4724% Weapon 2714% Glasses 2613% Lab coat or attire 179% Messy 53% Pocket protector 00% Table 4-8. Average age of scientists. Age Number of Scientists Under 20 0 0% 20s 18 9% 30s 10353% 40s 5931% Over 50 8 4% Note: It was not possible to estimate the age of five scientists, all of which were alien.
104 Table 4-9. Most frequently portrayed scientists. Scientist Male Female Totals Medical 3529% 2636% 6132% Astronomer/Astrophysicist/Physicist2924% 913% 3820% Engineer 1815% 710% 2513% Fictional or Futuristic 108% 1419% 2412% Social Scientists/Other 65% 710% 137% Biologist/Botanist/Chemist 65% 68% 126% Archeologist 65% 34% 95% Computer Scientist 97% 00% 95% Geologist/Ecologist 22% 00% 21% 121100% 72100% 193100% Note: Some scientist characters are portrayed as more than one type of scientist. Thes e figures reflect what was judged to be t he most dominant science practiced by the char acterthe primary type of science. Table 4-10. Amount of science portrayed in each episode. A lot Some Very little How much science 52 48% 2523% 30 28%
105 Table 4-11. Most frequen tly portrayed sciences. Science Primary Secondary Total # of episodes portraying the science Paranormal 2321%98% 3230% Computers and Technology 1918%4542% 6459% Astronomy, Astrophysics, Physics 1817%3532% 5349% Medical 1110%4037% 5147% Biology, Botany, Chemistry 98%2826% 3734% Engineering 76%2624% 3331% Fictional or Futuristic 66%6459% 7065% Geology 55%55% 109% Social Sciences/Other 55%87% 1312% Anthropology, Archeology 44%55% 98% 108100% Note: The most prominent science portrayed in the episode was coded as the primary sc ience. All episodes (N=108) portrayed one primary science; 85% (N=92) also port rayed one or more secondary sciences. Table 4-12. Most prominen t science fiction themes. Theme Primary Secondary Total # of episodes with this theme Space exploration and the military complex 6056%4 4% 6459% People and superhumans 2220%1 1% 2321% Extra dimensions 109%15 14% 2523% Aliens and monsters 87%38 35% 4643% Other 66%0 0% 66% Future or alternate human societies 11%58 54% 5955% Robots, computers and gadgets 11%13 12% 1413% 108100% Note: 71% (N=77) of episodes had one or more secondary themes.
106 Table 4-13. Harmful vs. beneficial portrayal of science and scientists. BeneficialHarmful Science 66 61% 5147% Scientists 60 56% 2725% Table 4-14. Final sample of 108 episodes divided in to seven year sections based on airdate. Channels 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Sci-Fi Channel 0 0% 4 12% 19 31% FOX 1 7% 12 36% 8 13% TNT 0 0% 6 18% 0 0% UPN 0 0% 5 15% 7 11% WB 0 0% 0 0% 6 10% NBC 6 43% 0 0% 4 7% ABC 0 0% 0 0% 6 10% USA 0 0% 0 0% 6 10% Syndicated 7 50% 6 18% 5 8% 14 13% 33 31% 61 56% Note: 13% of all episodes (N=108) aired in 1987-1993, 31% aired in 1994-2000, and 56% aired in 2001-2007. Table 4-15. Percentage of episodes airing on network vs. cable channels over time. Channels 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Network 7 50% 1236%1830% Cable 7 50% 2164%4370% 14 13% 3331%6156% Note: Network channels included, FOX, NBC and ABC, cable channels included, Sci-Fi Channel, TNT, UPN, WB, USA, and first run syndications.
107 Table 4-16. Number and gender of scientists over time. Gender 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Male 19 66% 3257%7065% Female 10 34% 2443%3835% 29 15% 5629%10856% Note: total number of scien tists in all episodes was 193. Table 4-17. Percentage of nonwhite scientists over time. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Male (non-white) 5 17%35%87% Female (non-white) 0 0%59%87% 5 17%814%1615% Table 4-18. Characterizations of scientists over time. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Comedian 00% 00% 1 1% Nerd 00% 00% 6 6% Mad Scientist 00% 12% 5 5% Hero 00% 35% 4 4% Charmer 00% 00% 1 1% Genius 414% 916%12 11% Regular guy/girl 2586% 4377%79 73%
108 Table 4-19. Age of scientists over time. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Under 20 00% 00% 0 0% 20s 00% 1120% 7 7% 30s 1862%2343%62 59% 40s 931%1935%31 30% Over 50 27%12%5 5% Note: It was not possible to estimate the age of five scientists, all of which were alien. Table 4-20. Physical appearan ce of scientists over time. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Glasses 13% 1018%15 14% Lab coat or attire 00% 47%13 12% Pocket protector 00%00%0 0% Weapon 724%814%12 11% Uniform 1759%3359%45 42% Symbols of Knowledge 724%2036%41 38% Neat/groomed 2897%5089%89 82% Messy 13%24%2 2% Attractive 2069%3868%79 73% 2956108
109 Table 4-21. Most frequently portray ed types of scientists over time. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Astronomer, Physicists 621%1527% 1715% Biologist, Botanist, Chemist 00%47%87% Geologist 00%00%22% Medical 724%2138%3331% Engineer 724%611%1211% Computer 13%00%87% Other or Unknown 00%34%105% Anthropologist, Archeologist 310%35%33% Fictional or Futuristic 517%47%1514% 2956108 Note: Some scientist characters are portrayed as more than one type of scientist. Thes e figures reflect what was judged to be t he most dominant science practiced by the char acterthe primary type of science.
110 Table 4-22. Most common primary science portrayed in episodes over time. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Astronomy, Physics 4 29% 7 21% 7 11% Biology, Botany, Chemistry 0 0% 3 9% 6 10% Geology 1 7% 1 3% 3 5% Medical 1 7% 4 12% 6 10% Engineering 0 0% 4 12% 3 5% Computer/Technology 2 14% 3 9% 14 23% Other 1 7% 5 15% 0 0% Anthropology, Archeology 2 14% 1 3% 1 2% Fictional or Futuristic 1 7% 1 3% 4 7% Paranormal 2 14% 4 12% 17 28% 1413%3331%6156% Note: The primary science was the most prominent science portrayed in an episode. Often there was more than one type of scienc e portrayed in an episode, but there was only one primary type of science per episode. Table 4-23. Primary science fiction theme portrayed in an episode. 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Space exploration and the military complex 7 50% 23 70% 2948% Aliens and monsters 0 0% 3 9% 58% Future or alternate human societies 0 0% 1 3% 00% People and superhumans 0 0% 1 3% 2134% Robots, computers and gadgets 1 7% 0 0% 00% Extra dimensions 6 43% 4 12% 00% Government conspiracy and cover-ups 0 0% 1 3% 00% Other 0 0% 0 0% 610% 1413% 33 31% 6156% Note: The primary theme is the most prominent theme in an episode Often there was more than one theme seen in an episode, but all episodes had only one primary theme.
111 Table 4-24. Beneficial and harmful portrayals of scientis ts and science. 1987-19931994-2000 2001-2007 Science beneficial 8 57% 21 64% 3761% Science harmful 2 14% 15 45% 3456% Scientists beneficial 8 57% 21 64% 3151% Scientists harmful 214% 11 33% 1423% Note: Scientists and/or science were sometimes portrayed as bot h harmful and beneficial in the same episode, and sometimes they were portrayed as neithe r harmful nor beneficial.
112 Percentage of Science Fiction Shows on Network vs. Cable Television Network 34% Cable 66% Figure 4-1. Percentage of science fiction episodes airing on network versus cable television during 1987-2007.
113 Percentage of Episodes Airing on Network vs. Cable Channels Network 30% Network 36% Cable 50% Cable 70% Cable 64% Network 50% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007 ` Figure 4-2. Percentage of science fiction shows airing on network versus cable television over time.
114 Gender of Scientists Over Time 35% N=38 43% N=24 34% N=10 65% N=70 57% N=32 66% N=19 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 female male Figure 4-3. Gender of scientists over time.
115 Personality of Scientists 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007 Openness Conscientiousness Extraversion Agreeableness Neuroticism Agreeableness Neuroticism Figure 4-4. Personality of scientists over time.
116 Characterization of Scientists 73%, N=79 77%, N=43 86%, N=25 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007 Regular guy/girl Genius Charmer Hero Mad Scientist Nerd Comedian Figure 4-5. Characterization of scientists over time.
117 Physical Appearance of Scientists 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 1987-1993 1994-2000 2001-2007 Glasses Lab coat or attire Weapon Uniform Symbols of Knowledge Neat/groomed Messy Attractive Figure 4-6. Physical appearance s of scientists over time.
118 Types of Scientists 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007 Astronomer, Physicists Biologist, Botanist, Chemist Geologist Medical Engineer Computer Other or Unknown Anthropologist, Archeologist Fictional or Futuristic Figure 4-7. Most frequently portrayed types of scientists over time.
119 The Primary Science Portrayed in an Episode 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007 Astronomy, Physics Biology, Botany, Chemisty Geology Medical Engineering Computer/Technology Other Anthropology, Archeology Fictional or Futuristic Paranormal Figure 4-8. The most common primary scien ces portrayed in episodes over time. Note: The primary science was the most prominent science portra yed in an episode. Often ther e was more than one type of science portrayed in an episode, but there was only one primary type of science per episode.
120 Science Fiction Themes Portrayed as the Primary Theme in an Episode 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007Episodes Other Extra dimensions Robots, computers and gadgets People and superhumans Future or alternate human societies Aliens and monsters Space exploration and the military complex (Lost) Figure 4-9. Most common primary science fiction themes over time. Note: The primary theme is the most prominent theme in an episode; all episodes had only one primary theme.
121 Beneficial and Harmful Portrayals of Scientists and Science 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 1987-19931994-20002001-2007Episodes Scientists harmful Scientists beneficial Science harmful Science beneficial Science harmful 14% 56% 45% Figure 4-10. Beneficial and harmful por trayals of scientists and science.
122 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The prim ary goal of this study was to answer questions about how sc ience and scientists are represented in modern science fiction television. Previous research was used to establish how fictional science and scien tists have been portrayed in the past, and how researchers believed those portrayals were changing. The findi ngs of this study make it possible to discuss the potential implications of current representa tions, and to confirm or refute the changes anticipated by previous researchers. Popularity of Science Fiction Television One of the m ajor points of significance for carrying out a study focused on the representations of science and sc ientists in science fiction television is the increasing popularity of science fiction television shows (Frutkin, 200 6; Sconce, n.d.; Umstead, 2007). The literature discussing this growing popularity can now be confirmed by actual datathe number of episodes that aired during 2001-2007 was more than quadruple the number that aired between 1987 and 1994. It could be argued that the mo re popular showsthe higher ranking shows would be the most recent shows, which would e xplain the greater number of episodes in more recent years. However, three of the top five most popular shows ( Star Trek: The Next Generation Babylon 5 and Star Trek Deep Space Nine ) were not aired during the more recent years, 2001-2007. While cable consistently aired more science fi ction than network channels, the number of shows on network channels did increase over time, from only seven in 1987-1993 to 18 shows in 2001-2007. This is clear support for the literature claiming that the number of science fiction shows on televisi on is steadily increasi ng, and that the network channels are no longer shying away from science fiction to dr aw in viewers (Frutkin, 2006; Umstead, 2007).
123 As the amount of science fic tion on television increases, scienc e fiction content is reaching a greater number of people. More science fic tion entertainment on television means more of the two things central to science fiction: science and scientists. Because the representations or misrepresentations of science and scientists in science fiction are reaching larger audiences, those portrayals have an increasi ng potential to influence the way that people think about science and scientists (Gerbne r & Gross, 1976). Representations of Scientists The first res earch question examined repres entations of scientists. The dominant representation of scientists is the summation of vari ous traits, including gender, ethnicity, personality, characterization, age and physical ap pearance. The dominant representations of scientists were found to be generally positive, and these representations have changed very little over time. Just as Lambourne, Shallis & Shortl and (1990) predicted, the mad scientist character of the 1950s has been replaced by a regular guy/girl scientist who is almost always indistinguishable from other charac ters. Scientists in modern sc ience fiction television are not antisocial loners working in isolated labs; they are well-groomed, attractive and likeable characters most often seen working as part of a team. The stereotypical mad, evil and nerdy scientists discussed by Lambourne, Shallis & Shor tland (1990) and Frayling (2005) appear to be a thing of the past. In this st udys analysis of science fiction television, the stereotypical nerdy, genius scientist with glasses was seen only once in 108 episodes In all other cases when scientists were characterized as nerds (N=11), th ey were neat and well-gr oomed, and they did not wear glasses or a pocket protector. The dominant physical traits of scientists in modern science fiction television strengthen this regular guy/girl image, which app ears to have replaced old the stereotypes. The dominant personality traits of agreeableness and conscientiousness further
124 strengthen this regular guy/girl image, and pus h the mad and evil scien tist stereotypes further into the past. This new image of the fictional scientist as a young, attractive and well-groomed regular guy/girl whose actions ar e fueled by positive morals and ethics, could serve to create positive perceptions of scientists and careers in science. As art and entertainment often do imitate life, it is possible that the prevalent regular guy/girl images of scientists may be a reflecti on of changing social id eas and perceptions of scientists and science. Weingart (2003) believed that unfav orable characterizations of science and scientists in Hollywood films increase the dis tance between science and the public. If the characterizations of fictional screen scientists influence the virtual distance between science and the public, then it would seem that the overwhelming presence of the regular guy/girl scientist in science fiction television certainly has the potential to shorten that distance, making science more accessible to the non-scientist. In addition, these findings could increase the usefulness of scien ce fiction in the classroom. As previously discussed, the decline in student interest in scie nce and engineering careers will result in a shortage of scientists and engineers (NSF, 2002; Osborne, Simon & Collins, 2003), but it is possible that science fiction television could help to b oost that student interest. In addition to the many documented uses of scie nce fiction to teach and inspire students1, the positive portrayals of scientists in science fi ction television could help teachers introduce students to scientists who are accessi ble in appearance and demeanor. Gender Although th e overall portrayals of scientists ar e generally positive, tw o traits of science fiction scientists are not evenly balanced: gender and ethnicity. The gender of science fiction 1 See Czerneda, 1999; Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, 1996; Dubeck, Moshier, & Boss, 1988; Efthimiou & Llewellyn 2004; Fraknoi, 2003; Martin, 1979; Negrete & Lartigue, 2004; Reynolds, 1977; Rose, 2007; Zander, 1974.
125 scientists is not balan ced between male and femalefemales are underrepresented as scientists in science fiction (see Figure 4-3). The year s 1994-2000 saw a slight improvement to this imbalance, but in recent years (2001-2007) only 35% (N=38) of all scientist characters were women. The gender imbalance in science fiction television shows mirrors the student perceptions of scientists found by tw o separate studies. The draw-a-scientist test was first used by Chambers in 1983. Of the 4807 elementary school aged children asked to draw a scientist, less than 1% drew a female scie ntist. The test was used again by Barman in 1997; of the 1504 middle school students who drew their conception of a scientist, only 25% drew a female. Additionally, the drawings of scientists submitte d in Barmans (1997) study were predominantly of white males dressed in lab coats and wearing gl asses. The reality in the U.S. is that the majority of college educated workers in scien ce and engineering occupations are male. Only 26% of science and engineering occupations ar e filled by woman (NSF, 2008). This imbalance has prompted decades of research and possible so lutions to bolster intere st in science careers among women (Jones, Howe & Rua, 2000). While modern science fiction television shows could be useful in familiarizing students with the regular guy/girl scientist, they also portray the imbalance between men and women in science careers. However, when looking at the percentage of woman in scienc e and engineering careers (26 %) compared to the number of female scientists in science fiction television sh ows (35%), science fiction very nearly mirrors reality. Ironically, women have stronger numbers in the science in science fiction television than they do in real science. Ethnicity Ethnic m inorities are underrepresented in scie nce fiction television shows when compared to the actual number of ethnic minorities workin g in science and engineer ing careers. According
126 the most recent biannual Science and Engi neering Indicators report, ethnic minorities2 make up 24% of the science and engineering workforce in the U.S. In science fiction television shows, only 15% of the scientists are et hnic, or not white. Interesti ngly, the gender of ethnic science fiction scientists was very well balanced, with 8% (N=16) being male and 7% (N=13) being female. However, of the 13 ethnic female scientis ts, 12 were aliens. No ethnic male scientists were alien. This representation of ethnic female scientists as aliens can be interpreted in a number of ways. These portrayal s might suggest the alienation of female ethnic scientiststhat ethnic female scientists are outsiders. On the other hand, every ethnic female scientist who was an alien was also very attractive and often in an elaborate and reve aling costume. Perhaps ethnic females are simply better suited to portray exot ic alien beauties. A lternatively, maybe these attractive, ethnic female scientists in sexy cost umes subjugate ethnic women in science, making the career seem far away and out of reach for young ethnic women considering their career options. Aside from the gender and ethnic imbalances, the images of scientists in American science fiction television are broadcasting a generally positive message about scientists. Unlike Weingarts (2003) finding in his analysis of Ho llywood films, the scientis ts in science fiction television are not characterized by uneasiness and distrust. With the exception of imbalanced representations in gender and ethnicity, the regular guy/girl scientists with their conscientious and agreeable personalities could be considered positive role models for inspiring both student and public interest in science. However, if a scien ce teacher intends to use science fiction television as a tool for inspiring interest and introducing students to favorable images of scientists, they may want to choose specific science fiction televisi on shows that include 2 Ethnic minorities as defined by the National Science Boar d includes, Asians, Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Hispanics, and other ethnicities including Amer ican Indians/Alaska Natives (NSF, 2008).
127 portrayals of both white and non-white female scie ntists who are not dressed in costumes that might be considered objectifying. Star Trek: The Next Generation Star Trek Enterprise, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis are a few examples of scien ce fiction television shows with female scientists who are conser vatively and casua lly dressed. Representations of Science The second and third research questions exam in ed the actual science the types of science portrayed and the themes surrounding that sc ience. Previous research (Nicholls, 1983; Lambourne, 1990) found physics, astronomy and space exploration to be the dominant sciences in science fiction. Modern science fiction televi sion is no exception to th is past trend. Physics and astronomy take center stage along with medical sciences, and these sciences are most often immersed in themes of space exploration and the military complex. Lambourne (1990) also correctly predicted an increase in the presence of technology and computers in science fiction stories. Most likely, as Lam bourne hypothesized, the jump in co mputer and technology sciences can be attributed to the Intern et boom and the increasing presence of technology in daily life. As computers and technology continue to permeate nearly every facet of home life and the workplace, these sciences will likely continue their increasing presence not only in science fiction, but in other television ge nres as well. Individuals who regularly watch science fiction will build a familiarity with these sciences and the associated terminology (Czerneda, 1999). Whether through real or imaginary sciences, th is increased familiarity with computers, technology and the associated vocabulary may actually improve an individuals comfort with the increasingly complicated technology that su rrounds us. As noted by Czerneda (1999), recognizing the words and vocabular y of science is an essential component of science literacy.
128 While frequent science fiction viewers may be improving literacy through familiarity, the same images and representations of fictional sc ience and scientists coul d also be influencing opinions and beliefs about real science. More often than not, the military was a prominent element in science fiction episodes. The overa rching theme of space exploration and the military complex was seen more than twice as often as the next most common theme, people and superhumans. Even when episodes did not have the primary theme of space exploration and the military complex, alien or human military char acters were common, as were scientists who worked for the military. A central component of cultivation theory is that opinions and beliefs are built over time, through repeated exposure to the same or similar messages (Gerbner, 1987). In looking at science fiction tele vision, it would be the frequent viewers who are susceptible to influence, and the most prolific images would be the ones that exerted the greatest influence. In this case, the regular and sometimes very prominent presence of military in science fiction television showsthe militarys use of science a nd its influence on science researchmay foster perceptions of a close association between the military and science. If individuals view the military as a potentially harmful and destructiv e force, associations between the military and science could create percep tions that science is also harmful and dangerous. Harmful vs. beneficial: The harmful versus beneficial po rtrayals of science, and the extent to which science and scientists were portrayed as harmful and dangerous versus beneficial, was the focus of the fourth research question. The finding that both scientists and science are most often portrayed as beneficial ca n be safely considered a positive factor for any science teachers contemplating the use of science fiction television to stim ulate student interest in science. However, science itself is portrayed as harmful and dangerous almost as often as it is beneficial. If frequent viewers of science fiction are influenced by images and portrayals, they
129 would be more likely to perceive science as potentially harmful a nd dangerous. Further, if film and television entertainment have the power to inform public debate and opinion (Elliot & Rosenberg, 1987), and influence public decision s about policies (McCurdy, 1995), then science fiction-inflated perceptions of dangerous and harmful science could have an influence on public opinion and action toward funding civil science programs and organizations. Additionally, harmful and benefici al portrayals of science were often seen together in the same episode. Science was frequently both the cause and the solution, both good and bad. Lambourne, Shallis and Shortland (1990) claimed th at these types of contradictory and mixed messages about science create confusion in the viewers mind, whic h contributes to an uncertainty about science. Public uncertainty about science is a well-documented problem (Zehr, 1999), and based on findings in this study, it is possible that regular viewer s of science fiction television may express more uncertainty about science than non-viewers. The dramatic increase in the number of ep isodes portraying science as harmful and dangerous was the most notable finding when looking at the changes in science fiction television over time, which was the focus of the last research question. The beneficial portrayals of science and scientists remained fairly consistent over tim e, but the harmful portrayals of science shot up dramatically in the mid 1990s and continued to climb through 2007. It is unclear whether some social or political event prompted this sudden tr end. It is however clea r that the greater the number of harmful portrayals of science, the greater the possibility those portrayals will adversely influence science fiction viewers opinions about science. Implications and Recommendations When considering the fact that m ost pe ople do not have personal relationships or interactions with scientists (Nelkin, 1995), the second point of consideration should be, what
130 images and sources are constructing public perc eption of science and scientists? This study examined one of those sources and the images it funnels into the public consciousnessscience fiction television shows. The implications of th ese findings may be of interest to several groups, including teachers, scientists, science policy makers and advocates, and other researchers investigating images and representations of scien ce in entertainment. Teachers and Education Given the overall positive portrayals of scientis ts, and the previous successes using science f iction films and literature to teach science, sc ience fiction television ha s the potential to be a very useful tool in introducing students to scientists, and inspiring interest in science-related careers. Many scientists have said science fiction inspired their own interest in becoming a scientist (NSF, 2002; Wells, 2000). Science fict ion television programs allow students unique access to otherwise intangible people and their ex periences with science. They can get to know scientist characters whose appearance and personal ity are not dramatically different from people they themselves may know, such as family or fr iends. For example, a science teacher might ask students to watch an episode of a science fict ion television show and write a short paragraph about each scientist charactertheir personality, appearance, morality and ethics. An activity such as this might help students see a scientist as that regular guy/girl. If students see a scientist as a regular guy/girl, it may be easier for them to envision themselves as a scientist, helping to make a career in science both realistic and attainable. Scientists Scientists them selves may be pleased to know their small sc reen image has dramatically improved and progressed from that of the 1950s mad scientist. Having an awareness of the potential influences of science fiction on public opinion of science, a nd possibly science policy
131 and funding may inspire scientists to make themse lves available as consu ltants to television and film producers and writers. Scientists working as consultants on films and television programs can help to build public apprec iation of science (Kirby, 2003a). A scientists input into the production of science-based entertainment can help improve both accuracy and authenticity. Furthermore, scientists who regul arly work as consultants on f ilms and television programs may experience increased recognition of their own wor k, and also gain a bette r understanding of how to translate and communicate thei r science to a general public. Increased public recognition and a better public understanding could lead to improved public support and funding for sciences. Policy Makers and Advocates Rosenstone (2003) discussed the power of i m ages to create metaphorical truths about science and scientists. In abse nce of personal experience, scien ce and scientists operate in an invisible sphere open to unrestric ted interpretation by entertainm ent writers and producers. If science fiction television show s continue to increase in popularity and numbers, scientists, science policy makers and advocates may want to consider the increasingly influential role science fiction plays in interpreting science. The images in science fiction television shows, whether harmful or beneficial, real or imaginar y, have the potential to construct metaphorical truths that linger in the minds of viewerstruths that could influence viewers support or opposition of civil science funding. For example, if a regular science fiction viewer religiously watches Stargate Sg-1 or The X-Files two shows in which the government routinely covers up scientific discoveries, that viewer may come to perceive government-funded science as plagued by secrecy and conspiracy. Considering fictiona l images and the resulting metaphorical truths can inform public opinion and influence action (Elliot & Rosenber, 1987; McCurdy, 1995), this perception of government secrecy might influence a viewer to vote against funding civil science
132 programs such as NASA. An implication of this magnitude should be a concern for civil science organizations like the Nati onal Science Foundation. Social Research The results of this study would serve as a good starting point, and a basis for com parison, for any researchers investigating the influen ce of television shows on audience opinion and action, or the images of science in entertainment. The results of this study could also be useful to educational researchers exploring different ways in which to re juvenate student interest and enrollment in science and engineering programs. Limitations It is not possible to say w hether the represen tations of science and scientists in science fiction television would be seen in science fiction films, or films in other genres. In comparing the finding of Weingarts (2003) study of Hollywood films with the results of this study, it would seem that science and scientists may actually be portrayed differently in film than they are in television. Future Research There is v ast potential for future research in to the role of entertainment in communicating science, largely because so little research has focused on this area in the past. Entertainment in film, television, video games, and the Internet all beg the question, how do they represent science? And how are those representations imp acting the audience? The most obvious future research would be to implement a survey or expe riment investigating the regular science fiction viewertheir viewing habits, pr e-existing interests in science, education and profession. One important question is whether or not frequent viewing of science fiction actually improves science literacy by building familiari ty through exposure. If it does, then it is reasonably safe to
133 say that the most frequently portrayed scien ces are the ones with which viewers will become most familiar. Based on the findings in this study, it could be expected that regular science fiction viewers would be more sc ience literate in phys ics, astronomy and medical sciences, than non-science fiction viewers. Another point of investigation might examine whether regular viewer s of science fiction television express more uncertain ty about science than non-viewer s. Frequent exposure to the contradicting portrayals of science as both beneficial and harmful may increas e an individuals uncertainty about science and scientists. Howeve r, in investigating th is point it would be important to account for the possibility that science fiction viewers may have a greater familiarity with, and interest in science, two fact ors that might nullify any potential influences of harmful portrayals of science or scientists. A study examining historical even ts might lend some insight into the dramatic increase in the harmful portrayals of science, which have mo re than tripled over th e last two decades and appears to be on the rise. This trend to portray science as increasingly harmful is concerning. The more prolific these portrayals are, the more potential they have to negatively influence public opinions about sc ience and scientists. Conclusion The goal of this study was to docum ent the repr esentations of scienc e and scientists in science fiction television, and to investigate pote ntial implications of th ese representations. A secondary, and equally important goal, was to contribute to the limited research focusing on science communication through entertainment, and to inspire continued research in this area. It is believed that through unders tanding the potential of entert ainment media to communicate
134 science, they could be employed to improve public science literacy and inspire the next generation of scientists. Discovering that modern science fiction te levision favorably por trays scientists, but includes contradicting portrayals of science, is one step toward a greater unders tanding of how entertainment is representing science and potential ly influencing the public. The discovery that the regular guy/girl image is now the dominant portrayal of science fiction television scientists could signify a monumental change in the way th e public perceives scientists and science, and they way entertainment portrays them. Considering science is central to our social, political and economic progress, understanding the relationshi p between science, entertainment, and the public is vitally important.
135 APPENDIX A DEFINITIONS SCIENCE. Science is an organized body of know ledge attained through a system of observation and experimentation, which is us ed to describe and explain the physical world natural phenomena. SCIENTISTS. Scientists are any individual who has attained and practices a professional level of expertise in any so cial or physical science. SCIENCE FICTION. To be considered science fiction, a television show must fulfill two prerequisites: 1) Scientific credibility and plausibility are a central element of the events, societies and technologies depicted in the stories and plots. 2) At least one traditional science fi ction theme or sub-theme is evident. SPACE EXPLORATION AND THE MILITA RY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX THEMES. Themes included in this category are space travel a nd exploration, colonization and exploitation of other worlds, warfare and weaponry, galactic empires and space operas. ALIENS AND MONSTERS THEMES. Themes included in this cate gory are first contacts and other encounters, biologies, environments a nd societies, invasions and aliens among us, artifacts and technologies. FUTURE OR ALTERNATE HUMAN SOCIETIES THEMES. Themes included in this category are alternative histories, utopias and nightm ares, cities and cultures, transport, communications and technology, cataclysms a nd dooms, sex and cultural taboos, religion and philosophy. MEN AND SUPERMEN THEMES. Themes included in this cate gory are mutants, prodigies and symbiotes, telepathy, psionics and ESP, medicine and bionics. ROBOTS, COMPUTERS AND GADGETS THEMES. Themes included in this category are robots, androids and gadgets, computers and cybernetics. EXTRA DIMENSIONS THEMES. Themes included in this category are Time travel and lost worlds, Parallel worlds and extra dimensions. Themes were adapted from The Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1978) and edited by Brian Ash, as cited in Lambourne, Shallis & Shortland (1990)
136 APPENDIX B SCI-FI LISTS TOP 100 SCIENCE FICTION TELEVISION SHOWS Old Rank Series On-Air # Episodes Length Source 1 1 Star Trek The Next Generation 1987-1994 176 60* synd 2 2 Stargate SG-1 1997-X 214+ 60 Show/SF 3 3 Battlestar Galactica (new) 2003-X 58+ 60 SciFi/Sky 5 4 Star Trek (Original Series) 1966-1969 79 60 NBC 4 5 The X-Files 1993-2002 202 60 Fox 6 6 Firefly 2002 15 60 Fox 7 7 Babylon 5 1993-1999 115 60* syn/TNT 8 8 Farscape 1999-2003 88 60 SciFi 9 9 Star Trek Deep Space Nine 1993-1999 174 60* synd 10 10 Star Trek Voyager 1995-2001 171 60* UPN 11 11 The Twilight Zone 1959-1964 156 30/60 CBS 12 12 Futurama 1999-2003 72 30 Fox 13 13 Doctor Who 1963-1989 694 30* BBC 14 14 Stargate Atlantis 2004-X 60+ 60 SciFi 16 15 Lost 2004-X 58+ 60 ABC 15 16 Red Dwarf 1988-1999 52 30 BBC 17 17 Star Trek Enterprise 2001-2005 98 60 UPN 18 18 Quantum Leap 1989-1994 95 60* NBC 21 19 Doctor Who (2005) 2005-X 29+ 45 BBC 19 20 Battlestar Galactica (original) 1978-1980 34 60* ABC 22 21 The Outer Limits 1963-1966 49 60 ABC 20 22 Smallville 2001-X 121+ 60 WB 23 23 Sliders 1995-2000 88 60 Fox/SF 24 24 V 1984-1985 24 60* NBC 25 25 Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 1981 6 35 BBC 27 26 Dark Angel 2000-2002 43 60 Fox 26 27 The Prisoner 1967-1968 17 60 ITV 28 28 Blake's 7 1978-1981 52 60 BBC 31 29 Mystery Science Theater 3000 1988-1999 197 90 Com/SF 29 30 Lost in Space 1965-1968 83 60 CBS 30 31 Space 1999 1975-1977 48 60 ITV 33 32 The Avengers (with Emma Peel) 1965-1967 50 60 ITV 32 33 Space Above and Beyond 1995 22 60 Fox 35 34 The 4400 2004-X 32+ 60 USA 34 35 Andromeda 2000-2005 110 60 synd 36 36 The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 1964-1968 105 60 NBC 38 37 Third Rock From the Sun 1996-2001 139 30 NBC 37 38 Lois & Clark (New Superman) 1993-1997 88 60 ABC 40 39 Alien Nation 1989-1990 21 60* Fox 39 40 The Six Million Dollar Man 1973-1978 100 60* ABC 41 41 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century 1979-1981 33 60* NBC 43 42 seaQuest DSV (& 2032) 1993-1995 53 60 NBC 44 43 Max Headroom The Series 1987-1988 14 60* ABC
137 42 44 Roswell 1999-2002 61 60 WB/UPN 45 45 Alias 2001-06 105 60 ABC 46 46 UFO 1970-1971 26 60 ITV 50 47 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea 1964-1968 110 60 ABC 58 48 Heroes 2006 23+ 60 NBC 47 49 The Wild, Wild West 1965-1969 104 60 CBS 48 50 Thunderbirds 1965-1966 32 60 ATV 53 51 Time Tunnel 1966-1967 30 60 ABC 49 52 Lexx 1997-2002 61 90/60 synd/SF 52 53 The Outer Limits (new) 1995-2002 154 60 Show/SF 55 54 Kolchak The Night Stalker 1974-1975 20 60 ABC 51 55 Batman 1966-1968 120 30 ABC 54 56 ALF 1986-1990 102 30 NBC 61 57 The Adventures of Superman 1953-1957 104 30 ABC 63 58 Cowboy Bebop 1998 26 30 TV Tokyo 65 59 The Invaders 1967-1968 43 60 ABC 56 60 Crusade 1999 13 60 TNT 57 61 The Jetsons 1962-1963 24 30 ABC 67 62 My Favorite Martian 1963-1966 107 30 CBS 60 63 Logan's Run 1977-1978 13 60 CBS 64 64 Millennium 1996-1999 67 60 Fox 59 65 Wonder Woman 1974-1979 57 60 ABC/CBS 62 66 The (New) Twilight Zone 1985-1987 36 60/30 CBS/syn 68 67 Earth Final Conflict 1997-2002 110 60 synd 69 68 Adventures of Brisco County Jr 1993-1994 27 60/P Fox 66 69 The Incredible Hulk 1977-1982 79 60 CBS 74 70 Planet of the Apes 1974 14 60 CBS 70 71 Mork and Mindy 1978-1982 92 30* ABC 71 72 Sapphire and Steel 1979-1982 34 30 ATV 72 73 Amazing Stories 1985-1987 43 30* NBC 73 74 The Bionic Woman 1976-1978 57 60 ABC/NBC 75 75 Earth 2 1994-1995 22 60/P NBC 76 76 The Greatest American Hero 1981-1983 44 60 ABC 83 77 Dune (2000) 2000 3 120 SciFi 77 78 Land of the Giants 1968-1970 51 60 ABC 78 79 Taken 2002 10 120 SciFi 88 80 Eureka 2006-X 12+ 60 SciFi 90 81 Science Fiction Theatre 1955-1957 78 30 synd 80 82 Get Smart 1965-1969 138 30 NBC/CBS 79 83 The Flash 1990-1991 22 60 CBS 81 84 Quatermass Serials 1953-1959 18 30/35 BBC 84 85 Star Trek (Animated Series) 1973-1974 22 30 NBC 82 86 VR.5 1995 13 60/120 Fox 85 87 The Invisible Man 2000-2002 46 50 SciFi 87 88 Invasion 2005-06 22 60 ABC 92 89 Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2002-04 52 30 Prod IG
138 86 90 Dark Skies 1996-1997 19 60 NBC 89 91 Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons 1968 32 30 ITV 91 92 War of the Worlds 1988-90 41 60 synd 93 93 The Tomorrow People 1973-1979 22 30 ITV 94 94 Surface 2005-06 15 60 NBC 96 95 Neon Genesis Evangelion 1995-96 26 30 Gainax 95 96 Threshold 2005 14 60 CBS 97 97 The Champions 1968-1969 30 60 ITV 98 98 Eerie, Indiana 1991 19 30 NBC 99 99 Odyssey 5 2002-03 20 60 Showtime 100 100 Survivors 1975-1977 38 60 BBC # Episodes aired and scheduled as of 15 November 2006 Features of other lengths also produced The Television List Sci-Fi Lists is dedicated to bringing you quali ty lists and concise reviews of science fiction's all-time top books, films, TV shows and short stories. The Top 200 Sci-Fi Books list is the flagship of the site, but lists have also been compiled for movies and television with th e aim of being the most statistically reliable of their type f ound anywhere on the net. All lists are regularly updated to include new sources of information th at become available, including results from the relevant Sci-Fi Lists online polls. Experts polled 11; Publis hed critics 6; Popular po lls 9; Other lists 90 Based on data gathered from a statistical survey and a direct poll of sci-fi television experts including critics, editors and Web site managers. Shows often classified under other genres but c ontaining significant and notable sci-fi content (e.g. The Avengers & The Wild, Wild West) qualify for inclusion on the list. (Updated 29 September 2007) Sykes, P. (2007, November, 27). Sci-fi lists top science fiction. Retrieved November 23, 2007, from http://home.austarnet.com.au/petersykes/topscifi/index.html
139 APPENDIX C CODING Coding She et 1. Item Number: ___________ 2. Name of Show: __________ 3. Episode Name: ____________________________ 4. Air Date: ____/_____/_____ 5. Network:_________ 6. What kinds of scientists are portr ayed in the show? (Answer items a-j for each scientist) a. Character name: _______ (Internet research may be required) b. Gender: _________ 1Male 2Female 0Unknown c. Ethnicity: Mark 1 for White OR Mark 2 for Non-white: _______ Mark 3 if scientist is also an Alien: _______ d. Type of Scientist: ________ (Mark 3 for the dominant type, mark 1 for all others that apply) 1Astronomer (astrophysicist) 2Physicist (science of matter and motion, spac e-time, energy, force and mass) 3Mathematician 4Chemist (biochemist, nanotechnologist, laboratory scientist) 5Biologist (botanist, entomologist, geneticist, herpetologist, microbiologist, neur oscientist, pharmacologist virologist, zoologist) 6Ecologist (soil scientist, life scientist, atmospheric scientist, toxicologist) 7Geologist (mineralogist, seismologist, gemologist, volcanologist) 8Medical Doctor (physician, surgeon, psychiatrist) 9Engineer (mechanical, chemical, industrial, electrical, nuclear, civil) 10Computer Scientist (computer engineer/designer, programmer, roboticist) 11Social Scientist (psychologist, sociologist, historian) 12Anthropologist (biological, forensic, cultural) 13Archeologist (Egyptologist, ethnoarc heologist, Paleolithic) Coding was entered directly into an Excel spreadsheet. This coding sheet is a summary of the Excel spreadsheet and was meant to be used for reference purposes only, not as the actual coding instrument.
140 14Fictional or Futuristic Scientist 15Paranormal Scientist (ghosts, ESP, UFOs, vampires, werewolves) 16Other/Unknown (List) e. Morality and Ethics: ________ (Mark only one) 1Good 2Bad 3Both 0Neutral f. Personality: (Mark 3 for the dominant type, mark 1 for all others that apply) Openness: _______ Conscientiousness: _______ Extraversion: _______ Agreeableness: _______ Neuroticism: _______ g. Characterizations: (Mark 3 for the dominant characterization, mark 1 for all others that apply) Comical: _______ Nerd: _______ Absent-mined: _______ Mad scientist: _______ Hero: _______ Indiana Jones: _______ Charmer: _______ Genius: _______ Regular guy/girl: _______ Other (describe): _______ h. Physical Appearance: (Mark 1 for all that apply) Glasses: _______ Laboratory coat/attire: _______ Pocket protector: _______ Weapon: _______ Symbols of knowledge: _______ Uniform: _______ Neat/groomed: _______ Messy: _______
141 Attractive: _______ Age: under 20______ 20s______ 30s______ 40s ______ over 50______ Other (describe): _______ i. Works for or with the Milita ry: _______ Mark: 1 Yes 2 No 0 Unknown j. Works for or with the Government: _______ Mark: 1 Yes 2 No 0 Unknown k. Has a Love Interest: _______ Mark: 1 Yes 2 No l. There are no scien tist charac ters: _______ Mark: 1 Yes 7. Which sciences are being portrayed in the episode: (Mark 3 for the dominant science, ma rk 1 for all others that apply) Astronomy: _______ Physics: _______ Chemistry: _______ Biology: _______ Ecology: _______ Geology: _______ Medical: _______ Engineering: _______ Computer/Technology: _______ Social (psychology, sociology, history): _______ Anthropology: _______ Archeology: _______ Fictional or Futuristic: _______ Paranormal: _______ Other (list science): _______ 8. Where is science taking place: (Mark 3 for the dominant location, mark 1 for all others that apply) Laboratory: _______
142 Off-world (other planets): _______ Outer Space (spaceships/space stations): _______ Underwater: _______ Government facility: _______ Military base /facility: _______ Office/business/corporation: _______ City/urban: _______ Wilderness: _______ Secret location: _______ Other (list location): _______ 9. What themes are present in the episode: (Mark 3 for the dominant theme, mark 1 for all others that apply) Space exploration and the military industrial complex : _______ Space travel and exploration Colonization and exploitation of other worlds Warfare and weaponry Galactic empires and space opera Aliens and monsters : _______ First contacts and other encounters Biologies, environments and societies Invasions and aliens among us Artifacts and technologies Future or alternate human societies : _______ Alternative histories Utopias and nightmares Cities and cultures Transport, communicat ions and technology Cataclysms and dooms Sex and cultural taboos Religion and philosophy People and Superhumans : _______ Mutants, prodigies and symbiotes Telepathy, psionics and ESP Medicine and bionics
143 Robots, computers and gadgets : _______ Robots, androids and gadgets Computers and cybernetics Extra dimensions : _______ Time travel and lost worlds Parallel worlds and extra dimensions Other (list theme): _______ 10. How science is communicated: (Mark 3 for the dominant form, mark 1 for all others that apply) By a scientist explaining a science to another scientist or non-scientist: _______ In an email, letter, book or other text: _______ By an alien: _______ Intelligent computer: _______ Artificial life-form or robot: _______ Quotes or messages from real or fiction references: _______ Through the process of discovery: _______ 11. How is the science being used: (Mark 1 for all that apply) Using science to provide a description of a real but relatively unfamiliar environment: _______ Using science to provide a description of an imaginary environment that is as consistent as possible with esta blished facts and principles: _______ Using a piece of scientific information as the basis of a puzzle: _______ Using science to justify the existence of devices or processes: _______ Using the scientific process itself or using a credible scientific setting for a story: _______ Using science peripherally, to justify a device or process, or to provide a generally scientific background: _______ For items 12 13 Mark: 1 Yes 2 No 12. Is the science portrayed as beneficial: _______ 13. Is the science portrayed as dangerous or harmful: _______
144 14. Are the scientists portrayed as beneficial: _______ 15. Are the scientists portrayed as dangerous or harmful: _______
145 Codebook 1. Item Numb er (pre-entered by researcher) 2. Name of Show Use the following numbers to indicate the name of the television show: (pre-entered by researcher) SG1Stargate SG-1 XFThe X-Files TNGStar Trek The Next Generation B5Babylon 5 D9Star Trek Deep Space Nine VOYStar Trek Voyager BGBattlestar Galactica (new) FARFarscape SAStargate Atlantis SMLSmallville QLQuantum Leap ENTStar Trek Enterprise LSTLost SLISliders FFFirefly DADark Angel ANDAndromeda HROHeroes 44The 4400 SABSpace: Above and Beyond 3. Episode Name Enter the name of the episode as it appears on the DVD cover or in the beginning of the show. (p re-entered by researcher) 4. Air Date Enter the date that the episode originally aired. In most cases the date is given on DVD cover. Enter date as: mm/dd/yy. (pre-entered by researcher) 5. Network Enter number that corresponds to the ne twork the show originally aired on. Enter 7 if the show was a first-run syndication; Star Trek The Next Generation and Star Trek Deep Space Nine will fall into this category. (pre-entered by researcher) 1Sci-Fi 2FOX 3TNT 4UPN 5Sky 6WB
146 7NBC 8ABC 9USA 10Syndicated 6. What kinds of scientists are portrayed in the show Answer each item (a-k) for each individual scientist character. Note: A scie ntist who appears in multiple episodes may or may not have the same morality, characteristic s, personality, physical appearance, etc. in the different episodes. m. Character # Number characters cons ecutively, beginning with. n. Gender Enter number that corresponds to characters gender. 1Male 2Female 0Unknown o. Ethnicity Enter number that corresponds to characters ethnicity, either white or non-white. If scientist is an alien, mark 3 for Alien, and if the alien scientist is human or human-looking (not a creature or anim al), then also mark either 1 or 2 to indicate the alien scientists ethnicity. If a character is from another planet, but is human, they are considered alien. For the purpose of this study, alien means, not from Earth. If the scientist is not alie n, mark only 1 or 2 for white or non-white. p. Type of Scientist Enter number that corresponds to the type of scientist portrayed by the character. One character ma y be more than one type of scientist. For example, if a character appears to be both an astronomer and an engineer, mark both, but also indicate which is dominant. Mark 3 for the DOMINANT type, mark 1 for ALL others that apply. Paranormal Scientists include any scientist charact er that specializes in the paranormal, including ghosts, psychic abilities (ESP), UFOs, and mythical creatures such as vampires and werewolves. Characters such as Dr. Who would fall into the Fictional or Futuristic Scientist category because his character portrays a kind of scientist that does not exist in real science. If it is not possible to determin e what type of scientist is being portrayed, then mark Other and describe. 1Astronomer (astrophysicist) 2Physicist (science of matter and motion, spac e-time, energy, force and mass) 3Mathematician 4Chemist (biochemist, nanotechnologist, laboratory scientist) 5Biologist (botanist, entomologist, geneticist, herpetologist, microbiologist,
147 neuroscientist, pharmacologi st, virologist, zoologist) 6Ecologist (soil scientist, life scientist, atmospheric scientist, toxicologist) 7Geologist (mineralogist, seismologist, gemologist, volcanologist) 8Medical Doctor (physician, surgeon, psychiatrist) 9Engineer (mechanical, chemical, industrial, electrical, nuclear, civil) 10Computer Scientist (computer engineer/designer, programmer, roboticist) 11Social Scientist (psychologist, sociologist, historian) 12Anthropologist (biological, forensic, cultural) 13Archeologist (Egyptologist, ethnoarc heologist, Paleolithic) 14Fictional or Futuristic Scientist 15Paranormal Scientist (ghosts, ESP, UFOs, vampires, werewolves) 16Other q. Morality and Ethics Enter number that corresponds to the morality and ethics of the scientist. Mark only ONE. 1Good if characters intentions, goals an d/or actions appear moral, ethical, helpful or positive. The scientist is generally honest and exhibits feelings guilt for dishonest or harmful acts and situations. 2Bad if their intentions, goals and/or act ions appear to be immoral, unethical, evil, destructive or harmful. The scientis t is consistently dishonest and/or does show feelings of guilt for harmful actions or situations. 3Both if they exhibit characteristics of good and bad morality, maybe a double agent, or a character torn between serving to conflicting goals. A story about personal growth and lessons learned might fall into this category, for example if a character is malevolent or unethi cal in the beginning of the episode, and then changes through the episode as they realize the consequences of their actions. Another example might be a character who exhibits both good and bad morality throughout the show. It is also possible that what is considered bad by some characters may be cons idered good by others leaving the perpetrator of the actions in a grey area both good and bad morality and ethics. 0Neutral if the character cannot be consider ed good or bad, or if it is unclear whether they are good or bad. r. Personality Indicate whether or not the characte r has any of the listed personality traits. Mark 3 for the DOMINANT type, mark 1 for ALL others that apply. If none apply, then leave blank. Openness : appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and dive rse ex perience.
148 Conscientiousness : self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behavior. Extraversio n : energy, positive emotions, and the tendency to seek stimulation and the com pany of others. Agreeableness: a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. Neuroticis m : tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily anxiety, depression, or vulnerability; also consider ed emotiona l instability. s. Characterizations Indicate whether or not the any of the listed characterizations describe the scientist. Mark 3 for the DOMINANT characterization, mark 1 for ALL others that apply. If none apply, then leave blank. Comical : exhibits humor through dialog and act ions, makes jokes, acts silly or goofy. Nerd : socially awkward, may be antisocial or have few friends most of whom are scientists, uncomfortable around the opposite sex, no separation between work and play they are one in the same often portrayed as being isolated in their work and life. Absentminded : forgetful, preoccupied with thoughts of work. Mad scientist : unpredictable, malevolent, immoral, wicked, malicious, villainous, no regard for others, does not take responsibility for problems resulting from actions or work. Hero : brave, daring, gusty, ri sks self for others. Indiana Jones type : adventurous, athletic, bold, confident, probably popular with the opposite sex, often portrayed as a leader, and someone who others look up to. Charmer : smooth, polished, polite, suave, popular with opposite sex, romance/romantic encounters are freque nt and/or openly desired by this character. Genius : the scientists intelligence is made clear by direct mentions; character is referred to as brilliant, a mastermi nd, having a highly developed intellect. Regular guy/girl : may have other characterizati ons, but is not dramatically different than other characters, upon firs t observation it is not obvious that the character is a scientist. Other : describe the characterization in a few words. t. Physical Appearance Indicate which of the listed physical appearances apply to the character. If they wear a lab coat, have a pocket protector, wear glasses or carry/use a weapon in even ju st one scene during the episode, mark for yes next
149 to these categories. For all others, mark 1 only if it applies to the majority of their appearances in the episode. Mark 1 for A LL that apply. If none apply, then leave blank. Glasses: eye glasses or spectacles (do not count sunglasses). Laboratory coat/attire: lab coat or other laboratory attire such as scrubs, cleanroom gear, hazmat suit, etc. Pocket protector : do they have a pocket protector. Weapon : does the character carry or use a weapon such as a knife, gun, etc. Uniform : a uniform of any kind, including military, fictional, do not count lab attire. Symbols of Knowledge : any symbol of knowledge used or carried by the character: books, computers, lab equipm ent such as microscopes or beakers, including any fictitious sc ience equipment or devices. Neat/groomed : a tidy appearance, clean, neat and combed hair, clean/wrinklefree attire, organized appearance. Messy : un-kept hair and clothes, un-shave n, disorganized appearance, shirt may be partially un-tucked, might have gl asses that always appear crooked. Attractive : mark 1 for yes if the character considered attractive by other characters, and/or the character a genera lly attractive person use best personal judgment. Age : use best personal judgment to determine the approximate age of the character. Other : describe appearance in a few words. u. Works for or with the Militarydoes the scientist directly work for or with the Military, or are they member of the ar med forces. Only code Yes if they are intentionally, knowingly and of their own free will producing or doing work for the military, and that fact is made clear to th e audience. Mark 1 Yes, 2 No, or 0 Unknown. v. Works for or with the Government does the scientist directly work for or with the government. Only code Yes if they are intentionally, kno wingly and of their own free will producing or doing work for th e government. Mark 1 Yes, 2 No, or 0 Unknown. w. Has a Love Interest does the character have a love interest, relationship, crush, fling, or any romantic encounter beyond a single moment of gestures, for example, do not count one kiss or a romantic hug as a love interest if th at encounter is not revisited or mentioned again by the story a nd other characters. Mark 1 Yes, 2
150 No. If there is no indicati on that the characte r has a love interest, or it is unknown whether or not the character has a love interest, then mark 2 for No. x. There are No scientists charactersthere are no characters who can be identified as scientists either by their work, interact ion with others or self-identification. Mark 1 if this is the case. 7. Which sciences are being portrayed in the episodeMark 3 for the DOMINANT science and mark 1 for ALL others that apply. Astronomy: including astrophysics, planetar y sciences, amateur observation Physics : science of matter and motion, space-time, energy, force and mass Math : complex numbers and calculations Chemistry : biochemistry, nanotechnol ogy, laboratory sciences Biology: botany, entomology, genetics, herp etology, microbiology, neuroscience, pharmacology, virology, zoology Ecology: soil sciences, agriculture, life sciences, atmospheric, toxicology Geology : mineralogy, seismology, gemology, volcanology Medical : medical diagnoses/proced ures, surgery, psychiatry Engineering : mechanical, chemical, industrial, elect rical, nuclear, civil, programming, robotics Social : psychology, sociology, history, communication Anthropology: forensics, cultural anthropology Archeology: Egyptology, ethnoarcheology, Paleolithic archeology Fictional or Futuristic : made-up type of science Paranormal : ghosts, ESP, UFOs, vampires, werewolves Other : (list science) 8. Where is science taking place Mark 1 for all that apply. Laboratory : labs contain tools and equipment for doing the related science, may be in any of the below locations. Off-world : including other planets or moons, other dimensions/times. Space: science being done on a space ship or space station. Underwater: in any large body of water (oceans, lakes, etc.) on or off-world Government facility : any government facility/office not including military bases, may include off-world or alien government facilities. Military base/facility : any military base or facility, may include off-world or alien military facilities. Office/business/corporation : any business/professional sett ing that does not fall into lab, military or government categories. May in clude stores, restaurants or other places of business. May be off-world or in space.
151 City/urban : any urban or metropolitan area, la rge and small cities and towns. Wilderness : including farms, ranches, rural areas not part of a town or city, any area far removed for civiliza tion or inhabitants. Secret location : covert, high security, guarded, top secret, purposely hidden. Note the secret location in the Other column. If an underwater military base is secret, mark 1 for underwater, 1 for military base and 1 for secret location, and then note secret underwater military base in the Other column. Other : (list location or note any othe r locations, or secret locations) 9. What themes are present in the episode : Mark 3 for the DOMINANT theme, and mark 1 for ALL others that apply. Space exploration and the military industrial complex Space travel and exploration : exploring other worlds, celestial bodies, other solar systems or galaxies. If more than half the story takes place on a space ship, space travel and exploration is a significant theme. Space trav el and exploration might not use a space ship, as in Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis space travel and exploration is heavily dependant on the stargate and wormholes. A show might have a dominant theme of space travel and expl oration with th e spaceships. Colonization and exploitation of other worlds : visiting other celes tial bodies, such as pl anets, asteroids, comets, etc. with the purpose of inhabiti ng or taking over the pl anet, setting up new colonies, mining resources or obtaini ng new technology by force or deception. Warfare and weaponry : mark yes, if military of any kind plays a part in the story, regardless of weather there is an actual wa r taking place in the individual episode. Do not mark yes if characters carry weapons, but they are never used or directly referenced as part of the story. Warfare might be an ongoing battle with another people or species that is a backdrop for the show, but there is not necessarily an actual battle fought onscreen. Galactic empires and space opera : Star Wars would be an example where galactic empire is the dominant theme. A space opera would be a show like the new Battlestar Galactica where dramatic character relationshi ps are the dominant element in the stories. For example, love triangles and ot her romantic relationships that are plagued by problematic situations, power struggles or other dramatic conflicts between characters, dramatic stories involving the re lationships between siblings or parent and offspring. Aliens and monsters First contacts and other encounters : encountering alien life is a significant element in the story, either for the first time (first en counter) or repeatedly throughout the episode.
152 Biologies, environments and societies: the environment is a main focus, such as in a story that is centered on an alien environment and the biological characteristic of the beings that are able to survive there. Invasions and aliens among us : invasion might be from other alien or creatures, and might take place on other planets, spaceships or space stations. Artifacts and technologies : alien or otherwise Future or alternate human societies Alternative histories Utopias and nightmares Cities and cultures : could be on planet Earth, in space, or on other celest ial bodies, including a ny alternate society, future or past, but NOT alternate dimensions and parallel worlds or universes. Might include a story based on an im aginary city or culture. Transport, communications and technology related to future or alternated societies, Cataclysms and dooms as a theme or element of these societies, Sex and cultural taboos and Religion and philosophy may also be central themes of these altern ate societies. People and Superhumans Mutants: the X-Men movies and the television show Heroes would be examples of stories focused on mutants and/or super-humans. However, Superman would not be considered a mutant, he would be considered an alien because he is from another planet and his abilities are not muta tions, they are the natural abilities of his species. Prodigies would include characters who are a master of one or more skills, they have an extraordinary talent or ability, and symbiotes organisms that must have a host to live, this could include intelligent alien species that takeover and control human hosts, or aliens that have a mutual symbiotic relationship with a host. If the alien symbiote is a main focus in a story, rather than the hu man host, it would be more appropriate to choose Aliens and Monsters as a dominant theme. Telepathy : sensing of thoughts or feelings without the help of the five known se nses (sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing), psionics : study of using the mind to induce pa ranormal phenomenon such as telepathy and telekinesis, and ESP : extrasensory perception the ability to acquire information through paranormal. Paranormal abilities could include telepathy, precognition (knowledge of future events), clairvoyance (awareness of people, objects or events without the use of the five sens es), and ESP (sometimes referre d to as a sixth sense). Medicine and bionics : would include super-humans creat ed through medical or bionic technology, such as the Bionic Woman The term bionic refers to the transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic co nstructs. If any of these abilities or characteristics are main elements of th e sto ry, but it is an alien who has these characteristics, then choose aliens and monsters as the dominant theme, and mark people and superhumans as a secondary theme.
153 Robots, computers and gadgets Robots, androids and gadgets : any show where robots and/or androids play a major role in the story, they main serve as a ma in character around whom a story is built. Computers and cybernetics : any story centered on computer-based technology may fall into this category. Extra dimensions Time travel and lost worlds : traveling in time to the past or future, discovering or searching for lost worlds that existed in ancient times or in mythology, such as Atlantis. A lost world does not have to exist in diffe rent dimension; it may exist in another time period or galaxy. Parallel worlds and extra dimensions : other realities that do not exist in the past, present or future of this known reality, but instead exist in parallel universes, dimensions or worlds. Other : (list theme) 16. How science is communicatedMark 3 for the DOMINENT form, mark 1 for ALL other that apply. If none apply, then leave blank. By a scientist explaining a science proce ss/discovery/method to another scientist or non-scientist any scientist character explaining so me form of science to another scientist or non-scientist character. Could be a scientists explaining the results of a computer test, a medical procedure or a new technology. Email, letter, book or other text this text may be visible to the viewer or may be read aloud by a character. By an alien might be an authoritative alien, such as an alien scientist, or advanced being. Intelligent computer any computer that has the ab ility to interact, including supercomputers that have the ability to speak and communicate with other characters, but not robots or computers that ha ve control over their own mobility. Artificial life-form or robot cyborgs or robots that can interact and have control over their own mobilitythey can move ar ound. The robot may look human, such as Star Treks Data, and may have some organic co mponents, but is considered by most other characters to be an ar tificial life form it was created by something or someone, rather than born out of procreation. Quotes or messages from real or fiction references any character using a quote or explain or introduce science (he/she/Newton/Einstein/ Dr. Who said..), verbally citing a real or fictional refe rence to explain science, (acc ording to the Atlantians,..). If the science is being communicated thr ough a quote, which a character is reading
154 from a book or email, mark both categor ies and choose the medium that appears dominant. Through the process of discovery this refers to situat ions when the audience actually witnesses the science discovery taking place, generally discoveries are made by scientist characters. Examples: the disc overy might be witne ssed by the crew of a space ship looking out a window, a scientis t looking through a microscope, or a scientist discovering something on another planet. 17. How is the science being used Mark 1 for ALL that apply. If none apply, then leave blank. Using science to provide a description of a real but relatively unfamiliar environmenttypically involved other planets or bodies in th e solar system, could be a known bodies like Mars or Haleys Comet. Using science to provide a description of an imaginary environment that is as consistent as possible with established facts and principles typically involves planets or places which do not exist in reality. Using a piece of scientific information as the basis of a puzzle using science to solve mysteries, using scient ific knowledge and deduction to solve a case or riddle might be a newly discovered alien technol ogy or artifact, an an cient archeological site, or a medical mystery. Using science to justify the existence of devices or processessome examples might include hyperspace travel, other dimensions, spaceships, robots, imaginary weapons, telepathy or mind control, re generative abilities or super powers. Using the scientific process itself or using a credible scientific setting for a story explanations or demonstrations of scie ntific methods, introducing science in a laboratory or related credible science set ting, such as an operating room for a scene about regenerative abilities or a spaces hips engine room in a scene about a hyperdrive. Using science peripherally, to justify a device or process, or to provide a generally scientific backgroundthis category encompasses aspects of the other categories and so there will be some overlap, but this category also serves as a catch-all for peripheral science that does not fall into any of the other categories. This could include situations that do not have much actual science, but scientific credibility is assumed by the nature of the story or scene. For example, a spaceship making a jump to light-speed might be one element of a scene in which a space battle is taking place, ion cannons (an imaginary technology) are firing and crew members are teleporting to a nearby planetthere is no actual discussion of the science behind the jump to light-speed, the ion cannons or the teleporting, but it is assumed that science is what makes these things possible. A similar scenario might take place in a
155 futuristic hospital where a medical procedure is the focus, or a story of an individual who has special abilities becau se of scientific implantsand outright discussion of the science or technology may not take pl ace, but the science is present and gives credibility and plausibility to the story. 12. Is the science portrayed as beneficial consider the science beneficial if it is used to preserve life, protect, further development and progress, support justice, solve problems such as health or crime, used for the good of many. Mark 1 Yes, 2 No. 13. Is the science portrayed as dangerous or harmful danger and harm may be assumed when the science is portrayed as being a threat to people, plac es or things, when there is an emphasis on the potential harm of the science being done, or when science is portrayed as unpredictable, vol atile, potentially violent. Mark 1 Yes, 2 No. 14. Are the scientists portrayed as beneficial consider them beneficial if they are portrayed as preserving and protecting lif e, furthering development and progress, supporting justice and just cause s, solving problems such as health or crime, working for the good of many. Mark 1 Yes, 2 No. 15. Are the scientists portrayed as dangerous or harmful consider the scientists dangerous or harmful if they are most often portrayed as having the knowledge and power to be a threat to people, places or thin gs, if they are portrayed as unpredictable, volatile, immoral or unethical w ith little regard for the sanctit y of life. Mark 1 Yes, 2 No. For questions 12 15 a. If is unclear or unknown whet her science/scientists are portrayed as harmful or beneficial, and if science or scientists are not clearly portrayed as harmful or beneficial, then mark 2 for No. b. If there is not enough science, or there are no scientists in the episode, and it is not possible to easily assess whet her science/scientists are be ing portrayed as harmful or beneficial, then mark 2 for No.
156 Intercoder Reliability Scores Test Results for Holsti's Coefficient of Reliability: Overall Score .945 Individual Categories: Type of Scientist .969 Morality .900 Personality .870 Characterizations .917 Physical Appearance .931 Attractiveness .900 Age .870 Works for Military .850 Works for Government .700 Love Interest .950 No Scientists 1.000 Type of Sciences .979 Science Fiction Themes .967 Science Beneficial vs. Harmful .900 Scientists Beneficial vs. Harmful .950
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166 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Yvonne Price cam e to the University of Flor ida for the masters program in science and health communication after finish ing her BA in journalism and me dia studies at Humboldt State University in Northern California. Her rese arch interests center on the communication and representation of science in entertainment media such as film, television and video games. A nontraditional student, Yvonne did not attend college imme diately after graduating high school in For Collins, Colorado. Instead, she took over 10 years off to work and travel the world, all the while honing in on he r strongest interests and devel oping a diverse skill set. Her interests in film and television entertainm ent started as soon as she was tall enough to reach the dial on cable box and change the chan nel to HBOback in the days before remote controls. As a film and media enthusiast she took every opportunity in her early years to broaden her knowledge, taking high sc hool classes in film studies, advertising and journalism. Her interests in science were also present at an early age, and were re ignited in 1996 when she took a job working for the United States Antarc tic Program at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. She spent three austral seasons working onsite at McMurdo, in cluding one Antarctic winter. While at McMurdo she worked clos ely with scientists from all na tionalities, volunteered to write for the local newspaperThe Antarctic Sun, and l earned about the unique operations of isolated television and radio facilities serving a small community. The time Yvonne spent in Antarctica and trav eling the Southern hemisphere changed her life and solidified the direction of her career in the marriage of science and media. She plans to continue presenting and publishing her research, and anticipates attending a doctoral program to support this goal. She also plans to continue teaching video and f ilm production related courses. Her ultimate goal is to facilitate better comm unication of science to the public by consulting with scientists to turn their re search findings into publicly acce ssible audio-visual presentations.