Today I found myself thinking of Terminator 3, specifically the plotline in which all kinds of random computer crashes are spreading across the internet.

For obvious reasons.

In today’s real world incident, it’s a bug in an auto-pushed update for widely-used security software by CrowdStrike, ironically used to protect mission-critical systems. In the two-decade-old movie (pardon me while I turn to dust), it’s Skynet spreading itself across the internet.

At the time, I thought the nuclear strike would wipe out a lot of internet infrastructure, destroying major nodes and leaving pieces of Skynet disconnected from each other. A commenter remarked that he’d been doing research for a novel and experts agreed that enough of the major nodes and infrastructure would survive the attack to keep the network functioning.

The interesting thing: Neither of us had heard the story that ARPANET (the internet’s predecessor) had been designed for that scenario. These days, it’s pretty much repeated as gospel… but apparently it wasn’t a design goal, and the idea that it was can be traced back to a 1991 article in Network World magazine that conflated ARPANET with a different network design, which was never actually built. (via)

From there it took on a life of its own for the same reason many urban legends (and conspiracy theories) do: it made a better story.

Finally got out to see Terminator: Salvation at the second-run theater. It was a passable action flick, though a bit overblown and tedious at times. I thought it was better than T3: Rise of the Machines, at least. T3 was too caught up in repeating the first two movies (a Terminator is sent back in time to kill John Connor, a guardian is sent back in time to protect him, they spend the whole time running from the Terminator, and they repeat the same stunts with bigger vehicles and explosions) and showing the origins of what we’d seen before.

While Terminator: Salvation also has the unenviable task of being both a sequel and a prequel at the same time, it manages to at least distinguish itself by going off in a new direction in terms of story. Yes, it’s the story of a prototype Terminator, how John Connor met Kyle Reese, and how John Connor became leader of the resistance, but it takes those elements as starting points and tells a story, rather than following a connect-the-dots path. (Though they did repeat a few stunts, and there are plot holes you could fly an H-K through.)

That, and T3 really annoyed me because it rejected the core theme of T2: “The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” Whether that theme is actually supportable in the first two movies is debatable (especially considering that the first film appears to present a stable time loop), but this complete reversal is a bit of a slap in the face.*

Surrogates, Terminators and Borg

I actually don’t know much about Surrogates other than the fact that it’s based on a comic book, but I saw this poster the other day and was instantly reminded of the original posters advertising Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

Surrogates Poster Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Poster

It’s not a direct reference, of course, simply a similar concept — and the image of a partially-assembled Cameron (Summer Glau) was clearly inspired by the first appearance of the Borg Queen (Alice Krige) in Star Trek: First Contact.

Borg Queen

Of course, as I was reminded while looking for pictures, the Borg Queen had her own antecedents as well.

Back to the Surrogates poster, it turns out that Bleeding Cool spotted a much closer reference in the form of an entry in a Celebrity Cyborgs photo alteration contest, featuring model Kate Moss.

Cyborg Celebrities: Kate Moss

Appropriately enough, the entry was apparently inspired by an article that mentioned an upcoming movie adaptation of Surrogates

*Regarding the “slap in the face” — that’s not really the phrase I want to use, since it implies deliberate offense and is really overused in entitled fandom. What I’m getting at is that it’s sudden and shocking, like preparing to wade out slowly into a very cold pool, then getting pushed in and doing a belly flop.

A quick look at TV shows we’ve been watching this season.

Lost – Good season, learned a lot more than I expected about DHARMA, major cliffhanger. Renewed for a final season…in 2010. (Hard to believe that’s less than a year away)

Pushing Daisies – managed to maintain the tone & quality, but canceled halfway through the year. Supposed to get the last 3 episodes starting at the end of the month. A 12-issue comic book miniseries has already been announced.

Bones – I only saw a few episodes, but liked them, and Katie’s been watching it regularly. Fun off-format season finale w/ a nasty cliffhanger. Returning, according to the voiceover during the credits.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – turned out to be a surprisingly solid, complex show. No word on renewal yet, but I’d like to see more. Update 6: canceled.

Dollhouse: Started off weak, but got really interesting as the season progressed. It’s not a comfortable show by any means. No word on renewal, but if I had to choose between this and T:SCC, I’d take SCC. Update 2: Unofficial sources say it’s renewed, but I wouldn’t count my actives until they’re all back for their treatments.

Heroes: I gave up 2 episodes into the “Fugitives” arc, but Katie kept watching. Deeply problematic show but its high points were very good. Renewed, and I hope it’ll improve next year.

Better Off Ted – fun, painful, quirky all rolled into one. Sort of like a less-nerdy Dilbert or Office Space. I’d like to see more, but it doesn’t seem likely. Update 3: Holy crap, it’s been renewed! That’s a bigger surprise than Dollhouse!

Castle – favorite of this year’s mid-season replacements. Would definitely like to see more, but would be okay if this turned out to be all. Unlike, say, Drive. Update 1: Cool! It’s been renewed!

Battlestar Galactica – finished off with a very good final season. Caprica, on the other hand, was tedious. May take another look at it when the series launches.

Update 4: Forgot to mention The Unusuals, which we checked out, but neither of us found interesting enough to stick with. The ads built it up to be…well…unusual, and it wasn’t. Castle and Bones both routinely dealt with more unusual cases. For anyone who did like it, prospects look dim. Update 7: canceled.

Update 5: EW has a running tally of all the network shows.

Update 8 (May 18): The decisions are in for all of them now. I’m sad to see Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles canceled (especially in the same week that Terminator: Salvation opens), and I’m still annoyed at losing Pushing Daisies halfway through the season, but the other shows we watch have had a remarkably good survival rate this year.

Some entertainment stuff I’m looking forward to this year:

Movies: Coraline

YouTube also has the trailer in HD.

I discovered Sandman late, borrowing the trades from one of my (younger) brother’s friends around 1998 or so, then immediately tracking down my own copies. I lucked out and got a complete set on eBay for something like $70. Since then I’ve devoured most of Neil Gaiman’s work, be it in comics, prose, or movie form. The original novel of Coraline was very good, and it’s been adapted by the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is among my favorite movies…and what I’ve seen of the film suggests that they get it. It’s hard to believe it’s only two weeks away!

Other movies: Oddly enough, I’m only mildly interested in Terminator: Salvation, Transformers 2: Can’t Remember the Subtitle, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the films have been steadily deteriorating after peaking with #3, IMHO), Star Trek, and Watchmen. I’ll probably see all of them, but none of them have me nearly as excited.

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