Science Fiction Book Club
November 5, 2001
Better Late Than Never
On November 1st, CBS finally aired the pilot episode of The Agency. The show has been running, but several episodes were shuffled because the network thought some subject matter would be too sensitive in the aftermath of September 11th.
They probably did the right thing. In The Agency's pilot, the CIA has just a few days to foil the bombing of a London department store by the al Qaeda terrorist organization. If CIA fails, thousands of people could die, and the only lead they have is a date: November 8th.
According to CBS, the only changes made to the pilot were the name of the targeted store (originally Harrods, changed to the fictitious "Conrads") and the removal of a reference to Osama bin Laden. The re-edited version was tested with a focus group before airing.
Another episode, titled "A Slight Case of Anthrax," has already been rescheduled twice. They showed a preview for it last week, but who knows if and when it'll actually air?
There's censorship, and then there's editing. The distinction is subtle. The question is, what are you afraid of? Is this a matter of life and death? Are you afraid of losing revenue? Are you afraid of looking like an idiot?
In the spirit of free speech, I've decided to make several unpublished HotSheets available. These are pieces I didn't finish, ideas that never made it beyond the note-taking stage, or disorganized thoughts that I just never cleaned up. No pretty headers or footers, and if you see unfinished sentences, there's nothing wrong with your browser. It just ain't there.
I admit, it's not much of a protest against censorship, but it's a nice nudge to remind myself that the writer is more important than the editor. No content, no content manager. Horse before cart.
Here's a TV update, because I know you all care so much. I've stopped watching these shows:
I'm still hoping against hope that these shows will get better:
I'll have more to say after the FOX series/season premieres this week. Aren't you glad you use Dial?