So today Dominica was watching Bones, season 3 episode 7. She came down to tell me that they had put an Amiga from 1987 into the show and that I had to take a look. Of course, no one in Hollywood bothers to check anything at all or to even state the obvious correctly.
They claim that the Amiga is from 1987, the same year that my family bought a Commodore Amiga. The machine that they show is obviously a Commodore Amiga 1200 (A1200) which was made from late 1992 through 1996. Almost a full decade more modern than what they are stating. (To put this in perspective, they say that they are showing a computer used for little more than video games that was made when I was in mid-elementary school but show a high-powered 32bit graphics workstation that was still on the market in my third year of college!!) But this is just the beginning.
The Amiga machine that they show, the black A1200, is sitting, unplugged, atop an ancient IBM XT that is an entire generation older than the Amiga. Both machines are so famous and amazingly recognizable at once that it is extremely confusing to watch because it looks like exactly what it is, a mid-90s Amiga 1200 unplugged and used as a dust cover for a worthless, early 80s IBM XT (I learned to program on an IBM XT when they were no longer current in 1985.)
Then, the actors, who apparently aren’t familiar with how computers work and that they need to be plugged in, talk about the specs of the Amiga (an incredibly powerful 32bit workstation worth many thousands of dollars in the mid-90s) but instead quoted the machine has being powered by the pathetic Motorola 6800 processor which was never used in any computer to my knowledge but the series included the 6809 which was used to power the Vectrex home video game system (that Dominica’s family has) and the Radio Shack sold TRS-80 computers of the late 1970s.
They, to add insult to injury, the product a floppy disk that supposedly was used on the Commodore Amiga. Now the original Amiga came out in 1985 and one of its major selling points was that they had left the legacy world of 5.25″ floppies behind and moved ahead, along with Apple’s Mac and the Atari ST, into the world of 3.5″ floppies which were more stable and had higher storage denisty and better overall performance and capacity. This was extremely well known at the time. It was the first fact that anyone would know about any of these machines. The 5.25″ world included the old IBM compatibles, when they were still called that, the Apple //e and other ancient 8bit machines. The original Mac, Atari ST and Amiga were 16 bit (but remember that they actually showed a 32bit Amiga that was about seven generations into the series and actually had a hard drive installed.)
Since the Amiga didn’t have a 5.25″ floppy drive, they stuck the floppy into the IBM XT! Watching the show without sound you can’t even tell that the Amiga is supposed to be being used. It is only mentioned in the dialogue and the show actually uses the IBM. Visually the show is completely about the IBM XT but audibly the show is a mismash of dialogue that sounds like a five year old attempting to sound like they know something by spewing gibberish with authority.
Then, they show this IBM XT (a device which normally came with a monochrome green screen) that displayed 80 character columns of text playing a modern, late 90s, 3D rendered video that had more colors in it than the IBM could display (which was like 16), higher resolution than the IBM could produce (by orders of magnitude) and all of that before having it do graphical rendering that was still out of reach of most home video game enthusiasts by 2000. They made the implication that there has been no hardware advancements since 1984 (when the XT was popular) and that the only differences between then and now is that programmers are smarter now and know how to write 3D games!
What really amazes me is that all of the people involved in producing an expensive show like Bones from writers to producers to actors to stagehands, prop people, etc. Not one single person figured out that the scene was so wrong as to be confusing to the most casual observer. How can so little thought be put into a show so expensive to make? How can so much work be involved in making a scene so inaccurate? Just having the Amiga in front of them for ten seconds, even if they had never seen a computer before, would have filled them in on what cables to plug in and what type of floppy the would need for the scene. And the year or manufacture is probably printed on the back.
An eight year old with Google who had never heard of Commodore, Amiga, IBM, floppies, etc. could have researched all of this for them in minutes. Most of the people working on these shows are older than eight, I would venture to guess, and probably many of them older than me which means that they should be exceedingly aware of all this already without any need for any research at all. They lived through these eras. They watched the 5.25″ floppy fade away in 1984. They should remember computers that only had green screens. They should know that sitting one computer on top of another looks weird and that everyone would see two computers sitting there and notice that the one they mention isn’t even plugged in and that the floppy was placed into the wrong one.
Seriously people. Hollywood is so sloppy, why do we watch this stuff? Why not film Kindergarteners putting on shows at school? At least then we have some guarantee that those kids at least attended half a year of Kindergarten. I can’t be so sure about the people making these shows.