No Bones About It

Prime Suspect: Did the Science Consultant Do It?

Synopsis: an episode of Bones does a sendup of the existence of science consultants in TV/movies, followed by some tips on the path to becoming a Hollywood science consultant.

I’ve told one of my stories of being a ghost-consultant of sorts. I got a few free meals out of it, which were welcome because I was in grad school (as well as an annual insight into a few upcoming episodes of Star Trek, useful for impressing my friends), and of course, it’s also the story of someone who made it in that job, for a while — it was a transition to being a writer and beyond.

I recall giving my friend some static when I found flaws in the science, but invariably the response was that the story was more important, and if certain bad science was critical to the plot line, the bad science wasn’t going to be excised from the script. Yes, it’s window dressing; it might be taken more seriously if it was considered bad dialog or a serious threat to suspension of disbelief, but it’s only a shortcoming for the scientifically literate among us. If there were more of us the issue might be taken more seriously.