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Recycled tropes of cyber-anxiety are made more cinematic for the web

by Critical Commons Manager

The Yahoo! web series Cybergeddon has been getting a fair amount of attention because it was created by Anthony E. Zuiker, creator of the CSI television franchise. The show itself is a formulaic recycling of cyber-adventure cliches, cobbled together from The Net, Hackers, Enemy of the State and 24. The show's protagonist (Missy Peregrym) is a sexy, ass-kicking cyberhacker-turned-FBI-anti-cyber-terror agent wrongly accused of reverting to her days as a black hat hacker. Although still early (Ep. 3) in the show's release cycle, Cybergeddon shows few signs of breaking with well-worn tropes of cyber-anxiety narratives, including the amoral hacker with a tricked out van, an evil European-accented uber-hacker out for revenge and fortune and a distributed network of geeks who help each other out with the latest in product-placed technology. When hackers launch viruses in Cybergeddon, all it takes is a cell phone to send red-fonted ones and zeroes flying through 3D space to bring down their targets. If the prospect of contaminated water was not bad enough, the series also reminds viewers that their "whole lives" are vulnerable because of being accessible via databases: everything from bank accounts to wives and families may be targeted at will; even FBI agents can have their identities stolen and be implicated in acts of criminal terrorism. What are the implications of distributing such narratives as a web series instead of on film or TV? Will Cybergeddon realize its own potential for self-referentiality and educate its viewers about the consumer tracking Yahoo! is undoubtedly performing behind the scenes? Or will 3D graphics and multi-display screens continue to obfuscate the digital and network literacies that might actually make computer users less vulnerable to real-world exploitation?

All it takes is a cell phone for a cyber-terrorist to wreak havoc in 3D data space

Data transmission is disappointingly uncinematic even for a web series, but not if viruses are red and scary looking

from Cybergeddon (2012)
Creator: Anthony E. Zuiker
Distributor: Yahoo!
Posted by Critical Commons Manager