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|Culture, Society, History||Skrell Culture · Skrell Cinema and Idols · Skrell Education · Skrell Cuisine · Skrell History · Skrell Beliefs · Skrell Refugees|
|Major Skrell Events||Arcs of 2020 · Arcs of 2021 · Arcs of 2022|
Swimstars, also known as Q'iix-Aqqx'xaq-que, is an animated (psionic-based) adaptation of a novel by the same name by the skrellian author Axu Iqaxi. Initially published in 2420 CE to mediocre reviews, it wasn't until almost three decades later that it became a hit with the introduction of Srom-Capable VR. Instead of a first-person book narrative, the audience is thrust directly into the point-of-view of the main character, where they are able to perceive and feel the emotions of the character. The show has become engrossed in Jargon media with its unique art style created through painstaking modeling and computer-assisted movement.
Swimstars only recently made its way into human spheres with the release of the first season occurring in late 2462 CE. Adapted to allow humans— especially considering their inability to embrace Srom— it has seen a rather mixed response. Its reception is mostly blamed on the lack of emotional feedback, as it leaves a lot to be desired for those without psionics. Producers have considered possibly discontinuing the franchise within human space.
While the book series ended in its third installment, the show consists of 8 seasons, three standalone movies, an OVA, and a spinoff with one of the side teams.
Set on the tropical coasts of Gialok, the story revolves around mictlanian college student (Mary Poolman) who is a rather gifted swimmer. The onset of the series is her arrival to the Jargon Federation shortly after her father was offered a career opportunity. There she meets a rather athletic and friendly Skrell (Qill) who convinces the protagonist to try out for their community swim team. She manages to overcome all odds and beat several other Skrell to secure a position. To her surprise however, she is not only paired up with her newfound friend but with a hotheaded student (Xana) afflicted with Xibus. As the two struggle to cooperate, the third member of the team is revealed: a professional diver (Axic) who resents the human and believes that they only hinder the team's chance at victory. With grit, passion, and determination, the four teammates learn to appreciate each other through their combined effort. The team slowly climbs the ranks of professional swimming teams, facing the likes of "The Jaws", a Unathite swimming team; Kuo-Poa, a competing skrellian kindergarten; somehow a dangerous biker gang; and even join the school band!
The Jargon Federation has remained relatively hands-off with the show; while it does have their support, no direct "step-ins" have had to be orchestrated. The show promotes good values like friendship, cooperation, and combined struggles while also adding a unique view on other cultures. In particular, the Unathi, who throughout the show are portrayed as capable but quick to anger and misunderstanding. There have been a few concerns by the ministers of foreign affairs, but the Unathite testing audiences were receptive to the portrayal, a few complaining that the Unathi team isn't aggressive enough.
Reception of the show was overwhelmingly successful in the Jargon Federation: its integration of emotion and computer-assisted 360 degree animations was like a wave of fresh air. However, the show is not without its controversies, which mainly stem from the non-attuned crowd who feel like they're being left out, and xenophobic groups, who have questioned the idea of the main character being a human.
Nowadays it is a lasting franchise, with a stable living fandom and many Jargon manufactured products inspired by the show. Due to the death of Axic's voice actor, Ia-Oha, the show is at possible risk of cancellation as the cast and director have expressed that they do not want to continue without them.
It boasts an 89% amongst most viewers and has either remained as such or grown over the last few months.
The Solarian Alliance was the second faction outside the Federation that has received the shipments of the VR first season. While successful at the box office, the reviews were mostly negative from both the audiences and critics. Mictlanian reception was mixed, and though many were glad to finally receive representation in the foreign markets, sizeable groups found the main character offensively stereotypical.
2/5 - "An ambitious project, but the delivery fails." - Mahjonime
4/10 - "Now I don't mean anything by this, but it was very difficult to read the faces of the skrell." - Nick Kaknila, now Ex-Employee at Gromatu Inc.
6/10 - "The format was terrible, story stale and at points unwatchable, but it has something for everyone." - IKN
Republic of Biesel
The Republic of Biesel was the first to receive a shipment from the Jargon Federation with Zeng-Hu having a premiere screening for its top employees. It was much more positive despite the reception being mixed. However, the sales were hindered by a batch of defective units which caused seizures in some viewers.
The average review score as of now is 61% on NTomatoes.
Serene Republic of Elyra
The Elyran release was wholly unique. Considering how ingrained VR is within Elyran Culture, the creators wanted to assure the release was perfect. The diligence has paid off as the Elyran release boasted the highest review scores with an average aggregate of 74%. Although this couldn't be said in the box office, the majority of Elyrian were simply not interested in what they considered a neutered version of the "real thing". There have been rumors of illegal emotional stimulation packages running around Elyra, promising the "original Skrell experience" of this show.
It managed to secure a 71 on the Elyran Virtual Reality Score Index.
Bloopy and Friends: An Educational Children's Show
Bloopy and Friends is a currently running television program broadcasted throughout the Jargon Federation. First aired in 2295, the show centers around Bloopy, the friendly squid-like creature, as they wander around the sea and go on adventures with their friends. The Federation created the show to teach essential skills to children, usually between the ages of two to twelve. Skills such as speaking, literacy, and themes related to how the Federation functions are taught during the fifteen minute episodes. Each episode usually addresses two topics, although not necessarily related (times tables paired with a lesson on the social credit system, for example).
Typically, the show will open with Bloopy saying hello to the audience. In most cases, it is in the middle of an activity that foreshadows the theme of the episode, such as reading, drawing shapes, or practicing their vocabulary. After the introduction, a friend of Bloopy's will knock on their door and will typically be the secondary protagonist for the episode. There are around thirty different characters that are cycled based on viewership and how effective they were that season, as judged by the Government. It's not unknown for a character to not be seen for years in-between appearances.
Cast and Recurring Themes
There are around thirty different characters, and most have at least one trait that is the center of their personality. They are used as a device to promote Federation ideals, or as a personification of ideas that are deemed unwanted or dangerous in order to attack them.
- Bloopy: The main character of the series. A lime green squid-like creature. They are portrayed as inquisitive and playful, and is usually used to promote the ideas of learning and social cohesion.
- Florp: A lavender axolotl-type creature. They are the side character with the most screen time out of the cast. They are typically shown to be the most intelligent of the characters, and is usually the one that Bloopy goes to for advice when they are struggling with something.
- Qrobl: A cyan jellyfish and a (relatively) recent addition to the cast. Non-Federation observers have said that Qrobl looks to be modelled after cosmozoans sometimes seen out in space. They are portrayed as aloof and uninterested in helping Bloopy. Qrobl is primarily used to show traits that are deemed 'bad' by Federation standards, but every few decades goes through a 'redemption arc' to represent rehabilitation for tertiary numericals.
An Example of a Typical Episode
Bloopy and Friends Season 14, Episode 20
The episode opens with Bloopy reading a book and is struggling with the words before 'noticing' the audience and greeting them. After a few minutes discussing books, Florp, a lavender Axolotl-type creature, knocks on the door and greets Bloopy and the audience. Florp tries to help Bloopy with their book, but ultimately struggles. They both go out to the local library to look for someone who can help them read the book, where the librarian sits them down and covers some basic literacy before reading the story. The book is about a Skrell that's recently become a primary numerical, and what you can do to improve your social credit score to be like them. The episode ends with Bloopy and Florp back home, giving a brief recap of the episode and talking about how much fun they had. The two characters say goodbye to the audience as it pans outside, showing a colorful ocean as sea creatures slowly swim across the screen, ultimately forming the credits.
Seaside Shuffle is a mix of athletics, trivia, and philosophy where contestants compete for prizes. The prizes differ each episode, however they usually range from currency, or the latest technological products of that decade, to social credit points and seats to events where they can meet their favorite idols.
The show is often split up into four main segments. The first segment is a general Q&A with the contestants, introducing them to the audience. Here the viewer will learn basic information such as their social credit score, hobbies, and how they feel they'll perform that episode. The next segment is trivia, where contestants are bombarded with questions ranging from current events and Skrell history, to questions on basic mathematics and science. At the end of the three rounds, the contestant with the lowest score is eliminated, while the rest move on to the next segment.
The athletics segment is similar to a triathlon. Contestants are pushed to their limit as they compete in three different sports chosen at random at the start of each round. It's common at this point in the show for there to be multiple eliminations, as the contestants are either too worn out or perform too poorly to continue on to the final part of the show.
The final segment involves philosophy. The final contestants must give a persuasive oratory arguing for or against a topic given to them by the host, which is then judged by the studio audience, each giving a score out of five. The contestant with the best score wins. Topics are chosen at random but are usually submitted by the audience before the start of each show, so most focus on current Skrell politics or events that occur within the Federation.
Low Tide: Qerrbalak
Low Tide: Qerrbalak, an early-morning talk show that airs every day live from Qerrbalak. The show's host, Kelop Walb (SCS 8.45), has been hosting the show for the last sixty years. The show focuses on news, sport, and general entertainment, and is marketed towards a combined demographic of those getting to work and parents who stay at home. At the start of the show, it gives national headline bulletins from across the Federation, which the host will bring up in-between more regional stories and entertainment news. Social credit score rankings featuring the top 10 and the lowest 10 individuals will also play for a segment of the show. With Walb talking in-depth about their opinion on it.
After the news stories, the host will typically bring on a guest for the morning, normally a minor idol or a commentator, to discuss what's going on in the Federation. At around the halfway point in the show, the focus shifts onto entertainment; both the host and their guest will discuss things such as the latest fashion trends, and news surrounding the more popular idols.
Tail to Tail
Tail To Tail is a daytime soap opera set in a fictional city on the Skrell homeworld of Qerrbalak. The show is considered strange to non-Skrell due to the lack of facial expression in the species and as such, it hasn't gained much popularity like Swimstars - even domestically it somewhat underperforms. With that said the show has been running for the past 250 years, and the cast, storyline, and setting have seen major changes since its initial airing.
Tail To Tail's primary demographic today is Skrell living abroad, particularly with those in Biesel and the Starlight Zone. Their main draw to the show is the primarily Skrellian cast, which is a welcome change from local television programming.
The production quality has been noted by human observers to be sub-par in comparison to other shows from the Federation, with the casts acting described as ‘wooden’ and ‘artificial’ by critics, but has been kept that way as a stylistic choice. The last time the showrunners attempted to modernize the programme to meet current standards, fans from abroad were in an uproar, with hundreds of thousands of messages on Viv-ID speaking out about the show 'losing its signature aesthetic'. The cast usually consists of minor idols that have just gotten into acting, and many former cast members usually find themselves with a sizable following after their time on the show has ended.
The Professionals is a neo-western movie series inspired by the Solarian examples of the genre. It follows the main character, Xuushi ‘Long Tail’, as they patrol the Traverse as a bounty hunter. The series is set shortly after the Glorsh-Omega singularity, and our protagonist sets out to bring a semblance of law and order to a system still recovering from the tyranny of Glorsh along with their posse of fellow bounty hunters that’s slowly built up over the course of the series.
The series is labelled as ‘Historical Fiction’, staying mostly true to the facts while embellishing certain details for entertainment. Critics approve of the movie’s depiction of post-Glorsh society, while at the same time raising concerns about character dialogue and certain anachronisms. The Federation Government has mostly left the movie series to its own devices, pleased with the anti-synthetic and pro-Federation message of the overall series despite its telling of the events during this period.
Chirp Till You Drop
This TV series focuses on audience-submitted home videos that feature examples of Skrell comedy. Absurdity, slapstick, and similar topics can be frequently seen, and whichever video is judged by the studio audience for that episode to be the funniest, wins a cash prize of 5000 Sqiips. Due to how different and sometimes absurd places outside the Federation can seem to its citizens, many videos submitted come from Jargon citizens currently living abroad.
Examples of videos submitted in the past include a Skrell attempting to eat a hamburger using a knife and fork, a Tajaran slipping, then sliding underneath a nearby wet floor sign as they land, and a Diona eating a stack of pizza boxes whole.
The Federation takes great pride in their cultural idols, and massive efforts are made by the Government to encourage them, and to cultivate a following for the idol to spread their (and by extension, the Federations) message.
Music idols are some of the more popular idols in the Federation. Most, save those who are part of the counterculture scene, have particularly high social credit scores because of how far-reaching their music can be compared to film and television.
Weshi Beshi (SCS 8.39) - Common with many Skrellian songs, this idol samples and remixes Solarian vocals to create a catchy chorus in their own music. Their most popular song (roughly translated into basic: ‘Feel My Wake’) is about finding love and starting a quya. Their singing has been described as ‘angelic’ by non-Skrell listeners, thanks in part to their native Aweiji accent helping them stand out from the more ‘faux-Weiji’ accents used by other idols.
Feqi Coqoq-Dul (SCS 5.33) - Active in the 2420s, but since fallen into obscurity, this fallen Idol is now a major artist in the underground punk/counterculture scene. The underground music scene allows artists to create unique songs compared to their more conformist contemporaries that are behind Skrell pop. This artist, in particular, spearheaded the Abyss Pop movement; a genre of electronic music that uses samples of warbling and chirps commonly heard in the Qeblak observatories or Weishii sanctuaries. The samples are remixed to simulate early Skrell harmonization in the ocean, commonly paired with drum and bass. The genre is named Abyss Pop to oppose the more mainstream ‘Star Pop’ of the Federation. Other than the cacophony of warbles and chirps, this genre of music typically doesn’t have any vocals associated with it - this makes it popular with low social credit scores as it isn’t seen as ‘preachy’ like Star Pop. Since fading into obscurity, Feqi lost their idol status with the Federation and the majority of its population, but they’ve gained popularity with those with anti-Federation views.
The Yaqoxi (Average SCS 9) - A relatively recent addition to the Skrell music scene, this group is a quya made up of five Skrell and their music generally focuses on family life. Their live shows make heavy use of ‘tabs’ to induce group psionic hallucinations, showing parts of their home life to the audience similar to a music video. They’ve become a hit with their unique use of psionics and holograms in their live shows, and their music has become a sensation across the entire Federation.
TV and Film Idols
TV and film can be quite varied both in quality and overall popularity with the masses. Because of this, the social credit scores of these idols can be more varied than musicians.
Miaq Motox’Kex (SCS 7.63) - This TV star started their career in Tail to Tail back in 2437 as Doctor Kex’iia, the charismatic Doctor and former love interest of more than one of the main characters. They left the show in 2440, and soon went on to appear in shows such as Swimstars, as well as being a frequent guest on Low Tide: Qerr’balak. Currently, they’re in talks about replacing the host of Chirp Till You Drop.
Joq-Orms Farx (SCS 8.11) - Known for their role in the human-inspired, Neo-Western film series ‘The Professionals’, Farx was a sensation in the Federation as the must-have action hero for any aspiring Directors movie. They officially retired in 2452 after a bereavement, but they have recently been seen on movie sets around Qerr’balak, and the latest statement posted by them on Viv-ID implies that they’re slowly coming back to the Jargon screen. A common phrase among their fans is, “It’s a shame Farx didn’t live to be Grand Councillor.”
Streamers and Online Personalities
Viv-ID streamers and other online personalities are slowly rising in popularity in the Federation. Their scores are on the lower end of the spectrum for idol status but usually have a small yet vocal following.
LeviathanTail (Troi Guxqi) (SCS 7.15) - LeviathanTail is a professional videogame player, streamer, and social blogger on Viv-ID with their own subforum, which has around two hundred thousand active followers. Their most-viewed content involves their critique and gameplay of Homeworld: Invasion. The standard format for these videos is a quick intro, followed by describing the premise of the video before it transitions to commentary and gameplay. Leviathan considers themselves Homeworld: Invasion’s biggest fan, and has contributed to various bugfixes and content updates through their critique of the games flaws.
Lu’Kala (Ioriz Uue’Befona) (SCS 7.34) - Similar to LeviathanTail, Lu’Kala stylizes themselves as a professional videogame player and social commentator. Their content on Viv-ID is more varied, with their videos usually encompassing a wide variety of topics ranging from their views on entertainment news, to short rants on a subject they feel they need to discuss that day.
Hezi-Croqi Saxizop’Telioqux (SCS 7.03) - Hezi-Croqi is a former musical idol, now media critic that focuses on music, but also has a small subset of videos dedicated to reviewing TV shows and films. Their content is of particular interest to the Federation, as Hezi-Croqi has some insightful commentary on the music scene that allows the Federation to subtly improve and stay ahead of any new developments. The Federation also uses Telioqux’s reviews of up-and-coming pop idols to gauge whether or not that particular idol will be effective.