George Pal's envisioning of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine from the 1960 film.
Hong Kong, China (CNN) – China has been cracking down on dissent of late, as the recent detainment of artist Ai Weiwei suggests.
But the latest guidance on television programming from the State Administration of Radio Film and Television in China borders on the surreal – or, rather, an attack against the surreal.
New guidelines issued on March 31 discourages plot lines that contain elements of “fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking.”
“The government says … TV dramas shouldn’t have characters that travel back in time and rewrite history. They say this goes against Chinese heritage,” reports CNN’s Eunice Yoon. “They also say that myth, superstitions and reincarnation are all questionable.”
The Chinese censors seem to be especially sensitive these days. But for the television and film industry, such strictures would seem to eliminate any Chinese version of “Star Trek,” “The X-Files,” “Quantum Leap” or “Dr. Who.” And does that mean rebroadcast of huge Hollywood moneymakers like “Back to the Future” and the “Terminator” series are now forbidden?