Hollywood's Fear of Flying

Two new shows this season, The Event and No Ordinary Family, had airplane crashes as key plot points in their first episodes.  Long before the tragic attacks on 9/11 when passenger planes were turned into terrorist weapons, movies and television glorified hijackings and aerial disasters for entertainment.  But recently it seems that trouble aboard a plane is the "go to" cliche for writers looking for an easy plot point to convey danger.

Good drama is all about conflict, but it seems to me that Hollywood has been relying too much on perilous plane rides, especially lately.  Yes, there have been disaster movies set on planes since the Airport moves, which were spoofed in the Airplane! comedies.  Some have been campy, like Snakes on a Plane with Samuel L. Jackson, but some have been very enjoyable, like Air Force One, starring Harrison Ford. 

Lately, though, it seems like airplanes are the setting for trouble everywhere we look -- Lost, Fringe, Human Target, all had aviation themed turmoil.  Are Hollywood writers more paranoid about flying than the general public? 

It has reached a point where I get nervous watching the contestants on The Amazing Race take a flight to their next destination.  I almost want to yell at my TV screen, "Hey, don't you know the dangers of flying?"  But then I realize it's a reality show, not fiction, and as Superman once said, "Statistically speaking, it's still the safest way to travel."

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