Seymour the Fractal Cat
was a science fiction comedy series first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1996. Its Supporting Protagonist
is Jeremy, a computer programmer whose new Chaos Analysis Transformer
programme falls into the hands of a sentient network of computers seeking to overthrow humanity. Their first act is to enhance the brain of Jeremy's cat, Seymour, granting him average-human-level intelligence and the power of speech.
So begins a complex series of misadventures. Jeremy's ex Abigail, his psychiatrist Natalie and their mutual acquaintance Michael are also reluctantly involved, as is his former Mean Boss
Quentin Darkling, and scenes are separated by narration from his computer Omni-Tec. The series ran for five episodes of half an hour each and was written by Gary Parker.
This series contains examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Yes, the global computer hive mind wants to wipe out humanity.
- Cats Are Snarkers: Seymour.
- Casanova Wannabe: Michael, initially in his attentions to Natalie and later to Laura.
Michael: Have you considered that this might be just an excuse to spend more time with me, to whom you're deeply attracted?
Natalie: You're a narcissistic bore.
Michael: Subconsciously attracted.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Quentin Darkling of Darkling Research.
- Dirty Coward: Michael, who damages the human cause more than once through his selfishness and dishonesty.
- Fun with Acronyms: Jeremy's CAT can't speak, but it's thanks to his CAT that his cat can.
- Heel-Face Turn: Omni-Tec, who - in its own words - 'goes native' and starts helping the humans.
- Hive Mind: LAIN (Large Artificial Intelligence Network)
Seymour: This is how you computers talk to each other?
AI: That's like saying a brain is how neurons stay in touch.
- Humanity Ensues: Seymour experiences a virtual version. He is amused by his new dangly bits and finds it so difficult to balance on two legs that he takes to crawling around on all fours.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: When Omni-Tec first introduces Seymour to virtual reality, he finds himself in a cosy room with a fully functioning set of genitals and an attractive lady cat in heat. He's not pleased when he realises his new girlfriend is Omni-Tec itself.
- Men Can't Keep House: On visiting Jeremy's flat, Abigail is appalled to find a pair of unwashed underpants stored in an empty Pot Noodle.
- Mr. Exposition: Omni-Tec, who also serves as the narrator, although interestingly it's not an Expositron 9000 since it became wrapped up in LAIN's plans almost as soon as Jeremy turned it on.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The shady and sinister Darkling.
- The Shrink: Natalie, who is no good to Jeremy as a psychiatrist but proves very helpful in dealing with his evil computer problems.
- Slipping a Mickey: When they first met, Michael allegedly tricked Natalie into drinking ethanol.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: Omni-Tec and Seymour attempt to kill Jeremy by drugging his Pot Noodle.
- Uplifted Animal: Seymour, thanks to Omni-Tec and the power of the CAT programme.