The Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviewer has a few words for futuristic television characters:
Why are, like, graduates of Starfleet Academy lugging around physical cylinders that emit light from one end? Why don’t they all have chip implants in their palms that glow when activated?
I mean, my iPhone has a better flashlight app than I’ve seen used by an actual Time Lord, and the iPhone’s flashlight app sucks.
Glowing palms are an ergonomic disaster. Try it.
But her point is well-taken. Characters generally want to light an area, not simply a narrow cone. The wizards in the Potterverse seem to have a good solution: use your wand like a torch, or fling the sphere of light where you want to see. (But they’re magic, yo. So they could also probably cast a spell to make it less dark, or give themselves ultravision.)
For sci-fi, a good choice would be hovering drones that light the area. As a bonus, keeping the light physically separated from the characters makes them less of a target.
And the best iPhone flashlight app is my friend Troy’s InfinitLight.