Worldcon panel on BSG surprisingly negative
On Saturday I attended the Battlestar Galactica Postmortem panel at the World Science Fiction convention in Montreal. The "worldcon" is the top convention for serious fans of SF, with typically 4,000 to 6,000 attendees from around the world. There are larger (much larger) "media" conventions like ComicCon an DragonCon, but the Worlcon is considered "it" for written SF. It gives out the Hugo award. While the fans at a worldcon do put an emphasis on written SF, they also are voracious consumers of media SF, and so there are many panels on it, and two Hugo awards for it.
Two things surprised me a bit about the Worldcon panel. First of all, it was much more lightly attended than I would have expected considering the large fandom BSG built, and how its high quality had particularly appealed to these sorts of fans. Secondly, it was more negative and bitter about the ending that I would have expecting -- and I was expecting quite a lot.
In fact, a few times audience members and panelists felt it necessary to encourage the crowd to stop just ranting about the ending and to talk about the good things. In spite of being so negative on the ending myself I found myself being one of those also trying to talk about the good stuff.
What was surprising was that while I still stand behind my own analysis, I know that in many online communities opinion on the ending is more positive. There are many who hate it but many who love it, and at least initially, more who loved it in some communities.
The answer may be is that it is the serious SF fan, the fan who looks to books as the source of the greatest SF, the BSG ending was the largest betrayal. Here we were hoping for a show that would bring some of the quality we seek in written SF to the screen, and here it fell down. Fans with a primary focus on movie and TV SF were much more tolerant of the ending, since as I noted, TV SF endings are almost never good anyway, and the show itself was a major cut above typical TV SF.
The small audience surprised me. I have seen other shows such as Buffy (which is not even SF), Babylon 5 and various forms of Star Trek still fill a room for discussion of the show. It is my contention that had BSG ended better, it would have joined this pantheon of great shows that maintains a strong fandom for decades.
The episode "Revelations" where the ruined Earth is discovered was nominated for the Hugo for best short dramatic program. It came in 4th -- the winner was the highly unusual "Dr. Horrible's sing-along-blog" which was a web production from fan favourite Joss Whedon of Buffy and Firefly. BSG won a Hugo for the first episode "33" and has been nominated each year since then but has failed to win each time, with a Doctor Who episode the winner in each case.
At the panel, the greatest source of frustration was the out-of-nowhere decision to abandon all technology, with Starbuck's odd fate a #2. This matches the most common complaints I have seen online.
On another note, while normally Worldcon Hugo voters tend to go for grand SF books, this time the best Novel award went to Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book." Gaiman himself, in his acceptance speech, did the odd thing of declaring that he thought Anathem (which was also my choice) should have won. Anathem came 2nd or 3rd, depending on how you like to read STV ballot counting. Gaiman however, was guest of honour at the convention, and it attracted a huge number of Gaiman fans because of this, which may have altered the voting. (Voting is done by convention members. Typically about 1,000 people will vote on best novel.)
Fri, 2009-08-14 10:47
The End of Sci-Fi
Thanks for the update, Brad. As ever, I'm getting way, way more enjoyment out of your blogs on this than BSG itself managed to deliver especially in the final series or so. I'm slightly baffled by the obsession with fans over actors who might be unnoticeable (or just plain crap) in any other context, and your comment on satisfaction with endings between people used to books and other drama is notable as is the influence of Hollywood and consumerism on awards.
I'll go out on a limb and suggest that sci-fi is dead. It's become a bit too obsessive and lost touch with reality like, say, how the finance industry lost it over the past few years. Just replace "But it's sci-fi maaaan" with "Greed is good" and you're getting there. While an arguably better book has been ignored and, indeed, commented on by Gaiman and yourself, the arbiters of good taste and the fans themselves are part of the problem.
Perhaps, the future of sci-fi is the same as the economy. We can't look to big business or the established names but look to ourselves and throw the rulebook out of the window. It's ironic that the ending of BSG itself (and cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on a whim) suggests that may be true. On the other hand, Glen Larson is taking a pop at a BSG movie and Steven Moffat is taking over Doctor Who so it's not all bad.
It has been said by one of the shrewder politicians that we're living in the post-democratic age. I'll suggest it's also true that we're living in the post-sci-fi age. The old truths of "democracy" and "Hollywood" are collapsing under the weight of their own decadence. Some people will cling on and others will relish this destruction but they'd both be wrong which is why, I think, we can aim higher and be more optimistic. It's doable. Let's go for it.
Fri, 2009-08-14 13:54
I would not say that at all
There's lots of good going on. BSG was good, but fell down, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good before. Many great books are being written. If Gaiman's fan base tweaked the voting, that's not perfect but there are still good books. It may not even have been that. Anathem is a great book, but dense and hard to approach. In the voting, it did the not too unusual thing of coming 2nd to Graveyard Book in the "first round" but in 3rd place overall, behind Little Brother.
This "dual placemenet" is a result of the way single transferable vote works. In the winning round, Graveyard Book comes first and Anathem second. But for 2nd place, the votes that went to Graveyard Book are redistributed to their 2nd choice, and more were redistributed to Little Brother (also a fine book) than to Anathem. This makes sense if Anathem didn't get as many readers because it is a more challenging book. It is a consequence of STV that if you have a work that is the first choice of everybody who read it, but fewer people read it, it will not win. This is not easy to fix fairly. Little Brother was a young adult novel and 1/3rd the length of Anathem, so it was much more accessible. And also a gripping read. Anathem, however, is a masterwork of the type we see only a handful of times per decade.
Fri, 2009-08-14 16:51
The Old New Thing
I know nothing of Anathem as a work or Gaiman's fan base so I'll take your word on it. However, I've never been a big fan of something being difficult meaning it's great, or a works popularity meaning it's great. That way boredom and banality lie when reality is a more complex beast though, to be fair, this outcome is probably as good as any.
British politics has become dumbed down and people have been obsessing over proportional representation. While this is orthogonal to sci-fi we're all swimming in the same pond and the generic lessons are worth reflecting on. Politics, music, sci-fi, and games are effectively dead, yet, there is notable work around and change is in the air.
I think, the future of sci-fi is to cast off the older franchises and usual suspects while, paradoxically, embracing them. We need to extract what made the great works great and the popular works popular, and build the old new thing. It's hard to see this change while we're living through it but change we must, or fade away.
You're right to comment that a great work is usually once a decade thing but great franchises are once a century thing. We're already about half way through that. The origins of sci-fi like the original vampire stories has faded and the post-war golden age of sci-fi is fading. Soon, there will be nothing left but new things will take its place.
Switchgear gave way to the valve, which gave way to the transistor, which gave way to the integrated circuit. Now, we're welcoming on the dawn of quantum computing. Ironic, then, how sci-fi has itself become so backward looking and reliant on brand name franchises. This is by definition a dead thing. We must cut it loose and move on.
We're living in a post-sci-fi world. What shape that will take I have no idea. Someone better think of something.
Fri, 2009-08-14 22:30
Difficult and great
Difficult books are certainly not inherently great. However, the reason you see people talking about the two together is simple. If a difficult work is not great, you will not find people telling you it's worth the work, and you'll not read it or give up in the middle.
So a difficult work that is not great will quickly be a failure, lost to obscurity. On the other hand you might finish an easy work that was average (or even poor.) An easy work that's good will get more people appreciating it than a difficult work that's great, making the latter a bigger risk.
But no, it's not the post SF world. Hopefully it's the post-sci-fi world. (The term "sci-fi" is used as a pejorative term in the SF world, it refers to schlocky stuff, indeed the stuff often seen on the former Sci-Fi channel, though it long predates that channel.)
Sat, 2009-08-15 01:27
You're just pissed because I said it first. :p
You make some good points and I don't disagree with them but something is changing. There's been similar change in philosophy over the years. One oddity is the prominence of irony which rivalled the Kantian philosophies. That declined but is making a resurgeance in popular culture. Telling the two apart like, say, Shakespeare versus Fleming can be tricky at times. That's something to reflect on.
Also, it's notable the the games industry is presently going down the shitter as the previously dominant Western companies and consoles are collapsing in favour of smaller productions, the PC, and online distribution in China. Again, I'd cite this as both a related thing and an example of the end of sci-fi (or SF). Unlike Fukayama's overhyped End of History this is less death and more a change.
Starting with the Romans, the Christian Church, and the New World Western thinking has primary been about authority, control, and domination but this is mixing with both a breakdown and a melding with foreign cultures. This is also happening on the reverse so touches everyone. If I'm correct that's post-post-post wait for it post-post-post modern irony for you but, hey, who's counting.
Both of us are old enough to have lived through many and multiple revolutions. There's been changes in politics, global relations, technology, philosophies, production, and SF. We've lived through so many golden ages and dead spots, and new talents emerging (some of whom like Lennon got gunned down), and old favourites disappearing into obscurity, and enturely new and exotic things emerging it's amazing. Yet, we're bored shitless.
SF is dead. Long live SF?
Mon, 2009-08-17 15:37
BSG and SF
Doesn't surprise me about the negativity. I wrote a scathing amazon review after the finale and got some really touchy comments but also support from the more intelligent fans out there. Voting wise it was about 50/50.
I haven't read much recent SF over the last 10 years until i discovered SF author Greg Egan who tackles grand technical themes with apparant ease coupled with good craftful writing. I cannot stand fantasy or horror novels they bore me shitless, its got to be good old hard SF of which there are very few really good and interesting practitioners out there. Greg bear started out great but is putting out some duff material now he's exhausted himself. Benford occassionally does the job as does K S Robinson. In the UK Stephen Baxter stands above the pack.
In the UK we have more of a tradition of following and voting for more literary SF ie JG ballard, Chris Priest, Stephen baxter etc who really don't get much of a look in in the states where it appears to be more fantasy based literature nowadays.
I think BSG appealed more to fans of comic books, fantasy fiction and Media TV. The good ol SF fan either gave it a wide berth from the start or were the disappointed ones if they happened to give it a shot (like me)
We tend to give Media TV SF a lot of leeway where compared to the really good novels it is crap on the whole and grounded 50 years behind the times. There are exceptions but they are few and far between.
There appears to be a shifting landscape with religious influences on the rise and new age postmodern versions integrating various belief systems (basically in a bullshit manner) On the opposing side the fundamentalists are on the rise (or appear to be) It seems there is a beckoning hole waiting to be filled inside us all and enough bullshit out there to fill its bottomless pit.
We have to have answers and meaning. To me part of what makes life what it is - is the journey rather than the grounded illusion of truth - i don't mind occassionally have a conceptual breakthru which shatters a belief or two. Humans are often ingenious and stupid in equal measures, its being able to work out the difference that matters.
BSG and religion were odd bedfellows, the core fans rejected the religious stuff, hell good ol captain kirk slayed many a diety during his reign on the airwaves. me - i thought the human race would grow up and out of the mystical childhood of needing to believe in an imaginary friend in a cold, dark but wondrous universe. Maybe that was the underlying subtext of a lot of the grand SF novels like 2001, Solaris etc etc showing super intelligent beings - maybe it was just showing us how absurd the concept of god (and a personal one)actually is in various guises. The Belief by a majority of Americans that the world was created in the last 10,000 years with people and animals as they are today and the new belief of gods of alien abduction and flying saucers shows a neurotic Ballardian psyche searching for new meanings using the twisted strange rationalism which is a fake mirror of the rationality of material science. We're screwed mate.
Mon, 2009-08-17 18:02
Brad referenced an essay where someone claimed "Ron D Moore was dead to him". It was one of the most articulate opinions I'd read on this issue. I can like fantasy and horror like, say, Highlander and Chronicles of the Vampire but movies like that are rare. Greg Bear et al bore the shit out of me while comic book writers like Pat Mills churn out stuff which is technically appealing and has plenty of character texture.
Science and politics have bullshit in equal measure to religion. I have some comment on this as a Zen Buddhist. Religion can be as scientifically realistic and politically relevant as anything. The hard part which is largely independent of and ignored by science, religion, and politics might be colloquially called "getting a clue". The journey, or being here, is something we often forget.
Joseph Campbell commented on metaphor. God is merely a term for the transcendant which is anything that is beyond our understanding. God could be a concious being like in the fairy tales or the whole show could be wholly mechanical. It might matter then again it might not. Then there's the metaphor of business, celebrity, and markets. Metaphor within metaphor. Perhaps the Americans are naive but so is British cynicsm.
Mon, 2009-08-17 19:29
While I can appreciate that some people adhere to one genre or another, I couldn't, can't and won't. If I did, I'd never have given the new BSG another chance, years after I saw an episode and found the mix of military and melodrama nauseatingly contrived and confusing (what two boomers imaginary characters huh WHAT?!). I wouldn't have discovered so many excellent books and movies if I clung to a genre. By the same token, I equally disdain those who think 'genre fiction' is sufficient cause to sniff and look away (while trying to convince themselves that Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 weren't sci-fi...oh, no, it's Speculative Fiction, and Deeper Themes And Statements, That's Okay). In short, and lazily put, every crop has its cream. That these supposed works that 'transcend their genre' usually spit in the face of that genre's conventions is an argument for another day. Suffice to say, I approach BSG as drama first, Sci-Fi very distant second.
As with Nietzsche, I saw clear Campbellian influence on BSG. The concept of the Monomyth, in particular. In 'Hero With A Thousand Face', Campbell suggested that there is only one real myth (the hero's journey) and that it had permeated almost all of the world's cultures, all of the religions. To negotiate that as a mythologian and not a theologian, he very clearly used the aforementioned Metaphor -- because why does it matter to a man enamoured with the myth itself what facts lie behind it? His business was with the story, not the names of the characters or what they had for breakfast; his interest was in architecture, not materials. It's lofty stuff but you can't write a good story if you're going to be preoccupied with the nitty-gritty -- that comes after. And as we've seen, sometimes, quite often, it doesn't even do that, and you don't need BSG as an example when you have much more famous folktales, myths and (uhoh) scriptures out there.
I am -sure- were I a hard Sci-Fi fan (and I never have been, which is why I can enjoy Star Wars, Star Trek and Starman with equal pleasure), I would not only hate BSG, I'd hate just about everything else out there toted as Sci-Fi. But if I wanted technical/detail flawlessness, I'd read non-fiction. There's a pact between reader and writer (or, in this case, viewer and writer/creator), and it's one I think a lot of people believe was broken by 'Daybreak': the writer asks that you not look too closely at the loose threads as long as you enjoy the tapestry. I know that, in the end, BSG's loose threads were simply too abundant not to pull, but...ah well. I guess my jadedness has an unexpected flipside: I accept nothing's perfect, so when the flaws present themselves, I take them in stride. And if you treat BSG as a myth-retelling and not as Sci-fi, then you're not so concerned with things making sense as with things having resonance and impact.
Mon, 2009-08-17 19:48
A thousand. Much more than one. Yeesh.
Tue, 2009-08-18 00:05
Fan of a genre
Being a fan of a genre doesn't mean, I would hope, that you can't enjoy other genres. First of all I think most people can enjoy just about any genre if it's a good entertaining read.
I do think that realistic (or hard if you prefer) SF is a special genre however, not because it has more capacity to be entertaining than fantasy or western or romance, but because it has a unique ability to say "this could be our future" or "this is what new science and technology might mean to humanity." Other genres can comment on these questions, but only realistic SF can paint a possibly real picture, which lets it do more, and this is why it is the source of many important and great works.
Seeking this does not stop one from enjoying other genres, or indeed in finding good commentary in other genres.
Tue, 2009-08-18 22:00
Genre as definition...
Being a fan of a genre is only limiting if that's how you define yourself first and foremost. As for that second sentence, I'm afraid I've met too many people who dismiss certain genres (including sci-fi) out-of-hand simply because of the genre -- and this is terribly pertinent to the very show your blog analyses...
There are defences for every single genre, and although some are of questionable merit, the angle you've taken with the 'veracity of foresight' in hard/realistic sci-fi can also be applied to the possibly highly-informed fiction of, say, Tom Clancy -- which is arguably more 'science fiction' than a lot of sci-fi. But without dipping into semantics, I think claiming 'only realistic SF can paint a possibly real picture' is a little overblown, especially regarding our future. We're not, as a species, particularly adept with prophecy and prediction: I'm fairly impressed if someone manages to predict something within the next year or two, never mind some age in which science has, to us, become 'indistinguishable from magic'. 'Many great and important works' is subjective here: not many sci-fi books have entered the literary canon. It'll happen, but not yet. Also, hard/realistic sci-fi aside (and this is a distinction made by fans, by those who care enough to see the difference), the most famous works of sci-fi are more fantasy than anything -- Thank Lucas and his Campbell-fueled Arthurian obsession for that. Back to the written form, I've yet to enter an average-sized bookshop where sci-fi and fantasy are kept separate.
I am not a fan of any genre simply because I don't believe any one genre merits my fanship in and of itself.
Tue, 2009-08-18 22:42
Other genres of speculative fiction and speak to the future of course, but they will do it in a different way. And it's not a binary thing. Say you want to do a story about killer robots. You can write the story in a galactic empire with FTL, even though such a thing is to our current knowledge impossible, but if you make the robots themselves impossible, it's hard for you to provide as compelling a speculation about robot issues. Again it's a matter of degree. A few small things wrong may not ruin it. If your whole plot hinges on something wrong, it's just not going to be able to work the same way.
Wed, 2009-08-19 00:29
I tend to agree with most of that.
Sci-fi and fantasy are lumped together because they're mostly speculative, or romantic: flipsides of the same coin. As long as sci-fi puts sci-fi at the front of peoples minds that's where it will stay. The comment on Tom Clancy is worth running with - he puts situations and people first and the technology or political fantasy elements of his novels are pushed more to the back. While Star Wars has its pluses and minuses it did have a lot of presence on-screen and broad auidence appeal. It seemed believeable. It was real, at least, during the time it was being watched.
Good blockbuster sc-fi movies seem to be an increasingly rare event. The last one I really enjoyed was The Matrix. Before that, Total Recall. Cinema seems to have been ruined by big budgets. Games are very slick now but suffering from being over-produced and compromised by porting. Overall, it's a very depressing picture.
It's easy to become cynical and jaded as you get older, like the character in the Robert Redford movie 'The Candidate', and that's another reason why I think it's fair to say sci-fi is dead. It has to die before people can let go of the old memes and established franchises and start cutting new ground. Perhaps, smaller budgets and less rule by committee would help. Certainly, Robert Cialdini makes a persuasive case for leaders consulting but taking the ultimate decision themselves. A few more risk takers who can carry an audience would help.
Wed, 2009-08-19 23:21
Oh, I'm happily Hollywood's b@%tch.
As I've said elsewhere, I'm a great target audience: not a complete moron so I can grasp deeper nuances, but not so anal that I have trouble enjoying a movie with nothing more to offer than Megan Fox's bouncing attributes and giant fighting robots. I reserve most of my finer discerning tastes for the written word. Anything visual or aural is candy to me -- be it brain or eye.
I like 'speculative or romantic' -- you seem to understand the real meaning of the word 'romance', in the myth sense. In that way, Star Wars was far, far more romantic than speculative. I didn't really see much speculation in it -- just givens. Yep, we have light speed travel. Yep, laser swords. YEP we have psychic power and can channel lightning. Awesome. At the other end of the scale, what Brad terms as 'real sci-fi' (or hard) is all sorts of speculative, and I'll be honest, it sort of bores me. I don't find the what-ifs anywhere near as interesting as the what-ares, regardless of the givens of the narrative world at hand. Oh, that was so poorly worded. Okay -- spec-fic to me dwells too much on the what-if instead of using it to actually, you know, tell a story. And I think that's why Star Wars was so believable: the story made sense. The other stuff, it was just part of the story. Laser swords or magic swords, the Force or magic, light speed or teleporting. They're just devices to facillitate the tale at hand. I don't believe that hard sci-fi always makes that grade.
I guess I'm not really alone there either -- Margaret Weis wrote her trilogy 'Star of the Guardians' and termed it 'galactic romance', I believe was the term. This could have just been because of the stigma against sci-fi at the time, but she'd be the last person to worry about genre prejudices, given her extensive work in helping define the post-Tolkien fantasy genre through Dragonlance.
Broad strokes like 'cinema seems to have been ruined by big budgets' are fun to make, but hardly fair. You can still see an arthouse/indie film at the cinema if you want. More than a few do disgustingly well even with the glossiest-of-the-glossy, the Oscars: Juno and Little Miss Sunshine being prime recent examples. I definitely wouldn't blame fat wallets for the dumbing-down of certain films and genres, at least not exclusively. What interests me is how the same people who demand, post-Buffy (or any other arc-based show of the late nineties you care to name), coherent, relatively drawn-out epic story arcs can sit for two hours and watch the likes of Twilight or Angels and Demons. I honestly believe we have almost different internal mechanisms for receiving and interpretting movies than we do for tv shows. I said I'd gladly be Hollywood's bitch -- and it's true. My taste in TV shows, however, is pretty damn selective.
Sci-fi isn't dead -- it's just changing meaning. I know, that seems semantic, but I think it's an important distinction. I'm absolutely thrilled that the comic-book/cartoon movie is inheriting most of sci-fi's bad habits and traits. I think that sort of grandeur and flashiness belongs in a world of speed-lines and excess, and that sci-fi is all about how humans (or at least sentient beings) exist and thrive in a world that is somehow not ours, whether that's simply due to some paradigm shift or something more extreme, like a whole different definition of 'reality'. Sci-fi isn't dead -- I hope it's just shedding its too-slick skin and hardening up against its own less-than-shiny habitat.
Wed, 2009-08-19 18:38
Return of the Revenge of the Filler Queen
Just when I thought the BSG franchise couldn't sink any lower Jane Espensen, The Filler Queen, has brought in James Marsters, a former star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to play a leading role in Caprica. I'm sure Espensen is a professional insofar as she does what she's told and turns up on time but her episodes on the already awful BSG were an experience on par with listening to a dentist's drill. If the Sci-fi channel (SyFy, or Slow Fart, or whatever they're calling themselves this week) think this is the future of Sci-Fi on television the management might like to loosen the kneck-ties throttling their obviously oxygen starved brains before their business becomes a (bigger) joke. Oh, business. Yeah. That's what this is about. Sorry, I forgot.
Wed, 2009-08-19 23:01
At the risk of coming across as a fan, James Marsters on Caprica definitely ups the stakes for me. It figures, though: you have three BSG stars headed for Whedon's Dollhouse (call it selling out, call it awesome -- I call it a paycheque), so a little Whedonesque export to the BSG stable is far from surprising. As for your comment about the 'already awful BSG', it stands to reason that you'd despise Caprica as well. It plays on the melodramatic strengths and the conceits of seasons 3 and 4 far more than the earlier seasons. And some of us really like that. I suppose if some of us didn't, BSG would have been cancelled much sooner (and I know some of YOU wish it had been. It wasn't, deal with it). So if Caprica, which already has actors I'd be tuned into, BSG or not (especially Stoltz), gains Marsters from Buffy/Angel (and a fun cameo on Torchwood), yay. Thanks for telling me. Sorry you're all disgruntled about it, but glad you mentioned it.
Also, it's 'Espenson'. Kinda hard to take your bombastic vitriol seriously when you can't spell the name of your supposed target right. ^_^ Not that I take bombastic vitriol seriously anyway, but sometimes it's funny. Sometimes.
Wed, 2009-08-19 23:47
Hammer to Fall
I don't have anything against good drama but what I've seen so far of Caprica is it ain't good drama. The other thing I'm pissed about is Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles got axed in favour of Dollhouse just because the producer had the hots for Whedon. I disagree with the choices they've made but you might as fight some dumb decision at city hall for all the good it will do. You can laugh and nitpick, and wave hands at "YOU people" but this isn't very smart negotiating tactics. Wrong headed producers and alienated audiences almost always head towards the big bust. The question isn't when is the hammer going to fall but how hard.
Sun, 2009-09-27 16:18
Update: Dollhouse Ratings Tank
Just an update on the Dollhouse versus Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles thing. I was really, really pissed that Dollhouse got the green light on a whim and the arguably better TSCC got the axe because the budget wouldn't support both sci-fi shows. The latest news is Dollhouse has tanked in the ratings with its new series premier.
I was reading through some of the history of Star Trek and there was a similar thing going on with its ratings and TSCC. Star Trek had lowish ratings but attracted a premium audience. The ratings systems of the day weren't mature enough to pick up on that so the show got axed. Today, TSCC faced a similar issue with ratings being boosted by deferred viewing on Tivo style devices. It's a damn shame the fan campaign didn't work this time around or we might have squeezed a third series.
Wed, 2009-11-11 19:08
Update: Dollhouse Cancelled
Dollhouse has just been cancelled by Fox. The chances of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles being revived is slim to none. Stupid studio execs.
Thu, 2009-08-20 19:20
Dollhouse vs. TSCC. I knew there had to be something at least slightly personal to this. Until I bit the bullet and watched Dollhouse, I'd have fully agreed. Then again, I did rewatch TSCC season 1 recently, enjoyed it, started season 2 and sort of just let it dwindle. Dollhouse, on the other hand, was painfully bad for the first half and (unsurprisingly) grabbed my attention the moment Whedon was given the reins in episode 6. It's a touchy subject because no one's going to forget the Firefly situation (which most agree was a sad thing), so for Whedon to actually make it to season 2 again is of course a cheer for the fans. As objectively as possible, I consider Dollhouse as Whedon envisaged it to be far more potential as a series than TSCC, which had an inevitable shelf-life due to the outcome being somewhat known. If you've seen Dollhouse you'll know that Epitaph One sort of goes there, but not really.
All I get from your posts is 'I don't like Whedon', which is fair enough. The rest is fairly vacuous speculation. 'The hammer will fall' just makes me laugh -- you're relying on a vagary to ensure my agreement. Of course it'll fall, but if 'when' weren't a factor you would have said 'when'. As for how hard -- who cares? Axed is axed. Canceled is canceled. When it comes to something as black-and-white as 'renew/cancel', the magnitude of the hammer's blow is irrelevant to when it'll strike.
Thu, 2009-08-20 21:04
You're reading to much into
You're reading to much into my comments and turning things into a black and white, and personal issue. That would be leaning on things too hard. Perhaps people made the best choices from their perspective but I'm not sure they made the best choices overall. Management and finance aren't encouraging but, as I've suggested, there's always a price.
It's interesting how the producers of Terminator: Salvation blamed T:TSCC for cutting into their numbers. The fact that T4 was poorly conceived and executed and, well, just an unpopular POS didn't seem to enter their minds. Again, too much stupidity and money is riding on it for them to back down. This does not bode well but we shall see.
Aliens was bullshit. Titanic was syrup. Avatar looks like a chinese meal. That's some progression Cameron is making. If Cameron is supposed to be some big hero and a driving force behind sci-fi in the movies I'd rather he didn't bother. He's beginning to get the whiff of Wachowski brothers about him (and look how that ended).
It's depressing to think we may never experience another Star Wars in our lifetimes.
Fri, 2009-08-21 03:13
Oh, that's better.
...You opened with a less acerbic tone this time. Much appreciated.
Ayup, there's always a price. I haven't seen T:S yet, which is unusual because I've been a fan of Bale since American Psycho (yknow, before Batman), and didn't entirely hate Terminator 3. It just sort of came and went; I'm sure I'll see it on dvd/bluray at some point. By the same token, I never really associated the angle presented by it with TSCC either. They seemed sort of...separate, with their own agenda. So yeah, I agree, blaming TSCC for anything T:S related just indicates to me that the movie was so poor it has to blame what should have been virtually free advertisement for its inadequacies.
Oh, no. You're back to the harsh language and assertions. See, that's sort of why I take it as black-and-white, and personal. Those words, 'bullshit' and 'chinese meal' are nothing as adjectives if not personal and black-and-white. Aliens was pretty popular, and set the precedent for the action-movie follow-up to the horror in the sci-fi genre (which T2 is to the original T1), not to mention a slew of fun quotes and solidifying the badass-bitch image of Ripley. Titanic made a lot of money. A lot. Avatar, not out yet so I won't comment. I'm not entirely sure how we even got onto Cameron other than maybe some vague association to Summer Glau's character and the Terminator movies. How this relates to the issue of Dollhouse and T:TSCC is utterly beyond me, but hey, whatever. Let's see where the ride takes us.
I'd never tout the man as some big hero and a driving force, so again, not sure where you got that from.
As for your apparent lamentation for Star Wars...uhm...I don't think you should cry too loudly about the state of cinema and the clout of certain directors if you're going to hold even the original trilogy on a pedestal that cites them as unrivaled since. I suggest you read the original discussion between Spielberg and Lucas as they were brainstorming Raiders of the Lost Ark. Some of the crap Lucas comes out with is downright hilarious. Star Wars IV-VI was great, no doubt. But to want 'another in our life time'?...did you miss that little trilogy about the little people and a magic ring?
Fri, 2009-08-21 23:24
Avatar Review and Word of Mouth
BBC radio's art show "Front Row" reviewed Avatar at IMAX London. It's the biggest 3D screen so nobody has any technical excuses, and they said it was confused and underwhelming. I'm not suggesting "Front Row" are an authority on anything or that some people won't like it but the promotion campaign for Avatar whiffs a bit.
Studio executives are said to be "execited". In the current flat and talentless landscape anything that adds novelty interest and thwarts copyright infringement probably does "excite" them but beyond that it's last just years marketing strategy. The trailer gave away bad use of CGI and the whole story. It should be renamed 'Cameron Revolutions'.
Battlestar Galactica. Windows Vista. Avatar. Yay. It's telling when even the pirate networks won't carry something, and both the last series of Battlestar Galactica and Windows Vista were poorly represented. Nobody was that interested even when they could get it for free. You couldn't give it away. I suspect, Avatar will tell a similar story.
Wed, 2009-09-02 06:43
May I say that your BSG content is among the most demoralising and pedantic i've ever read. Your blog should be renamed 'Why I Hate Battlestar Galactica'.
Really, sir, a positive article would have been appreciated.
Mon, 2009-09-21 02:22
Brad is a faggot.
Brad is a faggot.
Mon, 2009-12-07 16:07
Demoralising and Pedantic...?
Then don't read it, wanker.
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