Archive for the ‘Opinion/Analysis’ Category

On Reboots, Changes, and Fandom Reaction

Ghostbusters rebootWith the release of the all-female Ghostbusters reboot and the recent news about Sulu’s character in Star Trek Beyond (and comments from both Takei and Simon Pegg regarding it), I feel like this is a good time to discuss something that’s kind of been itching at me for a while now. That is, as I often talk about, the subject of reboots, and what kind of changes the existing fandom should expect or be willing to tolerate when a movie’s being remade. We live in a world where the overwhelming majority of media that’s released is in the form of reboots, remakes, and revivals, with original content few and far between (at least for cinema, anyway). This is a problem that’s got roots in other issues, however, regarding representation of minorities in media and all kinds of social justice problems that are highly controversial, but I’m looking at this through the same lens of franchises, reboots, and fandom that I always discuss here.

Here’s hoping I don’t regret this, eh?

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A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: M.A.N.T.I.S.

MANTISLike an eclipse in the dark night sky, the Obscure Sci-Fi Primer makes its periodic reappearance. And speaking of things that emerge in the night, our subject this month is a vigilante-by-night superhero series M.A.N.T.I.S. A 1994 series, it debuted on Fox and, surprise of all surprises, lasted only one season. That might not sound like a recipe for success, especially given that better known superheroes had been failing to find an audience on TV for years at the time, and M.A.N.T.I.S. followed an original character that no one had any preexisting reason to care about. But this show had some interesting creative forces behind it–namely Sam Hamm (writer for Batman 1989 and Batman Returns) and Sam Raimi (known at the time for Evil Dead, but who would go on to spark the modern Superhero Movie craze with Spider-Man 2002). While it’s largely remembered today for being one of the first film or TV productions to focus on a black superhero, this aspect was… well, a big part of why the show struggled to find an audience, unfortunately. This didn’t factor into the plot or character as much as the creators wanted it to, which leads one to ask: did the show that made it to air deserve to find an audience? Let’s find out. Read more

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 Retrospective

ReentryAs Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. draws its third season to a close with the promise of a fourth already secured, it’s coming into its own as a quality production within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But there are quite a few people who, these days, might question where SHIELD really is within the MCU at all any more. The stakes are always getting higher, and the question becomes harder to deny than ever before: how are these events not catching the attention of the Avengers?

Let’s take a look at how SHIELD season 3 developed and what it means for the MCU as a whole, and the connection between TV and film projects within it.

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What Could Have Been: The What-Ifs of The Arcology–Friday Four

The ArcologySomething different comes our way this week–as I’m running low on TV shows I can actually scrape up some research on, I thought it might interest some of my newfound readers to learn the alternate paths the story of my novel, The Arcology, could have taken. It went through a lot of revisions, some of them radically different. It seemed like a better way to present this was in the list format, so why not do it that way? I swear I’m not just trying to kill 3 birds with one stone…

Buckle in as we move through some possible versions of The Arcology and I give a bit of an idea as to why I didn’t go with them.

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What Could Have Been: Defying Gravity Season 2+

Defying Gravity Season 2Yet another show coming to us by special request, Defying Gravity was basically doomed from day 1 due to network mismanagement and a (frankly baffling) mix of genres that failed to find an audience. However, the show’s creator, James Parriott, had plotted out several seasons worth of material that would’ve been covered in subsequent seasons, and as is so often the case, what was coming was far more interesting than what we saw. The answers to Beta, Gamma, and the fates of these horrifically incompetent and immature characters were left hanging when the show was canceled. Here’s what I’ve found for Defying Gravity season 2 and beyond.

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A Subjectively Obscure SciFi Primer: Defying Gravity

Defying GravityAfter a few months off, the Obscure SF Primer returns with a more recent show than most. Defying Gravity is a 2009 series that aired on ABC for a few weeks, and was pretty much doomed from the start by network mismanagement. Only 13 episodes were made, with some of them never being shown in the US until the DVD release. Defying Gravity is a bit of an odd bird, another genre crossover (like Century City) between the soap opera-esque antics of hospital shows like Grey’s Anatomy and ER and “relatively” hard sci-fi. As you might expect, these two radically different genres share very little in the way of fans; the mere mention of “Grey’s Anatomy IN SPACE” was enough to turn off your average sci-fi fan, while people who tune in each week for the ups and downs of character relationships couldn’t care less about the “science” and exploration that was supposed to be involved. But given all that, is there any redeeming value in this show for those of us no the sci-fi side? Let’s find out.

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Doctor Who Series 9 Retrospective

Capaldi Doctor Who Series 9Doctor Who undergoes its periodic changes from time to time, and our last big change was the arrival of Capaldi’s version of the Doctor last year in series 8. Series 8 was very much a mixed bag, and unfortunately it often seemed like the bad outweighed the good. And in a lot of ways, Doctor Who Series 9 has been much the same, but a clearer vision emerged as it went on. This season has been made up almost exclusively of 2-parters with running subplots, continuing the trend established last year. And there were also huge revelations and things we the fans have been waiting for appearing at last–but was it all done in a satisfying way?

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What Could Have Been: The Doctor Who TV Movie

McGann Doctor Who TV MovieAs we’ve done once before, instead of a season for a show that was canceled, this month we’re going to look at the plans for a series that never actually materialized at all. In this case, we’re looking at the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor. The series was a co-production that aired on Fox, and was passed on for really stupid reasons that we’ll not get into here. But, given that it was essentially a pilot movie that was intended to lead into a full continuation of the classic BBC Doctor Who, there were quite a lot of plans as to where the show would’ve gone and what it might have included. How does it stack up to the eventual modern Doctor Who? Let’s find out.

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4 of the Least Effective Sci-Fi Rebellions — Friday Four

Chakotay Star Trek Voyager Sci-Fi rebellionsEvil empires are a sci-fi staple, and every evil empire is going to have its own sci-fi rebellions to deal with. The only problem? Well, the bad guys are way better organized and equipped. This isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, but for some of the resistance movements out there, it may as well be. Not every Rebellion has the Force on their side, after all, and some of them can barely agree that they’re all on the same side. When you add infighting, tactical missteps, and poor planning to the mix, it’s a miracle they ever even accomplish anything at all. With that in mind, here are 4 of the least effective rebel groups ever to show up in sci-fi.

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What Could Have Been: Max Headroom Season 2.5? Animation? The Max Headroom Movie?

Max CityEarlier this month I introduced Max Headroom, the fictional show starring the computerized celebrity of the same name. If you’ve read that you know I had a pretty high opinion of the series itself, a fine example of 80’s cyberpunk on its own and one of the only TV programs to venture into that territory at the time. However, it seemed the world wasn’t quite ready for the dystopian adventures of Max, and the show met with cancellation after two exceptionally short seasons. Production was still in full swing at the time, though, so what did we miss out on by this abrupt ending? or Max Headroom season 3? And hell, even in spite of the cancellation, their plans for Max’s world weren’t done–a Max Headroom theatrical movie, anyone?

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