Monday, April 23, 2007

Ending Of An Era

I developed the site The Cartouche - Science Fiction Reviews with the hope of writing alot of reviews. I eagerly took notes during my favorites sci-fi shows, then put together my reviews. "The 4400" and "Battlestar Galactica" I found fairly easy follow, at first. But at times the plot and the technobabble are just too much to decipher. Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis have eluded me, lacking the interest to write about them. Mind you, I watch all the new episodes, and reruns. The "Dead Zone" as well.

As Stargate SG-1 has only 8 more episodes till it's last curtain call, I'm sure going to miss it. There just seems to be something special about shows made in Vancouver. I've never been there, in fact, never been anywhere in the northwest US or any part of Canada. But I think it would be a hoot to retire to Vancouver and make a living as a TV and movie extra. For now however, I have to stick with my day job and maybe a few pennies from these blogs.

So what's new on the Sci-fi horizon? "Pain Killer Jane" doesn't look too bad. But, it's already too complicated. I think this is a fatal error that will be it's undoing. It's my unqualified opinion the reason why "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was able to sustain such good ratings and a devoted following is simple. They stuck to the basics. Despite all their technobabble, we knew the 7 main characters would survive by the end of the episode. They followed the simple thigs that Gene Roddenberry envisioned. In the 24th century we have evolved to where material things do not matter, and we work to better ourselves. We've grown in our awareness of the universe and have created a safe and peaceful area of the galaxy. And we've grown strong enough with the knowledge, and gathered technology that keeps our enemys at arms length. When the credits rolled at the end of "Star Trek: TNG" episodes, one could feel hope for the future, and the world was a better place than it was just an hour earlier.

However, all other Star Trek series after it lost site of that. Although "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" started out with simple plot lines and simple character building, they introduces enemies and wars that left us (the viewers) alwasy feeling negative and hopeless. "Voyager" would have been easy to review, it stuck to the vision, for the most part. And despite poor ratings, we knew it would run 7 seasons, and in the series finale they would make it home. Granted it sure seemed destitute at times.

As for "Enterprise", it had potential. I don't truely think UPN gave it the benefit of the doubt. But the introduction of the Xindi was the beginning of the end. They turned a weekly series into a soap opera. People who were long time Trek fans were used to seeing a different episode each week, and the plots were completely different, and there was minimal crossover. Somewhere in the cranial lobes of the writers and producers they developed this obsession with carrying forward the details of the previous episode(s). It was certainly their undoing.

So as an avid sci-fi fan, and a critic, I hold "Star Trek: TNG" as the gold standard for all sci-fi shows. Why do you think "Battlestar Galactica" has down so well? The Ronald D. Moore's of the entertainment world need only look at the Star Trek franchise for examples of what and what NOT to do to survive. Is BSG complicated? Yes. But they shake things up, and they always keep you guessing. And when Mr. Moore wants to operate 'outside the box', he knows he's leaving the safe zone. BSG, albeit, a group of ragtag survivors, cling to the will to live and to succeed. When the Cylons seem to have them cornered, out manned, out gunned, or out witted, the human spirit rises above it all.

"StarGate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" have adopted this growing need to 'paint themselves into a corner'. I do not understand why there has to always be some superior bad guy, and the outlook is hopeless. The Ori and the Wraith, I wish they would just disappear. Be nice if they could pit one against the other and they just go away. What ever happened to the journey? What ever happened to exploring? Are they afraid no one would watch?

"Eureka" looked interesting at first, but it's fallen into that complicated trap. Note to the writers and producers, ease up on the details, and concentrate on fun. As Scotty once said "the more complicated you make the plumbing, the easier it is to clog up."

A older series that's making the rounds is "Jake 2.0". Another vicitm of UPN's shortsightedness. Ok, it was a bit overboard with the spy agency references, and they did a not-so-good job of portraying them. So hire a consultant to advise them on what's real and what's not. I am a staunch believer that if you want a non-sci-fi fan to watch your larger-than-life sci-fi show, the line between science and science fiction has to be blurred. Blurred to the point the viewer believe it could be real. "Jake 2.0" definately got a "F" in that subject. But I would have liked for it to stay around for another season to see if they could iron out the bugs. They didn't even air the last 3 episodes. Those 3 episodes made their first run in the SCIFI Channel earlier this year, and the last 3 episodes were dramatically different than the first 12.

John Crawford

Accokeek Computers
Accokeek Gifts
Mamas Best Recipes
The Cartouche - Science Fiction Reviews
Simple Opportunities
Conquer Your Niche

No comments: