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It’s Safe To Say: You’re Bonkers

Posted by Sunday on Sep 9, 2008 at 12:35 am in Daily Space, Movies

Okay, here we go again. Fellow nerdlings: I have no overlord. While I look upon the awkward Comic Book Guys with affection as they declare Joss Whedon to be their master now, I can’t help but recoil a little. And this is going to make me feel like a real huge asshole, but… cut it out. And especially, really cut it out if whomever you are declaring to be my master is actually a hit-or-miss upstart with a lot to prove still.

Case in point: SciFi Scanner’s John DeNardo thinks that JJ Abrams is now the hottest shit in science fiction. Which means that we’ve got to have a little sit-down.

forever_young_movie_poster.jpg

The man responsible for this is my overlord?

And, as usual, a caveat: I don’t think that any one scifi Master is infallible, so it should be no surprise where I’m going with this. Frank Herbert went bonkers. So did Lucas. William Gibson faded away while still being an active writer, which is sad and weird. James Cameron made Titanic and acted proud of it. You get my drift.

But Abrams, Mr. DeNardo, is not even up on the stage yet. Let’s make a list!

  1. You said: “Let’s ignore his non-scifi film and television work because, who cares?” Oh, I care. We care. You see, an overlord is not selectively an overlord, and the body of Abram’s work is not science fiction at all. You can call them “humble beginnings” but I call them “disqualifications.”
  2. You said: “Despite previous successes, or perhaps because of them, Abrams only recently grabbed the attention of scifi fans.” Just to be redundant: that’s because he just recently started making scifi.
  3. You said: “But what of Moore, Whedon, Moffat and Lucas? Mostly falling stars, I’m afraid.” I’ll grant you Lucas, but what the bloody fuck are you talking about? You list the three most successful scifi TV writers/producers today and then call them falling stars? Brother, I do not even know what you are on. Moore’s work (Battlestar Galactica) is now canon for reviving the genre. Whedon you claim is riding on past laurels though Dr. Horrible was great and Dollhouse looks promising – wait, when you say he’s relying on past glories, I guess you mean he’s still glorious? (Let’s not disregard the massively popular “Season 8″ Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic.) And Moffat’s re-energized Dr. Who is… limited to the small screen? Smells like a reach to me. Besides, the conclusion that Abrams is on top purely based on a vaguely plausible opinion that all the other greats are waning is wack. I SAID WACK.
  4. Cloverfield might have been a blockbuster, but it is a borderline critical failure. The LA Weekly, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Variety and Salon.com were not impressed.
  5. What we are left with is two potentially big science fiction hits: a new Star Trek movie and a new weekly TV show, Fringe. Claiming that both have already made Abrams an “overlord” is speculation, and poor bets to boot. Star Trek is as poised to backfire as it is to reheat the franchise; should it fail to do anything but blow minds, the future of Star Trek is all but a memory (it should be noted that Abrams did not write the upcoming Star Trek). I have to admit: I really want Star Trek to be good. I want it to be a hit. But there are more than enough aspects to give pause to any reasonable fan (Winona Ryder as Spock’s mom? The designer for the hideous Transformers being on board? A release date pushback? Abrams rumored to have rush “polished” the script to beat the writer’s strike?) And while Fringe indeed looks interesting, early emphasis on The X-Files similarities could just as easily lead to grand-scale disappointments.
  6. Speaking of Fringe: early gushing is definitely unadvised when Lost has yet to form a cohesive plotline. It is going to take a serious flexing of creative muscle to explain it all in a way that won’t have watchers throwing bricks at their TVs. People don’t like being strung along, it turns out. Particularly when there’s a real danger of it all ending up being an autistic boy with a snowglobe. Alias suffered the same fate: plot? Bah! MORE SEXY WIGS.
  7. This is my weakest point, but also my most personally nagging one: Abrams seems awfully interested in recreating someone else’s successful ideas. Cloverfield? Godzilla. Star Trek? Star Trek. Fringe? The X-Files. Upcoming: more Cloverfield and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. If he can do it well, I suppose I have nothing to argue about, but there is a little voice in the back of my head wondering what Abrams has to offer of his own. Oh right, that was Forever Young. There’s this jocky “so-and-so franchise needs a REBOOT!” tone that rubs me the wrong way. America needs their OWN GODZILLA! Wait, why? I’m gonna make a show about a NEW FEMALE FBI AGENT who totally investigates EVEN WEIRDER SHIT! Awesome – uh, but…

“SciFi Fans, You Have a New Overlord and His Name Is J.J. Abrams” by John DeNardo at SciFi Scanner.

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September 9th, 2008 | Daily Space, Movies

5 Responses to “It’s Safe To Say: You’re Bonkers”

  1. Aaron Says:

    for the record: sexy wigs will, without fail, improve anything you add them to.

  2. halcyon Says:

    Let’s staple a sexy wig to Biden! Who’s with me?!

  3. Nastybear Says:

    Winona Freaking Ryder! Spock mom you got to be shitting me!

  4. Sunday Says:

    I would never shit anyone about Winona Ryder ruining another science fiction film. She’s like the Keanu Reeves anti-matter. Or regular matter, depending on if you like Reeves or not. I’m not making any sense, I’m happy to say.

  5. halcyon Says:

    Not sure when science fiction became a catch-all category for any story not set in the world-as-we-know-it, but that seems to be how the scanners see it. By their definition, the new 90210 is Sci-fi, and so was the old one. Step aside Aaron Spelling, because Jeff Judah is the new master of sci-fi!

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