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Letters from Proxima Thule

I agree SO much with this. It reminds me of all the books that are reviewed as OMGawesome!and!new! by mainstream reviewers because those reviewers have assiduously avoided anything with the genre label. So when something like Kazuo Ishiguro's clone story comes along, it's well-written, but only a revelation to those who pretend that no one can play with clones and still be, you know, artists.

How do you feel about the direction that Alias took with the Rambaldi plots?

I liked the Rambaldi stuff ok until it was taken over by terrible writing in S4--I never even watched S5. But Alias made itself a fantasy/sf show with it, make no mistake.

Excellent rant.

Last week's interview with the creators was also surprisingly sucky. Turns out they wanted to introduce the crazy fantasy sidewind stuff so that they can make sure people know that the Smoke Monster is TOTES EVIL.

I don't even know why they felt they needed to make the point, and especially not by killing the last Asians on the show all in one episode. o.O

Seriously--though why it should be so important to have no ambiguity or interesting moral grey to the show is beyond me. The side universe bores the shit out of me and almost no one I care about is left. Desmond, but he's all happy zombie now.

I tried to watch Lost when it began, and couldn't get past the characters enough to even pay much attention to the one episode I watched.
Recently, I tried to watch the Pilot or first episode or whatever on Hulu or Netflix. Same deal. I just did not care, but in the back of my mind I still thought "maybe I should give it another chance sometime". Your post has just changed my mind on that. I'm not going to waste my time with the show if this is how its creators are treating it. Meh. And it's really too bad because so many people I know have been so in love with this show.

I love it! Right up until this season when the abandoned everything that made it good and went for Lord of the Rings lite.

I don't know what happened, I felt like last season there was a flurry of articles like this one basically stating the show was outing itself as sci-fi. Which made me feel good, and happy with every one, and amused that Evangeline Lilly doesn't get the mythology, because obviously, neither does Kate.

...to say it's not sci-fi now seems... back-tracky.

Well it's kind of fantasy now. They've backtracked and gone back on what they said before so many times--it's always been SF. Also, they said we'd get the MIB's name and that it was a HUGE REVEAL and now they're like: why would you care about that? We're never going to tell you. How weird that you would even think of it.

Indeed. Basically, it's that the writers are still emotionally in junior high, worrying that their love of science fiction and fantasy will result in yet another locker room wedgie. If they'd recognize they're adults and that having a backbone might pay off for more than just them, well... But no, "no one" wants science fiction. That's totally why it became a hit, obviously.

It became a hit because of Kate and Jack and Sawyer OBVIOUSLY. EVERYONE LOVES LOVE TRIANGLES.

I feel that I'm fairly easily entertained because that's just the kind of person that I am, so I haven't been hating this season as much as everyone else is. But you're absolutely right. This is so not the show I started watching six years ago. I made a deal with myself to hold my tongue and see how the season ended, but with this whole "magical light" in the Island... yeah.

Whatevs, we can rant on Sunday. I think a lot of us will be.

They said it wasn't sci-fi? I knew it was going to be sci-fi about half-past the pilot. (Which I then stopped watching because I knew it'd devolve into X-Files-land and three kinds of stupid aliens and massively ridiculous coupleship. I hate being right.)

They've said many times it's not. And then when they started with the time travel they were like but it's still not a genre show it's all about the chaaaaaaracters.

Also, no aliens, and really, the shipping is pretty minimal onscreen. No one's together right now.

Just like if a person in your story got pregnant, she would eventually have to have the baby or people would be upset and confused.

Now I want to see this written. I... think I'm missing the point. :/

No, you're just a genre reader. You wonder "Oooh, what would happen if..." and want to follow the logic through to someplace interesting. :-)

It would totally make an interesting story. (I believe that usually, IRL, the answer is induced labor and/or Caeserian section. What would make that impossible...?)

I seriously stopped keeping up with the show after the 3rd season. My interest in TV as a whole has really waned and it's the sort of show that's hard to get back into if you've missed anymore than 2 episodes in a row. But I do plan on catching up eventually and am still interested in where the show has gone since I stopped watching it.
I hated the supposedly important characters as well, apart from Locke. Kate, Jack, Sawyer = YAWN CITY. Saying the show is all about the characters is so incredibly dumb I don't even know what to say. Like, I love stories that are focused on characters and grow from that level, but come on guys, this is LOST! The hook isn't just the characters, it's the situation the characters are in and the whole mystery of the island and all the awesome things that might be lurking on it. Face it, you're writing SF suspense and there's nothing wrong with that!

Also, I've often thought that most TV series would work better with limited runs, like what they do in Britain. Shows with mythology-based arcs especially.

Well, they limited themselves to 6 seasons and the sixth is by far the worst. Terrible writing, flaccid storytelling.

Also I'd say the lure was never the characters at all, ever. It was always the mystery.

I didn't think LOST was SF in the first episode. It seemed more like fantasy, with ghosts appearing, a smoke monster, crippled people walking, etc. I don't think it took a turn toward science fiction until they got inside the hatch, really. And I was fine with it, because I figured the creators were totally trying to trick mundanes into watching genre, as Abrams did with Alias. I was thrilled when they brought Desmond's time travel into it--you don't get much more SF than that. (Though it reminded me of Slaughterhouse Five, which of course is a literary novel.) Parallel universes? Sign me up. I can't believe they're trying to pass this off as anything else.

That said, I have always cared more about the characters than anything else, including the mysteries of the island. Even though they don't always do a great job with them, this is why I didn't mind the slow slog of Season 3, because they were expanding on the characters' backstory.

In a show about faith, I still hope they can surprise me in the end. The rampant mysticism doesn't sit well with me, but at least it was established fairly early, as opposed to the last minute WTF of Battlestar Galactica.

Edited at 2010-05-19 08:53 pm (UTC)

Which characters do you care about? The only ones I like are Desmond, Juliet, Daniel...well, that's kind of it.

" There is literally not a single realist show that could not be made more awesome by adding robots, monsters, time travel, or magic."

So right. Which makes me think that the logical next step, especially now that Law & Order is off the air (or at least not producing new eps) would be a crime/courtroom procedural with science fictional and/or supernatural stuff being real and acknowledged. I'd say it couldn't miss, but admittedly it would need some really smart writers who could figure out how the legal system might accommodate to the reality of time travel or real working curses, or how a forensic witch might work, and so on.

"Law & Order & Zombies, coming this Fall on NBC!"

I'd say it couldn't miss, but admittedly it would need some really smart writers who could figure out how the legal system might accommodate to the reality of time travel or real working curses, or how a forensic witch might work, and so on.

I nominate the Shadow Unit staff. Heck, maybe I just nominate Shadow Unit.

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Of course, it's already been done in comics: http://www.webcomicsnation.com/supernaturallaw/

But that just demonstrates how cool it could be, and it strikes me that it would make for a short and snappy pitch as well.

This entry made me laugh!

There's a glowcave in Lost now?

You've got me thinking though... a party where all the genres turn up as guests. SF, fantasy, romantic comedy, gritty police drama, thiller, horror, extraextraemo etc. Who gets drunk and fights with who? Who holes up in the kitchen raiding the fridge?

I bet someone's done it already though:)

..... am I lucky I never got started with this?

"Geeks forgive. Geeks endure."
Is my favorite line.
Should possibly be an LED T-shirt.

I admit to never having watched Lost, but am kind of interested in doing so just to watch it turn into the train wreck you describe. But I am mostly commenting because of this:
Lastly, Darlton, please stop giving interviews because you guys sound like jerks and you can't even remember what you said/promised/insisted about this show last week. Moffat, you too.

I've had to stop watching Doctor Who Confidential because every time Moffat comes on screen, I want to punt him through the wall for being a jerk. This makes me sad, since I love watching behind the scenes type things.

The end.

Fantastic rant. I have not watched Lost much, only a few episodes from season 1, because they happened to be on instant streaming from Netflix. And I never really got attached to it (partly because I was so far behind and I had other shows of interest).

But regardless, everything

I've fallen in love with Fringe recently, and it treats it's mythology with loving respect (interesting, because it's produced by J.J. Abrams, like Lost). Everything about the arc progressed at a natural pace over season 1 and 2, and from the very beginning the rules of the mythology was clearly defined. Even if you didn't understand everything at every moment, as a viewer you got a sense that the answers were there waiting to be unearthed.

Season 2 is going to end tomorrow, and a lot of things are going to be resolved. It'll be interesting where they will take things from here, and it they will be able to hold everything together over coming seasons.

Interesing that you should say that, because Fringe has signally failed to interest me in its mythology, and by this point I've lost track of probably 70% of the so-called Pattern and what answers might lie underneath it. But I heart Walter, and Peter when they remember to do anything with him, and Dunham pleases me to a surprising degree, so that's why I keep watching.

My first thought is 'why do these people think that character-driven drama and SF show are mutually exclusive'? But I am a genre fan...

(Also, my first recollection of Lost is Mom and Grandma debating what the heck was going on near the end of Season 1 -- Mom said 'alien abduction' and Gramma said 'they all died in a plane crash and are in Purgatory'. Of course, my mother is a genre fan. (I'd say 'story about Purgatory' would be fantasy, but Gramma was a pretty devout Catholic...))

My first thought is 'why do these people think that character-driven drama and SF show are mutually exclusive'?

Because they never saw Farscape? I guess?

Oh sweet god damn, YES. Thank you for saying everything I want to say about Lost but have never been eloquent enough to.

I stopped watching Lost in about the middle of the second season and haven't watched another show. I loved the first season(I have it on DVD)but the second season just lost me totally. I agree, admit it's a SF show and move on, people.

See, I avoided Lost for the longest time because it looked like Survivor meets Gilligan's Island. I just wasn't up for that.

Then I heard people complain that there was fancy time travel and science! involved, and I was like, 'hell ya, I will watch the hell out of this show now!"

S5 was absolutely amazing, and what we have now is just, bah. Horrible. This season has been far too predictable. It's strayed away from SF to Fantasy, and the only thing I seem to care about (Desmond) seems to be constantly side tracked by Jack. Or Kate. Or the possible "whoops you guys guessed right, the island = hell."

I've spent the past two months watching the last 5 seasons via Netflix Instant, and I demand an awesome finale, gosh dangit.

Edited at 2010-05-19 11:47 pm (UTC)

Season 5 was so awesome. Can't believe it was overlooked by the Hugo voters.

But yeah, this season has no surprises. It's like: will the lamest fan theory please stand up time.

.. what is, in essence, a bunch of loud kids running into the SF playroom and busting up all the toys because they don't know how to use them.

Sing it.


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