athelind: (hoard potato)
This morning, [livejournal.com profile] leonard_arlotte said:

So I've seen commercials for Tomorrow People, but ain't watched it. I am left with a nagging question.

What's the difference between this show and Alphas?

I did see the commercial and think, "Oh look, another show about pretty people with super powers" ...



That's a pretty glib dismissal ... but it's not wrong.

I watched the first episode, and really, the big difference between the two shows is that I didn't want to immediately smack everybody in Alphas, protagonist and antagonist alike.

The big conflict in this show is "OH NOES NORMALS HATE US BECAUSE WE'RE BEAUTIFUL WE HAVE POWERS!!1!"

... just like every other Pretty People With Powers series in the last decade. Heroes, the 4400, Alphas ... even the X-Movies. Show after show after show, and it's all Maintaining the Masquerade so the Mundanes don't Molest the Metahumans. The protagonists only deal with two kinds of adversaries: Dark Conspiracies Who Want To Herd Them All Into Labs and/or "Cure" Them, and Bad People With Powers That Have The Exact Same Origin As Ours.

Assuming you can tell the protagonists from the antagonists, of course.

Moreover ... every single one of these shows characterizes the Pretty People With Powers as "The Next Evolutionary Step" that will "Drive Humanity To Extinction". It's not always just the paranoid norms who think so, either.*

I, for one, am bored with this. It's ... metahuman masturbation, is what it is. All the conflict centers around The Powers, and if you take The Powers away (as several interchangeable adversaries want to do), all the conflict vanishes.

It's like they think viewers aren't smart enough to handle a world that has more than one crazy thing going on at a time.

The sad part is that The Tomorrow People is a remake of a classic BBC series from the 1970s, the era that gave us Blake's 7, and Pertwee and Baker as Doctor Who.**

By contrast, take a look at what they threw at the original 1970s version of Tomorrow People. Aliens! Robots! Alien Robots!

Think the new series is going to touch that subplot where the Tomorrow People are in touch with the "Galactic Federation", who shepherd developing telepathic races as they "break out"?

I don't.

And that's a pity.


* To give Alphas its due, Professor X Dr. Rosen at least paid lip service to the idea that the Alphas were just exceptional humans at the skinny end of the bell curve ... but he was about the only person in the show who did, and even he didn't seem to buy it completely.
** Don't get pedantic with me. That's how they're listed in the credits.
athelind: (Sci Fi)
The Threepenny Space Opera: An Introduction

WARNING! TV TROPES!

This is the first in a series of posts under the head of The Threepenny Space Opera, in which Your Obedient Serpent bandies about ideas and concepts for science fiction RPG settings. These are primarily Notes To Myself, and the different concepts may or may not be compatible with each other in a single milieu.

I have been in a Star Wars Saga Edition game for the last four years, and, while I enjoy it a great deal, I confess that I enjoy it in spite of the setting, not because of it. It is hardly an original insight to assert that the Lucasian setting isn't "really" science fiction, but rather, fantasy with a thin veneer of technology; it has some truth to it, but that doesn't curtail my ability to enjoy a rip-roaring laser-adorned Hero's Journey.

If forced to pick a side when the line is drawn between Romanticism and Enlightenment, however, Your Obedient Serpent falls squarely in the latter camp.1 There are elements of Classic Space Opera that are Very Important To Your Obedient Serpent, and they can only be shoehorned into the Galaxy Far Far Away with great effort -- and are entirely absent from, say, Dark Heresy and many of the other starfaring settings offered to the RPG community.

I am rambling, which is nothing new. Let me therefore invoke that tool of PowerPoint abusers worldwide, and proffer a Bullet List:

  • I want a vision of a hopeful, optimistic future. Cautionary tales are an important part of the science fiction estate, but they aren't, contrary to Post-Modern thought, more "mature" or "sophisticated" or "valid". When all the visions of the future are dystopian, when the only message from tomorrow is "Beware", then where will we find the hope and inspiration to drive us forward?

  • I want to Explore Strange New Worlds. Even Star Trek: the Next Generation fell short on this one, keeping NCC-1701-D largely within the borders of the Federation, boldly staying where everyone had gone before; the movies, of course, abandon the notion of "exploration" entirely.

  • I want to Save the Day with SCIENCE!! I want a setting and a system where the Vulcan manning the sensors contributes as much to the adventure as the Dashing Space Pilot.

  • And on that note, I want a game that doesn't shy away from starships and space combat, while making sure that ALL the player characters can take active roles when the Space Pirates drop out of Netherspace, or the Negative Space Wedgie looms on the main screen. I want a game that's not afraid of starmaps, and where travel between the worlds is an opportunity, not an obstacle (or a quick screen-wipe).


There will be more forthcoming.


1 In the topsy-turvy backwards world of Literary Jargon, I am an unrealistic dreamer because I reject Romanticism.

athelind: (hoard potato)

One:

I've finally figured out my utter dis1 for DC's recent business model of resurrecting Silver Age characters who got killed off in the '80s and '90s because they couldn't sustain their own titles.

As I mentioned the other day, I don't like zombies.2

Certainly, remembering, as one example, the long, dragged, out "Trial of the Flash" that closed out Barry Allen's run months before he met his end in Crisis on Infinite Earths is not that far removed from having the fragrance of three-month-old sea lion carcasses waft unbidden through one's amygdala.3

At least when Marvel turns its colorfully-costumed characters into shambling undead mockeries, they're occasionally honest about it.


Two:

DC is releasing a series of prequels to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' classic graphic novel, Watchmen.

I reserve judgment on whether or not this is a bad move; really, I'm finding myself far too tickled by the outrage of the fandom (and Alan Moore) to really have many objections myself (and besides, one of them will have Darwyn Cooke art).

However, something occurred to me the other day:

Watchmen is older than most of the "old comics" it was based on were when it was published.



1disinterest/disappointment/distaste/disdain/disregard/dyspepsia ...
2I wanna shoo-oo-oo-oot the whole trend down!
3I have a dread suspicion that that storyline, which seemed to take forever at the time, might seem a masterpiece of snappy pacing compared to the "decompressed" storytelling of today's "decompressed".

athelind: (Beware My Power)
You know what?

I don't care if it's been over-hyped.

I don't care if parts of the previews might look a little iffy.

I don't care if Ryan Reynolds is playing Hal as a flippant jackass; this is, after all, Hal Frakking Jordan.

Deep down inside, all I care about is that the superhero who's been my very favorite since I was six years old had made it to the big screen in a sweeping special-effects epic.

I realized yesterday that, for the first time in more years than I can remember, I am genuinely excited to the point of impatience for a new movie, a new superhero movie.

It doesn't matter if it's good, bad, or indifferent.

Friday night, I'm taking my six-year-old self to see Green Lantern, and it will be awesome.


Cross-Posted to Kirby Dots & Ditko Ribbons.

November 2016

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