Monday, August 13, 2007

29 ’Av 5767: Blame Someone Else Day


In observance of today’s quasi-holiday, I blame Fred, the imaginary evil fourth Adelman brother.  I have no idea what I am blaming Fred for, but I blame him anyway.

Today’s news and commentary:Today’s weird thing was submitted by someone with a strange sense of style and is included below. Enjoy and share the weirdness.


Shame on the Sci Fi network! Recently they showed the pilot for a new series, Flash Gordon, based on the never-ending permutations of comic strips, movies, and television series.

Gordon's alive? Barely it seems.

In this version, Flash Gordon and Dale Arden seem to be made of plastic and have as much chemistry as the Emperor Ming has kindness. This is surely not the actors' fault. Even if they were the greatest players in Shakespearean theater, they could have hardly done better with this writing. Unlike their admirable remake of Battlestar Galactica, which explored the possibilities of the situation and fleshed out the characters into credible people, this version is no more sophisticated than the earlier versions. This might be forgivable if it were lovably cornball, but the actors are too serious and the production values too dull. Indeed, if anything the production is cheap and the premise distorted about this cheapness. Mongo is not reached by Dr. Zarkov's homemade spaceship, but by a small device which looks and works much like the "timer" on Sliders. We see little of Mongo or its grandeur, so little that, even with the establishing shot, that the tiny bit of Mongo that Ming claims to rule is not so much a city as a building that might be smaller than the Mos Eisley catania. Yes, people know more about space travel now than they did when the original serials appeared, but pointing a television remote control to empty space and zapping a gateway there could have been done with a bit more charm. The laziness extends to the writing as well, which gets dull and predictable. Gordon and Arden had a previous relationship, and even though she is engaged to someone else, they are inevitably drawn together in their pursuit of a plot device. Ming's daughter is given slightly more depth than before in her motivations, but she is not given any chance to develop properly. While they expurgated the potentially racist insinuations by making Ming a blond-haired blue-eyed Caucasian, they did hardly anything to make him more interesting; he was not even made an amusing megalomaniac, just an uninteresting one. (Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz still reigns as the best megalomaniac dictator of all time.) The ultimate insult was the choice of plot device for this pilot. Instead of Dr. Zarkov dragging Gordon and Arden with him into space when he realizes that a rain of rocks from the sky is an attack by Ming, the writers gave Gordon a father who worked with Zarkov in creating the Sliders device, and who apparently had a device called the "Imex" which is the character-attracting macguffin. I shan't reveal what the "Imex" is, but if you haven't identified it well before Gordon does, you deserve to be enslaved by Ming.

Needless to see, this is extremely disappointing, and I would be rather battling the most viscious soldiers that Mongo can send to us than this abominable waste of time. And with Battlestar Galactica coming to a close, it seems there will hardly be anything left there to be watching at all. Pity.

Prince Vultan of the Hawk People

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