Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Form Comments

Say whatever you want to in the comments to this post -- random, off topic thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions, recommendations, criticisms (which can be anonymous), surveys, introductions if you have never commented before, personal news, self-promotion, requests to be added to the blog roll and so on. If I forget, remind me. Remember these comments can be directed at all the readers, not just me.

ALSO. You can use this space to re-ask me questions you asked me before that I failed to answer because I was too busy.

AND you can use this space to comment on posts that are old enough that no one is reading the comments threads anymore.

You do not have to have a blogger account or gmail account to post a comment -- you can write a comment, write your name at the bottom of your comment like an e mail, and then post using the "anonymous" option.

WRITING FOR THIS BLOG. If I see a big free form comment that deserves more attention, I will pull it and make it its own post, with a label on the post and on the sidebar that will always link to all the posts you write for this blog. I am always looking for reviews of games, tv, movies, music and books.

47 comments:

Andy said...

OK I'll get it started:
http://www.shinyshelf.com/article/3/4/1618
from io9, a Sci-Fi news blog, is an article by Lance Parkin, critic and Doctor Who novelist. He reviews the new Trek movie quite positively which I agree with but then take time out to slug Joss Whedon in the gut:

"Abrams has long been the guy that actually does all the things Joss Whedon's fans only imagine their guy does - that Abrams launched a 'Star Trek' movie that'll outgross all the 'TNG' movies put together, saw its sequel greenlit and 'Fringe' renewed all on the very same Friday that 'Dollhouse' finally died in a ditch settles it, we can declare a winner and all move on."

(*note* Whedon is currently in talks for a second season of Dollhouse)

OK first off, I didn’t know Abrams and Whedon were battling one another. Secondly, this seems like quite a tangent in a Star Trek review. Most importantly, I think Parkin is not acknowledging the cultural magnitude and importance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon created Buffy, a cultural icon that will live a lot longer in the cultural consciousness than Sidney Bristow from Alias. In fact, the tough action lead heroine roll was paved by Buffy 4 years prior. Abrams did not create Star Trek, he gave it a fantastic facelift which I loved. Whedon hasn’t been handed a property of this magnitude but I have faith he could have done an equally stellar job (see Firefly). Whedon is currently running Dollhouse, a show that is difficult to love. I’ve heard conflicting stories of its origin, but it appears to be a star vehicle for Dushku. Either way, it’s a very different animal than a summer blockbuster and I feel Parkin merely has an axe to grind.

Jason said...

I love you, Lance Parkin.

Andy said...

also:
Dr.
Horrible's
Sing-Along
Blog

That is all.

Andy said...

So apparently, Jason, you either disagree with my stance, have an issue with Whedon or Dollhouse, or genuinely know of and enjoy the works of Lance Parkin?

Jason said...

"You either disagree with my stance, have an issue with Whedon or Dollhouse, or genuinely know of and enjoy the works of Lance Parkin?"

Issue with Whedon. I've ranted about it before.

I actually don't disagree with you ... Seems like a weird tangent to take and I despise the idea of using commercial success as a barometer of "who is better" because it can only be true if it is *always* true. But in that case, well, the old saw, "That would mean Britney Spears is the best singer in the world!" etc.

But I do think Abrams' sense of story and dialogue is keener than Whedon's, definitely. They both use a lot of the same tricks, but Whedon is too blatant for my taste. He likes to draw attention to how clever he's being, and he constantly takes me out of his (well-constructed) stories. Abrams goes for (and I think almost always achieves) verisimilitude in his dialogue, while still being witter than Whedon, and as such he makes me care about his characters almost instantly.

All of which is to say, I kind of like that this Parkin guy apparently has some similar thoughts, even if there was no need to plug it into a movie review ... and certainly ridiculous to say that the success of Star Trek and Fringe alongside the failure of Dollhouse is any kind of definitive "victory." (Especially since Fringe kinda sucks, last time I checked. Although you didn't hear me say that.)

Jason said...

Okay, I just read the full review. Is he saying that the Star Wars prequels are good?

I hate you, Lance Parkin.

hcduvall said...

I think Parkin's point of interest is not so much Whedon, but the rose-colored glass wearing portion of his fans (an admittedly vocal one). Joss Whedon is sort of collateral damage.

Funnily enough, while I would actually appreciate the occasional critical take of Whedon's, it does read like sour grapes. It's all the worse because whatever faults Dollhouse, Firefly, and the whole shebang may have, "hey, its not as popular" is weak sauce as criticism, and because Parkin is doing the same thing for Abrams that he seems to detest. I enjoyed Star Trek, and this doesn't actually detract from it, but the more I think about it the more I think that the actors mostly played the original actors, as opposed to actual parts. Continuity is both baggage and shorthand, and while approachable, Abram's relied heavily on familiarity while not actually laying much down for the franchise to build on. And he's just about used that familiarity up.

And I think that it was big fun, but the movie had next to nothing of the old populist utopian charm, at least to this fan, so Parkin's just making jazz hands to buff up his reading of the movie there.

Jason said...

I don't agree about the characterizations. I think the actors (and writers, and Abrams) really took ownership of those roles. I think the only major exception was Karl Urban's McCoy, who makes a strong impression in his first scene, then has his significance kind of dwindle as the plot heads in a direction that has no real use for a doctor. (And Urban got more and more into imitation the further into the movie, I thought.)

Certainly Abrams plays on the familiarity a bit, but all virtually across the board these characters made fresh new impressions on my psyche, or at least made them seem much cooler than they ever had in my mind before.

Jake said...

Ummmmmmmmmmm,

Joss Whedon is a writer. JJ Abrams is a producer/director. For the most part. He's written, but I dunno. A comparison is pretty awkward. Especially on stuff like dialogue.

Jason said...

True to some extent, I suppose. But both have been showrunners on long-running series with a very particular and clear authorial voice. Abrams didn't write every episode of "Alias" and Whedon didn't write every episode of "Buffy," but I knew exactly what kind of dialogue to expect from either show.

Plus, how many different things do you have to see from a writer to know whether you like or dislike his writing style? Whedon has probably written much more, but I feel pretty certain that I have viewed a good five hours' worth of Abrams-penned material. Would a sixth hour's worth turn me around on him?

Jake said...

I'm not arguing your opinion of liking Abrams stuff more than Whedon stuff--it is, after all, your opinion. I was just pointing out that, I dunno, Abrams hasn't really been a writer since, like, early Alias days (I quit watching Alias in season 3 so I don't know if he kept writing it, really. And I didn't quit because I didn't like it, but because I used to watch it in reruns at like, midnight on some channel, and they quit playing them and I just never pursued it. I do think Lost is maybe the best tv drama of all time).

It's funny how, yeah, as showrunners, Whedon and Abrams have similar voices, yet guys like Drew Goddard, David Fury, and Brian K. Vaughan have worked effectively on Alias and Lost as well as Buffy and Angel (BKV only in the comics, but whatevs).


I do think that my designating Whedon as more of a writer and Abrams as more of a producer colors my opinion of them. I love them both, but I guess I see Whedon as more of a doctor and Abrams as more of a surgeon--a "cutter." I feel like Whedon spends more time with his patients. Abrams is more, well, surgical.

On a related note, I watched Star Trek yesterday. It was pretty great. I wish they would have just rebooted completely though. 90% of that movie was for me, a relative Trek virg, who always changed the channel when the one with Professor X was on because it was SOOOO BORING. And this movie was not. It was all action and Kirk's charisma makes me want to try the original 60s show and maybe even rent the first couple movies. I don't understand WHY they would make a decision to move away from that kind of character to the no-fun stuff I always see on TV. Man.

But like I said, I wish the old man Spock stuff wasn't in it. It felt like it was simply appeasing the minority of Trek nerds who would bitch about their years of commitment being for naught because of a reboot. This movie, like I said, was 90% for me, but I am greedy. I wanted 100% of it. It seems like sequels will be great though, with no reason to tie into the now-alternate canon. Plus the cast seemed pretty young so hopefully we can get 2 more flicks with everyone. Except that Uhura chick--she's like 30 already! I looked it up. 'Cuz I want to bone her.

Jake said...

not "similar voices," I meant similarly AUTHORITATIVE voices. duh jake.

James said...

hcduvall: "Abrams relied heavily on familiarity"

Oh yeah, that was something I was not smart enough to say. I keep hearing about the great character work in the movie, and all I can think is that people are remembering the characters from the original show. I don't fault Abrams for it, but I find it odd that it gets specific praise when the movie just didn't have a lot of time to spend on character development.

Jason: "Urban got more and more into imitation the further into the movie, I thought"

That's funny, I thought his very first scene ("she left me nothing but my BONES! You hear me? I mean, you may as well CALL me that, because it's all I've GOT. BONES") was some heavy-duty (and pretty good) impersonatin', and he relaxed out of it from there. (Although that presupposes they shot his first scene first, so it's almost certainly just my perception.)

I can see the appeal of pitting Abrams and Whedon against one another - they both do sci-fi, TV, hipness and sentimentality - but it does sound like that guy has an axe to grind. Abrams' star is rising, Whedon not so much right now, end of story. The rest sounds like uncritical garbage.

Christian said...

I don't care about a single character in Alias. I'm not going to judge Star Trek on this merit, but Abrams usually leaves me cold. Whereas Whedon, with all ticks and problems (of which I've ranted about a couple of times) atleast makes me feel for the characters. Most of the time I don't even know what the characters like.

James said...

The fucking Beat! It's a great blog, but their god-damn spoilerific Lost summaries that go up the minute the show airs drive me nuts. I've just been kinda/semi/maybe-spoiled by the little auto-preview in Geoff's blogroll. I'm hyper-sensitive about this sort of thing, but c'mon Heidi.

hcduvall said...

Jason: I guess I had the same reaction as James. I don't see it as bad or anything, but I hear more about the characterization than I think I saw. I think Spock was clearly a focus and fleshed out well, and I assume there are deleted scenes with a young version of his mom we haven't seen. Kirk was a charismatic fellow. But overall a lot of folks were still a bit cliche. Uhura was better than ever (though she was a pretty blank slate to begin with) They had fun lines or a funny accent instead of character. But as noted, it's a big cast, so the focus was bound to be on just a couple.

Jake: The original series is your best bet, but if you dabble in the movies go with Wrath of Khan. The first movie is more solemn than not from what I remember, though I did like the theme of it.

James said...

Uhura was great, but I thought it was a shame she didn't get to do much that related to her actual job. In the sixties having a African-American lady in a feature role was HUGE, of course, but now we realise that she was basically the secretary, so they needed to show us why a "Communications Officer" is actually important. There is that one bit where she gets promoted because she knows the Romulan dialects or whatever, but her only other plot-moment is to say "an alternate reality!", which as I've already complained, is completely fucking meaningless. Next movie, I guess!

Mikey said...

Geoff - were you on the look out for new mash up material?

Haven't listened to this yet but the tracklist looks bananas.

Interesting conversation on Whedon/Abrams by the way. JJ Abrams is The New Joss Whedon. Thus spake a Doctor Who novelist and author of Secret Identities: An Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Alias.

Jason said...

Is "an alternate reality" really meaningless? It is for those characters, but they were talking about it in terms of Nero's perceptions, i.e., would Nero be able to predict what they would do? Spock says no, he can't, because he's changed things. For Nero, it is "an alternate reality."

Obviously we all know the conversation was actually there to "appease the minority of Trek nerds" as Jake put it. But it was justified by the flow of the conversation, I thought.

I'm surprised that "left me nothing but my bones" became something totally overblown for you. To me, it was quite simple. He said it once ... Three years later, it is Kirk's nickname for McCoy (might be because it was the first sentence he ever heard him say; might be that he actually forgot that first conversation and the nickname did indeed evolve from "sawbones"). A bit ambiguous, but at the same time nice and neat (surgical, even?).

I don't want to keep on belaboring my own viewpoint because eventually it comes down to taste and perception. But I think Abrams paints characters with fairly economical strokes. A few lines of dialogue and some shrewd acting choices (Abrams always casts well ... except maybe with "Fringe"), and we know who these people are.

And it's never the fakey-fake "I'm going to comment on what I'm saying even as I say it" that Whedon likes to indulge in. Abrams characters tend to be in the moment, rather than outside it.

In my opinion (as always).

Jake said...

It bugs me when people have to announce that something is "their opinion." Also when someone makes a comedic rip on you in conversation and they always say "just kidding." I KNOW you're kidding. How frail are some people, that this needs to be said?


Anyway. I feel like McCoy deserved to do something at the climax of the flick. He was there near the beginning, you know, palled around with Kirk, snuck him on board and the whole injections scene, but then nothing really. Felt like Scotty was getting the screentime that McCoy should have gotten.

Also I didn't "get" Scotty's alien buddy. Wasn't really funny to me.

hcduvall said...

Jason, spot-on about the Abram's and Whedon dialogue differences. Whedon's dialogue is often delivered to the audience, as opposed to actually being directed to other people in the room. At its best it just engenders clubbiness with viewers, at its worst it's too aware of being a thing in a story.

Eh, I think opinion announcement is just a internet way of saying, "Well we disagree. Hmm, we might be start repeating ourselves soon, better call it even." As it is I think I wrote one comment too many, I think I'm the one who started belaboring my point.

The comedy was broader than I expected. I didn't mind it, but between the alien buddy, Chekov's accent and computer problems, and a few other things, it got more play than I expected.

Jason said...

HC, thanks, yeah. Although I didn't think you were belaboring -- certainly not anymore than I was. It's all good. But yeah, I know there's a lot of Whedon fans on this blog, including Geoff himself of course, and I didn't want anyone to take my problems with him as anymore than my own issues. He obviously works for a lot of people. (And he is great with structure, I can't deny that.)

Jake, sorry to bug you. Luckily, I am annoyed when people start a response with "Ummmmmmmm," as I think it comes of as incredibly condescending. So I guess we're even.

Geoff Klock said...

Abrams v Whedon is an interesting issue, and a hot topic on this blog -- 22 free form comments already -- because they are both clearly inheritors of Claremont's X-Men. Whedon has said Kitty Pryde inspired him to create Buffy and Jason has argued that Jack Bristow and Arvin Slone have a kind of Prof X Magneto thing going, if I remember him correctly. Whedon and Abrams may be different on many levels but they were both showrunners for series about ass kicking young women, they both use mystical shit as a stylistic device to explore character relationships, they both have an almost innate sense of story structure and beats, and they both directed recent space-ship and crew movies. They also both finished the first series of a sci fi drama thing (fringe and dollhouse). The fact that Abrams is more financially successful is, as Jason and HC point out a bad way to judge success, AND has the bad effect of hitting often overly sensitive Whedon fans in the gut.

I am not sure I want to distinguish between Whedon and Abrams by pointing to Abrams as a re-booter and Whedon as an inventor, as I think both "re-boot" past stories, often unofficially.

Jake -- people on the internet pepper in the phrase "in my opinion" when it is technically redundant as a way of saying "it is not important to me that you have the same opinion, this is JUST mine." People get pissed off over the internet and it is a not perfect but pretty good device for being clear that you are not being aggressive.

The real fight is between Joss Whedon and Bryan Fuller -- doomed shows with cute girls who have to learn to grow up as filtered through the fantastic --but that is a battle for another day (Fuller is wining a little bit in my mind right now).

Jake said...

I understand how the internet works, I'm just saying it bugs me. Not trying to raise any ires. Though it sort of reads like I'm being a douche now that I scroll up and look at it.

Whatevs. I am a little douchey.

hcduvall said...

Whedon's a third-generation tv writer, no? That's neither here nor there. But maybe because he talks about it, maybe because I had took that Westerns class with the same prof that Whedon's mentioned before, but I'll say he's a more ambitious fellow with his stories. Dollhouse has come out as a mixed bag, but it's approaching more complicated ground that Spock and company did. If I cling to Star Trek as my only real reference point to Abrams, its because I caught bits of Alias very late, and while interested in Lost, the commitment to watch from the beginning now scares me away, so i can't go by much else.

But since it's been mentioned how well Abrams casts his roles (definitely true), it's interesting that Whedon casts, for better or worse, people who it seems he really likes personally. Like they get along real chummy, and he gives them room to own their roles. Also, actors on the younger, more inexperienced end of things. Mixed results, but there you go.

scott91777 said...

Jake,

first of all, mind your tongue, referring to someone who is 30 as old is a dangerous thing to do when most of us here have either surpassed 30 or are pushing it :)

(for the record, I use smiley face emoticons, lame as they are, as MY way of indicating that I am not being aggressive)

Secondly, I'm not sure there is any 'getting' Scotty's alien buddy... I think you just either like him or you don't... kind of like the Ewoks (Anyone seen Spaced? Remember the episode where Simon Pegg's character and the artist guy are in tears at the end of Jedi because of the Ewoks?)

Jason said...

Jake, sorry if I came off as douchey up there as well.

I'm not sure how I feel about the little alien guy. The main way he provided humor was more in Simon Pegg's overblown reactions to him. "You can eat, like, a BEAN and you're DONE!"

But I know I had the image -- more than once during those "little alien guy" scenes -- of thousands of women all over the country who'd been dragged to the movie by their geek husbands, leaning over and asking, "Was there a little green midget in the original show?"

If you're going to add something to the movie that isn't from the show, then a little weird green alien dude is an unusual choice, I think.

But, what the hell, I still liked him.

Hmmm, Whedon's more ambitious than Abrams? Could be. My main reference point for Whedon is "Buffy," basically a show where, as Geoff puts it, the mystical shit was there really just as a way of getting into character relationships. "Alias" was very similar. In "Buffy," the core of it was something to do with adolescence, growing up, etc. In "Alias," the core was basically to explore family relationships, particularly parent-child dynamics. Strikes me as about even on the "ambition" scale.

But apart from that, I can't speak to Whedon's goals so much. He may well be more ambitious, I'll concede.

BTW, it occurs to me that it's funny in a way that this all started with the potshot at Whedon fans and the "Haha, 'Dollhouse' is being canceled while 'Fringe' just got renewed." Speaking as an Abrams devotee, I find it a bit of a punch in the gut for my side as well, because I'm now doomed to at least one more year of following a show that I don't really like that much, just out of loyalty.

Why, oh why, couldn't Fringe have been canceled like Dollhouse was? WHY???

Jake said...

I only said old because, I dunno, the whole Star Fleet thing had a very "college" vibe (Kirk gettin' some in a dorm room, a simulation "class," a big graduation, etc) and then I go and look and see that Uhura is played by a 30-year old. I understand that 30 isn't old old, but, y'know. It takes two or three years for a sequel to come out...

I'm 23, btw. And to sort of clarify my fictional leanings, like I said before, I like both Abrams and Whedon, but I haven't come close to fully exploring either of their works. I haven't ever seen Fringe and I don't plan on finishing Alias. I haven't ever watched Firefly or Serenity and don't plan to, either. Because of this I have to compare Star Trek not to Firefly/Serenity but rather to X-Men. It might be a more accurate comparison, because Firefly was a new fictional universe, whereas Star Trek and X-Men are both long-running franchises that these two megastar creators came and rocked the shit out of.

scott91777 said...

Jake,

It's also worth noting that, as you mention, Star Trek TNG, which I remember quite fondly because I grew up with it, could be quite boring; it was the 'more intellectual' Star Trek. This is why, for the most part, the movies with the TNG cast were such collosal failures: the attempted to make it more action oriented but it simply didn't work for those characters. It just seemed forced.

In fact, part of the reason the the first Star Trek movie (Star Trek the Motion Picture) didn't work is because it was a lot more like what TNG would become (as I remember, it's been years since I've seen that movie... I can't get passed the space disco leisure suit uniforms) But, as HC said above, Star With Wrath of Kahn from the original movies... in fact, that III and IV form a sort of trilogy in the franchise (and at the store the other day I noticed you can buy it as such), V is generally hated but a I remember it as being not that bad and VI (the last to feature the entire original cast) I remember as being pretty good as well.

Jason said...

You are being far kinder to the Star Trek film franchise than it deserves, Scott. :)

Jason said...

"Star Trek and X-Men are both long-running franchises that these two megastar creators came and rocked the shit out of."

In your opinion.

Just kidding!








:)

scott91777 said...

I always felt II, III, and IV were totally solid films.

III has the whole McCoy being possessed by Spock thing that I really enjoyed... plus it has Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon... that's just awesome

Jason said...

Oh yeah, there's a bit in III that has McCoy trying to do the Vulcan neck pinch, hey? That's kind of cute.

I've been wanting to watch the Khan-Search-Whales trilogy at some point, because I was a kid when I first saw them. My memories of them are pretty weak at this point.

I'm sort of half optimistic that they'll actually be very entertaining, and half scared that they will be dismally bad. Also, I can't think of *anyone* who would be willing to watch all three movies with me (and I don't think I want to watch them alone ...)

James said...

Abram's ain't above talking to the audience! "She only left me my Bones remember 'cos that's what you called me in the show", "I like him/Are you out of your Vulcan mind", Pike whistling the intercom sound effect when he enters the bar, etc. etc.

James said...

Or having his characters address the audience, rather.

Jason said...

Nods to the original series aren't really the same thing. Having a line of dialogue that means one thing for the characters and another thing for the audience, such as the line "All she left me was my bones" (which you keep adding things to and keeping them inside quotes even though they are not actual quotes), that's just gravy for the fans. It is not the characters stepping outside themselves and commenting on things as if they know they are fictional characters.

"That was a bit British wasn't it?" (Giles, commenting on something he himself just said.)

"Uh, Buffy! I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh... text."

(Thanks, Wikiquote.)

And wasn't there one where Buffy said to a bunch of vampires that there was about to be "violent content and mature situations" or something?

That stuff really annoys the crap out of me.

Do you really think the nods to the fans in the Trek movie were on the lame level as the complete let's-acknowledge-we-are-fictional stuff that Whedon does?

This is what drove Lance Parkin to his fury in the first place!!!

James said...

Those Giles quotes in particular strike me as funny things an actual person might say in real life, as opposed to my least favourite lines in Star Trek.

hcduvall said...

Jason: I went into Alias pretty late, so I probably thought of it as a spy show with some ridiculous office staffing issues. Anyway, Whedon will go on record about Firefly is about existentialism and the like. And Dollhouse is clearly also meant to be about being an actor, and selling yourself for roles wholly. That kind of pretension warms this former English major's heart, even if misfires sometimes.

There's the trekkie rule that the even numbered movies are always the entertaining ones. I love the fourth movie because I love the idea of cosmic whales. I always imagine one piloting a spaceship with a giant steering wheel and it makes my day.

Geoff Klock said...

HC -- alias went massively downhill after the end of season 2, which certainly explains why you did not like it. I still not super clear why I watched the last 3 seasons.

Streebo said...

Ewoks were rubbish!

So Scotty's buddy - but I thought it was funny for no good reason at all.

pla said...

I am quite late on this thread, having only just seen the Abrams' Star Trek movie this past weekend, but I get the sense Abrams is much more willing to play ball with producers. Unlike everyone else in the world, I pretty much hated Star Trek, mostly because it felt like every other summer blockbuster that has been fed through an endless series of focus groups. I get the sense there's just one summer blockbuster template that gets applied to whatever pre-existing property they're working with - Transformers, GI Joe, Star Trek, whatever. Generic action plot, some clunky in-jokes for fans of the original property, something cutesy (like Scotty's alien), some slapstick for the little ones (like that bit with the vaccine), some good casting to draw in people who avoid blockbusters (Pegg in Star Trek, Eccleston and Gordon-Levitt in GI Joe). The whole thing felt sterile.

I think Whedon, despite his half-hearted press releases, doesn't do nearly as well at making what producers want to see. The episodes of Dollhouse where he's trying to make the show Fox wants are painfully uninteresting; the show doesn't come to life until he's decided he doesn't really care if the execs like the show. I know he's a third generation TV writer, but I kind of get the sense he doesn't response well to execs telling him what to do.

I don't really want to come off as a Whedon fanboy. I am fully aware of his many problems as a writer and producer. And I actually like Abrams' TV work quite a lot (even his non-scifi stuff like Six Degrees), but I'm not convinced he has the backbone/clout to make a Hollywood blockbuster that feels like it was made by a person instead of a committee. It's not really a fair comparison until Whedon takes a shot at it (which, judging by his ongoing failure to make Wonder Woman, might never happen).

Anagramsci said...

a year ago, I would not have been able to participate in this debate, except that I knew I hated Abrams--now, after watching all of Buffy, Angel (I had never seen an episode of either before) and Dollhouse AND seeing Star Trek, I can categorically state that Whedon is exploring exactly the issues that interest me (building upon the existentialist Marvel superhero legacy), while Abrams is doing exactly the kinds of things that DO NOT interest me...

I can't really speak to the issue of story construction--I have less interest in "craft" than anyone I know (except when it comes to "Heroes"--which is so badly done that I finally discovered my bad-plotting threshold)... but man, even at its messiest, Dollhouse is into some fascinating stuff (political, psychological, philosophy of memory/the self)... what the hell does Star Trek do, other than make two hours pass quickly?

Geoff Klock said...

Anagramsci -- I know this will not satisfy you but I still think it has to be said. Emerson wrote “To fill the hour, that is happiness; to fill the hour, and leave no crevice for a repentance or an approval.” That is what Star Trek does and it is not small thing. It is, in fact, the most important thing.

Anagramsci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anagramsci said...

ah yes, but Emerson also recommends that we "read for lustres"... is there anything lustrous in Star Trek?

And how are hours filled? That's the most important question, I guess--and there are many equally viable answers.

I will concede that Star Trek did NOT bore me, but it also gave me nothing at all to discuss or remember it by... From where I sit, that's not filling an hour, it's collapsing it into a black hole and banishing it to Abrams' alternate plane of slickness...

but then again, perhaps this is just because Abrams is asking different questions than the ones that bejewel the narratives that people like Lynch, Morrison, PT Anderson and Whedon (to name some of my favourite contemporary pop culture purveyors) provide!

Dave

Geoff Klock said...

The craft of Star Trek is lustrous, but you have already said that does not matter so much to you. For a big summer blockbuster not to bore me is a big deal. I will concede that Abrams is doing something smaller than Lynch, Morrison, PT Anderson and maybe Whedon do, but I think Star Trek's perfection can stand side by side with some of their more ambitious imperfections at least.

Anagramsci said...

an excellent point, and I'll happily concede it!

It goes a long way toward explaining why I can't get with Abrams--as a devotee of the "loose baggy monster" narrative school, perfection is my bete noire!

Dave