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Day 05 - A show you hate [Jun. 22nd, 2010|11:52 pm]
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[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Ok, going to try to catch up a bit now I'm back from sleeping in forests.

So far it's been interesting how closely angriest and I match. When I was thinking about this topic, my first thought was 'something like The Footy Show.' Then I decided that I'd go for something I hated that I had actually watched more than a bit of.

There's V the Series from the 80's, which is a text book example of how not to make SF TV. Seriously, think of any mistake you've seen appear regularly in TV and SFTV, and V made them all.

Dollhouse I found to be misogynistic and painful to watch. It had it's good moments, but it really felt like Whedon's problem was that his whole starting premise was flawed and hard to build into a decent show.

But in the end it really is a toss-up between Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise, because what I really, really hate in most shows is watching something that's crap because of lacklustre writing and missed opportunities - things where the show could easily have been good, because it wasn't a problem of budget and the like hurting it - ST:V & Ent have both in abundance. While they do have their occasional good episode (or in the case of Enterprise one good season, the fourth) overall both are weighed down by show-runners who were lazy, uncreative, and uninventive in the extreme.

In the end I feel I have to go for Star Trek: Voyager, since Enterprise did at least manage one good season.

ST:V also had the initial theoretical advantage over Enterprise in that ST:V had no history it needed to try and conform to. On top of that, you have a concept to die for - two crews with opposing viewpoints are flung to the far reaches of the galaxy and have to work together on board a single ship with limited resources as they make their way home through unknown space. With the effects technology of the day and such a fabulous premise just brimming with potential drama, Voyager literally had more scope to tell fabulous, stunning, and human stories than any Star Trek series ever created, including the original.

By the end of the pilot, both crews have agreed to work together under Federation guidelines, and they do so with barely a hiccup from that point on. The next two episodes are built around temporal anomalies, which many SF series resort to when they have no other ideas. Through the series, episode after episode hits the reset button so that by the last episode, the titular ship hasn't changed a jot, even with everything it's been through.

It ran seven years, continuing to do lame, half-baked, stories that usually failed to take advantage of a stunning premise. Being part of the Star Trek franchise, it had the chance and backing to do really brave confronting stories, and instead usually did run of the mill dreck.

And I can't help but wonder how many other well-written and thought out shows could have been made with the resources allotted to Voyager.

For a slightly more detailed rant, with extra swearing, look here.

[User Picture]From: angriest
2010-06-23 12:16 am (UTC)
I think there's a lot of good in Voyager. They had a hell of a time overcoming a very shaky first season (which you can see in the last four episodes of that year, including your personal favourite "The 37s").

Season 2 has a lot of good stuff, and every year they managed to knock out four or five really decent episodes.

But yes, a show that completely failed to tackle its own premise - mainly I think because they developed a premise that was a bit darker and more cynical like Deep Space Nine, and then decided it needed to be bright and idealistic like The Next Generation.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-06-23 01:57 am (UTC)
I think your last paragraph nails it - they had a dark idea chock full of potential human drama, and then wussed the fuck out.

And I have to say, apart from the last two minutes, Year of Hell parts 1 & 2 are an utterly fantastic bit of storytelling. Truly gruelling and harrowing, it's just a shame that a totally hamfisted approach to hitting the reset button screwed the ending. And most of the Doctor-centric episodes, and a chunk of the 7 of 9 episodes, really told some interesting character stories. Problem was, these were the exception.

Damn you, you've mentioned the 37s, and I've come out in a rash.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2010-06-23 02:03 am (UTC)
The series-killing episode for me is still "Tuvix", where Janeway orders a pre-meditated order and nobody except her victim seems to have a particular problem with that.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2010-06-23 02:03 am (UTC)
Pre-meditated order? Gah! I mean murder.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-06-25 06:19 am (UTC)
[GregT] I always go back to JMS's claim that he made the entire first season of Babylon 5 for less than the cost of the Voyager pilot.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-06-25 08:46 am (UTC)
It's true. At the time Voyager cost around 22 million, meanwhile B5 was coming in at well under 1 million an episode.
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[User Picture]From: jocko55
2010-06-26 05:15 am (UTC)

V is not Battlestar Galactica (Either one)

The original V series nearly broke the studio, with bulk overtime and cost over-runs. I find the new version uninvolving. At least the original nazis from space had red uniform--grey and corporate is not dark, just dull. Is Pixar the only studio who dares to use colours?
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2010-06-26 06:00 am (UTC)

Re: V is not Battlestar Galactica (Either one)

I still remember decoding the Visitor symbols into english and finding in the last episode one of the monitors talks about how they have no money :)

Yeah, I've seen maybe 5 episodes of New V. It's not bad, but it hasn't engaged me at all.

Other studios use colours, but they're mostly blue and orange.
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