Opinions Vary

Been a while.  You know how the holidays are.  Plus, I have my newest manuscript to work on, but blogging is part of my job.  And I know how you rely on me to fill your lives with joy and / or wisdom.  So here I am.

Recently, I read a pair of articles.  The first article was about how the writer didn’t like Doctor Who.  The second article suggested that people who don’t like Doctor Who should just not watch it and stop complaining about it.

But complaining is an important thing.  Complaining is what makes the exchange of ideas possible.  Bitching and moaning is what free speech is all about.

I don’t like Doctor Who either.  I find it highly overrated, dull, a rather clumsy mix of pretentiousness and humor.  And did I mention how unintentionally silly I find the “science” in this science fiction show?  It’s not a bad show.  Certainly not even in the top 10 of unexceptional sci fi shows.  But it’s just not that good, and if there were actually more good sci fi shows on television and if you subtract the nostalgia factor, I think it would’ve came and went and been quickly forgotten by now.  (I call this The Dollhouse Effect.)

Maybe you disagree.  Fair enough.  I don’t deny you your right to like (or even love) Doctor Who.  Just don’t deny me my right to disagree.

Of course, the question that so often comes up after that is “Why do you care?”  And I’m going to go ahead and tell you why I do care.

I care because a bad sci fi show leads to more bad sci fi shows.  And if everyone who disliked bad sci fi shows just sat down and kept quiet, then the trend will just continue.  Doctor Who is an unexceptional sci fi show, but Torchwood is absolutely dreadful.  And there would be no Torchwood without Doctor Who.  And I’m sure whatever spinoff Torchwood manages to spawn will be even worse.  (I call this The Stargate Effect.)

But perhaps “bad” is the wrong word to use.  “Bad” implies badness, and since all of this is a matter of opinion, I’m just suggesting that there are qualities to these shows that I do not enjoy or appreciate.  And if someone else does, good for them.   But this won’t stop me from speaking up every now and then, just to register a blip of disagreement, just to let someone out there know that if they don’t like Doctor Who either that they are not alone.  And to suggest that we don’t offer that opinion is just wrong.

To be sure, there is such a thing as expressing an opinion in an obnoxious and insulting way.  While I don’t like Doctor Who, to suggest that people who do are “stupid” or “foolish” or “morons” would be both over the top and ridiculous.  Such virulent opinions are worthy of derision.  But if someone expresses themselves thoughtfully then we should at least respect their right to do so.

Every bit of progress the terran species has ever made has come from a dissenting opinion.  If the people who disagreed with the majority were always silenced, then new ideas would never develop.  There’s no guarantee that a dissenting opinion will be worth hearing.  Most aren’t.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let people voice them.

So in the interest of dissent, I offer the following opinons:

I don’t like Battlestar: Galactica.  I found it dull, preachy, and way too complicated for its own good.  And I’m pretty sure I’ll like Caprica even less because it looks like BSG if you removed the spaceships and added some Gossip Girl to the mix.  Someone once suggested to me that Syfy’s ultimate goal is to remove all the sci fi from itself, just as Cartoon Network is slowly cutting away all of its cartoons.  And Caprica is just another step in that direction.

I thought Firefly was okay.  But it wasn’t on very long, and it isn’t worthy of the cult of personality around it.

Dollhouse was just dumb.  Dumb from top to bottom.  A bad idea from its inception that just kept getting worse.

Warehouse 13 was kind of cool until it was forced to fit in the generic Syfy mold.

Sanctuary isn’t good.  Worse, it’ s not cool, and no matter how often they try to tell me it is, I’m waiting to be convinced.  And the virtual sets just succeed in making the show seem like something filmed in front of a blue screen.

I kind of like Eureka.  Not a big fan, but I can enjoy it sometimes.

I don’t read series fantasy books.  There are plenty of great series fantasy books, but I just can’t get into them.  It’s nothing personal, but I really like standalone fantasy novels and feel there should be more of them.

Up is the best movie of the year.  It’s also the best fantasy movie of the year.  Avatar was good (much better than I expected), but it can’t touch Up for sheer genius, beauty, and subtle characterization.  Although Avatar did have things fighting other things, and I do love when different things fight.  Still, gotta go with Up on this.

You might disagree with these opinions.  That’s just fine with me.  Am I the dissenting genius?  Or just a loonie?  Time will tell.  But I just wanted to put that out there.

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Steve
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    How about some love for Futurama or Tripping the Rift

  2. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    Futurama I can get behind. Tripping the Rift was okay, but I think I’m over edgy humor.

  3. Posted January 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    You could be a dissenting loonie.

  4. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Could be. I’m not expecting people to agree with me. But I just feel that if the future of sci fi / fantasy is Dr. Who or Caprica, then I’m really not interested. And it’s kind of weird to be a sci fi / fantasy writer who just doesn’t like the genre much anymore.

  5. Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    No mention of the unmitigated disaster that is Heroes? Now there’s a show worth complaining about.

    Completely agree about Up. Any love for District 9?

  6. Posted January 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I liked BSG for the most part (best when it stuck to the fighting and battle scenes); intensely disliked Dr. Who; loved Torchwood; and have no interest in Caprica. Firefly was awesome, but I think ending too early might’ve been the best thing to happen to it. I’ll probably watch Dollhouse and Warehouse 13, though I’m in no hurry to rent the discs. Sanctuary was simply bland.

    I think there’s always been more bad or marginal SF/fantasy on TV than good. Lost In Space? I Dream of Genie? Bewitched?

    I’m desperately hoping The Game of Thrones is really well done.

  7. GeekWhit
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Bewitched was awesome.

    I could never get into Dr. Who, BSG, or Firefly. I didn’t even try with Dollhouse. I liked the first season of Heroes, but even the addition of the awesome Kristen Bell couldn’t capture my interest after that.

    Some SF/fantasy TV shows that I do love: Supernatural, Buffy, Quantum Leap, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, The Twilight Zone, and The Incredible Hulk.

  8. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 7, 2010 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    I loved I Dream of Genie myself.

  9. Posted January 9, 2010 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    I’m very hard on science fiction outside of literature. I hate pretty much everything (TV wise) I’ve seen from a little to a lot. Some Star Trek is ok by me, the rest can piss off.

    You can guarantee I will not watch anything by Joss Whedon, who doesn’t have an ounce of talent, whatsoever.

    BUT, having said that, there is one SF show I LOVE, which is Red Dwarf – excluding the last three seasons and the recent three part special, which were terrible 🙁

    I get my science fiction fix from books, where I don’t have to put up with terrible effects, acting or directing 🙂

  10. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer (for the most part), but felt that Whedon’s other work has left me cold. Just didn’t catch me.

  11. Giga Watt
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Well while I do agree that Up was pretty original and witty, I don’t think that it was that great. I think the villian could have been much better at being villainous. But that’s just my opinion.

  12. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know where you’re coming from on this one, Giga Watt. The guy is an obsessive madman who has spent sixty-plus years hunting an exotic animal in the wilds with his army of trained dogs. He’s clearly killed at least a dozen people at this point who were all perfectly innocent because of his obsession. And he’s more than willing to throw a helpless kid to his death without feeling even the slightest sense of remorse. Never once in the story does he display anything other than pure egotism.

    Furthermore, his justification for being a bad guy is somewhat sympathetic. The guy was genuinely wronged, having his career and reputation tarnished unjustly. We can even feel a bit of sympathy for the guy until we realize just how mad he really is.

    If that doesn’t qualify as genuine, hardcore villainy, I don’t know what does.

  13. Giga Watt
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    You do indeed make a very persuasive argument. I am going to have to go watch Up after I post this.

    The only reason I said he could have been more villainous is because to me he just doesn’t match up with other villains. Syndrome from The Incredibles (my favorite movie) was one of my favorite willains. He was not only egotistic and evil, but he displayed it by killing off dozens of super heroes just to knock off one dude. He is constantly ‘monologuing’ and he is actually pretty funny when he does it. A quality I think any villain should have is a sense of humor. He was also a super genius. That’s cool too.

    Bowser from the Mario series also displays his dark humor alongside his villainous antics (although he is more of a childish villain). Farquad, or however you spell his name, from Shrek was also a cool villain because he was just funny looking. He was short but he was powerful, another quality I like in villains. Even a villain of yours, the evil cat lady from Monster was pretty funny, clever, and powerful. In a creepy kind of way.

    In retrospect, maybe it’s not that he wasn’t villainous enough. I think he just didn’t strink me as such an ‘interesting’ villain. He seemed to be centered completely around madness.

    But like I said before, I’m going to go watch Up. Maybe, I’m missing something about him.

  14. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    He is not a colorful villain. But I’ve never believed that “colorful” equals “interesting”. I’ve always found Lex Luthor to be a more compelling and worthwhile villain than the Joker. One is quiet, subtle, and very, very bad. The other is obvious and obnoxious. Being more quotable and blatant doesn’t always make a character more interesting in my mind.

    More importantly though, this is also a different of genre. Syndrome from the Incredibles is a nuanced, sympathetic, and yet very threatening villain. But he’s also part of the superhero genre, which involves colorful costumes and certain tropes that work just fine with the genre. The villain of Up is not a supervillain. He does indeed have many of the trappings, but he’s quieter, less obvious because that fits with the universe he lives in.

    The difference though is that the villain of Up is indeed a study of obsession and how it can destroy your life. He’s the flipside of Carl, our hero, and thematically, it’s a pretty solid fit. Whereas the villain of The Incredibles is a superhuman (superintelligence is a power) who is obsessed with impressing people, not helping them. This is the exact opposite of the honest heroic personas the Incredibles embody.

    Both films explore their themes wonderfully, and the villains are used to explore different ideas. Does this make one better than the other? Hard to say. I feel they’re genuinely too different, addressing different ideas, to be compared directly. I can see preferring one over the other, but it has less to do with the quality of the writing and more about the themes being addressed.

  15. Giga Watt
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    I guess I can agree with that. Up is a completely different universe. So I guess you’ve persuaded me in saying that the two villains, Charles Muntz and Syndrome, can’t be compared directly. But I still do believe that Muntz could’ve been just a bit more well rounded. The minor villains, the dogs, were better villains to me.

    I watched Up like I said I would and my opinion on the entire movie changed. It was better this time around but Muntz still didn’t seem to catch me. Really, I guess I should see Muntz as a better villain only because he kind of resembles my math teacher. But even so, my math teacher isn’t the best of villains either.

  16. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Glad you enjoyed the movie more the second time around. I still don’t agree that Muntz is a “better” villain because I’m not exactly sure what constitutes a “better” villain, much less what defines a villain as “the Best”.

    One of the things I love about Pixar (and, indeed, most animated films at this stage) is the variety of villainy. Their motivations, their methods, their style, it varies tremendously. If anything, it shows that being a bad guy can come from many different places.

    Just as I don’t like my heroes to be cut from the same cloth, I love antagonists with their own distinct qualities. Muntz is one of the more subtle bad guys around, and he’s also, surprisingly, one of the most villainous. Lacking the colorful nature of many other bad guys and the outright cruelty of others, it’s easy to dismiss him. But if you think about it, Muntz may be the most ordinary of villains. Take away his blimp, his dogs, he’s just a human willing to do whatever it takes to feed his obsession. And he does it with a quiet ruthlessness that is far too easy to dismiss, in this novelologist humble opinion.

  17. Giga Watt
    Posted January 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I guess that was the way I was looking for Muntz to be described as. Subtle. I guess that’s the perfect way to describe him. Not ‘uninteresting’ as I had previously stated.

  18. Jesse
    Posted February 16, 2010 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Just for my own clarification, are you talking about the new Dr Who from the last 5 years, or the older Dr Who from like 20 years ago?

  19. A. Lee Martinez
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t seen much of the original Dr. Who, so my opinion on that is neutral. But new Who just rubs me wrong.

  20. Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    again I have no life and am responding too late? But in my defense i just discovered this blog of awesomeness and am like a kid in a candy store.

    I can see why you dont like the Russell T. Davies years of Dr.Who. He really wrote for the fans and loved to rehash the same characters. But have you seen the new Steven Moffat episodes with Matt Smith as the Doctor. Its still kind of pretentious and has silly logic, but I think the characters have more dimension in this season and I like the overall plot of the season and how he links all the episodes together setting it up for the finale.

    I totally agree with you on Battle Star Galactica.

    Do you like Farscape?

  21. grimdemon
    Posted January 8, 2011 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    i liked jericho and fire fly to cut they were both dropped from the air would rather read them in novel form tho know any books like them send a reply

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