Friday, May 14, 2010

I Know How to Pick 'em

There's yet again another sci-fi series that I've followed regularly that never found an audience, lingered around in the ratings sub-basement, and then got cancelled. Somehow, I never get on board the big, culturally defining shows - I skipped Lost, although I guess I'll catch up with it on DVD at some point.  I only started with BSG in the last season, and when I did see it, I thought it was okay, but nothing new.

I've always wondered if it's because I'm what you'd consider a science-fiction fan, and the shows that break out of the box do so by connecting with what other übergeeks derisively call 'civilians.'  I tend to get hooked on the narrower, more obscure shows - The Sarah Connor Chronicles, or Dollhouse, to name recent examples.  Neither delivered on what Fox wanted, and both got the axe after two short seasons.  To Fox's credit, they did at least allow Dollhouse to complete its storyline, albeit in somewhat rushed fashion.  And I only liked Dollhouse about a third as much as I liked Connor, which surprised me because I never much liked the Terminator films but I found the tweak on the premise that made the backbone of the story very grabbing, and the cast was hugely compelling in an oddly non-charismatic way.

I guess it all traces back to the fact that out of all of the iterations of Star Trek, my favorite is the black sheep - Deep Space Nine.  A show that couldn't even win for losing, as all of the other übereeks by that time had already decided that Trek was now passé, and hold that DS9 was just a pale shadow of Babylon 5.  I've really tried with B5, and I'll be honest - it's fucking unwatchable in the first season, and I could never get past that.

When you make a habit of getting attached to doomed shows, you should also know when to let go, but, I dunno.  I really do like FlashForward a lot - it has major lack of charisma among some of its leads (particularly the unbelievably wooden Sonya Walger, who seems to be unable to invest emotion in anything), and it's got a serious problem with its reliance on expository dialogue, but it was good most of the time and occasionally great, and I'm sorry to see it go.  Good thing they're bringing back V and Fringe, though, because Lord knows, there can never be enough serial sci-fi on television that I don't like.


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