But is there Danger?

McG finds fault with that Lost in Space reboot:

[T]he idea of a cast of regulars numbering in the dozens is also a consequence of 21st-century sensibilities, in that a plot line without a large (and of course diverse) variety of social entanglements seems too far outside the range of experience for the half-mythical millennial viewers who inhabit Hollywood’s stereotype factory. How can you relate to characters who aren’t constantly sidetracked from grubby issues like survival by trivial interpersonal drama? Who could live like that??? At my age, I’m more inclined to sympathize with the robot.

There is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a market for trivial interpersonal drama, albeit not a particularly discerning one.

4 comments

  1. McGehee »

    16 April 2018 · 10:00 pm

    While it’s true I’ve faulted writers who don’t write relatable characters, the whole point of a science-fiction story is supposed to be exploring how those characters respond to unrelatable situations. If all they do is take selfies and tweet emojis, that’s really not much of a story.

    In the show’s defense, the characters did wake up to their circumstances enough to get interesting. And I rather like the way Don West — presented for a millennial audience as a paragon of self-dealing toxic masculinity — turned out to be a true hero.

  2. fillyjonk »

    17 April 2018 · 5:15 am

    I am guessing this is somewhat similar to my complaint that I don’t want to read about (or watch movies/tv about) people whose lives are “just like mine” (how boring) or “just like people I encounter every day” (also boring). I want to see times, places, and situations that are different.

    And petty interpersonal drama is stupid and if I wanted to experience it I could go to any one of many meetings on my campus.

  3. McGehee »

    17 April 2018 · 7:37 am

    FWIW, I think the trivial drama in LiS turned out to be setting up the character development, which could only really take off when the drama got non-trivial.

    Done well, arc-focused television can be immensely entertaining. LiS, with only a ten-episode season capped with a significant paradigm change (no spoilers here), avoids the pitfalls of arc-focused broadcast series that run for much longer seasons and never get to a paradigm change even at the season finale.

  4. Tom »

    17 April 2018 · 10:45 am

    The Walking Dead began with just a small band of characters, but has morphed into scores of semi-regulars. BTW, I’ve always considered their plight akin to what faced western pioneers before around 1860, merely substituting zombies for angry Native Americans.

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