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tinpantithesis said on November 18th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

As a humorless whining fangirl, I must inform you that Vulcan has no moon. Spock said so himself (about 11:10 into the episode).

But seriously, I think it’s bad for the genre when works that are explicitly in the sci-fi area take pains to explain that they’re not at ALL like those people with their aliens and their rayguns. I understand that creators want audiences for their works, but the more creators that distance themselves from sci-fi, the harder it is to find good sci-fi that proudly identifies as such, which makes it vicious. And a circle.

(Also, is there a relation to cult TV shows such as Sports Night or Arrested Development? Nothing sci-fi about them at all, but the AD fans I know are just as nuts as the biggest Whedonites in my acquaintance.)

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There’s also the fact that, rightly or wrongly, Fox has become infamous for canceling shows before they’ve hit their stride (Firefly being the most well known example) along with randomly engaging in rather bizarre scheduling practices which leaves the viewership scratching their heads as to where the show went.

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There is fanfic for pretty much everything out there. It just is the way it is, as far as I can tell.

And does text based RP count as writing? I read lots of Sci-fi and Fantasy but I have no real desire to write anything like a novel or similarly structured story.

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It’s not fair to say they cancel shows before they hit their stride for the reason that since they’re cancelled, they have a massive ball of potential that could have been great or could have been terrible. This is why I think so many people lamented the cancellation of Firefly, because there was so much that COULD have been told, and we will never get a chance to hear it. I really liked Next Generation growing up, but when it ended it was after seven years and it felt like a good conclusion. Cancellation doesn’t provide that.

That being said, I think Fox renewed Dollhouse to see if it could hit its stride, and it didn’t. Ratings dropped off this season, and they didn’t pick up. And I’m not as upset about this, in part because of Dollhouse itself letting us know where the story is going to go. We all know now the future that Dollhouse is working towards, and so the ball of potential stories has shrunken considerably.

As for Fox’s scheduling practices, I have to assume it’s another process run via the social interactions of beluga whales.

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guyincorporated said on November 18th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

You must be hanging out in a different internet than I am. The overwhelming response I saw to the news of Dollhouse’s cancellation was “Meh. Makes sense.”

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Will "scifantasy" Frank said on November 18th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Tinpantithesis: As a pedantic, know-it-all fan, I must respond that while Vulcan has no moon as such, it is part of a double-planet system with T’Khut.

As to Sports Night and Arrested Development, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the same unreality applied there.

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Tim O'Neil said on November 18th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

I think the reason both Hank and Dollhouse were canceled is that they were both terrible. But what the hell do I know.

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Ahh, that explains why I’ve never heard of Being Erica, its Canadian. Which I never really understood, why wouldn’t someone that’s making a show anyway find someone to air it in the US as well. Oh wait, apparently they did, but it seems they went a little far in pushing the female target audience, and got it signed to air on SOAPnet. Which while I might have more access to than CBC, I’m even less likely to browse for new shows.

I guess I will check it out if for no other reason than you brought it up, and with Dollhouse canceled I have a free space in my DVR rotation. I’m still disappointed at the dropping of shows like Journeyman back in ’07, without any sort of wrap-up to the storyline. Hoping Dollhouse at least find some closure.

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Largely all i’ve heard “across the internet” is a sort of sigh of relief Dollhouse is over.

Im a big Whedon fan, Buffy was my favourite show as a lad, I bemoaned the cutting short of Firefly with all the passion of an overly sentimental “fanatic” but Dollhouse is just a poor, poor show.

I have kept up with it, because it has its moments (even like, 2, good episodes) but it is weak, Dushku cant carry it and it has shown no signs of improvement. Most Whedon fans I know are pretty much of my attitude, it was lucky to get a second season and luckier still to finish that season.

Hopefully the Aussie Asian girl will move onto some other show I like, because she really can act and is really hot.

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Fandom is a religion of consumerism.

It’s a popular faith because it lacks that pesky self-sacrifice stuff that makes normal religions such a drag.

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As for “why” it was cancelled. Dushku isnt a good enough actress to do the “be a totally different person” thing the plot requires.

The concept allows for nearly ANY storyline and despite that, we get run of the mill crap like “bodyguard to a singer.” The concept itself is a bit shaky, really, I can buy superwhores for the rich… but a super midwife?

Epitath one gave us some glimpse of hope, we saw what the show was working towards and it was good… then season 2 started and we were back in the drudge, run of the mill plotlines with the so gradual you barely notice it plot development, and well, there went hope.

You have to be the most deluded of Whedon fanatics (and I thought that described me) to pretend this show was going to “make it”. It would need a massive, massive rewrite, retooling and change in format… and if you are doing all that, why not just make a new show, one that works.

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tinpantithesis: We’re not nuts! Arrested Development was the best show ever!! It’s demise was cause by fatcats drunk on power in consort with the illuminati and a rogue faction of freemasons. All of who had an undying hatred towards Ron Howard!!!! *gibble*

That and nobody watched it. Stupid Americans, you don’t know a good show when you have it! Go and watch another variation of CSI or NCIS or whatever the hell it is nowadays

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One interesting point; I suspect that your revulsion to the concept of House fanfic may stem from the weird assumptions people have about fanfic. You’re a man; your teenage fanfic was probably much like mine, all new adventures and continuity patches and trying to be just like an episode of the show, only not the actual show, the idealized version that played in our heads. Naturally, enthusiastic amateurs attempting to write carefully-researched esoteric diseases with improbable symptoms… well, that’d sicken anyone.

However, most of the House fanfic I’ve read has involved little to no actual medical practice. It’s written primarily by women, and it’s written to explore the OTHER side of the show, the interesting and complex character interactions.

To put it another way, if you can look at anything from the first few seasons and NOT come to the conclusion that House and Wilson are married, I don’t know what show you’re watching.

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Sadly, for all its flaws, Dollhouse was still probably the best genre show on TV this season (obviously Lost not airing makes a difference here).

I do think going out of your way to say “we’re not Sci-fi! Really!” is kind of dickish (and are women really that adverse to genre shows?) but I have no problem with an obvious genre show failing to acknowledge itself as such. That kind of makes it interesting, and even frees it to go in interesting directions if handled properly.

So…is Being Erica actually good? Should I be watching it?

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solid snake said on November 18th, 2009 at 11:51 pm

In full knowledge of the hellfire I am about to bring upon myself, I must state something that is verboten. The only reason that Buffy, Angel lasted as long as they did is because of the networks that aired them. If it’s not one of the big four networks, then marginal viewership percentagewise for that timeslot is better than average for everything else that network is airing.

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Being Erica is not terrible, but not amazing either, IMHO.

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Dollhouse got canceled because the Ewww factor was just too high to attract more than the built in Whedon followers. Someone I know tried it once, and his primary reaction was to ask me to explain whether the dolls were slaves or “just” prostitutes. It would have required a major change in direction to survive, and they chose to stick to the original show concept. Full points for integrity, but not good for staying on the air.
It’s passing is mourned because a show with an advancing plot line requires viewers to invest in the story, and those who do are more likely to say something in a public forum.
Hank, on the other hand, was strictly a formula sitcom. A first time viewer can see any episode of the series and pick up everything they need to know and enjoy (not the first word that comes to my mind, I must admit) it. It doesn’t matter if you never see another episode. You’ve already gotten everything out of that one episode that there is to get. It’s fans miss it, but they are too busy deciding what to watch in it’s old time slot to complain out loud.
Oh, and Arrested Development was definitely a cult show. The limited appeal factor was just based in it’s core sense of humor, rather than the setting elements. If you got it, great. But if you didn’t, there was just no way to pick it up. Their mistake was ignoring the requisite lowest common denominator audience.

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mygif

What about the opposite trend? Are more religions and political groups ditching true fans to get more casual viewers? (No. But it would be interesting if they did.)

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Apparently there is a subgenre of House Zombie Fic. I am fascorrified by this.

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Perhaps Being Erica (I keep wanting to type it as Benign Erica, make of that what you will Dr. Freud) is going to do the back door SF thing because it worked so well for Lost?

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“What about the opposite trend? Are more religions and political groups ditching true fans to get more casual viewers? (No. But it would be interesting if they did.)”

Sure they are! Look at Vatican II, the Democratic movement in the 2008 election, the Chinese government since the mid 90s…

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I don’t think Lost counts as “backdoor” SF, though. I mean, they had a monster show up before the pilot’s first commercial break. It’s just that they found a way to keep the focus on the characterizations for much of the show’s run.

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“It’s written primarily by women, and it’s written to explore the OTHER side of the show, the interesting and complex character interactions.”

The “flip” side of fanfics — exploring, ahem, “character interactions” — has been well-known for a long time. In fact, I’d say that when most regular people think “fanfic”, they think sex, a la the famous Kirk and Spock fics that started it all. It’s not a completely balanced representation of fanfics, but it’s a little seedy, so it sticks in people’s minds.

So I’m not sure your explanation applies to MGK’s expression of horror. I’m fairly sure he’s more referring to the fact that many women out there can publicly share wildly elaborate, intense sexual fantasies about Hugh Laurie — something that many regular dudes just do not understand. That includes my boyfriend (“But he’s so old!”).

“However, most of the House fanfic I’ve read has involved little to no actual medical practice.”

Teehee. I must admit I’d kind of smile and think, “Aw, how cute” if someone told me that was what they were expecting when they opened a House fanfic.

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Matthew Johnson said on November 19th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Just a note, Gloria, that ’twas I who wrote this post and not MGK. The opinions expressed and all that.

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I love love love Being Erica. So does my boyfriend.

You make an interesting point. But I really think what puts this show at risk is the fact that it’s only available to a limited audience (Canadians, Soapnet watchers) and not that it’s secretly a science fiction targeted at women.

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Also, I would totally fap to a House fanfic. Hugh Laurie is SO HOT! Old, but SO HOT. I also have a girl boner for Gil Grissom.

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The interesting thing is, you can have a mainstream genre hit without going out of your way to disguise genre elements- what you have to be able to do is present it in a way that the mainstream can easily grasp. Usually it’s down to characters- BUFFY has a bunch of high school kids fighting monsters, the new DOCTOR WHO always has a companion “viewpoint” character and a protagonist who’s charming and handsome and eccentric, etc.

What DOLLHOUSE ran into was that it was, as said above, a creepy premise, and characters who were all on one level or another morally compromised. There was no safety/comfort element, no nice baseline from which creepy shit could then happen. I enjoyed it, but there was no way it was gonna go mainstream.

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bloody hell said on November 19th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

well Duh!!!!

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I do not understand how one can find prose written about a medical drama–probably involving doctors having deep conversations or having sex–to be repulsive. Seriously, what is it? Doctors? Sex? Perhaps the prospect of the exchange of body fluids in an environment that may contain obscure airborne germs?

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Frankly, a lot of academic studies about culture are basically high-gloss fandom. Look the ongoing interpretational war over Henry James’ 100+ year-old “Turn of the Screw” and it’s basically a flame war in better language; or anything to do with Shakespeare (such as his identity, even).

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Willips Brighton said on November 20th, 2009 at 6:37 am

At the risk of pissing off a healthy chunk of the internet, I’d argue that Margaret Atwood isn’t sci-fi for more reasons than simply how she’s marketed. There are plenty of “sci-fi” authors – Atwood, Pynchon, Vonnegut, Burroughs, Ballard etc. – that get put on different shelves, read by different people, and evaluated by different standards, simply on the basis of what’s written, regardless of whether the author self-identifies as a sci-fi writer or not. There’s more to what qualifies a text as “genre” than simply a cursory, “are there spaceships, yes or no” evaluation of its content. There are reasons non-fans “marginalize and despise” genre works, just as there are reasons the best genre texts transcend that stigma. Lord of the Rings became a massive, cross-demographic hit, despite being a reprehensible and disgusting old fantasy story. The average fare on the Sci-Fi…sorry, Sy-Fy channel(Why? Why?), not so much. I guess I’m saying there’s “using time-travel as a means to explore a character’s inner psycho-drama” genre, and then there’s “using time-travel as a means to stop plunger wielding trashcans from exterminating all thing not receptacle-shaped” genre.

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In fact, I’d say that when most regular people think “fanfic”, they think sex

I usually think, “How the fuck did I end up here? Where’s the back button?! Ahhhhh!”

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Sorry, Matthew. Take it as a compliment?

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Willips- You say “time travel as a means to stop plunger wielding trashcans from exterminating all things not receptacle-shaped” as though it were a bad thing. And that’s really more about the divide between genre and “literature”, as it’s often imposed by booksellers and critics. I think these days critics are starting to recognize there’s more bleedthru between popular fiction and lit fic, but still, books gotta be put somewhere, and Atwood’s gonna sell better in the general fiction section even when she does write something with genre elements.

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With some quotes of the entire discussion thus far:

“rightly or wrongly, Fox has become infamous for canceling shows before they’ve hit their stride”

There are two possible responses to this; first is that “hitting the stride” is what the pilot is for; second is that shows shouldn’t demand that we as viewers nor producers of studios wait around while they “hit their stride.” Both boil down to the fact that strides should be hit as soon as the gun goes off.

“To put it another way, if you can look at anything from the first few seasons and NOT come to the conclusion that House and Wilson are married, I don’t know what show you’re watching.”

I don’t know what show you managed to watch, but the first season of “House” involved no wedding between House and Wilson, nor even their cohabitation, dating, or hanky-panky. This is because, of course, they’re not actually married. You can find a box-set of the first season on Amazon pretty cheap; I suggest you rewatch it, and this time make sure you’ve got the right show.

To respond more seriously: one could make an extra-textual argument to the effect, but it would be remarkably less effective than the argument that their close relationship is a deliberate allusion to the two literary characters they are so closely based on as to quite nearly share their names, Holmes and Watson.

“Sadly, for all its flaws, Dollhouse was still probably the best genre show on TV this season (obviously Lost not airing makes a difference here).”

That’d be “Supernatural,” which has become nearly Shakespearean in how good it has remained over the course of five seasons-as-acts, barring some very notable examples of hitting the wrong notes. Other great genre shows: the aforementioned “House” (mystery disguised as medical drama) and “Castle” (crime).

“There’s more to what qualifies a text as “genre” than simply a cursory, “are there spaceships, yes or no” evaluation of its content.”

This is just a quote I agreed with. As well as much of the rest of the post to which it belongs. It’s why, having only experienced David Tennant as the Doctor, “Doctor Who” doesn’t play as science fiction for me, mainly because there’s no actual science in it (“time goes wibbly-wobbly” doesn’t count as science); it’s just a time machine effectively used to tell stories that are generally more dramatic/action-adventure-oriented than its ostensible genre belies.

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In theory, yeah, a show should be at its best right out of the gate, but it almost always takes a bit longer than that. It took the US OFFICE about a season to set itself apart from the UK one, BUFFY’s first year was pretty uneven compared to what followed- the shows that find their legs in one or two episodes are the exception, at least in the US.

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Clash of Titans is a superb movie and i am a fan of the classic movies featuring Hercules and some other greek god.

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