I still haven’t seen ‘Revolution’.
Honestly, I don’t even know if it’s been picked up for a second season, or whether it’s going to be another one of those post-‘Lost’ series that the networks poured money into hoping to catch lightning in a bottle a second time only to see it die a quick and painful death. (Along with ‘The Event’, ‘FlashForward’, ‘No Ordinary Family’, ‘Heroes’…and yes, ‘Heroes’ died a slow painful death instead…the point is that a lot of people have tried to recreate what made ‘Lost’ popular, only to find out that it doesn’t work like that.) And the greater point is, I haven’t watched it because it looked lousy.
I kind of do this a lot. I didn’t see ‘Cloud Atlas’, I didn’t read ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’, and I have no intention of checking out ‘The Lone Ranger’. Why? Because they all look awful. This is one of those statements that feels like it shouldn’t be contentious, but it very frequently is. Because everyone has different tastes, and each of the stories described above has people who will defend it passionately and vociferously. (Except maybe ‘The Lone Ranger’. That thing will sell tickets to Johnny Depp’s immediate family only. And even they’re going to sneak out and see something else.) And these defenders always have a single defense whenever anyone says, “I didn’t see that because it looked awful.” That defense is, “Well, how do you know it’s awful if you didn’t even see it?”
On some levels, this is the perfect attack. It paints your opponent as ignorant…and worse, as prejudiced. They saw two minutes of footage from a movie, and instantly decided they knew what was going to happen in the entire 90 minutes. (Or 186 minutes, if you’re one of the people who skipped watching ‘The Hobbit’.) They don’t know the ending, they haven’t experienced the twists, they can’t possibly judge a film/TV show/book/comic based on an ad for it!
But there’s a simple counter-argument: Life is too short to waste on shit that you know is going to be shit walking in. This was a gigantic revelation to me as a college student, when I sat down to watch ‘Godzilla’ (1997 version, free ticket) and I realized that even for free, I had overpaid for this by spending my time on it. It looked like it was going to be a bad movie, it got terrible reviews, the word of mouth was lousy, and you know what? It was exactly what everyone said it was. I was not going to discover a secret gem of cinema that the masses had disdained when I saw ‘Godzilla’. I was going to be wasting my time.
And since then, I have (for the most part) trusted my judgment when it came to ads. If it looks bad in two minutes, the odds that they picked the worst two minutes to show you are not high. If the concept sounds stupid, it probably is stupid. (Peter David once said that everyone judged ‘The Other’ as dumb based solely on hearing the concept of “spider-cancer”. Speaking as someone who read it, the people who judged it as dumb before reading it are probably happier. They certainly have more money in their pocket.) You do not have to sample everything that comes down the pike just to see if it’s really as bad as it looks, and you don’t have to apologize for skipping something that looks bad. Yes, you might be missing out on something wonderful. You know what? There’s plenty of other wonderful things out there. You can spend your whole life watching movies and not get through them all. Why waste time on the bad stuff? (Unless the bad stuff has a guy and two puppets making fun of it. Then the reasons are self-evident.) Demanding someone go out and watch a bad movie just so that they can argue it’s bad based on more evidence is like demanding they touch the stove just to prove that bright red glow emanating from the metal isn’t a paint job.
So I won’t be watching ‘Revolution’. I won’t make a big deal of it–there’s a whole companion post to this that could be written about people who jump into forums just to tell everyone how lousy the show they like is, and how stupid they are for enjoying it–but I also won’t back away from my opinion on it. Because if I’m right and it’s bad at two minutes, it’s going to be punishing at twelve hours. And I have too many good shows to catch up on to spend twelve hours punishing myself.