Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Random Thoughts about The X Files, ABC Family rerunning Dawson's Creek & Buffy, Game of Thrones

-The X Files: Fight The Future movie essentially condensed five seasons of mythology into a 112 minute movie, did not advance the mythology at all, and even repeated the beats of Mulder & Scully’s relationship. I enjoyed the movie, though, except for the latter half of the third act when Mulder has an adventure rescuing Scully from an alien aircraft. I heard somewhere that Scully saw the spaceship, but time and the untrustworthiness of memory proved me wrong. She didn’t see the gosh darn space ship.

I began watching the series for writers that made their names and careers working in the Whedonverse. Those guys are David Greenwalt, Tim Minear, and even Jeffrey Bell (though I’ve yet to reach his episodes). It so happened The X Files received a pop-cultural regeneration around the time I started watching and a six episode order for 2016. Perhaps I’ll review the series if I finish watching another 88 episodes and a movie before then.

Grimm reminds me of The X Files. Yes, that little Friday night genre series created by David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf. I mentioned the comparison in a January review of Grimm. Grimm has a nonsense mythology that rarely achieves anything narratively. The stand-alone episodes often surpass the mythology episodes. I’m weary of The X Files mythology, but the stand-alone episodes make it worth watching despite mythology weariness. I know the series didn’t satisfy the majority of fans, which I’m rather indifferent about anyway. Endings of shows do not make or break a series for me. Answers to questions don’t enrage me as it did to some LOST fans that were enraged five years ago or some X Files fans that were 13 years ago.

-ABC Family will air reruns of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and Dawson’s Creek, starting June 22. The news inspired me to tweet about the episodes I voted to air during Fan Favorite Week. I considered writing about all of Dawson’s Creek during the summer (and Everwood), but I decided against it. I very well might write about some of the episodes that air for both shows. I’ve written quite a bit about both shows in the past. It’s fitting that ABC Family chose one episode a piece from the last two miserable seasons of Dawson’s Creek. “Castaways” is a solid Joey/Pacey episode that’s only Joey/Pacey stuck in a K-Mart. The amount of product placement during the last season is staggering. There’s another decent Joey/Pacey episode in season 6: Joey leaves Pacey at a dance for Kate Hudson’s brother.

-Game of Thrones continues to outrage and offend fans this season. I immensely dislike all the fan outrage because it’s bordering on a kind of censorship at this point. Dan Harmon came very close to making a great point about the fans’ relationship with the series before he decided against it, because he didn’t want to become a pariah. Alan Sepinwall, the Internet’s most famous critic, also made a salient point about the brutal violence in the series. Sepinwall figured fans felt outraged and upset about Shireen’s death because she’s an innocent girl betrayed by her father whereas the Harpy’s tried to kill the good guys and thus deserved to be burned by Drogon’s fire. My friends and I discussed the essence of Sepinwall’s point in a horror-themed episode of my podcast in 2009 or 2010, in which we agreed that there’s a darkness to us watching horror movies and rooting for the heroine to brutally fight back against the killer—or the killer to kill dumb teens. We craved and wanted Drogon to burn Dany’s would-be assassins to ash, and we also want Stannis to suffer a horrendous fate. Of course, I couldn’t care less for the impassioned moralistic outrage about the show’s brutality. David Foster Wallace said, “Good fiction’s job is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” I don’t like anyone imposing socio-political issues onto a work of fiction, because I don’t think it’s the job of fiction to amend society. I studied English at a university that more often than not turned away the artistry in literature for the sake of social and political commentary. Art for art’s sake is my personal preference, though. I’m aware people think it’s worthwhile for authors to address issues in society. Heck, I loved Catch 22. George R.R. Martin chose to set his fantasy in a time similar to the Middle Ages during the War of the Roses, which was a brutal era in history where family members killed each other. The author and the reader make an agreement: this is the world you’re entering, an imagined world, more like a fairy tale than not. Fans may easily stop watching.


Colin McGlinchey said...

I wonder how much of people's anger about the whole Stannis thing really is about a little girl being killed by her dad (shocking but it wasn't graphic or really out of character at all for Stannis)? Maybe some of it stems from the fact that Stannis was supposed to be a good guy. He rode in last season and saved the Night's Watch like fairy tale character. He was supposed to kill that awful, awful Ramsey and we were going to root for him to do so, like you point out with the Drogon thing. Now characters no longer fit neatly into a box and that makes people uncomfortable. From my memory, show Stannis has pretty much only cared about being king. He's killed his own brother, pushed his wife and his faith aside and traveled the world to fight everything he can all to achieve that one goal. Why wouldn't he do what he did?

Chris Monigle said...

Yeah, that's a good point. A lot of people like those boxes in fiction because there aren't boxes in life. Also, he'll do whatever Melisandre tells him to do. He would've burned Gendry if he had the chance. Stannis would've burned someone. Book Stannis wants to burn alive a little boy. The twist is that Stannis is the most boxed character. He's convinced he's right and just, the true king of Westeros--like any fanatic. Benioff and Weiss could've gone way darker with the Shireen burning. They made the effort to humanize him a little so that he'd struggle with it. Stannis is one of the true dickheads in Westeros.

About The Foot

My photo
Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.