May. 29th, 2012

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More Brave and the Bold. I knew it was cheesy, but really? The old cheesy Robin who says things dumber than Velma's "Jinkies"?

Oh, they made up for it by making the Nightwing storyline (I think). Okay. Some of it is forgiven. Some of it. Not a lot of it.

I've come to some realizations over this past weekend.

The first was this: everything fictional is fanfiction. Fanfiction of life. And like normal fanfiction, some people just write it better than others.

The second was this: Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine might be relatively the same show, in consideration of characters, basic plot, and plot devices, but BB5 touched me more, personally, in five seasons, than Star Trek did in 29 seasons, a cartoon series, and 11 movies.

So I have three questions after all of this.

1) Has my professed refusal to love something just because it's a member of a specific category (made by a band, director, composer, or a member of a certain genre, etc.), fallen in the wake of my DC obsession?
2) Why is everything fanfiction?
3) Why, at the end of the day, do I still think BB5 beats Star Trek, despite Star Trek's clear overall success over BB5?

So I just haven't written much in a while and I need to write something out.

I've already gone over this show, but I've watched more of it now so I have some more thoughts on it. There's a pretty common trait to recent DC and Marvel comics where they use old conventions with a re-made and re-introduced twist, for nostalgia and such. It's rather interesting, especially when they actually make some of these things work. I mostly like it because it's almost a beginner's introduction to the universe. I didn't grow up buying $0.25 comics from a newsstand or train station or whatever. i didn't know much about these stories, but now I do. So I still think two of the best things about this show are its nostalgia and informational value.

There really is no getting past the cheese, though. There's a mix of "we're making fun of how the comics were originally written and the ways things used to work" and "this is a show somewhat pushed towards younger kids." Arguably, this show could be for adults and teens (which is really true for any show I've heard of using DC and Marvel heroes), rather than little kids, but the cheese makes it feel like it was made for a much younger audience. Batman has grown darker over the years, and this is somewhat reminiscent of how he was way back when, from what I've read. He's still pretty dark, and he's still a detective, but there's a light-heartedness amount of corny and cheese to him (punchlines and all) reminiscent of old comics, overall. Just look at the old Superman or Fantastic Four comics. It's pretty sad. And honestly, to make these old-timey villains of any value whatsoever, the situations the heroes get involved in have to be rather ridiculous. They haven't had many silly "darn it all, you meddling kids" moments, but there have still been a couple.

Of course, there are also those wonderful "solutions" our heroes come up with to answer certain problems. Like the one Aquaman came up with, where they briefly teleported Earth's moon to orbit another planet.

I can't make this stuff up. I honestly wish I could, because it's stuff like this that sells.

There was also an episode where Batman levitated. And this was "explained" by the appearance of Atom Man, who was originally too small to see, so he was "invisible". I'd say that he could have flown and picked Batman up... but I didn't know that a) he could fly and b) he was THAT strong.

Ooooh, an alien nullifer beam. They really had an "alien nullifier beam". They REALLY...

You know, when Batman gave Ace (aka Batdog) a "bat biscuit" (that's not what it was called, but that's what I'm calling it because it was shaped like the Bat insignia; and that's probably what the creators called it, too)... I was ready. Even before Batman tossed it to him. I saw the look and I said "and he's gonna get a bat biscuit. Oh yeah. Saw that coming."

I'm not even going to start on Aquaman, who is meant as the cheesiest of the cheese anyway. Or on Batman and Green Arrow's cars.

There was also an episode where Huntress wants to investigate what Babyface broke his gang out of jail for. While this was a validish idea... there's a slight problem. My first thought was "well, maybe he broke his gang out because he COULD? Because he needed them to do OTHER schemes?" Does every villain need to have a shopping list of schemes when they want to break their partners-in-crime out? Maybe the plan was this: break out, move from there. I'd think that the priority should have been finding where they were hiding out. Oh, right, I'm thinking of a sensible villain who might want to lay low after they break out and before doing anything big.

Despite the cheese, the characters are interesting and the stories are, well... interesting. It isn't the best series in the world, and I would have rather seen more seasons of Justice League, where there are a bunch of characters interacting, rather than just Batman and x, followed by some simple moral. I wonder if they're just playing with the SupermanxBatman duo. Superman has yet to pair up with Batman in this series, and he's the one I remember being stuck with him the most, although I don't know how often than happened in the original comics.

Why is everything fictional fanfiction? I think that's self-explanatory.

Take it this way. Realistic fiction is the most realistic one can get where fiction is concerned, right? Take a look at "Mrs. Dalloway": it's a story about people thinking as they live their lives. Honestly. What did the author use to make this story? real-world events (world war 1 I believe), real-world objects, including cars, clothes, parties, and implied realistic figures, including political figures and types of "scientists". Despite the realism of the story (especially with the use of stream-of-consciousness writing), this is still fiction. These people and events aren't real. They're just imitating real people and events that could, within reason, happen to the averagish person. A "fan" of life did their research (whether going into the library or simply through personal experience) and wrote this fictional piece. The same could be side for anything, from historical fiction to fantasy and science fiction. The best science fiction typically takes its start off of science fact and moves off from there. Fantasy's worst flaw is when it uses the excuse of "it's magic", and bases much of its story on known animals and the capabilities of humans, as well as information from the Middle Ages and so on. The best speculative fiction is as close to realistic human behavior and life as possible, so it isn't like they make up people and events from nowhere.

I was mainly thinking about the Wicked series, and how all it is, really, is glorified published, popular fanfiction. This is not uncommon, as is demonstrated by the many novels based in the Star Wars and Star Trek universes. Other franchises have fanfiction novels and comic books based on them (and not made by the original creators). It's a thing. But then I thought, "Well, it's been said that the Wizard of Oz was actually a metaphor and satire of political undercurrents occurring during the book's creations (e.g., Dorothy's silver shoes - the push towards the use of silver to support the small amount of gold that then backed US currency). All the original book series was, was fanfiction of human behavior (the military, politicians, farmers, townsfolk, mobs, royalty, etc.) and human life and decisions. So Wicked is a fanfiction of a fanfiction. Fanfictionception!

It had to be typed. Sorry.

And so, at the last, why do I think that BB5 better than Star Trek?

I don't think this is an overall thing. I honestly think that this is a personal thing. I love many of the characters in Star Trek (I mean, honestly, when you have THAT many to choose from, a creator has to do SOMETHING right). I liked... um... you know, I liked the main plot of Voyager, and some of the subplots in DS9. The new Star Trek movie was also just fun.

But honestly? Star Trek had a tendency to focus on quantity over quality at times, much like a lot of old comics. The stories weren't always amazing or funny, or plain fun at all. BB5 also had cliche. There was some cheesy liners. Some stories you could easily figure out the ending to. But there were these characters... these beautiful characters, with amazing acting and (ignoring a great deal of season 1) some amazing plot and simply gorgeous script. Out of everything I've watched in Star Trek, there are a number of specifically Star Trek lines I can remember (Beam me up, Energize, Make it so, Resistance is futile), but there are few lines I recall that truly touched me.

"I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." - Marcus Cole

"Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, or genetics and you'll get ten different answers. But there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on: whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu and Einstein and Mozart and Buddy Holly and Aristophanes...and all of this...ALL of this was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars." - Jeffrey Sinclair

"I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone, our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit that the part of me that is going will very much miss the part of you that is staying." - G'Kar

"And I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe, that we have not yet explained everything." - G'Kar

And not everything is deep and sad or harsh. Some things are deep and funny. Some aren't.

This can be said for a large part of Star Trek. If it couldn't, I doubt the franchise would be as popular as it is. But I don't know. I still feel like it's a quality over quantity issue. BB5 had a great deal of quality in its short time. Star Trek had, well... a lot of quantity. It wasn't just DS9 that was imitating something else. Every show used a somewhat basic formula. They all had their Mr. Spock: Data, Tuvok, Bashir (Siddig el Fatil actually knew he was being turned into a Data and REALLY hated it; the problem is, if you look back at the beginning of Next Generation, it's blatantly clear that Data is just another Spock), T'Pol... Did I mention that three of these characters (Spock, Tuvok, and T'Pol) are vulcans? Two were second-in-command on the Enterprise, while the third was the closest friend of the Captain, as well as a sort of bodyguard for her. Also, Data was a computer made to appear human. Bashir was a human made to be like a computer. Vulcans are a race who exist to be as "logical" as possible, similar to machines. ARE WE SEEING A FORMULA YET?

Spock wasn't the only formulaic bit in the story. Every single captain got the babe... or dude. Archer, Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway... none of these characters were monogamous. Janeway and Sisko were the best at trying, but they weren't amazing.

There was always a rookie. I think it was Chekov in the original series, Wesley Crusher, Harry Kim, Bashir (smart, yes, still a rookie)/Jake Sisko, Hoshi/Travis.

Then there was the rogue. There was the techie. The angry security chief. Seriously. Why are security chiefs always angry?

There was also this repetition of plots. The set would change. A little. The actors would change. But the same basic scenarios would run. It was kind of annoying. I suppose BB5 won out on that score because, although a few of the plots were familiar, it didn't run five series and 11 movies. It just had one. If Crusade had its change, I might be saying that BB5 suffered from the same problem.

By the way, forget everything I said. Neil Patrick Harris is a musical villain in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and the episode he's in is a musical parody of, well, the basic musical formula. And while his character and Black Canary are singing, Batman is swimming through this flood of fighters. And there was this dance with Gorilla Grod, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, Black Manta, and I think Time King (I'm not familiar with him). It's... hilarious and awesome and just... so funny. Also, his many outfits and hairstyles are just... hilarious. And so Neil Patrick Harris. This is quite possibly the best episode of a show based on comics I've seen. That's probably the humor speaking, but... seriously. There's even synchronized swimming. And now Batman is singing... that was amazing.

Anyway. I don't really know what I ended up typing here. I would love to see this Green Arrow and Black Canary get together. Just for the cuteness. Also, LashinaxJonah Hex? Never thought of that, but adorable.

Ta.

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