December 19, 2005
Rejected Column Titles: "Kirk Wouldn't Stoop That Low", "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot," "Resistance is Futile," and "some sort of Locutus pun?" This one goes out to all the nerds in the hizz-ouse.Holographic wow
Threshold: In Memoriam
I just started getting into this show. That's always the way. It's my fault, I know. I had watched the first episode to review it in this column. Of the six shows I reviewed, it was the only one that made me want to watch the next episode (ending in a cliffhanger helped a little). So over Thanksgiving I started to catch up and watched the next couple episodes. I liked it enough that I was going to get entirely caught up. Then the cancellation gods appeared to me in a vision and said 'don't bother'.
Whatever happened to the days when a show was allowed to build an audience? How well did they expect a show in the notorious 'sci-fi slot of death' to do? They sent it in to die. It didn't help that it was on CBS, not a station generally tread by today's sci-fi loving crowd. We didn't see 100 commercials for it like we see for Invasion when watching Lost. Although being on CBS, 'the adult network', is probably why the show was good about not talking down to its audience — so it's a trade off.
But let's think positive. We can both bury and praise it, so let's celebrate Threshold's life. What are some of the best things about Threshold (as gleaned from watching just a couple of episodes)? Well... Fractal patterns. Misanthropy. A little person in a role that has nothing to do with being a little person. Science. The Threshold crew always pretending to be from government agencies they're not from. More dimensions than four. There were a number of things to like.
|We've learned a lot about the aliens, the mystery, the circumstance but there seems like there was definitely a 5-year plan. It's not a straight cliffhanger, but it introduced you to a lot of mythology and explained almost nothing.|
Threshold is more of the later. We've learned a lot about the aliens, the mystery, the circumstance but there seems like there was definitely a 5-year plan. It's not a straight cliffhanger, but it introduced you to a lot of mythology and explained almost nothing.
And strangely, I think this has something to do with its lack of success. Although it was touted not only in this column, but among many practitioners of science fiction, to easily be the best addition of the year, it didn't pull in the numbers. Even when the Sci-Fi Channel's competing block went into repeats, it didn't seem to get a bump from the Stargate: Atlantis fans of the same time slot.
But I think I know why. It's cancellation burn out. Those of us who are sci-fi fans: how many good shows have we seen cancelled after half a season? Kindred? Freaky Links? American Gothic? Firefly? How many times can we get attached just to have our enjoyment be ripped away from us?
|People want to know a show is going to stick around before they invest their heart in it. No one wants to get involved when everything will be left unanswered. Sci-fi aficionados have been deeply scarred from being left hanging so many times that it takes a lot more than being 'good' to get us to pay attention.|
But watch this segue: Sometimes a show runs a good run, doesn't leave you hanging and makes you always wanting more. That's not a terrible way to go out — never getting bad.
And a show that burned bright and stays perfect in all our sado-masochistic memories is Aeon Flux. What could possibly taint the image of so perfect a show? I remember staying up late to watch it on MTV. I also remember when at 15 I first brought home an Aeon Flux poster and I swear my mother thought I was a lesbian. I put it up behind my door so company wouldn't see it. (I believe my grandmother was more concerned by the 'naked silver man' — my Silver Surfer action figure, which she couldn't quite get her head around).
But this would seem to be the burden of the Sci-fi fan — constant disappointment. When something good comes along I find myself in denial — waiting for the other shoe to drop. Perhaps we fans share Aeon's masochistic impulses.
Yet I am happy the Aeon Flux film was made for one reason alone — to see the shiny DVD box set of all the episodes replace my three VHSs. Always look on the bright side of life....
If my math is correct, by the time this column returns, Battlestar Galactica and Lost will have also returned and all will be right with the world. Chances I'll be talking about one of these things? High.
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