Science Fiction Book Club
March 13, 2002
It's all George Lucas' fault, that bastard.
How else do you explain the glut of half-baked "prequels" like Enterprise and Smallville? It's a gimmick, a fad, a new way to exploit old media properties, a lazy shortcut for producers who can't be bothered to develop new ideas. And I'm getting pretty damn sick of it.
But the thing I hate most about these shows-- and others-- is the unoriginal theme music. It's also what I don't like about Roswell, Gilmore Girls, Friends, and countless other shows both good and bad. It has nothing to do with the quality of the shows themselves; I just have an objection to the lack of care and attention in the music.
I'm all for recycling, but not when it comes to art. The opening theme music for a television show should define its character. A few years ago, there was a trend toward shorter titles-- witness the frugality of Frasier-- but now the trend seems to be using nondescript pop songs to fill time, in lieu of any statement of a show's vision.
Remember when people actually wrote lyrics for television show theme songs? I'm not saying they were all classics, but at the very least, you'll never associate the theme from Cheers with anything else. Or Diff'rent Strokes. Or The Brady Bunch. There's a reason it's called a theme!
It can be the greatest song in the world, but if you didn't write it for the show, I'll hate it in that context. I loved Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I didn't like its theme music, either, because it was unoriginal. Great music, but unoriginal. Go watch the first few minutes of Star Trek: The Motion Picture if you don't know what I'm talking about. And it also annoys me that the powers that be at Paramount have decided to use the same theme for several recent Star Trek movies.
But getting back to my original point: so far, Enterprise and Smallville have displayed an alarming lack of... well, most redeeming qualities. The former seems determined to outdo Voyager as an anti-science, anti-intellectual, action-misadventure merry-go-round. The latter is quickly devolving into a kryptonite-side-effect-of-the-week freak show that doesn't even attempt to grasp reality.
So why, you ask, do I keep watching these mediocre offerings? Because I'm a drooling fanboy, that's why. But I don't have to be a mindless drooling fanboy.
It's official: I am a visionary science fiction writer.
Remember the color-coded "Defcon" security alert ratings I described in Freefall? (Of course you don't. Just follow the link.) On March 12, U.S. domestic security chief Tom Ridge announced a very similar system, albeit with one extra color: orange.
I stand by my color selection and ordering. I only used primary colors (whether additive or subtractive), and I preserved the "traffic light" order of escalation, with blue being the odd man out. In my system, no public announcement would be made unless Defcon Green was declared. Why do we need to broadcast mere suspicions?
Anyway, I admit it's not as impressive as Clarke's geosynchronous satellites or Verne's voyage to the moon, and I haven't even actually written a real book yet, but it still makes me feel pretty good.
For the rest of this month, The WB is not showing any new episodes of Angel. Instead, on Mondays at 9:00 PM, they're showing Glory Days, one of their mid-season replacement series.
I suppose they expect me to watch this dreck instead of Angel, and instead of doing anything else with my time. Like watching other TV shows I've recorded, or seeing movies, or reading, or watching Angel on DVD.