Preaching to the choir, maybe

Mighty God King asks the question that has been floating in the head of many Expanded Universe fans. (Or is it just me?)

If we’re going to get an animated Star Wars film, why on earth are we getting the Clone Wars, which has already had live-action movies and an animated series and potentially a live-action series in the future about it – instead of, and this is just off the top of my head, an adaptation of the Heir to the Empire trilogy by Timothy Zahn, AKA “the only good Star Wars novels ever?”

We know the answer: Because George Lucas loves his shiny new Clone Wars, and it’s not like folks aren’t going to watch it. But really, why can’t we take the post-ROTJ books and feed them into the animation mill? By end of LOTF, we’re going on 40 years worth of raw material. True, they aren’t all the Thrawn trilogy, but even the worst could hold a glimmer of possibility in the hands of a competent scriptwriter. And it’s not like other endless franchises haven’t been doing it for decades.

I’ve nothing against The Clone Wars in theory – but didn’t we just leave that party? Maybe I’m just a sad old-school fan who simply isn’t all that interested in further exploration of the prequel era (okay, drop the ‘maybe’) but… Seriously. Forty years of imperfect but infinitely useful raw material with established movie characters that people actually mostly like and have fond memories of. And starting off with the Thrawn trilogy will bring in a lot of people who just weren’t feeling the prequels and other casual fans who might not make the time for The Clone Wars. (Plus, it would probably boost book sales. Books that are already written, edited, and sitting around in stores.)

I’ll keep holding out hope it happens eventually. You?

Pleasantly surprised by Reaper

With both of last season’s Tuesday night staples (Veronica Mars and the twilight of Gilmore Girls) off the air, prime time seemed mighty uninviting last night. The Food Network came to my rescue at 8 with back to back reruns of Good Eats, but at 9 they turned the channel over to Rachael Ray and that I can not abide. So habit lead me to the CW, and the first episode of Reaper.

Which… did not suck. I’d heard the show compared to Buffy, and while that might not be the most fair comparison, it was entertaining enough. So I agree with EW’s Michael Slezak – try to catch the encore Thursday night. It might not be the next Heroes, but it may at least entertain you.

Face it: There is no Expanded Universe golden age

Oh TFN, your ability to bring the laughs to fandom is yet unmatched. Check out this winner: Is the EU really starting to suck?

First of all: Starting? Like any product of this magnitude, the Expanded Universe has its ups and downs, and always has. There is no EU golden age: even back in the days of Bantam, fans were bitching up a storm. There are great books, good books, bad books, horrific books and the work of Kevin J. Anderson. (A man who dared to write that Mara’s hair was ‘auburn.’ Oh noes!)

And, let’s not forget, these classifications are completely subjective. One fan’s Crystal Star is another fan’s Heir to the Empire. I can’t even begin to comprehend why anyone would see YJK as the pinnacle of the Expanded Universe, but if nothing else it shows the sheer variety of fandom opinion.

In any case, the potential for ‘suck’ has existed in the EU since the day the first bit of it rolled off the printing press. The main variable here is the reader, and their taste. Yes, it’s more or less inevitable that every fan will be disappointed at some point. The only real difference is how one deals with it.

It’s okay to be unhappy with the direction of a series. It’s okay to not like a book, or an author. But try to see beyond your own prejudice, or at least do something with your angst other than throwing around words like ‘suck’ and ‘trash’ on a message board all day. It doesn’t make you look any good, and it certainly doesn’t do the fandom as a whole any favors.

Embrace the pain. Mock it, snark it, twist it to your own purposes. But don’t let it rule you.

And, for the record, at least some at TFN are trying to detract from the negativity.

March of the comic book guys

Fanboys a force in Hollywood, says Time. “Though there are some fangirls,” huh? Nice.

There are larger issues at work here, of course: Do ‘alpha fans’ really have power? Should they (we?) have power? And what about overpronounced backlash ala ‘Jar-Jar raped my childhood?’ Time certainly isn’t breaking new ground or going in-depth with the issue, but I can’t help wondering when someone is going to bother to address the obvious gender divide in fandom. Because, hi, we’re here too. And that doesn’t mean we’re all making pink websites or mooning over the geekthrob du jour.

We’ve heard it all before

opinion.gifMark Beall at Cinematical talks about the prequel trilogy, at length. Nothing new, really – the entertaining part is the commentary over at Big Dumb Object:

I’m so sick of this. No one seems to understand. Let me spell it out (hopefully for the last time).

When you saw the original Star Wars films you were a child. Children love the new Star Wars films. Your expectations of the prequel films are not that of a child.

A bit harsh, maybe – Beall isn’t all that obnoxious, on the grand scale of fanboy obnoxiousness. (It goes to eleven.) But true enough. And as a ‘hardcore’ fan, I really don’t see why it’s so hard to just shrug off the prequel films if you don’t adore them. I certainly didn’t enjoy them as much as the OT, but I don’t feel the need splooge over fandom because of it. They’re just… there. They were a good excuse to gather and do fun fannish stuff. And snark. Very, very good for snark. But why continue to dwell on the bitterness?

And can we please drop the ‘true fan’ crap already? You don’t have to adore everything about Star Wars to be a ‘real’ fan, otherwise most of CJ would have been disqualified the moment the notion of a burgerpult entered our heads. (Looong before TPM.) There is NO SUCH THING as a ‘true fan’ or ‘true fanboy.’ You like the movies? ANY of the movies? You’re a fan. It’s not an all or nothing situation. Star Wars is much too large, both as a franchise and a fandom, for such a mindset to be practical. So, yes: deal.

This is (not) the war that never ends…

opinion.gifAndrew Wheeler has some thoughts on Tempest and the Things Get Worse-ness of the Expanded Universe, to which I can only say… Yeah. I know far too many people, avid EU readers before the NJO, who now are… not. Wheeler hits on the head one reason some folks (including me) view the Bantam line as more successful, depite the mixed quality of the books themselves – storylines very rarely lasted longer than a trilogy or so. You didn’t have book after book of endless catastrophe. If one book or trilogy bored, the next could be a complete 180 in any number of ways. There was, quite simply, variety.

I have hopes for the Legacy series – I’m generally hopeful, at least in the early stages. At the very least, it doesn’t look to be shaping up to anything on the level of the NJO, where I might have welcomed a book by Kevin J. Anderson if he just made the big bad and incredibly boring Yuuzhan Vong simply go away. (Finally, an acceptable use for those excess superweapons!) LOTF, with the linchpin of a civil war where both sides are populated by ‘good’ guys, and the possibility for main baddies who are, if not totally sympathetic, actually interesting, could avoid the NJO syndrome.

Maybe.