Month: March 2009

Cancel Heroes, Save the World?

Cancel Heroes, Save the World?


So I finally decided to take a look at Heroes–after avoiding it for as long as I could (as you may know–I’m the guy who likes to read the “heroism” out of superhero comics).

I’m into the third season (on avi files)–and I’ve made a staggering discovery.

I actually have a bad-plotting threshhold!

And Heroes has disclosed it to me. I actually CANNOT engage this thing at the thematic level. I don’t think it has one. Anyway, I can’t find it.

I never dreamed this could happen to me–I’ve reveled in incoherence my entire life!

Am I reacting this way because I’m deeply immersed in writing a time-travel novel that actually has a comprehensible narrative line? (Which I then hope to sell?)

Have I lost my ability to appreciate storytelling that gives the lie to the myths of cause and effect?

Or is it just that the show’s creators are unprecedentedly incompetent?

Nothing anyone does on this show EVER makes any sense. Nor does it make NON-sense in any way that makes an impact.

My friend Nikki warned me that the show sinks ever deeper into “bad time travel.” I never knew there could be such a thing until I met Heroes. Now the best time-travel I can imagine would be the kind that takes me back to where I was before I decided to watch the pilot episode.

This is very bad time travel indeed. And the secret organization paranoia is even worse. If most genre narratives have “storytelling engines,” this one seems to be powered by “storytelling bombs.” (Except that makes it sound so much cooler than it is–how about “storytelling fucking voids of repetitiveness and pointless reversal”?)

I did like one episode quite a lot–the one during the first season that focuses on Hiro and Charlie (the doomed Texan waitress). That’s pretty much it. And now they’ve taken Veronica Mars and made her into an electrified twit.


Why have I kept going?

Can it be that I long to see the end of the horrible world these people are forever trying to save?

Good afternoon friends!


Politics 1, Psychology 0

Politics 1, Psychology 0


(cross-posted at Cailloux de Cinema)

So (like many of you, I’m sure) I saw Watchmen over the weekend.

I was, on the whole, pleasantly surprised by the adaptation!

The film was decidedly less sophisticated in its psychological engagement with the characters who actually aren’t purely allegorical (i.e. Dan and Laurie). For me, those two characters are the heart of Moore’s book–and Snyder doesn’t handle their story very well. By omitting the coffee serving scene (praised at length in this piece), the film sacrifices the wonderful multivalence of the pair’s sexual reawakening on the owl ship, leaving only the costume-fetish aspect of the supersexual critique intact (whereas the book makes it impossible to disentangle the creepiness of the “power fantasy” from the wide-eyed wonder of altruism as aphrodisiac).

On the other hand–the film’s politics are SO MUCH SMARTER THAN THE BOOK’S! I can’t overstate how pleased I am with Hayter/Tse’s (and Snyder’s?) new ending. Yes, the exploding squid was fun–but it’s a catastrophic failure as a plot device. By converting the now-absent Dr. Manhattan from superhero to Super Ego, Veidt’s plan actually stands a chance of imposing perpetual peace upon the world–and kills America’s sense of a special relationship with “God” with the same stone (whereas the GN’s alien is, at best, a shock treatment that will inevitably wear off). Moreover, the film’s Veidt is leagues beyond Moore and Gibbons’ ranting madman, who, by the end of the book, is absolutely indistinguishable from any other melodrama villain. As played by Goode, Veidt actually seems to feel the cost of his actions, allowing the film to lay bare the calculus of political foundation with a candor that the book (unlike its much-maligned contemporary text, Squadron Supreme) never approaches.

Other good stuff in the film–very quickly: the Dr. Manhattan origin story, the opening montage and Matt Frewer’s Moloch.

It’s definitely worth your time–whether you’ve read the book or not!

good afternoon friends!