What Sacred Sci-Fi Cows Do You Just Not Get?
Read on to see whether any of them, like Tim Bisley, think Babylon 5 ’s a big pile of…!
Narin Behar: Supernatural . I’m sorry. I watched the first episode, and thought it was a sub-par Buffy monster-of-the-week effort with two wooden and chiselled bits of man-candy as leads. But then a load of my friends – people whose opinions I trust and who tend to like the same shows as I do (I ignore their misstep of recommending Alias ) – told me it was really good and I should give the first season a try. I duly bought the DVDs and gave it a go, but when the final disc wouldn’t play I decided the universe was telling me to was okay to stop trying to love something so dull. Over the years people have told me to try again; that later seasons get better; that the overarching plot arc is great; hell, recently someone tried to seduce me into watching it by telling me, as a former X-Phile (yes, sadly enough I probably did use the name) that Nicholas Lea and Mitch Pileggi were in an episode together. Each to their own, but I just don’t get it. I’m really sorry, not least because by daring to write this paragraph I can think of two people whose Christmas card lists I’ll be ceremoniously removed from...
Laura McConnell: Buffy The Vampire Slayer . Yes, I said it. Buffy The Vampire Slayer . Now, to be fair, I’ve only given Buffy a very small chance, but I have tried to watch it. Granted, I tried to watch it just because I’m “supposed” to (it never appealed to me one whit to begin with) so I was probably biased, but I didn’t make it very far. A few episodes at best. But I did try. I just didn’t get it. I know I should give it more time. I know it has to get better, right? I know I should just keep plugging along with it. But I don’t want to. Give me my Whedon in the form of Firefly , thanks. Maybe one day I’ll see the light and you can all say, “I told you so!” but for now, well, no Buffy for me.
Will Salmon: Until last week it would have been Game Of Thrones . I thought the first episode was pretty poor. Having watched the rest of the series, I’ve now seen the error of my ways. Yeah, it’s good (though still not that good).
The big one for me is the work of a person, rather than a show or a book. Kevin Smith. Yes, Clerks was okay. But everything I have seen after that ( Mallrats , Dogma , that painful Jay & Silent Bob flick) has been dreadful. I’m sure he’s capable of good work, but it’s really not for me, and I object to the assumption that as a fan I must love his unfunny gags and tired genre references. He’s a Star Wars prequel apologist too. Those people aren’t to be trusted.
Steven Ellis: The works of Sir Terry Pratchett. I’ve tried to read many of his books time and again and I just can’t get into them. I really have tried to get a glimpse of what everyone else raves about, and I must say I’m quite disappointed that I’ve never seen it. An old boss of mine was a huge fan and I borrowed several books from him, but I could just never finish them. I’ve tried reading samples from the Guards books, the Death ones and the Witches books too. I just never “got” them. I’m really not into the fantasy parts of science fiction and fantasy that much and Sir Terry’s work, for me, falls squarely into that zone. My other half has all of his books and thinks he’s fantastic and she often raves about him and while I’ve got a lot of respect for the man, his recent health battles and what he represents to many in our genre and to British fiction in general, his work, unfortunately, is just not for me.
There is one exception to this: Good Omens . I really enjoyed that book. Which is very odd considering that, as I’ve said, I’m not a fan of Sir Terry’s work, but further to that I am not a fan of Neil Gaiman either. I guess the books apocalyptic subject or the combination of the two writers hit a chord with me. I hope the same can be said for The Long Earth , Sir Terry’s forthcoming collaboration with Stephen Baxter.
Alasdair Stuart: Being Human , in particular series two. I know it’s a beloved show, especially around these parts and there’s a lot of season two I really enjoy, especially Mitchell trying to be the new ruler of Bristol and the glorious menace behind the line: “Which one of you owns a suit?” That whole sequence, and everything with Daisy and Ivan is just genius and the fact that Mitchell comes so close to rehabilitating an entire city of vampires just breaks my heart.
But then? it all collapses for me. What starts out as an interesting religious bad guy with a genuine grievance turns into a mug sniffing perv for no reason I could see other than an attempt to undermine him. It was such a left field, cheap shot that it threw me out of the show and I never quite got back into it. The villains that season were much, much more interesting when they had a legitimate grievance because it beautifully subverted the series’ central idea; what it means to be human when you’re not quite that any more. But no, we got the mug-sniffing pseudo sex pest because when it comes down to it every religious character has to be either an idiot, a pervert, a hypocrite or a perverted hypocrite who's thicky thicky thickington mayor of thickingshire, a job he inherited from his dad.
At the same time, George is trapped in the never ending “domestic bliss or lack thereof” plotline and Annie, more so than ever before, seems to have absolutely nothing to do. Oh, and George and Nina shout at one another over and over and over and over and over and over...
My relationship with the show remains cautious, even now. Season three did some interesting stuff with the consequences of Mitchell’s actions but the fact that Herrick, and I am the only person on Earth who never really liked Herrick, was the big bad, again, didn't work for me. It’s perhaps telling that the episode of the show I’ve enjoyed the most, in two years, was Becoming Human , and I’d happily watch Adam and his miniature Scooby Gang any day of the week. As for the mother show, the massive changes in season four certainly have my attention but for me the show’s on notice even now.”
Matt Risley: While it’s not a conscious decision, I tend to bundle along with the geek bandwagon most of the time. But there’s one character and megabucks, medium-spanning franchise that’s always bamboozled me – Superman.
The aesthetics (hunky bit o’beef in skin-tight spandex) and superpowers (flight, laser eyebeams, superstrength) undoubtedly appeal, but scrape beneath the boy scout super-moral exterior and there’s just nothing left to interest. Various writers, directors and artists over the years have tried to imbue new layers of character depth and introduce dangerous new adversaries, and while Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s “All Star” series was superlative, that was a defined, limited story. For all the ongoing comic series, cartoons and movies, they’re always going to fighting a losing battle when it comes to making a perfect character (both physically and emotionally) truly, progressively engaging.
Dave Golder: The Exorcist. I think you must need to be Catholic to be affected by it. I was just left monumentally bored. And since Tubular Bells always sounds to me like a pissed-up whirl on a fairground merry-go-round, the music puts me in completely the wrong frame of mind.
How much of geek culture is inherently connected to technology? Can you be a geek and still be a Luddite? Is that what lies at the heart of Steampunk?