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May 15, 2017

Does "Prestige TV" Just Mean Slow, Tedious, Unpleasant and Dimly-Lit?

A reviewer of "American Gods" faults that show (which I haven't seen and wouldn't watch) as having a tempo that's "glacially slow."

Just a bugaboo of mine: These "Prestige" TV show seem to think that a bore-you-to-tears pacing is a de facto marker of "quality writing and deep characterization," and most TV critics aren't hip enough to get the con. A lot of these shows' very slow pace suggests to me they are being written with a target audience of people "multitasking" on the computer as they half-watch in mind. I guess when you're mostly reading Instagram while the TV is on, you maybe don't notice that nothing has happened in the past three minutes. And I guess if you're one of the one-eye-on-tv-one-eye-on-twitter crowd, you need nothing to happen for long stretches, or else you'll be missing important stuff.

I only saw part of it once -- once! -- but I remember thinking "Okay, I can see why people would watch this" when I saw Scandal. Part of it. Once.

It all seemed preposterously dumb and overwrought but at least things seemed to be moving. Moving stupidly, yeah, but moving.

Not totally related, but a funny YouTube guy talks about the problem of slowness, repetition, and boring people being boring because that's "serious" in the context of a show that's often called a prestige TV show, The Walking Dead.

I don't watch the show so I don't know if this is true. I'm inclined to think it is, because almost every show on TV that fancies itself "serious" is deathly slow.


By the way, this idea that slow and depressing must mean "Quality" and "Intended for Mature, Smart Audiences" seems to apply fully to Zack Snyder's attempt at a gritty, "realistic," assholish Superman.

In that, he may have been following DC's lead -- in its "New 52" event, DC rebooted the universe and turned Superman into a younger, more selfish, more angsty character many have dubbed "Emo Superman."

DC's entire "New 52" concept -- making everything "gritty" and "dark" and frankly turning every character into Batman, no matter how clearly the character was unsuited for that treatment -- failed, and failed so bad they had to re-re-boot it to make things lighter and more fun again.

That new version -- "Rebirth," a re-re-reboot (or, a retconning of the last reboot -- is now selling well, and people seem happy to have the old characters back, who aren't just Batman in different colored longjohns.

Incidentally, Superman was so hated they straight up killed him -- and Lois Lane too! -- and for real-real this time.

Sort of. Before they killed him, they established that the old version of Superman -- a little older, married to Lois Lane, and generally a kindhearted, virtuous guy who actually kinda-sorta likes saving people-- had somehow persisted through the universe-altering reboot and was living quietly (with Lois and her son) under the fake name "Clark White" in a farming community 20 miles from Metropolis.

That particular book -- Lois and Clark, I think it was called -- sold well, and the comparison of that Superman to Emo Superman seemed to make people hate Emo Superman even more.

So they just straight-up killed Emo Superman and the old Superman (and the old Lois) step into their Emo Dopplegangers' shoes.

Please stop trying to make Superman into Batman, guys.

I think they finally learned this, and maybe the next time we see Superman (spoiler alert-- he's coming back) his brief death will have given him a personality make-over.

DC's dark, slow, "gritty" New 52 lasted just a touch longer than D&D 4th Edition.

One More Thing: This guy has a bunch of funny videos. Two good ones are "Caravan of Garbage," where one guy digests the plot of novel/movie/comic/etc. to the other guy. These projects tend to be, as the title suggests, Garbage. Here they review the largely-suppressed, terrible late 90s "Justice League" TV movie.

Here they review the script of the original Batman v Superman movie, which was meant to start production some time in 2004 or so, but got cancelled.


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posted by Ace at 07:30 PM

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