Saturday, August 11, 2007

King of the impossible dialogue

I just watched SciFi's new take on Flash Gordon.

Wow. That was an hour of my life I'll never get back.

Either the dialogue was just badly written or the casting director made decisions with a dartboard. Or both.

I never watched the film or read the comic so I'm coming into this with no preconceived notions.

I like to give writers the benefit of the doubt because we all know what happens between script and screen, and Peter Hume did write for the brilliant little underappreciated The Invisible Man. But he also wrote for Charmed, a show with some of the least believable storylines ever created.

Maybe it is the casting. Flash's Black Best Friend is supposed to be throwing around slang-filled jargon like Black Best Friends always do, but unlike Dark Angel's Original Cindy, his speech sounds completely unnatural. Maybe that's why Black Best Friend disappears after act one. There's supposed to be some Latino truck driver who comes and goes as really stereotypical comic relief, but it looks more like they found the only white guy in Vancouver who speaks Spanish and slapped some fake tanner on him. Fake Latinos: the new blackface.

So if they can smooth out some of the casting mistakes this thing might improve. There is one glorious casting decision: Steve Bacic, the only watchable part of the last two seasons of Andromeda.

But then I heard some really cliche lines like this exchange:

FLASH: Everything will be okay. Just keep smiling.

Trouble happens. Flash and his ex, Dale, end up in a tight spot.

DALE: What do we do now?

FLASH: Now? Now we stop smiling.

EMILY: Groan.

I suppose I could cut the show a little slack. The story's kind of interesting. It should probably be handled with camp, though, and it's taken very seriously here. There needs to be way more humor.

Evidently the story revolves around a bunch of aliens who chase a marathon runner through a wormhole in search of a nice Earth movie theater where they can watch Harry Potter in 3D. OR they could be looking for a set of Apple computers, I'm not sure.

But it's just a pilot. Ever seen the pilot episode for Star Trek: Next Generation? Worst. Pilot. Ever. Pilots are notoriously bad examples of what a show can be, so maybe Flash Gordon will get better.

But then you get Friday Night Lights, Alias or Lost - all pilots that not only rocked my television but set a consistent tone for the series. So clearly it can be done.

I guess I expected more from the network that introduced me to Farscape and Battlestar Galactica.

I'll watch episode two just to see if it improves. God I hope so. I've come to have higher expectations of SciFi's shows, but this show's pilot was more like one of their films.

I hope Tin Man is better. It looks kind of awesome.


  1. Don't watch the second won't be worth it. You start off on the wrong foot, you go in the wrong direction. Flash is lost in the Vancouver woods somewhere.

    Yes, ST:TNG started poorly, but they had a core concept that was worth the time. Flash - not so much.

  2. I started watching that episode, lost interest about 20 minutes in. I might try again, but I'm not holding my breath it will improve. It's not really about the original story, anyway, which was campy enough, but is supposed to be a revisioned version of the 80's movie - waaay campy, and not in a very good way.


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