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Series: Flash Gordon Sucks

The plan is usually to start these posts some witty anecdote and then to somehow tie it in to the subject matter, but this time the ability to string something together completely escaped me. I tried, trust me I did – I had this whole train of thought going about how childhood memories (where they relate to TV shows or movies) aren’t worth holding onto anymore because sooner or later some bastard is going to come along and completely ruin them for you…. but I ditched that.

Then I had this witty (by elroyonline standards) prologue started, which compared childhood memories of TV shows and Movies to first relationships and, more specifically, first kisses: in that no matter how awkward or poorly executed they were over time your memories distort them until they become this magical thing, until you remember just how goofy the whole experience really was… But I ditched that one too, because clearly I got completely side tracked and was never going to be able to take control of that metaphor — or simile… I can’t remember how I originally phrased it — and get it back onto the subject that I really intended to post about… Which is how much the new Sci Fi channel series, Flash Gordon, sucks.

Usually I try to remain positive about these thing and, as I’ve covered several times recently, I try to hang in with a show for at very least a few episodes more than say, the FOX network, before giving up on them. However in the case of Flash Gordon I honestly thought that someone was playing a joke on me. A prank, a punking perhaps! But then I remembered that I’m not famous and no-one would bother perpetrating such a heinous act on me. Still, I none the less checked behind the couch for a Kutcher before beginning this post.

There are a couple of moments during this re-imagining where the spectacularly-over-the-top heritage of the 1980, Mike Hodge feature poke through, however they only really add up to some heavily applied eye makeup. Ultimately the show fails to even be ‘fun’: Its dialogue is flat, the characters fail to be even mildly endearing and the script calls for leaps of disbelief that even I can’t abide by (Sure, jumping through a random dimensional portal I’ll give ya… But strolling through a doorway, that’s door has just inexplicably detonated off its hinges – nope, sorry) and worst of all, they’ve used the old ‘flood the background of our dodgy set with heavily saturated blue lighting’ trick, just for those viewers who are distracted by bright colours.

I wasn’t looking for a shot by shot (power chord by power chord) remake of the 80’s flick, but with robust re-imaginings like Battlestar Galactica and the upcoming Bionic Woman to compete with I can’t help but feel that the Sci Fi channel may have wasted what could have been an outstanding new series.

I’d be lying if I said that my obsessive compulsion to ‘hang in there’ wasn’t going to force me to watch more episodes of Flash Gordon, but like that first kiss that I mentioned earlier, there’s no way to make up for a lousy first impression… the only hope I have is that I managed to leave a nasty taste in its mouth too.

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    Ah yes! the first time!…

    Oh the awkardness!
    Oh the anxiety!
    Oh the excitement!

    And then let-down wondering what happened.

    I felt that way when I viewed the original Battlestar Galactica after a near 30 year hiatus. Building it up in my head, I remember it being a lot more exciting than it actually was. In fact, watching it for the second time around as a ‘mature’ adult, I realise what purile, trite, romanticised rubbish it really was. There was very little about it that sci-fi as much as just fi.

    Which got me thinking.

    Sometimes ‘re-makes’ are better off having nothing to do with the original as the original may only be leading to a larger let-down…

  • You’re exactly right macca. The thing is that BSG and the new Bionic Woman have shown that you can take an old concept and update it properly.

    However what’s happened with Flash Gordon is that they’ve taken a concept with some inherited value and applied it to a completely flaccid show.

    Honestly, if they’d attempted to make this show WITHOUT associating it with Flash Gordon it would never have seen the light of day – they’re banking on people tuning in based on a prior affection for the characters… if my experience is anything to go by, those people will quickly tune out.

  • I totally agree! The new Flash Gordon sucks! What kills me is the trend with which the networks delay the production of a season for a good show (BSG) so that they can produce and test a multitude of obviously bad shows. The only reason I can fathom is that this behavior is due to some desperate hope that we the viewer will foolishly and stupidly support such productions to whatever minimum level they require to consider the show a success so that they can justify the cancellation of the more expensive shows.