Sunday, August 12, 2007

The “New” Flash Gordon

“SCI FI is putting a 21st-century spin on one of science fiction's best-known names: Flash Gordon” –

…And boy howdy, if by 21st century they mean really boring and lame, SCI FI accomplished it with flying colors. Imagine Stargate with only one world to travel to, X-Files with only one mystery, or Eureka with only one weird experiment and you get an idea of how dull this show is. I could go on and on about how this program is disingenuous to the Flash Gordon tradition established in the original comic strip but it’s entirely disingenuous to science fiction fans in general. Basically, the SciFi channel wanted something with name recognition to use for it's own purposes and unlike, say, Battlestar Galactica, which has been pretty good, they didn’t want to spend any money on it.

Flash Gordon should be about wild, amazing adventures on an alien planet with strange creatures and dastardly menacing threats of cosmic proportions. It’s the first Star Wars or Star Trek. Any adaptation, whether it’s played strait (the serials, the ‘79 cartoon) or for laughs (the 80s movie) understands that you’ve got to have that pulp sentiment, and larger than life action for Flash Gordon to work. This show strips away everything from the Flash Gordon franchise except for a few names. The script is terrible and the acting robotic. The producers want this show to be funny and cool. But it can’t be funny if the pulp elements are removed and it can’t be cool if it’s got a budget of two bucks. A Winnebago and a Bowling Ally are not the stuff of epic space adventures and Vancouver B.C. is not a good stand in for the planet Mongo. We should have had Hawkmen and spaceships from the beginning.

They are really hoping that nobody will notice how awful the show is. Sorry SCI FI we’ve noticed.

If your interested in Flash Gordon do yourself a favor and read the original collected comic strips or watch any number of other adaptations including the Serials, the 80s film or the 1979 Filmation cartoon.

This cartoon opening from 1979 is hundred times more exciting than the whole hour and half of SCI FI show.

How can adventures in a Winnebago and a Bowling Ally compare with that!



Anonymous said...

I liked the corny 80's film w/the porn star Flesh Gordon and the (unintentionaly) hilarious Italian actress as the bad princess...

but most of all, I like the Queen soundtrack!

Don Snabulus said...

Queen was awesome.

Sounds like typical Sci-Fi fare 90% of the time. For every Dune or BSG, there are 5 Earthseas and Flash Gordons stinking up the Sci-Fi reputation. Just remember though, even the worst sci-fi show is better than World Poker Tour on the Travel Channel (or the other channels it pollutes).

Pandabonium said...

I remember seeing 1936 films played on TV, which were very campy (read good) with lines like "put on the de-gravity belts" (isn't that redundant?). The 1980 film was great. I'm not even a rock fan, but I also thought Queen was awesome.

The Moody Minstrel said...


Why the **** is it that producers nowadays seem to be so eager to "modernize" classics while at the same time thinking "modernization" is synonymous with "dumbing down"? What does that say about our culture?

I once had a friend of mine who is an experienced (sci-fi/fantasy) writer say, "People nowadays don't want fantasy, they want sympathy. They want to see heroes - or anti-heroes - that they can easily relate to."

So what is the U.S. now, a nation of unimaginative neurotics with inferiority complexes?

Dean Wormer said...

The 80's film also had Brian Blessed, Max Sydow and Timoth Dalton in it. That - and the soundtrack rocked. The final battle was pretty fun.

Dean Wormer said...

The 80's film also had Brian Blessed, Max Sydow and Timoth Dalton in it. That - and the soundtrack rocked. The final battle was pretty fun.

Arkonbey said...

I had hopes for this. It seems to me that Sci-Fi can make some good stuff (BSG, Dr. Who), but it can make some absolute garbage (Dune).

I think what they need is a back-to-basics Twilight Zone /Outer Limits show. Only less like the quite lame New Outer Limits and more like ABC's Masters of Science Fiction.

Swinebread said...

Anonymous – I wasn’t a big fan of the 80s Flash but that and Flesh Gordon are friggin’ Casablanca compared this crap.

Snab – I dunno this is pretty bad… poker could be a better

Panda – yes the serials are great… this new show sucks all the fun out of the franchise.

Moody – I don’t want to relate to anybody. I just wanna see weird mutants and spaceships. I think there is some sort of fear on taking chances by the networks and cable stations.

Dean – that was all great I just didn’t like Flash in his wife beater shirt and feathered hair.

Arkonbey – don’t forget Sci Fi didn’t make Dr. Who, the BBC did. They only decided to run it a year later when they had a gaping hole in their programming schedule. That’s why we’re behind what’s being shown in the UK.

I had a feeling Flash was gonna be bad. I keep thinking they don’t have enough cash to do this correctly. It’ like some sort of lame X-Files thing.

I liked Dune, (I thought Earthsea was the real stinker) although in the few years that have passed my opinion has lowered a bit, especially concerning the portrayal of Paul.

Arkonbey said...

Oh, I forgot all about Earthsea! Did you know that Ursulla LeGuin wrote a letter telling the world that she thought the show sucked?

I also just remembered that BSG is also a BBC production.

I didn't like Paul much either. He was too much of the petulant teen and less like the Duke-in-waiting that he was in the books.

Swinebread said...

I did read her response. Get everything in writing, not a handshake.

BSG is a co-production between Sci Fi and BBC from what I understand..


I hear there's some Farscape webisodes coming out, so, sci-fi hasn't completely forgotten it's audience.

The Moody Minstrel said...

but it can make some absolute garbage (Dune).

Are you talking about the Canadian miniseries Dune, or the movie with Sting? (Sorry...I've been away from American TV for years...)

Arkonbey said...

The miniseries.

The movie was... interesting, but then David Lynch is always... interesting.

Pandabonium said...

Moody said, "So what is the U.S. now, a nation of unimaginative neurotics with inferiority complexes? " ...

With some exceptions - most of whom we know apparently - yes.