All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Sci-Fi or Soap?

I like Sci-Fi and Fantasy Fiction.  Like it.  It's fun to read or watch as an entertainment option.  I've enjoyed the genre since I was a kid.  When I say enjoy, that's all.  Sci-Fi is one option among many. It has never been an all encompassing passion.  I certainly would never join a fan or professional group whose main purpose was a focus on the genre.

My first experience with Sci-Fi shows was the original Star Trek.   In the 70's the show was in syndication and available on TV as a Saturday re-run.  I thought Spock was cool.  I thought phasers were cool.  "Cool" was probably the extent of my vocabulary at the time. 

My next Sci-Fi experience was of course Star Wars, which I saw in the theater in Pinconning.  The theater is gone now but I still remember the movie.  It was awesome.  "Awesome" being much better than "cool" in my boyhood parlance. 

I've discovered that I can get my fill of Sci-Fi fair on demand on the internet.  That has led me to check out shows that I would never have watched otherwise.  Recently I worked my way though the entire Dark Angel series and I've been checking out the Magicians program that the Sci-Fi Channel is producing.

I'm seeing one long continuing theme in these programs, in a word, "relationships".  Is Max ever going to get busy with Eyes Only?  Season one they were falling uncomfortably in love.  Season two she is infected with a genetically modified virus that will kill him if they make physical contact.  Then the one time they figure out a temporary cure they, run off to save the transgenic mutant crisis de jure instead of, as Max put it, "having a quickie".

Come on already!  First off the show is (supposedly) about super human transgenic soldiers that have escaped a secret government base.  Apparently they all moved to Seattle.  The most dramatic story James Cameron could come up with was if Max was going to show her B-cups to Logan Cale.  No wonder they didn't let him make a third season.

The Magicians is based on a series of books I never heard of or read.  From what I gather its supposed to be based on a storyline that's similar to a college age Hogwarts.  Since I never read Harry Potter, or the other books, I can't say.  I found the first episode on You Tube and watched it.  I thought it had potential so I've followed the first few weeks worth of shows via the internet.

Hillary Kelly has describe The Magicians as both:
"This is a hokey horror show about millennials, and that's a good thing."
"Harry Potter with cocaine and oral sex!"
Since Kelly gives off a "fan vibe", take both comments as positive from her POV.

Let me summarize what they've done with Season 1 so far.

There's a group of 20 somethings, who make up the main cast of characters.  Quentin Coldwater is the male lead character.  He is the most awesomest magician ever if he could just stay out of the mental hospital, and/or pissy self absorbed PMS like moods that he seems to be stuck in.  He gets into this supper cool magic school.  Julia Wicker is his long time friend.  She can do magic too, but she doesn't get into the school.  She is living with Quentin's best non-magic friend.  They are in true love.  That doesn't keep Julia from dropping her knickers for guys that will help her learn magic. 

Quentin's roommate at magic school is into doing some other chick at the school.  They kinda show them doing it.  Personally I've never done it with a women and let her keep her top on, but that's just me.  Eliot Waugh, is he gay and after Quentin's magic brooding booty, or is he after the girl he hangs with, or is it just a mixed up muddled world?  Either way look for a sex scene soon.

That brings us to Alice Quinn.  She's Quentin's friend.  Her wardrobe looks like it was designed specifically to cause the viewer to think of geeky yet semi-sexy school girl fantasies.  I know that's my first thought every time she is on screen.  Com'on already, short skits, thighs a little too thick, knitted sweeter a little to tight. I hear J Gilles start to sing when she shows up.  So I Googled Olivia Taylor Dudley (the actresses name) plus sex tape and while I didn't click any of the links to verify, found that there is more than one out there.

Because, its a show about magic. 

But, its not.  It's a show about relationships and sex.  Is Eliot a queer?  Is he Bi?  When are Quentin and Alice going to do it?  Is Julia going to break up with her non-magic boyfriend or just keep cheating on him to learn more spells?  This isn't what Sci-Fi should be about.  We already have a descriptive for these kinds of shows, Soap Opera.

Yeah I know, there was always speculation if Captain Kirk was going to bang the green alien.  Somehow they still managed to fly the Enterprise around the galaxy and do space stuff.  If someone wants to make a Soap Opera, fine.  Just stop trying to blend what could be good Sci-Fi stories with soft porn.  The stories suffer and lose entertainment value, and the sex isn't nearly as interesting as what's available just a few clicks away.


  1. Susan9:46 AM

    Captain Kirk ALWAYS did the attractive aliens. Why do you think he swaggered and smirked like he did?
    It is just that it always happened off camera, due to the era the show was being televised in.

    He also had his "yeoman" to play with, who just happened to always be attractive women.

    Scotty and McCoy were the ones who weren't gettin' any.

    1. You've obviously put some thought into this.


  2. WaterBoy2:21 PM

    Res Ipsa: "I'm seeing one long continuing theme in these programs, in a word, "relationships"."

    It's inevitable, for various reasons:

    1. SF is no longer a "Men Only" domain, and hasn't been for a long time. The relationship plotlines are mostly for the women...although some are for the indulgence of male fantasies, too. Take Mulder and Scully from X-Files, for example. They ended up shacking up apparently as much for male fannish wish fulfillment (which I really don't get; I never thought Scully was all that attractive) as for trying to pick up the female demographic.

    2. As noted above, transitive male ego wish fulfillment. This usually results in more sex than relationships, but make it both as with The Magicians and kill two birds with one stone.

    3. Dried-up storylines. When the Science really has nowhere else to go, the soap opera plotlines start popping up more frequently. Granted, that started right from the get-go with The Magicians, but that's because they were angling for the female fans from the start. Take something more hard-core like The Expanse, and you're going to start seeing more love story lines appearing there, too...and they've already had a few incidents pop up in the first season already.

    And it's not just a problem with SyFy, either; the series Grimm on NBC also plays the relationships angle, for one. And it's endemic in practically every single super-hero movie out there, from Batman to Spiderman to Iron Man to Green Lantern, ad nauseum.

    Now, all that being said...SyFy seems to have more of a problem with this specifically than the SF genre in general. Every SyFy series I've seen over the past couple of years like Helix, The Strain, 12 Monkeys, Dominion, The Magicians, and so on, all have relationship storylines with more focus than the actual SF parts, for all the reasons stated.

    "Yeah I know, there was always speculation if Captain Kirk was going to bang the green alien. Somehow they still managed to fly the Enterprise around the galaxy and do space stuff."

    Star Trek was not immune to the relationship plotline, either. Kirk and Uhura shared that whole inter-racial kiss thing, while Spock was the target of Nurse Chapel's unrequited love throughout the series. Even Khan got into the act by seducing Lt McGivers, allowing him to learn how to take over the Enterprise.

    And come on, Star Wars had the whole Luke-Leia-Han love triangle running throughout the entire first three movies; how much more "relationship" can you get? And that's not even counting the Anakin Skywalker/Padmé Amidala love story from the prequels as a major plotline.

    I wonder if age and/or wisdom has opened your eyes more to it now than your childhood innocence was capable of detecting back then. The fact that it's much more graphic and in-your-face now than before doesn't mean it wasn't there.

    1. age and/or wisdom has opened your eyes

      That's a good point. The fact that most of those older story lines had the romance as subplot rather than the main theme is probably part of it too.

      Take SG1. It's probably the single most successful Sci-Fi franchise in recent memory. I'm not counting the X-files, since it was more paranormal drama. Carter and O'Neil was a plot theme, so was Daniel and Vala. Even though that show had those relationship subplots, the main story lines were exploring other worlds, fighting the bad guys, and doing cool sci-fi stuff. Sure Carter was geeky cute. The focus of the character was her brains more than her boobs.

      Soaps set in space, or pretend schools of magic aren't as interesting as stories where the theme is intricately related to the setting.

      I think the character of Quentin just rubs me wrong too. There is something about the guy that makes me want to punch him. The main protagonist in a show shouldn't be a complete puss.

    2. WaterBoy3:05 PM

      " think the character of Quentin just rubs me wrong too. There is something about the guy that makes me want to punch him. The main protagonist in a show shouldn't be a complete puss."

      Yes, that's it exactly. IIRC, Harry Potter started out the same way as a meek milquetoast who eventually grew into somewhat of a man. I hope Quentin grows into one, too...because if he stays this way I won't be watching it for much longer.

      And BTW...he checked himself into the mental hospital. Not exactly all there, either.

    3. At least Harry Potter was 12 years old. This guy is supposed to be Ivy League grad school material. He acts like he should be riding the short bus to school.

  3. WaterBoy3:19 PM

    "Take SG1. It's probably the single most successful Sci-Fi franchise in recent memory. I'm not counting the X-files, since it was more paranormal drama."

    Didn't really get into the SG franchise past the first season, so I don't know what kind of relationship O'Niell and Carter developed. It would surprise me if it developed into anything beyond platonic friendship, though, given the nature of their military command structure. Anything like that develops in the open, and one or the other is gone.

    Also, X-Files was on Fox, so it doesn't count as a success for SyFy, anyway. But it does fall under SF; even though it incorporated the paranormal, it was founded on the idea of extraterrestrials and alien abductions, as with Mulder's sister.

    1. WaterBoy3:32 PM

      The case of Stargate SG-1 also brings up another aspect of the degradation of SF: the forced introduction of women qua women. The original Stargate movie did not have the Carter character in it at all -- she was added to the television series as a way to draw in female viewers. Not saying it was a bad choice, necessarily...just that it significantly changed the flavor of the original movie.

  4. Both shows had 10 seasons. I guess X-files is starting to produce more shows, but I haven't seen them.

    You're right X-Files should be thought of as Sci-Fi and not just fiction or mystery.

    SG1 incorporated the relationship thing between Carter and O'Neil over a period of years. It was never made into a romance, just tension. Which is appropriate for a subplot.

    1. WaterBoy3:37 PM

      They only made six new X-Files episodes; the final one aired Monday, though I haven't had the time to watch it yet. I wasn't exactly impressed with them, and they completely changed one of the major plotlines. Disappointed, I guess is the best way to describe my reaction.