Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dresden Files needs to go

Five O'Clock Shadow 67

Originally uploaded by evo_terra

I consider myself a fan of science fiction. That status is open to interpretation, as some people equate "fan" with the original meaning of an abbreviated version of "fanatic", which I am certainly not. And I recognize others are. But languages -- especially the English language -- are fluid, and the accepted meaning of "fan" is now "someone who likes". And I like. But I don't 'dress up', I don't own a light sabre, and I don't blindly follow the industry, authors, producers, actors or directors and fall in love with their next project just because it's scifi and I'm "supposed to". And that sometimes puts me at odds with the crowd who assume that all fans are -- or at least should be -- fanatics.

I noticed a post from Debbie yesterday that a campaign is underway to save The Dresden Files, currently the recent SF show to be placed on the chopping block from The SciFi Channel. (I posed a comment on her LJ blog, then realized that the social aspect of the campaign gave me an excuse to talk about it here as well.) This may be the more creative of the "Save [insert show name here]" campaigns; supporters are encouraged to send a drumstick (as in, used by drummers, not a part of tasty poultry) to the president of Skiffy (a less-than-affectionate term for The SciFi Channel for those that need the reference) with the protest message "SAVE DRESDEN" marked on the instrument.

Interesting and novel as the campaign may be, drumsticks won't help save a show that sucks. Yes, I know that there are die-hard fans of SF who want every SF show ever made continually produced through the end of time. And yes, there are the die-hard fans of Jim Butcher (I, too, enjoy his writing style) who think this particular adaptation of his books is high art.

Unfortunately, a good number of people who like SF and enjoy Butcher's books think this show blows as hard as Enterprise did -- and we're not watching. When networks notice (don't get off on the measurement tangent, please) a show isn't bringing in the audience, it needs to go. That's not the fault of the original content that inspired the show. And it's not the fault of SF as a whole. In fact, it doesn't matter wherein the blame lies.

A turd is a turd, and sometimes the collective wisdom of the masses is appropriate. This incarnation of Dresden needs to go away, and they (whoever the hell 'they' are) need to try again. Note that this is not a blanket statement saying that television studio executives always make the right decision. Some times they make decisions that piss me off, too. See Firefly, Police Squad, Dinosaurs and Farscape for reference materials.

If you are fan, bust your ass to save the show. That is your prerogative, and I'll not stand in your way. Make your Facebook groups. Launch an email campaign. Storm the castle both figuratively and literally. Use every tool in the chest -- web based and real-world -- and make your feelings known. But I reserve the right to stand on the sidelines, commenting on how this is yet another example of hope's desire to triumph over experience.


  1. Clearly I enjoyed the show more than you (and Enterprise for that matter) but I think it is also clear that the show is not coming back. I enjoyed it more than the current Painkiller Jain and probably than Flash Gorden (although I am still in wait and see on that show).

    Chris Christensen
    Amateur Traveler podccast

  2. Well said. I wanted the show to last but if I have to try to like a show then it's not worth it. They did their best, it didn't work out, now it's time to move on.

  3. The show was much better in the second half of the season so I thought it really had a chance to improve if they had given it the opportunity. It was a lot better than PainKiller Jane and SciFi let that run much too long so no telling what they'll do next. The lead actor in from the series, Paul Blackthorne, has already signed on for another TV series (Big Shots) so it will be real tough to bring it back.

  4. Im with you on the sideline thing. I do that with a lot of things. I admit I really like the show and am hoping for another season of it. But I'm not a fanatic for it, or for much of any show. I have maybe 2 that I would go great lengths to try and save. But everyone has their opinions.

  5. The show would have been better had the studio and the company actually taken it seriously. By contrast Flash Gordon would have been better had they taken it far LESS seriously. And Pain Killer Jane would have been better had they taken a cue from the original mini series and not done it at all.

    As for the ferocity of fans, having once run a Star Trek club I know theres a whole lot more to fandom than sitting around talking about television. (though some fans seem more than happy to leave it at that, but then I guess not everyone is cut out for community service) And dressing up for events can be fun, but good lord a lot of people take it WAY too seriously.

    As you say Evo a turd is a turd, but without Galactica at this point the Scifi channel IS a turd, so Dresden pretty much belongs there.

  6. Well no where in that LJ post does it say that I'm actually going to send in the stupid drumsticks. I was just passing the word around. I did like Dresden but I'm also too cheap to care.

    Supporting a show just because it's Sci-fi/fantasy is like voting for Hilary just because she's a woman.

    Painkiller Jane sucked. Flash is a dud. And BSG is already taking itself out of the running after next season. Eureka seems to be doing well, but I don't like it. Dr. Who is actually somebody else's program that skiffy is running, right? I liked the Stargates years ago, but lost interest after a couple of seasons. What else is there?

  7. Y'know, it's funny. I distinctly remember someone calling into either Slice of Wingin' It and saying basically the same thing in response to a plea for "supporting" a show. That shows don't need support, that one should just watch only if one enjoys it.

    The mouth-breathers over at Farpoint bafoonery bad-mouthed the notion without reservation.

    Yeah. I'm not really surprised that people who routinely fill dead air with nervous Scooby chuckling and girly giggles for no apparent reason whatsoever can be stupid beyond comprehension.

    Hey, Evo, call anybody a faggot lately?

  8. My only point of disagreement and I didn't think Dresden was that great either is the Babylon 5 example. It is/was a great show, but if a network had done it and they had the same first season it would have never made it to season two. It take shows a bit to find legs sometimes. If it comes back I'll give it a chance to get there, but I won't miss it too much if it doesn't come back either.

  9. Gotta say Evo....I'm usually there with on most things, but I gotta disagree with you on this one dude. I've watched Dresden, and have read the books....and I must say that I actually kind of prefer the series to the novels. and I believe that the show can find it's audience IF it were given a real chance. So much that I'm the one that's registered, and linked back to the article on the Slice site.

    Dresden Files is one of those shows that started off rough due in no small part to SciFi airing the episodes out of order, but towards the end of the run really seemed to start finding it's groove. Sadly though the Skiffy execs were a little too short-sighted and cancelled it. I recall another genre show that kind of started off the same way, it had dismal ratings, but when given a chance for the buzz to grow and the audience to actually discover the went on to become a HUGE hit. That show was X-Files. Had FOX gone the way they do would have never become the cult classic that it is now. (even if it DID go on a season or two too long)

    The drumstick campaign is only to try and help build that buzz, are the odds long? Sure...but fan demand HAS worked before....the fans of Jerico were able to get CBS to reconsider their decision to cancel....The Farscape fans were able to get Peacekeeper Wars made (with new webisodes on the way!) and then there was this little movie called Serenity too. So fan campaigns CAN work.

  10. Brad,

    I completely agree with your final paragraph. Never doubt the power of of a small group of dedicated individuals to change things. :)


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