Things I Don't Like About Andromeda:
Alas, every show has its flaws.
Those of you who keep tabs on me (and if you're out there- dude, that's weird) might have noticed a certain Andromeda obsession in me of late. All my recent fic's been Andromeda stuff. It's currently my main fandom occupation. At night, I dream about Harper Clones. (And if you're out there- dude, drop me a line. You can keep tabs on me any time you want.)
Lest you get the wrong impression, however, I am not a blissfully happy camper. There are, in fact, many things about Andromeda that fuck me off, and I just love saying that. "Fuck me off". Hee. Okay, I'm back.
Gathered in one handy list, For Your Convenience: an open letter to the Andromeda execs, or, Things Those Guys Should Change 'Cause It'd Make Me Happy.
- Let's start with the fact that it's Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. I refuse to recognize it as such. For one thing, just plain Andromeda is definitely a cooler name. For another: dude. The guy's dead. It can't be his Andromeda. Let the show stand on its own merits, all right, instead of attaching some famous dead guy's name to it and hoping for the best.
- Fucking A, man, the names. This show's, like, 4,000 years in the future, human beings have spread to pretty much every planet in the known universe, and still every Homo sapiens to date has an Anglo-Saxon/English/American name? What's up with that? Dylan, Beka, Seamus, Rafe, Molly, Margo, Jill, Bobby, Sara- does anyone besides me have a problem with this? I'll give you Seamus, 'cause Harper actually comes from Earth- from Boston, no less- and 'cause, dammit, I like the name Seamus. But for everyone else, there is no excuse. Are they trying to tell us that no names from any other ethnicity on Earth survived the leap into space and the subsequent scattering of the species? To give them credit, there are occasional human names- Andulasia, for example- that aren't quite so commonplace. For the most part, however, they tend to follow the Anglo-Saxon model.
- Which brings up a particularly interesting question: why are there no black people in space? Seriously. I'm just wondering. IIRC, Tyr's the closest we ever get, and he doesn't count 'cause he's not a people, he's a super-people. (Incidentally, if this was a Star Trek rant, I'd go on to point out the absurdity of black Vulcans. Thankfully, I'm not a Trekker. I couldn't handle the stress.)
- Dylan Hunt's Kirk complex. Slap him.
- Kevin Sorbo's Shatner complex. Slap him too.
- Evidence straight from Sorbo's mouth re: the above: "We said, 'Look, the idea of the show is supposed to be like the original Star Trek, where there's a beginning, middle and end, boom, you move on.'" Ooh. I'm impressed by your originality and daring. That's sarcasm, folks.
- Kevin Sorbo's mere presence. Yeah, no, I'm not a fan. You could tell?
- Kevin Sorbo's influence on the storyline. According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe: "Basically, they want the show to be more action driven, more Dylan-centric, and more episodic." "They", of course, meaning "Sorbo and pals". Dude, don't try to think, okay? Just act. It's what you're there to do, and I'm not too happy about it, but you're there so I deal. Just, please, stop trying to give us the Kevin Sorbo Hour. 'Cause no one wants that.
- Sorbo on Wolfe's departure: "Robert is a genius, but was developing stories that were too complicated and too clever for the rest of us to understand," Dude, just because you can't understand doesn't mean the rest of us share your brain. Give us a little credit. And when exactly did clever become an epithet?
- The show's insistence on having every female in the known universe lust after Dylan. Dude. He's not hot. He scares me. Okay, maybe I'm in the minority here. Maybe legions of women drool over Sorbo every day. But I know that, in the entire former Commonwealth, there's gotta be some chicks like me who'd tell Mr. Legendary Journeys to get his ass back to the J. Crew photo shoot he wandered off of, and, oh yeah, send in the eminently bitable blond kid and the buff guy with the hair and the chainmail on your way out, would ya? Seriously. There's something wrong with this guy's face. Call me back when they've got him looking human.
- My insistence on writing "dude" in every paragraph. I really gotta stop this.
- Lack of respect for complexities. Sorbo, again: "People want escapism. They want to see the good guy beat the bad guy. We want to see triumphs that are good over evil.... That simple 'turn-up-tune-in' attitude was what was missing. Now we have that, I really feel we're on track towards making Andromeda an outstanding show." Yeah, thanks for telling me what I want; problem is, you're kinda, well, wrong. I want interesting stories, an overriding arc, internal consistency, and a more complicated universe. I don't wanna see Dylan beat bad guy, save world. I want to engage my brain. And yeah, before you point out that TV probably isn't the best medium for that, this show used to give me at least that much. Of course, that's before Sorbo decided that such nuances were just too darn clever for him.
- Granted, there's a place for mindless entertainment on TV. (It's called network television. Ba-dum-bum!) Problem is, Andromeda's already established itself as a thinking show. Don't do a 180 now; you're ruining it for the fans. Yeah? Hello? Fans? The people who actually watch this show? The people whose opinions you'd think would, oh, I don't know, count?
- Speaking of Dylan-centricity, I'm sick past the telling of the way Dylan always has to save the day. It's another manifestation of the "Whoops, I Thought I Was Still On Hercules" syndrome; no one was ever allowed to be smarter, stronger, or come off looking better than Hercules. Symptoms of this show up all over "Be All My Sins Remembered", for one. Symptom 1: it's Dylan who shows the Aborigine Fellow (forgot his name) the error of his ways. Unavoidable, of course; Dylan is simply the Fount of All Wisdom and Reason. Maybe the AF was just mesmerized by Dylan's inhumanly protruding chin. Symptom 2: Beka, the original Kung Fu Tough Chick, has what amounts to a slappy chick-fight with trashy bint Margo, while Dylan gets to have a real fight scene with Bobby. Guess the budget that week didn't stretch to making two characters look competent. Frankly, I was astonished that Beka was even allowed to kill Bobby; I expected that right to be reserved for the Hero. A sign of hope? I'm crossing my fingers.
- Lack of consistent and meaningful character interaction. For this one, I gotta journey back to the beginning of second season and rip off one of Viridian5's rants in the process, but trust me, it's worth it: Okay. Example #1: "Exit Strategies". So Harper, the adorable little fellow with the mortal fear of Magog, has recently been attacked, kidnapped, raped, and infested by those very same Magog. He only barely survived. He's still playing host to thirteen little Magoglings. And Dylan, Rommie, and Trance, not to mention Beka and Rev, who of all people should fucking know better, thought it would be a good idea to make him clean up the Magog corpses strewn all over the ship? And then Rommie's surprised when he turns suicidal? Show me a universe where this makes sense.
- Example #2: "The Widening Gyre". Harper's just woken up after being rescued. Trance tells him she can't get the Magog out of him, he's gotta host them for a while. Okay. Why the hell isn't Beka there? You know, the woman who's like an older sister to him? The one person in the universe he's closest to? Oh, right- she's getting complimented by Dylan on her, cough cough, strategic skills. Sure. That makes sense.
- Thankfully, they've gotten better at this sort of thing as the season's progressed, but for a while I just wanted to call up the writers and scream at them. And I miss the Harper-Beka moments. They're the two best characters on the show, with the coolest relationship and the most fascinating shared backstory; I want more of them. Together.
- The way the crew, Beka especially, lets Dylan get away with manipulating them and taking charge of their lives, like he's Big Daddy or something. In "D Minus Zero", for example, I understand that they were in the middle of a critical situation and Dylan was desperate, but after everything was over, did he apologize to Beka for threatening to turn her into a giant bull's-eye and, in effect, murder her, simply because she was desperately worried about Harper? No, he did not. In fact, she apologized to him. That's not the Beka I know and love. And a whole season later, he does it again: in "Be All My Sins Remembered", Dylan essentially forces Beka to take him along, giving her no choice whatsoever in the matter, and she... well, doesn't give a damn. That's not buddies. Look out, Beka! You've taken the first step down the road to Military Drone! Get out while you can!
The Good Things
In case I've rebutted a bit too well, giving the impression that I'm losing faith in this show, there are still some things I really, really like.
- For all my ranting about Sorbo, I gotta throw him a bone here and admit it: I really like his acting style, such as it is. The kind of laid-back, self-aware, ironic delivery he's got is something I admired in Hercules, even while I was cringing at the images of his bare-chested self. It sucks that the man I like as an actor is the same guy whose opinions I have such contempt for, and who I can barely stand to look at, much less contemplate as a sexual object, as the execs obviously expect me to do, given the altogether too many Shirtless Dylan scenes. But hey. Good actor.
- And as another bone, one Sorbo opinion I can really get behind: "Gordon Michael Woolvett, who plays the character of Harper, is a wonderful actor and a lot of fun to work with. He brings, of all of us, myself included, by far and away the most energy to every scene. We're going to use him a lot more in season three." Whee! Sorbo, you're redeemed yourself. Now stop taking off your shirt.
- From the All Systems University site: "Humans most commonly procreate through sexual reproduction involving two pair-bonded individuals, one from each human gender. Cloning, artificial insemination and in vitro gestation are not, however, unheard of. Neither are a wide variety of alternative bonding and child-rearing practices from same-gender pair bonds to Than-like neo-kibbutzim." Dude! A sci-fi show set in the far-flung future that recognizes homosexuality! A Gene Roddenberry show, no less! Ha! Take that, Star Trek and franchises! This is definitely a good thing. Or a sign of the end times. One or the other.
- There's the "dude" thing again. Someone smack me. Or get me new friends.
- New Trance. While I'm pretty sure this is a controversial opinion in some circles, I applaud the switch. For one thing, it took balls. For another- be honest, people- PurpleTrance was going nowhere, character-wise. So she's sparkly, cute, and vaguely menacing. We all got it back in "Pitiless as the Sun", and it was starting to get old, and all that was left to do was expose the mystery or compound it, and they compounded it, and I'm glad. Aside from which, GoldTrance's makeup is much better than PurpleTrance's ever was; with PT, I could never, ever fool myself into thinking Trance was anything but a chick in lavender matte foundation. I mean, the stuff still looked wet. I was always afraid she'd bump into a wall or something and leave behind a giant purple smear. Somehow, with the gold, the makeup folks managed to make it look much more realistic. (Though I could've lived without the Enhanced!Cleavage Shadows, thanks. Sponsored by Victoria's Secret! They wish.)
- The way they're not afraid to occasionally call Dylan on his attitude when he's being an asshole. Not all the time, of course; then they'd never shut up. Har har. But seriously, when Dylan starts getting too lordly and "I am the champion" godlike, generally someone- usually Beka or Tyr- will rub his face in it. Good lord! A Kevin Sorbo character who has faults! You folks all know Hercules was a total Marty Sue, right? The guy's only flaw was that he was too good for his own good. But hey. I digress.
Aside from all this, there's the fact that it's still a very good show. "Ouroboros" kicked all kinds of ass, for example, and aside from some minor pacing problems near the end, "Dance of the Mayflies" did too. Rommie's blue hair doesn't even bother me that much anymore. I'm just, well, a little frustrated at the moment, that's all.
One might even say "fucked off".
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