Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Remakes, Reboots, and Re-Imaginings, Oh My!

I wasn't going to watch Battlestar Galactica (the miniseries) when it first aired.  I had a nostalgic affection for the original (not the abysmal Galactica 1980, mind) and it take it in a new direction.

I remember all the hullabaloo -- OMG!  Starbuck is a girl!  OMG!  Apollo isn't really his name!  OMG!  Tigh isn't black!  And so on and so forth.  Original series star Richard Hatch was adamantly opposed to it (likely due in large measure to him working on a continuation/sequel of his own).

Eventually, I decided to TiVo it and see what I thought.

And, of course, was riveted, from the very beginning when Six walks into the space station with the poor ol' Colonial guy and asks him if he's alive, with the red strobe lights of the Centurions looking on.

But, you know, whether it's because of Ron Moore at the helm (I don't think it's a coincidence that Deep Space Nine was my favorite Star Trek series and the one that he co-executive produced), the cast (Edward James Olmos is awesome, as is -- especially in the first season's "Act of Contrition" -- Katee Sackhoff), the writing, the camera work, the additional drama of the human-form Cylons hiding amidst the fleet (witness the early destruction of that ship)...I don't know.

For every BSG, though, there's a Bionic Woman, Knight Rider...I could go on.

I don't know if it's because BSG dared to veer so far from the original canon (though the only thing Bionic Woman shared with the original, from the one episode I saw, was a lead character named Jaime Summers who was hurt in an accident and whose boyfriend talked people into bionicifying her) -- which allowed it to tell its own story -- or that it retained enough of the original to be interesting, or just that the stories it tells are so human- and character-driven that they can be in a similar universe and exploring totally different territory.

I am very, very, very leery of the forthcoming Star Trek movie, for a variety of reasons.

1.  It'd be Star Trek 11.  An odd number.

2.  The people involved in Enterprise did not give me much faith in the current crop of Star Trek's folks to do a prequel well (I mean, bumpy-headed Klingons?  C'mon.), at least until the fourth season when the Reeves-Stevenses came on board to help out.

(Ironically, I've never much liked their Trek novels.)

3.  No one -- and I mean no one -- will ever, ever be able to play Spock like Leonard Nimoy.

4.  (Not to mention, the current crop of Trek writers don't write Vulcans well at all -- at least, not in the form of Tuvok or T'Pol.)

5.  Seeing Eomer (actually, I never got past "Caesar, Julius Caesar") on the Enterprise is just....weird.

I might see it in theaters; I might not. But I'm not at all convinced this will be the second coming of The Wrath of Khan.

So, now, I read that Ike Eisenmann and Kim Richards are going to have cameos in the re-imagining (reboot?  remake?) of Escape to Witch Mountain (one of my favorite movies as a child).

Most people don't remember this, but they already tried this once, in 1995, with a TV movie called (get this) Escape to Witch Mountain.

Now, neither movie bears much resemblance to the eponymous book (gee, a Disney movie stretched the canon it was based on...I'm shocked....) but the latter was....  Hm....  Let's just was weird.

(Seriously.  Purple glowing crystals weird.)

Disney has a history of cameos like this.  In Lindsay Lohan's The Parent Trap, the girls' dad's fiancee's mother is played by the fiance in the original (along with borrowing the simpering, "Hello, Pet" from the original soon-to-be-step-grandmother).

And it might suggest that the remake is...semi-decent -- but, of course, the actors haven't exactly worked a lot, and you wonder if it's just about a job.

After all, Leonard Nimoy is in Star Trek, and I'm still iffy about that.

I don't want to sound like a fandom snob -- really, I don't.  I don't want to be one of those people who gets it in their head that things should be a certain way ("I'll boycott Babylon 5 if they don't get Claudia Christian back!" or "I'll never watch Stargate if Daniel Shanks isn't in it!").

Really, I don't.

But, I do wonder this:  why remake stuff?  Why not, in Star Trek's case, introduce another ship, another bad guy, something?  If you want it to be more mainstream, isn't that a good way to do it?

Or, in Witch Mountain's case, why not skip forward a few generations, or tell the story of the original exodus from their planet?  Something?

BSG proved it can be done well -- but BSG is a good show, whether or not it draws on the original's canon.

I dunno.

(This post was sparked by reading about the Witch Mountain thing, but I've been wanting to talk about the whole re-imagining thing for a while.)

In school news, I am so not popular again, for daring to suggest that maybe leaning on top of Bulldozer and moving his foot might have been why Aide J got hit.  ("But I was just moving The Boss's chair," she said.  Uh...yeah...from on top of Bulldozer.)

Also, New Boy started today.  And you thought The Boss was stubborn....

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