Dreifaltige Rollenspiel-Lektüre

Drei Falten mit einem Rollenspielerkopf dahinter, ergibt einen nachdenklichen, amüsanten und relativ bodenständigen Blick auf das was war, ist und möglicherweise in der Szene los sein wird.

Sonntag, August 03, 2008

[10:15 Saturday Night] alexandros (not entirely comprehensive) list of underappreciated TV-shows

Man I just remember how good the 90s were TV-wise and how much of the good stuff from back then is buried in Saturday morning telly or taken off the screen completely. For the top 6, they didn't even bother to release a DVD boxed set so far- and that is really saying something, considering the loads of old TV-trash they are mining for "collectors value" nowadays (I mean, what kind of person really needs to watch shows like Betty la fea more than once?).

Without further ado, here's the list:
10. Sliders- (especially the later seasons) Some really great storylines, that move really outside the parralel-universe-of-the-week-schtick you come to expect.
9. Seaquest DSV- Great sci-fi-show, which tries to hard to be "hip" and "kewl", introducing aliens and genetic mutants later on.
8. Rocko's Modern Life- Absolutely love the humor. The Simsons (and all their imitators) have nothing on this anarchistic piece of nerdiness.
7. Young Indiana Jones- a bit of a departure from the movies, less pulpy, more thoughtful and (most importantly) more historically exact, but still this show still has what it takes, to stand in its own right.
6. La Femme Nikita- the series has the advantage over the film, that it has way more time to really build up the main character and suceeds well at this task (i swear I was close to tears at the end of season1- which was as much as I got to see of this show on german TV back then).
5. Dark Skies- Ah, the B5 that wasn't supposed to happen. Check out the last episode for hints an how the story was panning out. Great stuff.
4. Earth2- THE "hard sci-fi" show to watch. Still my main inspiration for Traveller (more than the often-cited "Firefly" show).
3. Pretender- Genius-level intellect. Check. A main character, who is using this intellect to maximum advantage. Check. Writers who are intelligent enough to bring the protagonists plans to the viewer. Check. Heck, they should have called the show "Ozymandias- the Series", its that good.
2. Adventures of Sinbad- just got pulled off the air again, as I'm writing this. While riding on the Hercules and Xena craze, this show really surpasses them in my humble opinion. Most importantly, the characters are a group with diverse abilities (like a roleplaying party), who apply those abilities to solve variety of situations (as opposed to, say, the A-Team, where every character has a certain 'niché' where he can shin and doesn't do much outside his speciality). Also I like 1001 Nights themed settings (and will certainly check out the upcoming "Legend of the Burning Sands" game by AEG).
1. The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.- yeah, thats Deadlands. Any questions? Even the humor is spot-on.

Honorable mentions: Millenium, Roswell, American Gothic & Dark Angel (all awesome and entertaining shows, though not quite as obscure as the Top 10).

8 Kommentare:

Anonymous Skyrock meinte...

The only one of the mentioned shows that I've ever seen is Seaquest DSV. And I somehow never ever liked it, maybe because it tried so hard to be hip and cool that it seemed to me like Poochie.

If I had to make a list of underappreciated TV-shows, I'd probably rather include A-Team, McGyver and The Lone Ranger than any of your entries :D (It's a pity how episodic shows for the casual viewer died away... Nowadays I'm limited to 80s re-runs, and maybe Walker, Texas Ranger if I'm *really* bored.)

August 03, 2008 4:12 nachm.  
Blogger alexandro meinte...

Seaquest only went down this road in season 2, before that it was actually quite good.

Well, except for the Lone Ranger the shows you mention aren't really underappreciated in any way.

August 03, 2008 4:51 nachm.  
Anonymous Skyrock meinte...

I dunno which season of Seaquest it was. It is a long time since I've seen Seaquest (and I've seen only a handful of episodes), but since I got access to satellite TV just in '94 or '95, it might well be that it was already season 2+.

While A-Team and McGyver might not be underappreciated, I think it's a loss that the episodic formula of them died out as "old-fashioned". Like in gaming or music, I don't believe in evolution in films. I know for instance for sure that I got more mileage from 60s technicolor adventure films about corsairs and roman-greek musclemans, than from 300 and from the 2001 version of The Musketeer.

In regards of The Lone Ranger, Disney is apparently working on a film remake. I'm not yet sure if I should be happy about the fact that the franchise isn't forgotten, or alerted about the fact that Disney once again gets the chance to mangle something that I appreciate.

Ah, I just remember another one, that deserves more attention: Hogan's Heroes, a.k.a. Ein Käfig voller Helden. One of the very few instances where localization *improved* something.

August 03, 2008 5:47 nachm.  
Blogger alexandro meinte...

Well, TV-writers being apperently incapable of using more than one show-concept at a time is another problem (already apparent again).

There certainly *is* a way in which viewers tastes change over time. The shows and films from back to the 60s are still something I can enjoy, but try watching something from the 50s or earlier (like b/w Erol Flynn, For whom the bell tolls, Cary Grant movies...)... *boooring*.
There are *some* exceptions (like Casablanca or Metropolis), but this is only because modern diectors applied the "tried&true" techniques from these movies to new films and movies and in this way we grew up used to this style of storytelling.
In this way some concepts were discarded, some thrived etc.

btw, Lone Ranger is only under appreciated in Germany (where it never aired afaik). In the US it is a household name, so Disney isn't really taking a big risk with the new movie (whether it is succesful in Germany remains to be seen- Speed Racer kinda croaked here, despite being a really, really good adaptation).

August 03, 2008 6:17 nachm.  
Anonymous Skyrock meinte...

Of course, as there's no evolution in films, it also isn't necessarily true that back then everything was more golden then now. There's also a whole load of truly bad flicks from the 70s and older - the Hulk show, the old Superman and Spiderman flicks, the old Batman show, the whole Blaxploitation wave, bad Russ Meyer plagiators, Lone Wolf & Cub... That we aren't so aware of them is probably because of nostalgia, and because of the effect that films that were already unsuccesful in their time don't receive a re-run that refreshes our memory.

While the figure of The Lone Ranger is indeed popular in the US, the franchise is quite dead as an enterprise. The 1981 life-action film failed, the try to relaunch the show 2003 failed already with the pilot film, the animated show ended in the 60s, the original life-action show in the 50s, the first try to make it into a videogame failed also horribly... Like Star Trek Classic, any existing fandom it's more undead than among the living.
It's more like Dracula: Everyone recognizes the usual tropes and can identify the fictional version of the trannsylvanian count, but very few have actually read the actual Bram Stoker novel.

August 03, 2008 6:44 nachm.  
Blogger alexandro meinte...

I think I have to ask you to leave now, since you are simultaneously bashing:
- Hulk
- Superman (I+II are *brilliant* and III is still a good parody- like Mystery Men in that regard- only IV sucks)
- Lone Wolf&Cub
all shows I think very highly of. ;)

Regarding Batman and Spider-Man I have to say, that I see your point, but considering the target audience of the shows (children and young adults) I can't say they were inherently "bad". I certainly enjoyed watching them back then.
Sure, today I find loads of stuff that is wrong with them (just like I find loads of stuff wrong with A-Team, Knight Rider and BSG), but as a kid I enjoyed watching all of them.
Sometimes, if something gives you good times you can't really bash it later, because its "not sophisticated enough" (this would be like bashing "Game of Life" because of bad game design).

August 03, 2008 7:59 nachm.  
Anonymous Skyrock meinte...

Don't get me wrong, some of the mentioned flicks are so bad that they are already again cult (think of the "PAFF!", "PANG!" and "SWOOSH!" bubble scenes from the old Batman show), cult enough that I see them myself from time to time, just like old Japanese monster smash flicks with mechas and godzilla (and a good godzilla who defends humanity versus evil alien mechas, or good Japanese mechas who hold ground versus the evil godzilla... You've seen them, everyone has).
But at the same time, I don't bluff myself about their value. Look at the old Batman show, the cheap how action was implemented, the formulaic structure (including the VIP showing up in the window while Batman and Robin climb a wall, in every single episode, with exactly the same footage re-used to cut down costs, and it's clear that even in its time, it hadn't much going for it apart from the expensive DC comics license.

August 03, 2008 8:14 nachm.  
Blogger alexandro meinte...

Puh, value... you don't get it.
I really didn't see it this way as a kid, I only saw high-adventure, exotic locales and frequent life-or-death situations.

Likewise I didn't really notice the repetitive stories in BSG (I wonder how many proponents of the show have really watched *all* the episodes and not just those "double episodes" recut into movies later- most of them don't really have a very high value either)

August 03, 2008 9:06 nachm.  

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