[watching] Why are Legacy Sci-Fi Franchises Failing?

#1
Why are Legacy Sci-Fi Franchises Failing?

It seems that all the legacy, tent pole Sci-Fi franchises are failing.

It started with Star Trek film in 2009 when they rebooted it with none of the thoughtful sci-fi themes. Though it looked fantastic, seeing the original TV show uniforms on the silver screen was great, it lacked any substance at all.
The sequel film, Star Trek Into Darkness, also twisted the legacy of the best film in the franchise, Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan. That impacted the Box Office takings of the third film, Star Trek Beyond.

Then there was the misanthropic Ghostbusters reboot too. It could have been a good remake with some interesting themes but it was simply awful and unwatchable. The comedy fell flat and none of the characters were developed in any way.
Of course the backlash against the fans of the previous films by the stars and producers of the film didn’t help either with the misandry and sexism thrown in the fans faces across the media.

The Disney Star Wars Saga trilogy is also struck with poor story and character arcs and the duel use of both nostalgia and the deconstruction of the past trilogies. Star Wars The Last Jedi was very controversial, especially in the portrayal of Luke Skywalker as a failure with his pointless death. It also closed down all the plot points (or ‘Mystery Boxes’ as JJ Abrams calls them) from the previous film, Star Wars The Force Awakens. It didn’t even explain or develop the villain Snoke in anyway, even after Rian Johnson’s trolling of the fandom about it.
Rian Johnson is on record for attacking fans personally and as a whole.
News has recently broke that there was no overall plan or guideline for the new saga trilogy, the story for each film was left to the individual director.

Then there is Star Trek Discovery for its total disregard for any Star Trek canon and not only have the actors and producers attacked the fans but CBS is also shutting down fan sites, YouTube channels, and fan films. It also suffers from having all its stories centred on one single Mary Sue character of Michael Burnham.

Then there is the new season of Doctor Who. Fantastic news that they had cast a woman in the titular role. Yet the stories have been poor and the portrayal of the character of the Doctor is sporadic and wanting. None of the companions have any character development and they follow the Doctor unquestionably. The writers have no Sci-Fi experience, mostly being either Protest Playwrights or daytime soap opera writers. Even the best episode of the season, Rosa, suffered from poor plot and character portrayal. A shame as it was such a groundbreaking story yet was let down by the lack of any character development.

So there seems to be a strong focus on Identity Politics over stories and characters. All the new shows and films suffer from poor writing and poor planning.

All the new franchises have excellent special effects, costumes, sets, and visuals. Stunning looking with big budgets going for the VFX. The simply just look so good on the screen.

So is there any hope (hope is not a strategy) for the future of these Sci-Fi franchises?
Are they just not for the older fan bases anymore?
What can be done, if anything for the fans.
Are we just disenfranchised, looking at with nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses?

What are you thoughts?
 

MartinP

Rune Priest
#2
I thought the JJ Abrams Star Trek film would have been a fun romp if it hadn't been called Star Trek. As it was, it was a painful film for me to watch.

The new Star Wars films have been very disappointing. 'Like Star Wars, but bigger', and 'The flashy bits from Empire and Jedi, but with twists!' is how I describe them.

I've not been much of a fan of the new Dr Who writing since it started, it always seemed more soap opera than SF, and quite lazy in parts.

Can't comment on the rest. I think this is going to be an issue for as long as SF value is judged in the studio by how much they spend on the effects.
 
#3
I think this is going to be an issue for as long as SF value is judged in the studio by how much they spend on the effects.
Unfortunately very common thought these days. Even Game of Thrones spends more on Dragons than I like. My preference is the plot and human interaction. My second preference is a bloody good action scene. I can take or leave 2 minutes of watching dragons fly.
 
#4
I don't even know where to start...

As I love the Kelvin-verse Star Trek films, adore ST:DISCO, was drop-jawed at Last Jedi (in a good way), chuckled through Ghostbusters, and admittedly haven't found Dr Who engaging since Matt Smith departed, this all seems a bit weird to me. In fact some of them sound very much like 'shit-tinted glasses' watching the movies *wink* However ...

You have an internet presence? Surely you know the answer to this?

Reason #1: Traditionalists want more of the same
Reason #2: Ultra Traditionalists want more of EXACTLY the same
Reason #3: Canon above all else. Blessed be the canon, no matter how hard it is to penetrate
Reason #4: 'Culture Wars' and their effect upon discourse and interpretation
Reason #5: The overlap with various '-Gate' factions agitating online

and the big one

Reason #6: The rise of personal expectation trumping consumption.

What? I'll explain. Take the answer by Paul R above (no harm meant Paul, it's just relevant) where he mentions that he has a personal preference for dragon flight time (probably referencing the scene in Got s8e1 I guess?) There are people that take that preference from a slight sigh, raise of an eyebrow or shrug (mine is how many Unsullied there are ... are they breeding?) to actual anger and indignation that THEIR PERSONALLY CRAFTED EXPECTATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN MET!

They are so close to the material that they cannot possibly entertain that their decades long crafted fan theory of how the Borg were created, or what happened to Luke Skywalker in his dotage or how an engine works in Trek have not been honoured. In a society where everyone has an opinion, the means of spreading it, and a mantra that that opinion is sacrosanct, this is inevitable.

I would note that there is a major franchise that has not suffered from this effect. Marvel. Why?

Because this is its first run. This is its New Hope series. The traditionalist stuff will come after Endgame. Some of the other nonsense is here already (c.f. Captain Marvel and Black Panther .... and if someone thinks one move out of 20 with a black lead, and a female lead, is somehow wrong ... they need serious help) but at the moment, its A-OK.

I doubt it will make you feel any better, Darran, but my daughters - both geeks to the bone - love the new Star Wars films, loved the new Star Trek films, absolutely adored Ghostbusters (but, like me, couldn't get away with the originals) and Lara, the Whovian, loves Dr Who too. She particularly like Graham and his arc in the series, and the representation of someone who shares her particular disability too. They're the future, and these are their shows. Me and you? We have Netflix for the old stuff and new worlds to explore with the new stuff

If we let ourselves
 
#5
What? I'll explain. Take the answer by Paul R above (no harm meant Paul, it's just relevant) where he mentions that he has a personal preference for dragon flight time (probably referencing the scene in Got s8e1 I guess?)
Actually I don't like watching dragons fly. I wanted plot and interaction but I take your point that expectations sometimes get in the way. I try to watch things with no preset conceptions ( I am the only SW fan I know that likes Jar jar). With GOT I have very high expectations since I am a long term fan of GRRMs and I have the sneaky suspicion that the series may not live up to them. But I will still love it. (Unless king Robert steps out of the shower and it's all a dream). S8e1- you are correct!
 
#6
Don't really give a monkeys about Star Trek, Doctor Who or Marvel, but I'll talk about what I do know.

Then there was the misanthropic Ghostbusters reboot too. It could have been a good remake with some interesting themes but it was simply awful and unwatchable. The comedy fell flat and none of the characters were developed in any way.
Of course the backlash against the fans of the previous films by the stars and producers of the film didn’t help either with the misandry and sexism thrown in the fans faces across the media.
I was a big fan of the original Ghostbusters, and really enjoyed this as well, as did my wife. As good as the original? Nowhere near, but perfectly enjoyable all the same, and Ghostbusters 2 wasn't a patch on the original either.

The Disney Star Wars Saga trilogy is also struck with poor story and character arcs and the duel use of both nostalgia and the deconstruction of the past trilogies. Star Wars The Last Jedi was very controversial, especially in the portrayal of Luke Skywalker as a failure with his pointless death. It also closed down all the plot points (or ‘Mystery Boxes’ as JJ Abrams calls them) from the previous film, Star Wars The Force Awakens. It didn’t even explain or develop the villain Snoke in anyway, even after Rian Johnson’s trolling of the fandom about it.
Rian Johnson is on record for attacking fans personally and as a whole.
News has recently broke that there was no overall plan or guideline for the new saga trilogy, the story for each film was left to the individual director.
Always been a massive Star Wars fan, watched the original films multiple times throughout my childhood. Didn't think much of the prequels, watchable but fairly poor.

However so far I've been fairly impressed. Force Awakens was fairly decent, and both Rogue One and The Last Jedi were both great with the exception of a few missteps.

Not seen Solo yet mind but understand that this was the one where they tried to cater more towards fanboys tastes, and it flopped commercially relatively.

So there seems to be a strong focus on Identity Politics over stories and characters. All the new shows and films suffer from poor writing and poor planning.

All the new franchises have excellent special effects, costumes, sets, and visuals. Stunning looking with big budgets going for the VFX. The simply just look so good on the screen.

So is there any hope (hope is not a strategy) for the future of these Sci-Fi franchises?
Are they just not for the older fan bases anymore?
What can be done, if anything for the fans.
Are we just disenfranchised, looking at with nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses?

What are you thoughts?
Firstly I think you're confusing Identity Politics with representation. I didn't notice it whilst watching the new Star Wars films, but looking back, yes the cast is quite ethnically diverse, especially compared to the original trilogy. Was that an issue for you, and if so why?

Having such representation is certainly not mutually exclusive with having good stories and characters, and desire to have the film appeal to audiences across the world is understandable.

To be honest I don't think there's not much money just catering to old fan-boys, they're ageing and dwindling, and the narcissistic self-entitlement that exhibits itself amongst a significant proportion of them means you can never keep all of them happy. And I imagine studios are quite happy for that toxic minority to get pissed off and f**k off (for avoidance of doubt not saying that's you, talking about the sort that spew abuse on the internet because something wasn't to their tastes). So they'll try and appeal to a broad number of new fans to keep the brand alive whilst trying to keep a significant proportion of old fans happy - I think Star Wars has done this quite successfully, judging by the amount of Star Wars toys my young son leaves around the house.

At the end of the day they're making a product, and you're not their core demographic.
 
#10
I am happy. I love all the new stuff. Never been an Avengers fan so not watching the main MCU movies.

Also happy over here, the wife and I loved new Star Trek, Star Wars and all the Marvels. Missed Ghostbusters but neither of us had been keen on the original.

We’ve found that the reviewer in the Metro is a great way to judge things. The more she hates a movie the more likely we are to go to it. We both love mental popcorn that is a good laugh if you don’t question it too much. If Metro woman likes a movie, it’s likely to be dull and very meaningful *yawn*

Although I agree with the OP on Doctor Who. The companions have been getting progressively dumber throughout previous incarnations, and now the Doctor herself comes across as an idiot too. Maybe I just have different standards for TV vs movies, but the current Doctor Who isn’t even much of a laugh.
 
#11
...to actual anger and indignation that THEIR PERSONALLY CRAFTED EXPECTATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN MET!
I honestly love all your posts Neil, this one was another that deserves the “we are not worthy” gif.

As an aside, I’ve also noticed that social media is chock full of people having lame and meaningless bursts of extreme anger about small to-dos that have nil negative impact on their actual lives except that the angered person is pointing at these molehills and screaming MOUNTAIN!
 
#12
I’ve not seen any of the films since Age of Ultron, it just is too serious.
I was brought up on Adam West Batman, Green Hornet, and Christopher Reeve Superman. I like fun and comic in my comic book superheroes.

As a devotee of Marvel can I recommend the following for you:

Captain America: Civil War - the best ComicBook movie ever made and stuffed with some good gags.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 - 80's homage silliness.
Ant Man and the Wasp: doesn't even try to be serious.
 
#13
As a devotee of Marvel can I recommend the following for you:

Captain America: Civil War - the best ComicBook movie ever made and stuffed with some good gags.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 - 80's homage silliness.
Ant Man and the Wasp: doesn't even try to be serious.
I haven't seen the last but the first two are great. I have a pet theory about politics and comics that says a DC fan is more likely to be to the right of politics than a marvel fan. Early Marvel comics had some social comments bludgeoned in. The current X men and spin off shows give a glimpse into a type of racism that would be uncomfortable in a real setting.
 
#14
I haven't seen the last but the first two are great. I have a pet theory about politics and comics that says a DC fan is more likely to be to the right of politics than a marvel fan. Early Marvel comics had some social comments bludgeoned in. The current X men and spin off shows give a glimpse into a type of racism that would be uncomfortable in a real setting.
It is a well known fact that the rift between Steve Ditko and Stan Lee (co-creators of Spiderman) was exacerbated by the fact that Ditko was on the right side of US politics and Lee was a "Liberal" on the left side. Since Stan Lee was the editor and had the final say on the words in the characters' mouths, then the company as a whole was blatantly positioned on the left side of politics - which of course appealed to the rebellious counter-culture hippie youth they were trying to attract.
 
#15
It is a well known fact that the rift between Steve Ditko and Stan Lee (co-creators of Spiderman) was exacerbated by the fact that Ditko was on the right side of US politics and Lee was a "Liberal" on the left side. Since Stan Lee was the editor and had the final say on the words in the characters' mouths, then the company as a whole was blatantly positioned on the left side of politics - which of course appealed to the rebellious counter-culture hippie youth they were trying to attract.
That would go towards explaining a lot of things:

33ZJDID.jpg
 
#16
Firstly I think you're confusing Identity Politics with representation. I didn't notice it whilst watching the new Star Wars films, but looking back, yes the cast is quite ethnically diverse, especially compared to the original trilogy. Was that an issue for you, and if so why?
No, I am happy with a diverse cast, that isn’t an issue.
The issue I have is when the need to work to diversity goes ahead of story or character.

The whole ‘Force is Female’ movement by the head of Lucas Film is a commendable move to get more female characters *but* then they failed to develop those characters in any meaningful way. No development of any story or character arcs through out the movie trilogy.
 
#18
And the Indentity Politics in The Last Jedi was especially spit in the face page book by white male apologists. All overtly evil characters where mostly white males, with just Captain Phasma hidden behind her helmet the important token evil female. Then the men were made into buffons, Finn, especially and Poets where made to look like schoolboys, Finn having the childish and worthless trip to the cantina, and Poe, an ace pilot who lost his bomber squadron. Yet, ironically, the two strong women, General Leia and Admiral Dern who also lost most of the Resistance fleet (not just a bomber squadron, but even medical cruisers with vulnerable patients) were paraded as heroic leader archetypes. I am not even mentioning the tantrum throwing Kylo Ren, the good child Rey, or retired old geezer who lost his way, Luke.
 
#20
Like seriously, Hollywood is either shoehorning American middle class university Identity Politics or playing some American Imperialist world order storyline or some other overtly Western political spin on culturally appropriated fiction to spread American ideology worldwide.

Only smaller independent studios seem to make proper heartfelt and movies with universal appeal for the deep thinking moviegoer.

Speaking of representation, there is a vast world of culture outside Western culture, yet most science fiction comes with only one cuktural perspective.

This is why books like the Chinese Hugo winner of The Three Body Problem should be the next movie instead of yet another reboot of a franchise we have seen before in earlier incarnations.

Basically, my baggage when I see Hollywood wanting an International audience but still building stories from an American zed perspective. :-(
 
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