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July 10 2005

Science fiction's biggest battle is its image. "Despite widespread critical acclaim for their psyche insight, series such as "Farscape," "Angel" and its companion series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," have rarely been recognized with industry awards."

Excellent article on how Sci-fi gets no respect. Mostly about Battlestar Galactica but mentions BtVS, AtS, Wonderfalls, and Firefly as well. And BSG is one of the best shows on TV today so if you get a chance, check it out!

Exactly. Just...dead-on.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m constantly amazed by the limited knowledge of people with respect to science fiction and fantasy. I’ve had well educated, well read people tell me the “Lord of the Rings” isn’t really fantasy, it’s ‘literature’, and therefore acceptably mainstream. Based on the “Buffy” and “Angel” fan base in England and Germany, I’d say that such snobbery is uniquely - and embarrassingly - American.
I like how they mentioned Angel first.

[ edited by charisma on 2005-07-19 06:22 ]
The snoobery is rife in Australia too - I can't stand it. My friends often make a joke of my taste in television (I guess just genre in general), call me a 'geek', etc, but I know they're not joking. My other friends (the majority actually love Buffy) have never even considered shows such as Buffy, X-Files etc geeky. Well, it doesn't bother me too much because the ignorant friends of mine claim 'Neighbours' and 'Big Brother' as must-see-tv, and movies such as 'White Chick's' (which ironically had a Buffy reference) and other boring 'comedies' like that as 'realistic' and 'funny'! God! I get too angry when I think about how ignorant people are!
I've never seen Battlestar Gallatica but I think this article may have convinced me to check it out when Firefly starts its re-runs in a few weeks.

The emmy nominations are on Thursday. If Lost or David Fury gets a writing nomination is it ok to post a link?
I like how they mentioned Angel first.

charisma, good point, I like it too.

"Angel" and its companion series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

To the uninitiated, that might seem as though Buffy, either or both the character and the tv series, developed as a spin-off from Angel, rather than the other way around.
Not trying to start a debate of course - it's just nice (a year ago I would've said 'bittersweet') to hear Angel discussed in a way that appears to me and hopefully others to place AtS on equal or, subtly, higher ground as BTVS. I love them both, for similar and different reasons but I always felt that AtS was looked down upon in the press and among some corners of fandom.
Not to burst anyone's bubble but the reason it was phrased as Buffy being the companion series is that they had mentioned Tim Minear's work on AtS along with Firefly and the Wonderfalls. They then went on to mention BtVS and as they had already mentioned AtS that is why they referred to BtVS as it's companion series. When I was doing a search for Buffy related news that's the phrase that popped up first and I was thrilled to see AtS finally get a mention first but then I realized why. Love BtVS but always thought AtS wasn't given enough credit as a stand alone show.

Eddy, BSG is one fine show - nothing like the original series which I never got into and thought was really campy. I wouldn't even describe them as being in the same universe. Two shows with a similar premise presented in totally different manners. Not unlike Buffy the movie and Buffy the series.
I always thought as such about Angel, BTVS and Firefly... they should have won so many awards in the mainstream. It was such better television then what is considered "must see"
Agree with everything in this article. I just can't get the anti-genre frame of mind, though. As a sci-fi/fantasy-and-everything-
else-remotely-related lover since I can remember, that kind of attitude is just (if you'll pardon the pun) alien to me.

One of the primary hallmarks of genre has always been its willingness to address the state of 'otherness', and maybe that's where I can trace my difficulty in grasping the resistance to genre. I think most people with mainstream tastes tend to identify most readily with others like themselves (whom they would tend to characterize as "normal"). People of more individualized tastes, however, tend to cling to their uniqueness, even as they seek solidarity with others of similarly unique tastes through cultural touchstones such as music, TV and film. In other words, if you grew up feeling like you didn't 'fit in' to the culture in which you were born, for whatever reason, chances are you gravitated toward TV shows and movies that depicted 'otherness' in a positive light, which helped to validate your sense of self. Genre was something that explicitly said, "If you're not like everyone else, that's OK."

Because of genre's approach, I think it will continue to create a level of discomfort for the mainstream, precluding a broad level of acceptance for the foreseeable future (though the inroads made by Joss and others in that acceptance have been impressive, just in my lifetime). It's almost as if people who have never experienced that sense of alienation from the culture they live in, can't identify with an examination of that experience in their entertainment. Maybe because genre thrives on the margins of cultural expansion -- where 'otherness' is acknowledged and even celebrated, where ideas are fluid, and unbounded creativity forms the perimeters within which those ideas are explored -- it's too frightening. As people who base their sense of self on commonality rather than individuality, mainstreamers like their ideas constrained by convention and their concepts of "reality" (which they don't want challenged) to remain concrete.

Genre, by its very nature, lives to call into question those basic assumptions about the way the world works, and our place in it. Through it, those of us who once felt outside, can feel connected and embraced in our uniqueness. And thank god for that!
If these shows started as books they would be as big as harry potter.

Ooh. That's quite a statement :) I don't think that Angel would have become that big. But, Buffy might make a chance if it had started with Buffy, Willow and Xander a few years younger.
Good article. I have always found the whole thing of prejudging a work by its genre very strange. Horror is the only genre I truly avoid, because it does very bad things to me. Even so, I have gritted my teeth and watched some because there was quality and depth rather than just, "Oooo let's scare everybody and show lots of gross blood and guts. They won't notice if there is no plot or characters."

The same goes with almost any other genre. If there is depth and the work has something to say, I'm interested no matter whether it is in a court room, boxing ring, space ship, suburban house, inner city apartment, foreign country, other time, someone's dream or somewhere no one has ever thought of before. In that way I'm easy, in expecting something worth watching, I can be tough.

Very good points, Wiseblood, but you left out the capes. ;-)
Excellent insights Wiseblood, I agree completely. I think many people who do feel "different" are reluctant to express their uniqueness as they have always experienced negative responses in the past so they avoid anything that might associate them with "otherness". In the past, folks felt compelled to keep their sexuality "in the closet", now days, perhaps it's their individuality...who knows how many "closet" Buffy fans there are?!
Well said, newcj.

For me a genre is just a form that an artist chooses to express his/her ideas, statements, messages. If I am moved by the message, if it makes me think or understand something new about myself or the surrounding world, then an artist has succeeded. I do not care what form he/she has chosen to wrap his/her message into.

I have been always annoyed by people who automatically dismiss some really good (in my opinion) pieces of art because they belong to a certain genre or have, for example, ghosts or vampires in it. Well, "Hamlet" has a ghost in it. Should we dismiss it too? :)
I expect this kind of snobbery from some quarters (for example, I overheard some extremely condescending Harvard professors in certain Cambridge bookstore once, making fun of science fiction in general, based on a single volume they'd randomly picked from the shelf), but I was shocked when some acquaintances and colleagues who had always respected me intellectually actually laughed at me when I once dared to mention my love of BtVS. I was not just shocked, but hurt. Most of them have since come around, but I admit I've had a hard time overcoming those initial feelings of worthlessness that their casual dismissal engendered.

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