Over our summer break, I was reading a book whose protagonists traveled to alternate universes which, frankly, I didn’t like very much. But it did get me thinking about the idea of alternate universes in fiction. Not the scientific concept of alternate (parallel) universes—though that’s often the subject of many sci-fi stories—I’m talking about the alternate universes that result from one thing changing in a fictional story. What if Charles Xavier died before he could found the X-Men? What if Captain America was a Nazi? Undoubtedly, a lot of things would be bad. And unfortunately, this is the kind of alternate universe that we often see in today’s fictional media. However, the idea that one different thing could change everything is so broad that I don’t understand why this kind of grimdark change is the most common. Fanfiction also often deals in alternate universes which diverge from canon, but the changes of fanfiction, on the whole, all tend to be more positive and more emotionally satisfying. Though many mainstream movies and TV shows disdain this sort of happy story, an alternate universe which changes originally negative canon material into positive new story fodder can bring with it a wide range of different emotions than the usual grimdark reboot is capable of.
There was a bit of a splash last week when it was revealed that Fox might, finally, be interested in revisiting the Firefly property. The word used was “reboot”, not revival or renewal, but the company’s apparent make-or-break factor was that they would only revisit it if Joss Whedon was interested in coming back to run the whole deal. Presumably, eternally optimistic Browncoats everywhere raised a cheer of joy, their hope renewed. But should Firefly come back to the airwaves?
Frankly, I think that’s a terrible idea.
Well, to be clearer, it’s a terrible idea unless they address the various and sundry deeply problematic problems that the original series had. The issue I’m coming up against is this: I suspect that eliminating all of these problems would make a show that barely resembles the beloved-by-many original. The show suffered from a variety of racisms with a strong sexist undercurrent, and these were not so much vague issues as they were built into the worldbuilding of the show, deep down in the foundations. Let’s get digging, shall we?
It seems to be the year of the reboot—Powerpuff Girls, Digimon, and Ghostbusters all made triumphant (and less than triumphant) returns to geek culture this year, so it seems only expected that other geeky media from our childhoods would follow suit. Even given all this, though, I never expected CLAMP to announce that Cardcaptor Sakura, their successful manga/anime which ended in 2000, would have a new story. Not just an epilogue-y oneshot: an actual new story, set a year after the end of the original series. The series started in June as part of a monthly manga anthology, and now that it finally has three chapters, it’s time to take a look.
The release of the Ghostbusters reboot has proven to be a fascinating experience. Even as someone who tends to be a little hard on hyped-up new releases, I felt that the movie itself was a lot of fun and pretty well put together, but the public response to it has been widely negative. Internet hearsay the day of the release told me I shouldn’t even bother seeing it, and interestingly, the scores for it on user-generated sites like IMDb have been significantly lower than the critic-generated reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Unfortunately, it seems to me that this negative response is more the result of our current social climate than the actual quality of the film. The first point working against it is that it’s a reboot of a hugely popular cult film, which puts it in the position of being compared to the nostalgia-elevated, very-original-for-its-time, pre-CGI original. The second reason it’s getting negative response is that (wait for it, cause I’m gonna say it) all the main characters are women and the only male characters are dumb or need saving or both. Yeah, everybody, I went there, I called the internet sexist. I’m sure this totally unknown and unforeseeable piece of information completely blew your mind.
Spoilers below the cut!
If you’re a Xena: Warrior Princess fan like myself, then you have probably heard that a reboot is in the works. Sadly, it is a reboot and not a continuation, which means Lucy Lawless and Renée O’Connor will not be reprising their roles as Xena and Gabrielle. That’s a little sad, but I guess I get the direction the Powers That Be are pursuing.
That being said, if this is going to be a reboot, I have a couple of suggestions and requests for how to make a Xena reboot successful today while still being true to the spirit of the show.
If you frequent the internet and social media, you may know that about a week or so ago everyone was creating avatars to “Powerpuff themselves”. What you might not know is that this little activity was to promote the upcoming reboot for the Powerpuff Girls. Does the show hold up? Is it funny? Does it fall into the same lazy traps as other shows like Teen Titans Go!? Find out after the jump.
I’m not sure how I feel about this remake. If I had to guess, I’d say cautiously optimistic, but not overly so. Although I take some issues with the original, I love the 1977 version of this movie and thus far the 2016 version looks as if it’ll be similar in name only. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, per se. After all, remakes need to be different enough to set themselves apart from the original. But if this trailer is anything to go by, the 2016 Pete’s Dragon looks as if it’s going to be much darker and serious, and that’s my biggest problem with it thus far.
There’s something about Greek mythology that is so interesting to me. Oddly I didn’t find the original tales about the gods and their shenanigans very relatable, but they were fascinating nonetheless. I don’t generally seek out different interpretations of Greek mythology, but this Wednesday’s webcomic, Olympus Overdrive, took a very different turn than I was expecting and I couldn’t stop myself from reading every page. I stumbled upon it as an ad while checking Homestuck for updates, and I continue to read it to this day. From the progressive characters to the idea of Greek gods being rebooted, there’s so much to like about this comic.
The reboot of the Sailor Moon anime, formally known as Sailor Moon Crystal, put out its first episode last week and this wannabe Moonie is super excited about it. I have always wanted to be a fan of the series, but I didn’t grow up watching it and the length of the anime always put me off. The return of the series has given me a pleasant excuse to actually sit down and watch both the original and the new show, and having seen exactly one episode of each so far, I’d say it was off to a good start.
Remakes and reboots are an interesting beast. On the one hand, they can breathe new life into a series or bring new fans to it. But on the other hand, it can ruin old fans’ views of the intellectual property. This conflict came up with Teen Titans Go! as it carries a much different tone than the previous cartoon iteration and Hollywood seems addicted to reviving old properties. In the middle of last month, the Powerpuff Girls franchise got a bit of a recharge with the “Dance Pantsed” special. So, did it hold up?
Mild spoilers after the jump!