I remember when Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled – in fact, I blogged about it on the old site which no longer exists or else I’d give you a link. Forgive me, I’m trying to remember the particulars here – a rather famous author (who’s name escapes me – was it Ellison?) wrote a ‘hallelujiah!’ piece about the death of Enterprise and the overall death (seemingly at the time) of Star Trek in general. He felt that Trek was just terrible, and did nothing to help Scifi move forward or gain converts over to the genre. In short, he was elated to see Trek going off the air for the first time since the years between TOS and TNG.
I wonder what he thinks of the movie reboot?
Anyway, as I look at different things on the net this lunch hour, I noticed an article regarding the Saturn Awards and the lack of actual Scifi and Horror in the nominations this year. Movies like ‘Gran Torino’, ‘Valkyrie’ – shows like ‘Leverage’ and ‘The Closer’ – huh? Seriously – this is what some people are considering to be Scifi and Horror these days?
Reading that article brought to mind my trips to the DVD section of BestBuy. I’ve noticed that the Scifi section of the DVD’s – and, the Horror section as well, has shrunk. A lot. It’s not because there aren’t movies to be put there, it’s because the movies are behing shuffled into other sections like ‘Drama’ and ‘Action’ – what’s left in Scifi and Horror? The various Star Trek movies, Stargate, Aliens, Starship Troopers, etc. – anything so ‘spacey’ that they can’t really get away with putting em anywhere else. What’s been moved to ‘Drama’? ‘Minority Report’, ‘iRobot’, ‘Spider-Man’ – all manner of movies that should exist in Scifi or Fantasy (there’s no such category as ‘Fantasy’ anymore in the DVD section) have been moved into the ‘main stream’ where I suppose they feel people will better see them and buy them.
But, why isn’t Scifi ‘mainstream’ and why is that section dwindling with each visit? Look at the movies coming out – movies based on genre books and genre comics and genre video games – and what genre’s are they? Horror. Scifi. Fantasy. Yet when it comes time to sell the overpriced, heavily packaged and security feature ridden DVD’s (I -hate- all the damned stickers), these genre films become ‘Drama’ or ‘Action’ because, why? Someone, somewhere, decided that Scifi doesn’t sell?
If it doesn’t sell, then why are you making all these movies that are breaking box office records? Why are there tons of people reading the comics and going to the bookstores to get the source material?
It seems like, in this country, Scifi is always relegated to people wearing homemade costumes and pointed ears and is never taken seriously. When it is taken seriously, it tends to do badly because Hollywood just sucks at making thoughtful Scifi. Everything is shifting, but rather than embracing Scifi, the powers that be are trying to ‘legitimize’ it but changing the label.