Monday, August 13, 2007

The New Flash Gordon on Sci-Fi

...totally sucks.

Wow. Monday evening I made poor Jason and Jamie sit through this no-budget train wreck.

Flash Gordon has successfully existed as a comic strip, 1950's TV show, radio serial movie serial, 80's camp classic, 90's cartoon, reprint series, whatever...

Yet somehow with a household name at their fingertips, untold hours of reference material and a public perception regarding the franchise, the geniuses behind this show decided that what they really needed to do was scrap all of that, make up a bunch of nonsense that's never plagued the concept before, and then spend most of the pilot in a Canadian suburb. It seems that, faced with a non-existent budget and a casting director with a pretty specific taste in women, the creators apparently had something other than Flash Gordon in mind and just borrowed the name of the property.

Seriously, nothing resembles anything you know about Flash Gordon.

A list of offenses includes:

-All of the women are thin brunettes with sort of almond eyes. I couldn't tell Dale, the princess or the bounty hunter apart in close-ups
-Flash's mom is, like, three years older than him and sort of uncomfortably attractive
-The show sorta takes a line on Latino immigrants that could be construed as racist
-Ming is the least threatening villain ever. Seriously. Ever. It's like having a record store manager mildly miffed with you.
-they've ditched the now well established, crazy, space opera look of Mongo for generic Sci-Fi channel BSG and Star Trek costuming rejects and bland hip design with no eye to the gilded age wonders of the comics and movies
-the pacing is glacial, nonsensical and meandering
-Flash is given a token black sidekick so someone can say "That's whack!" a lot
-The acting is uniformly awful
-Lines clearly intended to be played for laughs are played straight. Whether this is the director or actors' fault, I have no idea
-No Hawkmen
-No Lizardmen
-No awesome football game
-clearly filmed in a lush Canadian suburb
-Mongo: Also clearly the exact same suburb. Plus a water treatment plant possibly used in several "sci-fi" films from the 80's seen nowhere else but on MST3K
-Zarkov is now a quirky guy who will be play "The Professor" to Flash's "Gilligan"
-The girl who plays the princess seems puzzled as to what show she's on. Maybe the OC?
-absolutely no action to speak of
-And Flash can hop between a field near his house and Mongo at any time. pretty much defeating the point of the entire Flash Gordon concept

On every level possible, the program fails. If you're going to claim you're giving me Flash Gordon, Sci-Fi Channel, then give me @#$%ing Flash Gordon. Don't try to "update" a concept that's been honed and perfected over the better part of something like 70 years. You and your crappy budget are not smarter than the millions of folks who already passed judgment on the idea the way it was.

Leave it alone. Sometimes aliens just need to dress like color blind Prussian generals, weird Eastern stereotypes, pirates and barbarians.

The show is crap in a hat.


Sleestak said...

Who would have thought that a mash-up of Sliders and Smallville would suck?

Anonymous said...

This wasn't just bad, it was awful. I had some hope, as Sci-Fi did manage to create something with BSG (which I think you unfairly disparage with your reference to its style as BSG has a "used" feel that is by no means bland). But Flash Gordon was freaking terrible (although it is tough to object to "thin brunettes with sort of almond eyes"). This is not going to be a wild adventure with character and story arcs; it's going to be dilemma or monster of the week.

Yuck. I have deleted my DVR season pass.

The League said...

Leave it to Sleestak to put into a single sentence what it took me whole post to get across.

And the BSG reference was meant to depict that the costumes of Flash Gordon appear to be rejected cast-offs from the BSG wardrobe room, not any dis on BSG.

The League said...

I like cute brunettes as much as the next guy, btw. As will occasionally happen on a show featuring sexy 20-something's, the director or casting director seems to be somewhat specific in what he was looking for in all the women, including Flash's Mom.

Anonymous said...

This series would work much better if RHPT were cast as Ming the Merciless.

The League said...

If only because Randy already owns a cape with a pointy collar and tends to cackle while wringing his hands.

Michael Corley said...

Saved! I have been saved from watching this thanks to your intervention.

"spend most of the pilot in a Canadian suburb"

Even in the preview (which I saw a LOT, having watched Ghost Hunters recently) it seemed to be suffering from what I call "Masters of the Universe" syndrome, where bad sci-fi makes up for a lack of budget by filming the beginning and end in alien landscapes, and the rest in Dave's(you know Dave, he let us use his 3 acre backyard... it's got a tree!) yard.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. Make the Asian guy Ming.

The League said...

I thought it was "Make the evil guy Ming". Oh, well.

Anonymous said...

I thought you were a Pacific Islander. Shouldn't you have complained, "Make the Pacific Islander Ming?"

The League said...

If you think about it, Ming has a pretty sweet set-up that most folks were apparently happy with until Flash showed up. He had untold wealth, could smack planets with asteroids for fun, got away with some interesting fashion choices because, really, whose going to say otherwise? Plus, a harem.

And, his wedding march was by Queen.

Anonymous said...

And he was Max Von Sydow.