I have never had to do this before. In the past I have always been able to find something to occupy me in the dearth of stuff on TV, but now it is getting ridiculous.
In my life there are several clear lines that have been made across my writing (and reading) career. First (in 1997) there was Buffy, then in 1999 it was followed by Roswell, closely followed by Angel, then there was Dark Angel, Harry Potter and, for a brief moment, full of unfinished fics, there was Veronica Mars. Now I need something else.
It is my personal observation that there aren’t nearly enough shows with characters that are drawing me in. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I have fallen out of love with Harry Potter, nor am I saying that House, Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs no longer entertain me. What I am saying is that I need a show full of young characters for me to screw around with.
What happened to the shows like Buffy, Roswell and Angel, the shows that were full of rich metaphors, supernatural/science fiction and everyday storylines and a central cast of larger than life (but still relatively down to earth) characters who all had something different to offer? These are all (admittedly) things that Harry Potter can offer, but everything that could be written really has been, every character combination (down to the downright disturbing) has been explored and dissected so closely that there is little left to play with.
I can’t help thinking that the creators of these shows uncovered a part of me that had previously been hidden away in the dark dank recesses of my brain, waking it with a sudden jolt, only to sit back and watch it destroy my desire/urge/inclination to work on all the original pieces that used to invade my every waking moment.
I want something that is going to give me more to think about. I want a series that will provide me with all that Roswell and Buffy did and not leave me wanting (unless it’s more!).
Part of my problem with a lot of the stories of today is the size of the central cast. Where we had male and female equality in the older shows (Roswell had 9 main, reduced to 8 after Alex’s death, 4 female, 5 male), the newer shows seem to try and define themselves as either appealing to men or women. Veronica Mars has a strong central female character, but the entire cast revolves around her, she is the only constant…she has her male friends, not really relating to the girls that well (Mac is great, but there is only so much you can do with her, she isn’t, afterall, Willow), so the relationships are always going to be unequal, she has had Logan and Duncan, and Leo, and then there are Wallace, Weevil and Lamb, and the rest of the male cast. The women are few and far between, and none of them are really competition for Veronica, or the importance she plays in the lives of each of these central male characters. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I am not saying that I don’t like Veronica, I do, I just think that the show needs to emulate more the shows of yesteryear and have a better balance of male to female. The balance currently makes it very difficult for anyone to write anything that doesn’t have some kind of Veronica focus, which is very limiting (in my view).
Roswell had so much going for it. Initially we had 8 (then 9 with the addition of Tess) young character, cheating boyfriends, aliens, adventure, kidnapping, mystery, and there was the unbelievable sexual tension between Maria and Michael. Then came Season Two and the introduction of the Dupes…oh, yummy, pierced and naughty Michael and Max…so much potential for bondage and other less vanilla pursuits…it was great fun to play with these characters, especially with their identical Roswellian counterparts…and then came Season Three (less said about that the better if you ask me).
This coming September sees the return of shows like Lost, Supernatural, Smallville, Veronica Mars, One Tree Hill (do not even get me started on that and it’s Fox clone The OC), but it is difficult to see anything in that rabble that can replace, in my heart, the hole that was left when my favourite shows ended. Either I need to start liking other shows (which isn’t easy when you have twats like Tom whatshisface and Kristen Kreuk pouting all over the screen, or shallow moronic braindead Britney clones like the cast of the OC attempting to be sexy when really they are just pathetic), or I need to forget fandom altogether and start writing the original stuff again – Fanfic broke me 😦
There are a few good book series out there, but the operative word is ‘few’. We have the “Otherworld” series by Kelley Armstrong, she has introduced some really good characters, some strong females (Elena, Eve, Savannah), some ultra sexy males (Adam, Clayton, Jeremy), but she is telling their stories, the books are through the eyes of one or more characters, not so biased and narrow sighted as Rowling’s Harry, which means that there is little we can do to enhance her work.
Then we have the “Queen of the Vampires” series by MaryJanice Davidson, but again, we have one central male (Sinclair), one central female (Betsy) and the extra characters, the only extra male (Mark) is gay, the other female (Jessica) is so strong and sure of herself that she would crush most men with her Gucci purse. Of course we have the various vampires (including Tina), and Betsy’s half-sister/daughter of the devil (Laura), but who do you pair them with except for each other?
Finally we have the “Moravian” or “Dark Ones” series by Katie MacAllister. So far there have been just three books in this series, but with a fourth one due out any minute, there is potential, but these are almost a fandom in themselves, they are all carefully plotted, no plot holes are left unfilled, no character is left without a backstory and a happy (or at least satisfactory) ending (whether they are dead or alive).
Writers these days, especially those in this sort of genre, seem to be more and more careful about how they write their stories, as though they are afraid if they leave too much unanswered they are asking for a million and one interpretations to suddenly appear on Fanfiction.net or other sites like it, some poorly written, some obviously written by people who should (and maybe are) writing their own novels. They are possessive (understandably) about their characters and seem to want to make sure that the conclusion they are given is felt to be enough by their fans that no more is written about them that they don’t write themselves.
Wow, what started out as a “I need a new fandom” post has actually ended up being a rant on the lack of appealing fandoms. I will clarify that this is my own personal opinion, and as such I don’t expect other people to be simply following my views (would welcome healthy discourse on the subject in fact). I know that a large number of people on my flist have a love of Anita Blake (immoral tart who shags anything with fangs or claws after being moral and strong for a few books) and for Lost, Stargate and Stargate Atlantis, unfortunately, while I can watch and enjoy the Stargate franchise, I just can’t seem to write anything for it. The same goes for Dr Who. I find that inserting myself into a fandom that has been going for longer than I have been alive is a terrifying prospect, especially as I am such a new fan. It’s wholly possible that I would be able to offer something new, but am I willing to risk the harshness of the criticism that often comes from the more established fans in an admired and incredibly large fandom? I think not…I don’t have the leather skin yet.