It’s been another tough week for the cast of Game of Thrones. Last Sunday saw the massacre of an entire royal family, and at a wedding to boot. The Internet has been buzzing for days with fan outrage and horror at this turn of events, but it’s been a blessing for fairweather viewers like myself who have had a hard time keeping up with the multiple plot lines and the cast of thousands. I came into the series late, and although I am now hopelessly hooked I find myself constantly asking the wife (who watched all the early episodes) “who is that character again?”
Even so, I now see the strategy of the author. Start off with a hundred storylines and whittle them down one by one (or the occasional massacre) and by the end of the story there will only be a few left to conquer the many kingdoms. The folks at HBO must have looked at the success of other series like The Tudors and The Borgias and figured they could outdo the intrigue and gore a hundredfold with Thrones. I’m still waiting to see what happens to the poor bastard who’s been trussed up in a dungeon all season long, at one point believing he was being rescued when he was led out of the castle and trudged through the forest before his savior sneakily brought him right back to the very cell he started out from. Even he doesn’t know why he is being tortured, or by whom. The last we saw of him, he was being fawned over by a pair of naked babes, until his captor showed up and threatened to remove his tallywhacker with the ugliest knife I’ve ever seen. Hopefully, we’ll see if he gets neutered before the season finale next Sunday.
In the meantime, we can amuse ourselves with this summer’s rebooted movies. It seems like Hollywood has decided to reinvent every superhero/sci-fi property to fit into the new century. Man of Steel retells the origin of Superman with the new version wearing an ugly costume that looks like something he picked up at K-Mart, and no doubt inspired by the success of the rebooted Dark Knight trilogy that earned Heath Ledger an Oscar for his creepy rendition of the Joker. Apparently Ledger was so involved his character that it drove him mad and led to his suicide. Now that’s dedication to your craft.
Another reboot that I’ll be skipping is Star Trek Into Darkness. I’ve been a trekkie for forty-odd years, having started out with the original when I was a teenager and faithfully following every sequel through the years. We all cheered when the original cast went to the big screen and then handed the captain’s chair over to Next Generation, followed by Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. There was continuity to all the spin-offs, a future that was intelligent and always full of hope for mankind as we ventured to distant worlds. I was thrilled when I saw the trailers for 2008’s Star Trek. Watching an adolescent Jim Kirk drive a corvette off a cliff in defiance of the establishment and seeing Zachery Quinto’s stunning transformation into Spock gave me hope that the new movie would add to the Trek universe.
So I was horrified when I went to the movie and saw what the new writers had in mind. The once celibate Spock is now involved in a steamy romance with Lt. Uhura, which goes against all Vulcan logic. Kirk goes from cadet to captain on his first mission, which also makes absolutely no sense. And worst of all, the entire future history of the Federation is thrown into a black hole, except now there are two Spocks, with Leonard Nimoy as a holdover from the original cast.
It’s easy to see why the writers went with this option. This way, they don’t have to spend hours trying to reconcile what happened in the original series with the reboot. They’ve wiped the slate clean and replaced intelligent scripts with stunning special effects, inter-species sex and lots of explosions. It’s an old trick, honed to perfection by several generations of Marvel Comics writers trying to keep old characters interesting. It used to be that Hollywood would wait twenty years or so to update their franchises, but it only took a few short years to reboot Toby McGuire’s Spiderman to an even newer version. Bah, humbug!
If it was up to me, I’d reboot history to remove all these bastardized storylines, and maybe some others. How about starting over from September 10th, 2001?