I got the chance over the holidays to spend some time with my 92 year-old mom (Yep, she’s that old.) up in the snowy wilds of Pennsyltucky, which actually meant getting away from science-fiction for a while.
Of course, the big news all during the holidays was the writers strike (can you tell I’m not much for politics?), including the Writers Guild of America making deals with David Letterman and others so late-night shows can get back on the air after watching their ratings collapse by more than half since they went off the air.
I don’t normally watch those programs since I work evenings, but it was an interesting thing to see them come back on the air.
“They’re back!” the commercials yelled. “You can’t wait to see them live again!”
Well, I certainly could wait, but since I had nothing better to do, I caught the first night or two of “The Return Of The Late Night Shows.” My reaction? Honestly, they sucked.
Overall, the writing was bad, and the shows overall weren’t very funny or creative. Show hosts again and again asked if the writers were actually in their offices or out on the picket lines. That made me think about science-fiction programming (of course).
If the strike continues on for a long time and shows run out of new product to air, we face more sports and more “reality” shows. It could be months before we see some of our favorite shows. My biggest fear is, will it be worth the wait?
Now, I consider myself something of a writer (I do write this column, after all) and I’m taking a local class on scriptwriting from a friend who has submitted scripts. The longer we go without new SF, the higher our expectations will rise, the more we’ll expect from them, I feel.
I think the new “Star Trek” film is a good example of this. A lot of fans are very excited about the new movie, and know it will be classic before it is seen on the big screen. I’m reminded of the first “Star Wars” trilogy … you know, the bad trio that included “The Phantom Mess,” “Send In The Clones,” and “Regurgitation of the Sith.” I went to see “Phantom Mess” with two friends who were big, big, big Warsies, and of the 10 of us who attended that night, they were the most disappointed.
“We waited all this time … for this?” they said.
Will that happen to more of us when the strike finally ends? Will we love things more than ever? Or curse the day the strike came?
Only time — and the writers — will tell.
Wayne Hall is the news editor of Airlock Alpha, writing out of the Washington, D.C. area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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