Buckaroo Banzai is really more fantasy than SF. Where Star Wars is the classic Quest fantasy, Buckaroo Banzai follows a different story; there is a hidden world we don’t know about, and in that world, forces of good and evil are waging a war with our world hanging in the balance. Our hero, a surprisingly resourceful person, has the ability to enter that world and fight for us, along with a team of allies, each of whom is an expert in a different area with skills that the team needs. By recasting this trope in the form of urban legends and conspiracy theories, Buckaroo Banzai responds to anxieties about things out of our control and assures us that we have a champion in the hidden battle. It’s religion for a post-supernatural world.
Once again, I found myself writing a lengthy response to a post on Facebook, and just before I hit send, I thought “gee, this would be better as a post over at the Junk Shop.” So here we are. This time it’s the Star Wars Saga. The first response posted to that thread was the suggestion that “maybe, just maybe, Star Wars was a really cool idea that got taken way too far.” My reaction to that, and the reason we’ve assembled here today, was that some parts were taken too far, while others were simultaneously not taken far enough.
Last time, we looked at oddball TV shows that couldn’t make it past 13 episodes, and I promised I had a similar list of shows that were marginally more successful. And here we are.
It’s been my gift (and curse) that I seem to remember hundreds of terrible TV shows that only aired for half a season and dropped into the abyss half a century ago. I can’t tell you what my bride asked me to pick up after work tonight, but I sure as hell can tell you who starred in ‘A Year at the Top’ 42 years ago, because that’s how the blob of electric jello in my skull works. If I have to know this crap, so do you.
Recently “Le Messor” had a post here about “Things Geeks Aren’t Supposed to Think,” which included comments on Watchmen; in the comments section, somebody remarked, “I think people really took the wrong lesson from Watchmen.” That got my brain going in a bit of a different direction from what they intended, and the comment I began to draft in response quickly revealed that it wanted to be a post. So here we are. Following in the wake of Greg Hatcher’s dissection of points missed in media, I find myself adding to his list.
Together, we at the Junk Shop have a great deal of knowledge about a great many things in the SF/fantasy genre … but there are some odd gaps in our nerd cred. Here we confess to completely missing out on classic shows or movies or whatever that are givens for most people in fan culture. Whether it’s lack of time or lack of access or just plan lack of interest, these are the normally-beloved things we don’t get.
There’s been this trend of late, blaming this generation or that for all the world’s problems — “Boomers destroyed the economy!””Millennials are killing [everything]!” “Gen Xers all want participation trophies!” — and that’s not what this post is about. What it is about is recognizing and appreciating the influences and factors that contribute to some of the trends and attitudes associated with certain generations, and pointing out why some of those generational groupings may be too broad and/or inaccurate.