Are there no heroes left on prime time television?

Is there no one who will stand up and try to fight?

Why should we save them when they stand for nothing?

I hate to drag The Protomen’s good name down into the mud, but I was thinking about this last night: it’s all too easy to see the cavalcade of utter garbage in the form of Vapid Reality Show Season #42 and declare that there truly are no heroes left in man, at least not when it comes to prime time television programming.

The truth is it’s not all vile, rancid shit on the airwaves nowadays; there are actually quite a few stand-out shows on television right now, and you can actually thank genre fiction fans for the majority of them.

The most noteworthy television programs, the ones that have routinely demonstrated the best writing and acting, have nearly all been fantasy, science-fiction, or horror shows over the past few years.  This isn’t the same world where Firefly gets cancelled – that was ten years ago, by the way, if you want to start thinking about your own mortality – and while our boy Nate Fillion has gone on to star in a police procedural, guess what: the show was created and is run by the same people who worked on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and The X-Files.

Hide the liquor!

Not only that, there are popular shows airing right now and not just  memories like shows that were cut down in their prime like Firefly or Dollhouse, or ran their course like Battlestar Galactica and Lost; in fact the top-rated show on Sunday nights, The Walking Dead, is a goddamn genre double dip: a zombie apocalypse show based on a comic book series.  The second season of A Game of Throneswill be coming out soon, and True Blood has been skirting that fine line before jumping the shark and devolving into a parody of itself, though I kind of think that one’s been circling the drain for a while. Add into the mix truly stand-out Syfy shows like Warehouse 13 and the American production of Being Human or even network fare like Alcatraz, Fringe, and Terra Nova (though that last one might not make it back next season) and you’ve got a pretty large stable of scripted shows to stem the tides of steaming bullshit like The Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of Fishcunt County or wherever they’re filming this season.

Quick, before he adapts again!

Step on it, Uwe's right behind us!

It’s not just television where you’re seeing smart shows, either.  You can make an argument that genre stories are alive and well in the film industry, though you’ve got your share of Sharktopus-style awful out there, usually in the form of big budget garbage-fests that are all sizzle and no steak (I’m looking at you, Michael Bay).  And even though Avatar was really just Dances With Wolves in space, it still killed at the box

Do not fuck with the Branagh.

More techo-vikings, I said, you bloody bastards!

office in the middle of a recession and $5 bottles of concession stand water.  Still, for every Uwe Boll-directed abortion, Shakespearean legends are successfully directing big-ass comic book movies that are raking in cash hand-over-fist, and any genre film Simon Pegg and Nick Frost appear in is almost guaranteed to become a cult hit.  In other comforting news, an increasing number of people have begun to disavow the Star Wars prequels with the same fervor that they refuse to admit there was ever a Highlander 2.

There can be only one.  Movie.

Cut my head off before they make another sequel.

This gives me hope for the future.  Particularly because Christopher Lambert, who is one of my absolute favorite actors, is a bit too long in the tooth to ever come back to the franchise, even though he would be the only one capable of resurrecting it after Adrian Paul effectively ran it into the ground.  If there’s one thing that I truly am upset about, it’s a distinct lack of television shows and films with a Queen soundtrack.  There’s only so many times I can watch Flash Gordon before I want to claw my eyes out; not even Brian Blessed dressed up like a low-rent Hawkman can ease the pain of that howler for long.  At this point, I’d be willing to give Ishtar a try.

What about you guys? What are your favorite genre television shows or movies that you’ve got a hard-on (or hate-on) for right now?  (I swear if any of you say Stargate: Atlantis I’m leaving.)

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12 thoughts on “Are there no heroes left on prime time television?

  1. Hahah I hate stargate, that show IMHO is what led to the earlier than planned Demise of Farscape, then had the audacity to cannibalize the best Sci Fi romantic duo since Rick and Lisa Hunter, and write actors in as complete asshole versions of their former glory.

    I generally don’t watch TV (but when I do, I do it with a Dos Equis). The TV I DO end up watching mostly revolves around Cartoon Network, and Discovery.

    This is for two reasons –

    1: My 9 year old. He gets MORE than enough exposure to adult oriented content because his mom and Dad love M rated video games and only cover his eyes and ears for the nude scenes in most R rated flicks. I know that’s kinda ass backward, I mean sex is just taboo, but killing and explosions and curse words are a bad influence. Yet still, being the type of Whack that I am, it’s lot easier to explain to him that the guts flying across the screen are not real, than have to explain what a Boner Is… At least in front of his mother anyway. Besides, the kid has seen me mutilate plenty of squirrels and Rabbits when I hunt, so a little more guts and cursing (you curse when you skin a squirrel) shouldn’t hurt.
    2: Discovery is home to fine family friendly shows like Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and M y personal Fav, Dual Survivor with Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin.

    Now, my wife on the other hand has her shows. Dexter, Breaking Bad…

    I would say that Breaking bad was interesting till I got bored. And Dexter was just another blah blah show for me.

    Walking Dead I ended up missing too much of to follow, and will likely get the DVD’s sometime. It’s enough like lost in that you have to watch it in sequence, but not like lost in that things eventually get explained as more than just (no spoilers).

    Frankly the love/sex triangle in Walking Dead kinda turned me off… It was a little too grimy for my tastes, and the main character is just way too much of a blind goodie two shoes. Maybe he gets dark later, but not sure I’d like the kind of dark he will likely put out.

    This sucks because April and I are Frothing at the mouth zombie Apocalypse fans normally and I bet the comic books would blow my socks off.

    Anyway I want a return of shows like Farscape, maybe Firefly (firefly was a good show, I just didn’t care for it a fraction as much as Farscape, though I loved Serenity).

    Star Trek turned into a shit sandwich after DS9, and honestly DS9 was only really good after Worf and company transferred over IMHO.

    Voyager was so… Unimaginative and relied so much on big Titted cyborgs (If I’m gonna watch porn, it’s going to be hardcore, not softcore boob in spandex nonsense dammit) and special effects that I just could not get into it.

    Enterprise had it’s moments but suffered from Boob overload too.

    So this long ass reply post is kind of pointless, because even the better shows you talk about have not captured my interest. I truly think that for me, unless another Farscape or Lost or BSG comes out (and honestly BSG could have ended much sooner), TV is the wife and kids idiot box.

    I’ll stick to my PC and youtube for now.

  2. Don’t be hatin’ on Stargate Atlantis or I’ma cut you.

    Ronon Dex? Yes Please (although as Khal Drogo it was double the yum)

    I’ve gotta wait for Season 2 of Walking Dead to come out on netflix. I watched the first season there, and I had an extreme DVR malfunction and lost the episodes of #2 I had recorded… so now I wait.

    Waiting anxiously for GoT and TB to return.

    We’ve been making our way through Supernatural (finally on season 6 and they are finally all on Netflix onDemand) but I don’t really have a lot of time to watch television these days.

    • I just don’t know what the fascination is with Stargate. Yeah I mean it was kind of cool when MacGyver was on, but I just never got into it. Didn’t speak to me.

  3. Shows I’m really digging that are still on are Warehouse 13, Supernatural, Sanctuary, and ESPECIALLY Fringe.

    Fringe, to me, is the one show lately that I think has really kept things incredible and fresh. It’s sort of like what Lost should have been, before it jumped the shark, ran back over to it, engineered it into a Sharktopus, jumped it again, went back, raped it to produce offspring, then jumped that, then…..you get the point. Cool thing about Fringe is that they don’t raise major plot points without eventually explaining them. Seriously a great show….plus, Ms. Torv is wicked hot!

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  5. Still love supernatural. Miss good movies like wolffin and the changeling (the one with the haunted house and the guys family dies and the ghost chases people in the wheelchair….it sounds hokey but it was good) x-files was pretty good as well as millenium (for some reason little known) the original the thing and kolchak the night stalker series oh and the night gallery (if u can stand bad effects) and then the ever classic nomads and silver bullet (werewolf one) and for the heck of it some less syfy movies see no evil hear no evil, a fish called Wanda and eight heads in a duffel bag (all classic funny films)

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