If You Can Do It Better, Then Shut Up and Do It!

I frequent some tech sites (slashdot, digg) and there seems to be group of whiners that complain about some television shows that I happen to like — specifically, Lost and Battlestar Galactica. The complaints, usually, are along the lines of

Battlestar started off very well. It was fascinating. It was science fiction, emphasis on the science. Then apparently some network dickhead told the writers that they needed to, I don’t know, attract more girls, or go more mainstream, or “be more like that Scrubs program”. All of a sudden whole segments of the show turned from space opera to soap opera.

or

I stopped watching LOST 2 episodes ago. I hope the next season will be the final. I’m just not into Hinting at this and Hinting at that. I want answers.

It’s perfectly legitimate for people to have an opinion on a show and even to stop watching it. But I suspect that the techies that complain about these kinds of things do indeed continue watching. They may not like a particular turn a story takes, but why act as if you don’t watch? Do you think it’s cool to posture as if you were there in the beginning and are now too cool to been seen as part of the crowd? I’m not sure, but it seems a bit silly. There have been shows that have lost me (Scrubs and Desperate Housewives come to mind) but I’ve never complained about them, I simply stopped watching.

Specifically addressing the BSG complaint above, the show has decidedly never been about science and the writers have gone out of their way to not explain how technical things work in the BSG universe. They did this to avoid the Star Trek scenario along the lines of “Oh, we can get out of this sticky situation by emitting a tachyon pulse that will both open a hole in the space-time continuum while replenishing our spent dilithium crystals!” The show from the pilot onward has always been about making tough choices and having to live with the consequences.

Lost this season started off slowly and then stopped due to wacky scheduling. Not sure who the genius was that decided it would be a good idea to air six episodes, break for thirteen weeks and then finish the season with no further interruptions. Stupid management aside, the show has been as good as it’s ever been to me.

I have never had a job where I’ve had to write a continuous story/dialog and I can only imagine the difficulties involved in meeting a deadline, keeping the story cohesive and making it entertaining all at the same time. That said, I’ve never been let down by either of the shows and their writers. Sure, there have been some episodes that weren’t the most memorable, but overall, I have had three great years of both shows and look forward to at least one more of BSG and three more of Lost.

I hope that one day the commentators of the tech sites that I frequent grow up a bit and chill out… Either that, or step up and start writing shows that will entertain us and become a great part of our popular culture!


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