Can Flash Gordon Be Saved?

So the SciFi Channel just wound up the first season of Flash Gordon on Friday, and it's clear they're ramping up for a second season. No announcements that the show has been canceled, plus we ended on a serious cliffhanger. There was a lot to complain about in this episode, though we were mollified slightly by the random appearance of a green warrior lady who hits on Ming and makes him her bitch. This show has been our guilty pleasure for months, but one cannot thrive on guilt alone. If SciFi is going to keep Flash going, things need to change. Here are our recommendations for five ways this show could be saved.

1. More better aliens. This is a cheesy show, and when it embraces its cheesiness via silly alien culture, Flash is at its best. Some of the best episodes delved into the goofy/fun alien groups on Mongo, like the Hawkmen who fly using their magical Gwar capes. And who didn't love the Frigia episode with the ice worm and crazy blue ice ladies? The costumes on this show have always been one of its best features, and more aliens = more costumes = more fun for us, the audience.


2. More Baylin. Not only is Baylin fun to watch, but she's a great character: an assassin with a troubled past who acts a little dorktastic on Earth (she doesn't know the local customs, OK?) but is the gang's fearless leader on Mongo. She's kind of like Xena, and we love that. Give her more back story, let her get her Xena on, and for godssake give her more screen time than the lackluster Dale.

3. Make Aura the ruler of Mongo. The petulant Deviate brother subplot is annoying and dull. OK, so he's a poor wittle outcast. OK, so he's some kind of revolutionary leader. And now, as we were shown ever-so-unsubtly in Friday's finale, he's going to be just as authoritarian a leader as Ming. Aura needs to get tough, slit that fucker's throat, and really become a girl that daddy can be proud of.

4. Total Ming makeover. Seriously, folks, the whole Ming the Micromanager thing was a bad idea. We love the campy, bizarro, sparkly-eyeshadow, long-nailed, moustachioed, flowing cape Ming. That is the WHOLE FREAKING POINT of Ming. It makes him both evil and amusing to watch. I'm not saying turn him back into the crappy Asian stereotype Ming of the 1930s. But now that he's hanging out with the hot savage green queen chick, it's your chance to believably change his whole wardrobe and give him a new look. He should get some crazy clothes and a wild look. Maybe he can even start exhibiting some Deviate mutations. And let John Ralston, that poor actor who plays Ming, do something other than pursed-lip acting. We know he has it in him! Let the dude rip!


5. And hey, how about a little coherent world-building? While we're adding more cool aliens, why not actually flesh out the back story of Mongo itself and all the nearby worlds? We know there was this moment in the past where Mongo-ians were mining one of the moons. Are there other inhabited planets around? Why isn't there any space travel in this show? I'm not asking for bad voiceover explanations, or a moment where somebody says, "Well back in history we did blah blah blah." I'm saying give us an interesting plot arc that has to do with Mongo as a civilization. Or take us outside Mongo to a moon or other planet, so we have some perspective. Make Mongo more interesting, dammit!


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Annalee Newitz

@darthsodomizer: Luckily they haven't put any money into it, from what I can see. Except the costumes and the concept design, which are both surprisingly excellent.