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Overrated SF Of The Decade? You Tell Us

Illustration for article titled Overrated SF Of The Decade? You Tell Us

You've seen our top 10 sci-fi disappointments of the decade, but what about the things everyone else seems to love but you just can't understand why? Tell us your picks for the most overrated SF of the last ten years!

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It's a dicey proposition, calling something overrated, not least of all because it can seem like more of an insult than it's intended to be. For example, Battlestar Galactica was, at best, an amazing piece of television that managed to be thought-provoking, entertaining and addictive on a regular basis... but, by the time it closed out its run earlier this year with appearances at the UN and declarations of it being the greatest show on television ever, things were getting pretty close to overrating it. Personal taste comes into play a lot, as well; we're guilty of that as much as anyone (The strength of my Pushing Daisies love may have been somewhat out of proportion with the show itself, for example).

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What we're looking for, then, isn't just the name of something (Movie, TV show, comic, book, creator, whatever) you consider overrated, but why. And, feel free to defend slighted favorites if you feel the need. We're just curious what you all think isn't as good as everyone thinks it is... Just make sure that The Venture Bros. isn't on the list, or there'll be trouble.

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DISCUSSION

Serenity.

It's not even that it's a bad movie. In some ways, I find it very entertaining. But it's just not (IMHO) the masterpiece that so many people claim it is and I think that if it was, it would have done much better in theaters.

Considers this. Firefly was a bold, unique vision of the future, with a rustic "lived in" milieu to rival Aliens or Star Wars. At some points, it got a bit silly (why was everyone wearing cowboy hats, riding horses, and putting on southern accents - for style I guess) but it had it's own taste and feel.

It was also ambiguous. Sure, Mal and the crew were DEFINITELY the good guys but as Book, Inara, and Simon showed us, it was perfectly capable to *not* be a libertarian in space and be a good person.

Also, the crew had wonderful chemistry.

Then Serenity comes along and alot of that is lost. The show's rustic feel is replaced for a more generic setting, with holograms popping up everywhere, hovercraft taking the place of the ship's ATV (which were only seen among the ludicrously rich previously), and the reavers, frankly, becoming zombies bred with orcs in space on drugs (and really, that seemed more boring than the crazy pyschos the show *implied*).

The character dynamics also took a dive - although part of this is that we were now watching a two-hour movie instead of a serialized television show. Jayne's subtleties disappeared. Mal became more of a jerkass. Kaylee became more aroused and less ingenious. Something was lost.

And then there's the Alliance. What happened to the morally gray organization Whedon claimed was the Alliance? Gone, replaced with a much more blanketly evil government. And if they wanted to kill River, rather than reacquire her, why didn't they just kill her in "Ariel?" Why didn't Dobson shoot her and Simon when he had the chance in the pilot? I will grant that the Operative was a terrific villain, though.

I'll also confess I didn't like what they did with River. I know most people did. But River simply got *too* powerful in Serenity. I mean, I could believe her taking on ten or even fifteen reavers by herself. But an entire room of them? It just seemed... overindulgent. Okay, she's a kickass goddess of war. We get it. Where'd the fragile but incredibly dangerous girl go?

Surprisingly enough, the character deaths bothered me the least in retrospect. They were shocking (and genuinely so) but that just shows how much I cared.

It's a good movie. Entertaining in parts, intellectually engaging in others. But the world's best science fiction film? A thousand times, no. And this, from a guy who spent months spreading the word, putting up posters, lobbying my small town theater to get a release day showing, and when that failed saw it opening day with the (literal, physical) scars to prove it.