Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Popular Culture 101, again

One thing I've never been able to understand in telefantasy fandom is the people who become fans of one single programme, and feel that as a result of that, they have to hate all other programmes (particularly similar ones; I've lost count of the number of Doctor Who fans I've met who automatically hate-on Blake's 7, and vice versa, even though they shared many of the same writing and production team and are, as Corpse Marker demonstrates, close enough conceptually to take place in the same fictional universe). I mean, if you have a child, you don't automatically hate all other children; if you get married/civil partnershipped, this doesn't mean you automatically hate everyone else of the opposite/same sex; if your favourite food is hamburgers, you don't automatically hate every food that isn't a hamburger. Also, thinking about it, it doesn't seem to work that way in literary fandom-- people who like, say, William Gibson, don't automatically hate Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Neal Stevenson et al.; indeed, to judge by the "If you like X you'll also like Y" adverts in bookshops and lit magazines, it's assumed that fans of one author will be actively looking for similar authors to enjoy. So why is it somehow different with television? Answers on the usual postcard please.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Warmed-over Lazarus

...and a late addition to the Recyclingwatch: wow, doesn't the head of hybrid-Dalek-Sec look astonishingly like the organic-look VR helmets in Cold Lazarus.

(I tried to find a picture to do a comparison with, but unfortunately image searching for Cold Lazarus gets one five pictures of Albert Finney's head, and several dozen relating to some Stargate SG-1 episode which ripped off the name shamelessly. Instead of "No biography," Daniel Feeld's last words should have been "no recycling...").

Daniel Feeld's memories available for download

As part of Channel 4's 25th anniversary celebrations, the 4 on demand service is putting up a lot of old content for free viewing. This includes the otherwise-unavailable (unless you or one of your friends managed to video them back in the day) Dennis Potter classics Cold Lazarus and Lipstick on Your Collar (they've also got the prequel to Cold Lazarus, Karaoke, but they've cunningly made it pay-per-view). The viewing window is unfortunately tiny-- but hey, it's free, and I can't recommend them enough.

I first encountered Cold Lazarus when it was shown on CBC in the mid-1990s; being totally ignorant of Potter and the whole context of the story (and also, coming into it mid-episode), my reaction was "cool, the British have finally started producing great sci-fi series again; hope this one runs and runs." Eleven years later and, with occasional brief blips like Doctor Who (which, let's face it, isn't actually new science fiction, it's just reviving an old format-- check out Recyclingwatch if you honestly think it's all that different to the series that ended in 1989), I'm still waiting for the present-day British to start producing great sci-fi series of the sort that seemed to come out weekly in the late seventies (Blake's 7, The Omega Factor, Children of the Stones, Beasts, etc. etc.). Forget WWII and the Blitz Spirit-- this is the sort of thing whose passing the more jingoistic press should be lamenting.