A Geek in Mourning

Dennis Sanders

Dennis is the pastor of a small Protestant congregation outside St. Paul, MN and also a part-time communications consultant. A native of Michigan, you can check out his writings over on Medium and subscribe to his Substack newsletter on religion and politics called Polite Company.  Dennis lives in Minneapolis with his husband Daniel.

Related Post Roulette

103 Responses

  1. Will Truman says:

    It’s bad kharma to end a series without Ending It. I’m hoping that, at the very least, they’ll start releasing a follow-up book or something to give people their ending.

    But there’s sort of a collective action issue. For any given show, it’s often not worthwhile to invest in making sure there is an ending. Indeed, sometimes the writers have an incentive not to so that howls of protest create an opening for a movie (I’m convinced Chuck did this at the end of Season 2). But collectively, it’s a had thing if it starts making people less willing to invest in these shows.Report

    • Murali in reply to Will Truman says:

      There is no h in karma. The “h” is there for aspirating the consonant.Report

      • Kim in reply to Murali says:

        aspirations always aggravate me.
        I’m generally pretty good about pronouncing other languages (with practice), but I doubt i could ever get the phonemes right… let alone be able to pronounce them properly.

        Now I’m wondering how an American sounds in other languages…Report

      • Murali in reply to Murali says:

        When it comes to Indian names, I’ve noticed that Americans usually prefer hard consonants and have difficulty telling the difference between long vowels and short vowels (because English doesn’t really use them) There is also a tendency to use a rather harsh twang on the vowels. Meaning that when I tell Americans my name they have difficulty getting it right.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Murali says:

        A classmate of my brother had your name and was called Marley or Murley.Report

      • Kim in reply to Murali says:

        Time I can grok. If you’re patient, I can learn it.
        I had an indian friend who actually changed her name
        because Americans couldn’t pronounce it.
        I’ve never seen the original written down, but it’s pronounced
        (roughly) Therti (with a very, very soft th, and a trill on the r).Report

      • Chris in reply to Murali says:

        Our ability to distinguish speech sounds has a critical period that’s pretty early in our development, and if we don’t get a lot of contact with certain sounds by then, we’ll have trouble distinguishing them. Native English speakers tend to have trouble with some sounds used in Hindi, in some Slavic languages, in certain East and Southeast Asian languages, and I’m sure others that I can’t remember off the top of my head.Report

      • Kim in reply to Murali says:

        does it irritate you that we’re attempting to transliterate things English speakers can’t pronounce?Report

      • Chris in reply to Murali says:

        Not in the least. I’ll just mispronounce them anyway.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    Endings are hard, even for the best series.

    The Sopranos went on too long and just petered out.

    Deadwood ended prematurely because David Milch wanted to try something new. (It was awful.)

    The Wire and Six Feet Under had terrific last episodes, but as redemption for having gone way downhill.

    Breaking Bad had a terrific last season capped by an amazing run of final episodes, because Vince Gilligan is that kind of craftsman. But even that happened only because AMC kept renewing it in spite of pretty pathetic ratings.Report

    • Speaking of Breaking Bad I am watching that now so if that one comes up I would appreciate people rot13ing it.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      I’ll quibble a tiny bit on Wire…S5 is def. the worst Wire season and does not totally work, but I don’t know about “way downhill”. I guess I need more than one off season to consider a drop in quality a “downhill slide” rather than a “step”, and S1-S4 are all excellent.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        Fair enough. But S5 was a huge drop in quality until that final montage.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        I think the thing that was strangest about S5 was not even ZpAhygl’f pbpxnznzvr fpurzr (ur’f na nypbubyvp ybbfr pnaaba! Jub xabjf jung ur zvtug chyy!) ohg gung fgrnql Yrfgre jrag nybat jvgu vg.

        V guvax gurl PBHYQ unir fbyq vg…gurl’q fubja orsber gung Yrfgre unq fbzr bs gur fnzr qvferfcrpg sbe nhgubevgl gung ZpAhygl unq (ur unq gb unir qbar FBZRGUVAT gb unir tbggra ohfgrq qbja gb gur Rivqrapr Ebbz, fzneg nf ur jnf), ohg gurl arire ernyyl ynvq gur tebhaqjbex, fb vg frrzrq bhg bs punenpgre sbe uvz.

        Naq vg jnf jrveq gung gur arjfebbz fghss jnf nf gjb-qvzrafvbany nf vg jnf, tvira Fvzba’f rkcrevrapr gurer.

        Still, there was some good stuff in there. Bad Wire is still better than most anything else.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        I’d say it was obvious why that stuff was two-dimensional, and it’s because you know who was too close to it to see anything but heroes and villains.Report

    • Kim in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Not really. The Japanese make endings work, because they never /need/ to stretch out a series (well except for Marmalade Boy — where the mangaka wasn’t done writing yet.)

      American TV shows require geniuses to plot out a “forest story” where you can deal with anyone leaving at any time, and having seasons added and subtracted at the studio’s will.

      … I know of exactly one guy who actually took that philosophy into directing a show.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Kim has a good point. American series tend to be unpredictable with endings and quality because the business model makes the number of seasons a show gets unpredictable. It could end too soon or go on longer than needed. In other countries, long running series are possible but rare and the seasons tend to be shorter to. This saves writers from having to depart from their plans.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        I’m also pretty sure that in other countries, they pitch the “entire show”. Very few are canned after just a few episodes (even if the censors ban them).

        Heroes, first season, had a fine arc. I watched it, didn’t feel compelled to watch any more, because it was done.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

        The conception of a series with a continual building story arc is a fairly new thing in American tv. The famous endings of classic shows like MASH and the second Newhart series were pretty much one off events. They built on the work of the entire series run (and in Newhart’s case, the series before that), but the entire series wasn’t being built up to those conclusions. Shows from the end of the era of broadcast network dominance, like Cheers (and its successor), Seinfeld and Friends, followed a similar pattern, though their swan songs were a bit more built up to in the final season. (except for Seinfeld, which famously eschewed making a conventional series finale)

        If you don’t count soap operas (either daytime or nighttime) where plots can go in any old direction at the writers whim, it wasn’t until very late in the 90s and early in the 00’s where shows started to do an entire season as a cohesive whole. West Wing (to some extent – though in most ways in story direction it was just ER in the White House) and 24 (to a very deliberate extent) on broadcast TV, and the start of HBO’s dominance, with Oz and the Sopranos.

        (I don’t remember Homicide: Life on the Street all that well, so I can’t remember if they triedReport

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        don’t forget netflix starting to release seasons in batch mode. That’s allowed writers to really get pretty good at linking together episodes, and having more coherent plots.

        Put simply: watching an episode a week isn’t terribly good for remembering everything and getting all the nuance. Unless you’re like the Japanese, who spend hours talking about favorite shows at watercooler (speculation, natch).Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

        Kim, ‘Who Shot JR?’ was the most asked question of the 80s, narrowly topping ‘Where’s the Beef?’Report

      • Pinky in reply to Kim says:

        “The Japanese make endings work”

        Completely disagree. Or at least, it depends on the series. How many shows have filler arcs, or filler seasons, because of the lag time in production between manga and anime? Bleach had over 100 filler episodes. Then there are plenty of shows that have a very weak ending in the hope, I guess, of a second season. Some shows write endings that split from the manga – like Claymore, with an ending that resolved nothing. Fairy Tail, if I recall correctly, ended on the second last day of the Grand Magic Tournament. (Fortunately, they’re starting that up again.)

        Neon Genesis Evangelion’s ending was such a mess that they had to make a movie to explain it – and the movie was a bigger mess. Fruits Basket was about the 12 members of the Zodiac, but only had enough time to introduce us to 10. The less said about Kare Kano’s ending, the better.

        There are some that have budgeted out their time and ended well. But holding up anime as an example of how to do it right, well, you’ve got to overlook a whole lot.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

        Homicide meandered from season to season, always on the brink of cancellation. It never tried to close things off until the 2-hour TV movie that was its final episode.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

        ‘Who Shot JR?’ was the most asked question of the 80s, narrowly topping ‘Where’s the Beef?’

        …which was in turn just ahead of “where did all that cocaine go?”

        We never did find all that beef…Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        1) This isn’t generally the TV Stations pulling the rug out from under a studio.
        2) Yes, of course some can’t budget. One director spent their entire budget on crack.
        3) Anno is a special case too — and his shows were made when he was massively depressed. It showed, entirely too much.
        4) Marmalade boy was an egregious example of “wait till the manga is done before filming” (hopefully GoT does better! one hopes!). But Inuyasha, which had filler seasons, wasn’t really hurt by them. (dunno about bleach, it’s on my to watch list)

        But, for all of those, look at
        Scrapped Princess
        Boogiepop Phantom
        Elfen Lied
        Full metal panic
        Ghost in the shell: Standalone complex
        Hunter X Hunter…

        In American TV shows, it’s relatively rare to find any show that is allowed to finish its entire run. (that said, there’s the seventh season curse…)Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Kim says:


        …which was in turn just ahead of “where did all that cocaine go?”


        This whole conversation is reminding me of the end of the Last Days of Disco where the bouncer talks about how people were burnt out and are now staying home.

        I have a lot of fondness for that movie.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

        @newdealer – That was just a joke riffing on the popular conception of the decade, I was mostly clean-livin’ in the 80’s, and by the start of 90’s coke was deeply unfashionable.

        Coke (and other hard drugs) DID make a comeback at the tail-end of the 90’s, as 24-hour party people sought to keep the party going just a little longer. But I’ve never done it.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Kim says:

        I agree that it can happen right. Of the ones on your list, I’ve seen GitS and Elfen Lied, and was satisfied with the endings. Elfen Lied did depart from the original material, but did it so successfully and with a resolution. I’m currently working my way toward the end of Hunter X Hunter.

        One of the reasons I watch anime is for the complete stories. But I think that just makes it stand out more when they slip up. And at that point, it doesn’t much matter if it was budget, source material, pacing, or network shenanigans.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Kolohe, I’m in agreement. Until recently most shows on Ameican television were very episodic regardless of the genre. Each sitcom, drama, or cop show might have a certain flavor and there might be some continuity and change over the series but each episode was supposed to be self-contained for the most part. I think this was because each show was generally trying to last as long as possible rather than being told you have two season and thirteen episodes each season, make the most of it.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Kim says:


        I would think Coke was popular well into the mid-80s. At least based on Scarface and Miami Vice. Of course I was part of the generation whose school experience was marked with Just Say No until now.

        I thought the 90s was all about MDMA but I’ve never seen anyone do anything stronger than hash at parties and am not much of a clubber.

        What drugs are or are not popular are a mystery to me.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        coke was a ny thing through most of the 80’s,
        I actually knew people who did MDMA — and speed.
        but nobody would admit to the speed.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

        @newdealer – I can only speak to my corner of the world and what I heard/saw IRL and in the media, but here’s my conception of drug fashions by decade:

        1960’s: before my time; starts out with pot, acid/shrooms, but by the tail-end harder drugs like coke and heroin are creeping in

        1970’s: before my (aware) time; seemingly everything is in, from what I can tell. Pot, coke, pills, still some psychedelics floating around suburbs & rurally, junkies in the big cities.

        1980’s: Just Say No has reacted against the 70’s, but if you have money, powdered coke is in and if you don’t, it’s crack. Hippies and metalheads keep pot alive, but are looked down on by almost everybody else (straights and cokeheads) as anachronisms and burnouts.

        1990’s: Coke is out. They don’t call it the Second Summer of Love for nothing: as you say, MDMA leads the charge, but a whole host of related or revived entheogens and psychedelics come with it. Pot becomes ubiquitous again. But also like the 60’s, towards the tail-end hard drugs start creeping in again (my theory is that once the dabblers grow up/leave, what you are left with are the people who CAN’T stop, they want to keep the party going, and these are your prime candidates for harder/addictive drugs), while penalties for drugs like LSD and MDMA become draconian.

        Aughts: seems to me like coke was the thing again, along with pharmaceuticals like Vicodin and Adderall. Following on from the designer drugs of the 90’s and building from the work of Shulgin and others, lots of novel research chems being sold on the ‘net and tried by a relatively small group of the adventurous/desperate/stupid, but generally being banned before they can reach any sort of general recognition or critical mass by panicky governments/ media moral panics (“bath salts”) and aggressive application of the Federal Analogue Act.Report

      • Coke-Encrusted Hollywood Exec in reply to Kim says:

        “where did all that cocaine go?”

        Hey, did somebody call me?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Kim says:

        For C-EHE, it’s eternally 1985.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Kim says:

        Kim – I just finished Hunter X Hunter yesterday. I would not have used it as an example of a show being allowed to end properly. It looks like the OVA finishes the story line, but the anime itself ended very abruptly.Report

    • Zane in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      @mike-schilling “Deadwood ended prematurely because David Milch wanted to try something new. (It was awful.)”

      I’m assuming you mean David Milch’s next product was awful, because Deadwood.

      Deadwood was some of the best television ever. It was problematic, it had no ending, but it was Shakespearean in its reach (and almost in its dialog).Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Zane says:

        I guess that was an ambiguous pronoun usage. Milch dropped Deadwood, which was brilliant, for John From Cincinnati, which was dreadful, boring, pointless, no good.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Zane says:

        At the time it was cancelled I read that HBO played a role – something about Deadwood’s inordinately high production costs which in turn were caused by Milch’s obsessive attention to detail.Report

  3. Rod says:

    B5 was sort of weird that way. Originally scoped out as a five-year mini-series on steroids, it was cancelled at the end of season four, then after much fan protest, resurrected for season five. Thus it has two series endings.Report

    • Damon in reply to Rod says:

      True, but the spinoff, Crusade, was cancelled. That show, I thought, had potential, if only because I wanted to see the the Technomage character was fleshed out.

      B5 Spoiler altert: Two of the the best lines in the series is uttered by the head technomage: “There is a storm coming…” and “And I hear sounds–the sounds of billions of people calling your name..”Report

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    As someone whose favorite television producer is Bryan Fuller, I feel your pain.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      I don’t know why, but this is almost as surprising to me as finding out New Dealer likes Rush was.

      Tell me you are watching Hannibal. Also please tell me this show will escape the Fuller Fate and run forever.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Glyph says:

        You know the rules. Two seasons, and then off to a farm in the country.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Glyph says:

        I don’t know why, but this is almost as surprising to me as finding out New Dealer likes Rush was.

        Oh, come on. It’s not like Fuller dedicated a series to Franklin Roosevelt.

        …If I’m wrong, don’t tell me.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

        Out of curiosity, why does this surprise you?

        I’m not offended. Is it their Ayn Rand stuff? Or just the prog rock thing in general?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:


        why does this surprise you?…Is it their Ayn Rand stuff? Or just the prog rock thing in general?

        Yes. 🙂

        Also, it’s not just the fact that there is generally not (or at least, was not in my day) a lot of overlap between the type of listener who liked Rush and the type who liked Belle & Sebastian; it’s also that, as a younger person than me, I just sort of assumed you wouldn’t be that familiar with Rush to begin with.

        Also, has Rush ever had a “Queen in Wayne’s World” moment, where something that was considered uncool for a while becomes cool again?Report

      • Rod in reply to Glyph says:

        Rush is/was popular with the Rockband crowd. Basically, their stuff is a lot of fun to “play.”Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:


        I was about 12 years old when Wayne’s World* came out and that was when I was starting to get into music and was all over the map and listening to everything that caught my ear. So I had Mettalica’s Ride the Lightening and 10,000 Maniacs Unplugged and Nirvana’s Nevermind as some of the first CDs I purchased with allowance money or got as presents. My parents were not censorous people when it came to music.

        Rush did not have a Queen moment. I don’t quite remember how I discovered them but it was probably in 7th or 8th grade. It was probably a camp counselor or hearing Tom Sawyer on a classic rock station. I saw Rush in concert when I was in 8th grade with LeeEsq. I think this was the first time our parents let us go to a concert on our own.

        Fun fact: No one in my middle school knew that Rush was a band and always teased me about it. This was when everyone was listening to the Chronic.

        *I recently saw a small bit of Wayne’s World on TV and it was when Wayne said Schwing and I finally got the joke. When I was 12, it completely went over my head that it was about getting an erection.Report

      • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        I hate any band to which Dream Theater can be compared.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Glyph says:

        I was going to say, we’re now three years more removed from the first Wayne’s World film to now than Boh Rhap was to when that film came out.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Glyph says:

        Make that 5 years (17 years vs 22 years)Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Glyph says:

        Wayne’s World

        Canadian cultural imperialism!Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Glyph says:

        I know the actor Mike Meyers is from Canada but I thought Wayne’s World took place in Michigan. Am I mistaken?Report

      • Patrick in reply to Glyph says:

        the type of listener who liked Rush and the type who liked Belle & Sebastian

        I’m now going to listen to If You’re Feeling Sinister and Grace Under Pressure back to back.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:

        I know the actor Mike Meyers is from Canada but I thought Wayne’s World took place in Michigan. Am I mistaken?


      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:

        Waynes World was set in Aurora, ILReport

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Glyph says:

        Not only is Mike Myers Canadian, like so many other comedians that have infiltrated and defiled our native laugh-culture,* he has explicitly described Wayne’s World as a Canadian film and mocked red-blooded Patriots for not getting it.
        *I’m not sure if this includes Norm MacDonald or not. He’s Canadian sure, but I’m skeptical of claims he’s a comedian.Report

  5. Damon says:

    This also happend to Farscape. There were able, at least, to close it down with a final movie.Report

  6. North says:

    Dennis, I feel your pain about Being Human and we clearly have almost identical tastes in Trek (except I was aware enough to turn Enterprise off shortly after I first saw that abomination of an opening and thus wasn’t scorched as you were). I do not, however, share your pain about Eureka or Sanctuary.Report

  7. Glyph says:

    Despite the BSG finale debacle, I was disappointed about Caprica‘s cancellation, it was just getting good. And they should have picked up Virtuality.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

      Holy cow, I just now realized the captain was Jaime Lannister.Report

    • North in reply to Glyph says:

      Yeah, I can sympathize with you intellectually but on an emotional level the BSG finale made me not give a fish what happened prior. It was an absolute abomination, a bomb that not only ruined the series but exploded back through the timeline rendering everything that happened prior to it in the continuity utterly irrelevant.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to North says:

        Okay @north I’ll bite… why was the ending so bad that it retroactively ruined the series for you? I didn’t like the ending, but I can’t say that I disliked it more than a fraction of how much you did.Report

      • Glyph in reply to North says:

        Nothing I say in the comment above – or ever – should be construed as a defense of the BSG finale in any way.

        It was one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in its rambling, incoherent plot was it even close to anything that could be considered a rational development. Everyone who watched is now dumber for having viewed it. I award it no points, and may God have mercy on all of our souls.Report

      • j r in reply to North says:

        Count me in as one of the guys who doesn’t understand what was so bad about the BSG ending.

        In general, I don’t get the obsession with endings. Maybe it’s a constitutional thing.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to North says:


        So it’s like 90% of everything else.Report

      • North in reply to North says:

        Will, the vacuous opera house resolution thing, the whole “God did it” thing all the rest of the stuff I can forgive if I can’t condone.

        But I cannot tolerate the Luddite “we’ll all abandon tech and go back to the stone age thing”. Set aside the sheer screaming insanity of this choice; set aside the virtual murder of any members of the fleet who depended on insulin or the like; set aside the improbability that a fleet who spent the entire series fighting with each other over everything and quite literally had a mutiny a few episodes earlier would agree en masse to this inhumane stupid thing; set that all aside and we’re talking about a plot twist in the ending that invalidated every single episode and spinoff series that occurred prior to it in the timeline.
        Every single thing they did, every lesson they learned, every conflict they resolved, every friend they made and every hurdle they got over turned into nothing. Battlestar Galactica is a riveting story nuanced, gripping and dramatic.. and it ends with “and then they all committed suicide”. You can’t even do a rewatch or watch a spinoff like Caprica because in the back of your head you know “none of this matters, none of this struggle has any point, they all go and commit cultural suicide on Earth and within a generation no one even remembers their names. The only way it could have been worse is if the final episode ended with Adama sitting bolt upright in his chair on Galactic in front of his model ships with Tigh informing him “we’ve arrived at the site for the museum ceremony Commander” and saying “Gosh it was all just a dream!”Report

      • Glyph in reply to North says:

        What North said.

        Something can be implausible plotwise, yet dramatically/thematically/emotionally satisfying.

        Something can be dramatically/thematically/emotionally unsatisfying, yet plausible plotwise.

        Ideally, you want an ending both plausible, and satisfying.

        The BSG finale failed to be either.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to North says:

        I’ve actually been thinking about this somewhat lately (due to The Project, which involves space refugees parking in our solar system). The cultural aspect, that is. The historic culture was a dead culture walking (or flying, or drifting, whatever) regardless of what they did.

        The cultures did apparently make it in tact from Kobol to the colonies, but given the cultural soup of the caravan, the cultures of the twelve colonies wouldn’t have been a different matter. And besides which, I’ll bet that there were a whole lot of cultural changes there, too, due to the segregation. But the soup would have eaten them all as they had to adapt to their entirely new situation. With or without technology. This just made for a cleaner break (and presumably put more distance between them and creating more Cylons).

        That doesn’t particularly undo Caprica (the show) for me, though. Because even though I hadn’t thought it through in its entirety, on some level I knew it was about not only a bunch of people that died but a culture (or set of cultures) that was going to die with it.

        I can never, ever approve of demolishing technology. It’s just not in my blood. I sort of dismissed that as shows doing what shows do. But I’m sympathetic to that complaint.

        Out of curiosity, is it the death of the culture that bothers you more, or the self-inflicted nature of it? What would your response have been if the Cylons had slaughtered them?Report

      • North in reply to North says:

        Will, we know, from the show, that Hera bred with a caveman and became the modern human races’ eve. What this tells us is that the refugees and all their descendants from the 13 colonies died, en masse. That means that everything they did prior to that has an ending point of “and then they died, shivering in the dark, of their own volition”.
        The BSG population was relatively sexually enlightened. Their choice led to thousands of years of enslavement and torment of women. The BSG population was socially moderate towards gays. Their choice led to thousands of years of misery and isolation for sexual minorities. The BSG population had monstrously advanced tech. Their choice led to a rock spear being advanced tech within a generation or two. I concede that the Geminon culture or the Tauran culture may have dissolved but the entire enlightened advanced social and empirical culture of the colonies? Vanished? If they’d surveyed our earth, picked the sweetest spot, landed their fleet of advanced ships and built a city? Hogwash. It was social/cultural suicide on a civilization scale.
        They struggled for the entire series to survive cylon extermination; but for some DNA strands and the snarky commentary of two of science fictions least likable ghosts -NOTHING- of them survived. If the cylons had slain them it would have been tragic but dramatic and at least their killers would have remembered them and maybe one day come to regret their genocide. The way they ended though? It was a farce. Red in tooth and claw and nothing to remember them but some crude scratching on Lee’s tombstone that reads “it seemed like a good idea at the time”.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to North says:

        Well when you put it that way…

        I have my own theory: The human race, minus some of Hera’s progeny, were wiped out by Toba. Saved by the Cylon lineage. I have no idea how scientifically possible this is, but we’re talking Battlestar Galactica.

        Alternative theory is that the scientists are mistaken somehow and Six and Baltar’s comments are actually less confirming than thought.

        Kind of for the same reason you hate that narrative, I have a hard time believing that it flows from the story. Exactly as such, anyway. It would mean that either she (effectively) raped the neanderthals or they raped her (and only her?). For starters.

        You make a good point about the social advances being wiped out. I sort of chalk that up to a grave miscalculation on their part. They assumed that they would be able to (selectively) transmit their values (to avoid another sort of Cylon War if nothing else) and were quite wrong.Report

      • North in reply to North says:

        Yes, quite so Will, I think that is the final turd cherry on the thing. They sacrifice their entire civilization to “break the cycle” and then five thousand years later those *shudder* smarmy sanctimonious angels of “God” are snarkily commenting that the cycle goes on. So all that Lee’s incomprehensible idea achieved was adding ten thousand some years of high proof misery on the race.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to North says:

        “Will, we know, from the show, that Hera bred with a caveman and became the modern human races’ eve”

        One of the other big problems with the finale is that they fracked up the definition and the timing of Mitochondrial Eve.

        It would have been much better for them to have have landed in Mesopotamia around 10,000 BCE. Failing that, for them to have been the Neanderthals.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

      I always liked the conception of Caprica more than of BSG itself. Which is to say, very early on in BSG I was very curious about Caprica and wanting as much information about it as possible. The creation of a TV show about it was just perfect to me.

      This is indicative, slightly, of how poor a fit for BSG I was, as a viewer. I care less about life on spaceships as I do on planets. Even far away planets. In terms of plot, there seems to be an infinite amount of stuff you can do on a planet when the story is not bound to Earthian history and divisions.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah, I liked all the little “alt-history” parallels and differences they were building up (the Taurons sort of being the “Italians/Sicilians”, etc.)

        I even liked the stuff we were getting about the virtual world, bringing that kind of cyberpunk feel to TV.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    “Science fiction fans are left flumoxxed as good scripted shows are axed, making room for yet another reality series and cheesy movies (Sharknado, anyone?).”

    Good scripted series are expensive, ghost hunting mansquitos are cheap.Report

    • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

      even bad scripted series are expensive, particularly if they’re scifi.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

        CGI has never been cheaper. Youtube amateurs and pr0n producers can do stuff now that only Lucas & co were doing a decade or two ago.

        Acting talent and (to a lesser extent) writing talent is expensive. Particularly as a series matures and is popular and the salary demands from everyone involved escalate.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        this may help to explain why a series that was never intended to air on Television got a greenlight…
        [And the third season’s script was in an envelope that would catch fire if opened before a certain date…]Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        Voice acting (for CGI films) can be a lot less expensive, and more replaceable, than regular acting.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        yeah, that’s what happens when you hire awful, awful actors. Decent actors cost decent money. (Tim Curry, Mark Hamil, etc)Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        There is actually an excess of good voice actors and for a more fun project they’re willing to work for quite cheap. The anime industry was built on this.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        all respect given, but I know people who have done voice acting, and their assessment of general American voice acting for anime is that it’s pretty freaking shitty. When I watch it, it makes me want to start punching something. And it’s not even just “bad translation”Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        Note:anything that has Patrick Stewart in it is exempted from the above calumnies. Nausicaa had an awesome dub, and I do recommend it.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        The thing is, Kim, I know voice actors, too. I’ve actually been involved in casting voice parts for non-profit projects. Not only are there are a lot of voice actors out there, there are voice actors who are willing to work for free (for the right project, if we’d been making money they would have wanted to be paid, obviously).

        There is a fair amount of pretty bad acting in anime, particularly early anime when there was a lack of fanbase. It wasn’t considered attractive for actors and one of the biggest producers was based out of a place where actors generally aren’t. But even then, there were a lot of really good actors working next to the really bad ones. It’s also something that got better over time. Anime acting in the 90’s was eons ahead of cartoon acting in the 80’s, and voice acting in the aughts was better still. It’s something that has only in the last two decades or so has become a thing. Now that it is a thing? It’s a thing with a lot of talent in that arena.

        Now it’s like regular acting. Voice acting requires more innate talent but often less training (some people are shockingly good at it straight out of the box). But in both cases, there are talent surpluses.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        I will defer to your expertise then. And yeah, of course there are good actors. Someone always needs exposure. But some of the leads from the 90’s are still there (I’m thinking of an actress or two), and their acting is simply atrocious.
        It’s easy enough to find one actor ruining an entire show.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        I appreciate that, Kim.

        The different studios had different recruiting processes. Viz and Pioneer tended to hire from acting communities. Which meant that they had bonafide actors, but that they tended to be disinterested. A lot of people who wanted to be actor-actors and were doing the voice acting to pay the bills. A lot of them probably had more talent than they displayed. And in some cases they were just less talented actors whose lack of talent lead them to the less glamorous world of Japanese cartoons. Expectations in the early days were dirt low. (I mean, when did anime finally cease being “Oh, you mean like Speed Racer?”)

        On the other hand, you had ADV which wasn’t based in a place that had a really strong acting community. They relied on open auditions and had a small and tight voice network. Some of those actors were really good, some weren’t. But they were all working together in production after production after production because that was the acting stable they had. Then the boom occurred and they had a lot more auditions. Unfortunately for the fans, a lot of the actors who got in early kept getting work because they were so established.

        Some of the other ones, like Bandai and whatnot, simply never “got it” as far as believing that the acting needed to be good. Back in the 90’s, that was one of the biggest issues and not one that has been overcome in some circles.

        I’d argue that voice acting is still, to this day, coming into its own. What the expectations are, and who you should hire. The big studios tend to hire the names, which sometimes works out (Hammill!) and often just proves to be a waste of money. Sometimes it seems like the transition from silent voice to talkies, but without the eventual recognition that skillsets don’t automatically transfer and that you need to do things differently.

        I do agree about one bad voice actor ruining a production. That’s something that is still insufficiently understood. They’ve finally “gotten it” as far as animation quality goes, but do have further to go on the acting side. But not for lack of available talent.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Kim says:


        Good old sub v. dub wars. I remember these.

        Isn’t ADV in Houston? Houston has one of the best regional theatres in the country:


        A lot of early anime dub actors were probably phoning it in and this is was not very professional of them.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Will, anime started being dubbed well in the mid-1990s. At that point the anime community was large enough to prefer dubs but demand quality acting. It has to be remembered that dubs outsold subs by a siginificant ratio. Before DVDs, a lot of sub fans were pissed off that dubs cost a good ten to fifteen dollars less than subs even though they were more expansive to produce. A lot of the business people in the anime business were fans of the stuff by that time so they cared about the product to.

        Viz was able to produce solid dubs because they hired one of the largest voice acting studios in Canada, Ocean Studios. Ocean had a decent amount of experience in cartoon voice work so once they got used to be different that anime plots were different than the typical Western cartoon, they did fine. I’m not sure who Pioneer used but once they got Tenchi Muyo and El-Hazard, they decided that they needed high quality voice acting for those properties rather than the previous level of non-acting.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        One of the old anime producers (i don’t remember whether they said ADV or Viz…) apparently had hired an entire team who hated anime…Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kim says:

        Though Tenchi had some phenomental actors (Ryoko and Washu in particular) it was undermined by that one bad actor, who happened to play the lead. In actuality, I suspect he isn’t a bad actor (he has a good pedigree) but was either a bad fit for the part or was not trying. At the end of the first VHS they introduced the actors and he seemed to show more life saying “Hi! I’m MK Miller!” than he did throughout the series.

        I think that the voice acting had gotten pretty good by the mid-90’s, though was still uneven.

        Of course, it varies from studio to studio. Funimation is notoriously bad and a lot of the smaller studios had issues (the acting in Captain Tylor wasn’t bad, exactly, but very little thought seemed to go into the casting). ADV had some great talent through relied too much on people who were either less talented, weren’t trying, or didn’t get it. I got the impression that the unevenness at Viz and Pioneer was a matter of effort or not getting because they were in hotbeds of talent (CPM, too).Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        I dunno. I think I might be being a bit too hard on some of the actresses. Clearly SOMEONE is telling them to act like this.

        Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi — Jessica Boone is the lead actress.
        Apparently she did some shakespeare. I have a really hard time imagining that
        voice doing shakespeare (this is… not exactly a knock, it is merely an awareness that someone is probably doing a deliberate “alternate voice.”). But the voice being used is freaking horrid.

        You can do “genki” in America — Annie, Pippi Longstocking, etc. But they don’t have the same teethgrating, artificially hyper sound. (Amy Poehler can totally push this over the top, which is freaking awesome. But when she does it, she sounds totally authentic. Totally authentic and psychotic, but that’s her shtick).Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Will, I’m going to have to disagree. I thought that Matt Miller did fine as Tenchi. Its not great acting but it isn’t bad either. Its a good workman performance. I thought that the English language cast of Captain Tyler is great. Crispin Freeman gets Tyler’s “easy going lacksdasical we aren’t really sure if he’s dumb or smart” characterization perfectly. Whoever played Yuriko Star and Yamamoto also had good voices for the personalities of their characters. The other characters also had good voices for their characters. By the late 1990s, most dubs ranged from average to excellent in quality.

        Funimation started bad but once they started to go for the DVD market rather than the TV market, they hit their stride.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

        Kim, the Abenobashi debate feel victim to the question about what do you do with particular Japanese dialects in English language dubs. The characters in the original Japanese version spoke with a Kansai accent and the translators thought a Texan accent would be the closest American equivalent. People usually choose some variety of Southern accent for the Kansai accent because the Kansai area is to the south of the Kanto area and the stereotypes of the regions are a bit similar. I’m in the minority that believes that if your trying to get an English equivalent to the Kansai accent, the best bit is a not too strong Brooklyn accent.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        oh, no, I don’t mind a Texan accent. I don’t mind use of accents where appropriate (apparently Tyrion Lannister sounds hilarious in a NY accent). The actress’ shrillness and forced “hyperness” is what grates.Report

  9. Roger says:

    “The series was the American version of a British series and this was one of the rare instances where the US version was superior to the UK show. ”

    I was a big fan of the UK version, and it interfered with my ability to get into the US version. Would you guys recommend I give the domestic version another try?Report

    • Chris in reply to Roger says:

      I watch them with my son, and he prefers the American version, but I prefer the British.If you like one you can probably get into the other, though. Also, the final season of the British one pissed me off, even though I liked the new characters (but missed Lenora Crichlow).Report

      • Roger in reply to Chris says:

        Thanks, Chris

        I will give the Americans another try. Complicating matters though is that the first season is pretty much the same as the British plot wise. Now I need to figure out whether to start with Season two or watch season one ….

        Until then, I am now finishing up season two of Thrones, season one of House of Cards, and starting season two of Sherlock.

        This is truly the golden age of TV.Report

  10. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Obligatory mention of FireflyReport

  11. Zane says:

    I feel your pain, Dennis. I’m between seasons on Continuum, and I’m hoping it continues beyond the next. It is flawed (sometimes laughably so), but it has two compelling leads and holds my interest.

    I watched all of Sanctuary, and it was sometimes really hard to take, but I’d watch a spinoff based on Sanctuary’s Tesla and John Druitt any place, any where, any how.Report