Feeling excited about the next big thing yet?

I RECEIVED a comment to my last blog post that has made me think – dangerous stuff I know!

Robin Brown, who writes the always excellent Liverpool Culture blog (among loads more) responded to a post that mentioned the return of Red Dwarf, Star Trek and Doctor Who with a comment that included the line ‘I’ve come to dread new long-awaited sci-fi stuff‘.

That resonated with me, and ever since I have been thinking about my own position regarding the upcoming next big thing, whatever that may be.

As a sci-fi geek, I think my default setting is giddy as a schoolgirl whenever anyone mentions the upcoming space-based blockbuster film, novel or tv show, but I know what Robin means.

All too often we have been suckered in by the hype industry and a slick marketing campaign that lasts for weeks into believing something is better than it is – resulting in disappointment and probably boredom when we actually see the piece of work in question.

Who out there hasn’t thought ‘I know every critic has said Generic Film Name is a pile of shit, but that trailer looks ace – I think I’ll give it a go.’?

But why is this? Why are we so willing to believe that Watchmen will will live up to the graphic novel, that new Star Wars will be as good as old, that the Matrix 2 and 3 weren’t ghastly abberations that pissed all over the first film, but were bold experiments in philosophial expressionism?

Because we want to, just like Billie Piper (note to self, have worked in obligatory Doctor Who reference).

In fact, speaking for myself I am so desperate for a new sci-fi film to be good, great even, that I will wilfully avoid negative reviews (except in the case of Battlefield Earth, even I drew the line there).

When I watch them, I can feel myself overlooking some of the negative points to try and focus on the positive – giving an honest film maker who isn’t taking the mickey the benefit of the doubt wherever possible.

(Note to everyone, it wasn’t possible with midichlorians, whole episodes of Heroes, any character who loses their memory, the remake of Planet of the Apes – in fact anything starring Mark Wahlberg – or anything starring a) aliens or b) predators.)

Maybe I want to recapture the excited feeling I had when I was a kid, maybe I want a reward from the genre I have invested so much time in, or proof that I was right to do so. Maybe I’m just funny that way.

Sometimes that hope can lead to feelings of dread about whether a film will live up to what I want it to be.

And yes, that leaves me open to some massive disappointments from time to time, but when something works, when it sings, it recharges my batteries to carry me through any lean times.

For that reason, fuelled by BSG, and repeated viewings of Iron Man, Firefly and Doctor Who, and even though I have no basis or evidence for saying it other than clever marketing and well made trailers, I think Red Dwarf will be great, so will Saturday’s Who, so will new Star Trek.

Now bring on the sci-fi – and please don’t be shit!

2 thoughts on “Feeling excited about the next big thing yet?

  • xxNapoleon Solo


    Seperating out the childhood nostalgia from actual memories is difficult Robin.

    Programmes you watched and enjoyed then become representative of some magical age over time, which never was in actuality.

    That does cause me to give old/new reimaginings the benefit of the doubt.

    Occasionally though, something does make me feel the way I (imagine) I did back then.

    For instance the Doctor Who cliffhanger for last season affected me far more than a 37-year-old man should have been affected, and I love it for that.

    You are right as well that unscrupulous people seek to cash in on those feelings with sub-standard programmes, and they deserve to be cast into the deepest pit of hell for that (or at least be mildly criticised on here).

    When these shows are brought back, feeling that the people behind it have their heart in the right place counts for alot to me.

  • robinbrown


    I suspect this is largely down to my naturally-miserablist nature, but new/old things like this are regularly overhyped. ‘The memory cheats’ was a popular expression by long-serving Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner to suggest that the memories of fans who complained about Doctor Who being better in the days of yore were somewhat rose-tinted.

    That may have been true, although the fans had a point too. But in the case of reanimating/reimagining of these old shows there’s a double risk. They’re always tinted with nostalgia and they can never live up the hype. I always want to like them far more than I do.

    I’ll watch all the new Red Dwarfs, Doctor Whos and the Trek film, though I draw the line at the new Survivors and Robin Hood – I have no trouble in dismissing them as utter pap.

    I expect the former trio to be entertaining enough, but can anything really ever live up to your childhood memory? I bet even spangles would be horrible if you treied them these days…

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