A little change of pace this week. Given the particular holiday we (in the U.S.) are about to celebrate, I thought I’d name a few things I am thankful for — but, geared to the subject matter of this blog, of course.
1) I am thankful that being a fan of sci-fi/fantasy and superheroes is much more culturally accepted, these days. It wasn’t all that long ago when such things were considered “nerdy”, “square”, or “uncool” by default. Now, a lot of the “cool kids” like this stuff, too. (Similar thing can be said about computers and other tech.) Comic and Star Trek/sci-fi conventions used to be the domain of Trekkies and other social outcasts. Nowadays, there is a much wider audience and, thus, fandom for such things. We can boldly wear our “geek” hats — and, sometimes, complete cosplay outfits — with much less fear (within some environments, at least) of getting mocked or beaten up.
2) I am thankful that Hollywood has discovered that this growing fanbase makes both small-screen and big-screen genre productions much more likely to make money, especially when done with great care and attention to talent, script, and production values. (Even SyFy Channel is putting out some decent stuff these days.) It used to be that most movies of this sort were pretty cheesey — sorta like the genre TV shows.
I would say that Star Wars (1977), Superman (1978), and Alien (1979) ushered in a new era, showing fans and studios alike what was really possible. On the TV side, while classics like the original “Doctor Who” (1963), “Mission Impossible” (1966), and “Star Trek” (1966) broke new ground, I think shows like “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987), “Babylon 5” (1994), and “Smallville” (2001) continued to push the boundaries and gain new fans. Now, we have several genre movies every year and more TV shows (and I include Netflix and cable here), regular and mini-series, than anyone can keep up with.
3) I am thankful for the incredible technological innovations in Visual and Special F/X that allow starships, aliens, strange worlds, magic, and superpowers to come alive in a much more realistic fashion than even just a couple decades ago. These have, of course, been instrumental in the success of many sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure shows and films. (Can you imagine trying to do The Matrix, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Avengers back in the 1980s or before?!) Sometimes they can be disappointing or overused, sure. But, when done right, the F/X can be pretty darn AMAZING!
4) I am thankful for the advent and development of social media — blogging in particular — that allows people of all kinds from all over the world to share their love of and enthusiasm for comics, anime/manga, games, books, TV shows and movies, etc., with each other. And, in many cases, we can do so for free (or very cheap) and nearly instantaneously! Do you realize how incredible that is? When I was a kid, this kind of connectedness was itself the stuff of science fiction. (Even ARPANET was in its infancy.)
5) I am thankful for you, my readers. Yeah, yeah, I know. But, although we don’t get much commentary on the posts, I do see slight increases in page views (and the occasional spike). So, I know you’re out there, reading my rants, opinions, fan-castings, and other “quantum musings” — over 160 of them since I started the blog 2 years and 9 months ago. (Hopefully, you’re also referring your friends, too.) Thanks again, everyone!
Add it all up and I am “SuperThankful” that I live in a time and place where I can enjoy all of the above with all of you….