Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This Summer's Entertainment (And Where It Came From)

There's a current trend in the entertainment industry, where new movies and TV shows are created from the exact same creative material used in other (more successful and awesome) movies and TV shows. Now, we would never suggest that mashing some things together isn't absolutely awesome

Poptart Ice cream sandwich. You are freaking welcome --Mind Grenades Staff

Plus, it's a given that TV shows and films will all share common elements, especially in their respective genres. There's always going to be conflict, always a heroic journey to be taken, always a pretty girl to save, always good guys and bad guys.

...Sometimes there's good bad guys

But it seems like suddenly TV shows and even a summer blockbuster or two are basically sneaky mashups of other, better things. Let us examine the "ingredients" of the following.....

#1- "Defiance" is Eureka, but with some Stargate (and a touch of Shakespeare)

Defiance is about a town where weird crap happens every day, and the flawed but capable newly-appointed sheriff who just arrived in said town. The new law keeper somewhat reluctantly accepts the job, but since he's stuck in the town and there happens to be a vacant sheriff position, he is now in charge of keeping all the crazy under control, with the assistance of a no-nonsense, butt-kicking female companion who is in no way a love interest. The reluctant Sheriff is stranded in the town with his daughter, but begins to appreciate its quirks and gains a love for it after connecting with the people and shouldering the responsibility as their protector. All of this happens while investigating a deeper conspiracy which will traverse a few seasons worth of episodes.

Oddly enough, that's the exact same plot as the show "Eureka", which ended its fairly successful five season run just last year on the Syfy channel- the same freaking channel now heavily promoting its new series Defiance.

The "similarities" (which is in quotes, because things stop being "similar" when they are identical) don't stop there- there are people in town that don't like each other which is at the root of most every episode's issues, a helpful cop ally that can't decide if he's a regular character on the show or not, and the source of all the town's useful information is the attractive town prostitute/therapist lady.

"Psychiatry and Whoring" is a legit college major in the Syfy universe

Defiance also has some cheap Romeo and Juliet storyline between the ghostly white alien people's goth son and the dirty miner's cute daughter. They sort of jumped the gun in the pilot episode by getting engaged before either character was developed at all, so now one of them will surely die in the season finale. And, if you know anything about the Syfy channel, you know it ain't gonna be the cute girl.

Also, the Syfy channel has replaced the town Bed and Breakfast with a Bar and Brothel.
The future is bright.

#2- "Falling Skies" is The Walking Dead, with Independence Day and Terminator added in

Which, predictably, means it is freaking awesome.

Falling Skies is about the survival of the human race after an alien invasion. As seen in Independence Day, the invaders targeted every major city on the globe in a sudden intergalactic attack. Judgement Day came and went, and with the planet in ruins, all that's left of the Boston area is a few hundred survivors under the command of Coach Yoast from Remember The Titans. 

--Captain Weaver, probably

After the aliens are done blowing everything up, they send out mechs and scouts to pick off the remaining survivors, with air support every now and then (not too often though or the series would end in like the fourth episode). So Terminator but with aliens. The Walking Dead similarities start with the cast, a band of mostly fighter characters and a couple weak civilians (only included in the show to represent the viewer) comprising the show's main characters. Everyone in The Walking Dead makes an appearance here-

You have your main protagonist, a father with an awesome post-apocalyptic beard and super manly name (Rick/Tom). His motivation for survival is what's left of his family. He is awesome.

The only difference between the two is Tom's woman being Moon Bloodgood, 
and Rick's being an annoying skank.

Then you've got your outlaw who kills more zombies/aliens per episode than the entire rest of the combined cast, and is accidentally even more  awesome than the main father protaganist guy, which means they have to make him sort of overly surly at times. He's the real reason you watch the show, and the guy you hope doesn't get killed off.

Both wear hairstyles that would humiliate the average dude.

Every major character in Falling Skies has a zombie-slaying Walking Dead counterpart; both groups of characters spend a season finding a safe hideout in their respective apocalypses, forming friends and creating foes amongst their ranks, and finally at the end of each season they battle aliens/zombies and vacate their now overrun home in search of a new home (and a renewed season contract). 

**Editor's note: Both of these shows are awesome and worth watching, especially if Independence Day and Terminator are on your movie shelf.

#3- "After Earth" is 10,000 BC and Planet of the Apes

  Box office tanking is inevitable

After Earth is a Will Smith survival movie! That's basically the only thing that's good about it, but...Iron Man 3 was spectacular so nobody's summer is ruined. Will and his son crash land on a mysterious planet inhabited by giant killer animals that will definitely not harm either main character, and *surprise to anyone who hasn't seen a science fiction movie in like the last 30 years* the planet is Earth! Humans vacated the planet hundreds of years earlier after killing it with global warming or whatever. So now everything has evolved specifically to kill humans with giant sharp-clawed deathrage, even though humans haven't lived on the planet for hundreds of years, because everyone knows predators evolve to kill things that are no longer part of their ecosystem. 

This is not the face of a man who understands issues in global climate change,
nor the evolutionary process.

So animals have taken Earth back by becoming gigantic, and in the movie trailer you see what looks like some giant eagles, wolves, and tiger-type beasts. Strangely, apes aren't ever seen, probably so as to avoid distracting from the fact that it's basically just planet of the apes with different predators and Will Smith's son. Maybe apes disappeared with the humans. It's unclear. Surely "After Earth" has nothing to worry about though, everyone knows blockbusters can't bomb when they're starring Will Smith's kid and supersized animals.


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