Botching the Watchmen

I attended the LA Times Festival of Books over the weekend (well not so much “attended” as “groggily awoke to find myself surrounded by,” thank you University of Southern California) and, while I missed out on the likes of Michael Ian Black, John Cusack, Betty White, and Julie Andrews, I managed to catch the panel on the upcoming Before Watchmen prequel comics with DC higher-ups Jim Lee and Dan Didio. It was a fun little discussion during which I was able to decide once and for all that I’m completely against the project on every conceivable level.

Lee and Didio were fairly upfront about their motivations for moving forward on creating new Watchmen-related content for the first time in twenty-five years. The comics industry isn’t doing well. Watchmen is a massive seller. People will buy a Watchmen prequel.

They assured the audience time and again that only the best of the best are working on these stories, and that’s entirely true. But it wasn’t as if they were saying “We’re really excited about the great material these writers and artists are going to produce” quite as much as “This sounds like a terrible idea, but with the caliber of talent we’ve got handling it, we have a far smaller chance of ruining things.” That’s what irks. They know it’s a bad move, but their attitude is that they can no longer avoid it. For a quarter century the fact that Watchmen should stand on its own has outweighed the fact that there’s some money to be made by exploiting it. It comes across like DC is so creatively bereft of options that they no longer have any choice in the matter. This is their last resort.

The fact that the people involved are being as diplomatic with the fans as possible doesn’t erase the fact that it’s simply wrong, for so many reasons, to produce more Watchmen content.

The obvious one: Alan Moore is against it. DC really fucked him over on the rights to Watchmen, and during the panel it was hugely upsetting to see Lee and Didio talk about how they legally had the rights to the story, so really it was all good. No one is questioning the legality of the situation; it’s the morality that’s obviously at issue.

But let’s look past that. Plenty has been said on the severing of creators from the things they’ve made and how terrible the comics industry is in particular when it comes to that practice (most pointedly by Moore himself). But even if the rights to the story were a non-issue, even if Moore approved or was long-dead, this is still an astonishingly bad move for the simple reason that Watchmen is not a mythology, no matter how one looks at it.

Jim Lee equated comic book properties with toys in a toybox and for ongoing series, he’s right. He mentioned how he created the character of Hush in a (pretty damn good) Batman storyline, and then allowed other writers to revisit the character in stories he hasn’t even read. He knew this would happen, because the world of Batman constantly evolves.

Watchmen doesn’t evolve. It’s an entirely self-contained story. There is no difference between exploring the Comedian’s origins and writing a prequel novella about how Jay Gatsby got rich. We can’t learn anything from seeing how it happens, because the original story tells us literally everything we need to know.

I, for one, think it’s absolutely crucial to the story of Watchmen to understand what has happened to the characters in the decades of alternate history before the Comedian’s murder. So did Alan Moore, which is why he showed us through extensive flashbacks.

If you intend to stay true to the characters, which Before Watchmen will do according to Lee and Didio, there’s nothing left to say. So while I think Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo could create the best possible Rorschach story, I’m also confident that the best possible Rorschach story would be an unnecessary retread of the character and themes associated with him that Watchmen explored in full.

Watchmen shows how all of the pertinent characters became who they were, and then the main narrative definitively ends all of their stories. So unless anyone thinks J. Michael Straczynski’s Dr. Manhattan prequel has a chance of exploring that character in a more effective manner than the fourth issue of Watchmen, what, honestly, is the point?

Watchmen isn’t a big, vibrant Universe with all these stories left to be told. It’s the simple, densely packed account of how a handful of would-be superheroes changed the world.

That’s the greatest flaw in Lee and Didio’s thinking. I asked the last question at the panel, but I was far too polite to get my point across. I started off by observing that the reason Watchmen is so successful is precisely because there aren’t all these Watchmen stories that a series of writers have penned over decades that readers have to find some kind of entry point for. It’s a novel. You hand it to someone, they start on page one, they read till it’s over, and then that’s it. It’s an easy sell.

I asked if the goal, then, was to turn Watchmen into another one of these comic book mythologies. They took that to mean that I was hoping for more Watchmen stories.

Not quite.

The implicit part of my question was that treating Watchmen like another one of their properties is an idiotic idea. Maybe these Before Watchmen stories will be a huge success. What then? Find a way to further expand Watchmen? Eventually the comics just wouldn’t be as good, and fewer and fewer people would buy them, until only a small, dedicated following remains. If that sounds familiar, it’s the business model that Lee and Didio started off the panel by very flatly stating isn’t working at all. The entire industry is stagnant right now, and instead of finding a way to attract talent on Moore’s level to produce stories that might connect with a readership beyond their usual audience (an option they themselves have sabotaged with their shoddy treatment of creators) they’ve decided that, instead of trying to be new or daring, they’ll simply apply their proven-to-fail methods to the bottled lightning on their shelf and hope for the best.

If that’s not a stop gap measure, I don’t know what is.

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Clashing Kings: Garden of Bones

While on watch duty, a pair of Lannister soldiers chat about the most dangerous men in the Seven Kingdoms. One has the utmost confidence that their commander, Ser Gregor Clegane, the horse-slaughtering Mountain that Rides, is the be-all-end-all of knightly death dealing. The other poses Jaime Lannister and Loras Tyrell as possible contenders when a noise in the darkness cuts off their discussion. Robb’s direwolf Grey Wind tears them to shreds after some flatulent humor.

In the aftermath of the battle that followed, the victorious King in the North roams the carnage accompanied by Roose Bolton, a powerful northern lord who’s fond of flaying the flesh of his prisoners. What, you though everyone loyal to the Starks was a saint? A wounded soldier’s leg needs to go. Robb helps a pretty but harsh girl with the amputation. She thinks his war is brutal and pointless, and he falls for her instantly.

Speaking of young love, Joffrey aims a crossbow at Sansa in a crowded throne room. He’s none too pleased with the way Robb is besting the Lannisters on the battlefield, and figures he might as well take out his frustration on the nearest Stark at hand. Joffrey has one of his Kingsguard beat and strip Sansa in front of everyone, because he’s awful. Luckily Tyrion shows up before things get even less civilized, and chastises the young King for the less than chivalrous treatment of his fiance. Manderly, the guard who delivered the beating, warns Tyrion against threatening his Grace. Tyrion responds that he’s educating, not threatening. Then he tells Bronn to kill Manderly the next time he speaks. “That was a threat. See the difference?” The Imp completely owns this season. He and Bronn walk off, and wonder if perhaps getting laid would make Joffrey less of an evil shit.

They test the theory with a late name day gift for the King: A couple of whores. But surprise, surprise, Joffrey is a sadist. Didn’t see that one coming. He has Ros beat the other whore and probably do a lot worse offscreen. Charming. The worst part is that he flat out says it’s just to send Tyrion a message (not that Joffrey doesn’t really enjoy watching the infliction of pain).

Lord Baelish arrives in the Stormlands and makes a bid to Renly to save his own skin in the seemingly inevitable assault on King’s Landing. If it’s in Littlefinger’s best interest, who knows? Maybe the gates would be wide open when they arrive.

Outside Petyr talks to Margaery Tyrell about her unconventional marriage. She doesn’t back down; her king is her king, regardless of his sexual orientation.

One of Dany’s bloodriders returns with good news: The city of Qarth is willing to receive her. Mormont doesn’t know much about the place, except that they’ll die for sure if they make the trip and aren’t let in.

Arya and the rest of the surviving prisoners arrive at their destination, the ruined and supposedly cursed Harrenhal that Tyrion promised Littlefinger under false pretenses last episode. The once great fortress, long ago melted by dragonfire (yeah) is now the base of operations for Ser Gregor Clegane’s contingent of Lannister forces. The prisoners are being tortured. Arya tries to sleep, reciting the names of all the people she wants dead.

Littlefinger sees Catelyn for the first time since Ned’s death and his own betrayal. She isn’t too pleased, but he still makes an honest go at getting her in bed. Shut down immediately, he switches gears and discusses trading Jaime for Sansa and Arya, the latter of whom he of course couldn’t possibly deliver. Cat knows there’s no way to trade the Kingslayer for two little girls, but Petyr encourages her to follows her motherly instincts. As a sign of good faith, some silent sisters bring in Ned’s remains. Catelyn kicks Baelish out and opens the box to see what’s left of her husband. Heartbreaking.

Arya wakes up in Harrenhal for the day’s torture ritual. Every morning Gregor Clegane (recast, unfortunately. The first guy was perfect. This one…too soon to tell. He’s certainly tall, but he could stand to be a bit more massive) chooses a prisoner. Hot Pie makes eye contact, having noticed that while everyone shies away from the Mountain, the one other man who stares him down hasn’t been selected yet…until today, that is. The point being: No one is safe. The unlucky fellow is taken before a man we’ll come to know as the Tickler. Some soldiers put a rat in a bucket and press the lid to his bare chest. As the Tickler asks questions (is there gold in the village? Where is the Brotherhood?) another man puts a flame to the bucket. The man screams as the rat tries to escape. Anyone else feel like they need a shower?

It’s a Baratheon reunion! Stannis, Melisandre, and Davos meet with Renly and his forces. The brothers bicker and posture until Catelyn butts in to point out how she’d treat them if they were her sons. She’s somewhat underestimating the seriousness of the situation. At his most amiable, Stannis offers very fair peace terms provided the immediate concession of the younger Baratheon. Renly calls the bluff. His army is bigger and no one wants Stannis for king; Renly doesn’t have to buckle to anyone. Stannis rides off, promising a night’s reprieve before he takes what is rightfully his. Melisandre warns of the dark, terrible night.

Dany arrives at the gates of Qarth, where the Thirteen, the city’s ruling council, have come to meet her. Their representative corrects Dany on her pronunciation (Karth, not Quarth) and asks to see the dragons. Dany refuses (not in the budget). They’re almost left out to die when one of the Thirteen steps in: Xharo Xhoan Daxos. He puts his life on the line so that the last of this struggling Khalasar is let into the city.

At Harrenhal, Gendry is selected for torture. He doesn’t know the answers to the questions (who is this brotherhood, anyway?) but it’s not really about that. He’s saved by the arrival of the Warden of the West himself, Tywin Lannister, making his first appearance this season. Tywin chides his men for murdering the prisoners and instantly realizes Arya is a girl. He makes her his cup bearer and walks away like he owns the world. Not hard to see where Tyrion gets it from.

Lancel Lannister (Robert’s meek squire from last season) knocks on Tyrion’s door to demand Pycelle’s release. Tyrion has more pressing concerns, namely that Lancel has obviously been sleeping with Cersei. Tyrion won’t tell anyone, provided Lancel informs him of everything he can about the Queen’s activities.

Stannis is in need of Davos’s skills as a smuggler for a clandestine mission. The ever loyal Onion Knight agrees, despite his reservations.

The cargo turns out to be Melisandre. She asks if Davos is a good man, and he says he considers himself a mixed bag. In one of my favorite lines from the book, Melisandre says that a partially-rotten onion is all bad. Perhaps the most succinct argument for dealing in absolutes that there’s ever been. The Red Priestess considers herself righteous, naturally. They arrive onshore, and the two make their way through a cave, presumably towards Renly’s camp. A gate blocks their way. Not a problem, though. Melisandre drops her cloak to reveal her naked and very pregnant body. She lies back, spreads her legs, and starts to scream. Davos is terrified, and with good cause, as Melisandre gives birth to some kind of shadow creature in the most blatantly fantastic act of sorcery we’ve seen on the series so far. That’s right, magic is real. And it’s coming back in a big way.

Hugh Laurie Missed his Calling

Americans will forever think of him as Dr. Gregory House while those across the pond remember him fondly for his comedic roots before he sold out to us Yanks (are we still Yanks? Is that a thing?) but sadly neither give the remarkably talented Hugh Laurie his due where he might deserve it most: as a writer.

Yes, it turns out in the nineties the actor penned a wonderful little spy novel called The Gun Seller that makes for an effortlessly fun read. It’s brisk and charming, with intrigue, femme fatales, double crossing, and action all healthily sprinkled with wry and witty narration from its in-over-his-head protagonist.

I was expecting a more espionage-minded Douglas Adams sort of a thing, but in fact the book takes itself seriously. It just so happens the bloke caught up in everything is very derisive.

He’s pithy, engaging, and harbors an occasionally depressing but (if you squint a bit) optimistic world view. Laurie seems highly aware of how things are done, how people react to how things are done, and what we should maybe do to make everything a bit better.

The story moves with reckless, I-don’t-see-a-need-to-put-the-book-down abandon, and the prose is never less than fantastic.

My only complaint is that my favorite television procedural has presumably prevented Laurie from hammering out another one. With House ending this year, let’s hope the man takes a well deserved rest…while realizing any literary aspirations he may have been kicking around in his head all these years.

Clashing Kings: What is Dead May Never Die

Picking up right where we left off, Craster drags a bloody and beaten Jon before Mormont and declares the Night’s Watch can no longer count on his hospitality. Tough break, especially for the deer-in-the-headlights Snow, whom the Lord Commander takes outside and berates for getting them evicted from the incestuous old Wildling’s abode. Jon tells Mormont about the little matter of the infant sacrifice he witnessed, but it turns out the Old Bear knew exactly what was going on. This far north of the Wall, you can’t be too picky when it comes to allies.

A couple of knights duke it out before an excited crowd for the favor of would-be King Renly, who you may remember from last season as the younger, less heterosexual Baratheon. I’ve been told our beards look alike. Speaking of which, Loras Tyrell isn’t doing too well in the duel against his much larger opponent. Catelyn arrives to see Loras defeated and the victor revealed to be a woman: Brienne of Tarth. She’s rather tall, and not remotely as ugly as her literary counterpart. For her victory, Renly grants her wish to be a member of his Kingsguard. Catelyn starts on her gambit to ally with Renly, and belittles him and his soldiers just the right amount.

Balon Greyjoy plans to take the North while Robb is distracted by the Lannisters. Theon is upset both at the fact that his father wants him to attack Stark forces and that he isn’t being given that big a role in the mission. They argue over how much of a true Ironborn Theon is, and how unfair it would be to hold him accountable for the course his life has taken. He gets slapped, somewhere in there. Less satisfying than a Joffrey slap, to be sure.

Cersei makes an uncomfortable dinner with her younger, less evil children and Sansa more uncomfortable than it really needs to be.

In a well-handled adaptation of a sequence from the book, Tyrion informs Pycelle, Littlefinger, and Varys that he’s scheming to marry off Princess Myrcella, but gives each of them different details as to whom. He goes about it a tad blatantly, but I’ll allow it. The Imp’s got game.

Loras and Renly are making out, but the Knight of Flowers stops it at that: For political reasons, the King really should spend some time with the other Tyrell, his sister Queen Margaery. Renly’s not into that idea at all. Margaery comes in and attempts a bit of seduction, but realizes pretty quickly she won’t be of much use in that regard. She’s totally cool that her husband’s gay, as long as they work out a way for him to impregnate her.

Cersei is livid over Tyrion’s plans for Myrcella (specifically the variation he gave to Pycelle). He doesn’t let on about what he did, and Cersei gets so mad she pushes him down. I wish it hadn’t looked really funny, but what are you gonna do?

Theon, far more conflicted over the notion of betraying Robb onscreen than in the books, makes the last minute decision to burn the note he wrote warning of Balon’s oncoming raids. He gets baptized in the name of the Drowned God, now a true Ironborn.

Littlefinger isn’t happy to be on the less dignified end of the manipulator/manipulatee relationship, and tells Tyrion as much. Turns out that he’s not done with Baelish yet, though: Tyrion wants him to use Catelyn to free Jaime. Ooh, that’s not what the books did. Very excited to see where this goes.

And the trap springs: Tyrion and Bronn send Pycelle to the dungeons for informing to Cersei. The old man protests, and at least seems very genuine when he claims not to have poisoned Jon Arryn (the Hand before Ned? His death kicked off the series? Big mystery that we never really got an answer to? Ah well, moving on), but it’s too little too late.

Arya and Yoren have a chat while the rest of the Night’s Watch recruits slumber. How does Yoren sleep when he’s seen so many terrible things? He’s not entirely sure, but tells a story with a helpful nugget of advice: Say a prayer each night made up of the names of everyone you hate, then it’ll feel really good when you finally get the chance to murder them. Alright then!

And then there’s a commotion outside. Someone named Armory Lorch (a name that screams trust and compassion) is here on behalf of the King (the dickish blonde one) for Gendry. Yoren refuses to comply. He gets shot by a crossbow, and says he always hated the damned things for taking so long to reload. With that he kills the soldier who shot him and a few others before the men finally take him down. Wow. Mentoring Arya doesn’t give you a long life expectancy, but you sure go out with style. The soldiers round everyone up with some more bloodshed. One of the kids took an arrow to the knee (blah blah Skyrim reference) and says he’ll have to be carried. He gets stabbed in the throat. When pressed to reveal which one of them is Gendry, Arya thinks quickly and says it’s the boy that was just killed. Clever girl.

Well at least this one only ended with the murder of a child…or is that worse than a baby? Food for thought.

Holy Musical Batman! is the Superhero Parody we Deserve

Ah, internet parody musicals. Truly a burgeoning art form, always good for a laugh, and I don’t hesitate for a second to crown Starkid Productions as the obvious champions of creating staged, lyrical tributes to culturally relevant phenomena.

I discovered Starkid before they won over any kind of a following, when A Very Potter Musical had about eight thousand views on Youtube and wasn’t yet titled A Very Potter Musical. It took maybe until Darren Criss sang the line “No way this year anyone’s gonna die” that I was completely sold, and since then I’ve followed the activities of the University of Michigan-originated group with great enthusiasm.

A couple of months ago I was ecstatic to learn that their next show would be Holy Musical Batman!; no doubt it would offer a brilliant take on the caped crusader and his world. It premiered online April 13th, and I’d say I was was…pleased if not blown away.

What stuck out the most was the streamlined nature of the production. Batman! runs for around two hours, a reasonable time to expect someone to invest that vastly cuts down on last year’s Starship and especially A Very Potter Musical and its sequel, both of which are sprawling, wide-eyed epics that lack any sense of restraint. I sort of loved that about them, and making the story more straightforward while only really fleshing out some of the characters diminishes the fun of what Starkid can achieve.

I also got the impression that they simply had less to say about Batman and the DC Universe than they did about the world of Harry Potter…or maybe I’ve just thought about Batman enough that nothing they could go for would feel all that original.

But those points aside, I still adored the show. Joe Walker is phenomenal as the emotionally idiotic Dark Knight, the guy doing Alfred deeply upsets me simply by virtue of how not terrible his Michael Caine impression is (why can’t I do that, dammit?), and Brian Holden is a pretty fine Superman.

The songs are adequate. Alfred’s lament in part 3 and then the song between Superman and Batman were the only ones I found especially wonderful. Darren Criss did all the music for AVPS and Starship; clearly he’s the most talented in the songwriting department, so his absence here hurts a bit.

Ultimately, everyone owes it to themselves to watch every Starkid musical. They’re just phenomenally well done. If I sound reserved it’s only because I was hoping to swing from the rafters with praise for Batman!, but it turns out it’s just really good. So check it out, just don’t expect the best thing a group of fans have ever done for the franchise (which is what I’d call A Very Potter Musical).

And apparently sometime this year they will indeed put on a third and final Harry Potter-centric show. My most anticipated entertainment release for the rest of 2012? Well that would be absurd…

Clashing Kings: The Night Lands

The second episode of the season starts where the first left off, with Arya, Gendry, and a lot of unpleasant folk making their way to Castle Black and the Night’s Watch. She talks to a few particularly unsavory characters in a cage, the most intriguing of course being Jaqen H’ghar. He makes conversation in the third person, which took me forever to get my head around on the page for some reason.

A couple of city watch types come looking for Gendry, but Yoren scares them off with threat of death. Not as bad as the castration it looked like he might have been aiming at for a moment, there.

Varys chats with Shae in King’s Landing, and barely has the decency to pretend she’s not a whore. Tyrion makes it very clear that he’s no Stark: He knows a threat when he hears it, and reacts accordingly, so the eunuch better watch himself.

Cersei is bad at diplomacy. And most other things.

At Craster’s Keep Sam takes a shining to one of the girls, which is a pretty bad idea considering the old wildling’s jealousy as a husband is matched only by his protectiveness as a father. He takes the girl, Gilly, to an understandably irritated Jon. She’s pregnant, and worried that the baby will be a boy. Too scared to tell Jon why, as well. It’s probably just going to end up being something she’s blown out of all proportion, like adoption or zombie sacrifice.

Theon Greyjoy, in a sex scene that’s not really any more ridiculous than the equivalent chapter in the book, degrades a ship captain’s daughter as he makes his way back home, explaining some Ironborn mentality in the process.

In the Red Wastes, one of Dany’s messengers returns sans body. I was going to make some kind of decapitation pun, but then realized that would have been in poor taste.

In the ass-kicking department, Tyrion demotes Lord Janos from head of the City Watch to Night’s Watch recruit for his rather…let’s say “blunt” handling of the bastard issue at the end of the last episode. Are you getting it now, everyone in King’s Landing? Unlike the last couple guys, the new hand of the king is more than willing to play the game. To cap it all off he promotes Bronn to head of the Watch. That’ll be fun.

Arya and Gendry chat about their pasts. Gendry is less than aware of his noble blood, and when he realizes Arya isn’t just any girl (he’d at least worked out the gender for himself) but a highborn lady, he’s mortified, and reverts to his cowed commoner instincts. Oh that wacky, oppressively brutal class system.

Theon arrives home, but there’s no one at the dock to greet him at first save an unimpressed old man. That is, until a woman whose appearance complements his rather nicely shows up. They head off to see his father, Balon Greyjoy, as he fondles her. She doesn’t object.

Littlefinger watches a client through a peephole, like a boss. He learns dear Ros hasn’t been that savvy on the whoring since that whole “baby getting murdered in front of her” thing. Kindly Lord Baelish is very understanding, and even gives her the night off after threatening to sell her to a violently perverse psychopath if she doesn’t get her shit together.

Theon arrives at Pyke (new opening credits addition), where his dad nearly brings him to tears with his unwelcoming attitude and accusations of Stark allegiance/womanhood. His sister Yara (Asha in the books) doesn’t help things much by entering the room and revealing simultaneously that she A) usurped him and B) allowed him to feel her up for laughs. Balon implies he’ll go to war all right, but not by any means on the side Theon was hoping for. Because there aren’t enough factions already.

In Dragonstone, Davos recruits the pirate Salladhor Saan to Stannis’s cause. He’d like to do all manner of things to/with Cersei as payment, and doesn’t consider for a second that she wouldn’t be interested. Even in the crushingly brutal Westeros, there are suave, swashbuckling pirates. Almost brings a tear to my eye.

Davos talks with his son about faith. The kid’s a true believer in the Lord of Light, but the Onion Knight (Davos’s unofficial title, if it hasn’t already been mentioned) doesn’t put much stock in belief, save for what he owes his king.

Cersei’s very upset about the little matter of Janos getting banished, but Tyrion is less than apologetic. He chides her for murdering children in the streets, then realizes that it was actually Joffrey who gave the order. You know what? I’m starting to think I might not be too fond of that kid. Cersei is clearly upset, and burdened by her responsibilities. Tyrion jokes about incest, of course, and she comes back with a pretty low blow about how he killed their mother. To be fair, it wasn’t intentional on his part.

Melisandre shows Stannis her naked body and promises him a son. He fucks her on a map of the Seven Kingdoms. That’s a little less subtle than the allusions to their relationship I recall from the text…

Jon sees Craster carrying a newborn son out into the woods. He follows to witness one of the blue-eyed white walkers murdering or eating it or whatever it is they do. Craster gets the jump on Jon, giving us a 100% infant death rate for episode endings. Can the trend continue? Find out next week!

Ruined Forever

This video from Kinect Star Wars recently ruined a lot of people’s day, and with good reason—it’s potentially the most degrading official use of the license ever allowed.

It brings to mind a notion that fans discuss whenever something particularly despicable happens to something they love: The idea that our enjoyment of a story can be lessened when creators tamper with a property after the fact.

Star Wars is the most blatant case. An entire prequel trilogy is just the tip of the iceberg of sub-par content that Lucas has approved as a part of the world he (more or less) created. Devotees get understandably upset, although perhaps to degrees that the general populous considers ridiculous.

I don’t get too defensive of Star Wars (although I’ll admit this hurt a bit) but that doesn’t by a long shot mean I’m unfamiliar with the phenomenon. Three seconds into a conversation about Avatar: The Last Airbender and I’ll likely bring up the fact that I’d murder M. Night Shyamalan if he harbored intentions toward a sequel to that thing he did.

Interesting to note that we only get upset when the bastardization in question is somehow “official.” If a fan made a video of Han Solo dancing his ass off everyone would think it was brilliant. But we see a little “™” symbol and suddenly we create a standard of quality and respect that our entertainment has to uphold.

And really, that’s the creators’ fault. They place huge importance on owning the legal right to their stories, so we expect that when they produce content it should justify that ownership. Especially when they want us to pay for it.

But it’s useful to remember that they’re just people making stuff too. I mean honestly, the development team for Kinect Star Wars has to know how gleefully stupid their product is. They must have reveled in it, frankly. You don’t make the goddamn Emperor dance with any illusions about being taken seriously.

We’re only mad because we want a motion controlled Star Wars game to be a badass force simulator.

In regards to when the story itself is terrible, a la the prequels or Shyamalanification? Well that’s worse. We care about stories, is what this all comes down to. When we love the way part of a story is told and then the rest of it’s awful? That hurts.

My advice to any fans of Star Wars, Avatar, or a show that goes off the deep end like Heroes, is to keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with claiming you adore one aspect of a thing even though the rest of it is shit. You neither have to defend the bad parts nor make excuses for liking the good.

Just enjoy stories while seeing them for what they truly are. You should absolutely have high standards and get furious when they aren’t met, but the chief reason for those feelings should be that you’ve been denied another good story. Not because something you love has been ruined.