Thursday, December 10, 2009

The 10 Biggest Sci-Fi Disappointments Of The Last Decade

As the decade draws to a close, we're starting to see lists about the best, worst and everything else of the first decade of the third millennium of the B.C.E., io9 recently offering its list of the ten biggest science fiction disappointments of the last decade.

I don't think it's a great list. Does NASA's performance really rate the #4 slot? I'm not sure there was much grounds for expecting more from the agency during the last, economically disastrous and perpetually worried decade, a lousy time for anyone to try and accomplish great things in space, a point I find that I have to keep repeating. (Indeed, as I recall, the announcement of an ambitious new program of manned space exploration-the "Vision for Space Exploration"-by President Bush back in January 2004 drew a ho-hum response, no serious observer expecting much to come from it, a matter about which I wrote in the journal Astropolitics just a few months later.)

As to the comics, films and television shows discussed-yes, the conduct of FOX executives was absolutely contemptible. However, most of the items on the list are heavily hyped projects which came on the heels of often unreasonable explanations, and usually weren't quite the irredeemable failures so many of the complainers took them to be.

I fully understand the disappointment with Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk, which chucked far too much of the comic's concept (though I thought it had its good points), Heroes quickly fell into a pattern of diminishing returns (predictable, given that the story arc that worked so well in season one simply did not lend itself to repetition), and while I found a fair bit to enjoy in the Matrix sequels, I agree that they didn't live up to the promises made in the first film (though admittedly it is hard to picture a movie that might have).

However, while I personally came to it late, I really enjoyed The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which took a little getting used to stylistically, but which I regard as underappreciated.

Still, there were some things that didn't rate the anticipation in the first place. From the beginning I regarded Battlestar Galactica as a superficially dazzling piece of crap which only occasionally looked like it would be going somewhere better-but sure enough, didn't.

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