Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Feature: "Reconsidered"

We all have opinions. We judge something to be "great" or "good" or "awful," and give it grades. A+. C-. 5.5. A perfect 10. Epic FAIL. Awesome, dude. Most of the time, those opinions, once formed, stick with us. Some of us are just stubborn. Some of us are pretty good instant evaluators. Often, we make a snap judgment and just forget about the thing we've evaluated, and that judgment sticks with us. In this day and age of the internets and blogs, it's also pretty easy to take a quick pulse of the critical and popular opinions of a piece of pop culture work.

Some things are pretty easy. Just like most everyone regards "The Constant" as a great episode of Lost, most everyone (including the producers) regards "Stranger in a Strange Land" as a series low point (noted thespian Bai Ling and Jack's tattoos? Really?!). Some things produce a sharp divide. Sopranos finale - open ended work of genius, or confounding cop out? Battlestar Galactica finale - fitting conclusion to one of the best series ever, or "god did it" hackwork nullifying the choices of all the characters? "Stairway to Heaven" - legendary rock song, or overplayed, self indulgent Tolkien acid flashback?

What I want to do is look back at pieces of work (episodes, movies, performances, songs, albums, etc.) that are considered "bad," "poor," "awful," "less than" or "substandard" and reevaluate them. Examine their pros and cons, and see if they deserve their reputation in the pop culture and critical zeitgeist. "Reconsider" them, if you will.

First up, I'll be taking a look at "Beer Bad," an episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fourth season. A while back, I did a rewatch of the entire series, and assigned a numerical value to each episode. According to that evaluation, "The Pack" was the worst episode for me. Of the 144 episodes, "Beer Bad" was ranked 135th (including ties). But ask just about any Buffy fan you know to name a "bad" eppy, and "Beer Bad" is usually one of the first, if not THE first, eps they mention. So, it will be "reconsidered" in an upcoming post.

Here's a short list of other items I'm thinking about for "Reconsidered:"

  • "Spock's Brain," episode of Star Trek: TOS
  • Riley Finn, character from Buffy
  • "Black Market," episode of Battlestar Galactica
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  • Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), character from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • "Expose," episode of Lost
  • "She," episode of Angel
  • The Matrix Reloaded (or, The Matrix Revolutions)
  • "Heart of Gold," episode of Firefly
Anyone have any preferences on which one to tackle next? Or, do y'all have any suggestions for items that would be fun to "reconsider?"


  1. What about "Safe"? Arguably the weakest of the entire Firefly series, it's the one I skip -- if I'm going to do any skipping while viewing my favorite TV series ever. (Besides maybe Wonderfalls. Thank goodness for DVDs.)

    And good luck on ST: TMP. You are a braver soul than I, as I made it through it only once. The only thing I remember liking about that movie was the music.

  2. I don't know if there's a general consensus about the "worst" Firefly ep. I did see "Safe" mentioned a few times, but most of the polls and message boards I saw seem to point toward "Heart of Gold." (Folks seem to have a problem with space hookers, evidently). Either way, I doubt an ep of Firefly will truly be "bad" upon a revisit.

    And sadly, I'm actually a "minor" fan of ST:TMP. Some of it is surely the experience I had bonding with my dad, who introduced me to the original series, and we were so psyched to see this flick. You're right, the music is classic (as evidenced by its reuse on other ST properties - and if you're a fan of that soundtrack, check out the link to the film score podcast I put up a few days ago - there's an itunes button) and I like the "ship porn," since this was the first time we actually saw the Enterprise look realistic and awe-inspiring on the big screen. Of course, everyone was wearing pale blue pajamas and the thing just druuuuuuug on forever. So it might be a good one to reconsider.

  3. I think you're right that "Safe" and "Heart of Gold" are often mentioned as the weakest eps. But I like "Heart of Gold" and think it has some funny bits, which always elevates an episode for me. Also, I have absolutely no problem with space hookers.