michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,

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Quality and audience response

I just read a book yesterday. An actual, bound book, for the first time in what may actually be a couple of years (excepting graphic novels). And ... I kinda hated it.

I feel strange about that, because the author seems like a pretty cool guy online, and the book seemed to do exactly what he was aiming for. It just wasn't for me, at all.

There wasn't anyone to root for. No one was likable, at all. The one character who seemed maybe kinda decent turned out to be a jerk in the end. In addition, the main character's driving force was to blunder about and then, very occasionally, turn out to be just that little bit smarter than those around him, enough to figure out a short-term solution. I'm a competence-squeer, and this was anti-competence. The only antihero work I've really appreciated was "The Shield", which did a brilliant job of making me care about its deeply flawed characters. The crowning touch to my dislike of this book was the recurring cruel treatment of animals, which is a major DO NOT WANT for me. (I can get past the death of pets to indicate a truly evil character, but I will resent Anne Tyler forever for killing a (fictional) kitten horrifically just to illustrate that her MC is flighty in "Breathing Lessons".)

That doesn't mean it's a bad book. It's well-written, certainly, and as far as I can tell everything I hated about it was intentional. I'm sure there's an audience for it; I'm just not that audience. The fact that the story would have improved significantly for me with the sudden insertion of "Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies" at pretty much any point doesn't mean the story is a bad one. I'll even give the author another chance, with a different series, and I won't resent the author if it turns out I don't like that series either.

And then, in a different medium, you have Brad Wright continuing to be LOLarious. I agree that if the show fails, that's not an inherent indictment of its quality. It doesn't prove that the show is high-quality either, though. And it is evidence that what they're producing doesn't have (enough of) an audience.

Blaming "franchise fans" for not slavishly adoring a complete, deliberate subversion of the franchise is infantile. As it happens, I do dislike the showrunners, but I'm not watching the show because everything they advertised about it is something I hate. Everything I've heard about the show in progress, including from folks who like it, has only confirmed that impression. (My dislike for the showrunners just made my uninterest a bonus.) I have nothing against the actors or staff, nor against anyone who does enjoy the show ... but it's a simple fact that not every presentation will win over every person. For Wright to start out by dismissing a subset of franchise fans as irrelevant, only to then turn around and blame them for somehow also having and exercising the power to hurt his show, just makes me laugh at him. He's nearing Colbertesque levels of obliviousness here, except he really seems to mean it. I don't know whether to laugh or weep.

... Laugh. Definitely.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth | Comment | comment count unavailable comments
Tags: reviews, reviews:books, reviews:tv

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