There is a phenomenon that I’ve noticed in the geek culture. I’ve watched the first Season of Heroes and part of the second. It started to slow down and I felt my time could be better spent drinking cheap booze and watching infomercials.
Now, however, I hear about Season 3 of Heroes on a regular basis. The last few episodes, the powers of the characters, all kinds of stuff. I hear excuses for the second season, especially since it happened during the writers strike, and I am told on a regular basis that I should go back and grind (a term which will be later discussed) through the bad episodes so I can get to the current good episodes.
I’ll be honest, I watched the first season just to keep up with my friends. I liked the idea of X-Men without the odd outfits, but the story was lacking a bit for me. I’ve felt no need to pick it back up.
But Heroes is a show made specifically for the geek set. Ordinary people with super powers with real world problems attempting to balance their lives and the safety of the world. It would take a full season of crap to dislodge most geeks from something like that. Hell, there’s even an exception to that rule know as the first season of Babylon 5.
I’m guilty of it myself as well. I suffered through the third season of Lost and got the pay off in the end with season 4. I steadfastly allowed myself to be mired in the insanity of whatever the writers were smoking to get to the “good stuff”. Why? What is it about some random people stuck on a magical island that kept me so enthralled?
I have a few different theories I’d like to put out there.
For myself, I didn’t start watching Lost until season 3. That means I caught up with two full seasons on DVD. The fact that I didn’t have to wait between episodes or the summer break of between one and two, or two and three meant that even if my ADD would have kicked in, I had the next episode queued to watch immediately afterward. Even a day break was fine because I had three episodes in a night and only 24 hours until another three. It was hard not to watch another episode even when just wondering. This is why I prefer to watch TV shows that are already finished so there is no waiting in between.
Another thought I had is just the Science fiction/fantasy role these shows give us. With the current lineup of most channels consisting of Hospital Drama, Cop Drama or reality show, anything that deviates gives geeks hope that there may be someone out there with just a shred of creativity left in them.
This argument is often put to Firefly and the works of Joss Wheadon. There is a reason for it.
If you are a non geek, you should refrain from bringing up Firefly unless you want to hear a long and complicated argument about how it was one of the best shows ever put on TV and how the FOX network screwed them over. That argument is correct. It was one of the best shows on TV and it was screwed over by FOX. We will discuss it in a later posting.
There aren’t many TV shows that cater to geeks, mostly because Main Stream America just can’t handle it. Either they need someone to sit down and explain things to them because science class was little more than cutting up frogs and baking soda volcanos, or they just can’t keep up with it and allow their eyes to glass over.
In many ways, I think this helps the geek centric shows. It forces them to either burn out quickly (Babylon 5) or last long enough to be awesome (Star Trek: The Next Generation). People that write these shows respect and cherish their audience and would rather end a show well and move onto another project instead of running it into the ground after fifteen seasons when no one cares about it anymore (M*A*S*H, I’m looking at you)
I don’t despise geeks for it, though I am jealous at times. My schedule doesn’t really allow me time to waste on the bad episodes of any given show to get to the good episodes, and I am left out of the conversations (as I am often since I don’t have time for other geek activities like video games or RPGs). Their devotion to a show can be legendary, and fans do make a difference. If you don’t believe me, see to the movie Serenity which tied up most of the loose ends of Firefly, or Jericho’s second season.
Geek TV is what keeps TV fresh. Sometimes it isn’t all that great, and a show will fall to the wayside, but sometimes, a gem pops out, and the rest of America watches and watches with them until the geeks complain about it going too mainstream. I’d call them hipsters if the geeks didn’t all have jobs of some sort