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Dec 7, 2010

WWII Is So Cliche

In honor of the anniversy of the attack on Pearl Harbor.....Here via here.


Let's start with the bad guys. Battalions of stormtroopers dressed in all black, check. Secret police, check. Determination to brutally kill everyone who doesn't look like them, check. Leader with a tiny villain mustache and a tendency to go into apopleptic rage when he doesn't get his way, check. All this from a country that was ordinary, believable, and dare I say it sometimes even sympathetic in previous seasons.

I wouldn't even mind the lack of originality if they weren't so heavy-handed about it. Apparently we're supposed to believe that in the middle of the war the Germans attacked their allies the Russians, starting an unwinnable conflict on two fronts, just to show how sneaky and untrustworthy they could be? And that they diverted all their resources to use in making ever bigger and scarier death camps, even in the middle of a huge war? Real people just aren't that evil.

...Probably the worst part was the ending. The British/German story arc gets boring, so they tie it up quickly, have the villain kill himself (on Walpurgisnacht of all days, not exactly subtle) and then totally switch gears to a battle between the Americans and the Japanese in the Pacific. Pretty much the same dichotomy - the Japanese kill, torture, perform medical experiments on prisoners, and frickin' play football with the heads of murdered children, and the Americans are led by a kindly old man in a wheelchair.

Anyway, they spend the whole season building up how the Japanese home islands are a fortress, and the Japanese will never surrender, and there's no way to take the Japanese home islands because they're invincible...and then they realize they totally can't have the Americans take the Japanese home islands so they have no way to wrap up the season.

So they invent a completely implausible superweapon that they've never mentioned until now. Apparently the Americans got some scientists together to invent it, only we never heard anything about it because it was "classified". In two years, the scientists manage to invent a weapon a thousand times more powerful than anything anyone's ever seen before - drawing from, of course, ancient mystical texts. Then they use the superweapon, blow up several Japanese cities easily, and the Japanese surrender. Convenient, isn't it?

...and then, in the entire rest of the show, over five or six different big wars, they never use the superweapon again. Seriously. They have this whole thing about a war in Vietnam that lasts decades and kills tens of thousands of people, and they never wonder if maybe they should consider using the frickin' unstoppable mystical superweapon that they won the last war with. At this point, you're starting to wonder if any of the show's writers have even watched the episodes the other writers made.

I'm not even going to get into the whole subplot about breaking a secret code (cleverly named "Enigma", because the writers couldn't spend more than two seconds thinking up a name for an enigmatic code), the giant superintelligent computer called Colossus (despite this being years before the transistor was even invented), the Soviet strongman whose name means "Man of Steel" in Russian (seriously, between calling the strongman "Man of Steel" and the Frenchman "de Gaulle", whoever came up with the names for this thing ought to be shot).

So yeah. Stay away from the History Channel. Unlike most of the other networks, they don't even try to make their stuff believable.

6 comments:

Ted Cross said...

Yep, our stories have to be more realistic than reality in order to be believable.

C. N. Nevets said...

Thanks for the headsup. My schedule is too busy to waste on that kind of over-hyped garbage.

Jai Joshi said...

It is so true that reality is much stranger than fiction. No one would believe it if we told them. I always love that bit in Back to the Future where Marty's trying to convince Doc he's from the future and Doc asks who the president is in the future. When Marty say's "Ronald Reagan" the Doc scoffs "The ACTOR!?"

Because, I mean, who would have believed it?

Jai

David Barron said...

"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

They couldn't even come up with their OWN mystical texts, so they stole some dramatic Hindu scripture. Lazy writers.

wannabuy said...

Tara,

Off topic, I just posted the 1st review for 'painted world's' on Amazon. I loved the read and I normally dislike short stories.

You have me curious as to some of the rules of the magic land. In particular, the 2nd story you have it so that the 'power of the painting' is greater by having the subject face forward and 'exposed.'

If you explain in the novel a bit more of the details of how the painting traps certain aspects of the soul, it would be very interesting.

If you haven't already written down a series of rules for the painting, I recommend doing so. For example, you allude to how capturing certain facial details adds power and water colors are easier to escape than an oil painting... But you could make your book very interesting by having the 'level' of detail (e.g. attire) better explained.

Ok, as a male, the 'slave girl' paintings nicely fired up the imagination (your husband is a lucky man). But if you have rules on how nudity impacts the power over the subject or abilities... it makes the world that much more immersed.

e.g., what if a female painter's subject was a nude gladiator? e.g., man armed with a sword, fighting shoes, bracers (arm armor) greaves (leg armor), and shield but otherwise nude? Would that person have more/less volition than an armored member of your 'painted army?' Or if the person still lived, but was under control (as the servants/guards in the painted mansion), would there be an added level of control (even if they were provided full clothing/armor during their duties) due to nudity?

I ask, for you have intrigued me with your alternate world. The limits and rules on magical power make well written Fantasy Worlds (e.g., the "Mage of Recluse" series) far more fun to read.

Neil

Aramelle said...

I agree with Wannaby - draw up the rules of the Painted World - it might even inspire fanfic