By | Wednesday, November 28, 2007 Leave a Comment
You know, I had planned on finishing Gods of Asgard today during my lunch hour, and writing a insightful and poignant review of it tonight, but I had the opportunity to have a nice, social lunch with the boss and, when I got home, the soon-to-be-ex-wife was here, packing up some of her belongings. While nothing particularly problematic came up while she was here, it really didn't put me in the mood for trying to catch up on reading I had intended to do earlier in the day. As much as I still love her, seeing her any more is the most painful because I know she doesn't want to be a part of my life any more. And while that normally puts a crimp in whatever I'd planned on doing, I took the opportunity of my semi-depressed state to catch up on television... which requires so much less of my head than just about anything else I do. So I was finally able to watch last week's Numb3rs which kept comic fans abuzz with anticipation as it featured a comic book convention and a guest appearance by Wil Wheaton.

I thought it was okay. Good representation of a big comic convention, not really at all degrading. I liked the mix of comic-related personalities on display. All the characters and their relationships to one another were fairly clearly defined. The plot made sense... although the hiding-a-name-in-a-special-code-of-the-artwork angle seemed a bit strained. The other thing I didn't like was that the one FBI agent (sorry, I don't watch the show regularly and didn't really pay attention to names) just happened to be a fan of comics enough to know where the local comic shop was, could recite Dr. Strange incantations, and was an old fan of the artist played by Christopher Lloyd. I mean, that's great to put a clearly positive spin on a comic book fan character, but it struck me as an ingenuine/lazy way to try to relay background information to the viewer. Yes, the writer has to assume that an average viewer knows nothing about comics and s/he has to find a way to communicate the specifics of the industry. But suddenly making an existing character who's shown no prior knowledge of the industry well-versed in it is, in my mind, poor/cheap storytelling.

And calling attention to it (Rob Morrow's character expressed surprise at the previously undisclosed hobby of his co-worker) emphasizes the issue. It ends up being a catch-22 situation because regular viewers will "need" an explanation for this character's sudden insights, but a new viewer like myself is also being expressly told that this character is acting in a way inconsistent with previous episodes. And especially in light of much of the story taking place AT a comic book convention, it seems to me that the same information could/should have been conveyed through other characters.

This all leads back to why I prefer comics to TV. There were some honestly good bits in the show, but there were also some bits that didn't really fit. And the reason is because it's television and there were simply too many people adding their two cents in. I'm glad -- thrilled even -- they gave the comic industry, on the whole, a fairly honest/reasonable representation. But it's still television, and I know I can walk into my Local Comic Shop tomorrow and easily/immediately find several dozen examples that will do a much better job at presenting a good, cohesive, engaging, entertaining, and enjoyable experience.
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