A Question For the Weekend
Posted on September 8, 2012 Posted by John Scalzi 286 Comments
I am escaping the clutches of the Internet this weekend! For the loving embrace of non-Internet related work I am backed up on! Oh joy!
I’ll see you all on Monday. In the meantime, a question for you all to keep you amused in my absence:
Name a book/movie/TV show/album/game that you loved when you were younger that you’re afraid to revisit because you’re worried that now you might think it sucks.
For me? Battle of the Planets (aka Science Team Ninja Gatchaman to people far more deeply immersed in anime/Japanese stuff than I am). Loved, loved, loved it when I was ten; I dread the idea of going back to it now because I know that the intervening three decades have not been kind for my appreciation of 70s and 80s animation of nearly any sort. It’s best I remember enjoying them instead of sitting down at 43 and trying to love it again.
Issac Asimov’s Foundation/Foundation and empire/Second Foundation. Why? I’m afraid that it will be over-simplistc and unsophisticated. On the other hand, I want to re-read them to find out . . . .
I do actually have the original, animated Transformers movie on DVD and… it doesn’t hold up as well as one might hope.
Sapir and Murphy’s Destroyer novels. I read a good chunk of them until I was 14 or 15. I strongly suspect they’ve experienced major visits from the Suck Fairy in the 25 years since.
(only kidding. Wanted to see if anyone would recognize that)
Metalstorm 3D: The Destruction of Jared-Syn. It’s the first movie I ever saw in a theater. (yes, my family didn’t go to movies. Second movie, a couple of weeks later, was Return of the Jedi)
Star Blazers. I remember rushing home after school to watch it. I’m not sure it would be as entertaining at 44. But the song holds up!
The Neverending Story. I remember adoring the movie. Now I’m very afraid it won’t live up to my memories.
Too late, I’ve tried various series though Netflix and ruined almost all of them.
Galaxy Express 999.
It was an animated movie about a boy traveling through space on a locomotive. He’s trying to get to a planet where they gave humans cyborg bodies. On the way, he has lots of adventures, including something called a “Medusa Cloud.” I must’ve been 8 or 9 when I saw the movie, and it was always stuck with me in magical bits and pieces. I’m afraid that if I tried to watch it again nearly 30 years later, the magic would disappear.
Robotech. And large chunks of my comic book collection.
Below the Root. I adored that book in 3rd grade. I’d love to know if held up well.
At the age of four, I was taken by my elder siblings to see what was probably my first movie: The Golden Blade, an adventure about an ordinary guy who acquires a magic sword that makes him an invincible hero. I never saw it again until it showed up on tv when I was in my twenties. Of course, it didn’t have the same numinous quality I’d remembered from just-past-toddlerhood, but it still called up echoes of that feeling — and that was nice. So, now that I’m in my sixties, I wouldn’t hesitate to revisit some past literary or cinematic flame, because being reminded of what it was like to be young and swept away is a pleasant form of nostalgia.
I was amazed at how boring E.T. was upon attempting to re-watch it with my kids. Adam West Batman, however, I’m sure will only be better than the show I enjoyed as a wide-eyed child.
Gotta say Star Blazers as well. It’s the one 70s-early 80s anime I loved as a kid and haven’t rewatched. Though the fact that I can still enjoy Super Dimension Fortress Macross (the first “War” of the Robotech series for non-major anime fans) gives me some hope; though that knife fight makes me cringe more and more every time I see it. Amusingly, I caught a whole more now that I’ve seen the Macross sequels than I did as a kid, such as just what those weirdly flat and wide Earth space ships destroyed in orbit in the first episode were and what they were meant to do.
Battle of Planets holds up pretty well, even if you realize the bad guy has wasted a lot of money/resources trying to defeat five people in a spaceship.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Dark Crystal
Illmatic by Nas
Nord and Bert Couldn’t Make Head or Tail of It [yes, I know, it’s been a while since my gaming days]
Heinlein’s juvies – say “Podkane on Mars” I probably read them at just the right time in my life and just the right time (dawn of the space program). I’ll just remember the way I read them thanks.
The German “Mark Brandis” novels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Brandis
Star Blazers holds up. Battle of the Planets does not (what we saw here in the US was massively edited, pointlessly rewritten and had terrible inserted US “animation”… it crumbles under the least scrutiny). The Destroyer novels (which I think are finally no longer in production) are up-and-down… pick the right one and it’s decent Remo/Chiun action, pick the wrong one and the series can be ruined forever.
The vaunted X-Men comics of the Claremont/Byrne era – particularly the Phoenix Saga – became terrible when re-read as an adult, but mostly because of the editorially-mandated necessity of “*see last ish!” stuff and huge chunks of exposition to catch new readers up. But the purple prose didn’t help. Same goes for most comics pre-1985-ish. A lot of good stuff, but you have to be willing to suffer and look beyond the junky prose to see the good story.
I don’t think there’s a single childhood entertainment – TV shows, movies, comics, video games, books – that I haven’t revisited regularly, so I guess I can’t really answer the original question; I just have existing opinions on how well they’ve held up. NO FEAR! Just occasional disappointment.
I’m terrified of ever seeing the Greenknowe tv series again. I recently re-read the books and I was appalled by the casual racism in them, and the simplistic writing, and now I just cannot risk tarnishing my happy memories of the tv adaptation in the same way. I recently trashed my memory of Brian Aldiss’s book “Non-Stop” by re-reading it recently. The simplistic, uncritical, and inexperienced teen (and pre-teen) mind makes so many things great.
I’ve also got the movies “Spacehunter:Adventures In The Forbidden Zone” and “Damnation Alley” on that list of things to avoid too.
Although, oddly, the 80s Doctor Who adventures seem to be immune to the nostalgia stripping effect. That might be them being made of 100% pure cheese to start with though.
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s UFO. I was completely obsessed with it in 8th grade (got in trouble for writing UFO fanfic for school assignments, almost 20 years before I knew that fanfic was a thing). God I was so in love with that show.
In 4th grade, the show I was obsessed with was “Dark Shadows”, which was so thoroughly visited by the Suck Fairy that it went all the way past crap into legend.
Joel Rosenberg’s Guardian’s of the Flame series. I loved them. One of them was the first book I ever read in a single day. It was an Easter in fact and I was sick so I stayed in PJs all day and read the whole thing. I keep thinking I’ll pick them up if they ever come to kindle, but I also wonder if it’s best that they don’t and I don’t.
Gulliver: I revisited The Dark Crystal recently and was pleasantly surprised at how well it held up. The effects hadn’t stood the test of time particularly well, but the puppetry was first-rate.
For me (as a Brit of a certain age) it has to be Blake’s Seven. I think (think!) the stories would still engage, but even as a kid I could see that the sets were flimsy so I dread to think how awful it’d look to my jaded adult eye.
To those who mentioned STARBLAZERS: I tried to watch it thru Netflix recently and simply couldn’t do it. I loved loved LOVED that show when I was a kid, would get up stupid early on Saturday mornings to watch it (which was when it was on in my area growing up)… and viewing thru adult eyes totally ruined it for me.
This is why I’ll never re-watch the original TRANSFORMERS and GI JOE series. Or VOLTRON. Or BATTLE OF THE PLANETS.
Anything that mattered to me when I was a kid, really.
Sadly, I can not remember the title or author of the book which got me interested in science fiction. I read it from the school library in 5th or 6th grade (around 1960). It was (obviously) a YA book about a boy from Mars who borrows an ancient spaceship and comes to Earth and makes freinds with a boy there. The problem with the ship was that it was covered with a protective moss and if the moss was scraped off, the ship would start to disintegrate because it was so old.
If anyone recognises that book, PLEASE tell me the title. I’d love to revisit it, and see if it was as good as I remember.
I should add, for those in the UK (and the few lucky Americans who can find it) the Dominick Hide Duology holds up remarkably well. I did rewatch it recently, and “Flipside” is still excellent and only the continual dickery of Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise has impaired “Another Flip” which does use briefly one of their favourite methods of pushing the reset button. If they hadn’t done it so much in the intervening years, robbing it of all legitimacy and reason, then Another Flip would be just as good as Flipside.
Please to read from Wendy Reynold’s post that Dark Crystal stands up well, I may tentatively rewatch that in the not to distant future.
Some of the old Hammer horror movies. When I watched them as a kid They used to keep me up at night. Now, even though they’re supposed to be fairly well made, they can’t come close to making me feel the way they did when I was a kid, and it would be sad to watch them now if they’ve lost that power.
Book: Heinlein’s Time for the Stars
Movie: Peter Pan
Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica in the early ’80ies! Oh, and Krull… hahahahhaa!! No books that I’m afraid I’d find that they suck, I’ve been blessed with a literature infested house and access to a library since very early in life! (Ok, I might find Blek and Ombrax slightly boring now, but I’m not vouching that.. :-P)
Sugar and Spike comic books. I can’t find any to go back to. They were two babies who could talk to each other in baby talk that no one else understood. Nobody realized they could talk or that they were aware. They tried to figure out what was going on and what the adults were up to but they didn’t understand adult English so they misapprehended many things and had hairy adventures where they just barely toddled out of harm’s way, never knowing they were in danger. As a child, I loved it. I don’t think I’m any smarter now, at 62, so I would probably still love it.
The Phantom Tollbooth. I have a bad feeling that it is not quite the masterwork I remember.
The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher. I loved it as a kid, but I fear how ham-handed it was. The Phantom Tollbooth, in my opinion, held up.
Talk of The Dark Crystal (which I love) makes me wonder how I’d feel about revisting 3 other early 80s movies that I truly adored: Flight of Dragons, The Last Unicorn, and The Never Ending Story. I *think* I’d still like them, but I’d hate for my memories of enjoying them to be spoiled by jaded adult eyes. Weird, I never realized The Dark Crystal, Flight of Dragons and The Last Unicorn all came out in ’82. Heck of a good year it seems.
Patricia McKillip’s “The Riddle-Master of Hed.”
Greatest American Hero
Stay away from Thundercats. A buddy of mine was a huge fan as a kid and bought the dvd when it came out. He was all “Thundercats ho!” and was totally psyched for a weekend viewing marathon. I think he only got through a few episodes before he realized it was a total crap fest. He spent the rest of the weekend lamenting his ruined childhood memories. I heeded his warning and don’t view childhood through thickly filtered goggles of nostalgia.
Happens all too often: Legion of Super-Heroes comics from the 60s (well, nearly any comic from the 60s, with a few exceptions); Heinlein juveniles; some Twilight Zone episodes (just completed a rewatch of them all about a month ago); Superman cartoons from the 60s (well, nearly any cartoon from the 60s); My Favorite Martian; Mr. Ed; some really cheesy Classic Trek episodes; I could go on and on and on…
Misfits of Science. My parents hated it so much, it must have really been awful, but damn, I loved that.
Just about any cartoon from the late 70’s through to the end of the 80’s, but especially Robotech, Transformers, and GI Joe. I remember loving all three as a kid but when I attempted to watch them on Teletoon Retro or Space I just could not see what I loved about them back then.
Most TV series I watched as a kid, but this came to mind first.
A British TV series called Johnny Jarvis, aired in 1983 about a group of school-leavers – living in a squat, starting a punk band, having trouble with some nasty local skinheads. It’s never been repeated so I’ve no idea if it was as good as I thought.
Also, Robert Lindsay’s Citizen Smith.
Oh Lord, there’s so many… I must confess I’ve already accidentally ruined most of these with an adult rewatch:
Transformers: The Movie
The Muppet Show
The Black Hole
Star Trek: TOS
These are just the ones that immediately spring to mind (some because they’ve already been mentioned) but I’m sure I’ll be thinking of other examples all day long- so thanks for that.
I’m afraid Classic Trek doesn’t hold up well for me. I can’t get past the $1.98 budgets and some of the cheesy dialogue. I reread all of my Heinleins about once a year, just because. Haven’t rewatched Dark Crystal lately; I fear it would have paled for me. I remember Space:1999 fondly, but there’s no way I’d go back.
@Deidre, its the 60s attitude towards women that kills original Trek for me. The show was incredibly female hostile (even setting aside the miniskirt issue). I just never realised the sheer level of mysoginy until recently.
‘Gerry and Sylvia Anderson’s UFO’
Holds up surprisingly well, for its time and place – mainly because the quality of the special effects is surprisingly high in many cases.
What does pose a challenge is the posited ‘future’ of UFO is now 32 years in the past. That contrast can be a bit startling – we don’t seem to have anything approaching the level of space travel which UFO considered to be a normal feature of the future – in 1980.
I’ve already gone back to most of my stuff from my childhood.
Heinlein, to me, seems to hold up very well. Yes, some of the technology and societal stuff is outdated but I don’t feel that it takes away from the stories.
The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Neverending Story – all of these hold up really well. But one of the things you have to remember is that they are for kids and if you look at them as an “adult” you won’t enjoy them nearly as much as you did when you were younger.
I have to agree with most folks have said about the dialogue from most 60’s, 70’s and 80’s shows. Sometimes it’s painful to watch them.
Though Battle of the Planets is hard to top, I’m going to say Fantasy Island and the Love Boat. I loved that Saturday night combination, but looking back at it, how could they not suck.
Too late for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I read it over and over again when I was in my teens and thought it was a masterpiece. I struggled through it a few years ago (I was fiftyish by then). I couldn’t believe how tedious the writing was. And there was way too much filler.
Still not ruined for me, because I’m afraid to look: the Emma Peel episodes of “The Avengers.”
I have looked at some episodes of “The Champions,” a British spy/science fiction show that was a summer replacement show in the U.S. one summer in the mid to late 60s. (Remember summer replacement shows?) It’s neither as good as I remembered nor as bad as I feared. And I still think Richard was the hotter of the two men on the team.
Star Trek: TOS was a kind of crappy show in many ways (the sets, OMG, and of course the sexism, though at the time it was actually somewhat progressive that way), but I still remember how different it was for its time: a TV show (and a science-fiction one at that) that was about something other than action/adventure or happy family platitudes. The shows had *ideas* (even if they too often had Kirk pontificating on a soapbox at the end to make sure the point was clear to the viewers). This was not the norm for TV, and I credit Roddenberry with doing something groundbreaking for the time, even if the show hasn’t aged well.
Battle of the Planets is what immediately sprang (word?) to mind for me too. I was actually thinking of it just the other day.
The original Super Friends, with Wendy and Marvin (NOT those stupid “Wonder Twins”, Zann and Jayna…that version was lame)
Non-genre, but I Spy (with Bill Cosby and Robert Culp). I’m afraid it’ll be too obviously 1960s if I were to watch it again, and that the jokes and chemistry between the two of them will now seem rather… flat. It was fine when I was 15, but… (On the other hand, books and music I loved then, I still love; Cordwainer Smith was still alive, I read one of his short stories in one of the mags when I was about 11, and he’s still my favorite writer. I was 16, I think, when I read LotR; I no longer re-read it every year, it’s more like a four or five year cycle. Heinlein’s Glory Road and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress are also still favorites. Oh, and Dorothy Sayers and Rex Stout. Music, well, I moved up to practice/lessons on the organ at church when I was 11, discovered Bach, and that’s still what’s in the center of my soul.)
On MetaFilter, somebody named this phenomenon “The Suck Fairy.” The idea was that between childhood and adulthood, the Suck Fairy visits your favorite media and, well, makes it suck. Here’s my list of things I won’t revisit.
The Danny Dunn novels
J. Michael Straczynski’s cartoon Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors
The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks novels
Max Headroom TV series
Sledge Hammer TV series
Misfits of Science TV series
Mighty Orbots cartoon
I am pleased to report that Lois Lowry’s YA novels have only gotten better with time.
Starblazers, as others have mentioned. And Force 5.
Not to mention, of course, Thundercats and He-Man. I can’t *imagine* He-Man now…
Another Brit of a certain age, so Blakes 7 here. I suspect it looks too wobbly now to enjoy. I’d rather have the memories, and even then the final series (when they lost the Liberator) annoyed me.
And the Tomorrow People, I suspect it was bad even then. Though teleporting FTW.
Also anything by EE Doc Smith – yes I know, but I was 8/9 at the time, and even then I thought the sexism pretty blatant
Batman (The Adam West version)
I’m pretty sure I realized how cheesy it was when I was a kid, and I’ve read/watched, and loved, some way more serious versions of the character since then. I’m pretty sure my fond memories would be toast.
For the people who mentioned Neverending Story, I’d second this. I rewatched it a couple of years ago. :(
Silent Running….humor was just too cute, music was just too loud relative to the dialog.
actually John, I just watched a few episodes (which was big in my household, mostly because there was nothing else worth watching); I’ll tell you one thing: the panty shots surprised me.
“The Last Starfighter”. I actually bought a DVD of it recently but am hesitant to watch it due to the cheesy effects.
I’m almost positive that Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, along with Ultraman wouldn’t hold up today. But oh how dearly I loved them as a kid!!!
Battle of the Planets was my friend Angie’s and my favorite cartoon, and we played it all the time outside when our parents would turn off the tv. I played Keeyop (sp?) because I could roll my Rs. We made Keeyop and Tiny into females so we could have more people play. And also we made them more badass, because our plots involved a lot of kicking butt. Come to think of it, our plots might have been better. But we still would glaze over in front of that cartoon, enthralled. I’m sure it was absolutely terrible. I’m just as happy leaving that memory alone. G-Force!
I agree with Tim about Asimov’s Foundation series. What seemed profound in high school rarely seems that way decades later. But, more than Foundation, I fear rereading Stranger in a Strange Land and Time Enough for Love. Heinlein’s Glory Road did hold up for me when I reread it recently, though.
Land of the Lost.
I have the show on DVD, but I’ve never opened it. Still in shrink-wrap.
John, I think if you saw the unedited Gatchaman (aka Battle of the Planets) you may still enjoy it. I recently re-watched Space Battleship Yamato and aside from certain things the story holds up.
Neil Gaiman said he cannot watch “The Web Planet” from Doctor Who fo fear of ruining the memory he had of watching the show as a child.
All the poetry in The Lord of the Rings….ouch, it makes me shuffle my feet, look at the ground, cough and check to see if anyone else’s ears are bleeding. Despite that I still love the prose.
Krull, both the movie and the board-game.
And another Brit (from the Mutant Enclave)
I too remember BOTP with great fondness (apparently I had a real crush on Princess at one point), and I’ve somehow managed to not buy the DVD’s of either it or the original unedited version, partly because I didn’t want to risk the memories.
I also missed the chance to rewatch Ulysses 31, which I loved when I was about 8 or 9, as I dithered about buying the DVD’s for so long that they went out of print.
I keep wanting to reread the Narnia books, but every time I look at them I think “I’m probably not going to like them as much now” and chicken out.
The same is also true to an extent for the 2000AD stories, I keep seeing the likes of the Judge Dredd Archives, Rogue Trooper nu earth collection, and Strontium Dog books in my local big book store and thinking “I’d love to reread them”, but then think again “but what if I don’t like them…”. I think I’m going to bite the bullet though, as I’ve been listening to some of the audio books and enjoying them.
One of the shows from my childhood I did rewatch recently was The Mysterious Cities of Gold, which I used to watch on UK TV when the BBC’s Children’s TV output was from the “broom cupboard” (which was literally a broom cupboard sized continuity suite the BBC chucked a presenter into to do the bits between shows*).
I was happily surprised that I still enjoyed it, especially as I’d missed the odd episode as a child, and the DVD’s kept the “educational” bits that were dropped from the UK broadcasts.
Likewise I recently reread some of the old Heinlein books, and various Asmov and McCaffrey books/series all of which I enjoyed when younger, and still find very enjoyable now (even though in some cases the attitudes or technology may be outdated).
However I also tried rereading the Dirk Pitt books from Clive Cussler, which I also used to really enjoy, and found I didn’t like them anything like as much as I once did.
The same is true for a lot of Star Trek TNG, I used to love it, but these days find I’m fairly meh about it, possibly due in part to over exposure, and expecting more of a continuing story in long running sci-fi after B5, and new BSG.
*Complete with puppet, and sometimes the presenter would sing along to the opening tunes (or press the wrong button).
loved that show
The ’80s He-Man cartoon. I watched a few episodes of ’80s Transformers several years ago, and while it was fun, I couldn’t believe how bad the plots and most of the voice acting was (except, of course, Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime). Don’t want to ruin my positive memories of He-Man (and GI Joe, ftm).
I didn’t take that lesson to heart when I re-read Asimov’s _Foundation’s Edge_ and _Foundation and Earth_ last year. Thought they were great as a teenager, but really not Dr. A’s best; could have really used an editor to remove some of the repetitive crap with Trevize and Bliss going back and forth.
There /is/ a book that I really liked as a kid but haven’t had the heart to go re-read. It was really a bad influence on my attitude about some things, so it’s just as well I don’t have it around for my daughter to read: Gordon Korman’s _I Want To Go Home!_.
There’s a lot about my childhood that’s just not sacred with me, alas, especially now that it’s so easy to go back and really see what it was, between Netflix and my Kindle and emulating obsolete gaming consoles & computers. At least some of the really good NES and Apple // games still hold up, like original Legend of Zelda and an obscure one called “Deep Space: Operation Copernicus”.
The Suck Fairy. I like it.
Another one I’m afraid to watch: The Addams Family TV series (John Astin, etc.).
Something that held up better than I’d feared: Zenna Henderson’s “The People” stories, which I reread a couple years ago. When I was a young teenage science fiction fan and aspiring writer, I tried to write stories that were somewhere between Zenna Henderson and “Podkayne of Mars” (which, come to think of it, I have avoided rereading, probably for fear of the Suck Fairy). I’ll give Heinlein credit for trying to give females stronger roles in science fiction, even though he did it in a way that now looks horribly sexist.
Gulliver: “The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis”
If you mean the live-action BBC series from the 80s, it’s still enjoyable. I didn’t see it during the original run, but when I watched it 4-5 years ago I had no complaints.
Fraggle rock – though I’d imagine it’s held up fairly well so far.
I’d probably feels worse for the Dozers now though :(.
Oh man, Gordon Korman’s novels. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Who Is Bugs Potter? and Our Man Weston have been visited by the Suck Fairy. I bet I Want To Go Home, most of the Bruno and Boots canon and his 80s YA novels all hold up, though.
No Coins, Please doesn’t hold up, I’m afraid, but that was the book that got my grandmother reading late in life, so it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Sadly, one more for the Suck Fairy might be Susan Coopers Dark Is Rising series. As I child, I saw mystery, wonder, and revelation. Now I see obscurity and pandering. The aftermath of the final battle still works for me.
And Karina, I always identified with the Dozers, basically because I didn’t have HBO where Fraggle Rock aired. Somehow I thought of the “rich,” socially-adept kids who had HBO and watched the show as irresponsible, lazy Fraggles. *shrug*
Janice at 9:23
Not at all sure, ’cause I haven’t read it since elementary school, but could the book you’re looking for be Lois Slobodkin’s The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree?
Make that *Louis* Slobodkin.
Dude. I did not know you were a Battle of the Planets kid, too. I got in so much trouble for zooming around the room, faithfully reproducing some scene, that ended up in a bottle of red wine shattering all over our lovely beige carpet.
Also, “Mazes and Monsters,” which I had no idea was anti-D&D, and I subjected a bunch of kids to at a birthday party. I thought it was awesome that they could see the creatures. Yet another reason not to rewatch.
I have been pleasantly surprised at how well the Henson oeuvre holds up: Fraggle Rock, Muppets, Dark Crystal–they all have a sly, adult wit that I missed as a kid.
I’ve reread and rewatched a lot of my childhood favorites, but I’ve avoided Encyclopedia Brown and Misfits of Science. Reading this thread, I think maybe that I will correct that. We have nothing to fear but fear itself…
Well, this isn’t a novel or movie but:
Journey. Loved them as a teen. Think that I wouldn’t love them now. Of course, that goes for pretty much every power ballad band, and most of the bands that I liked as a teenager.
The Lord of the Rings
The Avengers (The tv series with Emma Peel, from which the terrible movie with Uma Thurman derived – not the Marvel Comics property)
Some things I know the Suck Fairy has hit – all Disney live action movies from my childhood + The Fox and the Hound
Starsky and Hutch
The Brady Bunch
The Beverly Hillbillies
@BW – The John Astin Addams Family TV show still holds up fairly well.
@Other Rick – I still enjoy rereading the Danny Dunn novels too.
I absolutly, deeply loved it, but it’s going to be sooo emberassing now.
@other Rick – :) I am Canadian, and Fraggle Rock was on our national network – CBC – which even my family, sans cable and possibly still using our ancient black and white TV, still could watch. It was awesome!
It’s too late for me. I’ve already ruined Transformers (cartoon and movie), G.I.Joe and Dungeons & Dragons (cartoon). I know that if I try to watch He-Man or Thundercats or M.A.S.K or anything else I enjoyed as a child that it will be utterly horrible.
So I apparently watched totally different things as a kid…
but I’m pretty sure that Herself the Elf is not the epic adventure I remember it as, and that the teenagers of The Bloodhound Gang were not suave, sophisticated, and dazzlingly smart.
For anyone worrying about the Adam West Batman series, I’ve rewatched it as an adult and I loved it even more. Not that my experience will be universal, but the embarrassing moments are few and far between. I think it’s because everyone involved was in on the joke.
As for ones I’m afraid to revisit, Heinlein’s juvenile novels were my gateway to science fiction, but I’m worried about returning to them. For television, the original run of Scooby-Doo. Also, for movies, Labyrinth.
I am definitely avoiding Voltron. I was particularly obsessed with it as a kid. Also avoiding all the Christopher Pike thrillers I read as a tween/teen.
My boyfriend is watching Buck Rogers, and it sounds like I am wise to leave that for fuzzy memories.
I have a weird relationship with old Doctor Who. I watched a lot of that with my mom when I was a kid, up through the 6th Doctor. I kind of have to pick and choose carefully, as some of it holds up pretty well and some of it is full of heaping helpings of WTF?
Woah. I hardly ever run into anyone else who has even heard of Herself the Elf.
BW, I think the Emma Peel Avengers episodes are still very enjoyable (I own all of them). I also think Buckaroo Banzai (teflaime) and Labyrinth (Chris) held up well. And I agree with Chris and others that the Adam West Batman is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Re the Suck Fairy, I ran across the concept on Making Light.
Well, I made the mistake of buying the animated Star Trek last year. sigh
The first SF book I ever remember reading was “Rocket Ship Galileo” (in second grade). Not ever gonna go back…
Wildcats, Spawn, Savage Dragon… Pretty much anything Image put out in that first run. I was so excited by those when they showed up (I was 9 or 10, maybe not even that) but I think they’d be quite silly now.
Everything by Karl May
“Sky King”. One of the (many) reasons that I fly. Not sure the stories will hold up, but I would *LOVE* to get a Cessna 310B some day, just because.
teflaime @ 1:02 Rest easy, “Buckaroo Banzai” is just as wonderfully, insanely stupid and glorious as ever. I find that it holds up well.
As for the LOTR and Heinlein juveniles that others have mentioned, I read them all as bedtime stories to my kids a decade or so back and they took on a new dimension in that way, stayed wonderful. “Have Spacesuit Will Travel” and “Starman Jones” are FANTASTIC bedtime stories for grade school fen-in-training.
The Tomorrow People
classic Doctor Who
You Can’t Do That on Television
The original Battlestar Galactica
Already ruined, but I don’t care: Classic Doctor Who –the 4th Doctor (It’s not so bad if you keep in mind the technology when it was made…okay, I just keep looking at his cool clothes and hair to get me through it –I introduced my 11-yr-old daughter to the 4th Doctor (she is already a big fan of 9, 10 & 11) and she liked it enough to watch several episodes even with the terrible special effects. I guess she was being very forgiving of the poor, technologically deprived “olden days.”
The last time I watched Sesame Street was about 7 or 8 years ago, and it was still Awesome! (for what it is…)
The movie Willow. I saw it in the theaters at least a half dozen times, and bought the novelization and read that at least twice. I fear that I wouldn’t even make it through the first fifteen minutes of the movie now.
I’ve been doing this a little as I introduce my children to the books I LOVED myself. John Christopher’s Tripod trilogy most recently. That book was my gateway into sci-fi (at 7, I think–God bless the children’s librarian for recognizing my passion for reading and pushing my boundaries!) I spent hours and hours making up my own scenarios after reading that book. But it was just “meh” this time around. And Robin McKinley’s Blue Sword world of Daria. That world sometimes still features in my dreams. I don’t think I want to re-read it. It’s so vibrant in my memory, I’d hate to have ‘reality’ intrude…
I found the pilot episode online not too long ago, and halfway through with the mediocre kid actors, blatantly transparent storyline, and ancient computer tech (to say nothing of the ghostwriter animation itself!), I realized it might have been better left fondly remembered.
I know, right? Herself the Elf rocked! Unfortunately I think that makes us hipster kids!
Thundercats is mentioned a ton here. I have it on DVD and, after watching all the episodes, I can confirm that it is terrible (the story lines are ridiculously simplistic and often contradictory), however, it’s also still amazing. I think this is one of those cases where my nostalgia is strong enough to overcome my rational mind and I still think the show is awesome.
I wonder whether there’s an Unsuck Fairy. When it was first broadcast, I thought the Adam West Batman series was stupid and boring. Maybe now I would appreciate its meta aspects. That’s another “afraid to look” category: things that I as a kid thought were unfunny or boring but that other people have half-convinced me that I misjudged. There’s a kind of nostalgia to hating old TV shows too, and I don’t want to ruin it.
Another for The Tomorrow People. I have the DVDs in my amazon wish list, but fear it will suffer the way H. R. Puffinstuff did.
Sadly, Star Trek: TOS. While I have seen an episode here and there, it just doesn’t match up with my memories.
Dark City. And I actually did watch this again, and it was not as good sadly as I remember it.
I second that the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth still hold up – I bought them on DVD a while ago and wasn’t disappointed.
Jem and the Holograms and She-Ra, Legend, The Last Unicorn, the Secret of Nimh, along with the Xanth novels, Weis & Hickman dragonlance series and the Eddings’ Belgariad series, plus Terry Brooks’ Original sword of Shannara trilogy… man I might just have to risk these!
STAR BLAZERS and VOLTRON.
Tried to revisit SPACE: 1999 a few years ago. I promptly fell asleep.
I will agree with the guy who said Manimal. I loved it when I was a kid. Even if I had the slightest idea where to watch it again now, I wouldn’t.
I suspect rereading Dean Koontz’ WATCHERS would be a mistake.
Can’t think of a movie right now.
When I was a teenager I made a point of reading Lord of the Rings every year. I quit doing it in my 20’s. When I returned to it in my 30’s, it just seemed overblown and windy to me. I picked up Fellowship of the Ring last year (when I was 49) and couldn’t put it down until I’d read the whole thing again. So whatever dust the Suck Fairy spreads, it seems to wear off over time.
I’m afraid Star Blazers, which I watched with my buddies every day after school, won’t be the same without several bong hits beforehand.
Space: 1999 and Battle of the Planets. I still pine for an Eagle Transporter…
GI JOOOOEEEE. Everything about the show and especially, the animated movie is dated. Still would love to a henchmen for COBRA though. Nobody dies EVER.
Ark II — Couldn’t afford a space set, so they had a suped-up RV instead, with a monkey! Its even in Wikipedia.
Adam 12 — I had the lunchbox too.
The Bionic Woman — But I might secretly rewatch it, with the sound turned off. Lindsay Wagner’s in Warehouse 13 now.
I read a couple of teen books by Joan North as a youthling that I thought were fantastic (The Whirling Shapes, The Amberdon Ring). They are out of print now, but I hope they are still as good as I remember them. Many of the kids’ books I remember loving held up quite well, as long as you adjust the rose-colored glasses for the time period. Mushroom Planet FTW!
I foolishly re-read The Swiss Family Robinson as an adult. Well, I tried to. Literally every other sentence was a prayer or thanks given to God for his mercy in not killing them all in the shipwreck or allowing the random wandering monsters to eat them. As a kid in the Bible Belt, I didn’t even notice the religious aspect. As an adult, it was all that I could see, and I wish I hadn’t made the attempt.
Typed and previewed and edited a long comment from someone else’s computer, then Gravatar made me log in, and I couldn’t remember my password, so I clicked Back to save the HTML in case I couldn’t log in, and it threw away my whole comment. No way to get it back. If I succeed in logging in this time, it’s only to post this fume. I’ll comment at length when I get home tomorrow, if this thread is still going.
Several people recommended that I read the So You Want to Be a Wizard series and the Wizard of Earthsea books. As a 30-something, I found them horrific. I said, “These books suck, they’re nothing compared to Wrinkle in Time!” So I stupidly re-read Wrinkle in Time. Oh. My. God. I shall never again re-read something I remember fondly from my youth.
Fern Gully. It’s either going to be awesome or a train wreck to see as a grown up.
I’m reasonably certain that Jo Walton coined the term “Suck Fairy.” (Here’s a description from the Tor blog from September 2010.)
BW @2:54, The Unsuck Fairy is named Awesomestiltskin. (Scroll down almost to the bottom.)
FYI, the Nissan Juke is oddly reminiscent of Keyop’s vehicle from BOTP, minus the jet engines on the back.
I’m thinking mainly of the similarity of the slender lights on top and the round lights below.
Every title I can think of has been revisited and let me down, first and most sadly the Max Headroom TV series. (Turns out it was best as a proof-of-concept.)
Oddly, no books appear on the list. What’s more is that I sometimes wonder about books that I hated (or simply found impenetrable, like A Wrinkle in Time) as a kid: would I *heart* them now???
Not a specific book but a series or kind of books: the “You are the hero in…” books with “If you turn left, go to page 25. If you turn right go to page 15”.
I also enjoyed Heinlein’s Puppet Masters as a teenager, but revisiting it a few year ago made me wonder why on Earth I ever liked it.
Books: Revolt on Alpha C and Lost Race of Mars, both by Robert Silverberg(!) IIRC. Oh, and the Tom Corbett books which I read and reread so often that tape was needed to keep them bound.
Albums: most of Burl Ives Sings… and others in his discography. I loved those as a wee lad, but only a few remain half as good as I remembered them.
Comics: Ronin from Frank Miller’s early days at Dark Horse – mind-blowing back when released through ’90s, but now …? Add ’80s X-MEN and Dr. Strange to the list, along with Magnus: Robot Fighter from much, much earlier. *blush*
Nostalgia – it just ain’t what it used to be.
Fear not to rewatch “Dark Crystal”. I saw it about a year ago and it was still very cool. And David Bowie in “Labyrinth” is still great… he adds an extra dimension now, if the last time you saw it was pre-puberty ;) Sadly, the heroine is much more annoying.
Adam West “Batman” was meta before hipsters were born. Still works.
Emma Peel’s “Avengers” — she and Steed are still perfection.
“Buckaroo Banzai” is still itself.
Do NOT watch any 80’s cartoons, either US or Japanese. You will retroactively hate your younger self for being so stupid.
Muppet Babies. I remember it as so clever and funny. Not sure it can live up to my fond memories from when I was, you know, five years old. LOL.
Wow, at least 50 other people said Star Blazers, I loved watching reruns as a kid! It actually sounds like it has avoided the Suck Fairy based on some of the previous comments. Things that I loved as a kid but probably would cringe in embarrassment now:
1. All of the Godzilla vs ‘insert monster here’ movies I watched all the time on channel 43 SuperHost show (yes I remember UHF channels)
2. Dick Dastardly and Muttley, I loved that wheezing snicker but I imagine those HB cartoons are terrible in retrospect.
3. A comic book series called Kamandi, basically a ripoff of Planet of the Apes
4. Munsters, wonder if that show stands up to the Suck Fairy…
I am ashamed to admit I cried when they canceled the original Battlestar Galactica. Now I think of Dirk Benedict as That Dude from The A Team and Starbuck as a woman.
The Chronicles of Narnia.
Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy (I re-read “Dragonflight” and decided to leave the rest to the warmth of memory.)
Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Dolittle books, which were my first literary obsession. I’m concerned that the post-Victorian racism would poison them to me now.
Xanth, the first several books I read at 12 or 13.
I’m another one afraid to rewatch The Dark Crystal. I tried to watch Labyrinth a few years ago and was bitterly disappointed. Star Blazers has held up pretty well although for some reason I no longer have a crush on Wildstar, or whatever his name is. :) I’d like to try watching GI Joe again. My expectations won’t be very high. I was old enough when it first came out that I recognized it was a pretty bad show, but I still loved it.
Most of the books I loved as a kid I’ve reread. Most of them held up for me, but I was dismayed to find that everything Margarite Henry ever wrote was visited by the Suck Fairy. Her writing was awful.
Someone upthread mentioned being afraid to reread Dorothy Sayers. DO EET. She’s one of those writers who improves on reread, especially if you were pretty young when you read them originally and didn’t catch all the wonderful nuances of characterization.
Pacing – so often the pacing in an old movie is so bad, you just want to die. 2001 is a perfect example.
Space 1999 – bought the series, watch 2-3 episodes, will never watch the rest. Not because it would ruin the memory, they are TERRIBLE.
Foundation trilogy, robots, earthsea, hed, narnia and all the rest, when I reread them, I read them in context, wonders from my youth. I dont expect them to hold up to the best of today, but I let them bring me back to the wonders of the past.
When I rewatch something like ST (tos, tng ds), I use IMDB ratings to help skip the terrible episodes, rewatch the fun/good ones and it doesn’t ruin the past memories.
But there are books which only grow and mature as the decades pass. God Emperor of Dune was terrible when I first read it. I wanted more of the first 3 books. Instead, over time, GE improves as I have learned to read and see deeper discussions and themes.
The Foundation Trilogy is fun to reread. Thinking about the science of Psychohistory, how in so many ways it is impossible. And yet it can be instructive to learn from the errors of their assumptions.
It is also sometimes fun and quaint to be reminded how much our society has changed. Equality, smoking, drinking, drugs, religion, the fear of USSR, the fear of over population and pollution. It is wondrous to see how bad some predictions were, on so many levels. I apply that learning when I read new fiction. Are the authors making the same absurd assumptions, leading to the same silly conclusions?
/meh, back to rereading the Alera Codex.
The Dark Crystal – rewatch this. You will not be disappointed. It is Jim Henson. It is not perfect.
But it is beautiful.
I loved anything I could find by Sylvia Louise Engdahl “Enchantress from the Stars”, etc. I’ve seen that her catalog is now available as e-books – but I’m afraid to read them!
Also “Taash and the Jesters” by Ellen Kindt McKenzie. I must have had that book on loan from the school library for about three years.
Wore out a set of LOTR to the point of having to buy another. Still love them – even the poetry – but could never get into the rest of it.
Gigantor and The Three Investigators Mysteries series.
Hmm, as a grown up person who recently bought the Pydrain series and the “Wrinke in Time” series because I wa feeling nostalgic, the Pydrain books DEFINITELY weren’t worth reading again (lots of sexism), but I’m still enjoying the wrinkle in time books.
Although the wrinkle in time books do have some disappoint gender conforming points, at least the Mom was a kick-ass scientist, even if the hubby was the one that got the recognition.
What JimF said. Netflix streaming is a terrible lure for nostalgia. I’ve since discovered to my horror that the vast majority of the shows I enjoyed as a kid are nearly total garbage from start to finish. I had high hopes for Buck Rogers, only to find I couldn’t make it through a complete episode before turning it off. The less said about BSG (TOS) the better. It’s soooooo slow!
On the flip side, Netflix is streaming Star Trek: TOS with the updated effects, and you’d be surprised at how just improving the special effects can improve some of the stories. There’s still some sexism and weird cultural stereotyping, but it’s mostly easy to overlook.
“My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George
I haven’t read Susan Cooper’s Darkness is Rising series in almost a decade, if not fifteen years, and I’m afraid to go back to it lest it lose its magic.
And I would completely agree with ‘Battle of the Planets’. That was the series that had me up at 5:00 am to watch it on TV when I would normally have slept until noon. It was the series that had me teaching myself to program my parents’ VCR. I’ve seen some Gatchaman since (subtitled or with scripts) and I liked it a fair amount, but I don’t think I could stand to watch the dub.
I agree with so much that has been said here. However, the comment on the Heinlein juveniles is off the mark for me. I just spent the last year re-reading all of them. I still like them a great deal.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was definitely an example of this.
To a degree, it was more hilariously bad when viewed from much more adult eyes.
I recently saw a few episodes of Rocket Robin Hood; it’s frightening that I still know the theme song, word for word. It has the redeeming quality of being so spectacularly terrible that it’s ironically funny.
I saw a few episodes of Battle of the Planets last year; pretty cringe-worthy, for sure. The part that is a little disturbing even yet is the question of whether Zoltar is male or female. The hermaphroditic bits weren’t made very specific in the “americanization” of the series.
A lot of Larry Niven novels, unfortunately. They’re just not as good now as I remembered.
I have read the one about the Martian and the moldy flying saucer and I am about 50% sure itchad an amazingly hokey title like Green Men of Mars or some such.
Dangermouse. I squee’d when I saw it on Netflix, but the Suck Fairy hit it hard.
The Neverending Story. As my avatar may suggest, this was a HUGELY important movie for me as a kid, for so many reasons. The relationship between reality and fiction, the plight of a lonely, unsocial kid, the wish for some kind of escape from the real world – and feelings towards Noah Hathaway that I wouldn’t really figure out until many years later… I can’t bear the idea of watching it again and realizing it was a bad movie.
Salvage. Or Salvage 1, whatever it was called. I think “Salvage” was the original pilot movie and for some reason the series got a 1 added to the title. Or maybe I’m remembering it wrong. Either way, what little I can recall of the series makes me cringe at the obvious lack of reality in the science, but at the time I was a loyal watcher.
I reread the Foundation trilogy (just the original three, usually) every few years. Still enjoyable, I think mainly because Asimov’s writing style was so dry to begin with (just TRY to describe the physical characteristics of anyone in the whole series, other than the Mule, who was not on a cover). I remember recognizing way back when that this was not particularly great writing, but the concepts and situations were interesting enough to overlook that.
I was also a huge Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century fan as a kid, but I don’t need to wonder about those–I KNOW how bad they were. Jeesh, just check out the BG opening title sequence if you have to wonder about that.
What I was REALLY into at a young age was Speed Racer. Got off the bus at 3:50 in the afternoon and always made it in the front door by the time it started at 4:00…….
Since everyone’s saying The Dark Crystal holds up well, I’m going to add my most treasured childhood TV show to my Netflix queue: Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.
I loved Battle of the Planets as a kid as well. But the answer to your question for me is…the show The Six Million Dollar Man. I really loved it, and “a biomedical engineer” was one of my first answers to “what do you want to be when you grow up?”. I’m sure it would be a huge letdown for me now.
I see some people have mentioned Star Blazers…I actually found a subtitled edition of Space Battleship Yamato on Youtube only a few years back and watched the first 3 seasons of it. Considering I was over 40 at the time, I thought it was pretty good for what it was and honestly enjoyed it (at least the first two seasons). I actually was glad I never saw Star Blazers, because my understanding is that there were changes made – and not for the better – for the American version of the show.
Not SF at all, but–Gene Stratton Porter. I loved her books as a teen; now I’m pretty sure they’re full of eugenics crap and really, really dated thinking.
I’ve had my kids watch a few of the movies I loved when I was little and it’s been a mixed bag. However, for those who’ve mentioned being afraid to rewatch The Last Unicorn, I heartily recommend giving it a chance. Mia Farrow’s singing voice is agonizingly bad, but everything else holds up beautifully.
I had to think about this for a bit, as I’ve already gone & looked at a number of things I enjoyed as a kid. I remember being enchanted with Rabbit Hill as a child; I found a copy in my local library a couple of years ago and cringed at the stereotyping. At 13, I loved Dandelion Wine. Read it again twenty years later and concluded it was a terrific book for a 13 year old. (I don’t feel this way about all of Bradbury’s works, but Dandelion Wine stands out as a place I found I just couldn’t go back to.)
I think I’m going to go with two of the novels from Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series, namely The Shattered Chain and Thendara House. I came out around the same time Shattered Chain was published in the mid 70’s, and the book was perfect for the person I was then. Given that it’s been decades since I read any of the Darkover books, I hesitate to see if they’d work for me now.
I am with a couple others in saying The Lord of the Rings – I tried to reread them a while back and simply couldn’t get past all the filler.
Also, the Bill & Ted movies. I love them, but fear repeated watchings will not serve them well.
Robotech: The Macross Saga. Although, I have a son that is discovering these things so it’s awesome to share these things with him.
Anything by Andre Norton. used to love her stuff 50 years ago. Afraid to go back.
Definitely Narnia. When I was a kid I loved all those books except for “The Last Battle”, for which I sensed something was off. I’m tempted to read them to my daughter, except that I have a feeling that this time around the subtext and Lewis’s social attitudes would make me furious.
…coincidentally, today I just explained to my daughter the concepts of the Suck Fairy and the Racism Fairy.
I loved “Buckaroo Banzai”. I’ve watched it a number of times.
Last time I watched it with someone who had never seen it before and they kept asking questions while we were watching it. I kept saying “it gets explained later”. By the time I had to tell him “it gets explained later” for about the tenth time, I had to admit that the movie is poorly structured.
Having half a dozen or more major plot nuggets be withheld from the viewer at the same time is just going to confuse the audience.
I remember reading a review of “Buckaroo Bonzai” that described it something like
At the time, I didn’t get it. But now I do.
Buckaroo Bonzai only makes sense when you’re watching it for the second time. But a lot of people won’t make it to the end of the first time. So, it isn’t terribly surprising it didn’t do so well in the box office. It makes a great “cult” film because cult fans by definition have already seen it.
I recently rewatched Buckaroo Bonzai-terrified that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much. And, I have to say I did. And the soundtrack still makes me feel like I’m on top of a 1980s technicolor world.
I sometimes miss the era of television where metal space station doors could be shoulder smashed through with ease. And you fired your guns or laser weapons by whipping them in the direction of the enemy. But, no one really died. I mean, how many times on A-Team was someone actually wounded? And with all that gun fire. And, I generally enjoy them. But, I’m also one for watching bad movies for kicks. Which, I think, is a result of MST3K being imprinted on a young psyche.
I watched some episodes of the 70’s kid’s series “Isis” via Netflix out of nostalgia, and it was terrible.
“The Tomorrow People” was also pretty bad, but has its good moments and I actually got through the entire series a couple of years ago.
I rewatched “Max Headroom” fairly recently and enjoyed it. It’s very very 80’s (shoulder pads out to there) but I think it had some good solid ideas that held up.
Ell @ 12:58
No, I looked at the description for that one in Amazon, and it doesn’t sould like what I remember. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
The TV Peter Pan with Mary Martin. I refuse to watch this again because I consider my memories of it sacred. I believed it was real, clapped to save Tinkerbell and wanted to fly until my Mom had to go and point out that Peter was a woman. Talk about a suck fairy! I did try to watch Emergency! a couple of years ago. Boy, was it slow. That’s my problem with old TV shows, they’re just too slow.
I haven’t had any problem re-reading any books. Although when John announced he was rebooting Little Fuzzy, I order the original H. Beam Piper’s books. The original stories held up, but all those cocktails!
The “Dark Shadows” TV show: though some aspects would hold up, I think the pacing would just seem awfully slow today. I seem to remember that it took days for plot points to develop.
(really) Old kids’ shows, like “Mighty Mouse,” “Tom Terrific,” and (anyone else remember this?) “Fireball XL5.”
A bunch of 60s post-apocalyptic stuff, like the book “Daybreak 2250 AD” and the song “In the Year 2525.”
I’d actually like to see “Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future” again – I have a feeling it would hold up (but I was an adult when watching it the first time, so maybe that’s cheating :-).
I Spy and The Avengers (Emma Peel) didn’t hold up. Cheesy storylines. The Andy Griffith Show, early Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits are still excellent.
I should also say I wish they’d take The Johnny Carson Show, and run each episode, one a night every night over again. I’d watch that.
Yeah, Heinlein juveniles. Especially that paean to closeted leatherboy love, Starship Troopers.
Huh, a quick in-page search shows that nobody mentioned mine: Irwin Allen’s other 1960s science fiction TV series, his serious ones, were all dear to me as a child: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Time Tunnel, and especially Land of the Giants. Also Quinn Martin’s The Invaders, from around the same time. Haven’t seen any of them since, am a little afraid to do so.
On the other hand, I did snap up the DVDs of Gerry Anderson’s UFO series, which was dear to me around that same time, and while my adult eye has to make a few allowances for the horrible way the studio screwed him over during production, it’s almost as good as I remembered.
Given the number of people who have mentioned Starblazers, I feel compelled to point out that there is a live action Space Battleship Yamato film.
As for myself, I loved Battle of the Planets as a kid and from what I know about the American version I’m pretty sure it won’t hold up. I also strongly suspect that Gallagher isn’t the laugh riot he once was.
@ Tony Hursh
I’d forgotten about that. I remember the BBC series being markedly better than the recent Disney films (which aren’t quite good or bad, but feel like the stories if you took out all the surreal atmosphere the BBC series mostly managed to capture, and substituted slick CGI effects and overacting). But I was referring to the novels themselves. They were literally the first books I read on my own, and no matter how good they are, they could not possibly live up to the magic of my childhood innocence.
Luckily, I hardly ever read a book twice; too many new ones to sink my fangs into.
@ Lynn McGuire
I re-watched it about a decade ago (I almost said less than a decade, but apparently I lost a few years somewhere); it held up pretty well as long as you don’t mind the camp.
@ Wendy Reynolds
Can’t be any more dated than Space 1999 (even the title makes me cringe).
In other news, this thread is reminding me about a staggering amount of entertainment I’d somehow lost in the attic of my memory. When the hell did I read/watch all this jazz‽ Oh, and there’s another one, the film adaptation of All That Jazz would probably be the suck fairy’s special project if I went back to it.
Also gotta add The Manhattan Project and Real Genius.
And Forever Night, when vampires were friggin vampires and not moody teen heartthrobs!
Oh, and one I know would suck but which I love when it was on is Time Trax which proved that the 80’s had nothing on the 90’s for cheesiness.
I can also report that The Neverending Story does not disappoint on re-watch, but the sequel still sucks hard.
The Black Hole actually improved with age. I hated it the first time around because of the awful physics, but I was old enough the second time to appreciate the characterization (especially of the robots). Wouldn’t bother watching it again, though.
Buck Rogers I recall vividly enough to know it still sucks.
I can attest that the The Foundation Trilogy still works, since I didn’t get into SF until college, but Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation are better for the same reason the Robot Novels are better than the rest of that universe, Asimov hit the pathos with his robots that he never managed in his supposedly human characters…and I do mean human, because the aliens in The Gods Themselves are remarkably well drawn.
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures does not stand up to re-watching.
Norby and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I loved those book series when I was a wee lad, but I never finished them. I dread trying to pick them up again.
Logan’s Run. Loved the movie and Jennie Agutter as a teen; Jennie holds up but the
Mall probably doesn’t…
The movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. I worry the special effects would not hold up some 40 years after it was made. I still laugh to think of the Oompa Loompa song and get a little wistful thinking of the song Pure Imagination.
Crocodile Dundee 3. But I saw it on the cable last night and it totally holds up.
Ark II . A Saturday morning tv show of a post apocalyptic earth where these scientists travel around in a hi tech van saving animals and people. The best part was their microwave that transformed tablets into food. We should have that by now…
Oh yeah, a plate was replicated, too. Unbelievable but impressive.
Or did they put the tablets on a plate? Dang, I’m forced to find out.
Since no one’s mentioned it, I will say MacGuyver. I just loved that show when I was 12 years old — the action, the gadgets, the science (of a sort). In recent times I’ve seen bits of episodes and not been particularly impressed at all… the only thing that appealed was the Mythbusters special look at the various stunts of the show!
@Merz: The Gene Wilder “Willy Wonka” still holds up. But the thing that stands out is that I was absolutely right to be horribly disturbed by it as a very small child. (Check out the images superimposed on the background when they’re in the crazy boat tunnel!)
I think there are sometimes multiple stages I can go through in appreciating something old and cheesy, like, say, the original “Battlestar Galactica”:
1. Uncritical kid appreciation
2. Realization that a lot of things about it are stupid; rejection
3. Ironic appreciation as comedy
4. A gradually building appreciation of the things about it that, notwithstanding the cheese, were genuinely done right, and an understanding of why stage 1 even happened.
Part of this is probably just the process of maturation. When you’re a teenager or young adult, you have a strong drive to emotionally reject kid stuff and affect adult attitudes. It subsides later on, especially if you’ve got kids of your own.
I went to the well on Space: 1999 – Bought the complete series of off Amazon courtesy of my company’s Christmas gift to employees last year and after five episodes I gave up. The memory was SO much better.
Some others folks have mentioned: He-man: yes, Buck Rodgers: probably, GI-Joe: probably, Star Blazers: maybe. There is a bunch of low end SF/Fantasy stuff from the late 70s and early 80s – stuff like Hawk the Slayer and Battle Beyond the Stars (thank you IMDB) that would probably fall flat on revisit.
Buckaroo Banzai holds up well for me, as does the Riddle Master of Hed books by McKillip – they’re still among my favorites. Likewise for the original Johnny Quest and Scooby Doo cartoons (later run stuff, not so much).
Dr. Who is an interesting case for me. I had a hard time getting into the new stuff because the production values were far superior to the Tom Baker stuff that I grew up on.
Never had an issue with ST:TOS – for me, the effects, such as they are, are part of the charm.
Speed Racer! – Pretty much unwatchable at 44. But, my kids… They first thought I was insane when I forced them to watch the first episode. Now they dig it and I’ll catch them watching it… they like Chim-chim and the ‘racing’.
Battle of the Plants… Also unwatchable, and the kids aren’t really into it.
On the plus side they do LOVE Futurama, so there’s that.
Science Team Ninja has had *three* English-language dubs. Eagle Riders was bad on first viewing; Battle of the Planets… Yeah. (“Alien threat from beyond space!” Really?) But I had a disc set with both Battle of the Planets and Gatchaman eps, to compare, with bonus G-Force eps. While I hated them at the time, G-Force compares well with the original, to my 40 year old eyes.
What’s with all the ST:TOS bashing, anyway? Yes, it was uneven, but the ~30% good episodes were and are still very good stories, and how many shows hit homers a third of their episodes? Besides, if the effects are the issue, Netflix has the re-released versions with re-mastered effects. Personally, I think slick SFX have made screenwriters lazy.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go; kids on the lawn again…
Not one that I am afraid of, but one that actually did stink. I came across a DVD of Speed Racer, bought it and started telling my kinds how fantastic the show was. We sat down to watch it. They thought it was TOTALLY COOL; I thought, “I really liked this?!?!?”
Thank you for this post! I’ve been trying to remember the name of a Brit series I’d seen as a youth and finally got the name: The Tomorrow People. I never saw enough of it to get that nostalgic, so it is in the queue from Netflix. Just to confirm my memory.
I re-read John Christopher’s Prince in Waiting trilogy a few years ago and it held up pretty well, so I may consider going back to the Tripod series. Space 1999 sucked hard, but Quantum Leap isn’t too bad, even if it does get a bit preachy at times. Pretty much anything of Jim Hensen’s work: Labyrinth, Dark Crystal, Storyteller, is still amazing.
I’m afraid to re-read Heinlein. I got into his stories in late HS and during college and they were formative for me. But I’ve moved on, so not sure if the stories will work anymore.
Emos: OMG, someone else read “Kamandi: the Last Boy on Earth!” ! Yeah, I think it was pretty terrible.
There was a book of science fiction short stories that was in my school library that I checked out constantly and read over and over again. The story that stuck with me the most was one called “Wake Up to Thunder” written by Dean Koontz. Google led me to the title: Children of Infinity which I didn’t recall, but the moment I saw the creepy-ass cover art, I thought “yep, that’s the one.”
I’m tempted to grab a used copy to see if it was as gripping as I remember, or if I’d just end up rolling my eyes at the tropes I was meeting for the first time there. (Put it this way–I’m pretty sure there was an Adam and Eve story lurking between those covers.)
@Karina The Secret of NIHM! That’s another one up there for me that I loved and have strong memories of that I’d be afraid of ruining. AND it’s another ’82 kids or family movie (along with The Last Unicorn, Flight of Dragons, The Dark Crystal). What the heck is it with that year having made all these movies (3 animated, 1 puppetry) that had life-long effects on me? I may have to blog about this…
I loved the Britcom “The Young Ones” when I was a young punk. I’m not its wacky slapstick would hold up so well today. The music still rock though.
The Dark is Rising. by Susan Cooper.
Things I loved as a kid that I’d hesitate to revisit now:
The Thunderbirds (in Supermarionation!)
Kimba the White Lion
The Herculoids (extended rewatch–I’ve see individual eps in the last 10 years and…sad)
The Three Lives of Thomasina
The Nancy Drew books
I still love ST:TOS (cheese and miniskirts and all) and The Wild,Wild West (NOT the Will Smith movie, although I thought Kevin Kline was good casting for Artie) and The Prisoner (have not seen the recent “reinvention”) and The Avengers (Emma Peel era).
I’m not too worried about the Suck Fairy visiting things like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Jonny Quest (originals, not that syndicated monstrosity from the late 80s) and The Muppet Show because I knew then that some of it was amazing (I adored the latter’s eps with Zero Mostel and Peter Sellars!) and some wasn’t.
Sunny Day, I never read “The Dark Is Rising” when I was a kid, but a few months ago, as a middle-aged adult, I started reading the series and I’ve been liking them very much. I still have to read “Silver on the Tree,” but the others, especially the first one, kicked ass.
I think the Heinlein juveniles held up better than some of his later sex romps. I still love the Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but parts of Stranger in a Strange land make me wince, even more so for the ones afterward.
Anything Jim Henson made is gold (Muppets made since then unfortunately had the suck fairy visit at birth. The latest movie has good reviews but I’m afraid to look).
I still love LOTR. I don’t love Narnia I as much as I did at 10, but it’s still worth reading, especially the first one).
I loved Dark Shadows and ran home from school to see it. Even then I knew they were crap, but I’d still like to watch them again.
Well, I can’t remember what I was going to say yesterday. It was brilliant and revelatory and insightful though, that’s for sure. :-)
I do remember I was going to say I can’t stand to watch ST:TOS any more, because of the acting, the writing, the sets, the costumes, and the special effects. Oh, and the misogyny. And the racism, though there I think TOS is entitled to be judged by the standards of the time, by which standards it was progressive, even dangerously radical.
Nikitta: I hated The Puppet Masters as a teenager, but then I was a teenage gayboy, and the method they use at the beginning for identifying which guys have been taken over (if they don’t react sexually to a woman with big boobs, they shoot them) made me notice that it was a piece of McCarthyite propaganda (there are those who have claimed it’s actually a SATIRE on McCarthyism, but I remain dubious, and besides I’m telling you what I thought when I was 15).
Peter: 2001: A Space Odyssey is paced that way because it’s Kubrick, not because it’s old. Eyes Wide Shut is paced the same way.
Karina: the “Wrinkle in Time” series The wait what? Series? O. My. Gods. I somehow missed that there are other books in that series! Well, now I have to read them even if they’re awful.
Greg: Oddly, enough, AFAIK Buckaroo Banzai was made by people who were unaware of Story Musgrave, whose real life makes Buckaroo’s look ordinary, even dull.
I understand it’s much improved by watching under the influence of Cannabis sativa, but I wouldn’t know.
Nekussa: A friend in high school made a cartoon advertising “Moses/Jesus Hour.” “Watch your favorite Biblical superheroes, their boy companion Tad and his dog Spot as they solve crimes!” Isis is a goddess, dammit. Not a fucking superhero.
old aggie: I’ve had it explained to me by someone who was in college when Dark Shadows was new that it was paced that way because all of its fans were stoned. They’d rush from class to the TV lounge in the dorm, light up a joint, and watch the show. The pacing “was all we could handle,” she explained.
Jeff: NIMH, not NIHM. National Institutes of Mental Health. My dad was pretty weirded out by that movie’s title because some of his grant money came from NIMH.
The soundtrack of the American Battle of the Planets was really exceptional. And Casey Kasem ftw.
Dark Shadows was a soap opera. The few times I’ve watched afternoon soap operas (thank you, local laundromat), the pacing was glacial.
This is a bit of a wierd one, but the movie Platoon. I was stunned by this movie when it first came out, but I have a nagging feeling that it would just be “okay” now. Since then I’ve become less of a fan of Oliver Stone and I’ve seen many more war movies and, well, perhaps it’s best that I not revisit it.
BTW – It was mentioned a while back, but The Phantom Tollbooth is awesome. Really outstanding. It might be a better read for you now, because I’m pretty sure you didn’t get all the jokes the first time you read it.
The Phantom Tollbooth, in my opinion, has been visited by Awesomestiltskin with awesome sauce.
Some of Neil Gaiman’s stuff, I suppose. What I have reread generally haven’t been as enjoyable as it was when I was a teenager. Or SeaQuest, a series I have no reason whatsoever to believe would be nearly as good as I thought in the 90s.
Space: 1999 – how can it be anything but sad, being as how it’s 2012 and we still haven’t gone back to the Moon, let alone started building Moon Base Alpha! This series is still not available on Netflix, last time I checked.
ps. G-Force rocked!
Voltron. I absolutely know that it can’t have held up, but I loved, loved, loved in my tweens I think. I have no plans to revisit it.
OTOH if there were more time for TV watching in my life I’d totally revisit the original Doctor Who at least a large portion of them. I do still have crazy, irrational fondness for the 3rd and early 4th Doctor. And I’m planning to take the chance on ST The Animated Series. I purchased earlier this year on DVD but just haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. I do hope it holds up. I know the animation is awful (I do remember that), but I **think** the stories are actually good sci fi stories.
The Time Tunnel. I thought it was great when I was a kid. I saw a couple of episodes a few years ago and what a stinker.
It may be time for a remake.
The Man from UNCLE. No, I do not want to know how cheesy and unbelievable the plots are. No, I do not want to know how awful the acting is. No, I do not want to know how unfunny the jokes were.
This rant courtesy of I Spy, 4 episode DVD. Although the banter still holds up.
I can’t believe we’ve gone through a couple hundred comments and no one has mentioned The Man from Atlantis! Possibly because it was clear even when I was watching it as a kid that the production values sucked, but still. I’ve had the DVDs on my Amazon wish-list for quite some time, but haven’t had the guts to actually spend money on them.
I watched Transformers: The Movie about 10 years ago, and I was surprised that it held up at all. It had undergone a seachange from “awesome” to “delightfully weird and random”, and there were still a handful of moments which could make my inner child jump for joy. And I still think Orson Welles did some appropriately menacing voice acting.
Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back have held up fine, but Return of the Jedi really hasn’t for me. I can’t see an Ewok without thinking of Jar-Jar Binks.
The only Heinlein juvenile that I read as a child was Starman Jones, and I remember loving that book. But it was a mistake to re-read—the plot holes are just too gaping for me today. Oddly, I read most of the other Heinlein juveniles as an adult and liked 80% of them just fine.
I’m glad to have rewatched the original Ghostbusters, because (1) wow, that’s a hilarious movie, and (2) I can finally laugh at those cursed demon dogs, which nearly gave me nightmares as a child.
I currently can’t enjoy LOTR, but that’s because I don’t have enough uninterrupted free time to actually get into the right mood.
Things which I’m reluctant to re-visit:
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Black Cauldron
A Wrinkle in Time (seemed fine, but I’ve been scared by the mentions in this thread)
The GI Joe and Transformers TV series (I’m almost certain they’re horrible, but I don’t want to know just *how* bad my taste was a child)
so yes a lot of them hold up poorly; but watching (esp. series, advise you to just try a fav. episode) can be an amusement in nostalgic terms, a reason to question who you once were, or a hey that was pretty good for the time & a rare wow, this is timeless.
I still like Buckaroo Bonzai, DSV, Dark Crystal. but never really thought the Time Tunnel was anything but silly or maybe sad. Surprised no one mentiond Lost in Space.
the Foundation holds up pretty well and Dune is still good. Into another genre I still love Kung Fu (the TV series)
Douglas Trumbull’s ”Silent Running”. Looking at it today, I have to ask, ”in which universe is it easier and cheaper to send greenhouses into deep space instead of just setting them up in the Sahara Desert?”
Still love the drones and Bruce Dern\’s fantastic performance as a homicidal hippie, however.
I spent a week with my brother’s family last month and he’s reading The Phantom Tollbooth to his younger sons as a bedtime story. I listened in one night and was blown away. I liked the book as a kid but I’d forgotten how freaking clever it is. I need to grab a copy and reread the whole thing.
As a kid, I loved Time Tunnel, but I’m pretty sure that it would not bear up well today. I loved teh remake when it was called Stargate SG-1 :)
Also… Gerry Anderson’s UFO was something I watched with great enthusiasm as a lad. And 1980 was both so close and yet well into the future…
I’d love to see a remake/rework of that one.
D&D Choose-Your-Own Adventure books. First fantasy books I read! :-)
The Neverending Story
Sean Eric Fagan: leave Land of the Lost in the shrink wrap. Watched a few episodes last year and it definitely did NOT hold up well. I was sad.
Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books. As a teenager, many moons ago, I literally couldn’t put them down. One of the only times in my life I’ve read a book from start to finish in one day.
A couple of years ago I tried reading Donaldson’s the Gap Cycle, and I had a visceral negative reaction, particularly in regards to the sexual violence in the book. I bailed after the first book in the series. I’m afraid that if I read the Convenant books again, I’ll be unable to look beyond some of the same problems in them.
@Lila, I’m so glad I didn’t have to read all 210 comments to see if anyone else listed UFO. I don t have to worry about a re-watching reducing it’s value because we all realized at the time it was on that it may have been the single worst TV show in the history of the world. It was the Ed Wood of serial TV. Kids were creating better SFX with Lincoln Logs and construction paper in the basement. But in the morning we would gather at the university commons to discuss the newest episode.
I have just (re?)discovered Star Cops on YouTube. I wonder if the flaws I noticed when I rewatched it decade ago have gone away.
I hated Lord Foul’s Bane when I first read it, which was when it first came out. Whiny asshole wimp (and rapist) of a main character, stupid names for everything (I mean, Ur-vile? Seriously?), and barfulously purple prose. Never read another thing by Donaldson, and don’t plan to.
Tom Swift Series
Andre Norton’s Witch World and Forerunner books
I have been rewatching Star Blazers which I loved when it was originally on and finding that I still enjoy watching them for different reasons, one of them being episodes where I can identify where later Sci-fi shows stole the idea from. I think I saw at least two Battle Star Galactica (TOS) episodes.
@ Xopher Halftongue
While the TOS-era Klingons and Romulans were pretty obviously Russian/Chinese stereotypes, I still think Let That Be Your Last Battlefield is one of the best anti-racist allegories in all science fiction. I’m actually more inclined to say the sexism was a product of the times, though it would have been nice to see a woman in one of the guest star captain seats – no woman would command a USN ship (after which Starfleet was largely modeled) for another 20 years, but there were already a number of female senior officers when TOS aired, so the writing was on the wall.
That’s the one major Heinlein novel I’ve not yet read. I know from Job: A Comedy of Justice that Heinlein could take subversive satire to a high art. With McCarthyism I could see him going either way. He loathed communism, but he was a pretty hard core lower-case-l libertarian, and McCarthy was about as autocratic a US senator as ever held office.
Aye, but in 2001 patience pays off with a decent sotry :-/
Aw, come on, how can you not love The Secrets of Isis? It’s got cats, camp and corny dialogue. It’s like the Adam West Batman, but with Joanna Cameron! Okay, so I probably had more incentive to watch Cameron kick butt than you, but my sister agrees that show was awesome.
Here’s my favorite Phantom Tollbooth episode:
Xopher: Oddly, enough, AFAIK Buckaroo Banzai was made by people who were unaware of Story Musgrave, whose real life makes Buckaroo’s look ordinary, even dull.
That’s not the problem though. I was watching it with a guy who’d never seen it and when the red lectroids showed up, he said “who was that?” and I had to say “it’s explained later”. When John Lithgow is in the funny farm he says “who’s that” and I say “it’s explained later”. When Lithgow puts the elctrode on his tongue and has the memory flashback to the first oscillation overthruster experiment where John Worfin escaped the 8th dimension, he said “what the hell just happened” and I had to say “It’s really fucking complicated”. When Penny Pretty showed up, he asked “Who’s she? And why does Buckaroo even care?” And I said “It’s explained later.” When the black lectroids showed up he asked “what are they up to?” and I had to say “it’s explained later”. When the president showed up he asked “why is he upside down?” and I had to say “it’s supposed to be funny”. When Christopher Loyd and friends showed up he asked “How are they connected to this?” and I had to say “Its explained later”. When the guy with the dreadlocks delivered the pink cake box, he asked “who was THAT guy?” and I had to say “it’s explained later”.
And almost none of those things got explained until just before Buckaroo mounts the big rescue mission at the end.
Jeff Goldbloom gives him the story about how Orson Wells had the radio address about invaders from Mars, then said, surprise it isn’t ,but it really is. And that’s… an hour maybe… into the movie?
At this point a bunch of loose ends in the movie are finally explained, but by this point a lot of viewers have given up.
And then they play the pink box and the lectroid appears as a human woman named John and says they’re going to destroy the earth unless Buckaroo does something, my friend said “what the fuck just happened” and I had to say “At this point, it probably doesn’t matter”
And then Buckaroo has the formula and everyone else can suddenly see the Lectroids, and my friend asked “how come we can’t see them without the scuba gear?” and I had to say “Because otherwise they can’t hide among us and then there would be no story”
When they drive into yoyodyne and the place is a dump and lectroids are just hanging around and he said “This doesn’t even make sense” and I shrugged my shoulders and said “Yeah, pretty much”
If you can get through to the end, then by the time the credits roll, you finally understand most of how everything is connected. Then, when you watch it again, you’re in on the inside joke.
The movie is an inside joke with itself.
You have to watch it once to get all the information for the joke. ANd then every time after that, you’re part of the “in” joke that is the movie.
It’s kind of like Rocky Horror . The first time, you don’t know the lines the audience say, you don’t know when to throw toast into the air, or when to squirt water, or when to run down in front of the screen and dance, or what sort of costumes to wear to look like one of the characters. The more you see it, and the more you learn the audience lines, and the things the audience can do, the more you’re in on the joke that is the movie.
Dark Crystal defeated the Suck Fairy, as did The Prisoner (’67 Patrick McGoohan series.)
I was given the collected Ray Harryhausen for Christmas a while ago and he seems to have fought the fairy to a draw.
Andromeda, the TV series, lost.
I can’t think of any books at the moment, but I”m sure there are some.
Greg, instead of saying “it’s explained later” over and over, you should have said “just shut up and watch.” Sheesh. People who have to understand everything right away should only watch children’s programming.
“Fantastic Journey” and the TV “Logan’s Run.” Ouch… I loved those shows but have LR on my hard drive but haven’t had the heart to try and watch it. FJ might be lost to time. Might be just as well.
I still re-read “Riddle-Master of Hed” every year or so, but it’s endurance may be a leftover of childhood love. Not sure… can’t be objective.
“Damnation Alley” also hasn’t made it past my ‘Suck Fairy’ fear threshold, but it might soon. Same with “Omega Man,” “Manitou” and something with gargoyes which, perhaps thankfully, I can’t recall the name.
“Scanners” is already on my to-do list. Wish me luck
Gah. ‘Gargoyles’ typo.
Also, I just recalled “Phase IV” and now the 70’s and 80’s are all starting to come back to me in hellish clarity! Damn you, John Scalzi!
Wall Street Week with Louis Ruykeyser.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES…
@ Xopher re: Wrinkle in Time – yup, there’s a series, or at least other books involving the Murry and O’Keefe families. I think the series is called the “Time Quintet”, although I think sometimes it’s called the “Time Quartet” even though there are 5 books…
That brings the Hitchhiker’s “trilogy” to mind! Of course, Adams’ work there will never stop being amazing and is covered in awesomesauce.
Goonies. I loved that movie when it came out (I was the same age as the main characters) and I’m terrified that it will turn out to be not nearly as awesome as I remember if I watch it now.
Perry Rhodan. I still have all of Forry Ackerman’s original run, the hundred or so Ace paperbacks with the great Gray Morrow covers, and the handful of self published ones that came after, plus the Atlan tie in’s. And then it went away and sometime in the late 90’s there was an attempt to bring them back, and I tried and tried to read it, but I was too old or found I liked SCIENCE fiction and not Unobtanium based SF anymore. I’m also afraid to pick up any Lucky Starr’s by Asimov…..
I bought the Wonder Woman series about 10 years ago when it first came out on DVD. WOW, just WOW, that was totally not the feminist show I remembered. After that I learned to not re-visit my childhood treasures.
One book that I have been looking to find for ages is “Sawdust in His Shoes” by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. It was an awesome book about a circus boy whose dad dies and he ends up in a boys home so he runs away. He is taken in by a farm family and ends up saving them with his cool circus move. Perhaps, I should give up before the Suck Fairy ruins it for me….
I’ve seen Seventies “Muppet Show” recently. My impression is that all the things that a little kid would get– the pure surrealism, bizarre creatures, wacky songs and slapstick– that all holds up, but the more “adult” jokes have been visited by the Sexism Fairy in a huge way. At least Miss Piggy takes no crap.
Star Blazers and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. I’m afraid that revisits to Buck via youtube has shown that it really doesn’t hold up very well as an adult. But Star Blazers certainly does.
Land of the Lost.
Also the movie “Watership Down”. I cried when I watched it at 11 or 12, and have since reread the book (which is still good), but I’m afraid that the movie just wouldn’t still live up to my memories.
…”Fraggle Rock” is an interesting case. I’ve seen it not long ago, and it comes across as slow-paced and low-key. There’s much less use of incidental music than in a modern show, and the visual quality of the video it was shot on gives the image sort of a Krofftian or classic-Doctor-Who look.
But the pace is not necessarily a bad thing; it might even be a relief. It’s still gently amusing, and my daughter was mesmerized by it for a while when she was about 5.
The “Buck Rogers” TV series is actually a case where the show rose in my estimation; I thought it was pretty stupid when it originally aired, but today I can appreciate the first season as (I think) semi-intentional camp. Most of the charm leaked out in the second season, though.
Thanks to this post, I re-read “Dragonriders of Pern” yesterday. I felt like I was reading a story with Mad Men characters in the lead roles. Then I realized, the story was written in 1968 and I *was* reading Mad Men characters.
Bottom line, it didn’t hold up. The sexism was painful and limiting for both the story and characterizations. The plot was uneven. I’d never pick it up today and stay with it. As it is, I read through to the end mostly thinking about it as a craft exercise.
Xopher: Greg, instead of saying “it’s explained later” over and over, you should have said “just shut up and watch.” Sheesh.
He was reluctant to watch the movie and I sort of talked him into it, so I felt somewhat responsible.
I explained the bits and pieces that were minor spoilers, or were things that had been briefly explained in passing but he must have missed it. But I didn’t want to explain the stuff that the movie was keeping from the viewer. That to me would have spoiled the movies intent.
But by the end, I realized that the movie basically throws a whole lot of stuff at the viewer that isn’t explained and has no “real world” explanation to it (aliens, 8th dimension, Dr. Lizardo).
People who have to understand everything right away should only watch children’s programming.
There are some kinds of stories that often annoy me. I’m not sure if there’s a name for this style of storytelling, but it goes like this:
The character goes through a fairly simple plot arc, but the writer decides to make it more interesting not by making the characters interesting, but by turning the method of story telling into a puzzle for the reader to solve.
“Memento” being the worst case I can think of of this. The story plot is simple: Man’s wife is killed and his memory is destroyed. He spends the movie trying to avenge her death with the help of a cop who can remember the details for him. But in the end, we find out the cop has had the main character “avenge” her death over and over again, because the main character keeps forgetting.
You could tell this in a straight, sequential story and it be done well. A mediocre writer might end up with a mediocre story because its kind of a basic plot, but, hell, “Old Man and the Sea” was a really simple plot and it won all sorts of awards and is still read today.
But to try and “spice” things up, an author might take a simple plot/story and cut it up into slices of time and different points of view and present these pieces to the reader as some kind of “puzzle” that the reader is to solve. Except they can’t solve it, because the important pieces are withheld until the end.
In a “Mystery” story, this is an expected part of the genre, and can be done well for the good effect. But when you buy a mystery novel, you expect a puzzle presented to you piece by piece. You expect that several characters will be introduced and each one of them will be varying levels of being suspected of being guilty. It’s usually considered top of form for a mystery novel is all the information is presented to the reader to possibly solve the crime, but the reader doesn’t piece it together until the author reveals it at the end. Up until the reveal, it is often considered “good” if the reader doesn’t know, it is often considered “good” if the reader considers several people as equally valid suspects. And then the big finale reveals the last piece of the puzzle that shows the killer must be Major Mustard In The Library With The Candlestick.
Generally speaking, I don’t like the “mystery” genre. I’ll sometimes watch shows that have aspects of “mystery” because they also have aspects of good characters and character development. I kind of like “Bones” because you get to watch the main characters develop over time, and sometimes develop a lot within an episode. The “whodunnit” is sort of a fun distraction on top of everything else.
Buckaroo Bonzai isn’t a “mystery” genre story at all. It’s a simple sci-fi action/comedy. But the story is told in the form of an extremely convoluted puzzle that is presented to the readers to solve.
This can plug into the “geeky” centers of people’s brains, and can feel rewarding to people who are driven to solve puzzles, who feel a reward when they figure something out. This activates the reward center in the brains of people who identify themselves as “smart”.
But Buckaroo Bonzai could have been told in linear fashion. It could have been told with most of the information being explained to the viewer as they needed it to understand whatever scene they were currently watching.
Instead it was chopped up and told in a way such that the camera almost always started rolling “late” so things didn’t have context, and almost every major aspect of the movie was presented as a puzzle piece that the viewer had to remember, without any context to connect it to anything else, until the writer finally let Jeff Goldbloom do an infodump to Buckaroo and explain how everything was connected.
I was watching “Fifth Element” for about the 30th time last week. There is one plot arc: get the stones. The story is told in linear fashion. We even start out with a flashback to the 1900’s to see the aliens explain the stones and their importance. The main arc was “get the stones, save the universe”
Mysteries were presented to the viewer in fairly linear fashion. There was one survivor in the spaceship that crashed. Who is it? Lets put the cells in the machine and replicate whatever it is. Oh, the genetic informatin is perfect, it describes what would be a perfect being. Wonder what he looks like? Oh, it’s a woman… and she’s… perfect.
And then on to the next mystery. Actually, its onto some action, she escapes and lands in Korben’s taxi, a police chase ensues, and they get away. Then the next mystery is introduced. Who is she, really? She wants to see a Priest named Cornelius. Who’s that? Oh, that’s him in his apartment. What’s he up to? And so on and so forth.
Buckaroo presents about half a dozen mysteries and the viewer has to hold all of these in his head until the Goldbloom infodump.
If you’re a geek who likes to figure things out, this won’t bother you. But if you’re not a geek or if you’re not convinced that the story will payoff for the trouble its putting you through to remember all the stuff, then you stop caring and get bored.
I’m not sure what you call it when you have a non-Mystery type story told in a chopped up, mystery/puzzle type way to the audience. But that’s what Buckaroo does. Which is unfortunate in my opinion, because I think its a cool story, just as cool as something like “Fifth Element”. But I’m not sure “Buckaroo” is as accessible to as wide of an audience as “Fifth Element” is because of the way the story is told.
The box office for Buckaroo was $6 million, the box office for “Fifth Element” was $260 Million. And I think a lot of that is simply the chopped up “puzzle” story telling that “buckaroo” uses.
I found that “holding up” can vary for people.
One thing that astounded me was how I’ve gone a complete circle on The Three Stooges. When I was a kid, they were the funniest thing in the world. Then, I grew up, and they were really stupid. Now, I’m watching them with a perspective of understanding the entertainment industry as it existed in the day, and with a sense of what it might take for three working schmoes to bring in a paycheck week after week, and I have a brand new appreciation for them. They were pros, and if you wanted that schtick, you got it in spades, and done well. If you didn’t want that schtick, you hired someone else! Now, I sometimes laugh out loud as much as in delight at the craftsmanship as at the funny parts.
I thought Star Blazers held up, *but* I was looking for a kid’s show, and a nostalgia hit. The first season was great, the second was a bit less so, and I don’t think I made it through the third. (I’d never seen the third, I didn’t know there was one, and was oh-so-excited at the possibility of watching it… ouch.)
I tried watching Transformers (which I’d only seen in bits as a child), and even when thinking it was a kids show, I felt like I was in a toy advertisement. Neat toys, mind you.
I couldn’t imagine The Tomorrow People being shown as a new show today, but I was impressed. It was decently done on a shoestring with a side of cheese. It made me think of the old Doctor Who, in a good way.
re: Memento. Not sure if you caught it, but there really was nothing to avenge. To say anything more would ruin the movie for those who haven’t seen it, so I will shut my trap.
So many memories are coming flooding back here, as a kid I loved so many of those things already mentioned – BOTP, The Phantom Tollbooth, UFO, classic Who, Neverending Story.
Things I would *not* want to revisit in case the floor has been painted with a fresh coat of Time Varnish and my boots would get sticky and ruin the experience would probably be things like :
Space 1999, Blakes 7, Men from Uncle, Sapphire & Steel
Hammer House of Horror, much of classic Who (esp with Daleks as I used to get nightmares from what would now seem laughable, it seems disrespectful to such carefully-tuned cultural psychological damage :)
The film ‘The Cat from Outer Space’ was one of the few to make me homesick for actually living in outer space … I must have watched it so many times at the cinema, but I would fear to squash the fragile bloom of memory with the harsh emergency landing of reality.
Hmm, also Charlies Angels, Knight Rider and The A Team… I’m perfectly happy to remember the rememberings without the adult superego muttering about character development and cliches.
I can’t think of any books I read way back then that meet the description, just a set from much more recently (first read within the last couple of years). I agree, though, that Tom Swift (and TS Jr.) probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as good now.
I first discovered Harry Turtledove through “Guns of the South”, and acquired (a little at a time) and loved the entire World War/Colonization set, and am looking forwarding eagerly to finding where I stashed them away so I can go through them again. The Great War series, on the other hand, I gave up on about halfway through, and will probably pass what I’ve got of those on to the local second-hand shop.
Movies … I’ve acquired a number on DVD over the last couple of years that I’d seen and enjoyed as a kid. The Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee sets hold up quite nicely, as does one I’d totally forgotten about, The 27th Day. On the other hand, one that was highly acclaimed in its day, This Island Earth, is good for its first third (quarter?), before Jeff Morrow actually meets the aliens looking for his help, but (to me) totally sucks after that. Maybe it’s because I got spoiled by the advances in fx in later years, or even by more expert cinematography (IIRC, there’s not a hint of CGI or equivalent in “2001”, it’s all optical effects).
@Gulliver – Here’s my favorite Phantom Tollbooth episode snipped YouTube link to animation
Well, I just lost a little faith in humanity. They made an animated movie from the book? After looking at Wikipedia, I see that some soulless individuals are planning on doing a remake.
Yes, I know that the mere existence of a movie doesn’t change anything about the book, but Milo just looks wrong, wrong, wrong and it’s just wrongy in its wrongness. It turns out that Norton Juster didn’t think much of the movie, which should be reason enough to bury it deep, somewhere in the desert, along with all those Atari E.T. games.
“The Wonderful Flight to Mushroom Planet.” Oh, wait, I thought that one sucked even when I was 10 years old.
Re-read “The Stainless Steel Rat” a couple of weeks ago when I heard Harry Harrison died. Still great.
For those who liked Voltron as kids are considering watching it again as adults: skip Voltron and watch Beast King GoLion. It’s the original Japanese series, without all the third-rate dubbing and kid-friendly censoring and confusing remixing thrown in by silly Americans. It still has its flaws (the finale made me want to punch someone in the face) but it’s far superior to Voltron, enough so to withstand some jaded adult scrutiny. It’s even available on YouTube:
Greg, we have opposite tastes in AYKB revelation. I hate “core dumps,” where the reader/viewer is simply told everything s/he needs to know. I highly value “inclueing,” which is where the writer drops hints sufficient to figure out what’s going on. The latter requires more effort on the part of the reader, and that’s why I like it: my brain thrives on that exercise.
I write that way, too. Maybe that doesn’t bode well for me actually ever selling anything.
Well the point of making Memento nonlinear, according to Christopher Nolan, was to convey the protagonist’s confusion. Since the purpose was a psychological thriller from the POV of an unreliable narrator, I think telling it linearly would have ruined the film.
That said, never ever read Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. It’s nonlinearity on steroids.
Turtledove got me into alternate history in middle school. Guns of the South was a pretty solid book, but the Colonization books wouldn’t age so well, and the last one was so bad it pissed me off big time. Turtledove has no knack for straight SF tropes. At the time this didn’t bother me because my exposure to SF had been confined to TV and movies which were generally no better, but I couldn’t go back and not cringe after all the SF I’ve since read.
I only vaguely remember the book as it was read to me before I could read for myself and I was still on that 3rd year cusp where permanent memories begin to form. But I recall the cartoon fondly. Thanks for the heads up on the soulless remake, I can’t wait. #philistine
Bruce, I think the limit on spoilers is somewhere less than 12 years.
Even then, revealing the plot of memento seems to be a non-issue. I don’t think the plot is at all important to Memento. What’s important is that a simple, and rather uninteresting, sequence of events has been chopped up into confetti in order to try and make it more interesting for the audience as a puzzle. And the entire point of the movie seems to be to see how much we can confuse the audience via crazy time slice editing before showing the one bit that explains everything.
“The Old Man and the Sea” is a great story and it manages to pull off being a great story without trying to make the story more interesting by chopping the story into snippets and telling it in random order. If “Memento” was told in chronological order, you wouldn’t care about the characters and you would barely care about what’s happeneing.
This graph shows how badly the simple chronological sequence of events that occur in Memento are chopped up and run through the turnip twaddler and turned into the movie.
I never stopped reading my favorite books – some of them aged well, some didn’t, but for the most part if I loved a book I enjoy reading it again later. Maybe I have faith in younger-me; most of the time, even if some of the magic is lost, I can remember feeling it. Some books, like Narnia and the Wrinkle series, I have a complex relationship with – I’m back to loving them again, flaws and all, after a period of time when I was ambivalent. Others, like anything I adored by Susan Cooper and Ursula Leguin, are just as magical as they always were.
I knew Dark Crystal held up well (and I’m glad everyone else agrees; it’s an amazing movie) but I was really worried about Last Unicorn. I ADORED it as a child, watched it over and over and OVER again, but I was quite young and, well. I was worried. I re-watched it a few months ago (after reading and being enchanted by the book) and was thrilled to find that it’s still magical. Yes, there are flaws I see that I would not have seen when I was a child, but the movie is beautifully done. The scene I remembered so strongly from childhood still brought tears to my eyes.
I was an avid reader and not much of a tv-and-movie watcher, but I honestly didn’t put down most of my books – I re-read favorites regularly. So anything that didn’t age well got abandoned along the way as I became disillusioned, not remembered fondly and then revisited. There’s one TV show I’ve been considered revisiting – I know I loved it as a kid. It’s called Belle and Sebastian, and it’s about a boy and a dog in the alps, and that’s most of what I remember right there. I’m a little nervous about that one… although it has generally good reviews and lots of people seem to think highly of it, so maybe I should just take the plunge. :D
Xopher: I hate “core dumps,” where the reader/viewer is simply told everything s/he needs to know. I highly value “inclueing,” which is where the writer drops hints sufficient to figure out what’s going on.
It’s “infodumps”. And I hate them too. I prefer revealing information as a result of showing us that information in action rather than just info-dumping. I prefer inclue-ing. But “Buckaroo Bonzai” doesn’t inclue at all. it throws all sorts of weird stuff at the audience and explains it about two-thirds the way through. There is no incluing.
What makes “Buckaroo” interesting is the weird, campy, crazy Sci-Fi stuff going on. This keeps SF fans sufficiently entertained to keep watching and waiting for the explanation that eventually comes near the end.
If you watch it with someone who isn’t an SF fan per se, but who likes SF if its a good story, (which described my friend*), then the weird, campy, crazy SF stuff was completely uninteresting to him, and all he had left to engage with was the story/plot, and that was confusing as hell, because there was no incluing. Weird stuff happens that has no context and then towards the end Goldbloom explains it in an infodump.
If you watch it more than once, you have that info-dump information in your brain and you can apply it to the weird stuff happening without context and make sense out of it as you’re watching it. You become part of the “in” crowd who get the “inside joke” that is the movie itself.
[*] i.e. We’d just seen Avatar and he really liked it. He thought the Star Trek reboot was OK. He liked Star Wars (4,5,6), he liked Terminator, The Matrix, and Predator. After we watched Buckaroo and he didn’t like it, I realized that he likes action/comedy movies. If it happens to be SF but its still actiony or funny, he doesn’t mind. But there are SF fans who will automatically engage the movie with +3 interest level simply because it is SF. I’m probably one of those people. He isn’t.
“Memento” has been out for 12 years, but in case anyone cares: SPOILERS!
Gulliver: the point of making Memento nonlinear, according to Christopher Nolan, was to convey the protagonist’s confusion
That’s exactly how IMDB presents the movie. I seem to recall the description being something like that when we rented the movie. Memento is presented as if he is, as you say, merely “confused”. The blurb from IMDB describes it like this:
But the thing is, the protagonist isn’t confused, he is a criminally insane serially killer. And then the movie plays this game of seeing how long it can keep this information from the audience, and it manages to do so until the very end.
Look, I can edit Obama clips to the point where he says he was born on Mars and is part of an invasion plan conspiring with Venus. That’s all Memento is. A story that’s highly edited to try and make it into a different story. A story about a criminally insane serial killer that’s been highly edited to make you think its a story about a guy with a memory problem who’s trying to avenge his wife.
It makes me think of those “true but misleading” fake movie trailers that people have put together and released on youtube or something. Everything they say about the movie in the “trailer” is true, but overall, the trailer is misleading as hell. One that I really liked was a fake trailer for “The Shining” that made it seem like a movie made for the whole family.
Memento was set up so that through 90% of the movie you think its one kind of movie and then at the last 10%, the writer jumps up and shouts “FOOLED YOU! Look how smart I am!”. Well, of course you fooled me, I gave you the benefit of the doubt that I give to every story, and you lied to me until the last 10 minutes.
All it tells me is to be wary of giving you the benefit of the doubt ever again.
Well, I was more or less away from the net this weekend too, but a very interesting question. This will date me, but there are more than a few shows. Soupy Sales was one, but I was really young then. It might horrify me now to see what I was laughing at. I remember seeing Blazing Saddles and Airport more recently and feeling embarrassed at times. But what would be best remembered than revisited were the old anime shows I loved watching in the 60s: Gigantor, Astro Boy, 8th Man and Aqua-Boy.
Definitely The Last Starfighter. Even when I saw it in high school, I knew it was a cheeseball Star Wars ripoff, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I’m tempted to show it to my 10-year old son, but then part of me is not….
Do you mean “Marine Boy”? (Or – do you mean the cartoon I remember as “Marine Boy” with the young man in the super-pressure suit with oxy-gum and jet boots and an (I hate to say it) *ELECTRIC BOOMERANG* which he uses IN SEAWATER? – but I still remember it as wonderful, it’s just, you know, electric boomerang, sea water – how could *that* go wrong?)
Tom Baker era Doctor Who. Seriously loved this and haven’t seen it since it was on.
Fireball XL5. I loved it so at the time; it can’t possibly hold up.
Watched “Labyrinth” last year. That was quite a disappointment from how cool I remember it being.
Also, “Neverending Story” is really bad as an adult.
Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.
What? I was young in ’08.
The mists of Avalon by M. Zimmer Bradley. I was so completely into that book, and I really don’t want to reread it, it could be total crap…
For those who wrote the Neverending Story, do you refer to the movie or the book? They’re quite different from each other.
Being German I grew up with the book (which I still find pretty amazing) and when I saw the movie I found it really poor. Michael Ende, the author of the book, called the movie “Die unsägliche Geschichte” (the story you should better not speak about), the original title is “Die unendliche Geschichte”;-) If you only know the film, please read the book…
Use of Weapons is … difficult. Great fun and worth your effort. There are clues, very early on, in the first three or four chapters, as to what’s happening in the telling of the tale. I’d read about a quarter of it when I had an “Aha!” about the events, backed up to the beginning, and read straight thru to the end, and then read it again from the beginning. Not many books get that.
Anything by Kroft. I am worried by the Muppets, although I think they were creative enough to make me enjoy. Space 1999 was already ruined, as I have found out the Million Dollar Man.
The short-lived 1962 TV show “It’s a Man’s World.”
Pechmarie, we have the word ‘unspeakable’, which I think accurately translates ‘unsäglich’. In true English oversupply, we also have the word ‘unutterable’. But I think ‘unspeakable’ is the right word in this case.
I read the Gormanghast Trilogy in college, and was amazed and delighted. I keep meaning to reread it (it’s just over there on the shelf, I see it from here…), but it’s now over 40 years later and I must say, I’m dubious. I’m also dubious about re-watching The Prisoner, but several folks above have said it’s still ok, so I may try that one.
Pechmarie: I was a kid when the movie called The Neverending Story came out. Loved it, of course. My mom got me the book, which I read and guardedly loved—there were a lot of things that didn’t quite track for me, particularly in the “real world.” When I went back to re-read it as a teenager, I noticed the bit that mentioned it was translated from German, and it made a lot more sense.
I don’t tend to have a lot of problems with re-reading kids’ literature, because I’ve been re-reading them often enough that I haven’t killed the happiness. (I also read some kids books that I didn’t have as a child—see L.M. Montgomery.) I *also* have the ability to ignore certain tropes as a product of their time, though I’m not going to give my kids certain books until I can explain why certain casual racism bits are not cool. (Yes, those books have other redeeming qualities, just an assumption that some characters act a particular way because of their heritage.)
I’d be interested in seeing Phoenix 2772. AFAIK, it’s never been officially translated into English. I saw it when I was nine years old as part of a local college’s Japan week. It was probably what’s now called a fansub; it would have been done by the local Japanese language students. They had the original artist, and my mom described him as “Japan’s Walt Disney.” He signed (and drew in) my program.
I was an adult before I realized how cool that meeting was, because I met Osamu Tezuka. :) So—chances are that seeing the movie for a second time could in no way be as cool as the first. I think I’d like to see it anyway.
Nah, he’s not that cool. What? Stop looking at me like that. I can’t be a turncoat for something that won’t ever happen!
That’s only the frame device. The point of the story is the role of memory in subjective identity. Personality wise, the protagonist is a different person for most of the film, a blank slate. Philosophically it’s sophomoric, but who cares, it’s a fun ride.
You know, I always knew there was a book, but somehow I’ve never read it. I think I’ll snag the audio book off Amazon. I need something new to listen to in the car. I suspect this is one of those times I’ll be glad I saw the movie before I read the book.
Ignorant American question (said without rancor as it’s true in this insteance): does Pechmarie really translate as Calamity Jane?
Banks pulled the same trick in a couple of his other novels, one SF and one lit fic. Feersum Endjinn did it to much better effect, IMHO. Use of Weapons is decent, and displays Banks’s characteristic inventiveness, but I still thinks it’s one of his weakest efforts. I don’t hold with the fans who laud it as his masterpiece (I give that to Inversions). It was technically the first novel he wrote, even though it was not the first published and was largely rewritten. Nonetheless, if you look at the order in which he wrote his novels, it’s my opinion that you see a steady improvement in his craft.
I just remembered…Silverhawks and Tigersharks. I’m afraid they will be as bad as Thundercats.
Gulliver: The point of the story is the role of memory in subjective identity.
Meh, that’s like saying the point of CSI is to make a realistic portrayal of crime solving technology, and especially to demonstrate image-enhancing software.
Janice, was it Lewis Zarem’s Green Man From Space?
Never seen it; don’t really plan to. Anyway, I’m not saying Memento is a rigorous psychological thriller, just an entertaining one to watch once.
That said, I’m not quite sure I follow how crime-scene gizmos are the same as a main character’s psychological transformation. Do the CSI gizmos drive the show’s character development? 0_o
Outside of SF, it’s Jean Lee Latham’s Carry On, Mister Bowditch which would probably feel like a competent but unremarkable young-adult historical novel today, but felt life-altering when I read (and reread) it at 10 because it was the first non-SF story I read in which the hero triumphed because he was book-smart.
Inside SF . . . a bunch of 1970s made-for-TV movies that I saw in their original broadcasts and have stuck with me ever since but would, I’m sure, feel unwatchable today: Stowaway to the Moon, Salvage, and Killdozer. Just typing that, though, made me want to see if any of them ever made it to DVD . . .
Gulliver: I’m not quite sure I follow how crime-scene gizmos are the same as a main character’s psychological transformation.
What the hell? The main guy in Memento doesn’t undergo any psychological transformation. He’s the same psycho crazy serial killer from beginning to end.
The movie just fucks with the viewer’s minds to make us think he’s basically a normal guy with a memory problem, then, fooled you, we find out he’s killed a bunch of people over and over to satiate some uncontrollable urge that can’t be satiated becuase he’s fucking nuts.
Telling a story out of sequence is a special effect, not a story. A bad story with a flashy special effect is still a bad story. Like “Matrix Revolutions”. Flashy special effects and a horrible horrible story.
Memento is similar. It’s got no story because the character NEVER DEVELOPS. The only thing that changes in the movie is the audience’s understanding. We start out thinking this is some kind of normal guy with a specific surmountable problem trying to avenge a horrible crime. And we find out he’s a serial killer who’s been killing people over and over again based on delusions, but the writer hid that important detail from us until the end.
It’s like the stupid and annoying “for you see, I’m actually a dog” stories. Writer tells some story about the protagonist doing something, and at the very end, the writer has the protagonist say something like “…. for you see, I’m actually a dog”.
Elfquest. I loved it when I was in high school, but when I went to college I started noticing…problems. Now the whole thing is online, and I’m afraid to look.
Xopher Halftongue, thanks! I just wanted to make sure that the embarrassing connotation of the word came over…
Gulliver, puh, I don’t think so. Pechmarie is (the bad) character from the Grimm’s fairy tale “Frau Holle”, when I first picked an alias for the web, I took this and stuck with it even though it doesn’t make extremely much sense (I actually see myself more as the Goldmarie-type ;-).
Perhaps I secretly hope that one day I’ll meet a Frau Holle and a Goldmarie on the internet.
I recently revisited a disk of UFO via Netflix. The music and the hardware mashed on my childhood squee buttons, but I don’t feel the need to put any more of it in my queue.
On a movie-related topic, I just saw “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” for the first time last night (well, most of it anyway).
Why didn’t anyone tell me about this movie? It is full of awesome!
OMG this! I have it open in a tab right now. In this very browser. But have I started reading? No, no I have not.
“Do you mean “Marine Boy”?”
Actually, yes. That was the name. He also had a dolphin for a pal. And, it wasn’t ‘8th Man’, but ‘8 Man’. Yeah, long time ago.
I even have the video on my computer and have not been able to bring myself to watch it. Introduced me to anime in college.
It was the Three Stooges. I’d not seen them since middle school. In my young 20’s, in my own place and feeling very grownup and mature I ran across one of the shows while channel flipping. I knew they couldn’t possibly be funny anymore, but was in a soft nostalgic mood for a childhood gone by.
About a minute into the show I’d fallen off the couch, gasping for breath from laughing so hard.
NOW was I finally getting the grownup gags.
BATTLE OF THE PLANETS! Oh, thank you thank you thank you.
I saw an episode of this when I was growing up, loved it, but never knew the name. Just the other day, out of nowhere, I thought of this show but without a name had no idea how to look it up anywhere. AND NOW YOU GAVE ME THE NAME!!!
Maybe I don’t remember the movie as well as I thought.
I was into some really obscure bands in the late 70s. There are many I haven’t bothered to rip to MP3 from LP because I’m scared: Blue Angel, Bram Tchaikovsky, for example. And then there’s Michael Jackson – it’s not just the late-career crash and burn – for me I’m afraid his work from the 1980’s will sound just as dated as Duran Duran. His choreography will live forever regardless.
For TV – WIld, Wild West was always fun in the ’60’s, but never tried to re-watch. Same thing in the 70’s: “Charlie’s Angels” (there are several from this era, but this is one I don’t even think about watching again).
For books…most stuff I treasured as a child I’ve gone back and re-read. I found that the early part of the Foundation trilogy didn’t work as well (that was when I realized Asimov spent about half of his career writing emotionally stunted characters), but it’s still readable. A lot of pre-1960’s SF novels by authors who mainly wrote for the genre magazines have this issue. The short stories can get away with it, but the novels expose the issue more.
I remember getting up early to watch “Isis” –live-action Saturday morning tv show in the 70s. The wind would swirl up and she would transform. I think I will leave it alone at a fond childhood memory.
Loved the Bloodhound Gang. I can still sing the theme song for 3-2-1 Contact.
Aaron @ 2:26
Willow! I could have written your post exactly. I still have the paperback in case my kids want to read it.
(Yeah, I know… late to the party!)
A friend gave me a Jonny Quest video; it was no longer the Weapons-Grade Awesome that I remember it to be… of course, my recent viewings of Venture Bros. is probably a BIG contributor to that!
Gundam 0079, loved that series when I was in fifth grade. I shudder to think how terrible it actually was these days. Omero vs Shah for teh win!
Kevin Williams, Other Rick: Re: Gordon Korman: I can’t speak specifically to “I Want To Go Home,” but “A Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag” holds up very, very well–still funny, still spot-on–and I suspect his YA for older readers stuff would, too, particularly “Losing Joe’s Place” and “Son of Interflux.” I’m still surprised Hollywood hasn’t discovered Gordon Korman, since his stuff about teens and the problems they face is so original and stereotype free, almost like John Hughes somewhere in between Ferris Bueller and Breakfast Club mode.
Little Fuzzy. I read this book in a single sitting when it first came out. I was totally captivated. But gosh that was a long time ago…
Since I’m pretty young, my childhood is close enough that I have a pretty good idea of the stuff that I would no longer enjoy.
in books, there are tons of examples but the biggest would be Harry Potter and the Artemis Fowl series, which I simply no longer enjoy as much. However, for some strange reason, I still like Enid Blyton’s Noddy series (meant for primary school kids) and I still occasionally re-read Hitchcock presents The Three Investigators.
In cartoons, I strongly suspect I’ll now dislike He-Man, G.I.Joe and the Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad. Still love Tom and Jerry, though.
And in music, I used to love Boney M, but don’t listen to it as much anymore. (If you wonder how someone can like Boney M as a kid and call themselves young, I listened to them on my dad’s gramophone player).