Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Much scandal and raising of eyebrows here in Britain as readers of our top sci-fi magazine, SFX have voted Serenity as the best sci-fi film of all time, beating the expected winner, Star Wars into second place. Usually the British press couldn't give a flying Ewok about sci-fi (other than Doctor Who, which enjoys the status of "national treasure") but this poll has been all over the news. Baffled non-sci-fi-fans have been asking how little-known Serenity can have defeated Star Wars - a film which, in the popular imagination, is effecitvely synonymous with sci-fi. Well, how indeed?
First of all, I don't really think that anyone really believes that Serenity is a better film than Star Wars. But I do think that lots of people - including me - think that Firefly, the TV series from whence Serenity came, was all-in-all a finer piece of entertainment than Star Wars. A vote for Serenity was effecitvely a vote for Firefly - a much-loved and unbelievably-cancelled-in-its-prime TV show.
Secondly, for hard-core sci-fi-fans, the best sci-fi has always been on TV (Star Trek, BSG, B5, Dr Who, X-Files, Buffy, Angel etc etc), whilst most non-fans usually only encounter sci-fi at an "event" movie like Star Wars or Spiderman (which, on an unrelated note, I think is the most overrated piece of poop this side of 5oCent). This poll seems to me to have been taken as an opportunity for sci-fi fans to show that they value "their" sci-fi over more populist, non-fan material.
Thirdly, these "BEST EVER" polls are largely specious exercises in filling up magazines. They were fun for a while, circa the turn of the millenium, but I think now people are wise to polls and surveys asking them to identify an objective best. Rather than go for the obvious answer (in this case Star Wars), fans tend to respond with something that makes them appear individual and knowledgeable about the genre (Serenity). It's why people always say they prefer the Beatles' White Album, when really, they only want to listen to The Greatest Hits, 1961-66.
Or maybe I'm wrong and Serenity IS better than Star Wars...
Posted by Hey there, Skippy at 4/04/2007