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ice queen

Project:365 - Day 102 ... plus musings.



Originally uploaded by rileyo

Ramblings below the cut probably of no interest to anyone, but included as a way of me "thinking out loud". Be warned - if you do read it, it's crappily written and goes nowhere in particular. I blame my cold.


I've spent today rewatching some Season 1, as my cold doesn't seem to want to shift, and makes me disinclined to do much else. Nothing like self-pity as a motivator for self-indulgent DVD watching! Watching Grodin die again set me to thinking - again - on why killing off Beckett was a bad move for the writers. I know I've discussed this at points with some people, but I haven't put it in writing for my own records, so this is it.

I've always found Grodin's death quite moving. Actually, watching Letters from Pegasus tonight also got me a little sniffly - watching Weir record the messages for the families of all those lost really brings home the human casualty of such a venture into the unknown. Gall, Abrams, Markham - all bit-players on the SGA stage, but there deaths were felt, without making the waves that Beckett's death did. And yes, the reason is the relative importance of their characters in comparison to Beckett. Beckett became one of the main characters in the series, and of course his death would make bigger waves. However, I don't believe that's reason enough not to kill him off. It's also known by some that I was never a huge Beckett fan. No offence to McGillion, but the character was always a bit too wet for me. And written a little patchily - I know I've definitely gone on record about my disbelief over the whole Carson=Rodney's BFF bit.

But I think the biggest reason for it being a mistake to kill off a character with such a large role as Beckett is the episodic nature of SGA. The show is purposefully written in such a way as to make it easier to sell for syndication, and apparently one of the selling points is to have most episodes be self-contained - so they can be made sense of while being shown out of order. Contrast this with a more serialised show such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Buffy is much more dependant upon watching the episodes in order - this became more true as the series went on. And it's that format which allows for the writers of Buffy to kill off a character of comparable importance as Beckett - Joyce - and have it actually work.

The death of Joyce had ramifications on the characters and storyline of Buffy for the next couple of seasons. The death of Beckett was barely referred to again - in fact, the big discussion of the impact of Beckett's death on the characters was really only addressed after they brought McGillion back as Clone!Beckett, and then popped him into stasis. If you are going to kill off a character as important to the others as Beckett, then you damn well need to address the impact on the other characters - and an episodic programme really only allows that to be addressed within the same episode of the death occurring.
After that, it was almost, "Beckett who?" as his absence was barely addressed. Writing out an important character can't successfully be dealt with through a throw-away line inserted at random moments. Remember when Weir asks Sheppard what happened to Ford, at the end of The Hive? I have always hated his response: "Oh, you know Ford. I wouldn't be surprised if we run into him again." You know what I hate most about it? That it was so blatantly a sop to Ford fans, so they could hang on to their comforting delusion that "Ford's not really dead! Sheppard thinks he survived somehow!" - especially since the writers consider Ford dead, never to return. (And by writers, I can only really back this up by citing Mallozzi, who has stated on his blog that as far as he's concerned, Ford is dead - which reply is invariably prompted by someone asking if Ford is going to appear again.) Argh. Sigh. Well. The end.

Comments

Never liked Ford so his death didn't bother me. He was the main cause of me not getting into the first season. Once Ronan came it felt like a better balance and I started to get into the show.

I was absent from fandom when Beckett got killed and I'm glad. I saw it as a viewer rather than a critic. I was surprised but I didn't really miss him. I just figured the actor wanted out. There didn't seem to be a real reason to write him out of the show.

Joyce I wasn't expecting. But again I wasn't part of fandom so it was a shock. I started seeing Buffy as a show much differently after that. It was a real human death. Ok, I confess I blubbered like a baby when Buffy killed Angel, but there was no reality about it; Slayer + Vampire with a Soul + Hellmouth + Acathla = Fantasy. Seeing Buffy's reaction to her Mum's death felt very real.

In the last 12-18 months since reading blogs/journals, "watching" a show is very different. A character death is argued about before it's even happened and it makes me unsympathetic towards that character when you see some of the "Oh My God my life is over!!!!" (<= Note the multiple explanation marks) reactions.

Apologies if any opinions in this comment offend anyone.
I was never a particular fan of Ford, either, but I didn't mind how they wrote him out. I just really hate that last line from Sheppard. It's like fingernails down a blackboard whenever I hear it.

There didn't seem to be a real reason to write him out of the show.

... Bang! Nail being hit on the head. There wasn't a real reason. It didn't further the story at all. And the Stargate shows aren't the kind of shows you watch for realism, so the argument the writers gave of reminding everyone that it's a dangerous situation they're in ... doesn't work. Yeah, I could understand if Paul McGillion did want to go, but seeing as he didn't ... sigh.

Joyce. Man, "The Body" was maybe the best hour of television, ever. Joyce's death hurt. It hurt Buffy, and it hurt Dawn, and Willow and Xander and even Anya, and through them it hurt us. I still breakdown at the same point in watching that episode. I'll be all choked up, and then Anya will do her bit about how she doesn't understand death, and I'll lose it. I've never been in the Buffy fandom, so I don't know what went on when it happened.

Buffy killing Angel was when we (me, and my flatmate at the time) knew we were hooked. We'd just kinda fallen into Buffy because it was on around 10pm, when it would finally get dark in Launceston (Daylight Saving & Twilight) - that's when we'd come inside and sit in front of telly, and that's when Buffy was on. This was part way through Season 2. By the time Buffy dispatched Angel, we were sitting on the edge of our seats, horrified. I remember when the little Mutant Enemy zombie came across the screen and said, "Oh, I need a hug!" instead of "Grr, Argh", I went: "Me too, little guy!" But I agree - it was nothing like Joyce's death. The way "The Body" was shot helped to make it real, too - the muted sound, the off-kilter camera angles (seeing the way Buffy saw, in her shock). A truly well-made episode. And again, they dealt with the ramifications for many, many episodes after. Unlike poor Carson.

Heh. I know what you mean about the 12-year-old, melodramatic reactions to things that happen. I keep getting severe eyeball strain, from rolling my eyes so much. RSI of the eyeballs! Oh, fandom. Sometimes I want to kick your arse.