Monday, February 12, 2007

The development of Sci-Fi serials

So anyway, on Saturday night Jim and I watched six episodes of Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe (1940), which, it appears is a sequel to Flash Gordon. For a variety of reasons we didn't watch all of it, but I will note the following:


Flash seems very mission oriented. Having infiltrated Ming's palace, rather than, for example, trying to shoot or capture Ming, which would end all of Ming's plans[1], he prefers to destroy the power generator and/or rescue the prisoner.

Ming and Dr Zharkov seem to be involved in a move/countermove game, where one will invent a weapon, and the other will counter it. I can't help feeling they ought to just play chess by mail or something.

The Rocketships spark and appear to be constantly on the verge of catching fire, crashing or blowing up. In fact, their landing technique appears to be to crash onto a flat area.

Dale swirls her cloak a lot. Also she panics when things go wrong. If she can't cope with dangerous situations, she should stay at home. No one forced her onto the rocketship at gunpoint (this time).

Six cliffhangers in a row is too much for me. I can see why you'd watch them a week apart.

Also, Ming's plans are very short sighted. I thought he was smarter than that. Why does he always act like a 30's serial villain?


Anyway, we agreed that Sci-Fi serials have come a long way since then, in terms of acting, characterisation, plotting, special effects, stunts and costumes. Then we watched three episodes of Cleopatra 2525.

(Jim - here is the song In the Year 2525, which the theme tune is based on.)

[1] Ming seems to have the problem that absolute rulers often face: nothing gets done without him ordering it, and anyone who claims to have an order from Ming can do anything they want.