I am getting a little tired of people equating popularity with quality. Firefly was not popular, and if we compare it to Star Wars or Star Trek, that would make it a total failure, but is it?
I bring this up because on 4 separate occasions today, someone tried to win an argument by telling me that the project in question made a lot of money or that it was popular. If that is the standard we are measuring things by then:
- Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith was 14.9 times better than Serenity
- War of the Worlds was 9.2 times better than Serenity
- King Kong was 8.5 times better than Serenity
- Twilight was 7.6 times better than Serenity
- The Twilight Saga: New Moon was 11.6 times better than Serenity
- The Twilight Saga: Eclipse was 11.8 times better than Serenity
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 was 11 times better than Serenity
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 was 11.5 times better than Serenity
I am not ready to turn in my brown coat for a sparkling vampire...
Popular is Common
That is why a lot of fans are starting to complain about Doctor Who (I am not one of them). The show's popularity has come from a hollowing of the characters and shallower plots. That is how you appeal to a mass audience.
It is not a guarantee of popularity, but it is nearly a requirement. The only way to appeal to a broad audience is to lower the work to lowest common denominator.
There are exceptions to the rule. Frank Herbert's Dune is one of the best selling Science Fiction books of all time. That is the result of a rabid fan-base and curiosity spurred on by the Movie and Miniseries, both of which were over simplifications of the book. Why? To garner as wide an audience as possible.
As media is becoming more disintermediated, content creators like myself have to focus on character, setting, and story. While I would never say my stuff is perfect, I have followed my interests, and not what I thought would make me the most money.
Postmodern life has lost its flavor. The homogenized, plastic fantastic modern world was sheathed with a pasteurized mock-rebellious and faux-individualistic veneer. Manufactured rage like the Duck Dynasty publicity stunt are the new normal.
People can relax now, they did something. Placation is simple. One well placed manufactured crisis and both sides vent, and get to feel like they won. Theatrics.
I took that tangent to point out that even our news is poorly manufactured.
If there is any hope for our society regaining any credibility and flavor returning to life, we have to start caring about things again.
Care about what exactly?
Honesty and integrity. I may not be a great writer, but my fiction is honest. It is what I love. It comes from my heart. I am not alone. There are others. Emerian Rich and Matthew Wayne Selznick, just to name a couple.
If fans are unimportant, because what will make them happy will not appeal to a mainstream audience, then the math is backwards.
We cannot afford anymore to give up on the things we love. I love Star Trek, and that love is not being reciprocated, so I am creating my own scifi series to fill the niche.
Passion drives us, not money, not popularity. We have to stand up for ourselves, only then, together, can we bring the passion back.