noahspud

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Latest Topics

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    Prequel-itis: Causes, symptoms, and cures

    Symptoms of prequel-itis, in TV shows specifically, include 1) pointless cameos and foreshadowing for the sake of fan service and 2) backtracking to keep the plot from progressing "too far," which would result in the show ending. Examples of victims include Gotham, Smallville, and Merlin.
    What I don’t know about, and what I’d be interested in reading, is possible cures for this problem. I am unfamiliar with the Star Wars cartoon prequels, but I’m told they do a better job, so they may hold answers.
    Another possible piece of this topic is causes of prequel-itis. Why do prequels exhibit these problems so often? Is there something inherently problematic with prequels in general?

    • Sounds like a good topic in my opinion. Although a more specific definition of prequel-itis would definitely help. You might also include a third point to them. Which is: retroactively improving the already established lore and story of the series. The best example for this include the Walking Dead, as well as Flash. Looking forward to reading about this topic :) – shehrozeameen 8 months ago
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    • @shehrozeameen Prequel-itis, as I see it, is like a syndrome, a set of symptoms that commonly occur together. There isn't really a definition other than "a set of symptoms experienced by prequels including x, y, z...." If the author of the topic could think of a specific definition, of course, he/she'd be welcome to apply it. – noahspud 8 months ago
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    • I'd certainly be interested to read this. Would you also consider doing one for sequelitis, because there are a ton of bad sequels out there. Disney is particularly guilty when it comes to both prequels and sequels. They're also fond of the midquel for some reason. – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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    • To be clear, this topic is a suggestion for someone else to write (that's how this works). Also, you do have a point, but sequelitis is a separate thing, and I felt that prequelitis was a topical subject that hadn't gotten much attention. – noahspud 6 months ago
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    • I think this is a very interesting topic but I disagree with Merlin being placed in the prequel category. Although the show did begin before Arthur was King, the show very much did hit every major event in Arthurian Legend. It included everything from the sword in the stone, knights of the round table, Guinevere's Affair and Arthur's (spoiler alert) eventual death in the series finale. I'd argue that rather than backtracking, the show fast forwarded a bit to hit all these plot points before their pre-decided series end in season 5. The only real difference was that Merlin was depicted as young rather than a wizened old sorcerer adviser. (The series has a host of finale issues that I could probably write a whole different article about but that's not relevant to this comment) – LC Morisset 6 months ago
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    • Fair point. Except for the first, what, three seasons, Arthur isn't king, Morgan isn't evil, and Merlin isn't a respected advisor. So it certainly begins as a prequel, and it does indeed backtrack: Arthur starts to think magic is okay. Merlin almost tells his secret. Something bad happens. Arthur is once again convinced that magic is bad. Repeat. Morgan dies as punishment for her bad deeds. Oh wait, she has more to do later. Let's bring her back and let her sit in a cottage for a year. All the Arthurian mythology stuff happens in those last couple seasons, and we see the set up for all of them: the lady in the lake, Excalibur, each major knight of the round table, and Morgan's descent into villainy. I call that a prequel. – noahspud 6 months ago
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    Latest Comments

    Okay, I love that “Christine’s choice” ending scene. She can’t let Raoul die, but Raoul doesn’t want her stuck in Erik’s basement forever. The answer is to do the impossible: love the Phantom. Just a little bit, enough to kiss him. It’s not that Erik deserves her love, but he needs it (as a tragic character, he needs love more than most). Christine has enough love in her heart to love the Phantom; that’s what makes her a heroine.
    So Erik doesn’t just learn to give real, mature, selfless love. He also gets it. It’s weird, because he always wanted it, but according to his plan it didn’t really matter if Christine loved him as long as she was his. When he got it in the end, he didn’t know what to do with it, so he had to let both Christine and Raoul go.
    It’s not that shipping automatically destroys those character arcs. It’s just that shipping in the phanfiction sense cheapens one of the most powerful kisses in all of fiction.

    Phantom of the Opera and the Problem of "Shipping"

    As fast and loose as Buffy and Angel played with God and Christian concepts, I appreciate that they didn’t exactly vilify Judeo-Christian symbols of goodness – except for that misogynistic preacher, as you mentioned. But the church is made of fallible humans, and sometimes people use the church to justify their own sin. Not a big surprise there.
    But unlike Supernatural or Lucifer, I don’t recall Buffy or Angel ever fighting representatives of Heaven, only hell. In fact (quick Wiki check) I don’t think any actual angels ever appeared on the show, only the comics.
    As a Christian, I’m made a little uneasy when I see other shows make enemies out of God and his angels. Sure, Buffy and her gang made friends with demons, but the other side stayed good, albeit absent. That’s how Whedon kept the faith in his stories hopeful, rather than twisting it for the sake of a good story like other shows.

    God in the Whedonverse: Faith, Hope, and Truth

    Although I really love reading, I’ve always felt my reading comprehension and memory are so high I don’t need to reread, and therefore I don’t need to spend money on books that I could get from the library. My home bookshelf, therefore, is filled with gifts from childhood birthdays and Christmases. Rereading, for me, is innately tied to the sensation of having the physical book in my hands. Maybe it’s a generational thing.
    As a youngster, I tried to collect all 100 or so of the Boxcar Children books, not because I expected to reread all of them or even enjoy any of them as I grew up, but because owning the physical things felt like an accomplishment. (Why does anyone collect anything, after all?)
    My favorite books that I own are the Complete H.P. Lovecraft and the Complete Sherlock Holmes. They’re both old-fashioned hardcover bricks, and I expect to enjoy the experience of reading and, once I finish, rereading them. It won’t be for increased comprehension of complexities or understanding myself, though. It’ll just be for the nostalgia of where and when I got the physical books and the sensation of holding them again.

    Why Reread Books? The Pros and Cons of Rereading

    I think I probably learned to be a writer by spending most of my free time reading. My thought process changed to match the style of the books I was reading. Then my teacher gave me a notebook and suggested I spend some of my free time writing. The rest is history. In other words, I had the good environment you mentioned, so I can attest to the truth of this.
    The one thing I’m not sure about is “success…only requires the writer to adapt to his or her aims.” If someone aims to be a writer but isn’t meant for it on a personal, grand-plan-from-on-high level – if they’re not passionate about it, for example, or there’s something else that they’re really good at – adapting to those aims is more likely to make them miserable, and unhappy success is no success at all.

    Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?

    I think I probably learned to be a writer by spending most of my free time reading. My thought process changed to match the style of the books I was reading. Then my teacher gave me a notebook and suggested I spend some of my free time writing. The rest is history. In other words, I had the good environment you mentioned, so I can attest to the truth of this.
    The one thing I’m not sure about is “success…only requires the writer to adapt to his or her aims.” Something you don’t mention that a writer needs is passion, just as any gratifying career path requires passion. If someone aims to be a writer but isn’t meant for it on a personal, grand-plan-from-on-high level, adapting to those aims is more likely to make them miserable, and unhappy success is no success at all.

    Can you Teach Someone how to Become a Writer?