Vlog 05.14.2011 – Where to Begin Anew?

This is up a day late, but I’m posting it “on” the fourteenth just to keep things neat and tidy on the blog. It’s an impromptu topic, and it’s Robotech again, because talking about Robotech is easy for me. I just turn on the camera and the words fly out of my head. This time it’s about how we’re getting another round of 1980s toy and animation property relaunches and Robotech isn’t one of them. It’s also about how the approaches of these two relaunches could be applied to Robotech. I’m certain I’ve talked about how to relaunch Robotech before — dig around in the YouTube archives, I’m sure it’s in there — but I think I’ve got some slightly different angles this time out.

I can’t for the life of me remember what else I wanted to say here this week. I’m certain I wanted to talk about some anime, but since then I’ve finished watching The Macross Saga, watched Sentinels again (one of the triggers for the thoughts above), and watched Neil Gaiman’s episode of Doctor Who (about which more in a few short hours).

On the blog this week: thoughts on “The Doctor’s Wife” early Sunday morning, and then on the weekdays Rick, Lisa, and Minmei’s love triangle spins its wheels as our valiant Robotech defenders smack down Khyron’s Zentraedi rebels through the waning months of 2013. It’s the last full week of The Macross Saga in Robotech, In Brief.

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2 thoughts on “Vlog 05.14.2011 – Where to Begin Anew?

  1. I never got into “Thundercats.” Like you, I was surprised to see that this franchise was up for a reworking. And “Silverhawks?” I barely, barely remember that show.

    With regards to the lack of new “Robotech,” I think the blame’s gotta be on Harmony Gold. I’ve stated this before but it’s my belief that no one at the company really cares about the franchise. It’s made them some decent money over the years. But now that the rubber-stamp licensing days are over, combined with the implied legal/licensing issues they’ve faced with “Macross,” to them, the thing’s become a burden. They’re clearly incapable of making something the fans actually want (a rebooted franchise or a return to “The Sentinels”) and instead give us half-baked creations that provide poorly executed fan service and little else (“Shadow Chronicles”).

    Presumably, this could change if the live-action movie ever gets out of development hell. But then, that’ll depend on the caliber of the team put together by Warner Brothers. And unless this team is highly versed in the established lore of “Robotech” (doubtful), they’ll be relying on input from the people at Harmony Gold. And the cycle continues…

  2. Another great post. What’s even more depressing about all these reboots (at least for me) is that once you strip away the nostalgia, a lot of these shows weren’t all that great to begin with, especially when compared to shows like Robotech, and yet it is Robotech that still languishing on the sidelines. I suppose one could argue that is all the more reason they should be rebooted (i.e. more room for improvement) but the apparent disconnect between what shows are and aren’t rebooting is still disheartening.

    Not that I’m trying to denigrate 80’s cartoons. These are all the shows I grew up with. I loved Thundercats as a kid, but it is almost unwatchable now, save for the nostalgic value. I hope they at least decide to give Lion-o an internal monologue in the reboot instead of simply having him say out loud what ever he is thinking. I had a similar experiencing re-watching the first 4 episodes of Voltron. Again, the show has great nostalgic value, but the dialogue is really horrendous. I don’t think Robotech was remotely that bad, but I have a pretty strong bias, so I guess you have to take my opinions with a grain of salt.

    I like your ideas concerning a remake of Robotech via Robotech II: The Sentinels. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the Sentinels story – at least as presented by the novels and the little bit of completed animation from the planned TV series, but I love the concept of the Expeditionary Force, and I could totally get behind a new Robotech series that followed the adventures of the REF from the perspective of a new generation.

    But I find myself torn concerning an extension of the series past the current time-line. I agree that it’d probably be the easiest approach – just jump a few years into the future, toss in another alien menace and some new mecha and you’re done, which I guess describes the premise of the Shadow Chronicles. Any yet, part of me wants to give the Earth and humanity a break. I know long-term peace is probably a dream, but after so many years of war, I’d like to think that the Earth has earned a few decades or maybe even centuries of quite before having to face another existential crisis. It probably wouldn’t work too well as a series, especially as a reintroduction of Robotech, but I’d almost rather see something a bit more laid back – something exploring the pains of rebuilding and the relation between the survivors on Earth and the REF and maybe some alien (but not necessarily malevolent) forces thrown into the mix, but not something where the fate of the world hangs in the balance (sort of like Macross Plus, I guess).

    In theory, I’d actually like to see a remake of the original series. What I fear is that in practice it will turn out badly. In some respects, it’s double edged sword. The ability to start fresh allows for better integration of the three story arcs by intermixing mecha and design aesthetics throughout. Imagine an ACS fleet composed of modified Zentraedi warships, later model REF ships that incorporate Robotech Master technology and design aesthetics, and New Generation rebels using anything they can get a hold of – hover tanks, 1st generation veritecs, etc. Characters could also reappear through the story arcs, and minor continuity errors corrected.

    On the other hand, this same freedom could easily be used to remake Robotech into something completely unrecognizable. It is a short step from streamlining a few continuity issues to dispensing with entire narrative blocks. Personally, I would not want to see Robotech reduced to just an expanded Macross story arc. I like that it is a multi-generational epic. As expressed by other posters on an earlier thread, Robotech has always been greater than the sum of its parts. Moreover, as my wife noted, one of the charms of Robotech was precisely that it was made under such unique constraints – that it was conglomeration of unrelated cartoons that somehow managed to work very well. The story had to be fashioned to fit around existing animation rather than simply making animation to fit the story. As ass-backwards as this was, it forced the writers to come up with a very intriguing multi-generational storyline – it forced them to be more creative and more careful than they perhaps otherwise would have been. Much like poetry, the creation of a story under specific constraints led to something that was greater than if created in a vacuum.

    I fear that without those constraints, current writers may not have the discipline to embrace the more complex original storyline and simply create a simpler one that is Robotech only by virtue of transforming robots.

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