One of the things I’ve never really understood is the need for people to hold onto their childhood cartoons, comics, movies and toys, spending thousands of dollars on subsidiary material that is never the equal of the original. I mean sure when I was young I went out of my way to read the Blade Runner sequel novels but I only ended up disappointed. In fact, in almost every case where I gave in and supported the rebirth, reimagining or re-release of something I’ve always regretted it. I hated the Special Editions of Star Wars and I was proven correct in that Lucas removed a lot of the extra crap he put in there. I flat out refused to read any of the Watchmen sequel prequel stuff and I don’t regret it for a minute. Every single comic based on an old movie or TV show that I’ve read has failed to ever capture what made that property interesting. I have no interest in a Big Trouble in Little China comic, the idea of it after all these years is, well, stupid, to say the least. Do they really think a few colored pages of comic can somehow reinvigorate a forgotten property?
I recently watched the first three seasons of GLEE and I actually ended up liking it more than I ever would have expected. When the kids went off after graduation I felt sad that the show was over, but I was glad it ended on a happy note. Everything got wrapped up in a nice way that addressed all the characters and the changes in their lives. Then my wife told me there were more seasons. In fact, there may even be three more seasons, making what I saw only the first half, I guess. But I have no interest in watching GLEE after season 3. I tried going back to Community after the final season and it just didn’t feel the same. GLEE ended perfectly, the story was told, the characters grew and changed and were better off at the end than when they started. It was a perfectly packaged musical show with a great cast that ended on a high note. Anything that comes after that will never be as good as those first three seasons. I think we as viewers, readers and storytellers understand that things run their course but greed often blinds people to the truth of the tale they are telling. I don’t need Heroes to come back, the first season was good, but it went quickly downhill until it wasn’t even trying to be reasonable. I never watched LOST because I knew right away that the writers had no clue what they were doing, or that in the end they would fuck their audience (which they did). So what does this have to do with Twilight?
Twilight was the first big franchise of the 21st century, the tent-pole of pop culture for a whole generation of young people who are just now reaching the work force as adults. The Twilight Generation will be the new young storytellers, directors, and actors and I beg of you young people don’t fall into the trap that the 80’s generation has waddled in. Don’t let them convince you to resell, reboot, repackage and re-brand your childhood for another generation who will never quite get it.
I’m going to be rather crude and blunt here and say what every Gen-X’er knows but doesn’t want to admit: The corporations firmly they hands up the ass of an entire sector of white males between the age of 35-45. All they have to do is shout “GIJOE TRANSFORMERS TMNT!” and eight million men who never grew up will run to their message boards, their twitter accounts and their wallets to throw money at whatever the newest edition of their childhood fantasies has become available. I LOVE Ghostbusters but I have absolutely no interest in watching old men try to recapture their glory or see a new generation of actors trying to act like the guys I knew.
It is up to you now, the Twilight Generation, to take all our 80’s and 90’s junk and discard it. It is your job now to take those toys and games from your childhood and use them as inspiration for something new, not something rehashed. I know there are people who will disagree with me and I will admit that some reboots have been good but very, very, very few of them ever come close to the original. Robocop? Evil Dead? Any new adaptation of The Shining?
See here is the secret of what makes pop culture work: Our entertainment is our partner, not our parent. There is nothing wrong with being a fan of the things you loved as a child and I respect and admire those who still collect and love those properties, but I have no patience for people that try to resell that to someone else. My boys aren’t going to like Masters of the Universe the same way I did and I know that the movie studios know this, but they figure the money they can make is good enough to pursue the project; they would rather make a guaranteed fifty million than risk losing two hundred. I get that, but we don’t have to agree to it. If you are a young film student and your dream is to relaunch Nightmare on Elm Street again, you need to find a new dream.
Don’t let them chain you to your childhood. We were a generation bred specifically for milking, soothed by Saturday Morning cartoons and comic books into believing we were the coolest, smartest and most creative generation to walk the planet. But then we made more Star Wars. Sometime in the next ten years they are going to ask your generation to reboot the Twilight franchise and they’ll throw all kinds of money at you for it but you have to resist! Remember Red Dawn! I know you all have great ideas and wonderful technology at your disposal that will make it easier than ever to bring the things in your imagination to life.
I can’t wait to see what you guys and girls come up with!