The Cult of Originality - that yellow bastard

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December 12th, 2003


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2003.1212.1240::The Cult of Originality
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Following this week's airing of Ron Moore's revamp of Battlestar Galactica, Slashdot had an article asking for their readers' impressions. While most of the 960+ comments are positive, I did encounter a number of criticisms where people were upset with the unoriginality of the plot or concepts (One guy even goes so far as to call the plotline a "Matrix/Terminator ripoff that never needed to happen," grossly unaware of the irony of his own statement).

I did get into a bit of a verbal tussle with a fellow who had this to say about the production--which begs the question: Why are people so tied to this concept of Originality? What is it about a retelling or a remake that so irks some people?

I recall a few years ago on alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer, one of the regulars, David Sueme, had taken enormous exception to Buffy on the basis that it was just Anime's Devil Hunter Yohko retold. Assuming that Buffy is a "ripoff" of Yohko (an idea which, not having seen Yohko, I don't necessarily adhere to), how does it detract from the show? In what way is The Magnificent Seven less of an admirable work because it's based, almost plot point for plot point, on Seven Samurai? If we do dismiss all derivative works and retellings, wouldn't that toss out Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, as well?

As someone who writes occasional fanfic, I think I've come to terms with the idea that I don't pick my plots/situations out from some ethereal void, formed like Gaea and Tartarus from Chaos. I am on the receiving end of influences at all times from television, comic books, film, and real life situations. Are fanfic authors (or perhaps writers in general) better reconciled with the notion that, consciously or unconsciously, originality (especially plot originality) is a difficult, and sometimes impossible, goal?
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Comments:


musesfool::2003.12.12.10:51 am
[User Picture]Oh god, Sueme. I'd managed to mostly forget about him, the nutjob.

Some of the folks I've run into since then make him seem positively sane, logical and lovable.

as for originality, yeah, way overrated and almost impossible to achieve in the sense of basic plot ideas. It's how you *tell* the story that matters. *g*
thepeopleseason::2003.12.12.11:01 am
[User Picture]He's still on atbvs, too, flinging is pseudo-intellectual poo like a monkey seeking attention.

It's how you *tell* the story that matters.

Exactly. I think an interesting writing exercise for a number of people would be to assign them the exact same plot or plot points (sort of like one of those dialogue exercises), and see how many different versions of the story you get.
musesfool::2003.12.15.12:24 pm
[User Picture]He's still on atbvs, too

I find that amazing, given how he purportedly hated the show. *g*

I think an interesting writing exercise for a number of people would be to assign them the exact same plot or plot points (sort of like one of those dialogue exercises), and see how many different versions of the story you get.

If you run it, I'll pimp it. *g*
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