Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ming the Merciless on the SciFi Channel

Even though I like science fiction, I have never been a big fan of Flash Gordon. He always is crashing his space ship and having to rescue his helpless girl friend. The 1980 movie was too campy for me even when I was ten but I did like (and still do) the cool Queen soundtrack.

However, even campy science fiction should have it's history honored to a certain degree. Reimage a franchise for the 21st century all you want. However, some things should be sacred. One example that comes to mind is that Starbuck (Buck!) is a man and not a woman like the current retelling of Battlestar Galactica has been presenting. And further, Ming the Merciless is based on Asian dictators!

The new Flash Gordon series on the SciFi Channel has partially turned this aside. He is now white. Of course, he still has an Asian name (Ming!). I guess cultural sensitivity to Asians means a classic historical supervillain in popular culture history now has to have his identity challenged and changed for political sensitivity. How sad. What is wrong with a strong Asian villain? It is not as though they do not exist in the real world. (Kim Il-sung anyone?)

I will watch this series. It is pretty good so far. But I am going to be viewing the "benevolent leader" of Mongo (Asian name again?) through a different frame than most viewers.

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