Monday, March 15, 2021

Stupefying Stories: The Dark and Gritty Reboot

Just kidding. Not happening. Oh, you might from time to time notice somewhat more adult language and situations in upcoming issues. There was a business reason why I was struggling to keep the magazine G rated—and it was a struggle—but that reason turned out to be invalid, so going forward I’m going to be relaxing those rules a bit.

But this whole “dark and gritty” thing: what the Hell is with that? TV and films in general, and the DC cinematic universe in particular, have turned so dark and gritty it’s as if someone was running a sale on dark blue lens filters and anti-depressants in industrial quantities. And it’s rarely a new idea, either: it’s almost universally a dark and gritty reboot of what was originally a lighthearted and fun-filled property. 

Is it simply a matter of making the CGI cheaper to do, because the audience doesn’t need to be able to see anything clearly? Are the decision-makers in Hollywood so bereft of original ideas that the only things they can think of to do are to torture the characters they once loved when they were children? What’s next: Toy Story: The Dark and Gritty Reboot? The Sound of Music: Only With More Nazis?

When I learned that The CW has greenlit a dark and gritty reboot of The Powerpuff Girls—I am not making this up—this time as a live-action TV series, with Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup as “disillusioned 20-somethings who resent having lost their childhood to crime fighting,” I snapped. 

Okay, it’s Dark and Gritty Week here on Let’s take a few days to talk it out. Dark and Gritty: necessary? Unnecessary? Merely a trendy fictional fashion statement, or clinical evidence that too many writers out there have profound unresolved Daddy issues? Is there any room left for fiction that leaves readers with a positive or at least hopeful view of the world, the future, life, and the people who live it? 

Let the arguments begin.

—Bruce Bethke


P.S. I would dearly love to run some guest posts on this topic. If you have something to say about it that feels like it should be longer than a comment, drop me a line at brb[at]rampantloonmedia[dot]com.


~brb said...

Sorry. After posting this, I spent the rest of the day with ideas for FIREBALL XL5 BEYOND percolating around in the back of my mind. If you've seen Team America: World Police, you can probably imagine what I was thinking. I am truly sorry.