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What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?

05 Nov 2009 03:29 #17262 by martinblasick
What's wrong with onscreen superheroines? was created by martinblasick
What are the things that drive you crazy about the way super girl types are portrayed in tv and on film? Too cheesy? What is it that's so often disappointing?

I myself really like Tomb Raider for it's mostly straight ahead storytelling mixed with a small percentage of smirky humor. Of course Lara Croft isn't "super". She's just really cool.

My big complaint is when the character is empty. Regardless of powers, I want the character's stakes to be high.

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05 Nov 2009 03:57 #17263 by lfan
My intrinsic problem/disappointment with the majority of the female "supers" on TV is the fact that the writers often have no idea what to do with strong, female characters. A perfect (and classic) example is the recent (mis)handling of Kara last season on Smallville. After introducing her and making her the 'equivalent' of Clark (or even better considering she could fly), the writers seemed like the met one day and said 'uh oh', deciding to regroup with the classic mindwipe, jump-the-shark plotline and keep her on an island in limbo for most of the second part of the season, deciding to only let her return in time to exile her to the Phantom Zone. A total waste of a character that they never explored and never leveraged to help Clark achieve his destiny by providing that tie to his roots. The show runners rather thought of her as a distraction from Clark discovering his roots. Myopic thinking at its best!

In terms of cheesy character concept, most of the TV heroines aren't so much for me, unless they go campy with it (see Black Scorpion). Again, the best example of a character-driven heroine -- as cheesy as it seems -- was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Though I didn't like SmG in particular and the teen angst was sometimes nausiating, the character of Buffy I thought was well thought out and challenged weekly by Whedon (and given lots of smart ass humor).

I think also importnat is the likability of the actress....I loved Laura Vandervoort and also Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman)....I think they lent a genuine personality to the roles of their characters. Someone I didn't really like? Hayden Pantieterre on Heroes -- never have!

My $.02
ElF

What are the things that drive you crazy about the way super girl types are portrayed in tv and on film? Too cheesy? What is it that's so often disappointing?

I myself really like Tomb Raider for it's mostly straight ahead storytelling mixed with a small percentage of smirky humor. Of course Lara Croft isn't "super". She's just really cool.

My big complaint is when the character is empty. Regardless of powers, I want the character's stakes to be high.

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05 Nov 2009 09:52 #17265 by taliesan
Replied by taliesan on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
I think there are several reasons why getting a good portrayal of a superwoman on American TV is difficult. And all of them have to deal with how American television works and how Americans see the superhero genre in general.

1) Expensive FX. One of the big differences between supers (and science fiction)on American TV compared to elsewhere is the high quality of the visual fx. American series tend to be more visually fx oriented and the quality is close, if not equal to, big budget movie quality. This is fine in a movie series where one 'story' is made and the next one comes along a few years later, but it's hideously expensive for regular TV. IIRC, the average cost per episode of Star Trek TNG was around $6 million. Multiply that by about 15 to 20 episodes in an American TV season and you're spending $90 to $120 million each year.

This isn't so much of an issue with other countries such as Britain and Japan where the seasons tend to be shorter (10 to 15 eps max), and a year or two can pass between the production of a season. Also, other countries don't hold themselves tot he extremely high standards fo American network TV when it comes to fx. Look back at all the Dr. Who episodes over 40+ years of production and you'll see an emphasis on story and drama, with fx far down the list of priorities. Even the exceptional re-boot Russ Davies started a few years ago has fx that look just a step or two above a quality fan-film production, instead of trying to match a big budget Hollywood sci-fi epic. The same goes for Japan where there are plenty of superhero style live action shows.

2) Sexism. Sad to say but I feel this is also a major issue in getting good superwomen stories to the small screen. The general American public just isn't interested in the idea of a woman being stronger or better than a man. Maybe in the more cosmopolitan cities like New york or San Francisco, there's more interest and acceptance in the general public, but in the midwest and old south, no way. Remember that the original Bionic Woman was moderately successful because it was a spin-off of the Six Million Dollar Man, and seen a as subordinate or at times an equal. And Wonder Woman came out as an attempt of a rival network to capture some of the success of that series, rather than on the strength (no pun intended) of the character.

There are, of course, some success stories. Buffy was a relatively strong series, but I think she's the exception rather than the rule because the WB was just starting up and needed anything that even smacked of a hit series. Buffy's viewing numbers were good and consistant, but I don't believe they were anything near where a major network would consider acceptable for a 'flagship' series the way Buffy was for the WB.

3) Social stigma against comics. Let's be honest here. Comics and comic book fans do not get a whole lot of respect from the general public. Despite the quality work of creators like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, et al., comic books are still seen as a media for children and adult fans are stereotyped as 'Comic Book Guy' from the Simpsons. We all know that a fan that can list every comic book appearance of a character will be ridiculed while a fan that can list every stat for an athelete will get a sweet broadcasting job. A fan that dresses up as Darth Vader for a con will be laughed at while a fan that dresses up in a Darth Vader costume with spikes on the shoulders to go to a Raiders game will be applauded.

4) The changing nature of TV. The other issue is how drasticly TV and the way shows are produced has chaned in the last decade. With the invention of new ways of watching shows like TiVo, Netflix, OnDemand, and the Internet as a whole, how can the 'success' of a series be measured? TV execs seem to be answering that question now, but the facts remain that viewership numbers are no longer a sole indicator of success, and if a show doesn't 'pop' right off the bat, it gets cancelled and the production money allocated to another series with the same sword of Damocles hanging over it. Combined with the expense of a show of the superhero nature, only 'proven' concepts like Superman tend to get the leeway needed for a small screen series to establish itself.

The sad fact is that shows take a long time to establish and put out quality. One of the most legendary American TV series, Seinfeld, would never have lasted in the new millennium because the ratings of the first few years were abysmal. It was only because a network exec believed in the show that Seinfeld was given the chance to establish itself and go on to become the cultural icon it was. If you look at the two most successful super series airing on network TV, one is based off Superman (the comics icon to end all comics icons) and Heroes started off with a slow burn and very minimal special effects until NBC greenlit the rest of the season.


Sorry if this is all too gloomy, but I think the fact is that American TV is currently set up to be unfriendly to supergirls, and superheroes in general. The good news is that times are changing as more comics films bring in big money and bring the genre into the mainstream. So, we have hope, but we also have a long road ahead as we wait for mainstream America to change enough and become accepting enough to have a heroine of quality we can tune into each week.

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05 Nov 2009 13:36 #17266 by lfan
Tali brings up a great point regarding the "Captain Hook" syndrome of networkd these days, sometimes giving new shows no more tha FOUR episodes (sometimes with little to no marketing) to make a splash before getting pulled. TV now has changed so radically with another reality show piece of tripe waiting in the wings as a midseason replacement that they don't want to risk a whole 26 show order on something that might fail, given its early ratings. What's laughable is they typically do this with shows with little to no network promo, in a sense not even giving them a chance -- almost as if they wanted them to fail. You cannot tell me that studio politics is not behind some of these scheduling moves with several hidden agendas in place.

Its a shame that the Bionic Woman got caught up with the writers strike. It was a clasic illustration of plunging ratings (that still were not terrible I don't believe) in light of the strike and switching writers and show runners, and only tethered for 6-8 episodes. Hardly time to build a following, much less a cult following. I think in the case of BW and SarahCC, the production costs had a good deal to do with it as possible, and the studio execs I imagine decided to cut bait rather than cut production costs.

As Tali mentioned, Seinfeld probably wouldn't have survived in this day and age as well as several other classics. The one that comes to mind mostly was a non-publicized sitcome that debuted at something like #78 out of 85 shows its first week. That show? Cheers!


ElF


I think there are several reasons why getting a good portrayal of a superwoman on American TV is difficult. And all of them have to deal with how American television works and how Americans see the superhero genre in general.

1) Expensive FX. One of the big differences between supers (and science fiction)on American TV compared to elsewhere is the high quality of the visual fx. American series tend to be more visually fx oriented and the quality is close, if not equal to, big budget movie quality. This is fine in a movie series where one 'story' is made and the next one comes along a few years later, but it's hideously expensive for regular TV. IIRC, the average cost per episode of Star Trek TNG was around $6 million. Multiply that by about 15 to 20 episodes in an American TV season and you're spending $90 to $120 million each year.

This isn't so much of an issue with other countries such as Britain and Japan where the seasons tend to be shorter (10 to 15 eps max), and a year or two can pass between the production of a season. Also, other countries don't hold themselves tot he extremely high standards fo American network TV when it comes to fx. Look back at all the Dr. Who episodes over 40+ years of production and you'll see an emphasis on story and drama, with fx far down the list of priorities. Even the exceptional re-boot Russ Davies started a few years ago has fx that look just a step or two above a quality fan-film production, instead of trying to match a big budget Hollywood sci-fi epic. The same goes for Japan where there are plenty of superhero style live action shows.

2) Sexism. Sad to say but I feel this is also a major issue in getting good superwomen stories to the small screen. The general American public just isn't interested in the idea of a woman being stronger or better than a man. Maybe in the more cosmopolitan cities like New york or San Francisco, there's more interest and acceptance in the general public, but in the midwest and old south, no way. Remember that the original Bionic Woman was moderately successful because it was a spin-off of the Six Million Dollar Man, and seen a as subordinate or at times an equal. And Wonder Woman came out as an attempt of a rival network to capture some of the success of that series, rather than on the strength (no pun intended) of the character.

There are, of course, some success stories. Buffy was a relatively strong series, but I think she's the exception rather than the rule because the WB was just starting up and needed anything that even smacked of a hit series. Buffy's viewing numbers were good and consistant, but I don't believe they were anything near where a major network would consider acceptable for a 'flagship' series the way Buffy was for the WB.

3) Social stigma against comics. Let's be honest here. Comics and comic book fans do not get a whole lot of respect from the general public. Despite the quality work of creators like Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, et al., comic books are still seen as a media for children and adult fans are stereotyped as 'Comic Book Guy' from the Simpsons. We all know that a fan that can list every comic book appearance of a character will be ridiculed while a fan that can list every stat for an athelete will get a sweet broadcasting job. A fan that dresses up as Darth Vader for a con will be laughed at while a fan that dresses up in a Darth Vader costume with spikes on the shoulders to go to a Raiders game will be applauded.

4) The changing nature of TV. The other issue is how drasticly TV and the way shows are produced has chaned in the last decade. With the invention of new ways of watching shows like TiVo, Netflix, OnDemand, and the Internet as a whole, how can the 'success' of a series be measured? TV execs seem to be answering that question now, but the facts remain that viewership numbers are no longer a sole indicator of success, and if a show doesn't 'pop' right off the bat, it gets cancelled and the production money allocated to another series with the same sword of Damocles hanging over it. Combined with the expense of a show of the superhero nature, only 'proven' concepts like Superman tend to get the leeway needed for a small screen series to establish itself.

The sad fact is that shows take a long time to establish and put out quality. One of the most legendary American TV series, Seinfeld, would never have lasted in the new millennium because the ratings of the first few years were abysmal. It was only because a network exec believed in the show that Seinfeld was given the chance to establish itself and go on to become the cultural icon it was. If you look at the two most successful super series airing on network TV, one is based off Superman (the comics icon to end all comics icons) and Heroes started off with a slow burn and very minimal special effects until NBC greenlit the rest of the season.


Sorry if this is all too gloomy, but I think the fact is that American TV is currently set up to be unfriendly to supergirls, and superheroes in general. The good news is that times are changing as more comics films bring in big money and bring the genre into the mainstream. So, we have hope, but we also have a long road ahead as we wait for mainstream America to change enough and become accepting enough to have a heroine of quality we can tune into each week.

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05 Nov 2009 14:24 #17268 by AJF
You have to also remember, Ifan that the suits at NBC were the ones who were really dictating BW's content and direction. You why the show had so many ex producers? Becauae NBC either fired them or chased them off. Hell, even before the much hated Ben Silverman became NBC entetainment president, the people hired to develop the show and run it, before the pilot even went into production, left the project.

Those people were Bruno Heller and Laeta Kalogridis. Heller later went on to develop the CBS hit the Mentalist and now Kalogridis is the most demanded female screenwriter working in hollywood.

Someone on IMDB once posted, that after the first season of Dark Angel, James Cameron and company gave control of the series to the suits at Fox. The show did last much longer after that. I got feeling that Fox wanted the show to more like X-men, so all of as udden, there lots and lots of people with various powers running around.

You have to be aware o he negative influence the network suits can have on a show.

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05 Nov 2009 16:40 #17270 by taliesan
Replied by taliesan on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?

You have to also remember, Ifan that the suits at NBC were the ones who were really dictating BW's content and direction. You why the show had so many ex producers? Becauae NBC either fired them or chased them off. Hell, even before the much hated Ben Silverman became NBC entetainment president, the people hired to develop the show and run it, before the pilot even went into production, left the project.

Those people were Bruno Heller and Laeta Kalogridis. Heller later went on to develop the CBS hit the Mentalist and now Kalogridis is the most demanded female screenwriter working in hollywood.

Someone on IMDB once posted, that after the first season of Dark Angel, James Cameron and company gave control of the series to the suits at Fox. The show did last much longer after that. I got feeling that Fox wanted the show to more like X-men, so all of as udden, there lots and lots of people with various powers running around.

You have to be aware o he negative influence the network suits can have on a show.


That's because the network executives think they know what's best and the TV industry is set up with the mindset that Hollywood tells you what you want to watch, rather than you telling it. And unfortunately, for the majority of the population, it's a model that works.

I truly think that the future of small screen entertainment is going to be the Internet. All that needs to happen is for one person to have a big hit and prove the financial viability of doing a 'televised' internet series. Joss had a great first start with Dr. Horrible. But imagine if, say, Dave Chappelle brought back his show and made it internet only. There's a big enough audience for a solid paying subscription base, and he could do whatever he wanted without worrying about what some executive is going to say. He wouldn't be getting the huge payday that Comedy Central was giving him, of course, but Dave's already shown that he doesn't care about that already.

This is another point about Hollywood that needs to be brought up. The entire industry has reached a financial tipping point. The huge budgets, salaries, and paydays are rapidly becoming non-viable in the modern economy. Hollywood needs to scale back and learn to do more with less. They need to take cues from how television works in other countries, but are too arrogant to do so. They're too used to being in the lead and too used to the excessive lifestyle, so instead of adapting and innovating, they come up with more and more excuses too keep the state of televised entertainment in America from advancing. Like the viability of the Internet. I think the writings on the wall when a fan-produced Trek series (New Voyages) has a bigger viewership (measured in unique downloads per episode), than the 'real thing' that Paramount/CBS puts out (Enterprise).

Truth be told, with all the talent this community has at it's disposal in terms of writers, models/actressess, and CGI artists, we could probably create a decent web-series of our own and distribute it through iTunes. Just food for thought.

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05 Nov 2009 22:15 #17284 by peterso20
Replied by peterso20 on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
Some really good posts there Taliesan - well thought out and I agree with everything you've said.

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05 Nov 2009 22:24 #17285 by lfan
Howard Johnson is right!!

Some really good posts there Taliesan - well thought out and I agree with everything you've said.

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05 Nov 2009 23:19 #17288 by taliesan
Replied by taliesan on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
Samuel Johnson is right about Howard Johnson being right!

Howard Johnson is right!!

Some really good posts there Taliesan - well thought out and I agree with everything you've said.


Also an addendum: when I was talking about a series on iTunes, I didn't mean to overlook the fine work Random and others do on PSW. They've laid some good ground work and so has lFan, Bully Pup, and all involved with the Awakening. All that I was saying is that if the finances were available, we have the talent at our disposal that's ready to take some of these concepts to the next level.

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05 Nov 2009 23:58 #17290 by Artnico
Replied by Artnico on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
Hello !
For my part, each time I see a movie featuring a "Super strong woman", I'm always disapointed because there are not enough feat of superstrength ! :(
I wish to see more great feat of strength like car lifting, or tanks throwing !
That's my point of view.

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06 Nov 2009 09:13 #17293 by martinblasick
Replied by martinblasick on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
These are all insightful answers. And what about feature films? Any complaints in that dept? Are they any closer to satisfying that tv shows? I quite like both of the Fantastic 4 movies.

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06 Nov 2009 10:17 #17294 by taliesan
Replied by taliesan on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?

These are all insightful answers. And what about feature films? Any complaints in that dept? Are they any closer to satisfying that tv shows? I quite like both of the Fantastic 4 movies.


It depends. In general, yes feature films can be more satisfying because they have larger budgets to work with and more freedom from time constraints for production. I think both TV and films are similar in that they have 2 of the same issues that can make or break a film.

1) Head guy passionate about the project. In general, a super/sci-fi show tends to be better the more passionate the director/creator is about the subject. Sam Rami and Spider-Man, Bryan Singer and X-Men, John Favreau with Iron Man, and Chistopher Nolan with Batman. For TV, you have Joss Wheedon and Buffy and Ron Moore and Battlestar Galactica. Of course, you can have a pasisonate creator, like Rick Berman or Tim Kring, who can still completely ruin a series because they're convinced that the fans will adapt to their visions rather than listening to the fans saying what they think is wrong. It's like George Lucas with the Star Wars prequels; no-one really sat down with Lucas on Phantom Menace to tell him the maybe Jar-Jar isn't such a good character idea after all. Or setting up the trilogy's love story is a bit creepy when the guy is 8 and girl could be his babysitter.

2) Executive interference. If a passionate director or creator can make a series, an overly-involved group of network execs can ruin it. For example, Firefly. JOss Wheedon had an incredible series starting out and for whatever reason, the executives at Fox meddled to the point where they doomed the series ratings wise. Similarly, although I know many people enjoyed it, Superman Returns was a big dud for me. Not from any lack of amazing special effects, but because of the direction I felt the execs at WB forced Bryan Singer to take. Things that Kevin Smith was talking about as horror stories with having been involved with the Superman reboot back in the late 90's. Conversely, the network execs gave Joss and Ron free reign with Buffy and BSG, and look at the quality of shows we got there.

So to sum up 'what makes a good supergirl TV show': a passionate creator that listens to his/her fans and makes logical adjustments when the majority of the viewer base feels something is very wrong, and network executives that know the best thing in the world for the series is for them to simply shut up and sign the checks without trying to add any creative input.

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06 Nov 2009 13:59 #17297 by AJF
You're right about executive interference. That, above anything else was what really destroyed BW 2007.

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06 Nov 2009 17:42 #17304 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?

You're right about executive interference. That, above anything else was what really destroyed BW 2007.


That and the stupid idea of having a "guaranteed result". The current streak of remakes and updated version on TV is a result of both a lack of ideas (face it, it's not easy to have a good original dea that can apeal the audience) and a completly worng theory that if you make an update of a classic the fans of the original version will surely follow you. Unfortunatly there are two elements against this hypothesis:

1- Usually the fandom, or at least a part of it, is very strict about the definition of what can be on a show and any slight deviation for the canon is considered blasfemy of the highest order (like when the Paramount started proding Enterprise, there were fans lamenting that the ship looked too technologial respect to the Classic serie :? )

2- Unless the direct and the writers are really good the serie risk to simply replicate some old tropes and already seen situation ending in a sort of cheap repaint

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06 Nov 2009 20:04 #17308 by Random321
Replied by Random321 on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
Well, as an American from a place other than San Fran or NYC I feel like dog meat. Haha.

I don't believe sexism is the biggest problem for network super heroines. In comic book stores I agree that may be a problem. However, I don't blame the end user so much as I blame comic book execs. They have driven super heroines into the ground. Good artists and writers have all too often been pulled of heroine books for other male characters. I also think the current editors are an older generation. I think there has been a shift in the general public.

Let's look at how many shows have solid heroines: Medium, Bones, CSI, Trauma, Mercy, (Every Hospital Drama On TV), Cold Case, Law And Order aka What Constitution?, Fringe, Doll House.

Why not super heroines? Bad luck, bad writing. How many male superhero shows do you see on TV?

If anything I've thought network TV has been sexist against men for a decade now. Men are after all something it's okay to make fun of.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that there is just a lot of bad TV out there.

Thanks for the nice comments about PSW ~ I'm doing my best ~ and with each short I build up a bit more of a slush fund to get new equipment or take more time with the actors etc etc. As the FX get bigger and better I'm also trying to build up the characters since as you've pointed out it's hard to cheer for a hero with no substance that you don't also like.

Fortunately I've always liked working with the women on set and during down in-between time. From Sierra to Michaela to Shay and more than ever Ashley on this last go around.

To summarize: Some Comic Editors Bad, Some TV Execs Bad, Catwoman Everything Bad, Independent film types from outside SF or NYC sometimes good. :P

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07 Nov 2009 04:47 #17311 by colt13

What are the things that drive you crazy about the way super girl types are portrayed in tv and on film? Too cheesy? What is it that's so often disappointing?


Well, mainly the lack of them on tv. Syndication is pretty much done, so we don't even get the Xena/Hercules type shows anymore. Ans surprisingly, Syfy has not gone that route. I like humor, so the Black Scorpion and Super Ex types of humor interest me.







This isn't so much of an issue with other countries such as Britain and Japan where the seasons tend to be shorter (10 to 15 eps max), and a year or two can pass between the production of a season. Also, other countries don't hold themselves tot he extremely high standards fo American network TV when it comes to fx. Look back at all the Dr. Who episodes over 40+ years of production and you'll see an emphasis on story and drama, with fx far down the list of priorities. Even the exceptional re-boot Russ Davies started a few years ago has fx that look just a step or two above a quality fan-film production, instead of trying to match a big budget Hollywood sci-fi epic. The same goes for Japan where there are plenty of superhero style live action shows.

I sort of agree with this. You look at the shows in other countries for kids and teens like Cybergirl, Mega Mindy, the New Zealand one, etc, and all it will take is for one of those concepts to get hot like the Power Rangers did and then you will get more action here. If the US version of No Heroics had been picked up, then there would have been copycats.

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07 Nov 2009 18:59 #17315 by lfan
Good points but I disagree with the non-sexism slant towards TV. There are a far, far fewer number of strong female-driven dramas/action series. Of the ones you mentioned, only Medium is really centrically based off a female cast member. The others have ensemble casts where there might be a strong heroine character but she's not focal.

Of the last 5-7 years, I tries to think and could only really come up with 4 female-driven shows of that ilk: Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Buffy, and Venonica Mars. Ironically, the show runner of Veronica Mars (Diana Ruggerio) had a superheroine-based pilot set to go that got wiped out by the writes strike as well....bummer

ElF


Well, as an American from a place other than San Fran or NYC I feel like dog meat. Haha.

I don't believe sexism is the biggest problem for network super heroines. In comic book stores I agree that may be a problem. However, I don't blame the end user so much as I blame comic book execs. They have driven super heroines into the ground. Good artists and writers have all too often been pulled of heroine books for other male characters. I also think the current editors are an older generation. I think there has been a shift in the general public.

Let's look at how many shows have solid heroines: Medium, Bones, CSI, Trauma, Mercy, (Every Hospital Drama On TV), Cold Case, Law And Order aka What Constitution?, Fringe, Doll House.

Why not super heroines? Bad luck, bad writing. How many male superhero shows do you see on TV?

If anything I've thought network TV has been sexist against men for a decade now. Men are after all something it's okay to make fun of.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that there is just a lot of bad TV out there.

Thanks for the nice comments about PSW ~ I'm doing my best ~ and with each short I build up a bit more of a slush fund to get new equipment or take more time with the actors etc etc. As the FX get bigger and better I'm also trying to build up the characters since as you've pointed out it's hard to cheer for a hero with no substance that you don't also like.

Fortunately I've always liked working with the women on set and during down in-between time. From Sierra to Michaela to Shay and more than ever Ashley on this last go around.

To summarize: Some Comic Editors Bad, Some TV Execs Bad, Catwoman Everything Bad, Independent film types from outside SF or NYC sometimes good. :P

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07 Nov 2009 20:50 #17317 by martinblasick
Replied by martinblasick on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
I'm a fan of the Dollhouse but now that you mention it, she's controlled by her handlers. Even tho she's the star of the show she's lacking any control in her life.

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08 Nov 2009 00:33 #17320 by inactive
Replied by inactive on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?

I'm a fan of the Dollhouse but now that you mention it, she's controlled by her handlers. Even tho she's the star of the show she's lacking any control in her life.


Yeah, Dollhouse is a feminist minefield. There are a lot of things about the show that I like, especially since the second half of the first season, but the heroine is generally not one of them. Sometimes it is very uncomfortable to watch.

- GeekSeven

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08 Nov 2009 04:10 #17323 by colt13
Replied by colt13 on topic Dichen

I'm a fan of the Dollhouse but now that you mention it, she's controlled by her handlers. Even tho she's the star of the show she's lacking any control in her life.


Yeah, Dollhouse is a feminist minefield. There are a lot of things about the show that I like, especially since the second half of the first season, but the heroine is generally not one of them. Sometimes it is very uncomfortable to watch.


Summer Glau is supposed to be on the show in december. Unfortunately, you are right because Dichen/Sierra or her stunt double deserves a award after the beatings her character takes.

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09 Nov 2009 00:18 #17331 by Risatara
Replied by Risatara on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
I would like to think that its sexism that makes only supermaleshows possible, but that wouldn't be realistic. I sometimes hope it's just that the producers don't want to risk much money and a good story for a strong female character, if you could use a male one, too. Im afraid of learning sometimes that it is just not what the consument wants. But then I'd like to know why Buffy had to go through so many seasons and why it was aired at least in germany, too.

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09 Nov 2009 00:57 #17332 by inactive
Replied by inactive on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
This is definitely a weird time for TV.

Network TV is dying and clinging to safe concepts, for the most part. If it's worked before, they'll do it again, but not much else. 'Buffy' was a hit for its networks, but pretty low-rated by the standards of the big three.

Cable is willing to take more risks, but only on "buzzy" concepts, which means that they steer away from anything too "fun".

I think the only chance for a cult concept like a supergirl series would be somebody who realizes that they can use TV as a loss-leader for DVD and download sales. I suspect that is the only reason "Dollhouse" is still on the air.

- GeekSeven

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09 Nov 2009 14:31 #17342 by AJF
Speaking of cable, th FX network is developing Brian Micheal Bendis series Powers as a live action series. The main production company is Fox21. While no episodes have been offically ordered, the directer for the first episode has been hired. Micheal Dinner, who directed the pilot for BW 2007 and more recently A and E's the Beast and FX's Sons Of Anarchy.

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20 Nov 2009 02:08 #17525 by jumperprime
Replied by jumperprime on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
I thik one of the main problems for superheroines, both on TV and in movies, is that they don't LOOK strong. Take Buffy, for example: Strong enough to bend a rifle barrel but she looks like a twig. River from "Firefly" has some serious ass-kicking abiliy but she also looks liek a twig. The Supergirl movie from way back when had the title character played by a slim actress, she didn't really look like she had muscles of steel, and Laura Vandervoot on "Smallville" had the same problem. What we need is some TV/movie superheroines that actually LOOK like someone with super strength.

OK, maybe it's just me projecting my personal likes onto the issue, but I'd bet good money that I'm not alone on this point.

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20 Nov 2009 05:18 #17528 by steelknight3000
Replied by steelknight3000 on topic Re: What's wrong with onscreen superheroines?
The lack of decent strength scenes is the problem for, but I just think it's a matter of random chance whether or not superstrong females use their powers. The producers may not have the budget or imagination. Not to say there haven't been any good super women on tv recently. Glory from Buffy and on a few occasions, Shalimar from Mutant X come to mind for me.

As for not looking strong enough, I've never had a problem with that since I'm not a fan of large muscles on women. Although I prefer a fit/athletic body, I don't mind a short, petite character throwing around cars (if that ever came into existence).

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