Sunday, 19 February 2012

I Hate Flashbacks

   I have a cunning plan. I really need to get book two of The Last Mask done, but I am short of ideas and time. The book is about one of the characters searching through their memories so I came up with the plan of cutting massive chunks of the first novel and putting them into the second, and then just writing little bits to join together these memory flashbacks. Sounds fair enough, right? It means I can churn out the book in a week, and it is cheap, so that has to be a good thing? The readers won’t mind, will you?

   Don’t be silly. That is a complete cheat to the customer. So why do series like Star Trek and Stargate think it was a valid excuse for putting together an episode when they had run out of ideas and money.

   Just to make it clear - I hate Flashback episodes.

   I just watched “Shades of Grey” the climatic episode of Star Trek the Next Generation series two and it was a flashback episode. Yes the climatic episode of the series was a boring flashback… really? Anyway, this episode dealt with Riker getting an infection, which is only surprising for the fact that with the amount he puts himself about it has taken two whole series for him to get an infection. We are then subjected to a mass of flashbacks from the previous two series. These type of episodes are surely only enjoyable to your pet goldfish with their limited memory.

   If I did what they did with my book then I am sure readers would hate me and probably never buy anything of mine again, but I can’t see why it is an acceptable tool for TV series. Can’t anyone come up with a more creative way of having flashbacks? Can’t they shoot some new, relevant scenes?

   And while talking about flashbacks, Spartacus had a really idiotic one this week also.

   ** Spoiler Warning **

   If you watch Spartacus and haven’t watched this week’s episode skip the next paragraph…

   One character this week believed the love of his life was dead and so was remembering her, cue flashback. The only problem was the flashback had a new actress in the role, so only the dumb would not realise that this meant she wasn’t dead, otherwise why not just use old footage. Okay we knew it was probably a lie that she was dead, but try and be a bit more intelligent TV people, or should I say at least treat us like you think we are intelligent.

   ** End of Spoiler Warning **

   So there you have it, I hate flashback episodes because they are cheap and wasting my time. If I want to see a fondly remembered episode I can go back and watch it on DVD. And rest assured, I won’t be pasting big chunks of the first book of The Last Mask into book two, I think I can be a bit more creative than that.

 Till next time, make it so...


  1. I wonder if the precedent was set in the original Star Trek. The episode 'The Menagerie' used huge chunks of footage from the Kirk-less pilot 'The Cage.' It's highlight was the cutting edge technology of Cpt Chris Pikes's chair which allowed him to answer yes or no by the ingenuous use of a green and red light.

  2. I think the pilot wasn't originally aired so they sort of just used material that hadn't been used before for the Kirk episode. Stargate was the worst offender though.

    And is it just me or was Star Trek the Next Generation really the Xmen in space, just look at the bridge crew - Cyclops (Geordie), Jean Grey (Deanna), Beast (Worf), Iceman (sort of Data, maybe) It is just a shame the captain didn't look much like Professor X ;)