Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Revenge of the Son of Sequels (Which Turns Into a Rant About Ben 10 and Tron)

Sequels suck.
Well, there are a few exceptions, like Catching Fire and at least half of any given really long series like Animorphs or something.  But for the most part, they suck, or at least aren’t as good as the first book/episode/movie.
The worst are the 4-part trilogies.  A 4-part trilogy is a series originally meant to be a trilogy, until the author decides he/she wants to make more money or is badgered into making another book by fans.  The 4th book may have different main characters, and often takes place a few years or even a generation or two later.  The plot refers back to the rest of the series, but is often completely different anyway.  The best example of this is the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfield.  Some copies of Extras even have “The 4th book in the trilogy” on the cover.
Books aren’t the only things with bad sequels.  TV often goes bad as well.  I know, you’re thinking, “But aren’t all TV series just a lot of sequels?”  Well, TV series can drag on way too long.  And I’m talking more about sequels to entire series, especially when they randomly change the entire animation style drastically.  Like Ben 10.  The first series was funny.  If you don’t like the fact that the Omnitrix rarely works right, then I’m sorry, but you are a perfectionist with no sense of humor.  The malfunctions made it interesting.  When he would get Ripjaws in the desert when he was trying for Diamondhead or something, and had to make it work, that was the good part.  When Alien Force came out, a whole new alien set appeared, completely replacing all the ones that fans knew and loved.  The Omnitrix failed much less often, even after Kevin messed with it.  In Ultimate Alien, even more aliens showed up or came back, but none of the old ones looked the same (except, oddly enough, Cannonbolt).  Now there’s Omniverse.  The animation has changed again, Ben looks weird, and he has even more new aliens (although Cannonbolt is still there and still looks exactly the same), including one that looks like it’s made out of Legos.  Ben 10 has just totally degraded.
And movies!  Yuck.  Most of the movie sequels I’ve seen have come from books, but some haven’t.  Some have gotten better.  Most haven’t.  The main movie sequel I hate is Tron: Legacy.  My friends all love it, and most say they get annoyed with the original Tron because of the animation.  I’ve seen worse animation on popular TV shows.  It’s not terrible; at the time it was really good animation.  Anyway, Legacy may have cool animation, but it’s not a good plot.  The whole thing with the isos or whatever – I dunno, it just seems cliché or something.  He’s not in the program for any good reason; he’s just looking for his dad, who (SPOILER ALERT) later dies anyway and then goes back to a sappy ending.  The rings look totally different, as does the entire world.  No helpful programs are met/befriended.  In the original, a skilled hacker has this adventure with a computer who is actually actively trying to do something evil, but he’s just trying to get a patent that belongs to him, back to him.  It’s more humorous, and my favorite minor character – a bit that starts following him around – turns into a tiny decoration on the mantel of a random fireplace in Legacy.  You have to be really observant to even see it.  Legacy is just repetitive and pointless.  I think it was only produced so they could have fun with the animation.
Don’t get me wrong, continuing a series is awesome.  There are many series that I wish didn’t end so soon.  Even one that’s 54 books long. But sometimes,
Sequels suck.