Before we get started, I want to preface this all by saying that I love superheroes. I am a huge fan of the genre and I am also very aware that I have, in the past, been guilty of some of the things about to be mentioned. I would also like to make it clear that I have no intention of telling people what they should or shouldn’t watch. That is your choice and always should be but rather that one should think about whether they really are enjoying the content that they are ingesting. Is this show and or movie really something you like? Do you actually think it’s great? Or are you just watching because you think you should?
Over saturation of the superhero/comic book product is real, it’s not a myth or something that might happen in the future, it’s here right now and we are all witness to it. Now has never been a better time to be a comic book nerd or lover of the superhero genre. Every hero under the sun is being brought to screens in some way shape or form, be that in cinemas, television sets or on demand web services such as Netflix. Everyone from kings of the format like Spider-Man to lesser know B heroes like Jessica Jones are getting their moment to shine and if you enjoy the genre — which most of the world seems to right now — then you are spoiled for choice.
There is an option everywhere you turn to get your fill of crime fighting, damsel saving, super power wielding content. DC and Marvel are currently killing it, in every format you can think of. It’s not just a great time for fans but for members of the industry as well. Actors, directors, editors and more are being endowed with work on these long running, multiple sequel spawning franchises and that is indeed a wonderful thing.
But like I said at the top, over saturation is real and it can be a problem if we let it. Watching everything Marvel and DC pump out, regardless of its quality might not be the smartest move one could make. If you find yourself watching the latest Marvel CBS show or something over on the CW from DC and you’re thinking “God, I love superheroes and all this comic book malarkey so damn much” but then you’re thinking, as the episodes progress “but this show isn’t actually that great”, then stop watching it. Just stop. Turn it over and watch something that you think is great television. If you are finding some of this content just ‘so so’, that it’s just ‘okay’, that it will do because its a part of this genre of entertainment that you love so much then you should think carefully about sticking with it. Your continued viewing of a product you aren’t entirely happy with will only contribute to further mediocre content as the studios/networks behind these series and films will have no incentive to improve their work.
Let me stress again, I have no intention of telling people what to watch or instructing them not to watch the entertainment that they enjoy or find to be of quality, but actually quite the opposite. TV and film — like all entertainment — is subjective, everyone likes certain things but there is no doubt people are staying with certain shows and movies just because they like the genre, just because superheroes are cool right now, and not because they actually like the product and think it’s of a great standard. Behaving in such a way will stop you from receiving the best possible content, the type of content that we all deserve as viewers. There are many great comic book type products out there to digest right now but let’s be frank, there is also a lot of crap that you know could be better. Once more, I need to be clear, I love films and shows of this genre but we as people shouldn’t watch something that we don’t believe to be of great quality just because it’s part of a genre or movement that we personally favour.
The argument was put to me recently that studios and networks will always churn out whatever makes them money, irrespective of its quality and that boycotting certain products is a useless proposition, that it won’t change anything and that dumb films and shows will always be made because people enjoy them. Well, I am sorry but that just isn’t true, it just isn’t, things don’t have to be that way, and this is indeed the whole point of my argument. Just because this is how things are right now doesn’t mean that it can’t change in the future. We as an audience, as a society, don’t have to settle for “its okay”. Viewers deserve more than that.
A consumer of entertainment, saying to a friend, “Oh, DC has a new show out, I am going to watch every episode”.
And then their friend asking in response, “Do you like the show?”
With them receiving the comeback “No, but its DC… I love DC. I love superheroes”.
That is the crux of my argument and the point I am trying to make. Watching something just because you are supposed to is pretty dumb and something we don’t have to do. We need to provide Hollywood and the makers of entertainment the incentive to present us with a quality product, that’s only purpose isn’t to lure in a demographic that is consuming every little thing related to a certain genre. That is the way things are now and the way things have been for a very long time but it is not the way things have to remain. We can change this, we can be sitting at home on our sofas or in the cinema before a big screen ready to indulge in stories that are not only a part of genre or brand we love so much but also of a great quality and just damn fun to watch.
Some say that people enjoy trashy films and that this will always be the case but I just don’t believe that, I refuse too. People enjoy fun. It’s very simple. People want to be entertained. They don’t want mind numbing repetitive storylines, slapped together by someone who doesn’t care, acted out by someone who is just cashing in a pay check. We want fun and yes, we want things we enjoy, but those things don’t have to be garbage, they really don’t. Fun and quality aren’t mutually exclusive, they never have been but unfortunately for a very long time we’ve been convince otherwise. It’s a shame, a crime shame but we can change that. Look at something like Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION, a big blockbuster movie that is not only considered tremendous fun, action packed, containing all the elements of a great time but also a movie of substance and of excellence in film making. Take Marvel’s own GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY even, a superhero movie, yes, but one that is full of new ideas, one that has obviously been made by someone who deeply cares about the material. Why can’t we demand everything be of the quality of films like this? Or be up to the standard of shows like GAME OF THRONES and DAREDEVIL? Maybe this view is more contrarian than I have led myself to believe, that’s possible, sure it is, but I can’t help but think we are doing ourselves a disservice right now.
It might seem common sense not to watch something you don’t enjoy, or something you don’t think is of substantial quality but unfortunately we are all falling for this trap at one point or another, we are all forgetting our common sense. I have often found myself watching something that I certainly don’t hate, that has many aspects I enjoy but then caught myself thinking “You know what? This isn’t actually as good as it could be, this has a lot of problems, this could be better”. So why not strive for better? Why don’t we ask for more? You never get what you don’t ask for in this world, if the industry thinks we are happy with mediocre content than that’s just what we are going to get.
While writing this I was very conscious of fact that this might all come off as incredibly preachy and I am afraid that this has probably turned out to be the case. If it has, please forgive me and please know that this was never my intention. Preachy or not, this subject is one that should be discussed and the issue at hand; prevalent in the world we live in. So next time you find yourself watching a show or a film that you like but don’t love, remember you don’t have to support everything these studios make and not doing so doesn’t mean you don’t like the genre or the franchise. We can pick and choose, we can decide what is worth our time, what we really do love, what we think is great entertainment. What that thing might be is up to us as individuals, only we can decide that, but why not think about it? Ask for something more, something better and you never know, we might just get it.