Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Episode 10 - I Need a Hero!

Strong. Noble. Honest. The hero grips sword in hand, righteous and determined, and sets upon his quest to right the wrongs of the world. Will he succeed? And why do we care?

In our milestone 10th podcast, Tim and Nick discuss what makes a hero heroic, compare "perfect" and "flawed" heroes, allude numerous times to comic books and The Lord of the Rings, and discover some possible heroic pitfalls.

So, sheath your sword, grab some mead, and settle in for a new foray into Derailed Trains of Thought.


Show Notes

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  1. But aren’t some heroes people who are thrown into crazy situations and need to rise to the occasion? Indiana Jones is like that.

    Superman did father a kid in that movie, but that was because he slept with Lois Lane in “Superman II.” They just established that that union produced a child in “Superman Returns.”
    It’s interesting how different actors and writers have portrayed Superman. Some say his identity as Superman is who he really is (which is how Christopher Reeves saw him), while others see his identity as Clark Kent as who he really is. I prefer the latter, because I find that easier to identify with. Plus, while he is a Kryptonian, he was raised as a human being by simple folks in Kansas. Superman is a man before he is a super man.

    (Actually Nick, that series was called “Red Son.”)

    Perfect heroes have their place, and their virtue is inspiring, but I do think the flawed heroes are just as heroic because they often struggle to make the right choices, which makes their right choices that much more heroic. It tells the audience that if they can do it, so can they.

    I didn’t see Tennant’s Doctor that way as his time came to an end. I will admit he developed a god complex in “The Waters of Mars,” but he regretted it at the end. He realized he was overstepping his bounds, that even with his great power, some things ARE beyond his control and he shouldn’t always interfere with the flow of time and events. I just wish that had carried over into “The End of Time.”

    You said Master Plan would be familiar to people who watch anime. Did they have their music used in anime? If so, which shows? That song sounded like ‘80s rock, which is cool.

  2. “Notorious” isn’t a true film noire, but it is considered to be the first true modern spy thriller. Many of the conventions associated with the James Bond films—exotic locations, romance with possibly nefarious women, etc.—first show up in this film. It was because of this film, among others, that Ian Fleming, the creator of Bond, asked Hitchcock to direct “Dr. No” (Hitchcock turned it down), obviously).

  3. "It tells the audience that if they can do it, so can they." By that, I mean it tells the audience that if the heroes can do it, so can the audience.

  4. Pardon me for the copious comments, but I just realized there was an old and very common hero archetype you guys didn't talk about: the reluctant hero. This is the hero who is tasked with doing great things, but he doesn't want to do them at first. Sometimes this is because he isn't confident he the right man (or woman) for the job, or because he doesn't think its his responsibility to do something, or something else is holding him back. This is usually part of the "mythic story structure," which goes all the way back to Homer, and is used in such popular stories as "Star Wars" (Luke Skywalker) and "The Matrix" (Neo). What are your thoughts on that?

  5. More comments to respond to! Here we go:

    Even if Superman II opened the possibility for Superman to father a child with Lois, I don't think it was handled well in Superman Returns. The idea of Superman leaving Lois to raise the boy on her own for several years just does not settle well with me. I also tend to fall in the "Superman is Clark Kent" way of thinking, and Clark was raised to be a family man, not someone who goes roaming the galaxy when he's needed most.

    I probably overstated my case for the perfect hero in this episode, but mainly because the flawed hero is so much more prevalent in today's culture. And there's good reason for that; the flawed hero is much more identifiable and realistic figure. As a result, the perfect hero is nowadays overlooked by storytellers and even seen as old-fashioned by some. That's really why we focused so much on it.

    (I think the reluctant hero probably also falls under the "flawed" category. I think we had planned to talk about Luke Skywalker and this category more [see our "season teaser trailer" at the end of Episode 8], but we didn't get to it, which was indeed an oversight on our part.)

    The Tenth Doctor's god complex was certainly most fully explored in "The Waters of Mars", but there were other signs that pointed to it: humanity sort of "praying" to the doctor at the end of Season Three which restored his health via psychic network, the authoritative nature he often takes when confronting enemies, and numerous references to the Doctor as the "Oncoming Storm," "Destroyer of Worlds," etc. All very interesting ways to present a character that was brought back to public consciousness by Russell T. Davies, an atheist.

    I realized when editing the episode that comment about Masterplan was probably inaccurate and potentially confusing. To my knowledge, Masterplan has never written music for any anime, but a couple of their songs have been used in some popular fan-made AMVs (Anime Music Videos). Here's an example: I couldn't find the Heroes AMV on YouTube to link to, but you should be able to find it on Enjoy!

  6. Superman didn't know he had fathered a child before he left Earth. Remember, he left because there were signs that Krypton had somehow survived. Whether or not that was a legitimate reason to leave is debatable.

    I'm not sure what Superman could do in that situation. It's not an easy place to be. On one hand, Lois was engaged to a good man who truly believed he was the boy's father, and the boy believed that too. Does Superman have the right to disrupt that what appears to be a stable family? How would the world react to such a revelation, if it found out? I'm not sure there's an easy answer. That's why I don't necessarily think labeling Superman a "deadbeat dad" in that movie is fair.