I’m moving out of the Bockschloss and I’m trying to decide what small nation to annex. I no longer need the vast underground caverns, hewn from the living rock by my minions and besides that, I need a place closer to town. I’m getting too old for intruders abseiling into my lair and shooting it out with my henchmen while I press buttons dropping hapless prisoners into vats of ravenous piranhas. It’s just so yesterday.
What’ll I do, Bullet? I asked my issue.
Buy something smaller, he suggested with considerable sang froid as he continued to play Angry Bastards on his iPhone.
Take something smaller, I reminded him. Don’t forget the henchmen.
Henchmen? he sneered. Henchmen? They can’t do anything. One hero who doesn’t look at explosions could easily take out a hundred henchman.
He had a point. Henchmen. Startroopers. German soldiers. Indians. They’re all a waste of time when a Hollywood hero fronts up. Take that, you ridiculous high-tech enemy with enormous super powers.
And so it went as we watched the Stargate Atlantis episode where Ronon is hunted by the Wraith on his home planet, Sateda.
It’s great. This episode is a computer game made into a TV story with the first-person shooter followed around his home town by inferior opponents . Why? demands Bullet. Why did the Wraith leader say, we’ll take you to your own planet and hunt you? Why didn’t they just kill him?
Bullet is right, of course. This makes no sense at all, but if any of it added up, we’d have no fiction and no TV series. They’re the bad guys, all right? Therefore, they do standard bad-guy things like explaining everything as they point a gun at you. They’re bad guys. It’s as simple as that, although I have to say, the Wraith are a bit creepy even for me. They creep me out.
Why did the bad Wraith leader send Ronon to his home planet instead of exterminating him on the spot? Simple. Plot is more powerful than Wraith, and they needed to explore the first-person shooter trope. I love this, and so does Bullet, so we spent a happy hour watching Ronon picking up weapons and health as he zapped countless Wraith sprites until eventually the Boss came down to the Doomscape to confront him face to face.
This episode is packed with every action-hero cliché ever know and I love it for that. Ronon walks away from explosions. He pulls a piece of shrapnel from his leg and feels better after a fight. Bad guys couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.
Being my son, I’m afraid Bullet has inherited some of my traits, and so, when I finally return to the main subject, I can hardly complain at his response.
In buying a house, I say, the position of the sun is important to me.
I know, he replies. Imagine if you bought a new house and the sun rose in the south.