While the Grammys (rightfully) hogged a majority of the headlines this past week, there were a couple of television-related happenings that, in my opinion, have yet to receive their fair share of media attention. And so, I’d like to take a moment to bring those issues to light.
Netflix picks up legendary game
Netflix is creating a live-action series based on Nintendo’s beloved video game series The Legend of Zelda. This might or might not be exciting news to everyone, but it’s exciting news to me. The project has barely gotten off the ground, and the writing team has yet to be established, but as of now, it sounds like Zelda is happening. And everyone has an opinion on it.
For most people like me — people who grew up with the series — this is exciting. It’s a dream come true, really. My childhood revolved around The Legend of Zelda. While my friends insisted on watching MTV dating shows and trying (and failing) to procure tobacco products, I was penned up in my room with a glass of chocolate milk, a GameCube controller and a dopey smile on my face. That dopey smile made a comeback when I heard about the possibility of a live-action series.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. Some people are claiming that capturing the magic of Zelda in a live-action format is nothing short of impossible. And while it’s true that the series relies heavily upon magic and other fantasy and supernatural elements, I don’t think “impossible” is the right word. It will take a certain amount of innovation, and low-budget production is simply out of the question. But if Netflix and Nintendo can somehow cooperate, and if they play their cards right, this could be huge.
Video games aren’t often made into movies or TV shows, especially not in a live-action format. It happens, but it’s never done well. But there are leagues of former fantasy geeks and video game nerds who would eagerly devour a successful adaptation of the Zelda franchise. It’s a relatively uncharted market, but I guarantee the audience is there.
For all we know, the project could fall through. Developers could fail to find a writer, or Nintendo could prove impossible to work with. “The Legend of Zelda” live-action series might never see the light of day, but let’s hope it does. Let’s cross our fingers and pray to whichever gods we might or might not believe in.
I need this.
ABC sitcom deserves praise over approach to delicate subject matter
It’s been almost a year since I first saw a trailer for ABC’s new family sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” and the series finally premiered last week. The show focuses on an Asian-American family that recently moved to Orlando, Fla., in hopes of achieving a better life.
And it’s hilarious.
For a network program that so heavily relies on race, I’m amazed at the lack of backlash “Fresh Off the Boat” is receiving. I’m amazed, but I’m also pretty stoked. Race has always been a delicate subject in America, but we seem to be living in a climate that’s particularly sensitive to issues involving matters of skin tones and accents.
Ratings show that “Fresh Off the Boat” is off to a strong start, and I think part of that lies in the expert writing of the show’s developers. While the sitcom is laugh-out-loud funny, it never falls into the temptation of using cheap stereotypes. Sure, the sitcom’s work-oriented mother, Jessica (Constance Wu), seems to perfectly embody the typical “tiger mom” stereotype so common among Asian mothers, but upon closer analysis, there’s a depth to her character to which anyone can relate. At the end of the day, Jessica, and really all of the characters, just want to fit in. They just want to be happy.
And that’s what “Fresh Off the Boat” is really all about. The sitcom perfectly embodies the feeling of being an outsider. We all have this deep-seated desire to fit in, and we all know how hard it is when we don’t.
“Fresh Off the Boat” is healthy for America. Not only is it delightful to share in the Huang family’s daily struggle to fit in with society, it is also delightful to see a positive representation of a subgroup we don’t often see.
The TV world has been working hard toward equal representation, and though we still cry and complain about the over-representation of white people on TV, it’s important to take note of the progress we’ve made. “Fresh Off the Boat” is a testament to that progress. The fact that a network sitcom with five nonwhite characters can achieve such high ratings should be encouraging, and I’m hoping people realize that.
If you haven’t watched “Fresh Off the Boat,” I encourage you to check it out. The family sitcom genre might be a bit overdone at this point, but this program brings something new to the table that the other shows simply do not.