Tag Archives: americanization

Science Fiction Today – American Exceptionalism

One of the most American things I've ever seen...

One of the most American things I’ve ever seen… 

Something that has been a big topic this year has been America as a superpower – America the Great, It’s a topic probably in most presidential election years, but especially this year. The idea of American Exceptionalism is old, perhaps, tied up in revolution, manifest destiny, and all the rest; but it is most especially a result of the Cold War, and the need to posture from a position of strength against the USSR.

However, not a lot of Science Fiction includes a strong America. Indeed, often not a lot of nations at all. Sometimes a world government, and sometimes corporations are the new organization of power. Or some of both. Or a breakdown of society after an apocalyptic event. Or a new government arising after such a breakdown, like in The Hunger Games.

The main country I see showing up in a lot of Science Fiction is England, because England prevails. Takes them back to the Blitz I suppose. England just kind of keeps prevailing…

Still, throughout all of that, there’s not a lot of nations in Science Fiction. Instead, it tends to be a view past them, to either a united front or back to smaller and local force. Or perhaps to some form of future Americanization. Where does America go in all of this?

One answer might be that we still kind of see it, see democracy in action, when you get to multi-world governments. Like the Federation in Star Trek or the government on the Citadel in Mass Effect. In those examples, it’s the whole world being represented by the one agency, the one government. The whole human race.

And so maybe that’s the view we should be taking. It’s not about what’s only good for America. Not in the long run. The smaller and more local we’re thinking – even if that’s a nation – the more that we resemble a dystopia. The broader we look, the more we think of the whole world, the whole race – the more that we resemble a utopia.

Americanization of Foreign Media

David Tennant as Alec Hardy in Broadchurch from http://tennantnews.blogspot.com

David Tennant as Alec Hardy in Broadchurch from http://tennantnews.blogspot.com

Recently I found out that David Tennant will be in the American version of Broadchurch called Gracepoint apparently reprising the same character, although under a different name. Now when I originally heard they were going to do an American version of Broadchurch I was not particularly surprised. There seems to be a history of us thinking the story will work in America, but we do not just want to take the story as is and instead wanting to relate it more to the American experience, I guess. When I heard that David Tennant was reprising his role in the American version it just made the whole thing seem kind of pointless. Broadchurch was such a good show and so well done. The humanity of the story is understandable even if you are not British. They technically did show Broadchurch on BBC America already, but I wonder about other channels getting the rights to showing foreign shows. I do wonder if it is part of the fact that we feel need to “Americanize” the foreign media.

This show is not the first time that we have seen a foreign media changed to an American version of the same story. It is the fact that it is using the same actor that just seems to make it even more ridiculous. I love David Tennant as much as the next, but why do we have to make something new if the original still works. Continue reading