Imagine this: the night is set for a glamorous TV award show in the heart of Hollywood. The red carpet ribbons its way to a grande theatre entrance and the stars look lavish, glimmering in the golden Californian sun. Cameras flashing at lightning speed try to archive the beauty while amidst the ruckus trudges in a large being. He is positively unsightly with a wrinkly, sallow-grey tint to his skin. His ears are pointy; mouth and teeth, large and feral. No folks, this is no Joan Rivers. Instead of sporting the latest Versace or Valentino, he’s adorned with strategically-placed pieces of mixed and matched fabric. Everyone freezes; even the aforementioned Ms. Rivers doesn’t grab the opportunity to gabber with him.
He is not welcome at the Emmys. His world is that of fantasy–made up of the ghosts, demons, slayers and paranormal F.B.I. agents that Emmy doesn’t extend invitations to.
Despite the strides Emmy has made in past years to acknowledge the often-omitted, they still fail to recognize the importance of genre television such as science-fiction and fantasy among their ranks. Awarding shows like Lost provide retribution, but I’m betting if the creature on Lost ends up looking like Mr. Demon from my Emmy flashback, the show would conveniently misplace its way out of Emmy voters’ lists.
The truth is Mr. Demon deserves an Emmy.
Boyd Tonkin, a columnist for The Independent (U.K.) once said in an in interview that there is a very real, living snobbery associated with science-fiction and fantasy. Methinks he was on to something.
Think about the excellent sci-fi shows that have graced and redefined the way we watch TV in recent years. Xena. X-Files. Buffy. Angel. Stargate. Farscape. Now, think deeply about the mainstream award nods they’ve received outside of something technical or make-up related. One, maybe two…Let’s not even talk about a chance at winning.
Despite their unwavering ability to leave behind a legacy (shows like Alias, Smallville, Charmed, Tru Calling, Point Pleasant, Medium and Supernatural wouldn’t have existed without them), the science-fiction genre remains the most overlooked and mistreated relative of television existence. They are the shows that will never–despite unparalleled presentations of creativity–win awards because society doesn’t like having Mr. Demon replace the blatant beauty of most other television.
Audiences like straightforwardness and the ability to decipher just what is going on (or at least be convinced that they will know eventually). Science-fiction is grounded in imagination; outer-space on ships, hellmouths, and parallel dimensions where nothing is predictable and everything is possible. What’s more is that it forces an audience to think. If you look closer, Mr. Demon is the metaphorical representation of your worst fear; the mysterious monster-dude in your closet finally given form.
It takes a lot to be scribe for sci-fi–you have to understand the deepest, darkest introspections of human nature and form them into monsters that inhabit the worlds you create. Similarly then, it takes a lot to be a viewer of sci-fi. The ability to acknowledge the deep, dark themes of your life while recognizing and accepting them as creatures on your screen isn’t easy to digest.
I’ve come to realize that some people do not and will not have the ability to take part in this monstrous digesting.
Perhaps this is why sci-fi seems relegated to a scant million viewers who aren’t turned off by sallow-skinned demons, but instead invite them with open arms into their homes every week. Perhaps this is why Emmy sees excellence in make-up and not the underlying quality of it all.
Their loss is my secret gain.
Invite postage to outer-space is probably uber-expensive anyway. Seems they like to use that money to mold extra statuettes for the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond.