To err is human, to forgive divine. So I guess if you forgive these people and companies for making some of the most moronic decisions of this year, you're a god. Congratulations! Now cast your divine attention to learning how DC, Cartoon Network, Disney and more bungled their way through 2013.
DC Hires Orson Scott Card, Creates PR nightmare
DC kicked the year off by hiring scifi author and very outspoken anti-gay rights advocate to pen an issue of Adventures of Superman, beginning a year in which it seemed the comics publisher could do almost nothing right. DC pointed out that its writers' personal statements in no way indicated the company's views, but the decision not only caused fans to boycott the title, but many stores refused to carry it as well. Artist Chris Sprouse quit because of the (negative) media attention the whole thing was garnering, too. DC's bizarre response was to announce Card's story had been delayed, promising it would still be coming out, which kept people angry about DC's support of Card… but then not ever releasing the issue. Seems like DC could have avoided a lot of hassle if they'd just done that at the start.
DC Forbids Batwoman's Gay Marriage, Continues PR Nightmare
After the Orson Scott Card kerfluffle, you might think that DC would be extra-sensitive to any other issues that might construe them as being anti-gay, right? Wrong. DC's next big gaffe came when they basically announced they refused to let Batwoman get married to her female partner Maggie Sawyer, causing the series' writer and artist to quit DC altogether. Now, besides losing the talented team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, this only exacerbated DC's problems. Co-publisher Dan DiDio announced that the company didn't have a problem with gay marriage, it just didn't think it was appropriate for any of its superheroes to get married — which was nonsense for a lot of reasons, not least of which that Aquaman was currently married (which was swiftly, if awkwardly, retconned immediately thereafter). Again, we believe that DC didn't make the decision because Batwoman was gay, but the fact is they put themselves in a position where they had to basically say out loud "We refuse to let this gay character get married" mere months after hiring Orson Scott Card. This was an easily avoided situation that DC managed to fuck up as badly and publicly as possible.
The BBC and Steven Moffat Blow Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary
Very few pop culture characters manage to make it to the esteemed 50-year mark, and even fewer series. So the fact that Doctor Who had been around for (most of) the last half-century was a major cause for celebration. But what do we get? A mere eight episodes, a 90-minute 50th anniversary special that was mostly just David Tennant and Matt Smith palling around, and the docudrama about the creation of Doctor Who, An Adventure in Time and Space. Surely there was more that could have (and should have) been done to celebrate this iconic character. More episodes. A (much) bigger special — maybe one that aired over several nights. Maybe they could have used actor David Bradley (who played the actor William Hartnell in the docudrama) to play the First Doctor in the special, to tie Doctor Who's past and present together. And again, more episodes. The sad part is the most exciting Doctor Who product of the year was the 8-minute minisode featuring the return of Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. That's not right.
Syfy Spends $100 Million to Create Okay TV Series Defiance
Defiance isn't bad. It started out kind of rocky, and sure, the finale was pretty terrible, but it continually improved over its first season and will probably be even better when it returns for season 2. The problem? In no way does Defiance justify the 100 million dollars Syfy spent to make it, either in quality or in ratings. Part of the money was spent on making the accompanying Defiance tie-in videogame, which has only been a modest success, and part was spent on the show's special CG effects, which are nice, but are kind of wasted in what is every other respect an average Syfy series (and for every really nice CG sequence, there's a really cheap-looking CG sequence, because even $100 million only gets you so far). Basically, Syfy could have ignored the videogame and spent less on CG and ended up with the same quality and the same ratings. And if Syfy canceled shows like Alphas and Warehouse 13 to free up money to make Defiance, then this was an even poorer decision.
Companies Splitting DVD/Blu-ray Extras
2013 saw the disturbing trend of companies distributing different extras to its DVD, Blu-ray, and sometimes even the digital download version of its movies, especially for big releases. It's like these movie companies are trying to kill the home video market. Seeing as the fans who care about the extras are also going to be the same fans who want all of the extras, forcing consumers to by two (or even three) separate versions of a title in order to amass all of a film's supplemental materials is pretty much larceny. It was bad enough when companies started putting more extras on the Blu-ray versions of movies, forcing fans to purchase the more expensive version of a title, but this is pure, naked greed, which comes mainly at the expense of fans. When no one version of a home video release is best, why should consumers buy any of them?
Disney Decides to Rush the new Star Wars Sequel
While it remains to be seen if this will truly end up a blunder or not, Disney's decision this year to rush the infinitely anticipated Star Wars sequel into production for a late 2015 release does not bode well for… well, anything. The script won't be turned in until next month, and then director J.J. Abrams has to cast, shoot, and assemble one of the most special effects-laden movies possible in less than two years, which sounds like madness. Seeing as Disney is basically relaunching the entire Star Wars franchise with this film, which not only includes more movies but a massive amount of merchandising, you'd think that Disney would want to take the time to do the first sequel right. But apparently Disney considers its 2015 revenue more important than the potential future profits of the entire Star Wars franchise. Maybe Episode VII won't suffer for being put on this extreme fast-track, but we guarantee it definitely won't make any part of the movie better.
Riddick Goes for an R Rating to Show Us Starbuck's Boobs
Vin Diesel and the crew of Riddick apparently fought tooth-and-nail for the movie to achieve its R rating, and it may have resulted in the worst movie of the trilogy. Not only did it preclude the 13-to-17-year-olds who are any scifi/action/horror movie's prime audience, but what did Riddick's R-rating achieve? A lot of misogyny and a brief shot of Katee Sackhoff's breasts. Not only would the film had made more money if they had stayed at PG-13, it would likely have been better, too.
Cartoon Network Cancels Young Justice Because It Appeals to Girls
The Young Justice cartoon got decent ratings on Cartoon Network. The Young Justice cartoon was canceled. In a recent interview, producer Paul Dini revealed the heartbreaking reason behind this — because the audience consisted of so many girls. Apparently, girls don't buy action figures, and that is ALL that network execs care about. They don't care about quality, they don't care about viewers or ratings (somehow), they only want boys as their audience because boys buy the toys. Not only is this upsetting, it's imbecilic because 1) Bandai's Young Justice toys were terrible, so boys weren't buying them anyways, and 2) if someone could just make toys that girls want to buy, this problem would be solved. Girls don't buy action figures? Then sell them something else. Don't cancel perfectly good shows because you are too lazy to market to half the goddamn population.
Weinstein Decides to Dumb down Snowpiercer
Bong Joon-Ho's movie adaptation of the French graphic novel Snowpiercer is an action-packed, but thoughtful, examination of class warfare brought-to-life on a train containing the last remnants of humanity. It's smart scifi. Which is, of course, why Harvey Weinstein wants to take all the smart out of it for its North American release, by cutting 25 minutes of footage and adding voiceovers to ensure that the audience who was almost certainly not going to see Snowpiercer anyways can understand what's happening. Meanwhile, the people who actually are interested in seeing Snowpiercer are furious that Weinstein is refusing to let them see the original version that the talented director made. It's a recipe for disaster that practically ensures that Snowpiercer will tank in America.
The Secret of Khan
We may have mentioned our feelings on J.J. Abrams' decision to keep Benedict Cumberbatch's villain in Star Trek Into Darkness a "secret" previously, so we won't rehash it here. We'll rehash it here, here and/or here.