The Big Question♯2

I know this is old news but, considering that the new series of Doctor Who has just finished, I still want to moan about it. A couple of months ago Steven Moffat (head writer on Doctor Who) went on record as saying he didn't like using the Daleks because it's so obvious that they'll lose. Now please forgive me this rant for a minute, but who goes and watches a dramatical tv series, reads a comic or watches a film and thinks 'oh, I wonder if the good guy will win?'??????? For gods sake, by that logic he should just get rid of all villains and cancel the show and in fact every show, film, comic, novel etc, because its obvious that the hero does't lose!!!!!! The only time the bad guy wins is when you see Simon Cowell laughing his way to the bank.

However, this bring me to an interesting point and this weeks big question: Are arch-nemeses (Daleks, Magneto, The Joker, the aforementioned high trousered one) overused?

JR19759

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9 Responses to The Big Question♯2

  1. Alexander of Limbo

    I have to say that with an enemy that is meant to be all powerful and overly it gets to a point where you can’t use them too much. We know they’ll loose, thats just how stories work, be it in games, books, movies, TV etc. If they get overused and are seen to loose all the time then their fear factor goes. Unless their someone like the Joker, who eventually looses but it’s not about winning or loosing its about the damage they can do along the way. With daleks they can’t really kill the Doctors assistant off, or roll over a cute puppy because it’s ultimately a family show.

    Basically though they’re just old hat now.

  2. It’s pretty difficult.

    I think a way to do this is to have the nemesis win sometimes, yet the heroes defeat his masterplan at the end.
    If you’re gutsy, you can have him actually win, with the heroes having to deal with this and come back on top. Forget this, this seldom happens.

    Another one is how they did Xanathos in Gargoyles (<3 <3 <3). The heroes managed to defeat him… but this was actually at best a minor setback, and often played into his hands. This guy actually prospered over the show! That being said, he wasn't a psychopath hell-bend over world domination.

  3. Okay, simple fact. People are not just watching to see the hero win, but also HOW the hero wins. We don’t just want to see the Doctor beat the Daleks, but how he manages to beat the Daleks when all hopes are lost, and the stakes are at their highest.
    Which means the bad guy has to get some early victories in the beginning, in order to raise the stakes in the first place. The Daleks have to take over the world, the Joker has to paralyze Gotham City in a state of fear, Magneto has to take over Manhatten as a sovereign Mutant state, so that the stakes do get that high, so the hero victory is that much more amazing.
    By contrast, the hero can’t save the world every single time, or saving the world (or universe sometimes) just doesn’t seem special anymore. The writers can’t keep outdoing themselves over and over again, the hero needs a break from this. And, again, sometimes small, intimate victories can be just as fulfilling as the big, epic ones. Every hero has a rogue’s gallery of villains to test them, and test them in various ways, large or small. And using the vast array of them is how to avoid overexposure.
    So, are arch-nemeses overexposed? Only if you’re a bad writer. Moffat shouldn’t be afraid to use the Daleks. But yes, he should consider using them somewhat sparingly, so that they do hold that special spot in the franchise mythos.

  4. Villains are a necessity, but I do think the whole arch-nemesis thing is a bit overplayed. Yes the big earth-shattering, phlebotinum wielding, insert other scary descriptor here Arch-Nemesis can really make for a fun story, but it can easily get out of hand. It’s also, I’ve found, quite easy to fall into a rut where the A.N. is concerned. Eventually the plans have to get larger and larger to keep audience attention, and in the process they tend to get excessive to the point of gratuitous and ridiculous.

    Arioch brought up some good ideas to combat this, though I doubt we’ll be seeing this happen anytime soon. Another answer could be to have our hero (super or otherwise) fight more mundane villains alongside the nemesis, or have the nemesis not be so much a world ruling/destroying entity but something more like a drug cartel lord (smaller scale, but much more realistic and still has the firepower, cash resources, violence, and outright scare factor to make for a convincing villain) or even a kind of Moriarty type character. Just a thought.

  5. Renxin, you’ve just mentioned a very interesting name there. Do you know how many Sherlock Holmes stories Moriarty actually appears in? One (although he plays a direct role in another but doesn’t actually appear in character). Yet he is Holmes’ nemesis, and a good example of less is more.

  6. I am sort of on the fence here. I appreciate the idea of an arch-nemesis, but when they are the only villain the hero goes up against then it gets old. If the hero gives his/her arch-nemesis a crushing defeat, then, the writers should let that villain go into hiding and then bring them back much later when the hero doesn’t expect them, not make said villain appear after making a extremely quick recovery and more powerful than ever. If the arch-nemesis really is bent on defeating the hero to reach their goal, that villain will literally take as much time as them need to get their plan perfect, not come up with a plan that took only 2 minutes to come up with and set up and is very easy to figure out.

  7. In these ‘enlightened’ times, “when we need a hero, ~what every hero needs . . . a villain. -approximate movie quote MI3.
    A villain? You’re just “making a big target.” movie quote IM3.
    Decentralization makes terrorist organizations harder to fight. -approximate quote from public stmt, FBI.
    Supervillains are an excuse to turn your brain off. Big bads are fun to hate. Overuse, excessive focus on outdoing, and powergaming are EASIER. . . and writers DO get burned out, lazy, overworked, etc.

  8. Are they overused? By now, HECK yeah, but that’s a pretty recent phenomena… Used to be, you’d see Magneto or the Joker once every year or two, and that was plenty. Then, the Big Two started losing their top talent to creator-owned companies, and other non “Work for Hire” outfits, and the only thing they had to offer was their existing database of characters… And, if you’re working cheap just to be able to work on your favorite character, who are you going to use: The Joker, or Calendar Man? Two-Face, or The Ten-Eyed Man? {“No prison could hope to hold a man with HIS powers!”} 😉
    I understand not liking work for hire… You get one paycheck, and the company can use your character forEVER! But, it doesn’t have to work that way…

  9. I think every good hero needs an equally evil villain. I never thought these guys were any kind of fearsome looking. I also cant get into Dr. Who though. I tried, my wife made me, my brothers a Comicon guy, Look out for my brother Jon if you go. I just dont like all that type of British stuff I guess. I dont connect to it.