Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Shakespearean Heroes Science Fiction Should Steal From

William Shakespeare was the J.J. Abrams of his day, reinvigorating Elizabethan England's worn-out action-adventure franchises. And Shakespeare's writing still has clues for today's story-smiths. Characters who switch from nice to nasty? Secret passions? Strange disguises? The Bard got there first.

There's a reason actors are so juiced up to do Shakespeare, besides the fancy speeches and the prestige: Shakespeare does tricky character arcs and memorable people. And whenever you watch something like Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Star Wars or Star Trek giving you a character who goes through a drastic transformation or a serious conflict, you're watching little chunks of unresolved Shakespeare. (Of course, a lot of these things go back to Sophocles, and probably the first cavewoman to stage playlets around the fire pit.)

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