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Eric Johnson On New Flash Gordon Series

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Entertainment Weekly has posted up an interview with Eric Johnson, who will be playing the titular role in the Sci Fi Channel’s upcoming Flash Gordon series.

Johnson seems pretty enthusiastic about the role, although admitting he wasn’t familiar with the character before he was actually hired for the role. That’s not a problem: there’s no reason to expect actors to be sci-fi geeks and it’s often important to have a fresh viewpoint when trying to re-imagine old characters.

But what is slightly depressing to me is that, according to Johnston, this is very much a modern Flash Gordon. We’ve seen that before in Dino de Laurentii’s 1980’s version, which is certainly good campy fun. But why is Hollywood so afraid of embracing the charming retrofuture of the past?

What is exciting about the 1930s Buster Crabbe serials is that they are about the explorations of an adventurer in outer space decades before man walked on the moon. For me, there’s something more exciting about Flash Gordon fighting the technologically advanced Ming the Merciless on the Planet Mongo when his basis of technological comparison is the biplane, the Model-T and vacuum tube radios; his adventures just don’t have the same thrill when nuclear weapons, space flight and the Internet are known technologies. That’s the appeal of retrofuturism after all: science is simply more exciting the less we know about what it can practically accomplish.

First Look: Flash Gordon [Entertainment Weekly]

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