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Old May 8 2012, 08:27 PM   #898
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Outland uses the semantics of space opera to tell a story with the syntax of High Noon. So is it a Western? Semantically, no, but syntactically, hell yes, blatantly so. It's not a simple yes/no question, because one story can fit in more than one genre.
So if a Western uses the syntax of Space Opera, then it's a Space Opera?
The first thing I would say is that Outland isn't without semantic elements of the Western genre, such as the mining town setting and the town marshal (complete with tin star and shotgun) who stubbornly sticks to his ideals against all else.

The second thing I would say is yes. I'm not sure why you're so aggressively arguing against this idea, since you claim that you have no problems with genre hybridization.

Even if there were examples that fell into a gray area, I'd hardly call the definition of a Western too limiting to be useful.
Your definition of the Western film is narrow to the point of excluding Western films that aren't even on the fringes of the genre. That's a textbook example of a useless generic definition.

In reviews, those films were referred to as "Westerns." In advertising, the iconography of the Western was emphasized (with each film belonging to a separate cycle of Westerns). In the video store the movies would be found next to other Westerns. On IMDB, the genre listing is "Western."
So what? As noted, all sorts of non-SF material is lumped under "Sci Fi" by reviewers and Blockbuster clerks who don't know any better.
First, looking at reviews of The Proposition on Metacritic, I can't find a single one that doesn't call the film a Western. You might think some of these reviewers are knuckleheads, but do you really suggest dismissing them all? Historically, I should point out, film critics have often played an important role in establishing generic terms. "Musical," for example, was just an adjective to describe other genres until film critics began using it to describe what we now understand as a genre (Rick Altman has a great book on the musical that discusses this in detail).

Second, you've ignored a key part of my point here, which not only was that shopkeepers and reviewers identified these films as Westerns, but the producers of these films also identified them as such. I suppose you're dismissing them, too?

If a Western has to take place in the American West, then The Magnificent Seven doesn't really qualify, either. The Mexican villagers briefly cross the border to recruit some American gunslingers, but 90% of the proceedings take place in Mexico. Or do Westerns set mostly or entirely in Mexico get a pass because of the country's proximity to the West?
It's still the North American West. Borders have nothing to do with it. The classification of a movie as a Western doesn't depend on whether or not it's set before or after California became a state.
Borders obviously have something to do with it, since you've dismissed the thought of Australian Westerns based on geography alone. I'm not sure why you've introduced California's statehood (1850) to the conversation, although I suspect you'd subscribe to a definition that limits the genre to films taking place in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Of course, your geographic limitations eliminate Westerns like Rage at Dawn (which takes place in Pennsylvania) and Saskatchewan (which takes place in Canada).
"This begs explanation." - de Forest Research on Star Trek

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