Other Ten Percent 6/20/14

Jun 20 2014

I was going to write up how Mallory Ortberg is a national treasure today but frankly you guys have heard that week in and week out for months. Basically I am in awe of not only how good her writing is but how prolific she manages to make that output. She writes the equivalent of a weeks worth of OTP most days and, unlike me, they don’t suck. Instead let’s do a quick TV recap.

Paul Dini’s Future Taxi is a short lived animated series that aired around 1998 in a dream I just had last night. As implied by the show’s title Future Taxi was a rare stab at an original IP by writer/producer Paul Dini who’s probably best known for his work on the Batman and Superman animated series. While there was a lot to recommend this show, which, again, only existed in a weird dream I had last night, it was ultimately done in by one fatal flaw: there was just WAAAY too much going on.

The protagonist of the show is the driver of a flying taxi somewhere in the far future of New York City though it is implied that he has had many careers through his life. While he occasionally flies around an actual fare his job is mostly just an excuse to get him from location to location in the city where there’s just crazy stuff happening constantly. Dinosaur attacks. Supervillain terrorist attacks on the subway. Aliens.

While he was never a superhero himself the protagonist clearly has some past history with the city’s superhero community since they all treat him with a lot of respect when he shows up to basically stand around and stare at weird shit going down. They also all seem to have a really detailed understanding of the main character’s issues with his ex-wife. Oh right I forgot to tell you about how he’s divorced.

She works in a miscellaneous important job that seemed kinda like she worked for the government but probably not since the government is just alien overlords (I’m getting to it) and she ALSO shows up to basically everything that happens so he can feel bad about their failed relationship and try and do better by like saving people in the subway station that’s collapsing or whatever. It’s kinda heavy for a Paul Dini show, but they were always trying to push the boundaries of what was acceptable in saturday morning programing in the 90s. Batman basically kills the Joker in a Batman Beyond TV movie and I wasn’t even asleep when I watched that.

There’s also a really shitty and obvious arc where one of the other characters (a garbage man that is mysteriously present at major events) is SO CLEARLY the main character at another point in his timeline occasionally showing up with small bits of wisdom about everybody’s future. Like they barely even gave him a different haircut. I mean I know it was supposed to have been but wasn’t actually made in 1998 but COME ON subconscious Paul Dini.

Oh right, also also, at some point in the past it seems like Earth was invaded by human looking aliens who rule over the planet but are, in general, pretty benevolent about the whole thing? Like it really doesn’t seem to effect the Taxi Driver’s life that much that’s for sure. That may be however because they’re just too busy with their own internal politics to really go about oppressing us. Huge portions of the program (and at this point running time for this show is SUPER hazy. Like…88 minutes an episode?) were dedicated to a weird coup among the alien royalty that forced several of the young members of the alien ruling class on the run where they could eventually hope to overthrow the people that killed their parents in some weird Dune/Game of Thrones crossover or something.

Overall while there were some compelling scenes the pacing issues make it really obvious why this show was canceled quickly even in my own subconscious which is, again, the only place it ever actually existed.

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