For the previous seven days, up until yesterday, I'd been without cable and therefore without live television. During that week, fabulous secret powers were revealed to me as I put He-Man Season One DVD on and uttered the magic words...By the Power of Greyskull.
Unfortunately, my cat did not transform like Cringer does into Battle Cat. If anything, he simply curled up into a tighter fur ball and slept more deeply. I was a little more excited. Like any other male member of the species in my peer group, I watched hours upon hours of this early-80s cartoon during elementary school. I loved it back then, though it fell somewhere just below Star Wars, Transformers, Smurfs, and G.I. Joe. But it's hard to deny the sheer bad-assery of Skeletor, even after all of these years, he's mesmerizing.
I bring this up not to relive childhood glory...believe it or not, my viewing experience this time around actually has some merit to what I wrote about yesterday as far a writing rules are concerned.
What struck me about He-Man this time around was how packed the world of Eternia is. There are mythical elements, middle-earthy elements, yet there are also lasers, space travel, and time portals. I found myself pretty amazed by what a mash-up of genres were packed into this world. It was as if the creators thought up all the things that would appeal to boys ages 5-10 and decided to add them all.
The result is understandably a bit messy...but a damned entertaining mess. Even my cats seemed to perk up and watch as the course of the show went on. Remarkably however, all of these various elements (spells, dragons, spaceships, lasers, and Merman) fit together quite well.
One thing that fascinated me as I watched was thinking about the kind of reaction I'd get if I pitched an idea like this to one of my publishers. I'm pretty certain the reaction would be something along the lines of "What is this supposed to be?" and the request would be to go back and focus on a few key aspects.
Don't get me wrong, focus isn't a bad thing. Frankly, He-Man could use some of it. But every now and then, it's important to throw out all of those restrictions and see what comes out. Be ambitious. It's like what I've been saying about second drafts...it's better to have a mess to clean up than it is to have sterile room with nothing to look at.