As mentioned in my previous post, I wrote something on Tor.com about Lost and BSG. Not coincidentally, those two television series are my favorite shows right now. But both have fallen prey to the same sad trend – the loss of the black characters on the show.
Both series started out as examples of diversity, I think it’s fair to say. Intentionally so. And that was something that mattered to me. Lost even went so far as to have one character (Jin) who spoke only in Korean. Both shows also featured black characters. Yet in both cases, those characters have either died, or become marginalized.
Click through for more (with spoilers for both shows):
Lost had Michael and Walt from the beginning and later added the wonderful Mr. Ecko. But Ecko died and Walt and Michael left the island, Michael ending up a criminal. Michael eventually returned only to die redeeming himself and leaving one lone black character on the island – Rose – who was there from the beginning, but who is a marginal character at best, most often used to harass her husband.
Battlestar started out worse, with only Dee to represent the darker peoples of the world. Later they added a black Cylon (was he ever named), but he was ever only a minor Cylon, featuring prominently in only one episode (to my recollection – where Starbuck wakes up in the hospital on Caprica). That Cylon quickly faded into the background never to reappear. And now Dee is dead.
It’s somewhat troubling. I don’t think there’s any conscious intent in any of this. But on the other hand, it hints at a possible subconscious cause. Look at any horror movie. The black character is almost always expendable. Almost always one of the first killed.It makes me terribly uneasy.
What do you think? Coincidence? Or troubling trend?