I know I said I was going to be less active in the coming days/weeks/months/years in my previous blog, but I've hit a surprisingly rare boring/empty/uneventful day today. So that, combined with the newly-released TDAS poster, inspired me to finally spill out my thoughts on the new season in a longer and more detailed way than in my Second Generation Rankings page. So here we go:
So A) What can we deduce about the season from this poster alone, and B) What do I think of this season overall, through the poster and otherwise?
A) Obviously, a lot of the old conflicts we remember from the past will return: Courtney and Heather, Cameron and Scott, Lightning and Jo, Fang and Scott, etc. And, of course, the two most recent relationships from the series will return as well: Duncan and Gwen and Mike and Zoey.
First, let's tackle the elephant in the room: The return of the Love Triangle. Everyone's talking about, everyone's thinking about it..."Oh, Gwen glares at Duncan in the trailer!" "Oh, Duncan and Gwen are smiling at each other in this poster!" "Oh, Courtney doesn't seem to care!" I'm sure you all know my thoughts on the Love Triangle already. Obviously, there's no denying that it's been perhaps the largest, most focused-on, most dramatic, and most talked-about story in the entire series. It sprouted in season two and completely dominated season three, and now, from the talk among the fan base, it'll return for season five. Here's what I expect and hope for:
Expect: It'll completely dominate the season just like TDWT.
Hope: It will face some rough spots, but ultimately, Duncan and Gwen stay together. And no, not JUST because I personally think Duncan and Gwen are better than Duncan and Courtney
YES IT IS, YOU BIASED SON OF A B**CH. I think they need to stay together, and here's why: The point of a story/character arc is that the character(s) or relationship(s) start in one place and end in another. It's like a real-life arch. It starts in one spot, rises into the air, then comes down in another location. That's why it's called an arc, not a circle. The idea is that Duncan started out with Courtney, whom he was crazy for at first, but soon, she was literally driving him crazy, abusing him, scolding him, draining his financial resources through lawsuits over the stupidest things, and so on. So he finally found someone else who was better for him, and now he's somewhere else. Now he's happier because he's with a better person. That's the point of an arc. It develops someone through change. For the story to suddenly become a character circle and revert right back to square 1 would be completely pointless. It would be one thing if, say, Duncan decides he's better off as a loner and breaks up with Gwen so that he can be single. But if he breaks up with Gwen just to run back to Courtney, that will have officially made this the most worthless, most pointless storyline in the series. A story that took up several good episodes of one season and completely took over an entire season just to end right where it started...basically, Duncan and Courtney could've never broken up, and they'd be exactly where they are now (if, theoretically, they get back together). So, for the sake of an arc remaining an arc, that's why I think that Duncan and Gwen should stay together. If this season sees the characters revert back to where they were before, this season will sink to a whole new low for me.
Phew! Got that out of the way. The only other major aspect I think could be a genuinely interesting source of drama is the focus on the Villains team. Here you have six of the most despicable, most evil, most diabolical characters in the series thrown together (oh, and Duncan). I can see it essentially becoming a battle of dominance far superior to anything we'll see out of the Heroes: Who's the greatest villain? Who's the smartest? Who's the most determined? Maybe even what I like to call a Mystery Castmate, seen in examples like The Kobold Necromancer's "Total Drama Comeback" or my very own fanfiction, "Total Drama Action: Second Season." A new main villain whose identity is protected by the shadows, and it becomes a good old-fashioned game of "Whodunit?" Trying to guess who the villain is, especially out of so many potential candidates, and all on the same team, would be AWESOME. If the writers do go that route (which I seriously think they're not intelligent enough to do), I'd be very impressed.
Now let's talk about the characters. I'll focus briefly on each one, what I expect, and what I think about them coming back. Let's go alphabetical, shall we?
Alejandro - I could understand this guy coming back, but seriously? I mean, seriously? He's still in that stupid machine? So you expect us to believe that Scott's back to normal after...what, a few weeks? But Alejandro's still not back to normal after over one year? Unless this sets up for an awesome twist, like someone else being in the machine instead of Alejandro, this will just totally make him a dud character. Not to say he wasn't already a boring character, but still...
Cameron - Not shocked he's back. The only thing I really have to say differently about him is that, obviously, he was at his best - in both the competition and as a character - in TDR, so he can't possibly do any better this season. So I really don't expect much out of him other than more comic relief.
Courtney - Sigh...the greatest camera hog of them all returns once again. Forgetting entirely about her dominating the drama of this season through the Love Triangle...again...just the fact that she'll probably pretty much be the same whiny, cheating, suing, b**chy character that she was before means we'll see absolutely nothing new. And, love it or hate it, you have to admit that that's boring. I would like to see something different...heck, even as radical as making her nice again like the very first episode! But nope: Same old, same old Mary Sue.
Duncan - The other greatest camera hog. I expect little more than him to make it to the final five again and dominate this season via the Love Triangle. As stated before, all I hope out of him here is that he'll make the right choice and stay with Gwen.
Gwen - Truth be told, I'm not the biggest fan of her. But I will admit that her role in this series has been subject to great debate. She may be considered an anti-hero for her generally anti-social attitude that goes with being a stereotypical Goth. Some (like me) may argue that she was a hero/protagonist in TDI (alongside Owen), and degenerated into unpopularity in TDA, only to ultimately come back in TDWT since most people rooted for her over Courtney. The switch-up of her being moved to the Villains' team, though more than likely done to anger Duncan or something like that, has raised the possibility that, for the first time ever, she could become an actual villain. Maybe, being surrounded by villains, she decides to give being evil a try? I genuinely wouldn't mind that; it'd be interesting to see her change, since, again, any kind of change - good or bad - is better than same old, same old. Once again, I hope for her to at least just stick with Duncan.
Heather - My third favorite character and favorite female in the entire series. The greatest villain in the series. And, in my honest opinion, the one person with the greatest individual character arc in the entire series. Check out my ranking of her in First Generation for my explanation of that. But that's the downside: Her arc essentially ended in TDWT, so at this point, anything going forward will be a step backward. She'll never be as great as she once was - whether as a villain or an unlikely hero - so I really don't know what to expect.
Jo - Not a huge fan of her either, but out of all the villains this season, behind Heather and Scott, she's actually my third-favorite because all the others are even worse. I imagine we'll see just the same old, same old once again, which begs the question: Why have Jo when you could've just brought back Eva? There's no denying they're pretty much the same, so really, in my honest opinion, any more of Jo is just a slap in the face to
the few Eva fans out there, saying: "Haha, we're not bringing her back, we're just focusing on her total clone! SUCKAS!"
Lightning - Once again, same old, same old "in love with myself" character that Justin was. Oh, except his hair's still white. Whoop-dee-do.
Lindsay - Definitely the one character I am most happy to see return. Truth be told, she's the one truly definitive all-star in this season in my opinion. She's made it far, but never too far. She's popular, but not a camera hog. She's gotten plenty of screen time and development, but still has room for improvement. She's likable, she's funny, and she's definitely a character that, for most, is one of the first to come to mind when you think of a Total Drama "all-star." I expect good things out of Lindsay, and not just more of her hilarious stupidity. I expect for her to make one of the biggest comebacks ever, and go further than ever in this season. She's my personal choice, and a likely possibility, to be the winner of this season. Especially since the series is in dire need of a female winner, who better than Lindsay?
Sam - Truth be told, although this guy is in my top 5 favorite TDR contestants, and I am happy to see him back, he's the one character in this season that I really don't think should be back. Of all the people that I don't think match with a season called "All-Stars," this is the poster child. He was eliminated early on in TDR and has been in only one season. Yet he's suddenly being thrown into the mix with the most popular members of the entire cast? I just don't see it. And, honestly, I think he was actually at the best he could possibly be in TDR. In the very short time that he had, he had a lot of great comic relief, was surprisingly developed, and even got a girlfriend in the most crack couple in the series. I really think he was a character who was done right in such a short timespan. So, once again, I think his best days are behind him, and although it'll be interesting to see him without Dakota (Oh, God, please don't let her return still as a monster), I don't expect much out of him except...you guessed it, more comic relief.
Scott - The second-best villain in the series by far. Sadly, like Cameron and Heather, I'm pretty sure the best he has to offer is long behind him, so I don't think he'll improve much with this season. Especially with the same old conflicts, like him and Cameron and him and Fang, returning. But I'll probably still have a high opinion of him by the end. And at least he's one of the VERY few characters to be severely mutilated by the creators and actually...GASP, BROUGHT BACK TO NORMAL. Thank God for that.
Sierra - Sigh. I could understand Alejandro returning, but Sierra? Really? Just another indication that these two will go far JUST because they were the only two newbies in TDWT. I imagine she'll still be annoying as possible, but surprisingly, she's one of the few characters that I'm actually genuinely curious to see return, and here's why: She's labeled as the Obsessive Uber-Fan, in love with Total Drama and all its cast members. She was built up as such in the TDA special. But come TDWT...throw that out the window, it's all about CODY, CODY, CODY...who's now gone this season. So I am interested in what (or if) she'll become differently in this season. Maybe she can finally be what I expected from her in her debut season? That is, the fan who obsesses over everyone in the cast. It would still be annoying, but at least it'd be true to her character and exactly what you'd expect.
Mike - Another one of the few TDR characters I'm not shocked to see. Definitely one of the most popular TDR characters, although he didn't even go that far. He got a ton of screen time and development, but also still has room for expansion. Although it'd be interesting to see him be developed outside of his MPD (since he apparently "conquered" it last season), they'll more than likely just inexplicably bring it back for kicks. So, outside of that and furthering his relationship with Zoey, I don't think we'll see much different...unless they do go the route that's been mentioned the most about him having a downright evil personality that makes him a surprise antagonist among the heroes. THAT would be AWESOME.
Zoey - At least she's back to normal after her transformation into Izzy 2.0 at the end of TDR, so that's good. Again, outside of her relationship with Mike, I don't see much for her this season.
The cast overall, though, is my biggest grievance with this season. I mean, just look at that poster. I don't know about you, but every single time I see this group, it just doesn't click for me. I don't see it. I don't picture this as the definitive group of "all-star contestants" that should represent the most popular people this series has produced. I can't believe the creators fell into the black hole of cliches by automatically giving half of the cast to TDR contestants "just to be fair," but bringing back only FIVE original contestants? You've got to be kidding me. In all honesty, not only if it were up to me, but if I were to tell you my idea of the definitive TD "all-star" cast, it'd be this:
Doesn't that seem better? Owen? Izzy? LeShawna? Heck, even Brick! In all honesty, Brick is the one person that I think should've been brought back the most. He'd still be a male, and a contestant from TDR, but unlike Sam, he got further in the competition, was much funnier, more popular, and an overall better character who, while still developed, had room for improvement. Definitely would've been a better choice than Sam. But again, this cast just doesn't cut it for me. So, for that primary reason, as well as the fact that most of the characters have reached their peak, have no further room for development or anything new, don't appear to change into anything new, and the fact that the pointless Love Triangle will return once again, I am genuinely preparing for this to be the absolute worst season of the series. No joke. Unlike TDR, where my expectations were low out of caution, I genuinely have low expectations because I think this will be a terrible season. Again, check my Second Generation Rankings to see the only two expectations I'm holding onto in order for the season to pass the test of my approval. But really, in all honesty, I think this will be a waste of a season. Sure, I'll still watch it. But I am pretty much bracing for impact here, and getting ready to rank this behemoth below TDA if worst comes to worst.
Hopefully Pahkitew Island will be better.