Optimality of genre mash-ups

Continuing the thread from yesterday, I’ve been doing a review of notable genre mash-ups. I have just started watching (for the first time) the premiere season of Veronica Mars, an excellent mash-up of “High school drama” meets “Film noir detective”.

It’s a show that follows in a continuous thread of great mash-ups that have woven their way through decades of popular culture. Immediately before VM, you can see the influence of Buffy, and of course immediately after VM you can see the influence upon Rian Johnson’s insanely brilliant Brick.

All of this makes me wonder: Are some cross-genre mixes inherently better than others? Or could you mix any two genres together successfully, if you really knew what you were doing?

Somewhere there is a game / challenge here. Get a group of great writers in a room together and pick two genres at random out of a fishbowl. Right then and there they need to write a treatment, be it “Beauty contest” meets “Police comedy” (I think we all know how that turned out) or “Killer clowns” meets “Star crossed lovers” (that one, I think we are still waiting for).

Maybe the very incongruity of the challenge would be a source of inspiration. After all, a film that was essentially a mash-up of “Western” meets “Space Opera” wasn’t at all an obvious choice before it led to the most successful cinema franchise of all time.

2 Responses to “Optimality of genre mash-ups”

  1. Adrian says:

    “Western” meets “Space Opera”: _Firefly_? No? _Cowboys and Aliens?_

    Oh, you meant _Star Wars_. I’ve always considered that “Swords and Sorcery” meets “Space Opera.”

  2. admin says:

    Maybe you are right. I just always thought it had the classic dramatic structure of a Western.

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