Bad Writing

Jake Joy

Jake Joy | June 21, 2024

Bad Writing


Lately, I’ve been hearing lots of complaints about awful writing. Not mine – people aren’t saying it to my face anyway – but some movies and television shows that are getting some scathing reviews.

Some cry that this is racism, homophobia, sexism etc. That these criticisms don’t hold water because of the place from which they are thrown.

Fair enough. I am almost certain that a fair number of these reviews are tarnished by the reviewer’s personal -isms.

But all of them?

I decided to look for myself.

Under fire are:

  • Doctor Who
  • The Acolyte
  • The Rings of Power
  • Rebel Moon
  • Damsel
  • Furiosa

I can’t possibly watch all of these and condense it into one blog post, so I chose one, I will watch the others and perhaps talk about them in the future.

I watched The Acolyte. A Star Wars series that is getting raked over the coals. Much of what happens in the episodes that I watched (1-2) did not make any sense at all. Lots of contrivances, contradictions and deus ex machina littered the plot, and I found it very hard to get on board.

First, the titular Acolyte, goes after a Jedi Master with the goal of killing her. So instead of, you know, shooting her with a sniper rifle or blowing her up with a bomb or something, she fights her in hand-to-hand combat. Sorry, what?

I understood straight away that this was just because the writers wanted a cool fight scene, and to be fair, it is pretty flashy and cool. The issue, though, is it doesn’t make sense for them to fight like that. The jedi has a light sabre which she doesn’t use*, and the assassin, who seems to be trained in the force too, doesn’t.

There should be no fight here. If the characters were acting logically, the jedi would’ve simply stood up, ignited her sabre and either cut the assassin down, or force pushed her ass out into the street and alerted the space cops (Or something). A hand-to-hand fight had no place here.

Next episode, the assassin goes after another Jedi Master and tries to fight him with her bare hands as well. Despite the last attempt going very poorly (She only won because she tricked the other master into letting her guard down**).

The writing on this show smacks of a team of writers forcing (Laughs in Star Wars fan) the plot on the characters and world, instead of letting it unfold organically. Characters make decisions that don’t make any sense, and the plot just rolls forward despite the head scratching**.

She kills the next Master by convincing him to drink poison**.

And that’s only the half of it. On the other side of the galaxy, her twin sister is going about her business (with the exact same hair cut for some reason**) when she is arrested because a bartender ID’d her as the culprit of the murder despite only having a physical description. In a galaxy far, far away, that is populated by untold quintillions, they managed to find her ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GALAXY and knew she’d done it.

The worst part? In order to make the arrest make sense, the writers had the barman travel with the jedi and point at her and say, “Yep that’s her.”

Why? Why would you bring a random barman to your arrest?**

It made me chuckle out loud. I saw what they were doing, I’ve done it myself… in first drafts.

It shows a lack of care, understanding and, frankly, belief in the audience’s intelligence. People are smart, despite what warning labels would lead you to believe, and they can spot a contrivance or forced plot point a mile off. Maybe even from the other side of the galaxy.

Lazy… Is the word I want to use, but I think it’s worse than that. I think that the new breed of writers coming in to write our shows and movies are just not very good.

I don’t think they’ve put the work in. I don’t think they’ve learned their craft, and I don’t think they even realise it.

My only hope is that they improve with experience and learn from their mistakes, because if this is the future of storytelling, then, oh boy, have we got problems.




*She does use it. But only to cut some throwing knives out of the air, then she puts it away again for some reason**.

**Because the writers said so.

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