Nerd Wars

Slashdot gets a sometimes-interesting conversation going in response to a BBC report of Serenity beating Star Wars for best sci-fi movie of all time. The result was reached in a poll of 3,000 SFX Magazine readers. One Slashdot reader comments:

I think if they were operating systems Serenity would be Linux (small market share in general, but popularised in geek circles by very loyal fans/users). Star Wars would be Windows (huge market share, almost no loyalty). This being a nerd poll, Serenity will win by a huge margin.

It’s certainly an understatement to claim that Star Wars commands no more loyalty than the default PC operating system, but consider how this poll might have turned out if there were more high-profile Star Wars news going on right now. Blogger Danny Choo takes a quick look at Google Analytics to suggest that the giant-robot anime franchise Gundam maintains a steady fan base online, whereas Star Wars fan activity online ebbs and flows with the release of new Star Wars products. (Link via Kotaku.)

If such results were to hold up under a more sustained analysis, it would be interesting to see whether Star Wars loyalty and interest are more contingent upon other product offerings. And, of course, it’s also quite possible that web site hits and SF magazine polls are poors measures for fan loyalty and interest when considering transmedia franchises.

I can’t help but wonder, actually, if the respondents in the SFX Magazine poll were answering for best franchise/universe (as opposed to best movie) with regard to Star Wars and Serenity. Perhaps the juxtaposition of the two titles was enough to heighten a sense of contrast between them, as fans have been bitter in recent years about “the prequels” and have held up Firefly as everything Star Wars could have been, but wasn’t.

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