Writing flawed heroes & sympathetic villains almost always makes for a richer story. ALMOST. The trend that we’ve seen in pop culture over the last decade of ‘going dark’ is a problem, in that it is a trend. If the story doesn’t call for darker material, or have the space for it, force feeding it into the story does it no good.
Example: The Governor, in The Walking Dead comic, was so deliciously over the top evil and sick you reveled in hating his ass. What they tried to do in the TV show, and failed at miserably at it, was give him back story and ‘feelings’ that derailed his true mania and made his character fall flat. It was like turning a Xenomorph’s acid blood into vanilla shake.
Son of Baldwin took the Cosby Show and went dark and it’s a perfect example of how it’s done. Might be that the resonance of reality in this case lends itself to it. But that’s where I’d argue therein lies Son of Baldwin’s adept handling of the material. The horror of the Monster behind the Cosby mask is deeply unsettling.
Not to mention, this piece also asks the question, when do you separate the artist from the art? And when do they collide together so much that such a separation can’t happen? R. Kelly doesn’t get play in my ghetto blaster anymore. Neither, now, does Cosby. Where does the line fall for you?