Flash Gordon (2007-2008) was a Sci Fi Channel adaptation of the comic strip of the same name, incorporating material from previous adaptations. The plot follows Flash as he discovers a rift in space leading to the planet Mongo, ruled by an evil dictator who controls the planet's water supply.The characters include:
Steven "Flash" Gordon (Eric Johnson), whose scientist father died in a mysterious accident.
Dale Arden (Gina Holden), a reporter and Flash's ex-girlfriend.
Dr. Hans Zarkov (Jody Racicot), Flash's father's eccentric research assistant.
Ming (John Ralston), ruler of Mongo (not officially called "The Merciless").
Baylin (Karen Cliche), a bounty hunter from Mongo (a new character introduced for the series).
Princess Aura (Anna van Hooft), Ming's daughter.
In the beginning, the show had a Monster of the Week format. After negative critical reactions, a mid-season retool shifted the focus to a Mongo-based story arc. Despite this effort, Flash Gordon was canceled after one season, ending on a cliffhanger.For the earlier live-action Flash Gordon series, see Flash Gordon (1954).
Provides examples of:
After the End: At least as far as Mongo is concerned; Mongo's original civilization collapsed, leaving Ming to rebuild.
And Man Grew Proud: The original Mongo civilization was highly advanced to the point where they could set up a massive mining operation on their moon and build two more moons as processing centers. This eventually led to their downfall. An accident resulted in the planet being showered with a toxic mineral, killing the vast majority of the population and contaminating nearly all water supplies. Only a few million who managed to escape to one of the moons survived before returning to the planet. The current Mongo people remember the day of the accident as the Sorrow, which is commemorated every year.
Lampshaded in an episode recap, which jokes that Ming's dungeon will be renamed "The Mongo Inn", "for its liberal check-out policy"
Cool Clear Water: Do not drink water on Mongo unless it comes from the planet's only clear source, unless you want to turn into a Deviant, a mutated mindless monster.
Distressed Dude: The intro alone has at least four shots of our heroes captured.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ming is a dictator who absolutely despises Deviants and will order a newborn's execution if his DNA contains traces of deviancy. A later episode reveals that Ming himself is a Deviant.
Enemy Mine: Flash and friends forge an alliance with the queen of Frigia, a polar region which has ice in quantities to jeopardize Ming's monopoly on potable water.
It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Flash himself, although he plays into it by continuing to search for his father once it's clear that Ming is intimidated by Flash's apparent fulfillment of prophecy. Even when Rankol tries to convince Flash that his father is already dead for his own protection so he'll give up and stay on Earth.
Klingon Promotion: Ming is dissapointed with Aura when she doesn't do it when he's incapacitated. In his mind, this indicates she's not fit to rule.
Lady Land: The Omadrians are a female-only canton (with the only males being castrated to keep them docile) specializing in powerful herbal medicine. They are led by Aura's mother.
Mad Scientist: Zarkov, as usual, but this time he's also the Stalker with a Crush (which is how he got fired from government research). The resulting character is creepier than the sum of its parts. Rankol also plays with this trope which seems to be yet another layer in his Chessmaster strategy.
Monster of the Week: The original format of the show. Something would come through from Mongo, and Flash and the others would have to either kills it or send it back, while keeping it a secret from everybody else.
Justified in that Ming does not want the people to have access to transportation that can be used against him. The few people who have automobiles are wealthy trade merchants.
Consider real-life communist nations. Only the wealthy and politically powerful had access to cars. While this policy certainly varied by nation, transportation was limited to the politically reliable (ministers) and when it was needed (police).
Even communist nations had buses and trains for the common masses, however. Ming's regime is deliberately inefficient.
Also: Mongo has all kinds of advanced technology, including the above-mentioned interdimensional travel... but the ability to build water-treatment and purification plants has somehow eluded them?
Justified in that his portal technology was created by an earth physicist who first created it himself and sent himself to Mongo accidentally. Using this physicist Ming was able to recreate the portal technology, and possibly also make the sci-fi weapon technology he uses, but it's unsurprising that the scientist didn't invent cars or water treatment plants for him. Subverted in that the scientist did in fact invent a water treatment plant while there.
Dale can drop completely off the grid for days at a time without filing a story, checking in with her editor, or even turning in an expense report, and nobody thinks this is unusual.
Too Dumb to Live: Joe Wylee, the police detective, attempts to expose Mongo’s existence without reliable evidence and is surprised when he is suspended. Later he steals a rift key to gather evidence and nearly dies on Mongo.
He never considers that his evidence will be viewed as a forgery. However, after traveling to Mongo he does say that he would not have believed the truth about the rift portals if he had not experienced it.
Villain with Good Publicity: Ming actively tries to maintain his image as "the Benevolent Father", using propaganda campaigns, celebrations, grand public gestures, and other tools of a Third World dictator trying to look legit. He will give extra water to a sick girl, while ordering her father's execution with the same breath.
Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After Ming is captured by La Résistance in the Grand Finale, he is being led to the gas chamber past his daughter and son. When asked if his own daughter would execute her father, she tearfully replies that it's necessary. His reply? "Finally, a daughter I can be proud of." He doesn't die.