Here we go again, kids.
But rather than just whine about it, let’s think about what’s working and what’s not. Working: Artistic form. Not working: story and character development. I have said this before but it bears repeating. Even if we knew, in the old days, that the entities threatening the environment would either be vanquished or be ultimately convinced that their world view is flawed and would soon be redeemed, we got to know them as characters. Rod Bassy, Big Mike, The crooked senator’s aid Johnny Walker, the dude who poached turtle eggs, Dirty Dyer with the (What th—) Rhino Horns. Mark himself is boring. Like Oatmeal without any brown sugar. Think wallpaper paste. There’s nothing you are going to do to turn him into Indiana Jones. He needs a foil, someone to vanquish through his own vapidness and low-on-the-spectrum emotional intelligence. I have a theory- that James Allen inherited the franchise with a few story lines already sketched out. Allen took over in May of 2014. Good Lord that was a while ago, wasn’t it? And we are still here… Anyway, we had an initial glimpse of what was to come, with Mark getting “in trouble” on his own and having to sleep in a tree to avoid the cranky black bear. Then came the African Odyssey, The adventure in the Great Dismal Swamp, Wally’s adventures with the the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, (where we first met Abbey Powell and learned of the considerable resources of the USDA,) then Mississippi Ken and the sick shark, followed by our deep descent into the cave system (both literally and figuratively,) and now here we are in Hawaii. There are hints of Jack Elrod in the early Allen era, but as we move forward, there is damn little. More story lines involving Mark’s daring-do, and battling the effects of invasives, but really nothing else to sink our teeth into. I’m not suggesting that any of this is easy… but don’t take for granted that the Trail-verse can be maintained, or even flourish, without it.
On the other hand, why on earth do I care??