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Old July 20 2012, 09:46 PM   #1171
Christopher
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Knowing how networks think (i.e. assuming that the success or failure of a show is a function of its category or subject matter rather than its quality), I wouldn't be surprised if the failure of the V reboot has hurt the chances of the Alien Nation reboot getting made.

Anyway, although I'm not opposed to reboots and reinventions as a rule, I'd rather see an in-continuity sequel to Alien Nation than a reboot. I loved the world created by that show; it really felt real and tangible to me. (While the show was on the air, I bought into its reality so fully that when I was outside and saw a bald man in the distance, for a split-second I'd think it was a Newcomer.) So I'd love to revisit that world and see how it's evolved over the past 20 years. (It's different from Star Trek, which has already had plenty of chances to expand its world, so it's gotten to the point where I'd be intrigued to see a truly distinct take on it. Alien Nation, by contrast, only got one season, a few TV movies, and a smattering of novels and comics of variable quality, so I feel that world still has a lot of untapped potential.)
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Old July 21 2012, 12:01 AM   #1172
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

CW has a me-too Sleepy Hollow project. Yeesh.

I don't see the point of doing this concept in the modern day. That's just Supernatural/Grimm all over again. But a supernatural or even sci fi series in a historical (pre-1950s) setting would interest me.

Someone should dust off that Poe pilot that ABC rejected a couple seasons back, cast an appropriate actor in the lead (someone like Michael Emerson) and give that a shot.
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Old July 21 2012, 12:04 AM   #1173
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

I think the boat has passed on an Alien Nation continuation, sadly. The series ended in 1990, and the last TV movie (a ratings failure) aired in mid-1997. The cast and the crew has aged quite a bit, and it's not a property with more than limited nostalgia value.

It's such an interesting and perpetually relevant concept (perhaps more so now than in 1988-1997) that I hope it's returned to eventually, though. A shame Tim Minear's remake didn't come to fruition.
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Old July 21 2012, 12:44 AM   #1174
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Harvey wrote: View Post
I think the boat has passed on an Alien Nation continuation, sadly. The series ended in 1990, and the last TV movie (a ratings failure) aired in mid-1997. The cast and the crew has aged quite a bit, and it's not a property with more than limited nostalgia value.
Well, I wasn't talking about a revival with the same characters, but more like a new series set in the same reality, with maybe some guest appearances or supporting roles by some of the original cast. As I said, the original show created such a rich reality that there's potential in it for doing more than just one set of characters in one city. (The comic-book tie-ins at the time were along those lines: they weren't about the TV cast, but were about other, original characters in the same world.) Although it would be nice and nostalgic to follow up on the original cast, I'm more interested in seeing how American society would've evolved after having Newcomers around for over 20 years (or less, if you set it in the present instead of five years in the future like the original).

If you did it that way, approached it like Trek: TNG with a new series and cast in the same universe -- with a different situation because the aliens have been around longer and they and the world have had more time to adapt -- then you could have a fresh, new series while still continuing the universe of the old series.
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Old July 21 2012, 02:47 AM   #1175
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

So I finished Electric City and the last ten episodes... are not really different than the first ten. There's not a lot of narrative focus on any one set of characters, so some stuff happens without any real reason, the world building is minimal, and the Spite Old Bitches motivations for their methods aren't well developed. There's a few things in the back half that should've been done in the first half, like set up the whole "Outside" thing, show off the hydroelectric power generators, and demonstrate that the world is full of harsh weather (which would make the SOBs' decisions more understandable), but this really feels like it's a miniseries pitching itself to an actual network than an actual story.
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Old July 21 2012, 04:39 AM   #1176
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Blastr has put up some quotes from the Defiance TV show cast members describing their characters while they were at Comic-Con.
Julie Benz: "I play Amanda Rosewater, the newly appointed mayor of the town of Defiance. She is a little in over her head trying to keep the peace amongst the humans and the aliens. I've worked a lot in genre shows, and what I love is how strong the female characters are, and in this show specifically, the men are great but I think the power lies with the women. Each female character is so well formed and thought out. They each have their power, and there's no victim. It really resonated with me in the script."
Stephanie Leonidas: "I play Irisa, who travels to Defiance with Nolan (Grant Bowler), who is basically her father figure. Even though he's human and she's alien they have quite a fiery relationship. They are fiercely loyal to one another, but as any father/daughter relationship they have their ups and down ... just with knives. We end up at Defiance, and I'm not happy about being there at the moment. I am very quiet in the show and I don't talk much, but when I do it's because I am very passionate about something. You wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her."
Grant Bowler: "My character, Nolan, comes in with Irisa in the open of the show. He was once a part of a unit that Defiance was named after. He was in a group of heroes that ended the Pale Wars and stopped this worldwide catastrophe. He's since become a scavenger and a ne'er-do-well, which I identify with more than the whole hero thing. The only decent thing he's done since is take this young creature in and raise her. He's all about what he can get, and his objective is to kiss all the girls in town in order to win all the money. He ends up in a position of authority, which isn't really a good thing."
Mia Kirshner: "I play a Kenya, a madam, or a pleasure ambassador. She inhabits this world where she can cross over between different species. She runs this club [The Need/Want] that she's created where every fantasy you have exists within this club. She is a very complex, magical, dangerous, naughty character. What I love about the character is that she's grounded in a very strong reality."
Jaime Murray: "I play Stahma Tarr, and I'm married to Datak Tarr (Tony Curran). I come from a very powerful family in a caste system. It's a patriarchal society, and women don't have a lot of power, which doesn't sit well with my character. She finds her power in other ways, which is fun and interesting."
Tony Curran: "I play Datak, who is married to Stahma, and he's from the lowest caste and the lowest rung of the ladder imaginable. He's an uncompromising survivor. She's the words in the relationship, and I'm the action. Datak tends to get aggressive and be on the front foot. We met on the ark on the way from their planet. Back on our planet, if she would have married me it would have been a scandal, because she would have dropped from the top caste and had to live in squalor. But we're quite a full-on couple."
I find it rather ironic that Stephanie Leonidas is in this, because I was thinking about watching MirrorMask again, and it got me wondering what she was up too.
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Old July 21 2012, 09:41 AM   #1177
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Christopher wrote: View Post
^It's not weird at all. It's what creators have done for thousands of years.
I didn't say it was unusual. I said it was weird.

Harvey wrote: View Post
Pushing Daisies was cancelled after two short seasons. In other words, it failed. Bryan Fuller might want to do something totally original again, but he doesn't control the money -- the Hollywood studios, and the advertisers, do -- and they've always been risk-adverse. Better to back a pre-sold property that will have a built-in audience then to back something harder to market.
Yeah, that's exactly it.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Why assume some crass commerical motive?
Because it's a business. The money is controlled by people with crass commercial motives.

How do we know that Bryan Fuller isn't simply a fan having fun with characters he adores?
Because they're not the characters he adores. They're new characters with the names of characters he adores.
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Old July 21 2012, 12:03 PM   #1178
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
^It's not weird at all. It's what creators have done for thousands of years.
I didn't say it was unusual. I said it was weird.
Unless you're suggesting it's supernatural then you were saying it was unusual

weird (wÓrd)adj. weird∑er, weird∑est 1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.
2. Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange.
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Old July 21 2012, 01:42 PM   #1179
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Why assume some crass commerical motive?
Because it's a business. The money is controlled by people with crass commercial motives.
Well, yes, but that doesn't mean the people they hire to do the creating aren't genuinely inspired. Hell, Greg and I get paid to write Star Trek novels, which is all a commercial enterprise where the studio is concerned, but I can assure you that we both love Star Trek deeply as fans and are motivated by the love of the work and the concepts. Yes, we do it for money, but you do your job for money too, so you're being a hypocrite if you condemn others for doing the same. Everyone needs to earn money to pay their rent and put food on the table, but that doesn't mean you can't truly love your job and be inspired by other factors as well.


How do we know that Bryan Fuller isn't simply a fan having fun with characters he adores?
Because they're not the characters he adores. They're new characters with the names of characters he adores.
What a ludicrously absolutist and ignorant thing to say. I've been trying to explain to you for days that it's possible to respect the essence of an earlier creation and change it at the same time. After all, every creation, every worthwhile character or premise, has more than one single attribute. It's possible to carry forward the essential qualities that make a character or a concept while modifying other aspects and thus casting those essentials in a new light. Creators have been doing that for thousands of years too. Was Van Gogh not really painting a starry night? Was Dali not really painting pocketwatches? Did Picasso not really paint Dora Maar? Creativity is about taking an existing source and interpreting it in a new way. The interpretation does not erase the substance of the original -- not if you make the effort to look past the superficial and see the underlying essence.
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Old July 21 2012, 02:11 PM   #1180
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Christopher wrote: View Post
RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Why assume some crass commerical motive?
Because it's a business. The money is controlled by people with crass commercial motives.
Well, yes, but that doesn't mean the people they hire to do the creating aren't genuinely inspired. Hell, Greg and I get paid to write Star Trek novels, which is all a commercial enterprise where the studio is concerned, but I can assure you that we both love Star Trek deeply as fans and are motivated by the love of the work and the concepts. Yes, we do it for money, but you do your job for money too, so you're being a hypocrite if you condemn others for doing the same. Everyone needs to earn money to pay their rent and put food on the table, but that doesn't mean you can't truly love your job and be inspired by other factors as well..
Exactly. I was just harping about this in another thread recently. There's this weird mentality one runs into, where movies and tv and books are concerned, that insists that motives are either purely artistic OR "just about the money." Instead of, say, creative people trying to do what they love while also trying to make a living.

Seriously, does anyone really think that all artistic decisions made on any TV show are driven entirely by commercial concerns? Why would people even get into that business if they didn't enjoy the creative end of things? Why not just become a stock broker or orthodontist if you just want to make money?

Why not give Fuller the benefit of the doubt and assume he just wanted to include the Creature because he thought it would be cool or funny or entertaining or whatever?

Lord knows when I'm struggling with a scene or a funny bit of dialogue I'm not thinking, "Hmm. Which plot twist will make the publisher the most money? Will this fight scene hurt my royalties?"

(I wrote a book once in which Frankenstein fought Wonder Woman. Did I get paid for that book? Sure. Did the publisher hope to make money by printing it? Sure. But did my inner ten-year-old get a ball out of writing that scene? Of course!)
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Old July 21 2012, 03:54 PM   #1181
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

On the subject of Alien Nation: Isn't Tim Minear now one of the executive producers or something of American Horror Story? I kind of assumed his role in that show is confirmation that the idea never got anywhere.

As for the Munsters, so a brand name value is assumed. Associating other brand names to this brand name is not a terrible marketing idea and Universal has been throwing together it's Draculas and Frankensteins and whatnot since what, Abbott and Costello?

What Bryan Fuller is able to do with the material is in the end all that matters. You can make your own, personal idea of a TV show and it can turn out pretty terribly, you can work on an established commercial property and do a good job of it (and any future Star Trek series will, at best, be the latter).

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Star Trek will have to adapt itself to the channels available, not the reverse. do you really think any channel would change its strategy just for one show?
And as Christopher pointed out NBC is pretty plausible.
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Old July 21 2012, 05:48 PM   #1182
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Bob the Skutter wrote: View Post
Unless you're suggesting it's supernatural then you were saying it was unusual

weird (wÓrd)adj. weird∑er, weird∑est 1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of the preternatural or supernatural.
2. Of a strikingly odd or unusual character; strange.
Exactly. The second definition. Unusual means:

un∑usu∑al
adj
\-ˈyŁ-zhə-wəl, -zhəl; -ˈyŁzh-wəl\
: not usual : uncommon, rare
In other words, it happens all the time, but it's still weird.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, yes, but that doesn't mean the people they hire to do the creating aren't genuinely inspired.
I never said otherwise.

What a ludicrously absolutist and ignorant thing to say. I've been trying to explain to you for days that it's possible to respect the essence of an earlier creation and change it at the same time. After all, every creation, every worthwhile character or premise, has more than one single attribute. It's possible to carry forward the essential qualities that make a character or a concept while modifying other aspects and thus casting those essentials in a new light. Creators have been doing that for thousands of years too. Was Van Gogh not really painting a starry night? Was Dali not really painting pocketwatches? Did Picasso not really paint Dora Maar? Creativity is about taking an existing source and interpreting it in a new way. The interpretation does not erase the substance of the original -- not if you make the effort to look past the superficial and see the underlying essence.
And yet these are still all new characters.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Seriously, does anyone really think that all artistic decisions made on any TV show are driven entirely by commercial concerns?
The reason they are recycling names from The Munsters is because of commercial concerns. Bryan Fuller is perfectly capable of making up new names for his characters.
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Old July 21 2012, 06:17 PM   #1183
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RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
And yet these are still all new characters.
Stop talking like you have all the answers. You haven't seen the show any more than the rest of us have.

Of course the characters are being changed, but it's nonsense to claim that makes them completely new characters. As I already said, there's more than one single trait that defines a character. They're different versions of the characters, with some things different and some things kept the same. Come on, surely you've seen this done before in things like Battlestar Galactica or the different incarnations of Batman over the decades, so stop talking as though you're completely ignorant of the principle. You should know better.
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Old July 21 2012, 08:02 PM   #1184
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Yes, comic books are possibly the best example of the perpetual reinvention of characters under the same name. They are also a very convincing argument against the practice, because it leads to low quality work.

Using other (Disney instead of Universal) properties as tropes/reinvented characters is what Once Upon a Time does. I think it works better for OUAT because they invented a new setting/premise/unifying backstory, instead of using a previous property. They could have had Enchanted: The Series, and all the other Disney properties crawl out of the manhole for their episodes.

Fuller is talented, but the Munsters are not really a suitable setting for his demonstrated preferred themes of life and death; unrequitable love; destiny as character. But his shows are mostly failures, so he does what work he can, and will likely do it to the best of his ability. But I really doubt it is what he would do if he had the power and I think it's vaguely insulting to him to imply this.
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Old July 21 2012, 08:08 PM   #1185
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

My hunch is that the TV biz is significantly crasser than the book biz, since the financial stakes are higher, and movies are likely to be the crassest of them all.

Just compare sci fi novels as a group to sci fi TV or movies. Of those groups, the novels are where you find the genuine works of art that reflect an artist's uncompromising vision, not to mention a far greater range of approaches.

On TV, everything needs to fit some pigeonhole. The Sleepy Hollow pilots on NBC and CW are the latest example. Why not at least go for a historical setting? Because its a harder sell for the audience. So, instead, they're just aping a familiar formula of a modern day cop show, with genre window dressing, with a female sherrif just to make sure we have the added insurance of unresolved sexual tension.

Movies are the worst. Even the good movies are dumbed down popcorn fodder, which is all Abrams Star Trek and The Avengers really are. They're competent and fun, but hardly great, ground breaking works of art.

Fuller might genuinely love what he's doing, but if he hadn't paid attention to pleasing his corporate masters, he'd never have gotten a green light to start with. The parallel between him using Universal's stable of movie monsters and Once Upon A Time using Disney movie characters is obvious me-too-ism. Universal owns NBC just as Disney owns ABC.

if crass motives didn't govern TV and movies, especially as you go more mass market, meaning network and blockbuster respectively, I'd expect to see a far greater range of creative approaches and genuine originality, instead of the depressing me-too-ism which characterizes both industries.
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