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Old August 3 2012, 07:42 AM   #1366
Enterprise is Great
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Syfy Orders Project From M. Night Shyamalan and Marti Noxon

The cable network has given a put-pilot commitment to Proof, a drama co-written and exec produced by Shyamalan and Noxon and directed by Shyamalan, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project — which marks Shyamalan’s first stab at scripted television — follows the son of a billionaire tech genius who, after the unexpected passing of his parents, offers up a big financial reward to anyone who can find proof of life after death.
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Old August 3 2012, 07:50 AM   #1367
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Greg Cox wrote: View Post

True confession: I can't watch an old movie on TCM without thinking about how I would remake it!
True confession: I can't watch any movie without thinking how I would remake it.
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Old August 3 2012, 09:57 AM   #1368
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Christopher wrote: View Post
^And you're still hugely missing the point by thinking that it's about what names you give the characters. Just please try to think about it instead of rejecting it out of hand because it's not what you already believe.
I'm talking about needless recycling when creativity is better. Forbidden Planet would not have been improved by calling it Tempest Planet featuring Doctor Prospero.

stj wrote: View Post
*Shakespeare directly quoted Marlowe in As You Like It, so there's at least one exception.
I may be misremembering this, but I believe Asimov said in his book that Shakespeare's histories were taken almost word-for-word from a certain set of history books, modified only to fit iambic pentameter. Also: Well said.

Great news. I hope the same is true for Defender.

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
True confession: I can't watch an old movie on TCM without thinking about how I would remake it!
I'm often inspired by watching a movie or reading a book. But I'm inspired to do my own variant on the idea, not rewrite what's already been done.
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Old August 3 2012, 12:57 PM   #1369
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
I may be misremembering this, but I believe Asimov said in his book that Shakespeare's histories were taken almost word-for-word from a certain set of history books, modified only to fit iambic pentameter.
And come to think of it, Shakespeare also more or less quoted Thomas North's Plutarch translation in Antony and Cleopatra. But is quotation from high-falutin' literary sources the same kind of thing as remakes and reboots in Hollywood? The Marlowe line Shakespeare quoted was from a very, very popular poem, so popular it brought a public response from Sir Walter Ralegh.

Going off on a quotation tangent, one of Marlowe's biographers noted that Marlowe quoted from geography books, an unpublished military manual and in The Massacre in Paris what seemed to be some sort of secret government report. He didn't ask why a government provocateur would be reading such things. But it seems to me that he wouldn't. Thus, Marlowe was privy to them by virtue of other government intelligence work. As in, he was given access to a military manuscript about fortifications because it was thought at some point he might be spying on enemy fortifications.

(Marlowe is particularly interesting to people who like mysteries. It's about as certain as such things can be that he wasn't murdered in a brawl over a bar bill, even if Shakespeare alluded to this official verdict in his play.)
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Old August 3 2012, 01:05 PM   #1370
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
But how do you explain the constant remakes of, say, Dracula or The Three Musketeers or Robin Hood or King Arthur or Snow White.
Those are mostly re-adaptations. I don't think anyone is going to assume JMS's upcoming Vlad Dracula series referred to here is a remake of Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula, or in any sense legally related to such.

This said?

They're all public domain, but writers and directors and filmmakers keep wanting to reinvent them, over and over again
The same level of name recognition, the value of a property as property, continues to be important. I remember when I was a kid there'd be cheap knockoff cartoons based on whatever subject the latest Disney film was covering (Pocahontas, Hercules, etc.), and then there's recent franchise films like Snow White & the Huntsman, which slot in rather nicely around the summer's array of blockbuster novel/comic adaptations.
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Old August 3 2012, 01:56 PM   #1371
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

creates a future where the countries of Earth have established colonies to mine the Moon’s resources. When a new life form is discovered, chaos erupts as various factions race to uncover and exploit its powerful secrets.
awesome!

looking forward to any space opera or space-set tv series (preferably without ships blowing up).
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Old August 3 2012, 03:43 PM   #1372
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Enterprise is Great wrote: View Post
Syfy Orders Project From M. Night Shyamalan and Marti Noxon

The cable network has given a put-pilot commitment to Proof, a drama co-written and exec produced by Shyamalan and Noxon and directed by Shyamalan, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The project — which marks Shyamalan’s first stab at scripted television — follows the son of a billionaire tech genius who, after the unexpected passing of his parents, offers up a big financial reward to anyone who can find proof of life after death.
Sounds interesting... for a two-hour movie.
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Old August 3 2012, 07:08 PM   #1373
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I like the idea of Proof - its not the same old thing - but unless they plan to take the action "inside the afterlife" somehow, they're going to run out of story fast.

Which wouldn't need to be supernatural. They could take it from the perspective that the afterlife is part of the natural cosmos, akin to a parallel dimension, or some other science based explanation.
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Old August 3 2012, 07:28 PM   #1374
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Kegg wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
But how do you know that's the sole or even primary motive,
I know it's a fundamental difference between remakes and mythic traditions. I did not claim it was the only motive behind all remakes, but oral traditions were part of a shared narrative that did not involve ligitous corporations enforcing their legal right to profit from repeated iterations of the same product, and acting that because they both retold the same story they're basically the same kind of thing just isn't being accurate.
First off, what makes you think that ancient bards had no commercial motives? As with writers today, telling stories was how they made a living. Whether they got food and lodging could depend on whether the townspeople enjoyed their stories. Whether they got support from a wealthy patron could depend on pleasing that patron's tastes. Hell, Shakespeare often had to write plays based on what the queen or king demanded; he had to falsify history and make Macbeth into a bad guy because the monarch at the time was descended from Banquo or somebody and telling the truth would've been lese majeste. So it's naive to think that writers in the past were any more free from financial obligations and the need to satisfy their backers than writers today. I'm sure that countless bards and playwrights over the millennia have had to retell the favorite local legends and find ways to put their own twist on it. And that twist, that novel approach to a familiar idea, was where the creativity came into play.

And second, as Greg and I -- who are both professional writers, by the way, and are thus pretty qualified to know -- have already said, it's ludicrous to think that having financial obligations somehow eradicates any trace of legitimate creative motivations. That's a utopian fantasy that has nothing to do with the actual work of writing. It's always about trying to balance both creative considerations and practical necessities. Creativity has to happen in the same real world everyone lives in. That doesn't make it any less creative.


You want to say there's good remakes/reboots? I'd agree with you. I loved Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica. But I'm not going to say that Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica is basically the same kind of thing as Virgil's Aeneid.
But it is. The details and context change, but it will always, always be valid to create a new variation of an existing work.
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Old August 3 2012, 10:39 PM   #1375
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I think less of Shakespeare and Macbeth because of the pandering. And I don't think it is unreasonable for others to do so too. What I find unreasonable is indignation at having the temerity to think so.

Vergil's Aeneid changed and added to Roman mythology in the pursuit of "patriotic" themes. I think his feelings about the value of this kind of creativity was pretty concisely and vividly expressed: On his deathbed he asked that the poem be burned. He was a professional writer whose work has been remembered for two thousand years, so I think his opinion is worth considering, don't you?

Using the same names and plots isn't any less creative? How is it less creative to use some of the very same dialogue? As opposed to, the owners of the rights to a property have paid for the one, but not the other? And, what is that to nonprofessionals who don't have a living at stake?
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Old August 3 2012, 11:33 PM   #1376
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Christopher wrote: View Post
First off, what makes you think that ancient bards had no commercial motives?
Perhaps one of the most annoying traits in arguments is to straw man someone else's position. In this case, you ask a question that has no relevance to anything I said contains an assumption that is nowhere present.

I was pointing out that a critical difference between remakes and ancient works of literature that repeat existing stories is that in the latter case are dealing with corporations exploiting its intellectual property over which they have legal ownership.

There is nothing in that paragraph as stated, or in my earlier statements, to suggest that folk sagas had no monetary value, but that they have a precisely different value for being retellings of shared folk tales (like heroic strong men doing impossible feats), the genesis of the world and its landmarks (from creation myths to specific histories of given areas) and legends that may have begun with a historical basis but have become considerably embroidered.

But it is a lot easier to attack an argument that wasn't made.

The rationale for retelling these stories are basically different. The reasoning behind Shakespeare's MacBeth and Virgil's Aeneid do have concrete, political purposes - both are extolling purported ancestors to the present ruler, and the latter in particular is a heroic narrative of proto-Romans with their future enmity with Carthage given the colour of a doomed love affair as opposed to the more prosaic opposition of power that histories record. Virgil far preferred the Georgics and wanted the Aeneid burned, but - understandably - Augustus liked it too damn much.

On the other hand Apollonius of Rhodes wrote his Argonautica basically because he was a nerd's nerd, a resident of Alexandria in the Hellenistic era when its library was justly prodigious, and his work is written in an imitation of the Homeric style. The Greek tragedies were obstensibly staged for religious reasons - that in the retelling of many myths they contained things people may believe in is often an important consideration (a more recent, Christian, and English language example would be the Mystery Plays of Medieval England).

And all these legends and popular stories were revisited diligently in Europe in the nineteenth century, with the rise of nationalism (and thus the need for nationalist epics). Hence Lonnrot's edition of the Finnish oral epic Kalevala, for example.

There are innumerable reasons these stories were retold. For their folk value, for their political value, for their popularity (and thus yeah, an eye for profit - Shakespeare being the obvious example here of a guy who worked for his living), for their religious importance, a fondness the tellers had for the topic, any mixed and matched combination of the above. Not all motives are somehow noble but what they are is different.

Hollywood studios may have the rights to a Spider-Man film and want to maintain those rights. Or a comic company like Marvel may want its own line of franchise films. The anonymously written Fautsbuch, Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust were not all written for the same label.
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Old August 3 2012, 11:43 PM   #1377
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Yes, that's exactly it. There are innumerable reasons why stories are retold. Which is exactly why it doesn't make sense to single out just one of those reasons and say it's invalid. Retelling stories is a fundamental, universal part of creativity. It always has been and always will be. It is not unoriginal or creatively bankrupt. It's just part of the process by which stories are kept alive and dynamic. Even if there is a mercenary or commercial motive to remaking intellectual property, that won't matter to the people decades or centuries from now who are still enjoying the myths and legends we set in motion today. The stories that will be remembered into the far future will be those that get retold and reinvented for new generations and new audiences, regardless of the reason why it was done. It's the retelling that turns a mere story into a myth, into an archetype.
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Old August 4 2012, 05:57 PM   #1378
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

What's this obsession with corporations? In the olden days, bards sought the patronage of the rich and powerful to help them survive in an economically precarious profession. They stil do so today, but instead of King Etherlrod, they're kissing up to Walt Disney and heirs.

I don't really see the distinction, unless it's that they used to have to please the tastes of King Ethelrod, whereas today Walt Disney's offspring aren't as worried about their own tastes than the tastes of the general paying public. So for all of us who aren't kings or corporate behemoths, the situation has improved.
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Old August 4 2012, 06:40 PM   #1379
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Apollonius' choice to do a Homeric imitation was harshly questioned in his own lifetime. It's more highly regarded now. It was at least a different set of myths. The poets who actually rewrote Homer, such as Quintus Smyrnaeus (The Fall of Troy,) are pretty much forgotten, save by eccentrics like the late Lin Carter. Those guys are like the Hollywood screenwriters doing remakes and reboots, not the Apolloniuses and Vergils and Ovids. The epyllia never make into the literature books.

Named authors telling folk tales or dramatizing folklore isn't the same as a Hollywood screenwriter getting more mileage out of a property. Modern print stories are not the kernels of folklore and legend. We know this for a fact. No one actually rewrites Oliver Twist or Dracula or The Three Musketeers or Sherlock Holmes or Tarzan or The Phantom of the Opera, just to mention some of the most iconic figures. There are continuations and surreptitious filler stories, imitations and parodies and pastiches, but none have joined the supposed corpus of myth and folklore posited above. Most people can enjoy such things to some degree or other, but nobody confuses them with the originals nor do they put them on the same level creatively. They are not wholly devoid of originality, creativity, to be sure. They just have less.

That has nothing to do with the validity of the motives of the writers. That issue is a red herring, distracting from the fairly obvious observation that this kind of copying is less original, aka "creative." What print work does get rewritten, that is, remade or rebooted, over and over again? Comic books. I do not think we can honestly make an argument that is a sign of creativity or legends in the making.

Now, as to why Hollywood keeps remaking Dracula or The Three Musketeers or whatever has nothing to do with any desire to comment on legend or any such folderol. It's name recognition. The people who actually create the remakes and reboots have creative impulses of course. They are necessarily less original. The play with the tropes may be cunning and diverse. It may be highly entertaining. There may be a kind of miniaturist's delight in reproducing in small the original, or a decorator's pleasure in exuberant, even roccoco elaboration. (Usually, not, but sometimes.) But at the best of times, there is a different kind of enjoyment than that felt when appreciating an original work. Partly of course, remakes and reboots survive because the audiences don't have enough residual familiarity, or any perhaps.

But the sad fact is that the more original it truly is, the greater the shock to people who actually wanted a highly derivative continuation. It's not irrational to feel conned, taken in by a bait-and-switch when you go by a well-known name but get something else.

PS The words "unoriginal" and "creatively bankrupt" were not harmed in the making of this post.
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Old August 4 2012, 06:44 PM   #1380
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Don't go dissin' comic books!
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