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Old February 10 2013, 12:35 AM   #16
TheOneWhoKnocks
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

wow, season 3 of TSCC CHANGED TV, man, a whole season, set in the future war, with John growing up,defeating SKYnet, getting killed by the resurrected Cameron, who then goes back to the past in grief to try to atone to John
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Old February 10 2013, 12:37 AM   #17
Greg Cox
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

"The slightly shady crew of a ramshackle spaceship try to keep flying, while staying one step ahead of the law . . . ."

Trust me, just about any plot can be boiled down to three paragraphs (or less) of back cover copy!


To be fair, though, I do remember arguing about Firefly with a friend who kept demanding to know what the crew's "mission" was, as though he couldn't get invested in the show and its characters unless they were defending the galaxy or fighting to overthrow an evil empire or searching for the secret of the universe or whatever.

He needed it to be "about" more than just keeping body and soul together out on colorful frontier worlds.
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Old February 10 2013, 12:37 AM   #18
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

The long-term plans for Threshold were suppposed to be that the alien invasion became progressively more powerful, to the point there was even to be a name change each season. This would have been interesting.

Kings would have presumably have kept on taking plot elements from the Old Testament.

And Miracles would have revealed Skeet Ulrich's father to be a demon (or the Devil himself,) I'm pretty sure.
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Old February 10 2013, 12:52 AM   #19
The Borgified Corpse
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
"The slightly shady crew of a ramshackle spaceship try to keep flying, while staying one step ahead of the law . . . ."

Trust me, just about any plot can be boiled down to three paragraphs (or less) of back cover copy!
I suppose. The issue, IMO, isn't so much whether such a synopsis is possible. The issue is whether a show can be easily boiled down to one idea by a common viewer in a way that he can tell outsiders what the show is. Buffy & The Avengers both had an advantage in that they were part of familiar genres. You don't have to say much before people start understanding what you're talking about because it evokes ideas of things they've seen before.

BTW, Mr. Cox, you can summarize Firefly. But can you distill Dollhouse?
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Old February 10 2013, 12:53 AM   #20
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Gaith wrote: View Post
Well said. I've seen the first four eps of Firefly and Serenity, and I have no idea what that franchise is about. I'm not sure it's really "about" anything. Seinfeld in space?
Well, it's not about nothing. The episodes do have distinct plots.
So did Seinfeld episodes. But on that show, AFAIK, the writing seemed to understand that most, if not all, of the main characters were immature morons.
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Old February 10 2013, 12:54 AM   #21
RoJoHen
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
Lovable bandits on a spaceship?
Pretty much this. Firefly does not have a complicated premise.

It's exactly the same premise of Farscape.

Hell, Arrested Development's premise is spelled out for us in the opening credits: "This is the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together."
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Old February 10 2013, 12:54 AM   #22
Greg Cox
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Firefly is basically the same as Farscape - a ship full of squabbling, charismatic losers/outsiders bop around space and try to survive, while dodging The Man. Just goes to show that if the situation, characters and style are different enough, you can do two versions of the same premise and both are perfectly welcome, without any glaring overlap that makes you wonder why there needs to be two such shows at all.
That's a pretty good comparison, although, of course, FARSCAPE also contained a hefty dose of BUCK ROGERS and A PRINCESS OF MARS, with a modern-day Earthman unexpectedly transported to an exotic space opera setting, full of colorful aliens and adventures.

I do think that the overtly "Western" trappings on FIREFLY initially confused and/or turned off some people. I know that, among my own circle of friends, it caused some head-scratching and took a little getting used to.

"Is it supposed to look like a cowboy movie?"

"I think that's kinda the idea, yes."

"Oh. Not sure what I think about that."
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Old February 10 2013, 12:56 AM   #23
Gaith
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
The issue is whether a show can be easily boiled down to one idea by a common viewer in a way that he can tell outsiders what the show is.
To be fair, the show's original title was "Underachieving Space Hipsters"...
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Old February 10 2013, 12:57 AM   #24
RoJoHen
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Gaith wrote: View Post
The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
The issue is whether a show can be easily boiled down to one idea by a common viewer in a way that he can tell outsiders what the show is.
To be fair, the show's original title was "Underachieving Space Hipsters"...
I would totally watch that show, too.
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Old February 10 2013, 01:04 AM   #25
the G-man
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

I would have liked to have seen Twin Peaks either cancelled sooner or later.

Sooner, as in at the end of the "Laura Palmer" arc and before they started the "Annie" arc.

Later, as in if they had been allowed to give the show a proper conclusion.
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Old February 10 2013, 01:10 AM   #26
Greg Cox
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
"The slightly shady crew of a ramshackle spaceship try to keep flying, while staying one step ahead of the law . . . ."

Trust me, just about any plot can be boiled down to three paragraphs (or less) of back cover copy!
I suppose. The issue, IMO, isn't so much whether such a synopsis is possible. The issue is whether a show can be easily boiled down to one idea by a common viewer in a way that he can tell outsiders what the show is. Buffy & The Avengers both had an advantage in that they were part of familiar genres. You don't have to say much before people start understanding what you're talking about because it evokes ideas of things they've seen before.

BTW, Mr. Cox, you can summarize Firefly. But can you distill Dollhouse?
Firefly: Okay, how about: "It's a space western about this Han Solo-type character and his crew."

Dollhouse: To be honest, I've only seen a handful of Dollhouse eps, but let me give it a shot.

"A dark, sexy, and provocative scifi series about a woman employed by a mysterious company that programs her with a new personality and memories every week. Echo can be anyone the client wants--but who is she, really?"

Or, more casually: "It's this sexy, kind of disturbing scifi series about a woman who gets a different personality and identity every week. Weird, huh?"

Or: "Think Le Femme Nikita--but with a scifi twist."
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Old February 10 2013, 01:14 AM   #27
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

So far I haven't come across any tv shows which were almost impossible to figure out eventually. (Not even movies, for that matter).

More often, I come across almost "mindwreck" impossible type stuff, when I attempt to read some wikipedia pages on topics in advanced mathematics. A lot harder to figure out, than a tv show like Dollhouse.
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Old February 10 2013, 01:22 AM   #28
Greg Cox
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Yeah, you don't need to tell every viewer everything at once. Note that the opening spiel of STAR TREK ("These are the voyages," etc.) doesn't say anything about the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet, Vulcans, Klingons, the Prime Directive, warp drives, and so on.

If people are interested in the basic premise, they'll catch on to the rest in time. If not, force-feeding them all those details probably don't matter.

In the beginning, you just need to sketch things in broad strokes: "An enigmatic druid warrior teams up with a sexy cyborg to find an unearthly treasure beyond imagining!"
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Old February 10 2013, 01:51 AM   #29
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Yeah, you don't need to tell every viewer everything at once. Note that the opening spiel of STAR TREK ("These are the voyages," etc.) doesn't say anything about the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet, Vulcans, Klingons, the Prime Directive, warp drives, and so on.

If people are interested in the basic premise, they'll catch on to the rest in time. If not, force-feeding them all those details probably don't matter.

In the beginning, you just need to sketch things in broad strokes: "An enigmatic druid warrior teams up with a sexy cyborg to find an unearthly treasure beyond imagining!"
Sometimes these things are easily guessable and predictable, from such buzzlines and genre descriptions. (Or the back cover description of a novel).

This is especially the case if one reads web sites like tvtropes.org all the time.
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Old February 10 2013, 02:00 AM   #30
Greg Cox
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Re: Canceled Shows: If they were popular from the start

jayceee wrote: View Post
Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Yeah, you don't need to tell every viewer everything at once. Note that the opening spiel of STAR TREK ("These are the voyages," etc.) doesn't say anything about the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet, Vulcans, Klingons, the Prime Directive, warp drives, and so on.

If people are interested in the basic premise, they'll catch on to the rest in time. If not, force-feeding them all those details probably don't matter.

In the beginning, you just need to sketch things in broad strokes: "An enigmatic druid warrior teams up with a sexy cyborg to find an unearthly treasure beyond imagining!"
Sometimes these things are easily guessable and predictable, from such buzzlines and genre descriptions. (Or the back cover description of a novel).
There's also the time-honored "X meets Y" formulation.

"It's BUFFY meets DEADWOOD."

"It's GOSSIP GIRL with elves and fairies!"

"It's THE SOPRANOS--in space!"
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