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Battlestar Galactica & Caprica This forum was created by man. It rebelled. It evolved. And it has a plan.

 
 
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Old March 4 2013, 05:18 AM   #31
Snowy Roshi
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

Let it go.
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Old March 4 2013, 06:05 AM   #32
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

Awesome Possum wrote: View Post
Having a completely pre-planned arc can backfire if the audience is able to figure it out before it is finished, robbing it of any drama or if they just don't like it. Most shows seem to go with a combination of both. Some elements are pre-planned and others are thrown in as it develops.
That's about right. Plus, there's a difference between knowing the story ahead of time, as in knowing where you'd like character arcs to end and what the answers to questions are, and knowing the plot ahead of time, meaning you know exactly how the characters go from A to B to C for six seasons before your show even begins. That doesn't work on TV or, really, in any medium. BSG would've worked a little better if Ron know the story more before he started throwing stuff out there but he didn't need to know the plot.
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Old March 4 2013, 01:14 PM   #33
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

V wrote: View Post
Ron Moore has an intentionally loose command style, as a reaction to the restrictive writing environment on TNG under Berman and Braga.
The same TNG where Ron Moore was Braga's superior?
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Old March 4 2013, 02:36 PM   #34
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
Kelthaz wrote: View Post
My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
There is no brilliant, successful example of an sf series following an overarching pre-plotted storyline from the beginning to the end of the series. That kind of narrow plot-focused writing produces mediocre drama.
Well that's some damn tasty bait you've got there, but I think I'll pass.
That's probably a good idea, because one would have to come up with an example to the contrary that holds up.
Starting with the obvious, The Prisoner is widely regarded as dramatically successful. (No SF series has been popularly successful, unless you redefine popular success as including winning a syndication time slot.) Not even an arbitrary dismissal of Babylon 5 saves this from being lame bullshit. In the wider world, beyond the fanboy realm, it is doubtful that any other SF series has stood the test of time in critical opinion.

(BattleStar Galactica was praised out there in the real world for its topicality and its sexiness, which means that it's contemporary as long as 9/11 is regarded as relevant. Sexiness per se is not usually regarded as an attribute, strongly suggesting an attempt to plug the series, not criticize it.)

For all genres of pre-planned series, things like Band of Brothers; John Adams; Lonesome Dove; I, Claudius; House of Cards (BBC version at least), also expose the absurdity of this supposedly critical opinion.

Also, the implication that not plotting a serialized show has produced brilliant drama is entirely unsupported. Worse, you can only support it by pretending that the series as a whole doesn't have to possess any thematic integrity, much less make any sense.

The notion that plotting is "narrow," is obtuse, to say the least. When you actually write a plot, you concern yourself with the question of why the characters do what they do. Unless you surreptitiously redefine drama as people having histrionics.
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Old March 4 2013, 08:55 PM   #35
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

stj wrote: View Post
For all genres of pre-planned series, things like Band of Brothers; John Adams; Lonesome Dove; I, Claudius; House of Cards (BBC version at least), also expose the absurdity of this supposedly critical opinion.
Aren't they actually Mini-series, a show with a set number of episodes with a known conclusion? They're basically just long movies that are broken up over several nights or weeks. An actual series can run for years, so having some room to work with is a better idea for them.
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Old March 4 2013, 11:58 PM   #36
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
Kelthaz wrote: View Post
My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
There is no brilliant, successful example of an sf series following an overarching pre-plotted storyline from the beginning to the end of the series. That kind of narrow plot-focused writing produces mediocre drama.
Well that's some damn tasty bait you've got there, but I think I'll pass.
That's probably a good idea, because one would have to come up with an example to the contrary that holds up.
Hey i'll bite and throw in the obvious example.. Babylon 5 (as if you didn't mean that show ).

Season 1 was mediocre but than many shows have less than stellar first seasons including all Trek shows.. tying in with this thread BSG was the exception as i've rarely seen a better first season anywhere (and was maybe the reason why so many people stuck with the show to the end even if it was bankrupt by season 3).

Babylon 5 was a good mix of standalone and arch episodes, sometimes even mixing the main plot into standalone shows in a subtle way that you only realize once you've seen the entire show.

JMS had one overall story he wanted to tell and he plotted it out.. the Shadows really did have a plan as well as the Vorlons and over the course of that show this plan became slowly apparent. Now the show unravelled a bit after season 4 due to real world studio meddling and JMS had to rewrite it so in the worst case scenario he'd at least finish the main story only to find himself out of material once the show got the green light for season 5 and he had to come up with storylines he never expected to have to do.
Sure the show had some stinkers in between but once the ratio of arch episodes increased during season 2 they became less and by season 3 you were hooked because every episode was important to get the whole story.

It's right that there is no law requring arch based shows to have pre-planned stories for at least the major points so RDM was never obliged to do so but in the end it's just good advice.
Don't introduce cool new things without having an idea why and what to do with it in the future.. it's that simple and RDM violated that by going for style over substance.

No one was present in RDM's writing room but there are enough reports to go around to paint a picture of a laid back, creative environment. While most of us would like to work in such a place most of us also know it's usually not very productive. There's a reason that every project, every workplace has a boss.. sometimes you get a cool boss who handles his people well without standing behind their backs all the time and sometimes you have the slavemaster from hell but they all have the same goal in mind.. efficient work so as to avoid last minute scrambles which only invite mistakes.

In that regard Moore seems like a bad boss.. a good buddy but a bad leader and the show suffered for it greatly. I was disappointed how the show developed and really dislike the ending because it became an incoherent mess and for that i blame RDM's lax style and lack of focus.
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Old March 5 2013, 12:26 AM   #37
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

Awesome Possum wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
For all genres of pre-planned series, things like Band of Brothers; John Adams; Lonesome Dove; I, Claudius; House of Cards (BBC version at least), also expose the absurdity of this supposedly critical opinion.
Aren't they actually Mini-series, a show with a set number of episodes with a known conclusion? They're basically just long movies that are broken up over several nights or weeks. An actual series can run for years, so having some room to work with is a better idea for them.
The key phrase was "overarching pre-plotted storyline from the beginning to the end..." The miniseries is the only format that actually fits the description. It's true that poster only meant Babylon 5, but that's merely failure/refusal to consider all the evidence.

The term "arc" has mostly fallen into being used solely as referrring to a character transformation, but in well-written series, like Wiseguy (which I remember being the pioneer) pretty much had the arcs planned, and the arc included that vilely quotidian plot. All plans of course were subject to change in the process of execution. It can be difficult for outsiders to decide whether there were forced changes to a plan or a simple failure to plan. That too makes the statement that "narrow plot-focused writing produces mediocre drama" dubious.

I'm not quite sure what "room to work with" could possibly mean in this context. I clearly see that an episodic approach is valid, since so much of life is occasional episodes punctuating the daily routine. But life as a melodramatic, endless serial with constant transformations and retransformations, and thematic revolutions, and what not, seems like a fundamentally flawed notion of drama, indeed, of life. What exactly do you want room to write?
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Old March 5 2013, 01:56 AM   #38
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

stj wrote: View Post
Awesome Possum wrote: View Post
stj wrote: View Post
For all genres of pre-planned series, things like Band of Brothers; John Adams; Lonesome Dove; I, Claudius; House of Cards (BBC version at least), also expose the absurdity of this supposedly critical opinion.
Aren't they actually Mini-series, a show with a set number of episodes with a known conclusion? They're basically just long movies that are broken up over several nights or weeks. An actual series can run for years, so having some room to work with is a better idea for them.
The key phrase was "overarching pre-plotted storyline from the beginning to the end..." The miniseries is the only format that actually fits the description. It's true that poster only meant Babylon 5, but that's merely failure/refusal to consider all the evidence.

The term "arc" has mostly fallen into being used solely as referrring to a character transformation, but in well-written series, like Wiseguy (which I remember being the pioneer) pretty much had the arcs planned, and the arc included that vilely quotidian plot. All plans of course were subject to change in the process of execution. It can be difficult for outsiders to decide whether there were forced changes to a plan or a simple failure to plan. That too makes the statement that "narrow plot-focused writing produces mediocre drama" dubious.

I'm not quite sure what "room to work with" could possibly mean in this context. I clearly see that an episodic approach is valid, since so much of life is occasional episodes punctuating the daily routine. But life as a melodramatic, endless serial with constant transformations and retransformations, and thematic revolutions, and what not, seems like a fundamentally flawed notion of drama, indeed, of life. What exactly do you want room to write?
It allows a show to develop organically. If audiences connect to a character you didn't expect, you don't want to ignore and lose your audience. With BSG, they originally planned to not deal with Helo after leaving him on Caprica. Audiences liked the character and it created the whole storyline on him on Caprica and meeting the 8 who became Athena.
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Old March 5 2013, 05:23 AM   #39
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

Another example would be leaving Jack alive after the opening of Lost?

At any rate I can see the commercial advantages. Artistically, making corrections is better than ignoring problems. I guess by "organically" growing, you're thinking of something like algae or grass, which will grow wherever it can, heedless of form. I was thinking of flowere or animals myself, where the arrangement of petals or the size of the liver are more or less fixed by necessity. (In my version of the analogy, artistic integrity=biological functionality.)

Thanks for a clear explanation.
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Old May 11 2013, 07:47 PM   #40
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Re: RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post

RDM should get some military space opera show back on TV, something along the lines of the Honor Harrington series.

Hell, let's just put RDM in a room with David Weber and not let them out until they have an Honor Harrington TV series ready to go.
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