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Old March 22 2012, 09:57 PM   #631
Temis the Vorta
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Has anyone heard of crackle.com? Well, they've got a show now! Everbody's got a show! When are Facebook and Twitter going to do shows? (I shouldn't say that out loud.)

Anthology drama series Unknown, Crackle.com’s first long-form scripted show, has assembled a cast and locked in directors. Frances Fisher (The Lincoln Lawyer), William Atherton (Life) and Taryn Manning (Hawaii Five-0) will star in installments of the thriller/horror anthology, which examines unexplained phenomena. Kevin Connolly (Entourage) will direct an episode featuring Jay R. Ferguson (Mad Men), visual effects specialist Sam Nicholson (The Walking Dead) will direct another episode featuring Christina Pickles, and APA-repped Martha Coolidge will directs the rest of the six half-hour episodes.
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Old March 22 2012, 10:17 PM   #632
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

^The casting budget for a Twitter-produced show would be enormous, since it would need to have 140 characters.
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Old March 22 2012, 11:57 PM   #633
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

An original idea/concept for a show would help. RHW's untitled thing just sounds so uninspired without a title you have to wonder why they bothered revealing it. RHW is a solid writer but is he an innovative creator? His space show doesn't even have a title. Sounds slightly generic to me and is still looking for one. They keep looking in the same box and stale stable of writer's for the same four or five ideas to reshuffle. That's laziness and an unwillingness to strech or risk their jobs and fifteen hundred dollar suits on anything or anyone else. It's stagnation. They still get rich doing nothing while at the same time not risking their cushy jobs like Berman.
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Old March 23 2012, 12:53 AM   #634
Temis the Vorta
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Shows often go without titles during the development phase and the description of RHW's show is so vague that it's impossible to judge how it would turn out. It's basically Cops in Space, maybe a throwback to that aspect of TOS.

And simplicity may be a benefit. What's The Walking Dead, after all, but a simple show about a few characters struggling against zombie mayhem? The very simplicity of that concept may have been the secret of its success. It lured back the elusive young male demographic with the prospect of lots of blood & guts, and then hung onto them, and everyone else, with solid storytelling and a strong cast.

RHW's series could be a big hit with this same combination, the allure of violence and graphic mayhem combined with a simple premise about the border sheriffs of the future patrolling the nasty, chaotic frontier.
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Old March 23 2012, 01:09 AM   #635
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Where are you getting "violence and graphic mayhem" from? The description is, "The drama from Universal Cable Productions is set in a postwar era in which a newly formed Unity Democracy orders a volatile mix of humans and trans-humans to lead the Starship Defender on an expedition in search of lost worlds requiring law and order." That doesn't suggest excessive violence to me, just some degree of anarchy.

I'm not sure it's necessarily a "cop show" either. If anything, it sounds kind of like what Andromeda might've been under Robert's guidance after the Commonwealth was restored -- a show about a starship bringing civilization to a post-collapse frontier. And I'd imagine that's not just about arresting bad guys, it's about helping the local worlds set up their own legal and judicial systems, like the way US forces in Iraq guided the Iraqis toward self-sufficiency.
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Old March 23 2012, 01:12 AM   #636
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The risk is, do they know the difference between the two, why BSG's audience was inherently limited and TWD has blown things wide open?
Well, do you? What, in your opinion, is the significant difference that made BSG a niche show and TWD a mainstream success?
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Old March 23 2012, 01:35 AM   #637
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

My guess is what I posted above about simplicity of premise + lots of mayhem. (And that's being optimistic and assuming there isn't something about outer space and aliens that is inherently off-putting.)

Sci fi's trouble is that the young male demographic has abandoned TV in favor of movies, video games, etc. Then along comes The Walking Dead and gets great male demos - why? Because they saw "zombies" and figured there would be crazy fun bloody mayhem, like a video game. The fact that the show is actually much better than that sounds is icing on the cake - it means people will watch even if mayhem isn't a particular draw. But the mayhem is what got a large number of viewers to sample it to begin with.

If I were launching a new space opera series, I might swipe the basic premise of Lockout with a two-hour premiere episode that's an aggressive, bloody story about an outer space prison riot, maybe with some aliens or mutant humans in the mix who have dangerous and scary abilities. Our Heroes are the Starfleetish characters who have to put down the riot and restore order.

After that episode, the story follows the Starfleetish people as they attempt to enforce law and order in an insane, out of control frontier area of space. Basically, take the TOS aspects of RHW's premise but strip away all the nice, polite, sane, broadcasty aspects in favor of violence and action, interspersed with character and plot development.

Emphasize the camaraderie and idealism of the Starfleetish characters, so that the underlying tone is more optimistic than BSG. Go easy on liberal breast-beating and political metaphors. Include strong and interesting female characters and make sure the male characters are at least passably attractive, so you can lock in the female demographic, too.

I honestly think this approach is the best shot at getting a space opera back on TV, with good enough ratings that it can afford the expense of decent production values. (If they can't afford decent production values, it's a non-starter.)

If anyone wants to take a crack at How I'd Get Space Opera Back on TV, the floor is open to spitballing.

Where are you getting "violence and graphic mayhem" from?
That's not from his description. That's my theory on what's needed to lure the young male demo back into the fold. Without them, it's going to be hard to make a go of it. SyFy already has the female demo with their sci fi cop shows. My theory is that you need both to get the numbers up to a level that can support an expensive production.

I'm not sure it's necessarily a "cop show" either. If anything, it sounds kind of like what Andromeda might've been under Robert's guidance after the Commonwealth was restored -- a show about a starship bringing civilization to a post-collapse frontier. And I'd imagine that's not just about arresting bad guys, it's about helping the local worlds set up their own legal and judicial systems, like the way US forces in Iraq guided the Iraqis toward self-sufficiency.
The sherrif patrolling the frontier part is what I'm calling a "cop show." I'm not thinking of a police procedural, more like what Kirk & co were doing when they were visiting Federation outposts - they're checking to make sure law and order is being upheld because there's no other authority out there on the frontier.

Setting up legal and judicial systems sounds interesting to me, but I don't think the show can afford to get too bogged down in non-action-based story elements. Besides violence and gore, the other important factor is simplicity. The young male audience is antsy and quick to change the channel when they feel the least bit bored. When The Walking Dead slowed down this season, the audience numbers dropped, then surged at the end when all hell broke lose.
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Old March 23 2012, 01:59 AM   #638
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
The sherrif patrolling the frontier part is what I'm calling a "cop show." I'm not thinking of a police procedural, more like what Kirk & co were doing when they were visiting Federation outposts - they're checking to make sure law and order is being upheld because there's no other authority out there on the frontier.
Okay, that sounds more reasonable, but then it's odd to use police metaphors to describe that. In any case, a frontier marshal or Texas Ranger would be a better analogy for that than a sheriff, since they have broader jurisdiction.
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Old March 23 2012, 02:30 AM   #639
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

at this point I think it's gonna be about anything and everything and will change completely season two. That's just my theory. It's wide open to suggestion and will be something specific only when it is.
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Old March 23 2012, 09:28 AM   #640
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Has anyone heard of crackle.com? Well, they've got a show now! Everbody's got a show! When are Facebook and Twitter going to do shows? (I shouldn't say that out loud.)
When is TrekBBS gonna do a show?
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Old March 23 2012, 05:46 PM   #641
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

This IS the show.
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Old March 23 2012, 06:45 PM   #642
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
This IS the show.
Yup, surely no one can miss seeing all the Admirals and Captains running around.
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Old March 23 2012, 06:47 PM   #643
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

TrekBBS: Where It's Not Just the Admirals Who Are Insane...
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Old March 23 2012, 09:08 PM   #644
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

xortex wrote: View Post
An original idea/concept for a show would help. RHW's untitled thing just sounds so uninspired without a title you have to wonder why they bothered revealing it.
Without anything to go on other than a paragraph, it's hard to say what it is. But this would be true regardless of what the paragraph is. An idea you hadn't heard of before condensed into a paragraph does not a good show make. One of the best space operas of the last ten years was a remake, which hardly sounds inspiring, and two others were a space western and a a series with a vaguely Buck Rogers premise that in paragraph form probably looked like a rehash of Lexx.

This said, there's nothing in RHW's basic idea that precludes an excellent space opera series. It's a solid premise to build episodic plots around and also arcs of either a science fictional or political nature... and there's nothing it that ensures it'll be any good at all besides RHW's involvement.

And as with Andromeda, RHW's involvement is no assurance the show will be good. Though the problems with Andromeda mostly came from Turbine and Sorbo, there's no guarantee RHW wouldn't have similar issues with his collaborations - TV is never a solo medium, after all - nor is he a god whose mere presence assures quality screenwriting.

What he is, though, is a writer who's work I've personally enjoyed, both on DS9 and Andromeda ("Angel Dark, Demon Bright" was a good hour of space opera TV, damn it). So with that one small but sort of important fact - a writer I like working on a genre I love - remaining cautiously hopeful actually makes sense.

RHW is a solid writer but is he an innovative creator?
Innovation is fine and all well and good, but more then innovation I just want a quality space opera TV show. If it's served up in a manner that's basically familiar, that's fine. If I wasn't interested in watching shows at all basically familiar, I'd try genres I'm unfamiliar with.
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Old March 24 2012, 02:49 AM   #645
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

It tells me Sy-fy doesn't want to commit to anything they percieve might fail and are already jockying for power over RHW who seems to already be stymied and compromised and controlled before he even begins. My perception is that a title is contingent to artistic conviction and integrity - ie. believing in what your doing and why and going in strong with vision and not being unsure.
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