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Old May 8 2012, 07:39 PM   #901
Temis the Vorta
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Darryl is the one who manages not to shoot trees, cows, houses and other people with the crossbow.
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Old May 8 2012, 07:49 PM   #902
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Caliburn24 wrote: View Post
So judging from the cast photo guns are inoperable. Good, it'll give the show a different flavor than Walking Dead. I just hope they're willing to go as dark as the premise demands.
At least I won't have to keep yelling at the TV, WHY DON'T YOU ALL HAVE CROSSBOWS BY NOW!!! Like I do with a certain other show that shall remain nameless. Maybe the Revolution people glommed the entire crossbow supply in the greater Atlanta area.

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Revolution doesn't sound intriguing at all. The "all forms of energy" makes no sense. Presumably, it's just meant to take away technology, but they will still be able to have campfires and stuff (not to mention cellular activity), but it sounds like a bland post-whimpering-Apocalypse to me.
If fire doesn't work, then that begs other questions - why does human metabolism still work? And that way lies madness.

Wiping out all the technology in such a specific and targetted way can only be explained as a prelude to alien invasion.
If you can have fire, then what about bullets and cars? Or are we supposed to believe they ran out of bullets and gasoline?
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Old May 8 2012, 07:58 PM   #903
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Or are we supposed to believe they ran out of bullets and gasoline?
They'll have bullets and gasoline, but if you put them in guns and cars respectively, they won't work. But throw gasoline on a fire, and I bet it works just fine.

A certain segment of the audience will say, "hey waitaminute..." But most won't even think about it, and the show won't care. Much angst will be expended online while we wait for a good explanation, which may or may not be forthcoming.

I'm on record rooting for aliens because a) we can "explain" it as some sort of advanced alien ray-beam that zapped only the technology and b) it won't be very long till we're all totally bored by the family drama and need an alien armada just to keep our eyelids open.
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Old May 8 2012, 08:35 PM   #904
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

A bit of good news about LA Noir: TNT is not pitting it against its other pilots (it's still filming, so that wouldn't work anyway), but will evaluate it on its own merits, which given its pedigree, no doubt will be impressive.

Frank Darabont’s period pilot L.A. Noir is still filming. It will be evaluated on its own as a potential Sunday genre show for the network, which airs sci-fi drama Falling Skies on the night, and not with Scent and the group of procedural pilots TNT plans to order.
That sounds like they're planning to pair it with Falling Skies on Sunday - not the worst idea ever, since LA Noir has some well-regarded sci fi genre actors in the cast, plus Darabont, to attract viewers who might stick around for Falling Skies - or the reverse, since Falling Skies would probably take the earlier timeslot. (Now they just need to improve that show.)
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Old May 8 2012, 11:19 PM   #905
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Christopher wrote: View Post
Yes, you've said that about other things, but you're stubbornly ignoring it when it comes to how Westerns are defined. So you're not even being consistent.
You'll have to explain that one.

Harvey wrote: View Post
The second thing I would say is yes. I'm not sure why you're so aggressively arguing against this idea, since you claim that you have no problems with genre hybridization.
Well, for one thing, I have don't see how a story set in the 1800s in the American West can be categorized as a Space Opera (but then I don't see how ghosts and goblins can be categorized as Science Fiction ).

Your definition of the Western film is narrow to the point of excluding Western films that aren't even on the fringes of the genre. That's a textbook example of a useless generic definition.
It doesn't exclude anything, except stories that aren't Westerns. Granted that the Australian Outback is west of somewhere, it's not part of the American West.

First, looking at reviews of The Proposition on Metacritic, I can't find a single one that doesn't call the film a Western.
Okay. I'm not familiar with the film, so I don't know what it is.

Second, you've ignored a key part of my point here, which not only was that shopkeepers and reviewers identified these films as Westerns, but the producers of these films also identified them as such. I suppose you're dismissing them, too?
Only if they're wrong. A lot of producers of non-SF films identify themselves as SF, too.

Borders obviously have something to do with it, since you've dismissed the thought of Australian Westerns based on geography alone. I'm not sure why you've introduced California's statehood (1850) to the conversation, although I suspect you'd subscribe to a definition that limits the genre to films taking place in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
I brought up California because you brought up Mexico. You seemed to be suggesting that Westerns could only take place in the United States, which is incorrect. Australian settings are excluded not because of borders but because of geography-- Australia is not part of North America.

Of course, your geographic limitations eliminate Westerns like Rage at Dawn (which takes place in Pennsylvania) and Saskatchewan (which takes place in Canada).
There's no way a Western can take place in Pennsylvania-- that's in the East. Saskatchewan, maybe.

Wiki has a pretty good definition of Western, although they go off the rails a bit with Space Westerns and stuff.
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Old May 9 2012, 12:30 AM   #906
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Yes, you've said that about other things, but you're stubbornly ignoring it when it comes to how Westerns are defined. So you're not even being consistent.
You'll have to explain that one.
I already have, and so have others. You just need to try listening.


(but then I don't see how ghosts and goblins can be categorized as Science Fiction ).
And you really don't see how that contradicts the premise that genres can overlap, or that a single work can contain elements of multiple genres? No, ghosts per se are not science fiction, but something like space travel or colonizing other planets is science fiction. So if someone wrote a story about a spaceship travelling to another planet and finding ghosts there, it would contain elements of both science fiction and supernatural fantasy/horror. So the story as a whole could be characterized as science fiction even if aspects of it constituted fantasy or horror. There's a distinction between the parts and the whole that you're failing to consider. (And indeed, there have been classic works of genre fiction that have combined ghosts with space travel, such as some of Bradbury's Martian tales, or Richard Matheson's story "Death Ship" which became a Twilight Zone episode of the same name.)


It doesn't exclude anything, except stories that aren't Westerns.
Which is a meaninglessly circular argument.



Granted that the Australian Outback is west of somewhere, it's not part of the American West.
And neither is the fictional world in which the Western genre normally takes place. It pretends to be the historical American West, and its films are generally shot in the American West, but the actual history of the American West was extremely different (for instance, gun duels were actually quite rare; the typical Western town averaged under two homicides per year, and firearms of the time were so inaccurate that one-shot quick-draw showdowns were essentially impossible). So most "Westerns" take place in a world that's essentially as much a fantasy locale as Middle Earth.


Only if they're wrong. A lot of producers of non-SF films identify themselves as SF, too.
And what makes you so much more qualified to judge what genre those works are than the people who actually made them? Who the hell are you to assume you know better than everyone else? If you disagree with someone, isn't there a chance that you're the one who's actually wrong? Or that it's ambiguous enough that maybe there is no simplistic right answer?



Wiki has a pretty good definition of Western, although they go off the rails a bit with Space Westerns and stuff.
In your opinion, which is circularly exclusionistic and not particularly useful.
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Old May 9 2012, 01:20 AM   #907
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

RJDiogenes wrote: View Post
Well, for one thing, I have don't see how a story set in the 1800s in the American West can be categorized as a Space Opera (but then I don't see how ghosts and goblins can be categorized as Science Fiction ).
Who was talking about space opera? That's a subgenre of science fiction with its own peculiarities. For a film that combines the science fiction and Western genres, Cowboys & Aliens is an obvious but suitable example (although I haven't seen it).

Christopher already tackled your comment about ghosts. The only thing I can add is that Star Wars obviously qualifies as a science fiction film with ghosts.

Okay. I'm not familiar with the film, so I don't know what it is.
The Proposition (2005), which shouldn't be confused with the awful Sandra Bullock comedy, is a revisionist Western from Australia. It has a great cast, was well reviewed by most critics, and is (in my estimation) worth seeing. I haven't actually seen the other Australian example that I've been using, Quigley Down Under (1990), but it seemed perfectly suitable.

You seemed to be suggesting that Westerns could only take place in the United States, which is incorrect. Australian settings are excluded not because of borders but because of geography-- Australia is not part of North America.
I wasn't arguing that Westerns must be restricted to the United States (that would make my argument that films set on Io and the Australian outback were also Westerns rather incoherent). You seemed to be suggesting that line of reasoning (which you've clarified into a slightly more inclusive, but still exclusionary definition of a genre that allows films set in North America to qualify, as long as they take place in your vague conception of the West).

There's no way a Western can take place in Pennsylvania-- that's in the East. Saskatchewan, maybe.
What would you call these films then?

URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_%28genre%29"]Wiki [/URL]has a pretty good definition of Western, although they go off the rails a bit with Space Westerns and stuff.
If you're going to fall back on Wikipedia, then it should be noted that every film I've mentioned is described as a Western on the site. Not that it offers a particularly nuanced or thoughtful version of film genre theory.
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Old May 9 2012, 03:00 AM   #908
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Christopher wrote: View Post

You've been insisting on a narrow definition of "Western" that excludes any hybrids of Western elements with other genres or settings. You're trying to erect rigid walls between genres and define them in exclusionistic terms, which is grossly missing the point of what genre is.
Gentlemen i think you may wish to continue your Western chat in this other thread:

a new Western as a TV episodic series? discuss
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=120592

In it we discuss what westerns are. Timely as the blu-ray for "Hell on Wheels" is released this week for season 1. This is a current TV series that is a period Western and was renewed for season 2.
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Old May 9 2012, 03:07 AM   #909
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

So a western is a fictional fantasy? Wow, who knew, as opposed to sci-fi which we know to be factual. According to the historic records.
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Old May 9 2012, 03:28 AM   #910
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Or are we supposed to believe they ran out of bullets and gasoline?
They'll have bullets and gasoline, but if you put them in guns and cars respectively, they won't work. But throw gasoline on a fire, and I bet it works just fine.
I may be misremembering Stirling's books, but I think the explanation given was that any particularly high energetic reaction was dampened in some mysterious unexplained way(Alien Space Bats were theorized about). Literally, physics changed overnight. Gasoline would burn, just not hot enough to drive an engine. Gunpowder would burn, just not hot or fast enough to fire a bullet. Anything hotter than natural fire basically didn't produce the heat or energy it used to. I expect that the show will follow some similar idea. Which is fine, I gave the Walking Dead the story conceit that zombies could actually do what they do. I'll give Revolution a pass on the energy thing, so long as that is the only large suspension of disbelief thing I have to let slide.
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Old May 9 2012, 04:27 AM   #911
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

The pages of equivocation with the concept of "genre" are getting tiresome. The word "genre" can mean types of literature as broadly defined as fiction (a subgenre of fantasy, as My Name is Legion instructs us,) or as narrowly defined as the prosody of the sestina. If you do not use the term consistently, it sows confusion at best. Or serves as spurious grounds for abusing someone.

Since the Western somehow emerged as the main set of contested examples, note that this "genre" is defined by its setting. Literally, this is the US West in roughly the 19th century. Borders were fluid geographically, and outliers into Mexico and Canada are trivial. A story from any other genre can be put into this setting. Richard Matheson wrote a horror novel set in the West, therefore it was a Western. It was still a horror novel.

This is not a contradiction, nor is it even a cross-genre or genre-blending story strictly speaking, because the horror genre is defined by its intent to horrify the reader (which imposes no proper form or setting on the writer,) and the Western genre is defined by its setting. The confusion arises from using "genre" to distinguish stories in different ways. In this example, by authorial intent and by setting. It's like trying to distinguish people by hair color and height. Saying someone is blonde does not contradict or blend descriptive genres when you also say she is short.

In another example, Dashiell Hammett wrote a couple of crime novels, Red Harvest and The Glass Key. Akira Kurosawa made a samurai movie based on these novels, Yojimbo. Then Yojimbo's plot was used in a Western, A Fistful of Dollars. The Glass Key was made into a movie and I read that Kurosawa copied a scene very closely. Nobody in their right minds would call The Glass Key a Western. But somebody could sensibly call A Fistful of Dollars a gangster film. They probably wouldn't because minds muddied by ill-conceived notions of genre would find it difficult to think so clearly.

The Western strictly speaking is a subgenre of historical fiction, which is also defined by its setting, the past. There is one difference, which is that the classic Western is not properly set in the past but in a mythological version of the past. Christopher noted this but soon contradicted his own notion of the Western genre as defined by this mythology in his eagerness to quarrel with another poster. The mythological version of the West is notable for the absence of race as an internal problem for society. By the mythological standard, movies like Quigley Down Under, which are very much about race, simply are not Westerns by that standard either. And by the sound of it, neither was The Proposition.

A strong man saving society from chaos by restoring order through violence (very occasionally trickery,) is a genre common to the classic Western. It is not unique to the Western, however. The genres unique to the Western are things like sheepmen versus cattlemen, very specific to the setting. As in the case of Red Harvest slowly morphing into a spaghetti Western, the strong man story is a transfer from other scenes, such as tales of chivalry.

But it seems to me that the desire to label such stories modern or urban Westerns is an oblique acknowledgement or invocation of race in the threat of chaos. It's pretty overt in the very title of a movie like Fort Apache the Bronx. It's barely disguised in things like McCloud or Firefly. The real question is, does it help understanding to look at the classic Western mythology, then label something like Justified a Western? I think not. I think it sows confusion about a crime story to ignore the reality that race is an incredibly important aspect of criminal justice as practiced in the US today, by trying to trivialize it as just a romantic tale, borrowed from an innocuous genre.

Going back to SF and fantasy, these "genres" are defined by the internal rationale for the fantastic element. In the first, the fantastic is still somehow supposed to be natural, connected to our mundane world, most often by being set in the future. In the other "genre," the fantastic is supposed to be supernatural. There is a third possibility, that the fantastic isn't justified at all, but is blatantly absurd. This includes things like Flan O'Brien's At Swim Two-Birds, Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Jasper Fforde's Tuesday Next novels, Latin American "magic realists." If this stuff was all just fantasy, of course, the third category would be on the shelves of your "SF" section in the bookstore. It's not, nor do critics read them the same. So much for the ignorant idea that it's all just fantasy. But the point has always been, that in the case of SF and fantasy, the way these "genres" are defined preclude each other. Yes, even in this there will be the occasion genuine cross-genre or genre-blending exercise, for about the same reasons that people will utter or write oxymorons. Generally, by error, occasionally, for humor, rarely, for profound wit. But despite this, harping about the fludity of genre boundaries is much like harping on the possibility of uttering or writing sentences that contradict themselves, ignoring the large majority of normal sentences. The notion that some fantastic element is justified as somehow natural does not tell us much about what kind of "genre" as defined in other ways an SF story is. It's impossible to define SF as a genre in the same way you might define a mystery or romance. Like the Western it is unlikely that there is a "genre" (defined by narrative intent) unique to the SF "genre" (defined by setting, which includes some supposedly natural fantastic thing or person or place, etc.)
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Old May 9 2012, 09:44 AM   #912
RJDiogenes
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

^^ Yes, indeed. Very well said.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I already have, and so have others. You just need to try listening.
No, I think you need to re-read my posts more slowly and carefully.

And you really don't see how that contradicts the premise that genres can overlap, or that a single work can contain elements of multiple genres? No, ghosts per se are not science fiction, but something like space travel or colonizing other planets is science fiction. So if someone wrote a story about a spaceship travelling to another planet and finding ghosts there, it would contain elements of both science fiction and supernatural fantasy/horror.
Bloody Hell, man, this is what I've been telling you.

So the story as a whole could be characterized as science fiction even if aspects of it constituted fantasy or horror. There's a distinction between the parts and the whole that you're failing to consider. (And indeed, there have been classic works of genre fiction that have combined ghosts with space travel, such as some of Bradbury's Martian tales, or Richard Matheson's story "Death Ship" which became a Twilight Zone episode of the same name.)
And this is where you go wrong. Just because a story may be considered primarily one genre does not change the definition of the genre.

Which is a meaninglessly circular argument.
Or funny to someone with a sense of humor.

And neither is the fictional world in which the Western genre normally takes place. It pretends to be the historical American West, and its films are generally shot in the American West, but the actual history of the American West was extremely different (for instance, gun duels were actually quite rare; the typical Western town averaged under two homicides per year, and firearms of the time were so inaccurate that one-shot quick-draw showdowns were essentially impossible). So most "Westerns" take place in a world that's essentially as much a fantasy locale as Middle Earth.
This is nonsense. A Western can be as realistic or as fictionalized as the writer wants, as I've already explained.

And what makes you so much more qualified to judge what genre those works are than the people who actually made them? Who the hell are you to assume you know better than everyone else? If you disagree with someone, isn't there a chance that you're the one who's actually wrong? Or that it's ambiguous enough that maybe there is no simplistic right answer?
Or maybe I'll continue to give my opinion and back it up rather than relying on specious arguments from authority, no matter how huffy you get.

Harvey wrote: View Post
Who was talking about space opera? That's a subgenre of science fiction with its own peculiarities. For a film that combines the science fiction and Western genres, Cowboys & Aliens is an obvious but suitable example (although I haven't seen it).
Christopher said that a Space Opera that uses elements of a Western is a Western. I was pointing out that if that is so, then the reverse must be true, which is obvious nonsense.

Christopher already tackled your comment about ghosts. The only thing I can add is that Star Wars obviously qualifies as a science fiction film with ghosts.
Actually Space Opera with ghosts.

The Proposition (2005), which shouldn't be confused with the awful Sandra Bullock comedy, is a revisionist Western from Australia. It has a great cast, was well reviewed by most critics, and is (in my estimation) worth seeing. I haven't actually seen the other Australian example that I've been using, Quigley Down Under (1990), but it seemed perfectly suitable.
Well, if The Proposition is set in the American West and just made in Australia then it may be a Western; Quigley Down Under, judging by the title, is set in Australia and therefore not. As I said, the setting is intrinsic to the genre.

I wasn't arguing that Westerns must be restricted to the United States (that would make my argument that films set on Io and the Australian outback were also Westerns rather incoherent). You seemed to be suggesting that line of reasoning (which you've clarified into a slightly more inclusive, but still exclusionary definition of a genre that allows films set in North America to qualify, as long as they take place in your vague conception of the West).
There may be gray areas at the edges, but it's far from vague.

What would you call these films then?
No idea. The question is, would accurate labeling change their content at all?

If you're going to fall back on Wikipedia, then it should be noted that every film I've mentioned is described as a Western on the site.
Interesting. Then they're contradicting themselves. I'll have to take a look when I have a minute.
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Old May 9 2012, 06:32 PM   #913
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Analysis of what the networks need.

NBC
Under Greenblatt, the network is gravitating toward more daring programming to try to dig itself out of the ratings basement. "The mindset is, 'We don't have the luxury of launching middle-of-the-road shows; they're going to barely tune in to us to watch something out-of-the-box,' " says one agent, who notes that unique material, like J.J. Abrams' (already picked up) postapocalyptic thriller Revolution, might be one way to lure eyeballs.
"Daring" is obviously relative here. If they wanted to be really daring, they'd pick up The Frontier.

ABC
Multiple sources say ABC chief Paul Lee talks internally about defining the network's brand. "They're asking, 'Who are we?' And if we're the network that brings you Revenge and Grey's Anatomy, we have to dance with the ones that brought us."
And Once Upon a Time, hello! But I get what he's saying. ABC = soaps. Mystery soaps, history soaps, fantasy soaps and soapy soaps. That's good news for 666 Park Ave, the soapiest sounding of their fantasy pilots and not good news for Gotham, which is a female version of Grimm (too procedural).

The Emmerich project about the rise of the antichrist has a hot guy in the lead, which is good for grabbing the female audience, but the antichrist is not the easiest concept to shoehorn into a soapy format, plus I'm pretty sure either Terry O'Quinn or Vanessa Williams is playing Satan, and it would be confusing to have two such shows on the same network.

The silence is deafening surrounding the male-skewing (former?) front-runner, The Last Resort. Its fate probably hinges on how committed ABC is to brand purity at this point. The risk is

of becoming what some dismissively call "a glorified Lifetime." Among them: alienating male-focused advertisers as well as the syndication riches that come from more close-ended series.
ABC is going to be an interesting case study in how far you can take brand discipline. CBS' discipline is why it's such a success, but cop shows have cross-gender appeal. If ABC passes on The Last Resort, it means they're really jumping into the deep end, and good for them for taking a big risk in such a risk-adverse industry.

CW
In contrast to ABC, the CW is chasing guys. Well, they gotta do something because like NBC (and ABC, surprisingly enough), they're in deep doodoo.

New CW president Mark Pedowitz is actively seeking year-round programming, more repeatable material and broader-appeal projects...The Greg Berlanti-Marc Guggenheim comic-book drama Arrow has the potential to draw male viewers, as Smallville once did, while the mystery series Cult is poised to repeat better than the soapy Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl do.
This may mean curtains for The Selection, which has a female lead and sounds highly serialized. (But guys like hot, ass-kicking girls and stories about fighting for power as opposed to than teen love triangles, so who knows.)

As for FOX, looks like their three new dramas will be a cop/doctor/lawyer trifecta, impressively boring in its symmetry.

Why focus group testing pilots sucks.

As someone who has sat behind the one-way mirror, I can attest that focus groups are good at saying whether they like what you shove in front of their face, not so good at envisioning whether they will like where that thing might evolve.

And the way TV is now, even broadcast shows survive by appealing to more nichey audiences than in the past. Is your focus group that niche audience? Probably not, because the audience and the show find each other. There's no telling who "should" be in that focus group until the show airs, at which point, it's too late.

This idea would be fun, but it's a real can o' worms:

A network could put all of its pilots up on its website and let the entire populace of interested viewers vote for their favorites and leave comments on how they would like to see the show improved before it went to series.
That just gives a wider canvas to the problems he's already identified, such as the noisiest people getting the most attention, or those with agendas. Can you imagine the utter babble they would be bombarded with? There would be no making sense of the feedback.

And that's not even considering the PR debacle if people decide they like the pilots that were passed on better than the ones picked up, and start internet campaigns for them to be revived. And we all know they will. It might impact the ratings of the picked up shows as people reject them out of anger that their favorites weren't chosen instead.

Maybe the internet could be used under controlled circumstances to broaden the focus group sample, but it shouldn't be thrown open to the general public.

And if the Internet isn’t the way to go with this, maybe a network could program a new series called Pick the Lineup or, if it is on NBC, The Choice.
HEY! Stop stealing my idea!

Seriously, that could be fun, but it should be for that show, not as a substitute for the regular pilot selection process.

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Old May 9 2012, 06:33 PM   #914
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

stj was right about one thing. This is getting tiresome. Time to get back to the regularly scheduled thread, I think.
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Old May 9 2012, 07:37 PM   #915
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Re: sf/f TV development news - 2012

Yep, I just gave yall a bunch of stuff to talk about (is it really a good idea to put pilots online for us to vote on?) and check this out, NBC is close to greenlighting a pirate drama of all things, for Spring 2013: Republic of Pirates.

The series is based on the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard. Set during the 10-year “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1715 to 1725, it follows some of the world’s most notorious pirates as they forge their own rogue nation, called New Providence, which became the first democracy in the Americas.
Pirates are the new zombies!

They should pick this up with The Frontier for fall, in the same timeslot, doing half seasons for both shows. Keep the historical-drama momentum going! (But realistically, just the pirate show might satiate NBC's taste for risk, without the Western too.)
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