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Old January 21 2010, 04:51 AM   #1
Temis the Vorta
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sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

Might as well start a running thread. Have I missed any previous genuine sf/f fall pilot pickups?

AMC greenlights The Walking Dead.

I'm not counting Push: The TV series since it doesn't have a home yet.
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Old January 21 2010, 04:59 AM   #2
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

I heard the American Prisoner wasn't so hot, so apparently AMC is capable of stumbling (though Caviezel and McKellen struck me as excellent picks.)

This however is zombies, which like vampires are oversaturated but unlike vampires were never interesting to begin with. Last People on Earth stories have potential, but I'm tired of their need to throw in monsters. Mary Shelley wrote both Frankenstein and The Last Man and she never felt the need to combine the two (although...)
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Old January 21 2010, 05:14 AM   #3
Temis the Vorta
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

The Prisoner was risk-taking, presented a clever twist on the original, and well made from a production standpoint. It's main problem is that maybe it wasn't such a hot idea to begin with, but that's what happens sometimes when you take risks. Risk-taking and creativity is so rare on TV, I'm not going to bitch about it. AMC doing a zombie show sounds like an interestingly counterintuitive match to me.
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Old January 21 2010, 05:44 AM   #4
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

I'm looking forward to "The Walking Dead". Got caught up with the comic book recently and enjoyed it quite a bit. I just hope they stay true to the zombies and make them the slow shufflers. I'm a zombie purist and have little use for "fast zombies". That said, I doubt the show will last but I hoipe to enjoy it while I can.
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Old January 21 2010, 08:18 AM   #5
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

They're led by a police officer ? That's boring.

How about they have a grizzled old Vietnam veteran, a biker who hates everything, an IT worker who seems to like pills too much and a female college student with a penchant for pop culture references ? Sounds much better to me.
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Old January 21 2010, 03:37 PM   #6
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

Zombies are definitely saturated at this point, but they're less annoying than vampires for the simple reason that no one tries to have plots where teenage girls fall in love with zombies.

I interact with the zombie fandom online quite a bit, and the interesting thing about it is that despite the saturation, there's a lot of appetite for the uncomplicated Zombie Apocalypse Survival story. The oddball zombie stories stick out and get noticed - Star Wars Zombies! Jane Austen Zombies! [Zombies and Ancient Rome! Heh] - but the Romeroesque "Guys Fortify A Mall" approach still gets the juices flowing for the fans, no matter how many times it's redone. So I think this show can work if it doesn't try to innovate.
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Old January 21 2010, 04:27 PM   #7
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

FluffyUnbound wrote: View Post
Zombies are definitely saturated at this point, but they're less annoying than vampires for the simple reason that no one tries to have plots where teenage girls fall in love with zombies.
Please don't give Hollywood any ideas.
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Old January 21 2010, 04:33 PM   #8
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

FluffyUnbound wrote: View Post
Zombies are definitely saturated at this point, but they're less annoying than vampires for the simple reason that no one tries to have plots where teenage girls fall in love with zombies.
Eh. I mean, I could see that story being done in a way that interests me, hypothetically. Zombies less so, they lack the capacity to be as annoying because they're far more boring. You can humanise a vampire and yet still do something interesting with it; humanising a zombie misses the point.

but the Romeroesque "Guys Fortify A Mall" approach still gets the juices flowing for the fans,
Will the devotion of hardcore zombie enthusiasts be sufficient for a ratings hit, though?
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Old January 21 2010, 04:54 PM   #9
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

FluffyUnbound wrote: View Post
Zombies are definitely saturated at this point, but they're less annoying than vampires for the simple reason that no one tries to have plots where teenage girls fall in love with zombies.
Angel actually did that once as a joke. Although, they established several types of zombies over the years, and this was definitely one of the more "normal" varieties, not the shambling/biting type.
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Old January 21 2010, 05:04 PM   #10
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Might as well start a running thread. Have I missed any previous genuine sf/f fall pilot pickups?

AMC greenlights The Walking Dead.

I'm not counting Push: The TV series since it doesn't have a home yet.
I'm rather sick of zombies at this point, but I suppose I'm more or less alone in that.
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Old January 21 2010, 05:07 PM   #11
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

Kegg wrote: View Post
Eh. I mean, I could see that story being done in a way that interests me, hypothetically. Zombies less so, they lack the capacity to be as annoying because they're far more boring. You can humanise a vampire and yet still do something interesting with it; humanising a zombie misses the point.
Well, I would submit that the zombies themselves aren't really meant to be interesting. They aren't characters; they're a Force of Nature or the Hand of Fate or the Embodiment of Religious Terror or what have you.

They're not really part of the "adversarial" quasi-Manichaean battle-between-good-and-evil storytelling tradition. They're more like something out of a Greek tragedy - the background context against which the tragic flaws of the protagonists work themselves out.

That's why the genre gets loaded up with "social subtext" stories. Because the two main attractions of the genre are "Hey, isn't it fun to think of how to survive a zombie attack, in a quasi-survivalist kind of way" and "Hey, let's think about how all those other people would fail to survive a zombie attack, because they suffer from 'social flaw X'."

Those kind of "blank wall villain" stories used to be quite successful as audience pleasers in other sci-fi or disaster movie contexts, so it maybe can work for AMC's show too.
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Old January 21 2010, 05:13 PM   #12
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

FluffyUnbound wrote: View Post
They're not really part of the "adversarial" quasi-Manichaean battle-between-good-and-evil storytelling tradition. They're more like something out of a Greek tragedy
Not any Greek tragedy I've read. And I've read all the surviving words of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides (not as impressive as it sounds). The 'adversarial' tradition is something easier to connect to Greek tragedy than zombies, honestly - case in point: The Persians, a rather unsubtle bit of schadenfreude about defeating the Persians at Salamis.

You could argue that zombie stories are similar to these tragedies in the use of hubris for human characters but I'm really having a hard time understanding the notion they are 'like something out of a Greek tragedy'.
Those kind of "blank wall villain" stories used to be quite successful as audience pleasers in other sci-fi or disaster movie contexts, so it maybe can work for AMC's show too.
Probably. I personally find the conventions of zombie films a trifle trying, though. The whole 'look at this jerk AND NOW HE DIES' horror film cliche has never, ever been to my taste. Vampires themselves can be the vehicle for our lusts and fears and revulsions, they can be about forbidden love, the boredom of immortality, ravenous desires, and so on.
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Old January 21 2010, 05:15 PM   #13
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

FluffyUnbound wrote: View Post
Kegg wrote: View Post
Eh. I mean, I could see that story being done in a way that interests me, hypothetically. Zombies less so, they lack the capacity to be as annoying because they're far more boring. You can humanise a vampire and yet still do something interesting with it; humanising a zombie misses the point.
Well, I would submit that the zombies themselves aren't really meant to be interesting. They aren't characters; they're a Force of Nature or the Hand of Fate or the Embodiment of Religious Terror or what have you.

They're not really part of the "adversarial" quasi-Manichaean battle-between-good-and-evil storytelling tradition. They're more like something out of a Greek tragedy - the background context against which the tragic flaws of the protagonists work themselves out.

That's why the genre gets loaded up with "social subtext" stories. Because the two main attractions of the genre are "Hey, isn't it fun to think of how to survive a zombie attack, in a quasi-survivalist kind of way" and "Hey, let's think about how all those other people would fail to survive a zombie attack, because they suffer from 'social flaw X'."

Those kind of "blank wall villain" stories used to be quite successful as audience pleasers in other sci-fi or disaster movie contexts, so it maybe can work for AMC's show too.
And here the voice of reason steps into the debate...
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Old January 21 2010, 05:57 PM   #14
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

Kegg wrote: View Post
FluffyUnbound wrote: View Post
They're not really part of the "adversarial" quasi-Manichaean battle-between-good-and-evil storytelling tradition. They're more like something out of a Greek tragedy
Not any Greek tragedy I've read. And I've read all the surviving words of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides (not as impressive as it sounds). The 'adversarial' tradition is something easier to connect to Greek tragedy than zombies, honestly - case in point: The Persians, a rather unsubtle bit of schadenfreude about defeating the Persians at Salamis.

You could argue that zombie stories are similar to these tragedies in the use of hubris for human characters but I'm really having a hard time understanding the notion they are 'like something out of a Greek tragedy'.
Those kind of "blank wall villain" stories used to be quite successful as audience pleasers in other sci-fi or disaster movie contexts, so it maybe can work for AMC's show too.
Probably. I personally find the conventions of zombie films a trifle trying, though. The whole 'look at this jerk AND NOW HE DIES' horror film cliche has never, ever been to my taste. Vampires themselves can be the vehicle for our lusts and fears and revulsions, they can be about forbidden love, the boredom of immortality, ravenous desires, and so on.
I think Bacchae can be seen as a prototypical zombie story, in many ways. That's why I said "something out of" Greek tragedy. And that is a "Look at this jerk, who hubristically overestimates his own capacity for understanding in the face of the god, AND NOW HE HAS NO HEAD" story.
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Old January 21 2010, 06:08 PM   #15
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Re: sf/f fall pilot pickups: first up, zombies

Actually I guess you could come back with "But Dionysos is the adversary in Bacchae" and I suppose that would be a telling point. But the proto-zombie Maenads aren't the adversary.
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