a new Western as a TV episodic series? discuss

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by jefferiestubes8, May 5, 2010.

  1. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    New York City

    I prefer Westerns that concentrate on the conflicts within the good and bad settlers instead of the Native Americans conflicts between natives and settlers or U.S. Cavalry. But we all have our preferences...

    by definition Westerns are
    .
    That means specific history things of course.
    Specifically stories set around or after the first transcontinental railway was completed in 1869 & communication had changed with the telegraph connecting the western coast & east coasts by late 1861 and everywhere in between.
     
  2. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Randyland
    I've seen a few. I didn't care for them. And Dr. Quinn is by no means perfect (they rarely got historical dates right for example), but it's still the best western I've ever seen. As far as "politically correct" goes, remember, this show WAS made in the 1990's.
     
  3. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Well, whatever you think of Dr. Quinn, we can all agree on one thing: Jane Seymour is a major babe!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. caisson2delta

    caisson2delta Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    The South of Florida
    I love westerns and agree with many that Deadwood was quite wonderful. They must be rather expensive to produce and film and that's probably why we only see the handful of movies every few years. Firefly's western feel was one of the main reasons that I started watching it and, unfortunately, for only one season.
     
  5. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Location:
    the real world
    The classic Western is a racial mythology. Integration finished the classic Western, though it took television, a very reactionary medium, some years to notice. No modern Western can get away with reducing the native Americans to savages joyfully slaughtered, or even vanishing noble savages sensitively mourned, the occasional enlightened variant. Putting the African Americans and Chinese back into the landscape paints the American Eden in different colors.
     
  6. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I don't see why a TV Western today would necessarily be more expensive to produce than any other dramatic series that uses a few standing sets and a certain amount of location filming. In fact, one reason American series television was dominated by Westerns in the 1950s and ’60s was that they were relatively cheap to produce. Every movie studio had its backlot frontier town. Every wardrobe and prop department had a large inventory of period clothing, guns, furniture, wagons and other acoutrements. And the "horse opera" provided almost limitless story possibilities. The lone hero or the core of regular characters could be written into just about any dramatic situation.
     
  7. Mojochi

    Mojochi Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    I think we may very well never see another tv western like Deadwood. The authenticity of it was unparalleled. That level of authenticity does require a certain amount of budgetary needs, but what really killed the show was the large cast. It's very difficult to keep a show safe, unless it only supports a cast of less than ten main characters. There were just so many actors with long running, frequently featured roles. It made the show a brilliant experience, but that money adds up fast

    Making modern westerns is tough, because it has to BE about something too, & there is a limited amount of directions that are viable, or that viewers would show interest in. Plus, there is always going to be a certain lack of authenticity, if ever the producers wish to avoid the realism of the old west, which was a remarkably sexist, racist, violent time. Otherwise, you're relegated to uncensored cable production, & like I said, a show like Deadwood is rare, perhaps unique
     
  8. KB24

    KB24 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Westerns ebb and tide just like vampire shows it seems. The late eighties and nineties it seems had a lot of westerns serials. Though all weren't that bad, had promise, and were fairly respectable, only Dr. Quinn and if you count Christy had a solid run. Perhaps that was more of this 'appeal to women' western vibe that those had, but The Young Riders, Brisco County Jr, The Magnificent Seven, Dead Man's Gun, and Deadwood didn't run nearly as long as they could have.

    It wasn't the shows, just ratings and budget that killed them. I don't think westerns are as much as a niche as they are made out to be, but merely too expensive and demographically small for networks to bother.

    Dead Man's Gun isn't on dvd, but you can find Dr. Quinn and Christy on tv now. The others I'd like to get on dvd at some point, too. I suspect the only way a western might come back would be if it was as some sort of anthology style on cable, with one or two characters traveling or such. Does that make Renegade count? Deadwood's cast was huge.

    Actually, what does everyone think of Walker, Texas Ranger? I never cared for it. Maybe it wasn't always a hit, but I think Chuck Norris' own money probably helped it last as long as it did.

    Episodic westerns are expensive, but AMC and TNT used to produce and show a lot of the Louis L'Amour adaptations with Tom Selleck and Sam Elliot. Personally, I love classic westerns but I can see how they're not for everyone.
     
  9. Aragorn

    Aragorn Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    ^ So a western vampire crime procedural would be a big hit!
     
  10. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    New York City
    from a Variety blog today:
    http://weblogs.variety.com/bltv/2010/05/more-jesse-stone-movies-in-cbs-pipeline.html

    Recently the only thing with younger people in anything set in Western USA outside was the awful social-experiment-reality genre "Kid Nation" (2007) (TV series) which was shot near the western town/set that had been recently refurbished for 3:10 to Yuma.
     
  11. KB24

    KB24 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I'm surprised they think westerns don't appeal to kids. Hey Dude! anyone? Horse opera has so many built in wonders for kids, the big west, horses themselves,yes stereotypical Indians and bank robbers and trains. Maybe a juvenile focused series would be the way to go.

    And yes,maybe paranormal also would work. That's what I loved about Dead Man's Gun, and TNT did that nice little movie Purgatory. There were several eps of DMG with Michael Dorn as a pinkerton, that would be fun to see him investigate the weird and injust in the West! Miniseries based on a few classic books would also appeal to young audiences. How about a Shane series anyone. I love that book.
     
  12. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    New York City
    'Hell on Wheels' pilot ordered for AMC

    from the pilot season thread:
    whoo hoo! Thanks Out Of My Vulcan Mind !
    That is the news to keep hope alive.
    Considering the first transcontinental railway was completed in 1869 this would have steam locomotives and horses and all sorts of that stuff!


    AMC Orders Western Pilot From Endemol
     
  13. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 11, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Sure, but keep the spaceships out of it! *ducks* :p


    Dunno... kids don't have as many backyards as they used to. Political correctness, production costs and Sputnik aside, it's hard to be a cowboy in the middle of suburbia or a city.
     
  14. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    New York City
    "Last American Cowboy" series

    Until the AMC series Hell on Wheels
    pilot gets picked up for a series this new show at least offers a western on TV :
    A new documentary series (much cheaper to produce)
    "Last American Cowboy"
    Animal Planet, Mondays at 10 p.m. started June 14.
    appears to be shot over 8 months.

    USA today says:
    This falls under the Professional activities & Special living environment docudrama sub-genre of 'reality television programming'. It's not a Competition/game show type show (thank God) but is it a substitute for scripted drama [Western episodic]? When shot over 8 months a docudrama is more of a documentary-style show.


    a good 1:45 minute preview video here
    Last American Cowboy: The Cowboy Way

    some beautiful vistas in the cinematography, especially the helicopter shots that are Western feature film quality.
    If you get Animal Planet HD you are even luckier.
     
  15. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Location:
    Germany, Earth, the Solar System
    Someone calling Mel Gibson to produce a TV Series of Maverick in a similar style as the movie he starred in? I'd watch that.
    Of course he shouldn't play the title role, since he's getting to old for this shit. So cast Nathan Fillion please.
     
  16. KB24

    KB24 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Remember Hey Dude? I loved that show!

    Honestly, I don't see why there aren't more youth oriented westerns. It's the one place where going juvenile or Smallville would work. Ranches and horses and Indian bonding and such. Heck the the rough yet simple life on the range. Though I have to say some of the too sweet kid bits from Dr. Quinn and Little House on the Prairie are tough to swallow sometimes, there's nothing wrong with an adventure western series for kids.

    There should be a Shane miniseries! My husband hates westerns but now he's in love with the Red Dead Redemption game. Maybe a dark but youthful turn would be a possibility? I love Shane. I've read it more than any other book, and I do enjoy the Alan Ladd film. However, its about due for an ambigious retelling. What's the big deal with the stump? It's all told from a kid's eyes so he can't quite get the bigger picture of some potential kink between Mom and Shane. Dang now I want to go read it.

    When I was little, every summer my dad would hack away on this huge stump that was left when we put in our pool. I'd sit there and say, 'It's just like Shane!' Every year, over and over I'd say it. Eventually my father would get so pissed and start really chopping at this stump. 'I know! I know! It's just like %^&*# Shane!'

    teehee

    So why isn't somebody making a humorous kid western or a darker mature series?
     
  17. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    None of your objections are relevant. A perfectly good Western could be made from the perspective of a black character. It's probably already been done, in fact, I just haven't heard about it.
     
  18. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Location:
    ciudad de Los Angeles
    We tend to be very proud of our Buffalo Soldiers. The last TV Western I saw featured a Black preacher who married a Native American in the Oklahoma Indian territories but he was lynched after trying to protect her fro a rape mob.
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    I loved that film. It was genuinely creepy towards the end. And Eric Roberts played the nastiest villain I've ever seen in a western.
    At least we literally get to see his character thrown into hell at the end...
     
  20. KB24

    KB24 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    Totally bizarre that my posts showed up out of order!

    It may be taboo, but I like the racial wrongs in westerns. My favorite movie is The Searchers, and it is such a weird mix of 19th century racism mixed with 50s segregation. Looking with a modern lense however, we can see this ideologies as wrong. What's wrong with having a show that shows history's ills?

    It's a long review, but here's an excerpt from my thesis on The Searchers:


    The Statements

    [​IMG]Despite its wonderful cast and visuals, The Searchers is not a western where the good guys where white hats and the bad boys are all in black. It’s reflections on racism, Manifest Destiny, and the Confederacy are clear enough to any modern viewer. From the first mention of Ethan’s allegiance to the South to Laurie’s final declaration that a bullet in Debbie’s brain is best, we know this picture says a lot more than most westerns or most of its McCarthy era compatriots. Not only commenting on its story material, The Searchers also says a lot about its time. There are no black actors in sight-and I’m sure if I researched enough I could find out that surely there were real American Indians involved in the production. Nevertheless, you can’t see any of them onscreen. Painted white actors- Scar actor Henry Brandon was born in Germany!-portray the stereotypical feather headdress wearing Injuns, and the Mexicans offered all wear sombreros. Today The Searchers doesn’t look dated; it simply looks like a film of its time that’s bravely commentating on a hundred years prior. Unfortunately, our nation’s true colors seem to have changed little in that time.



    [​IMG]Like other John Ford pictures, The US Cavalry makes an appearance here. Instead of being the hero, however, The Searchers offers a somewhat underhanded treatment of the Army. First the Cavalry and its Indian Agencies interfere with Ethan’s search and provide little help. Later, Lieutenant Greenhill is made out to be a dumb, spoiled boy who doesn’t know what he’s doing-and he and his bugler are the only significant Cavalrymen in the picture. Some viewers think a brief scene in which Captain Clayton has an undisclosed rear end injury is out of place; however, I think he was stuck in the butt with Greenhill’s sword. He’s warned earlier by Clayton to take care with his ‘knife’, and to me the butt wound represents the pain in the backside that Northern interference and reconstruction was to the still proud South.

    [​IMG]Also seeming to rub the wrong way in The Searchers is the juxtaposition of religion and violence. The local reverend is also the ranger captain for goodness sake, and he has no problem shouting Hallelujah after he’s shot a few Indians. Clayton also comments in the opening moments of the film that Debbie still isn’t baptized-does this mean she’s more susceptible to those Injun ways? Before a battle with Scar, Mose erroneously prays, ‘That which we are about to receive, we thank thee, oh Lord.’ Shortly thereafter, Martin has mixed feelings about his first Indian kill, but he quickly gets over it and continues firing. This observance of white hypocrisy parallels the relationship between Ethan and Scar, for both fights to avenge killed family. Ethan constantly refers to evil Bucks, non-human Comanche, scalping-he even shoots the eyes out of a dead Indian so the man will ‘wonder forever between the winds’.
    [​IMG]

    Why don’t we think good of Scar-a man who has lost two sons-when he takes in a young and lost Debbie and raises her as his own? Are we to be pleased when Ethan scalps Scar? It’s not a question of if the situations were reversed, for in many ways Ethan and his Indian enemies are not that different. We’re supposed to like the white guys even if we know their ways are wrong and hate the Indians for their misunderstood violence. Although The Searchers has a feel good ending, the getting there is uneasy, complex, and complicated. The irony is that Ethan hopes to find Debbie and return her to the Jorgensen’s homestead. It’s not even really her home, merely neighbors from when Debbie was five years old. We are given the impression that she’s better off with an unrelated white family than Indians who raised her as their own. It’s never even considered that she might be better off staying where she’s acclimated. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Once Ethan sees Debbie as a full-fledged squaw, his sentiments that living as a Comanche isn’t worth the living are fulfilled.


    http://ithinkthereforeireview.blogspot.com/2009/06/searchers-part-2.html

    ETA: Oh hey, didn't think the pics would come up here, neat!