a new Western as a TV episodic series? discuss

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

  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    More recently, there was The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in 2007, starring Brad Pitt. I've heard good things about it, but I confess I haven't seen it.
     
  2. barnaclelapse

    barnaclelapse Commodore Commodore

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    Wow. I'm not sure I agree with that at all.
     
  3. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I forgot since I couldn't watch it. After what I learned via MacPherson from Stiles (T.J., not P.J., I can't type anything write, sorry:scream:) I wasn't impressed with the choice of Jesse James on the psychology of hero worship and the price of celebrity, etc.

    But early in the movie there is a scene where Jessie robs a train. He does so, as near as I could see in the artsy cinematography, by standing his horse in front of the train. We the viewers get shots of train headlight glaring into our brains. The train manages to come to a halt.

    Most Westerns show barricades barely stopping trains, and more show horsemen galloping madly to leap aboard with dash and panche. Maybe living by a trunk line for the Norfolk & Western (now Norfolk Southern) has given me the false impression about nineteenth century trains. Perhaps they never traveled above five miles per hour at night. But I'm used to trains that often take over a mile to brake if they're traveling at any appreciable velocity.

    There hasn't been such a blow to willing suspension of disbelief since I saw John Sayles' version of Tug Fork river.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I can't say I know much about trains, though what you describe sounds pretty ridiculous. On the other hand, wikipedia links to a website of the James family that praises the historical accuracy of the movie, but it goes without saying that they have a vested interest in a certain portrayal of James, so take this with quite a grain of salt. Apparently the movie is based on a 1983 novel of the same name, but I haven't read that, either.
     
  5. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    Deadwood on Blu-ray

    Well actually this past week I watched the pilot and 2nd episode of Deadwood via Netflix. The production values are feature film level and the characters are very complex. It surely is a serial show with character and story arcs. It was very well done.
    I think I'll watch more episodes here and there but not disc after disc.
    It's nice to know I could watch all 3 seasons back to back via Netflix rentals if I wanted to...

    Looking forward to the December cinema release of True Grit (2010) remake directed by the Coen brothers.

    I should mention here that just today Deadwood complete series in HD was released on Blu-ray as a 13 disc Blu-ray set.

    review http://www.dvdtown.com/review/deadwood-tv-show-the-complete-series-3-seasons/blu-ray/8622/2
    another review
    http://www.hollywoodchicago.com/new...the-complete-series-archives-incredible-drama


    <<Sales link deleted by moderator>>

    related thread
    Deadwood discussion
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2010
  6. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    Desperado on CBS - modern day Western in San Antonio

    Well now CBS decided to go down this road.

    CBS Develops Modern-Day Western
    11/23/2010

    http://screenrant.com/cbs-desperado-san-antonio-anthony-zuiker-mcrid-89253/

    Well at least the genre may have a little bit of stuff with horses...
     
  7. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The last production that was anything like a "classic" American western was probably Silverado...but it was a bit arch and self-aware, wasn't it? Still, loved the relationship between Kline and Hunt.
     
  8. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Desperado has a writer from Dexter (and if I'm remembering writers' names correctly, he's written some great stuff for that show), which makes me more interested. But it's on CBS, which makes me less interested. I guess I'll have to see which factor wins out - the edge factor of Dexter or the bland factor of CBS.
     
  9. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Pandering to rightwingers' fantasies about gunning down the evil people (even if they're careful to integrate the ethnicities of the righteously slain villains,) counts as edgy?

    Dexter's kills are the least interesting thing about Dexter. And his success is targeting killers and getting away with it demands increasingly ridiculous plotting.

    Of course, broadcast tv is incredibly conservative. That said, starring Lawrence Fishburne on CSI is much edgier. Giving a show an atheist hero is much edgier. (Never thinking about church or praying isn't atheism, it's the norm.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  10. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    This is the same network - CBS that
    That element was not used that often due to the amount of plot given to the whole conspiracy plotline in both seasons of Jericho.
     
  11. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    I can't imagine this new CBS drama is going to come close to touching the quality of Justified.
     
  12. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You obviously don't understand Dexter in the least. :rommie:

    But CBS would definitely pander to right-wing fantasies about vigilante justice and no doubt will be rewarded with big ratings.
     
  13. Roger Wilco

    Roger Wilco Admiral Admiral

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    I don't really follow how Dexter is "right-wing", but one show where I really noticed that (and I'm sure it's the same with many other cop shows) is Criminal Minds. The suspect almost always dies in the end, usually at the hands of the FBI officers. How convenient eh, that they never have to deal with the pesky justice system by being able to summarily exececute, ehm I mean "shoot in self defense" (wink wink) the murderer...
     
  14. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The question about vigilante justice being edgy wasn't supposed to be connected to Dexter. There was a typo and a paragraph break that was supposed to be there was inadvertently omitted. I'm a terrible typist, sue me. Dexter only came up because one of the creators was a Dexter writer. The question was a soft way of saying that it's not edgy to praise vigilante justice. National public policy claims the right to send missiles to murder whomever some bureaucrat in the CIA or the Pentagon chooses, even a US citizen.

    Criminal Minds I've never watched, since the science of profiling is pretty much hype and horseshit. It makes the romaticized science on CSI look like a textbook. And everyone knows that JAG and its spinoffs were produced by a conservative. The general point that police are almost invariably viewed as benign and competent authority figures is quite true. Even shows like NYPD Blue that have a slightly more nuanced characterization like to portray cops at worst as normal, i.e., flawed, people stressed by their lonely struggle against evil. This is definitely a conservative viewpoint.

    Shows like CSI (this does not include the spinoffs) or The Closer or the early season Dexter, that acknowledge that the police might be wrong, or lie, or be criminal themselves, or just be careerist incompetents, tend to be the exception. Blatant exceptions, like In Justice or The Whole Truth, which don't even treat the police as valid authority figures, have trouble even getting an audience to sample the show.

    To pursue the aside about Dexter: Dexter the fun vigilante is the least creative, worst written aspect of that show. It's general portrayal of mental illness is generally ludicrously backwards, which I suppose is a kind of right wingness. But, the earlier, better seasons were not about Dexter the vigilante does good, but Dexter goes sane. The Miami PD was infested with real people, not Heroes (like the town marshal or noble gunslingers or natural gentleman cowpokes in Westerns.) Season three was lower in quality and season four really marked a significant drop in quality.

    I've avoided detailed spoilers about season five but the interesting issue of Dexter coming to terms with the fact that Harry was nuttier than a fruitcake, or Deborah finding about Harry, don't even seem to be on the horizon. This is writing Deborah as a mindless cardboard buffoon who just helplessly adores her brother, no matter what. Coupled with the nonexistence of the mother, we can't say the show has even written a family dynamic at all, much less successfully.

    As of end of fourth season, Deborah became a cop because she idolized her father. That's why she'll be an honest cop, because she's trying to live up to her father's image. And why if she's scripted as accepting her brother's extracurricular career without finding out about Harry first it'll be bullshit writing.

    Killing off Rita made the most sense as a cop out way of depriving Dexter of a meaningful choice between normality and the vigilante lifestyle, that is, writing it to justify Dexter continuing to kill, because the new producers think that'll be the popular ending. Glancing over the commentary on season five, it appears there's a peculiar puzzlement, a subdued yet unacknowledged lack of enthusiasm that makes me think that is exactly the road they're traveling.
     
  15. 24thcenstfan

    24thcenstfan Commander Red Shirt

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    I would like to see an episodic Western made.

    I agree with the opinion below....

    I think the show would have to be presented with a multi-generational cast (ala Dallas and Falcon Crest) for it to appeal to a wide audience/make money/get the ratings.

    Unfortunately, the days of those type of primetime shows being made (soaps in the examples above) are almost over IMO.

    I was going to mention "Justified". Despite the modern slant on the show (and it taking place in fictional Kentucky), I get a "western" vibe from it at times. I like the show.
     
  16. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    Perhaps you did not hear about the
    Dallas TV series remake for 2011 on TNT?

    November 16th, 2010
    First Plot Details on ‘Dallas’ Remake Emerge

    or the remakes of 90210 in 2008 aka "90210 Beverly Hills - Nouvelle génération" - France? and the 2009 revival of Melrose Place?
    primetime soap operas have not gone away just yet.

    While these are off topic they do show multigenerational casts.
     
  17. Dusty Ayres

    Dusty Ayres Commodore

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  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I'm not sure I follow the quoting above, but my post of five months ago was cited so I guess I'll respond to re-iterate what I said above: The Western was not "finished" by changing racial views, it went into decline because of changes in the market. The sheer number of Westerns on early TV made the Western feature film seem not so special, and TV became so saturated (30 weekly Westerns on TV in 1959!) that viewers became tired of them and moved on to other genres. Claiming that this shift was due to "integration" is a post hoc fallacy and is not supported by most film historians.

    There were racial stereotypes and insensitivity in Westerns, yes, as there were in many other movies (and even cartoons) of those eras. The treatment of race in the Western was a reflection of racial views in the country at large, and as those views changed so did the Western. Several examples have been cited above, and I will add one more, The Ox-Bow Incident from 1943. A damning indictment of lynching, it features a black man as one of the moral centers of the picture and puts the most egregious heavy in a Confederate uniform.

    I already posted a list of successful Westerns with little that could be considered racially objectionable. Perhaps you could cite some examples in specific movies and how they doomed the Western film. Dismissing all Westerns as racist and reactionary shows either an unfamiliarity with the genre or a superficiality of analysis.

    --Justin
     
  19. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Since this has come back to life, let's consider in detail the list above. I believe integration rendered the racial mythology of the classic Western untenable, first in the movies, by the mid-Sixties more or less, then a decade or two later in television. #1, 4, 7, 8 & 14 shouldn't be classic Westerns by my lights, with #11 borderline. Only #8, Maverick, could be considered in the classic Western mold. If I remember correctly, it was widely deemed retro. #11, True Grit, is borderline in having a young female non-romantic lead, as well as its date.

    As noted before, Jennifer Jones' "half breed" character in Duel in the Sun as I vaguely remember is very much about race from a perspective that finds the Other dangerous, but seeing no social or political implications worthy of portraying, even in passing, much less exploring. It may not be KKK-style racism but it is at the very least naive. But why should the bar be set so high that you practically have to dress the crew in sheets before it's objectionable?

    Which is why part of the problem with the classic Western is what is not shown. My memories or knowledge of Shane, The Covered Wagon, The Outlaw, Red River, Jesse James and Vera Cruz is sketchier than I'd like. But those memories don't include an honest portrayal of American Indians, Blacks, Mexicans or Chinese either in numbers or as genuine human characters. They do not even show significant numbers of non-Anglo-Saxon Protestant immigrants, or even people from towns or cities!

    And I must repeat, it makes a statement when movies pretend Jesse James was a defender of the little people against corruption. (It's not like the truth isn't interesting. As I recall, there was a Western about Quantrill, The Dark Command.) Similarly, Vera Cruz turning its ex-Confederate die hard running to Mexico into the hero (!) is making a statement. The gunfight at the OK corral involved a gang rustling Mexican cattle, a fact that was disappeared until the revisionist Tombstone was made. Lastly, the idea that The Alamo, with it "patriotic" view of the Mexicans and the war for their land, is free of racist implications demands reducing "race" to skin tone, ignoring culture.

    In other words, a closer look shows that this list supports my view, instead of refuting it. But speaking generally, it is still a non-representative sample. In fact, one could surmise that this list would favor less generic, more artistically realized. It's reasonable to think things like The Three Mesquiteers are more representative of the genre.

    The near total disappearance of classic Westerns from television is not a matter of fashion. Fashions come and go, but none of them disappear forever. Even Ted Mack's Amateur Hour and the Gong Show came back to us (in the form of American Idol.) The thing is that Westerns haven't come back. Practically every Western movie made recently is explicitly revisionist, barring blatant trash like American Guns or American Outlaw. As for "reputable" film historians rejecting any cause and effect relationship, the problem is that being "reputable" sometimes means refusing to admit uncomfortable truths, no matter how obvious.

    PS Crying fallacy sounds all tough minded and cooly analytical and all that, but there is no question of a logical fallacy. The counter-argument is, basically, there is no "hoc," i.e., an outdated racial mythology that is the basis (or maybe raison d'etre) of the classic Western, in the first place. This is an empirical question. The failure to analyze the commercial hits list correctly does not inspire confidence in any conclusions by this poster.

    The Ox-Bow Incident shows that a Western could be made that didn't accept the classic premises. As for that matter, did oddities like Johnny Guitar (guaranteed testosterone free,) or Jubal (Othello, except without any other races,) or The Violent Men (a Union veteran for hero!) The point is that when premises and attitudes like Ox-Bow Incident's were seen as the historically honest and morally sensitive kinds of Westerns, Hollywood pretty much stopped making Westerns! Not even for TV. And, by the way, in 1943, racial attitudes in the movies were influenced by a desire to distinguish the US from the Nazis, even at the expense of temporarily drumming up support for Communist values.

    Not being able to distinguish between individual Western movies and the classic Western genre bespeaks a superficial analysis. There are only two things that distinguish the Western, the setting in the "West," and, in the classic Western, a set of attitudes about race, masculinity, the nature of civilization itself, a whole mythology. The changes in the market that permanently killed the classic Western were the destruction of the mythology. People just don't buy it anymore.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  20. Dusty Ayres

    Dusty Ayres Commodore

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    ^Well put, stj. And as I said before, younger people of color aren't going to put up with what you talked about in your posts, and will be very critical of any future Western on the big or small screen, the same way they're bitchy about everything else Hollywood puts out.