a new Western as a TV episodic series? discuss

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

  1. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't like the first episode and then heard bad things about the subsequent episodes, but I never zapped the season off my DVR. It's been sitting there for months. Maybe I'll try it again in the summer doldrums.

    Really hoping for The Frontier. I especially like the idea of a wagon train show with supernatural elements. Cmon NBC. Why isn't there more pickups news?
     
  2. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^I did NOT like the first episode. The pilot makes it seem like the entire series is just about violence and revenge. YUCK; not my cup of tea at all. But hubby insisted on watching the next episode, so I watched it with him. Lo and behold, the series takes a left turn; it becomes about the characters, the people at the work camp, and all the strange "politics" of that tiny world. It's really fascinating.

    If you liked Deadwood, you'll probably also like Hell on Wheels.
     
  3. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    LOVE Hell on Wheels. After Deadwood, it's the best western on TV, IMHO (well, the ONLY western on TV now, I guess). Yeah, it had a bit of a slow start, but I really do like the characters. And every time I see Colm Meany in something new, I'm astonished at his breadth of acting ability. It's also quite rare that someone of Confederate heritage is placed in a hero-type role in a series. Almost reminds me of Firefly in a strange way (think about it).
     
  4. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^There's nothing at all strange about it. Malcolm Reynolds should definitely have been read as a Confederate die hard. However, I must demur about the supposed scarcity of Confederate heroes in Western, unless you are very literal about TV series. What is rare is finding a Union hero in a Western. That's because the classic Western is about a racial mythology.
     
  5. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Oh God. Here are a few off the top of my head:

    Wyatt Earp in all kinds of Westerns. He tried to join a Union regiment but was too young. Virgil did serve in an Illinois regiment.
    Wild Bill Hickock in many Westerns.
    Linus and Zeb Rawlings, How the West Was Won
    Nathan Brittles, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon
    Kirby Yorke, Fort Apache and Rio Grande
    Seth Adams, Wagon Train
    Paladin, Have Gun Will Travel
    Lucas McCain, The Rifleman
    Cord McNally, Rio Lobo
    John Dunbar, Dances With Wolves
    Major Dundee
    Colonel Thomas, The Undefeated

    So you claimed way back up thread and were given plenty of contrary examples.

    Justin
     
  6. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I haven't seen it beyond the pilot, but they were at great pains to make his character highly respectful of black people as equals in a way that was anachronistic for anyone other than the most radical abolitionists of the time - Frederick Douglass and John Brown believed in equality of the races, but it was a very unusual opinion, and for a Confederate...? Well, given that we're talking about millions of people, I guess there could be one. :rommie: The World's Only Abolitionist Confederate!!! No wonder he's special enough to be the focus of a TV show.

    But it sure looked like a chickenshit whitewash to me. They didn't want to take the risk of making the guy as racist as any white guy, Northern or Southern, would have been, for fear the audience would have bailed.

    Yet Deadwood never stooped to anachronisms to avoid an audience backlash. They threw a character named Nigger General at us, and dared us to change the channel (and that wasn't the only offensive thing they did.) That kind of guts, I respect. Just be honest and let the chips fall where they may.

    As for Mal, he was a general rebel-type. We didn't know what exactly he was rebelling against, and indications were, it was something we could sympathize with. He wasn't trying to defend an unjust system, like the Confederates. Rebel characters are very popular in fiction overall.

    The bizarro way the Civil War has been portrayed in fiction (particularly in movies and TV shows) is an entirely different topic. Someday, I'd love to see someone with the sheer guts to tell the truth: the Confederates truly believed they were in the right, because they believed black people were property, not humans.

    Say the government comes along and tells you that you're not supposed to own mules, and that you've never had the right to own mules, and you're a bad person for owning mules, and we're going to take your mules by force. WTF!!! What kind of government does that? An oppressive one, of course. That's how the Confederates saw things.

    Their viewpoint doesn't play so well today because they were factually wrong in their premise that black people are like mules, not people. But without acknowledging that as their premise, their behavior makes no sense to modern people, so we get BS inventions like "the Civil War wasn't about slavery." The Confederates themselves went on and on about how it was about slavery, and that slavery was a good thing, for white people and black people. I've read copious first-person accounts from the time reiterating this view.

    In that context, our Abolitionist Confederate hero is a very odd duck, indeed. And in making him so anachronistic, the writers have given up the opportunity to tell a more truthful and possibly interesting story.

    The Confederates who didn't believe that blacks were human, weren't all monsters, you know. They could believe things like, it was good to be a kind and humane master, that they were being paternal and protective of their slaves, that being a slaveowner was a bit of a burden, but one that they were willing to bear. Why not write the character truthfully and rely on the intelligence of a cable audience not to run away in horror? We can take it.

    Anyway, what I came here to say: NBC has passed on The Frontier. Rats!
     
  7. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Wyatt Earp's Republicanism was a deep dark secret for the overwhelming majority of his screen incarnations, till Tombstone, definitely not a classic Western. On the other hand, Doc Holliday, Southern gentleman, has taken equal billing in every one. Wild Bill Hickock's Civil War experience was never part of his screen persona, unlike Jesse James.

    Some of the rest of the list I'm not familiar with, but thinking Dances with Wolves was a classic Western is imperceptive, to put it kindly. Ditto thinking that the Unionist in Major Dundee was a hero (the Confederate played by Richard Harris is the martyred hero.) The view that the power-mad Henry Fonda in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Dundee are natural fits for Union officers appears to come from sort of notion that the Union side was a bunch of crazed zealots on an unholy crusade against sane people. Given that John Wayne in The Undefeated unites with the unreconstructed rebel Rock Hudson, The Undefeated is definitely not a Western that challenges the racial underpinnings of the classic Western.

    Just as before, the supposed examples in refutation don't refute. Quibble about "rare" but Unionists are rarely heroes by comparison with Confederates, and when they are they are usually happy compadres with Confederates with whom they have no differences in principle. Or still on active service in the national army. How could you expect a serving officer in the postwar army to be a Confederate veteran?
     
  8. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    It was in The Plainsman.

    The claim was "in a Western," not "classic Western."

    So Heston is what, the heavy? Come on.

    You obviously don't know the material you're talking about as Fonda is in Fort Apache, not She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, he was not positioned as the hero and he was not "crazed." At any rate, they were Union.

    What of it? He was a Union hero in a Western. But if you want to pin everything on "classic Western," you should define that term.

    I didn't say anything about the proportion of Confederate heroes, there are obviously plenty of them. But it's a big leap to go from siding with former rebels in exigent circumstances to having no difference in principles. And no, there wouldn't be ex-Confederate officers in the post-war regular army, but they did serve in the enlisted ranks.

    Justin
     
  9. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think TV came westerns across differently then the movies. Healing of the nation had happened by the time we were making movies and the hero protagonist could have been Billy or Johnny. On TV Westerns I can only think of Union folks. The big three ranch owner families, such as Bonanza, The Big Valley and The High Chaparral and in the other shows.

    edit: I looked up The High Chaparral they had characters from both sides of the war

    Anyone else looking forward to Longmire on A&E? It seems to be the modern western/cop show
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  10. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Actually on Bonanza when they did deal with the Civil War (which at first was supposed to still be in progress) Adam was pro-Union, Little Joe was pro-rebel, and Ben and Hoss tried to play neutral. But they mostly ignored it.

    Justin
     
  11. gh4chiefs

    gh4chiefs Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know we've argued this before but I think you're way off the mark in how they're portraying him and I really think you need to watch more than the pilot before you make these kind of bold sweeping statements, because you'll find there's a lot more to it, and if anything he isn't portrayed AT ALL the way you're describing.

    Had you watched the series, you would discover that he an "come to Jesus" moment when he discovered that one of his slaves had died trying to protect his wife/kid (can't remember which is was at that moment) and it's clear he's in turmoil between his lifelong racists beliefs and the "lesson" that he believed God was trying to teach him about equality.
     
  12. Star Wolf

    Star Wolf Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    The child and slave's burnt bodies were found together
     
  13. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Since you have only seen the pilot, you haven't seen enough of the show to make that kind of judgement. You missed the scenes where the main character refused to call the black lead character "Mister" and made the black workers worked harder and longer hours than the white workers. You missed the scene where the two men were on the verge of beating each other to death and how the main character did NOT want to promote the black character to a supervisor position. As stated earlier, he had a life-changing experience in viewing the corpses of the slave that helped raise his child, and the child itself, fused together after being burned alive. His dead wife had been a Northern, against slavery but he had been for it. While he still did NOT like showing respect to the black railroad workers, he couldn't stand by and let the man who saved his life be lynched. He was honoring his dead wife and child, but continued to struggle with his racist beliefs throughout the show. The pilot is not indicative of the series. Even the revenge plot, which is the central focus of the entire pilot, gets put on the back-burner for the series.

    Thinking you understand the entire first season's characterization after only seeing the pilot is a very inaccurate assumption.

    eta: check out this scene between the Preacher and Bohannon; he certainly isn't totally repentant for being a slave owner.
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN6ehR5jV4s&feature=related[/yt]
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  14. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Commodore

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    in development at CBS:
    CBS, David Mamet developing "Have Gun - Will Travel" reboot


    I still have not seen the "Longmire" series on A&E but plan to soon.

    Christopher Chulack (“Southland,” “ER”) served as director and executive producer of the pilot.
    I see on imdb the filming location is Santa Fe, New Mexico.
    How does that look like Wyoming? stock footage?
    I'll take the Alberta, Canada locales of Dances with Wolves and Open Range over southwestern USA NM anyday.

    well considering Longmire's ratings:
    It was renewed for a 2nd season. Now I can really look forward to watching it since there will at least be 2 seasons instead of cancelled after 1. Since there are only 10 episodes each season is like a 7 hour movie.
    Now I see why CBS is chasing this genre as there is an audience for it. Is it the over-49 audience? I haven't pored over the Nielsen ratings charts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  15. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Commodore

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    Texas Rising (2015) miniseries from History Channel

    History's next miniseries will focus on Texas Rangers

    see the link for other cast members.
    I am excited about another Western genre miniseries.
    I think the miniseries allows for some cinematography that is more like a movie rather than just an episodic TV series since they need so much for 12 episodes. 8 episodes are only 5 1/2 hours and with all the recaps at the start you are looking at 5 hours.
     
  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The aesthetics of the Western are dead for all non-nostalgic purposes, but the storytelling conventions of Westerns are alive and well. If you think about the story of most Westerns. You're in an area of the world far from effective law enforcement surrounded bandits and businessmen willing to kill for their piece of the pie. The protagonist is a self-reliant man who does what he feels like without social restraints, and only gets away with it because he's strong and skilled enough to beat anybody who challenges him.

    These conditions make the perfect crucible for character driven action drama, and we see those elements in all kinds of science fiction settings such as Firefly and Cowboy Bebop.

    The Western is alive and well. It just doesn't take place in the 19th century American West anymore. Train robbers are space pirates and Indians are aliens.