Bryan Fuller interview on Heroes

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Hunter X, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. Hunter X

    Hunter X Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Over at Digital Spy

    He talks pretty candidly about what it was like to come back to the show, what his mission is on turning things around, and his thinking process on the changes he's already made. My favourite bit is below:

     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So far, I think Fuller's gotten the show back on track with admirable speed. There's an emotional core to the show now and the characters have stopped acting like idiots, lunatics, or ping-pong balls for the benefit of the plot.

    Now he needs to formulate a plot for the show - it still feels untethered - and a coherent reason for the characters to stick together in S4 - not terribly difficult because the one thing that Heroes has achieved through all the messing around is to put the main characters through trials together that give them a natural sense of connectedness to each other through personal loyalty.

    And if my hunch is correct, next week he will be coming up with a plot twist that solves ongoing problems at the core of two major characters (one of which is a problem that has limped along from the start, the other is a problem recently created by the dolts who preceded Fuller), and is the kind of WTF?!? plot twist that will infuriate some, amuse others, and surprise everyone in its audacity, a style that I associate more with Lost than with Heroes, which really could use a lot more daring and creative writing going forward.

    I hope that Fuller fulfills the promise he's shown so far, and if S4 shapes up like I hope, with the finale propelling the plot in a fascinating new direction, that the ratings magically hold up enough to get him some more seasons. The annoying thing about Heroes is that they haven't even begun to realize its potential, yet has frittered away its audience spending the better part of two seasons doing nothing.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, I just hope that when Heroes is done, CBS takes Fuller up on his offer to run a new Star Trek series. I'd love to see what he could do with ST given free rein.
     
  4. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'd rather see him do anything but Trek. He wouldn't have as much creative freedom on Trek than on another show, since the reason Trek would be back on TV would be to capitalize on the movie's success, so Fuller would have marching orders to do a 23rd C show about Starfleet stiffs going boldly that has a lot of the same appeal as the movie. Could be a great series, but why does that concept need Fuller to handle it?

    There are any number of people who could do a decent job on Trek, how about Ron Moore? Fuller seems to do a lot better when pursuing his own original ideas. The only thing he definitely needs is a collaborator who can put some bite into his shows. His sensibilities are too sweet and nice; viewers have to be given more motivation to stick with a show or their attention will drift. That's what killed Pushing Daisies and probably killed his other shows if they had the same sensibility (I never really bothered to watch them). Heroes already has the "bite" part written into the premise.
     
  5. Hunter X

    Hunter X Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It's interesting that you bring up Moore, as I just realized that he seems to be the creative opposite from Fuller in one key way. They're both talented show-runners, but in this interview Fuller states that he just doesn't identify with pissed off people, hence his style on shows like Pushing Daisies. Moore, on the other hand, seems to only identify with that type of character, judging by Galactica at least.

    They would both make a very, very different type of Trek compared to the other.
     
  6. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    OMG, those guys should collaborate! :rommie: If they can stand each other.

    Pushing Daisies = too sweet

    BSG = too sour

    Mix em and it's just right.
     
  7. roguephoenix

    roguephoenix Captain Captain

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    thus far i'm not a fan of the 2nd half of the season. it seems quite boring compared to the what happned during the first half. guess the audience wasn't ready for more complex story lines, though i quite enjoyed them. now it's just a bit of a borefest. :(
     
  8. Daneel

    Daneel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I admire his honesty... his take on the "Villains" arc is very similar to mine -- and probably many other fans' as well.

    I'm just glad he ultimately decided to return anyway. IMO, the last few episodes, while varying in quality somewhat, have been a considerable improvement over most of the season. I look forward to seeing what he can do with Season 4.
     
  9. Caretaker

    Caretaker Commodore Premium Member

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  10. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Dead Like Me was hilarious as hell, but I wouldn't describe it as "sweet". Of course, Fuller was only involved in the first handful of episodes of that, as I understand it.

    His thing is more about sheer style than sweetness specifically, PD aside.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  11. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wonderfalls wasn't particularly sweet, either. Well, other than the bartender.
     
  12. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    This line is absolutely hilarious:


    I gave up on this season after the first few episodes. If it turns out that the end of the season and next season are dramatically improved, I might go back and catch up. It's definitely an interesting thing to keep track of.
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Which is why I said I'd like to see them take him up on his offer, which includes his particular ideas for the type of series he'd like to do. From what he's hinted about his proposal, it would be rather different from what we're used to.

    And I don't agree that they'd necessarily insist he copy the movie. For one thing, Paramount got its likely hit movie by giving J.J. Abrams and his "Supreme Court" free rein to do Star Trek the way they wanted rather than following the studio's marching orders. Bryan Fuller is a respected TV producer and show creator, so it's not out of the question that he might be given the same mandate to "do this your way and give us a fresh approach." For another thing (and admittedly this could perhaps negate the first), a Trek TV series would not be from the same studio that made the movie. Thanks to the odd vagaries of the Viacom breakup, the movie rights to ST are held by Paramount Pictures, while the TV rights are held by CBS Paramount Television, a separate corporation with different people in charge. So CBS/Para might not feel beholden to imitate Paramount's movie. They might want to make their own distinct incarnation of Trek.

    Of course, you could be right; the CBS/Para people could be unimaginative and unwise enough to take the approach you fear. But that's not a given.

    No, thank you. Ron Moore did great Trek when he was on TNG and DS9, but since his bad experience on VGR, his whole career seems to have become about deconstructing and rejecting the Star Trek approach to things. I don't think we need another dark deconstruction. I want to see a show that embraces the optimism and humanism of ST while approaching them in a fresh and nuanced way.


    As others have said, you have a very imprecise notion of Fuller's sensibilities. Dead Like Me definitely had a much darker edge; it had a similar offbeat humor to Pushing Daisies, but was absolutely nothing like PD's cheerful fairy-tale tone, which is unique in Fuller's ouevre. I've never seen Wonderfalls either, but I gather it had a cynical, world-weary lead not unlike the lead in DLM. In fact, I'd say the overall defining quality of Fuller's shows is a sense of the macabre and offbeat. Look under the sugary surface of Daisies and it's a very macabre black comedy; the whole show is about death. Also loss, loneliness, isolation, regret -- themes that were prominent in DLM as well.
     
  14. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If my theory about what's gonna happen Monday comes true, that could be a killer set-up for S4. I'll be back with a thumbs up or down then. ;)

    None of that really addresses what I said: the sole business motive for putting Trek back on TV will be to capitalize on the movie's success. If the movie didn't exist, or isn't a success, Trek won't be back on TV. Reputations and corporate politics won't change that. Why would CBS be interested in doing their own version of Trek (and given their approach to TV, we'd probably get CSI: Star Trek)? Their only interest would be to make $$$ off a suddenly viable property they own, and they'd recognize that they can make a profit off the work Paramount already put into revitalizing the brand. They'd have to be idiots to reject a gift like that and go off doing their own version of Trek. CBS won't want anyone's fresh approach (they could have done that by now if they were interested). They'd be interested in capitalizing on Paramount's revitalization of the brand, if they're interested at all.

    What it really lacked was a motive for the audience to keep watching. Being macabre isn't going to do it; what Fuller needed to do was raise the stakes on the drama, so that Ned stood to lose something that the audience couldn't help but care about.

    Maybe I shouldn't have said Fuller is "sugary" when the real problem is that the dramatic tension was too low, and that's why people tuned out. Not sure why his other shows failed, since I never watched em, but PD failed because it gave the audience the option not to watch. TV is too competitive anymore to be able to afford that approach.

    I'd be fine with Fuller taking over Trek, but he's gotta amp the dramatic tension or he'll lose the audience, which means having an underlying premise that provides that tension. Heroes already has it built-in, but Fuller never evolved the PD premise to a place where the tension would exist. It was just a nice, sweet show to watch but people could take it or leave it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2009
  15. Hermiod

    Hermiod Admiral Admiral

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    Your theory sounds like "Let's nerf Sylar!"

    At this rate, Heroes is going to be a show about people with superpowers who don't have any superpowers.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Of course it would be, but my point is that capitalization doesn't necessarily equal slavish imitation. Star Trek is a broad, diverse franchise and has room for variety. DS9 was made to capitalize on TNG's success, but it was anything but a clone of TNG.

    True, most network executives do believe they have to imitate the things they want to capitalize on. I'm just saying that it will be good if the CBS/Para executives are smart enough to recognize that the key to STJJ's success was not the specific formula or setting or tone he used, but the fact that he was given creative freedom and the fact that he's a prominent name that attracts audiences independently of what franchise he's working in. So they could theoretically decide that what they need to emulate is not a 23rd-century setting or a young Starfleet crew or whatever, but the willingness to pick a prominent name creator and turn him loose.


    I don't understand what you mean. Obviously a new TV Trek would not be about Kirk, Spock, and McCoy on the Enterprise, because that setting is reserved for J.J. Abrams now. So no matter what, it would have to be "their own version" -- a different set of characters in a different situation. I'm not proposing a separate continuity (although it could be, since Abrams' film is itself a separate continuity from previous Trek and that doesn't seem to be hurting it), just a show with a different emphasis and an original style.

    Besides, do you think FOX were idiots for going off and doing their own version of Terminator (The Sarah Connor Chronicles) that conflicted with the third and fourth movies? There's certainly precedent for TV networks developing adaptations or spinoffs that are far from slavish copies of the films whose success they're capitalizing on. Particularly in animation; the current Spectacular Spider-Man and Iron Man: Armored Adventures series are very different in style, tone, and continuity from the movie franchises whose coattails they're riding. What matters is the brand recognition, not the details of style and content.



    Huh? He stood to lose the woman he loved if he ever so much as touched her. I can't imagine higher dramatic stakes than that.


    I don't understand why you'd have a problem with a comedy having low dramatic tension.

    And the dramatic tension on Heroes has ramped back up considerably since Fuller returned; it isn't just a bunch of random plot twists, but we actually care about the characters again. And Fuller wrote "Company Man," the most acclaimed episode of Heroes' first season, and those 42 minutes probably had more dramatic tension than the rest of the series put together.

    As for Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me, the former was on FOX when it was still in the hands of executives who were quick on the cancellation draw, and DLM was taken out of Fuller's hands very early on. So I don't think their cancellations say anything about Fuller's abilities, certainly not in the latter case.
     
  17. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    DS9 was a clone of TNG it's DNA was just arranged in a slightly different way, but the same elements exist on both shows. And unless Star Trek can get away from those elements no show will that much different from what's already been made.