Copper

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Alidar Jarok, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Alidar Jarok

    Alidar Jarok Everything in moderation but moderation Moderator

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    So BBC America has decided to start airing original programs. Copper is about an Irish immigrant in New York city in the mid-1860s whose family dies while he is fighting in the Civil War. When he returns to New York, he becomes a police officer. He's a bit of an antihero in that he's willing to bend a few rules in the pursuit of justice. The show does a good job of exploring the blurry line between good and bad, the differences of abject poverty and wealth during this time period, themes of racism and government corruption.

    Anyway, now that I'm done with the description, has anyone seen it? My impression is that it was flat but promising. It's hard to do historical shows that are true to the period because dialog often comes off stilted. Right now, it's the kind of show I can tune into each week and be entertained, but I could easily see myself forgetting to tune in and it'll drop off my radar of shows to watch. However, it's being created by Tom Fontana, who helped create Homicide: Life on the Street, so it has a good pedigree. It's a show that really could do well once it finds its sea legs.
     
  2. clint g

    clint g Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it's certainly a unique concept. I can see how it would be hard to pull off though.
     
  3. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I have the first episode and the "Making of" special on the dvr. It looks interesting, but I haven't had time to check it out yet.
     
  4. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was a huge fan of Homicide, and I've always been fascinated by the time period, but I just couldn't get into this show at all.

    The whole thing just felt really flat and generic, and the actors didn't make much of an impression at all.
     
  5. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was going to put this on my Netflix queue but everyone keeps saying how it comes off flat and unconvincing, like a bunch of modern actors plying dress-up. I guess the moral of the story there is, Deadwood is easier said than done, huh?

    I've read a lot of first person accounts from the Civil War and although I'm sure written language was different from spoken - a lot fewer obscenities for starters - its often very vivid and engaging. Maybe the writers just need to read more from the era and start to absorb more of the flavor of the time. The Deadwood approach is unlikely to be an option since it requires a unique sort of talent to come up with such inventive obscenities.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I was interested in the concept so I took a look, but I tuned out after the first act. It wasn't very pleasant. "A bit of an antihero" is an understatement; it looked to me like the cop "heroes" were little more than a street gang, gunning down the bank robbers unnecessarily and pocketing much of the recovered loot. That doesn't appeal to me at all. I'm so tired of this assumption in our media culture that the only way to make an adult, sophisticated show is to make the protagonists contemptible, immoral people. That's not adulthood. Adulthood is supposed to be about responsibility and self-discipline. Giving into your worst impulses all the time is entirely immature.

    The show had other problems for me too. For one thing, the gunplay was not only way overdone, it was completely inaccurate. Firearms at the time were far less accurate than modern ones, so something like the bit where the one cop shot the wounded bank robber behind his back without even looking is even more absurd in a period piece than it would be in a modern one. Heck, even with modern weapons it's not as easy to inflict kill shots on moving targets as was shown here. Given the period, given the likelihood that most of the shots would've missed badly, the sequence was just a ridiculous overindulgence in violence.

    Also, maybe this is just my difficulty with faces, but I had a very hard time telling the main character and his tough-guy sidekick apart. When the latter guy was with the hooker and she was teasing about the other guy's wife leaving him, it took me a while to figure out that there were two different guys with their respective ladyfriends in two parallel scenes, and that the guy in this scene was talking about the other guy whose wife left him, rather than talking about himself in the third person. In a premiere episode, they really should make more of an effort to help us tell the characters apart.
     
  7. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah that kind of bothered me too. I realize most cops back then were probably a bit shady and corrupt (looking at the dreary environment they worked in, it would probably be hard NOT to be), but that just took things a little too far for my taste.
     
  8. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I couldn't make it past half way.

    "meh"
     
  9. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I finally got around to watching it; I actually thought it OK. I expected, given the time and location, that the main characters would all be despicable, and for the most part, they were. I like the main character, although he is a bit inexpressive. I'll give it a few more episodes and see how it goes.
     
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There are so many successful, compelling shows with flawed antihero leads (Deadwood, Dexter, Justified, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc) that I'm sure the temptation is for every new cable show to think they must ape that style.

    But the successful examples always have some savng grace that keeps the audience's sympathy or at least entertains us. Al Swearengen = hilariously cynical, Dexter = kills only those who deserve it (mostly), Walter White = fun power fantasy wish fulfillment. Trouble is, the "solution" is tailored to each show, so there's really no template to follow.
     
  11. marillion

    marillion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I enjoyed the show and I will continue to tune in to see how it plays out.

    I would have enjoyed some additional background into how the characters got to be where they are, but that, of course, can happen over the course of the show.
     
  12. auntiehill

    auntiehill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^I think so, too. They gave us just a few crumbs, which was good, because it makes me want to know more. Hubby liked it even more than I did, I think, so we will probably continue to watch, at least for awhile, to see how all the major plots unfold. Where's Corcoran's wife? What will happen to Annie? What's up with the partners? It's interesting enough for me to stick around.
     
  13. trekkier

    trekkier Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Same here, I was pretty excited, it looked pretty good but it was just boring.


     
  14. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Somebody should do a series about the Civil War. Dont dance around the edges and have characters who fought in the war. show the war itself. That would get big ratings, Im sure of it.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I would certainly give a series dealing with the American Civil War a shot, but I doubt television budgets could do it justice. "Blackwater" on Game of Thrones was about as epic as land-based battles on television can get -- and didn't have close to the scale needed to dramatize something like Gettysburg or Antietam.
     
  16. marillion

    marillion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ That was exactly my thought too.. To produce something on the grand scale like "Gods and General" and "Gettysburg" would require an amazing amount of money, even if you were able to get reenactors to fill in the gaps. I'm not sure if those groups received Extra Pay for their work or not, but on a weekly basis, that would be crazy expensive.

    A series that followed the expliots of a regiment or even a platoon might, might be pheasible if they limited the action to occassional battles, but then what would be the point?
     
  17. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It also helps that those are all played by some very compelling and dynamic actors.

    Even when they're doing bad things, you can't help but want to watch them.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But I could do with more flawed heroes, not just flawed antiheroes. Characters don't have to be scumbags or murderers to be interestingly nuanced. Personally I don't accept the conventional wisdom that villains are more interesting than heroes. Villains -- or "antiheroes" -- just give in to their dark or selfish urges, which I think is too simple. Heroes have those same urges -- selfishness, fear, anger, etc. -- but they wrestle with those parts of themselves and strive to overcome them. I think that's a lot more complex and interesting.
     
  19. marillion

    marillion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say that the heros displayed some flaws in the series opener... After "apprehending" the bank robbers, the cops helped themselves to some of the bank loot before their supervisors showed up. They frequent a house of ill-repute, etc...
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^My point is, there was nothing heroic about them at all. They weren't good people wrestling with their imperfections and weaknesses; to all indications, they were complete scumbags who just happened to have legal authority as an excuse for their gangsterlike behavior. My point is that I don't agree with the current assumption that a drama has to be about completely horrible characters in order to be "adult" or "sophisticated."