Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Dream, Dec 19, 2012.
If not him, Nestor Carbonell would suit nicely as well.
The most famous TZ episode in the 80s was the Danny Kaye one, which was one of if not his actual last role, written by Harlan Ellison.
So don't write off the revivals. It's all about who they get to write for it.
In fact, in the first season of the original show, Serling only did voiceovers intros and closings in the episode proper, only appearing on-camera at the end to deliver the preview for the next week's episode. The first time he appeared in the body of an episode was in a closing gag appended to the first-season finale, usually missing in syndication. The episode, "A World of His Own,"
Spoiler: A World of His Own
featured Keenan Wynn as a writer whose characters came to life and vanished when he destroyed the dictaphone recordings that described them. At the end, Serling came on and apologized for the "ridiculous nonsense" of the story, and Wynn's character reacts in outrage, pulling out an envelope marked "Rod Serling" and tossing it in the fire, whereupon Serling shrugged, said "Well, that's the way it goes," and vanished.
Twilight Zone: The Movie also had voiceovers only, delivered by frequent TZ player Burgess Meredith.
Except that the OL revival was still more SF-oriented rather than fantasy. Basically the driving idea behind the Showtime OL, besides putting in lots of sexual content for pay cable, was a rather ferocious Luddism -- most of the stories were about the eeeevills of technology and the punishment of people who dared to Dabble in Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Basically its philosophy was that we should never, ever try to learn anything new or improve our lives or do anything scientific at all because it will damn us. I hated that about it.
Not really, because it's still trivializing a horrific act. In general, it's an obnoxious hypberbole to talk about being disappointed in a work of fiction as if it were in any way comparable to a life-changing violent crime.
And I'm on record as saying that the following syndicated season did recapture that original vibe pretty well. Just because I didn't care for one or two specific attempts to revive it, that doesn't mean I think it's valid to say that it should never be tried again. Sure, by Sturgeon's Law, most attempts to revive an old series, like most attempts to do anything else in entertainment, will be disappointing -- but sooner or later there will be one that works. So if one or two attempts are disappointing, that's a reason to keep trying, not to stop trying.
There were actually quite a few OL episodes that weren't Luddite, although there were quite too many. I can see getting turned off by that. There was a period of time when the ostentatious antitechnology messages in some Star Trek episodes got on my nerves, until I realized that the show was covertly identifying "technology" with, not just new inventions and knowledge, but social repression. It would have been better writing if they'd realized this of course.
The first season of the second Outer Limits series had a capstone finale that referenced most of the seemingly standalone episodes as part of an overall arc. Alien invasion I think it was. The punch line is that the hardnosed guy that seemed to be the alien mole suppressing the information was in fact the guy who, upon being convinced, was necessarily eliminated by the aliens (or whatever.) I don't think season two has been put out as a set, (at least it's not on Netflix,) but I have no desire to follow this arc. I do wish the whole series was available though.
Anthologies have a profound structural advantage over series. Namely, the story told can be the most important story (leading to the biggest changes) of the protagonist's life. Regular series, which tend to keep the characters the same, may depict the slow changes of real life more faithfullly. But that tends to be less dramatic.
Serialized stories are generally stuck with open-ended lack of structure, cheating the stories of dramatic resolution. Worse, since they still focus on a limited set of protagonists they tend to either repeat the same story for each character (Apollo keeps reconciling with his father, for instance,) Or they end up undoing what plot resolutions they manage to achieve just to continue the plot (the Scarrans are still a giant threat even though Crichton & Co. destroyed the space flowers that made them intelligent, for instance.)
The drawback of course is that the viewer must invest in new characters every week. Movies of course tend to try to overcome this by casting stars, leading audiences to invest in the characters because they're invested in the actor. From a production standpoint, new sets and new stars (loosely speaking, TV stars don't have the massive popularity of movie stars usually,) for less reliable ratings is a losing proposition. Hence, the lower proportion of anthology series, despite the on average artistic superiority.
Maybe, but half-hour anthologies also have vastly smaller shares of their running time to devote to setting scenes/establishing characters. That doesn't leave much room for plot, but if one jumps straight into the plot in media res, it can be hard to make the characters feel authentic. Also, a focus on a particular theme/tone/mood can stifle creativity as much as encourage it. I'm not discounting the points you do make about anthologies, but I don't think they're wildly comparatively blessed against standard series, either.
Both anthologies and ongoing series have their own advantages and virtues, as well as their own limitations. Which is why it's good to have both. It shouldn't be a competition.
I hope this is gonna be Star Trek on Earth, like fringe unwittingly tried to be, leading the way to Singer ushering in a starship based space opera. it doesn't have to be expensive. It's never gonna look like JJ's Trek anyway but the stories will be much better and more memorable and important and relevant which is really what Trek is all about.
That's not what I was responding to. You said, "What concept? What is there for a purist to get up in arms about?" The answer is, as you said, there is a vibe (among other things) to a concept that, if it isn't captured, displeases us purists. That's why 80s network TZ and Scooby Doo with real ghosts don't work for you and Twilight Zone: The Movie and nuTrek don't work for me.
^You're missing the point by taking those sentences out of context. I was objecting to the other poster's statement that the entire concept should be "left alone" just because one or two attempts at it didn't work. I've already explained that in the post you just quoted.
The short running time today on half-hour anthologies is a good point. All current broadcast and basic cable television has been severely damaged by the time lost to ads. Premium cable hasn't really used its freer format. It seems to me they are keeping the broadcast act structure.This seems to be for two reasons. First, they seem to be writing with broadcast syndication in mind anyhow. Second, it's easier to fake innovative writing by taking advantage of the freer standards for sex and violence.
However it most certainly is a competition. An anthology show can't just have an audience of millions, it has to have an audience more millions larger than ongoing series and serials that might have their spot. Currently we have no anthology series. I am baffled as to how someone could say we have both with a straight face, even in an impersonal internet format.
Michael Emerson would probably be a good host but the person I thought of when I first saw this thread was Robert Carlyle.
Let's see, possible hosts for TZ. Lindsay Wagner, Joe Morton, Christopher Heyerdahl and Amanda Tapping spring to mind. I don't know about Michael Emerson. He'd be good to appear in TZ, but not to host it. Part of the appeal of Rod Serling was that his straight-laced appearance and demeanor were in contrast to the exotic story material.
Well, that's not what you said, but never mind.
For host, I'm picturing Jon Hamm with a cigarette.
Not surprising I love this idea!
It might be possible. Hosting this would not take as much time as a regular series commitment.
Loved the original, liked the 80's reboot a lot, the UPN reboot meandered between mediocre and suck. This does not bode well for a doing it again thing. But, if they get good writing, well OK. Don't forget that it wasn't just Serling, but Matheson and Beaumont that made the original.
There's so much good SF material that's been written it's kinda amazing that so much of the dramatic SF (film and TV) has been pure crap. Sturgeons law strikes again.
Okay, here's the thing: Serling wasn't just some frontman they hired to read the lines. He was the show's creator and head writer, the one presenting it to the audience as his own work. Much like John Newland being both host and director of Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, or Hitchcock being the creator, executive producer, and occasional director of Alfred Hitchcock Presents as well as its presenter. It made it somewhat special that one of the actual people responsible for the work was presenting it to us, not just saying "Here's a story they're paying me to pitch to you" but "Here's a story I had a hand in making." And the fact that Serling wasn't a polished actor, that he was awkward and stiff on camera, was part of his charm.
So I say the host should be... Bryan Singer. He's going to be one of the key creative minds behind the show, as Serling was. He's as much a celebrity creator today as Serling was in his day. He's photogenic and reasonably well-spoken. He's even done a bit of acting in X2 and Star Trek Nemesis, so he presumably has a SAG card. To my eye, he even bears a slight (okay, very slight) physical resemblance to Serling. (And his name is almost an anagram of Serling! Okay, that's reaching.)
You're kind of missing the point of Sturgeon's Law there. The whole idea is that the ratio of good to bad is no worse in television than it is in prose or anywhere else. It came about when one of Theodore Sturgeon's literary colleagues questioned why he'd write for Star Trek given that 90 percent of television was garbage. Sturgeon replied that 90 percent of everything is garbage. For every great work of SF in prose, there are plenty of bad or mediocre works, the same as in film and television.
I would absolutely love and prefer for Singer to host this. It seems like that is rare these days. I am not sure why. Back than you also had Walt Disney and Alfred Hitchcock hosting their own series. I really know nothing about Alfred Hitchcock Presents. But I know that Walt Disney was clearly the driving force behind his weekly television series. Even if he did not personally write or direct the actual content. Disney felt uncomfortable filming his hosting segments. But did it because he knew he was the only one who could do it. I remember reading someone speculate that Amazing Stories was hurt by Steven Spielberg not hosting that show. Without him up front it had no identity. Just another producer credit for him.
I imagine Singer would be criticized and judged for trying to replace Rod Serling if he hosted this new show. He is already getting it for simply producing a new one. Hosting it would greatly amplify that criticism. I guess its depends whether Singer is willing to face all that.
Why not just get Ed Wasser to host?
What Do You Want?
I admit I do like the idea of Jon Hamm as host.
Separate names with a comma.