Thursday, March 22, 2007

TV and Ice-Cream

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been saving creative energies for the book I’m writing. Yeah, I decided that turning an idea directly into a screenplay might be harder than developing the plot, characters, and clever dialog in an honest to God novel. I don’t have any grand desires though; I think this will be a short story…maybe a full-on novel by the time I’m done. Not to mention that being my first effort it may stink on wheels. It takes for freakin’ ever to get the dialog right and convey what is going on through action and descriptive narrative without repeating yourself. Anyway, I hope to be done with the first chapter by May. Also, I have decided not to publish it online without any copyright protection. I will let any interested friends read it when I’m a little further along, if they so desire.

On to the post…

I was watching the HBO series “Carnival” the other night with LJ when I started getting a little pissed-off. I started feeling like I was being strung along (if you haven’t seen this show then think of the show “Lost”, same basic idea). The thing about both of these shows is that they want to keep their mystery, and that’s fine. Yet, in doing so they never answer any fundamental questions or situations they pose.

For example (and I’ll use Lost since it’s a network show and more people are likely to be familiar with it) at the beginning of Lost’s season one the audience was shown the activities and aftermath of some unseen monster. At the end of season one you still had no idea what the monster was, why it was doing what it was doing, or what its origins were; hell, you never even saw a good long glimpse of it. The writers revealed nothing. There was never a resolution to any of the fundamental mysteries only some resolutions to the mini-dramas that the characters brought about themselves. This actually caused a bit of a backlash in the form of outraged emails and letters from fans. So, in season two they tried to have more resolved while preserving some of the mystery.

My friends this is crap. The writers or producers will throw their characters in to wild situations that may or may not lead to someone getting killed while only lightly touching on the paramount concerns that originally lit your interest. I hear that season three is basically just a hostage situation. What about the “Dharma Initiative”? What about the monster? What happened with that static discharge at the end of season two? The series Carnival is much the same. The lead character goes on some winding path that could go on for as long as they need it to while never making any tangible headway towards the original goal.

Then it came to me, just as it did the night that I waited in shaking anticipation to catch the first episode of Beverly Hills 90210, this is a God damned soap opera! Oh, the window dressing is better, but still there it is. These shows could go on forever and never have any resolutions. This is why I am a big believer in limited run series. Think about it. If the writers, producers, studios, etc. knew that they only had three or four seasons to develop the characters and get the plot wrapped up the stories would be way more cohesive; the shows that much better. As it is you see more and more zany situations and characters sliding in and out of cheesy soap-opray romances and affairs. C’mon we’re too smart for that…right?

I know I am sounding like a broken record, but honestly some of the best shows I have ever seen were the ones whose production team didn’t think they were coming back next season (almost any show on [Adult Swim]). The stories are so much better and progressive. Anyway, I guess America isn’t ready for that. We are a nation that has allowed SNL to stay on the air WAY longer than it should have. Should I throw The Simpsons in there? Yeah, I think I have to. I guess the only point I can make here is don’t get too involved with any one show for too long. After all isn’t getting that one great ice-cream flavor for a short time, way better than always getting the same flavor all the time?


super_spam said...

Totally off topic, but you might enjoy this link:

Mad Mike said...

Cadbury Cream Eggs. If they had them any other time but easter it wouldn't be the same. I can't stand having to wait til next week to catch the next installment where they may or may not address the question I want to know, like why is Judge Judy so irrate all the time and are J.D and Elliot going to ever get back together again...frustrating.

mommyjolle said...

Well, you know that Dad and I only watch History Channel and TLC but on the few occasions that I have actually become intriqued in a show because I caught 10 seconds of it as Dad maniacally flipped through all 198 channels, I would watch it for a few weeks and even begin to remember the day and channel and time that it would air and about then the broadcast company would rub it's evil hands together, say "Har de har, we've hooked her" and take it off the air for hiatus! Then after I get over the fact that they have unceremoniously taken it off the air, the airways are suddenly filled with advertisements that it's back...but on a different a different time and then they proceed to show mostly re-runs while occasionally proudly bragging that NEXT week's show is "all new". Yes, new but using the same formulaic story they have used in every other show. Give up, yet? I'm talking about NBC's "Medium". I'm going back to History Channel and all the repetitive WWII documentaries.