There WILL be a rant soon -- Ken Tucker reviewed Battlestar Galactica in Entertainment Weekly and to nobody's surprise, he said something stupid. First, though, an update and responses to comments.
Last week was tres busy. We've been struggling to find the perfect story for our pilot. It's no problem finding episode ideas -- we have about a zillion of them, which is a good sign if the show goes to series -- but the pilot story has to work on several different levels. Luckily, we finally found one that everybody is very happy with. We're happy with it because it's a Hollywood story, and we love Hollywood stories. The process of writing a pilot -- breaking the story, writing an outline and writing the script -- has many more levels to it than just doing an episode of TeeVee. You have to introduce brand-new characters, the world they live and work in, and a sustainable template. We've been on a few procedural shows and we've learned quite a bit about what not to do. There are scenes that you always see in a procedural -- the coroner scene, the interrogation scenes, the cops lifting weights together -- oh wait, that was only on Killer Instinct. The last thing we want is for this show to look like all the other procedurals. Hopefully we'll get our way on this. We'll see.
We're doing a lot more prep work on this pilot than we've done on any other pilot because we do want to make it feel different, organic, and (at least a little bit) unique. The real jockeying with this show won't happen until we've turned the final draft in to the network. The development process exists in a bubble, where you're all on the same page (hopefully) and the objective is to just make the best pilot you can make. We've never gotten past this stage, although we've gotten close. But the decision to shoot a pilot or not becomes more about programming, and also more about which giant apes are attached to the project. How much will it cost the network to NOT make a show? There has to be incentive beyond how good the script is. Hopefully, we'll have a little bit of that this year. I obviously hope we get to shoot the pilot and the bonus for me is that I'll be able to blog about it.
Most of all, I want this to be a TeeVee show, and not a small-screen movie. I'm sick to death of handsome but remote TeeVee. I haven't seen any of the new shows that are absolutely spectacular. Friday Night Lights and The Nine are, I think, the last two pilots to premiere. I think The Nine will work; it was the best pilot I saw this year. But then people liked and watched Heroes, so what do I know? I enjoyed Ugly Betty. America Ferrera is just about the cutest thing ever. I didn't hate Brothers and Sisters, much to my surprise. I forgot to watch Jericho, but America didn't. Um. Well. Okay, America. Whatever.
Stephen Blackmore wants to know if they're really doing the stripper with a heart of gold on Heroes. Oh, you betcha. And they're doing it without the slightest bit of irony. Honestly, I didn't think people would buy such a heaping pile of earnestness. But they did.
Rob is, in my opinion, spot on with his comment about alternative media and TeeVee execs missing the point. We've already seen this happen with Blair Witch, where Fox greenlit a series called FreakyLinks and then utterly destroyed the show. I hated Blair Witch but I quite liked the first draft of FreakyLinks and really, they did some brave episodes of the show. But all the execs look at is success and they usually attribute the wrong thing to that success. With FreakyLinks, I don't know WHAT they thought, other than that they hated and feared it.
Jeff says that Heroes reminds him of Mutant X, only with a bigger budget. Word. This is always part of my rant -- why doesn't anyone in TeeVee pay attention to what's on? Why did it take Entertainment Weekly a season to jump on the X-Files and Buffy bandwagons? If you're a TeeVee exec or a TV reviewer, what else are you doing with your time that you can't keep up with what's on the TeeVee??? Jeff doesn't get to watch stuff when it airs which, really, is probably a blessing. I've been having a good time watching Veronica Mars on DVD. I wish the networks would pay MORE attention to DVD, but as usual, they're behind the curve. They're still thinking about syndication. If they made the effort, they could use this new way of watching TeeVee to their advantage, but they don't. They still hate serialized shows because they don't repeat well. But who, honestly, starts watching a show in reruns when it comes out on DVD sooner??
I wasn't quick enough to see Idiocracy, but I'm sure it'll be out on DVD in about three seconds so I'll catch it then. Anything that the studios dump, I support. Well. Unless Kevin Costner is in it.
Jeff Hentosz is upset that he didn't know about the First Poster prize. Don't worry, Jeff. All of this will be taken into consideration. He also urges me not to pull punches. I will pull some, but if I'm really annoyed about something or someone, I'll say so. As Heroes is presently annoying me the most, I will pull no punches there. Because SERIOUSLY. I think the one thing I won't rant about, unless something really extreme happens, is politics. This blog is about TeeVee and music and ponies, so I'll keep it that way. As for linking, I should have, erm, read the instructions on how to do that. I'm sure I'll link more and if I follow the instructions and it still doesn't work, I'll yell for help.
Onto music, because Gwenda had an interesting thought. Yes, music does seem important to Joss and Rob Thomas but we also have to remember that most shows hire music supervisors. So there's a difference between what music you use on the show and what the musical tastes of your characters are. In that arena, I'm not seeing much.
I would lay money on the probability that Shonda Rhimes isn't a Thirteen Senses fan, but there they were in the pilot for Grey's Anatomy. It's getting easier for me to tell when a show's being music supervisored to death -- the copious uses of last year's winner for overuse, Snow Patrol. One thing that made me want to tear my hair out with Brothers and Sisters was the overly sensitive girl singer at the beginning. ARGH! Stop! Please!!!
I would be willing to bet that Rob Thomas chose Ventura Highway for that fantastic sequence with Logan and Aaron. If he didn't, I don't want to know about it. When we were on Millennium, we chose our own music, so that's how I was brought up because Morgan & Wong did so, too. I would NOT like a music supervisor handing me music. I can do my own listening, and I know what music should be in the show. I think the music thing started getting out of control with Dawson's Creek and the early WB stuff. They would just cram songs in, fading them out nonsensically. The music has no effect when you do it that way. I like using music to sculpt scenes, which we did on Millennium and on Night Visions and Haunted, to a smaller degree. I do believe that this is a lost art and I don't know anyone who does this anymore.
I'd sure like to do it in our pilot, if it's warranted!
That's it for the moment but when I have the Entertainment Weekly in front of me, I'll rant about Ken Tucker. Oooh, I'm mad at him!
P.S. -- Go Dodgers! I wish you were playing the Cardinals, but kick some Met ass! At least win two, okay? That's all I ask.
np - Jet, "Shine On"