Monday, December 04, 2006

A Lazy Monday Blog

Not that lazy. We're thissclose to a draft of the pilot. While that's cool, now we have to show it to people and try to keep our vision as we do what promises to be a fleet of notes. I'm pretty happy with it; I don't think it's a traditional procedural and I think we've done a decent enough first-draft job at making it feel different and younger. Because the CW audience ain't gonna tune into a traditional procedural, and I don't want to write one.

Surprisingly enough, my last rant about Akiva Goldsman's gazillion-dollar payday for "Angels & Demons" has practically been eclipsed. Not monetarily, but creatively. It's one thing for a pedestrian writer to adapt a pedestrian novel. It's another thing entirely for a hack writer to adapt a brilliant comic book. Mark Steven Johnson, writer/director of "Daredevil" and the upcoming "Ghost Rider," has someone gotten his grimy paws on "Preacher." Yes, "Preacher." Like Dan Brown, Garth Ennis ripped off "Holy Blood Holy Grail." but unlike Dan Brown, he put his own genius spin on it and what he gave us for seventy or so issues was a fucking masterpiece.

Mark Steven Johnson is going to adapt GARTH FREAKIN' ENNIS. I'm not the only person who's horrified by this. But what's really horrifying is, he isn't going to ruin this as a film. No, he's going to ruin it on HBO. So the question is, what possessed HBO to decide that Mark Steven Johnson and Howard Deutch (who'll direct) were the guys for the job? Is a produced credit the only thing that matters anymore? I know the dude's going off better source material than he got for the other two movies, but it's not like he elevated the writing there, so why should we expect him to even come close to the level of writing in "Preacher?" Gosh, I guess things really HAVE changed -- it's not HBO; it's just TeeVee.

In my last blog, I asked if anyone else was sick to death of procedurals. Stephen says that character's being replaced with gimmick, and cites "Lost"" as a show that was compelling at first, but has gotten confusing and muddled and boring. Word. I acutally watch it with a perverse fascination, just to see how long they can continue to move characters around on a board without telling one ounce of story. Stephen also says that he wants to care about the characters. I think this is a function of the development process. You have to make so many concessions that you wind up gutting the characters, and I don't think people who are that close to it even notice. But then America watches this crap and the writers are expected to make more of it. I'm sure some writers actually like writing straight-ahead procedurals. Because some writers would rather write plot than character. Personally, that couldn't be more boring.

Stephen also wonders about "Dexter." Well, there's a book by Bradley Denton called "Blackburn" that does a much better job with the serial killer protagonist than "Dexter" does. For me, "Dexter" is just boring. It's the same old procedural crap, only now it's being solved by a serial killer. Also, thanks for mentioning Robert Crais! I am an enormous fan of his. I've read everything he's written and he just seems to get better and more nuanced with each book. Crais worked in TeeVee for awhile and you can see that in his books. He plots very well. But it's his voice and his characters that draw me in. If y'all haven't read any Robert Crais, what the hell are you waiting for???

Toomanysidesofme, our schizophrenic reader (heh), likes "Bones" because of the characters. Word to that. I sure like what I've seen, and I wish they'd do even less procedural, technical stuff.

And JC Kelley sets me straight on "NCIS," saying that they're far more interested in character andf humor than in plot. I only saw the pilot, which didn't do much for me, but I'm glad you're focused on that over there! It's good to see your show getting an audience, hopefully of people who like character. You mention that it was created by Don Bellisario, which for some reason I forgot! Thanks for the correction.

Shows seem to be going into hibernation for winter, or for what the networks now call "the end of min-season one." How stupid is that??? Mini-seasons, indeed! This is all a reaction to the outcry from "Lost" fans, who were sick of getting a new episode every month or so. This will of course lead to more TeeVee hell -- now when you create a show, you'll have to arc the mini-seasons. We already have to do five acts and a teaser. WTF???

Still not watching "Heroes." So there.

np -- Morning Runner, "Wilderness is Paradise Now"