Saturday, July 28, 2007

Posty, bloggy goodness!

DeathWatch 2007!

It was announced today that Fox's "New Amsterdam," about an immortal (what else?) cop, has been taken off the fall schedule. Like they always do, networks execs go, "This doesn't mean the show's a huge mess or anything. We LOVE the show! But wouldn't you rather watch a show about an immortal -- what else? -- cop in January?" I wonder (if the show makes it to air, of course) if they will use a New Amsterdams song for the credits. I would like to know if there are any new shows that aren't huge disasters right now. It always seems to be the case. My heart goes out to my friends on "Moonlight," by the way. Chin up, little campers.

We're out pitching pilots, which is pretty much the same it always is although this year, they're actually saying that they're waiting for the Big Feature Writer to come in and pitch before they'll buy anything from the likes of us. It's actually better to know that. This is one of the problem with PODs (producers with overall deals, for the uninitiated). They have their directives from the studios, which sort of negates their individual taste. Who would have thought that you'd have to sell a feature in order to sell a pilot?? Ah, well. It's not quite there yet, and we've got a few we're really excited about. Maybe THIS year the blog can be about pilot development! Speaking of pilots, I wanted to link to a few of ours, just in case anyone's interested in reading them. I'm looking into it but if anyone knows an easy way to link to a pdf file, don't be shy.

I wanted to talk about writing samples, because I recently did some reading for a writing program. It's interesting to see what people want to write, spec-wise. I think I read five seasons' worth of "Grey's Anatomy." Don't write a "Grey's Anatomy." I beg you. If an executive or a producer looks at the stack on the desk and sees twelve "Grey's Anatomy" scripts and one, say, "Dexter," which one do you think he's going to read first? It's easy to write what's popular, for a lot of reasons. The main reason is because you know the exec will be familiar with the show. But there's a caveat, too -- if you're writing what's popular, so is everybody else. So not only does the exec drown in t hese things, but you get compared to every other "Grey's" spec out there. Maybe yours is the most brilliant one yet, but do you really want to fuck with your odds like that? Because your "Grey's" has to be really, REALLY good. So don't write something that's been done to death. No more "CSI" or "Law and Order."

Of course, the flipside is that you can't write a spec of something obscure. Don't write a "Doctor Who," or any other sci-fi, for that matter. Execs aren't familiar with these shows and they don't like the genre. I read a KILLER "Battlestar Galactica" spec but unfortunately, that's not going to get the writer much play on shows. Try not to write something heavily serialized, like a "24." Don't write a spec for a show that's recently premiered, or is in its first year unless it's either really popular or critically acclaimed. "Ugly Betty" became a go-to spec, and that made sense. But also bear in mind that you have to tailor your spec to your strengths. If you don't want to work on a comedy, don't write an "Ugly Betty." If you want to be a cop show writer, look at what's on and choose something you don't think everyone else will write. Choose something that has a structure to it. You have to be able to watch the show and deconstruct how they put stories together. Your spec MUST feel like an episode of the show, even though you are NEVER going to send it to the show in question (trust me - you're not going to do this!). Avoid shows that are super heavy on voice because unless you can suddenly write like Aaron Sorkin, your spec is going to feel wrong even if the exec isn't totally familiar with the show.

I think it's very hard right now to choose what to spec because the popular shows have been done to death and really, aside from procedurals, there's nothing else on that you can spec. It's important for a new writer to spec an existing show but if you've got a boatload of show specs, write something original. I do think that everybody should have an original sample, whether it be a pilot or a feature. And make sure that what you're sending out there represents what you'd like to write. That's it on specs!

I saw an interesting quote from Jon Robin Baitz, creator of "Brothers and Sisters," awhile back. He goes:
>Anyway, long story short - For the first part of my creative life, twenty years, I was a playwright in New York, and now for a while at least, I make TV in LA. I worry about stuff out here in the moneyed, sun-drenched, smog-burned capitol of infotainment; I worry about glibness and one-issue voters with bucks and platforms, and the disconnect between here and the rest of the country, and I worry about how complicit I am. <

This was from the Huffington Post and was about politics, but what got me was the assumption, on his part, that there's a disconnect between people who work in entertainment and the rest of the country. More specifically, writers. And why it's okay for Baitz to be a playwright in NYC and not worry about that but as soon as he's got a dime in his pocket, he's all, "Shit, we're assholes." Because seriously? My inclination would be to say that there's a much bigger gulf between some guy in Visalia and a playwright in NYC than there is between the Visalian and a screenwriter. If Baitz really feels guilty for taking all that stupid TeeVee money, slide some over here, buddy. I'll make you feel better.

But then maybe Baitz IS disconnected, if he thinks that everyone in the industry is rolling naked in piles of money. Maybe he needs to get out and hang with people who aren't in the rarified club he's in. He was in that same club as a playwright. It's easy to say that the people who make movies and TeeVee are disconnected from the rest of the country, because both Hollywood and the country hate and love each other. It's a pretty twisted relationship, where "normal" people claim that Hollywood only cares about Holywood, but then it ain't Hollywood buying People and In Touch and Us Weekly, is it? "Normal" people go to see shit like "Transformers" and then bitch about how much movies suck. In Hollywood, executives are terrified of "normal" people, because they vote with their remotes. Maybe it would be nice if everybody could just calm the fuck down. If people like Baitz didn't perpetuate this invented idea about Us and Them, maybe we could just do our fucking jobs. We could make stuff we want to make, and people could go see stuff they want to see. If we worried less about this crap, I'll bet the overlap would be bigger than people think. I'm pretty sick of the rich people whining about the "disconnect." Don't include me in that, buddy.

Seriously, dude, if it worries you that much, give it up.

Go ahead. Do it. I dare you.

Speaking of "Transformers," a hilarious Michael Bay quote:
>Bay, who's only ever directed one sequel in his career (Bad Boys 2), continued: "There's a lot of really cool, big robot stuff that I had in my head that we didn't do. I just want to see how this works. You might not grow as much as a director [to do a sequel]. But it's kind of like you have your baby and you don't want someone else to take it.." When asked whether he would make Transformers 2 his next film, Bay replied: "I don't know if it would be ready. It just takes so long to do a script."<

Does it? Really? For shit blowing up? Christ, what's the development process like when you're working for Michael Bay? Does anyone know? I'm honestly curious here.

np - Gosling, "Come Into My Room"

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Make Mine Music!

Almost all of L.A. has been sucked into the void of Comic Con this weekend. I am not there, mostly because I completely forgot to get my pass. But it's actually turned out to be a blessing because we suddenly have work heaped upon us, this being the time to pitch pilots. So while it would be fun to hang out and drink with friends at Comic Con, work must be done. Besides, it's just Movie Con anyway and I've been able to see the cool stuff on You Tube.

Onto music!

We're over halfway through 2007 and I'm sure you're all DYING to know, what the hell music should you buy? What's good out there? What sucks? I can't tell you what sucks because I don't listen to sucky music. You're on your own there. But the year has been interesting so far. The heavy hitters (mine include, but are not limited to, U2 and Oasis) are off making a new record (U2) and dithering around arguing about who's writing what (Oasis). Coldplay (I will NOT apologize for liking them) is making what sounds like an intriguing record with Brian Eno. Doves, Elbow and the Zutons are doing Christ knows what. The Coral's got a new record coming out soon. Yay! And so far, I have heard ninety albums that I like.


It may sound like a lot, but I've heard a lot of records I didn't like, too. So the ninety? Cream of the crop, baby. There have been several high profile bands releasing stuff so far. Most prominent is the return of Crowded House, sadly sans Paul Hester but WITH Neil Finn, Nick Seymour and Mark Hart. The new drummer is REALLY solid and seems to be having the time of his life. As he should. I got to see them last week at the Troubadour, which is the size of a postage stamp, and the show ROCKED. I'd forgotten how much I missed them. They played for almost two hours and barely made a dent in their catalogue. That's how many remarkable pop songs Neil Finn has written. And they closed with "Throw Your Arms Around Me," which I never again thought I'd hear them do. The funny thing about that was, Nick Seymour had NO idea what key they were in, and his brother WROTE the friggin' song. They're going to be at the Greek at the end of August, and there I will be, too. The new album, "Time On Earth," is a grower. It's an album of intricate torch songs, not something we're used to from Crowded House but something we are used to from Neil Finn. The album's still making an impression but I gotta say, the new stuff sounds AMAZING live. Nobody knows his way around a hook like Neil.

Travis also have a new record out, called "The Boy With No Name." I know people dismissed Travis after "The Man Who," and whatever. Go read your Harry Potter books. The last album was a bit uneven but this one is really solid, with great pop songs throughout. It gets better with each listen. The Waterboys also have a new record, called "Book of Lightning," and it hasn't grown on me yet. Mike Scott lets me down sometimes but he's Mike friggin Scott and deserves every chance. And back from extinction after eight years (that's one year in Boston time) is Kula Shaker, with a great, GREAT record that knocked me out.

A lot of bands delivered sophomore records and so far, Bloc Party, The Bravery, The Killers, The Editors, Electric Soft Parade (second or third? Can't remember but this one's awesome AND it just came out in the States last week), the Kaiser Chiefs, IV Thieves (formerly Nic Armstrong and the Thieves - go get that one if you haven't) and the Shout Out Louds have released really good records. I know I shouldn't like the Killers but I do anyway. I'm still hoping the third album from the Thrills will grow on me. I feel that they've deliberately gone away from the sun-drenched thing that served them so well the first time out, and they've gotten somewhat aimless. The third Black Rebel Motorcycle Club record is solid, although I was hoping for a bigger move forward (a la Kings of Leon) after their last, which was a total blinder.

The debut albums this year have been inspired. My two favorites are The Fratellis and The View. Both British, both suffused with energy and brash lad cockiness. The View's "Wasted Little DJs" is one of the best pop songs I've heard in ages and The Fratellis lead with "Flathead" and "Baby Fratelli." Just friggin' terrific. For lush, orchestral, moody shit, check out the unfortunately named Cherry Ghost. This is a gorgeous gem. And Santa Barbara's The Coral Sea (proving I can like stuff that isn't British) released a super strong record with one polished pop song after the other.

Some stuff to start with, anyway. I'm trying to make the posts shorter, and post more frequently. Let's see how that works out.

np - The Hoosiers, "Worried About Ray." It just came up on a compilation and it's on the good side of emo. In that, it isn't. But it's got the energy. Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sweet Blog of Success

I saw the new Harry Potter movie today, and I watched AMC's "Mad Men," a new series set in an ad agency in 1960 New York.

Guess which one had brilliant storytelling.

If you haven't seen the pilot of "Mad Men," you're SO missing out. Screw the procedural bullshit and the weepy medical drama. And fuck the wizard kid. "Mad Men" is sensational TeeVee. Matthew Weiner, you are my HERO. I was a little worried that "Mad Man" would be too modern, that it wouldn't really take the period to heart. But it does, and brilliantly. The boom of the fifties, the expectations and conflicts society heaped upon people, the changing of the times in marketing and advertising... it's all there. The characters are complex and thrilling, dark and funny, and the ending of the pilot is mesmerizing. Weiner gives us a complicated point of view character whose world is changing so fast, he can't keep up with it. Everyone in the show is struggling to be on the inside what they are on the outside, and they're all failing. This is what TeeVee is about, gentle readers. I hope the show keeps this up but MAN, what a fantastic start.

Now, Harry Potter. First of all, it's hilarious watching people around clutching their Potter tomes to their breast like they should be given a medal for reading it. Seriously. Hilarious. Before I go any further, Emma Bull's "Territory" and Will Shetterly's "The Gospel of the Knife" are now in your bookstores. BUY THEM if you want REAL fantasy, written by great writers.

Back to Potter-bashing.

On John Scalzi's Whatever blog, he bravely makes the claim that he's never read a Potter book. Distressingly, a large number of his really smart readers love the thing. I've only read the first one and like I said, I like an active protagonist and a throughline. I know; how banal, right?

Well. I've seen the fifth film, and although beautifully directed by David Yates and (as usual) nicely acted (particularly by Imelda Staunton - what an inspired performance!), this movie has the same problem all the other movies have. Namely, WTF is the story? And why is Harry always so passive? I swear, the thing should be called "Harry Potter and the Much More Interesting Backstory," with a big shout-out to George Lucas. It's ironic that George Lucas could get a little hot under the collar, isn't it? But seriously.

There are moments when Harry could have been proactive but as usual, he sits there passively while people with brains and passion implore him to do shit. The little shitheel hasn't done ANYTHING. His mother saved him in the last movie and Dumbledore saves him in this one. I mean, what actually happened in this film? What is the plot? AND WHY DOES IT TAKE ALMOST A THOUSAND PAGES OF BOOK TO GIVE IT TO YOU? There's really nothing going on here. Voldemort is free. No he isn't. Yes he is. No he isn't. Oh. Yes he is. Lots of effects, then Q.E.D. There's no throughline to any of these stories. They go to school, they don't learn anything, everybody protects Harry, and we're out. It's distressing that the next generation of storytellers are learning from this. Goodbye, story, it's been nice. People seriously love these characters, but why? Who cares who dies? It's not like they're anything other than an orbitting planet around Planet Potter anyway.

I did see a "Golden Compass" trailer, though, so it wasn't a total loss.

Paula sent me a few interesting Potter criticisms. One is from Harold Bloom, so you can imagine, but he really sticks it to the books. A.S. Byatt has a really intriguing take on Potter:

>The important thing about this particular secondary world is that it is symbiotic with the real modern world. Magic, in myth and fairy tales, is about contacts with the inhuman — trees and creatures, unseen forces. Most fairy story writers hate and fear machines. Ms. Rowling's wizards shun them and use magic instead, but their world is a caricature of the real world and has trains, hospitals, newspapers and competitive sport. Much of the real evil in the later books is caused by newspaper gossip columnists who make Harry into a dubious celebrity, which is the modern word for the chosen hero. Most of the rest of the evil (apart from Voldemort) is caused by bureaucratic interference in educational affairs.

Ms. Rowling's magic world has no place for the numinous. It is written for people whose imaginative lives are confined to TV cartoons, and the exaggerated (more exciting, not threatening) mirror-worlds of soaps, reality TV and celebrity gossip. Its values, and everything in it, are, as Gatsby said of his own world when the light had gone out of his dream, "only personal." Nobody is trying to save or destroy anything beyond Harry Potter and his friends and family.<

EXACTLY. Is this what people see in the books? Do they imagine, on some level, that they would be as crucial to the fate of the world as Harry Potter is? Even Luke Skywalker -- a similar archetype, has a friggin' arc. The things that happen to Luke in the first two films HAPPEN TO HIM, and he makes decisions along the way. Initially, he's all "Yeah, I hate the empire, but I can't do anything about it." By the end of the first film, he's doing something about it! He puts his life on the line for his friends, for his passion, for his beliefs. While Harry Potter is led, kicking and screaming, into teaching the other kids magic. It's not even his idea! And even in "Return of the Jedi," a vastly inferior film to the first two, it's Luke whose unwavering faith saves his father. He's going to fucking DIE, and he puts his life on the line AGAIN. This is after, in "The Empire Strikes Back," he defies Yoda and goes off to save his friends. Harry is all, "Yeah, I have to be by myself." While this could be interesting, it's not really developed as a character trait and for Christ's sake, it's not like Voldemort's only going to kill Harry, right? He's going to take over everything! Hey, Harry -- GIVE A SHIT, right? Let people actually try to fucking HELP.

I saw "Star Wars" in the theater and for me, it was total wish fulfillment because we all identified with Luke at the beginning and the POINT is that you grow to admire him for doing something that, if we're being honest, WE might not do. Wish fulfillment and the hero's journey is about following a hero who's MAKING DECISIONS, who confronts his fears. Luke grows from being all about himself to being about others. Harry doesn't truly make this journey.

Byatt continues:
>But in the case of the great children's writers of the recent past, there was a compensating seriousness. There was — and is — a real sense of mystery, powerful forces, dangerous creatures in dark forests. Susan Cooper's teenage wizard discovers his magic powers and discovers simultaneously that he is in a cosmic battle between good and evil forces. Every bush and cloud glitters with secret significance. Alan Garner peoples real landscapes with malign, inhuman elvish beings that hunt humans.

Reading writers like these, we feel we are being put back in touch with earlier parts of our culture, when supernatural and inhuman creatures — from whom we thought we learned our sense of good and evil — inhabited a world we did not feel we controlled. If we regress, we regress to a lost sense of significance we mourn for. Ursula K. Le Guin's wizards inhabit an anthropologically coherent world where magic really does act as a force. Ms. Rowling's magic wood has nothing in common with these lost worlds. It is small, and on the school grounds, and dangerous only because she says it is.<

And Harry's powerful only because she says he is. I don't see that in evidence.

>In this regard, it is magic for our time. Ms. Rowling, I think, speaks to an adult generation that hasn't known, and doesn't care about, mystery. They are inhabitants of urban jungles, not of the real wild. They don't have the skills to tell ersatz magic from the real thing, for as children they daily invested the ersatz with what imagination they had.

It is the substitution of celebrity for heroism that has fed this phenomenon. And it is the leveling effect of cultural studies, which are as interested in hype and popularity as they are in literary merit, which they don't really believe exists. It's fine to compare the Bront√ęs with bodice-rippers. It's become respectable to read and discuss what Roland Barthes called "consumable" books. There is nothing wrong with this, but it has little to do with the shiver of awe we feel looking through Keats's "magic casements, opening on the foam/Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn."<

Beautifully said. I suppose I will never understand the Harry Potter phenomenon. I think it's kind of sad, that in 1977 there was such a more interesting, relatable hero. Now, we have a passive hero who is handed everything and who is protected even though he hasn't shown he deserves it. He's protected because of who his parents were, because of what they earned, and in spite of the callow, passive youth he's obviously become. I suppose that in the era of George Bush, we get the hero we deserve.

Dan says:
>And the reason us Brits get uptight about casting is because, as you say, Americans often take British successes and Americanize them badly(hellooo, Thunderbirds, ack!).

We've rightly kept hold of James Bond all these years, so there was no way we were going to let Potter go! Just look at Roald Dahl's stuff: Willy Wonka is BRITISH, not Johnny Depp... and Matilda takes place in the UK!

I'm amazed His Dark Materials is going well, actually (with an American director). The casting has been great there. It must be the Potter and Rings after-effect. Americans just don't work as well in most medieval, fantasy or pirate genres. The makers of The Dark Is Rising will soon realize their folly... :)<

No, they won't. They seem perfectly happy to ass-rape the book. And then everyone will be all, "Yeesh, what a Harry Potter ripoff!" I'll throw up. I really will. But what I meant by the comment about casting is that the British don't seem to care about the "Dark Is Rising" changes, but Potter is all-important. That doesn't show any respect to Susan Cooper or to the world she created. It's rather sad. These books are VERY British and should remain British. I'm disgusted that a British writer decided to make these changes.

A music post next! Wee!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Blog Is Rising

It's rant day at Seriocity! Since the new Harry Potter's coming out, I thought it was time to once again voice my confusion about why the fuck adults love this shit. I constantly fail to see why seemingly smart people, some of them novelists themselves, think these books are anything other than mass market trash. The interesting thing about Harry Potter is that people insist it's literature. They won't just go, "Yeah, they're not very good, but I like 'em." That would be fine. We all like crap sometimes. No, they act like this thing is the second coming -- no, the FIRST coming -- of all that is fantastic. Seriously, smart people, what the fuck? Smart people didn't think "The DaVinci Code" was literature. Smart people think Harry Potter is. I don't get it.

The slavish devotion to this low-brow fantasy is one thing, but the CARE given the films makes me crazy. Oooh, they'd better cast the right actors! It better look right! Yes, the Harry Potter movies had better be perfect, down to the last detail, or legions of Potter fans will just DIE! Harry Potter may be a phenomenon, but it ain't built to last. I thought at first that it would help the genre, but it's fucking killing fantasy. All this shit is getting published and turned into film. Eragon? Really?

But even I wasn't prepared for the greatest Potter-induced tragedy -- the film of "The Dark Is Rising," Susan Cooper's Newbury Award-winning fantasy novel. What's interesting is that they won't change a hair on Harry's head, but they will just ass-rape one of the most beloved, best written classics of the genre. Harry Potter wouldn't exist without Susan Cooper. That would have been one less brilliant writer for Rowling to steal from. But rather than showing the book (and its author) the respect it has fucking EARNED, Walden Media has just utterly destroyed it. They've taken this beautiful, ENGLISH tapestry and have turned it into brainless swill. Nobody who sees the trailer for the film will even want to hold the book. It's that bad.

I think it's high fucking time for people to be held accountable for this crap. I mean, seriously. Everybody connected does interviews where they try to pretend that their reasons for making major changes are all about altruism, ignoring the real reason -- we want to make bags of money, and American kids won't watch English kids. Unless it's Harry Potter. Of course.

Now, you may be saying, So they changed the kid from English to American. What's the big deal? Ignoring the fact that this is an ARTHURIAN LEGEND, it just shows you how little the people involved understand the book. Which is funny, because I read it as a kid and I fucking understood it. The writer, John Hodge, claimed that making Will Stanton an American in an English village (which isn't at all evident in the trailer, by the way) made him more of an outsider. Hodge clearly doesn't understand the whole point of the character. Based on the trailer, everything that is magical and wonderful about Will in the book has been removed. Now, he just doesn't know how to talk to girls. Way to hip it up, Hodge. Hey, why not make him a heroin addict, too? That'll make you seem super-cool to the kids.

The director, David Cunningham, well... we should have expected this from him, as he made "The Path To 9/11." Remember that gem of factual inconsistencies and flat-out lies? It makes sense that he would want to throw the book completely out and update it for a "modern audience." Can anyone explain what that means? Because from where I'm sitting, it means that people are stupid and they will only relate to the most cliched of American teenagers. Way to tell Americans you think they're stupid. These people always claim they want to make the story more accessible to today's audience. But all that means is that they're second-guessing the audience. What they are really doing is talking down to them.

There is really nothing more offensive than buying the rights to a classic like "The Dark Is Rising" and then just raping it out of existence so you can make bags of money. Hey, here's a thought -- WRITE YOUR OWN FUCKING STUPID FANTASY FILM. Leave the classics alone.

The people involved in this are John Hodge, who wrote "Trainspotting" (you'd think he should know better, but look at the rest of his credits), David Cunningham (talk about hacktastic credits), producer Marc Platt and all of his development monkeys. Walden Media, you already destroyed Narnia, can you just stop now? Please?

This notion of people not being honest -- we want to make bags of money, we think Americans are all stupid, we just wanted to make something fun -- continues.

The TCA (where TeeVee critics get to fawn all over their favorite showrunners and actors and eat catered hotel food) is going on right now, so there have been snippets of "why my show fucking RAWKS" all over the damned place. Let's face it; the TCA is for the showrunners and actors to promote their shows, so you can't really blame them for being a bit, well... pretentious and over the top. If you go by what's said at the TCA, every show is a bright little gem of perfection that is going to change the face of TeeVee. We, of course, know this is not true. But those silly TeeVee critics fall for it every time!

Anyway, I found a comment from David Eick about the new Bionic Woman, in which he claims the show is "post-feminist." Here's the rest of it:

>In this show, our character, our heroine, is faced with a choice about whether to embrace the thing that she's become that makes her super, that makes her other than human—makes her unique—or embrace the things that make her a human being, that make her a family girl, that make her a big sister," Eick said. "And it seemed like those allegories were very prevalent and very rich and resonant right now like those allegories were in the old show. And so that's really the reason for the attempted remake and the title. It just felt timely."<

If you asked him why those allegories, which he didn't truly detail, are resonant now, I doubt he could say why. Because it's just a lot of words that critics like like to hear. But really, what's resonant about this show now? Wasn't it more about rifling through the Universal catalogue and going "Ah HA! Let's remake THAT!" It's usually cutting-edge and relevant the first time you do something. I understand what he's saying about the old show, but I'm sure if you asked the creators, they would g o, "Oh, Six million Dollar Man was a hit and we wanted to do a spinoff. Made sense that it should be a woman. Don't forget, we tried it with Max the dog, too." Did Eick ever watch Buffy? Or Alias? And I don't watch Heroes, but aren't there at least two women trying to come to terms with how their super powers change them? This is producer blather, sound and fury signifying no imagination. If they're trying to break the show on this slippery slope, it's gonna be a nightmare.

He continues:
>"The aesthetic approach to the show is just a modern one," Eick said. "It's taking the tools that we now have as filmmakers and as storytellers—whether it's CG or advance compositing or motion capture. There are a lot of tools that you an use now to create the illusion of a super human being that, in those days, you didn't have. I suppose if the tone of the show was campy or retro or somehow satirical, it would make sense to do that. But it's really not. It's a drama first. We're really playing it pretty straight. And her unique abilities are intended to accentuate who she is and what she's going through emotionally, not just to give viewers eye candy."<

Oh. Like Buffy? Or Alias? Did I mention she's got a deaf sister? How's that for subtlety?

At least in the draft I read -- and I don't think they brought a dude in to rewrite it and take it over who was gonna make it more female insightful -- Jamie is your typical TeeVee woman. She loves her man, she's pregnant -- and ALL women want to be pregnant -- and she has a difficult relationship with her (in the draft I read) not-deaf sister. Almost every TeeVee woman has this sort of a sheen to them. Really, the only difference most male writers see between men and women is that eventually, a female character will want a baby. Seriously. Think about it.

Women have a different emotional strength than men do. You rarely see that represented on a TeeVee show, because (understandably) men don't have a clue about it, and men are mostly running shows. Of course, there are major exceptions to this rule. But I've seen it enough times to know that it's true. My impression, which could be corrected when I see the staff make-up, is that the staff at Bionic Woman is all men, with a lower-level (read: shut the fuck up, we're in charge) female writer. That seems to be somewhat typical this year. I'm definitely going to watch this train wreck and imagine how we could have made it so much better. Because even without seeing it, I know we could have.

It would be great if these people could be honest at these things and just go, "You know what? We were looking for an existing property and there was Bionic Woman, and we thought we could update it and make it cool." What's wrong with that? Why do they all want to be taken SO seriously as SERIOUS storytellers? It's a fucking TeeVee show! It's supposed to entertain us! TELL US THAT IT'S GOING TO!

But wait! Somebody does! Zachary Levi, who stars in Chuck, says this:
>"I feel that the typical audience or the general audience that watches television can relate more to a Chuck than they can to a superhero, somebody that's really cool and really debonair and has all those powers," Levi said. "Chuck is just a schmuck. Chuck's a schmuck that can't get a date. I mean, that's really what it is. He's a great guy who really means well, and he cares about people, and he wants to fix people's computers to the best of his ability. But at the end of the day, he'll pee his pants if a gun gets pulled on him." <

Zactly. His entire interview tells you that the show's going to be fun. And the pilot's great. I'm a little worried that they only hired sitcom writers, who are very funny I'm sure but who don't know how to plot a drama. The method of sitcom writing focuses, understandably, on the set-ups and jokes, with little thought as to structure. So I hope Chuck manages to survive, because the pilot is really one of my favorites.

Dan says that he likes Jekyll as well. I haven't seen any "Doctor Who" but Moffat's so impressed me here that I need to check it out. And yes, I am an Anglophile! Last night I was a Kiwiphile, which I'll post about next time. It's just about time for a big honkin' music post!

I said I was going to try and blog more. So there ya go.

np - Ash, "Twilight of the Innocents." Last Ash album ever! Boo!!!