Season finale of Caprica this Friday. Hopefully it won't be the series finale. This show gives SciFi much-needed weight. A few comments:
So, OK, the dog got to me.
How does the dog know?
I loved that the dog knew. I think it's just that "other sense" thing. If humans hadn't made instincts irrelevant, than maybe Daniel would have known, too. Although he did know, but then used his randy version of the scientific method to prove himself wrong. Or something.
My favorite duality is Zoe as tender flesh and blood and Zoe as giant mecha with clompy feet. I love the way she switches back and forth as we watch and the expressions she has that none of the people around her know are there. It's poignant.
Yeah, I absolutely LOVE the match cuts. And I love how in the last episode, even though Daniel tried to scare the Zoe out of her, she actually seemed to draw strength from the Cylon. Scary.
Wow, great comments! Media tie-in books definitely don't get respect. TeeVee writer/producer Lee Goldberg has been writing Monk tie-ins for quite some time. Having read his original fiction -- "Beyond the Beyond," a mystery novel -- I would have to think that the Monk people are lucky to have such a good writer working on those books.
It is interesting, though, that pretty much anything coming out of filmed media is dismissed in print media. Tie-in novels are trash, movies and TeeVee consistently ruin books, etc. It's true that the majority of novels just shouldn't be adapted into film, but not because the books will be ruined. Rather, it's because the majority of books are simply impossible to adapt to a visual medium. Comics and graphic novels are easier, but it's not because they're made of pictures. It's because they're created as ongoing stories. Comic series, especially, have to have the same type of engine a TeeVee show needs. And since most comics that become films are supposed to be franchises, you need that engine for films, too. There's nothing more difficult than being handed a book for which you have to find an engine.
Comics writers seem much better suited to making the transition to film and TeeVee, and vice versa. TeeVee and film writers seem to move fairly easily to comics. They're certainly not the same and I wouldn't suggest that they are, but the thought process is similar enough that the learning curve is achievable.
Books into movies and TeeVee is different. And it seems to me that the assumption has more to do with the perceived quality of all books than with the differences between storytelling in novels and storytelling in film and TeeVee. You can tell in a print medium. You have to show in a filmed medium. You just can't do the same kind of internal storytelling on film that you can in a novel.
But there's something about handing a book to an executive that makes all of this moot. It's the same reason we have all these remakes. Because there's existing material, that means someone else deemed it worthy. And that means if the show/movie doesn't work, the finger pointing just goes back to the source material and not to the executive. I mean, who are they making The A-Team movie FOR? Not the people who watched the show the first time around. That's (gulp) an older demographic. So they're making the movie for people for whom the title means nothing. But it doesn't matter if it means anything to the audience. What matters is if it means anything to the people who shell out the cash to make the film.
There doesn't seem to be a lot of nuance in finding material. People aren't haunting dusty bookshops, looking for that neglected gem that would make a magnificent movie. Instead, pretty much everything gets optioned. If it's bound and has a pretty cover on it, it's got a shot. And if more than ten people have actually read it, well... it's a slam-dunk. When you look at the numbers, even the biggest bestseller doesn't sell that many books and most of the books that are being optioned aren't huge bestsellers. So the lowest-rated TeeVee show probably gets more viewers than the book upon which it's based. But that doesn't matter to the people whose job it is to sell.
What remains frustrating, though, is that they don't seem to stumble upon actual good books that would make wonderful movies.
Most notably on TeeVee, adaptations include Bones, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, FlashForward and the new series Justified (I'm sure I'm leaving something out). Justified takes the kernel of an Elmore Leonard short story. FlashForward takes the idea of a Robert Sawyer novel. The other three are based on book series, which makes a hell of a lot more sense for an adaptation than just a single book. Book series are not all adaptable but at least there's usually an engine there that has to exist to take the series from book to book.
I've been involved with shows that have been adapted from books and am working on a pitch to take out that's based on a book series. And no, America, we don't just change things for the sake of changing them. I like to use whatever works in the source material. I don't always get my way with that if we're talking about being on someone else's show. But with this pitch, yeah. I get to choose. There are specific challenges to adapting material but they're good challenges because they make you really think about what works on TeeVee and what doesn't.
As much as people bitch about TeeVee, go to your local bookstore (if you still have one) and flip through some fiction. My lord, there's a lot of shitty fiction out there. It seems like publishers will publish anything, although we know that isn't at all true. But for those who love the craft of writing, most fiction just isn't up to scratch. Because a distressing percentage of published novelists don't seem adept at the craft. But the rest of the population doesn't really care about writing. They care about being engaged with story, which is why they buy prose murderers like Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer.
What was the point? I can't remember. But I like books, so I don't want to bash novelists too much. I just hate the intimation that books are always better than movies and TeeVee. Although I'm pretty sure that the novel Precious, Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire, Curse Of The Black Pearl (I did not come up with that) is better than the movie.
In honor of this post and Ada Lovelace Day (which is on March 24th), I'm putting up a portion of my book on The Box. You'll find it at the Pilots link to the right...