I like watching the pilot and first episode of shows. You can see if the studio's still throwing money at a show, if there have been cast changes, story changes, if lousy pilots have great second episodes, if great pilots have lousy second episodes, and how many female writers there are on shows (not many). NBC is still throwing money at The Event, which they kinda have to, given the nature of the show. The first episode wasn't any different than the pilot. They've committed to their huge storytelling. On the one hand, great for them. Too often, shows just get dumped in their second week. We'll see how committed the network is to this show as the ratings come out, but there's a nice consistency to everything so far.
I do wonder, though... did anyone consider telling the story entirely from Sean's point of view? It's both a thriller and a suspense drama and that's not sitting too well with me. The show is MASSIVE, but I think that's hurting it. I realize that the network wanted to intrigue people from the get-go, so then you have to see the aliens or whatever they are, and the President, and the cover-up, and the CIA officers and all that. But as an audience member, taking a thriller route would work better for me. And if you consider it from Sean's point of view, the show's plenty big. Let the audience identify with this guy, and then the sky eats a plane and transports it to Arizona. That's big, right?? Isn't it more interesting to see a regular guy become enmeshed in this conspiracy? Which is kind of the whole nature of the genre?
But instead of telling a linear story, the show continuously flashes back and forward in time. While that might be a cool device if the flashbacks were more insightful, it's also really confusing to an audience who only has half an eye on whatever they're watching. That could hurt the show. And as much as I tease, I need shows like The Event to work. But take a cue from Lost. Start with the characters. I don't give a shit if I ever see the President. Seriously. Look at The Invaders, another show that eschewed the bigger picture in favor of one guy. Now, I'm sure that The Invaders didn't have the world's largest budget and they were forced to do it that way but shit, you don't always need loads of money. Sure, it's increasingly harder to hold your own against the slick shows that come out in the fall. But what if you don't compete with them and instead just fucking tell your story?
I wonder what would happen.
Woefully remiss in comments. I know I'm leaving some out. Sorry about that!
I liked Lone Star.
I am a man.
Not everything I watch has to have explosions.
I am a construction foreman and my favorite show of all time is Six Feet Under.
I like shows with good characters. And when I say good I do not mean morally upstanding. I mean well written and well acted characters. And what I saw on Lone Star was the best acting of the night from a new fall television show.
Sorry they yanked a show you liked. But I never said that men only like explosions. I realize that if you don't work in TeeVee, all this stuff is fairly moot. But I think a discussion about marketing in television is very important, especially given the fact that marketing basically chooses what's on the air, and which movies get made. I've been pretty underwhelmed by the marketing for the fall shows. So far, only Hawaii 5-0 was properly marketed. The marketing for Lone Star, a show that everybody at Fox loved, was really lousy. It was always going to be an uphill battle because it's not an easy show to market. And marketing departments tend to be... how do I put this? A bit on the lazy side when it comes to doing their jobs. They want things that are easy. They don't want to be Don fucking Draper. But really, Don Draper is what the marketing department needed to try and sell this show. Because no matter how much you liked it, there wasn't a demographic that watched Lone Star. And that's a really big problem.
Is it a coincidence that the first two shows canceled had the worst marketing campaigns? The campaign for My Generation made every character on that show look like a trashy whore. And not in a good way.
I wouldn't harp on this as much if every writer pitching shows wasn't asked about the audience. And when we develop ideas, we do so with an audience in mind. If you pitch a show to USA, for example, and you don't know who the show is for, then you're fucked.
I think your judgment is coming too early. Nobody, male or female, was given a real story in the pilot except for the main character. I will be disappointed if the women don't take on a bigger role within the next few episodes (assuming the show lasts that long) but I'm optimistically hopeful that they will. Remember, Betty Draper was barely featured in the Mad Men pilot.
However, Betty Draper wasn't the only female character on Mad Men. But it's interesting that the only one you focus on is the wife. Why is that, exactly? In the pilot, we meet Peggy Olson and Joan Holloway. And throughout the series, we've seen some amazing work done for these female characters. Simply the best female character work done on television. So I think it's quite a bit different than two anonymous, kinda stupid women who married the same guy. That's how it appears in the pilot and since you have so much time and energy to devote to the development of a pilot, well... if you're missing a beat or two, then it really doesn't bode well for the series. If women are going to be defined only by the man they fall in love with, then we're doing the kind of time travel I would rather not do.
I think the intended audience is "people who like trainwrecks."
Heh. So anyone who watches the Real Housewife shows and summat? Most of the women I talked to thought the guy was an idiot. But a lot of the men didn't. That's kind of interesting. But your comment does speak to the point about what gets bought and what doesn't. For the most part, reality shows that do really well don't translate into dramas or comedies. People want to watch (ostensibly) real people doing stupid shit, but they don't want to watch the fictitious versions of those shows. Just like TeeVee versions of big movies don't translate. Because if they did, then we'd see Harry Potter TeeVee shows and the like. But we don't. People get the difference between movies and TeeVee. They'll watch despicable people in a movie, but with TeeVee it's about inviting characters into your living room.
I'm surprised you're so offended by Lone Star yet didn't even blink at the fact that Hawaii 5-0 decided the only female member of the team needed to be mostly naked in two of her three scenes in the pilot. Poor Grace Park was just a cardboard cut-out of a woman (no, wait, she's got personality because she's a surfer who randomly punches people out!) who was only there to forward the plot through gratuitous flashing of abs.
Maybe it's because Lone Star was otherwise a fairly decent show, and you expect better of a show that's actually making an effort to be original and complex than a cliched procedural-by-the-numbers like Hawaii 5-0?
Not exactly. For me, it's all about omniscient point of view. Take Up In The Air, for example. George Clooney's character is a hateful son of a bitch. Just a vile person. But the movie's point of view, the omniscient POV, is telling us that he's swell. That makes me want to punch the movie. Hawaii 5-0 is a fun show with eye candy for everyone. I stress EVERYONE. Look at the advertising: Everybody wet and hot. That tells you what the omniscient POV is -- everybody is being objectified. The characters are larger than life, and they will be presented as such. So because I know that, I can watch the show and have a good time. But with Lone Star, the show is telling you that this is a sympathetic guy. And that, I can't take. Because he isn't. It's a real subtle thing, but it bothers me. And when I develop a show, this is the kind of thing I think about. Because it's so important that as a creator, you have a real handle on how these characters are viewed.
I will say this, though. I disagree with your characterization of Grace Park's character. They did some awesome stuff with her in the second episode. And they're really playing to the actress's strengths, too, which I always appreciate.
I take your points about the polygamy plot, but I found the other aspects of the story compelling enough to keep me tuning in until it gets canceled. Despite the lead character's epic fail when it comes to love (and Fox marketing's even bigger fail by making that seem like the centerpiece of the show), I'm intrigued by the idea of a con man who wants to go straight but simply doesn't have the tools to function that way thanks to the upbringing he got from his dirtbag dad. The whole con man with a heart of gold thing reminds me of Lost's Sawyer.
It would remind me of that, too, if the omniscient POV was slightly different. Sawyer was not presented as the most awesomest hero ever. He was shown as the flawed character he was. We were not expected to root for him because he was a conman, but because he was going to go through something that would turn him away from that life and towards being a better person.
Along with X-Men above I'm inclined to give the show a bit more time to see if they don't answer some of your grievances, but for the most part I agree with your points. I think a problematic premise was exacerbated by the direction, casting, and scoring...in the pilot script, the hero was a somewhat intriguing cipher. With all that sensitive indie rock playing and the lead's too-accessible good looks and charm, the degree of presumptive sympathy for his situation was way out of whack with the nature of his behavior.
For me the worst moment in the pilot--and the one that most supports your charges of sexism--was when the woman in the hotel bar threw herself at Bob with all the subtlety of Lady Gaga (cheap wish-fulfillment) and then the show actually had the gall to congratulate him on not cheating on his TWO wives. I understand the intended point of the scene--see, he really does love and honor both of them!--but it was just one (or two, or three) women too many defined solely by their eagerness to sleep with Bob.
Yeah... there's that POV problem again. I wonder if the network felt that he was too heinous and tried to soften him up. It's an attempt, but there's a real easy way to handle that. A real easy way. However, that would have meant a change in the pilot.
And the show, imo, would work a lot better if he were actually a woman, with two husbands. Mostly because it would be more consistent--here's this person no one would ever suspect of being a horrible user because she's so sweet and nice...doing all these bad things. But then, I loved "Gossip Girl," too, and that's about three-quarters of its premise.
Heh. Well, it would be interesting to explore a female character in that way. Good luck finding a network that will take that on
And meanwhile, I despise Don Draper and hate "Mad Men." So maybe I just have terrible taste :P
You obviously do!!! You're not supposed to love Don Draper. You're supposed to understand him. But I do have friends who just can't watch shows if they hate the characters!
While the way it "uses" women might well be a significant factor in the inability of "Lone Star" to find an audience, I don't think either men or women in an economy ravaged by Wall Street and Big Bank Con Artists wants to root for anybody similarly inclined.
Right. Good point. Nobody wants to invite that guy into their foreclosed home.
Still behind on things, and there's Zenyatta to talk about. Yes. THAT IS A WARNING. There will be a horsey post upcoming.