I be a good righter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Diagnosis: Flaccid; Cure: Viagra

I'm about halfway through this week's REAPER and I think I've figured out what bothers me about this show that I should absolutely love: Things just happen to Sam and he doesn't really do anything about it -- he's kind of a flaccid character. Sure there are funny moments, there are even believeable moments -- true moments where I feel bad for this situation that he's been thrust into. The thing is, many heroes across TV land have been thrust into bad situations. The difference is, those heroes make lemonade.

Take BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Our heroine is forced to be a slayer. It's her calling. It completely rips into her social life, it even tears her family apart, but ultimately results in a pretty incredible show (at least for the first few seasons). In the pilot (granted, it was probably easier here than for the gals at REAPER, since, you know, they had a movie to cull from), Buffy moves to Sunnydale, thinking she's got the chance to get a fresh start, only to find that Vampires are rampant here. Begrudgingly she uses her powers and saves the day, only to find out that there's a much bigger picture and she can't really turn back now -- but, she's met some pretty incredible people, so, you know, bonus. And, thus begins our series.

With REAPER, Sam finds out that's he's got lemons. Instead of making lemonade, he whines. A lot. About the position he's in. Begrudgingly, he does his work. His friends, Sock especially, shine. They're break out characters because our main dude is acting (is written?) like a secondary character. Sure, you could say that Sock's breaking out because he's the Xander. But, even at her worst moments, Buffy would wax sarcastic, and then she'd kick ass. So, you (and by you I mean me) would root for her. What I'd love to see happen is for Sam to flex his powers. Find something there that's bad ass. He's can still be the awkward geek, but... the great thing about the pilot is that when Sock was in danger, when the chips were down, he bested this bad ass soul, and I was all "fuck yeah!" Since then, we've not seen much of his powers. This guy who took down the firebug? He's not really been seen since.

Then there's Andi. This is the first episode where he's been proactive in the show. Wearing the punkin costume. It was a great moment. Until we actually got to, you know, his wearing the costume. The writers got lazy and had him whine again, "I hate this costume." Cry me a fucking river, soul boy. That was my reaction. If there was a witty quip, or something, you know, better, I'd have loved this -- thing is, it really should be Xander as a soul catcher. Instead, we revert back to Whiny Sam, not the great proactive Sam who stepped in so that Andi wouldn't have to wear it. Though this is a small symptom, it goes to a larger illness. Sam's just not fighting for anything. Things happen to him and he whines about it. Not a character I can love.

The secret calling. What was great about the pilot was that he ended up lying to his mom to make her feel better. He told her his job was done. This was a stroke of brilliance. And the mom felt better. I loved Sam for doing this. As soon as she sort of figures things out he spills the beans? (I believe this was the second episode, btw.) So, this great secret is no longer a secret... except to Andi. And, I'm not exactly sure why Andi's being kept in the dark, since the stakes are: she's really pissed at him because of what he learned from The Devil, or he keeps missing dates with her. Or... there doesn't seem any rhyme or reason for him not telling her. At this point, what's he got to lose? So, we have a not-so-secret secret. Where something like this works is in a show like this, look at...


He's keeping his Top Secret secret from his sister, Captain Awesome, Morgan... everyone. He's got to make up excuses everytime he misses a dinner, or bails on Morgan, or... basically, it's inherent drama. Not something to be shied away from. It also worked in...


Buffy kept it from her mom. Hilarity and drama ensued. It just felt natural.

By REAPER taking away the secret? The writers take away both dramatic and comedic potential. And, maybe they chose that route. That's fine. Then keeping Andi in the dark makes absolutely no sense (maybe we'll all laugh about this later when I've watched the rest of the episode and he tells Andi -- but, I suspect that won't happen).

The other thing that worked in BtVS, that could work here, is a larger mystery. They've hinted at it with the contract. And, that's great. But, I'd love to see some way in which Sam could see an out and be working toward that. Okay, so BtVS didn't have that in the first season. She had no out -- that she knew of. So, we had her working toward the greater mystery which was resolved in the season finale. It gave her a goal. And that's what Sam lacks. A goal to work toward. I think if the writers gave him one, they'd find their writing a lot easier, they'd find that they wouldn't have to have him whine, and they'd find the drama AND comedic potential they lost in giving away the secret.

Don't get me wrong, I'm stll going to keep watching this show. I have faith that they'll turn it around. Mainly because of the magic in the pilot. But, I really really hope the writers figure something out. Yes, I understand that there are outside forces (like the Network) who won't let them do XY or Z. But, I also know that there are some pretty talented writers over there who could easily skirt any issue put forth from said network... just like ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT did:

When AD got the note that they needed to have an episode that dealt with family values, it resulted in the fabulous episode, "Pier Pressure." Family lessons, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT-style.

The alternative to this is drafting Ben Edlund. I'm totally going to invent Fantasy Writers' Rooms. Not exactly sure how one would win, week to week. But I bet I fare better in this than I did last week in Fantasy Football.

Hey, at least I'm secure in the knowledge that I could totally take my FF opponent in poker. Look forward to your money, Kimchee.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Random News From The Closet

Would anyone have batted an eye if Dumbledore was heterosexual? It's a sad world we live in.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Breaking news!

CBS saves my TiVo by canceling VIVA LAUGHLIN!

That sound you hear? It's me pressing "delete..."

UpChuck (new show regurgitation)

So, things have kind of changed in the past couple of weeks. Just look:


I really like you. I think you're sweet, your characters are broadening, changing, evolving. The storylines are still kind of like a bad 70's show. And sometimes the acting matches that. But, for the most part, you've grown on me. Like a spore.


Sigh. This show makes me sad. I love me some Tara and Michele. I love me some geeks. I love me some supernatural on The CW. Except, every episode since the pilot has been a not-so-gentle rehashing of said pilot. Unlike CHUCK, the characters aren't evolving. And, maybe they don't need to be at this point. But, seriously, Sam's getting on my nerves. He knows the stakes if he doesn't do the soul-catching. He's known this since the pilot. But, every week, we get him trying to weasel out of his duties. The Sam/Andi wannabe Maddie/David... it's just not working. It's all... just so sad. Because, by all accounts, this show should be incredible. Instead, I feel like the Michele and Tara of REAPER are the Michele and Tara from LAW & ORDER SVU rather than from X-FILES. Go back to your roots, girls!


Everyone loves this show. I mean, everyone. Except me. The pilot was eh, for me. The second ep, was much much better, and I thought I had a new favorite on my hands. But, then, it got into the plastic covered hands-holding. The third episode brought us the celophane kiss. Thing is, I'd totally love this if I knew that one day our beautiful Chuck and Pie Maker would be able to get together, you know, like, for reals. But, since I know that this is as deep as their physical relationship can get, I'm not interested in investing time in this couple. The rules are what they are. If the writers find a wonderfully quirky way to write themselves out of this corner, I'm happy to invest my time. Till then, I think this one's coming out of the TiVo.


The first casualty of the season.


I don't know what it is, but this show has been piling up, unwatched since the pilot, in my TiVo. It's not something I can put my finger on, but it's not my go-to show. Hell, it's not even the last show I watch. It's just the show I no longer watch.




Yes. I like it. I'm a sad sad person. But, at least I own it.


Remain. In. My. TiVo.

And, last but not least:


This is my number 1 favorite show. It has all the right elements of quirk, procedural, character reveals. If this show makes it, it will be the first thing I spec. Believe you me, that's a high high honor.

And, finally:

Big props to SCRIBBLE! He got into the WB workshop! He is god!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Second Helpings

Okay. So, people all over the blogosphere have weighed in on the pilots. I usually prefer to reserve judgment until after the second episode. Sometimes even the third. In some cases, since I'm writing this post mid-week, I can't help but comment only on the pilot. Mainly because I'm not known for my patience...

In completely random order (except REAPER):


Back in March or so, my agent sent over the CD of pilots. I sort of scrolled through them, only one title caught my attention. REAPER. Because of its title, and because of its creators, the dynamic duo: Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas. I've been fans of their work for a long time. So, I read it. I was captivated. I absolutely adored this pilot. So much so that I sent it to my non-writing husband and non-writing best friend. They both loved it as much as I did. Well, they didn't read it again a week later (which I did) or again a week afterward... this was the only pilot I looked forward to this season.

When I read that Kevin Smith was directing, it clinched it. This was going to be the best pilot ever. And, it was. There were minor changes from script to produced episode. But, they were changes that made the pilot stronger. Everything about this pilot (save Andi) is everything I'd love to be able to do with my own pilots.

The second episode, however... not as great. Still better than most TV out there. But, it seemed to be a rehashing of the pilot. Which would be fine if it were the 7th episode: Sam doubts this path he's on, his friends bolster his confidence, the Devilishly handsome Devil threatens damnation and brimstone or whatever if Sam doesn't complete his mission. The mother's freaked out about what she's done to her son. The father bribes Sam. The brother's jealous. It's just... everything the pilot was -- which is great, but... not one week after the pilot.

I have faith in these gals, Michele and Tara, but really, they can do much better than this. Sam already was faced with seeing what happens to a guy who doesn't complete his missions in the pilot. He knows his mother's soul's on the line, if he doesn't participate. So, ep #2? Retreaded storylines but hilarity ensues.

That said, there was a slight odd continuity thing: In the pilot, Herr Satan urges Sam to look into the Firebug's backstory. This assists Sam in figuring out where the Firebug is, and ultimately results in the Firebug's capture. This week, Beezlebub urges Sam to just capture Lightning Dude. That the logistics of why and how and who he is don't matter. But, in the pilot, didn't the Fallen Angel say... okay, I'm digging too deep. But, I expect perfection in TV. Especially from the two gals who brought us this wonderful world.

All of that said? A+ for the pilot. B - for the second ep.


Okay, Charlie Crews annoys me. Actually, it's the actor, Damian Lewis's over-acting. Or, rather, acting like a retard. I know he got beat down in prison. Something like 200+ stitches. But, he's acting like Rain Man. I seriously expect him to count toothpicks at any given moment.

That said... I love this pilot. I was wary. Heard a lot of things this past Spring. Like, it sucked. So, maybe it's a case of: my expectations were low. But, I really really really like this premise. I love the idea of a cop investigating (or anyone doing anything) from a different perspective than anyone else in the world has. It makes an idea fresh, unique, and like USA's motto, in my world, characters are completely and totally welcome. As long as Mr. Lewis tones down his schtick, which I hear he does.


I adore this show. Its earnestness kink has been worked out in the second episode. The wife doesn't believe and then there's definite proof that he's not lying -- the sort of locked-room mystery that I love so well. Except, it's used as proof. Kay over at Seriocity laments that it's not simple enough. As much as I adore Kay, I have to disagree. What worked for QUANTUM LEAP (Bakula needing to get home) would most likely work here. But, I love the at home struggles our lovely protag has to go through. Missing planned dinners, missing planned vacation -- basically, if they say it's planned at any time in the show, you know he's going to leap, er, journey, er...

I like not knowing why it happens. I'm happy to go along for the ride. For now. At some point I'll need to know why it happens. And why he always ends up somewhere in the 80's (I really hope that reason isn't that the writers are lazy and just want to get him back to his ex (late?) fiance). But, for now, I'm very happy with this show, and its little shout outs and call backs.


I take it people hate this show. I don't. It's not that I love it. It's more... I just don't know what it is. I just kind of like the implausible idea that an escaped convict would want to be a cop to redeem himself from killing his cell mate. I love the idea of a cop show based in New Orleans, because it's got to be wayyyyyy different to be a cop there NOW, than anywhere else. That said, when CSI was mulling over cities to set their third installment, they toyed with New Orleans. And San Francisco, I think. I was pulling for NO. They just said no. Uh... but I kind of like this show. The one called K-Ville. Sue me.


Like it a lot. Think it would be a way better Wes Anderson movie than a long running TV series (which it won't be). A lot of fun to watch, though.




Sits in my TiVo, yet to be watched. I. Just. Can't. Bring. Myself. To. Watch. It. Because. I. Fear. It. Would. Be. As. Laborious. As. Writing. This. String. Of. Single. Words.


Is. In. My. TiVo. See. BIONIC. WOMAN. For. Explanation.


I really really really really wanted to like this. Really. It's got all the elements that I could love. Josh Schwartz. Geek-chic-y protag. Action. Spies. Everything adds up to "Boom's Favorite show." But, I just... don't like it. It's like the poor man's REAPER (with a bigger budget and crappier production style). There's nothing overtly offensive about it. There's nothing amazing about it either. It's just... blah.


I read this pilot way back when. It was sweet. Kind of kooky. Kind of cool. I liked that the pilot episode was called "Pie-lette." I love the idea that this guy brings people back to life for a minute to find out who killed them, then they use that information to collect reward money. Now, that's a great series idea. A little TORCHWOOD-y, but great nonetheless.

Maybe it was because I'd read REAPER first. Maybe there is something missing. I don't know. What I do know is that I liked watching the "Pie-Lette" a lot more than I liked reading it. Which doesn't bode well for me. It's like, that something that's missing? The produced episode used a lot of smoke and mirrors and BIG FISH-type stylings to convince me that it was a lot lot lot better than the script. Because it definitely felt better. But, it didn't really deviate from the script all that much. If there were changes, I didn't notice them. So, I'm guessing that episode two will reveal whether or not there's a wizard or a midget behind the curtain...


Oh. My. God. Has there ever been a worse "sitcom" on the air? Somehow, I doubt it. Basically, it felt like a white guy in his 50s (Hi Chuck!) was feeling the pressure of getting older and wanted to write something new and fresh and youth-friendly. Great idea on paper. Not so great when, you know, you see it. Or, really, when I saw it. Because... it was awful.

Concept: Two uber-nerds get boners when a hot, single, hot chick moves in across the hall. The hot chick is, of course, dumb as a dull tack, and the nerds are [supposed to be] smart. Here's the thing... everything the nerds were supposed to be smart about? THEY WERE WRONG. Hubby's an IT guy. A math guy. A science guy. He's the quintessential uber-nerd. So, we're watching this horrid piece of shit and this is what it's like:

FEY UBERNERD (ON SCREEN): Blahdeblahdeblahphysicsblahfasterethernetblahdeblah.

HUBBY (IN REAL LIFE): Uh. No. He's wrong. The blahdeblah is actually a blahgockitypickle.

UBERNERD FROM ROSEANNE: Blahi'msosmartaboutthisequationblah.

ME: This guy's an idiot.

I recognize that ours is not the normal household. That when Jack Bauer's calling in on the blahdeblah, and Chloe sends him a blahdeblah, Hubby has to leave the room, because he knows that it's either not possible, or if Joel Surnow's trying to amp up the drama and says it's not possible, hubby knows it is. I get that these shows are all about suspending disbelief -- which I can, for the most part. But, seriously, if your concept is about two uber-nerds who are extremely smart... I'd kind of hope that they'd be, you know, extremely smart. That said. If your concept is from the 80s. Best to leave it there.


One word: JasonDohring.


LA County Sheriff's Deputies-in-training. If you like reality. And you like military-style harsh. You'll love it. I do. My god, people are idiots. In general, yes. But also on the show. These are the people who will be protecting me? I'm curling into a fetal position as we spekak;hafai;g;.