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Tabula Immunda

November 7, 2008

One of the main reasons I worship at the altar of Joss Whedon, aside from the quality of his writing itself, is that he knows how to deliver not necessarily what the audience wants, but what it needs.  He’s killed off many beloved characters – an unexpected character demise has come to be known as ‘getting Jossed’ – but the deaths were meaningful and had significant impacts on the story.  Heroes continues to fail at this.

Tim Kring is once again claiming tabula rasa.  The man cannot make up his mind.  Volume III was supposed to be an answer to complaints about Volume II, and it looks like Fugitives is intended be the ‘solution’ to Villains.  I’ll believe that when I see it; Heroes is a slave to the constantly shifting whims of the people, desperate for that dinosaur of a judgement system – ratings.  Drama, suspense, tension, action – these are all good things, but plot matters too.  With Greg Grunberg gossiping about the ‘Guantanamo Bay’ situation set up in Volume IV, things aren’t looking up, and somehow I doubt that ditching two of the producers will make everything sunshine and daisies again.  Kring says he’s returning to the show’s Good vs. Evil roots; more character development, fewer plot twists.  Well I’ve got news for you, Tim – your slate is filthy.  There is no plausible way to pull these characters back from the precipice they’re perched on without collective amnesia.

Too many characters was Heroes’ weakness from the beginning, and for whatever reason, they’re not listening to that argument.  If they were, they wouldn’t have introduced Daphne, Knox, Arthur Petrelli, and Flame Boy.  Heroes or villains – they’re still characters, they’re still getting screen time.  It’s all right to actually retire some of the actors.  I know no one ever really “dies” in science fiction, but the thing is, when no one dies, it lowers the stakes.  It’s always the fate of the world, but we all know that someone will save the day.  Frankly, I think they should explore one of these doomed futures – without it being just a time travel day trip or a desert vision quest.  Let a bomb go off and explore the aftermath.  Show our Heroes struggling for their place in the world, the choice between using their powers to aid the repairs, or using them to take advantage.  Delve into the prejudice between the powered and the not.  That may be getting a little X-men, but let’s face it, the concept isn’t new. 

Thanks to DVD, the distance between seasons is not a legitimate excuse for poor continuity, and I’m afraid that the choices they’ve made are going to haunt the show no matter what direction they take it.  People are not going to easily forget Mohinder the Fly.  You’ve made your bed, Tim Kring; stop trying to change the sheets and just lie in it – or get a new mattress.

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Vlada over at Staying In alerted me to the fact that Dollhouse has been scheduled for Friday nights, which as we all know is where good television goes to die, particularly on Fox.  No one was particularly optimistic when it was revealed that Joss had returned to Fox, but he assured devoted fans there was a new regime.  Fool me once…

I’m beginning to wonder if between the Writers’ Strike and the economy we aren’t seeing the demise of original drama.

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NaNoWriMo Update: I managed to squeeze out a couple hundred words yesterday, so it’s moving along.  At the moment my biggest struggle is with my own memory, as I’m imagining the first draft as simply getting the events down on the page so that later I can go back and actually make it a narrative worth reading.

I’m constantly second guessing my memory of events.  I’m not making it up, I believe it happened like this, but I wonder if it’s not a case of my believing my own story.   If I were to ask some of the other people involved, would they remember these events at all?  I’m trying not to let that derail me.  First and foremost, I have to tell the story.

 

Quote of the Day: 

“There are two things I love in this world: everybody and television.” – Jack McBrayer as Kenneth “The Page” Parcell on 30 Rock

Link of the Day: 6 Writers Who Could Save Heroes – Despite knowing Bryan Fuller would be good for the show, I agree that I would much rather keep Pushing Daisies on the air.

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