Good TV


  • Admin

    @coin I'm not sure where they can go with a billion dollar Lord of the Rings show based on a young Aragorn's adventures. It's guaranteed to at least piss off the loyalists since it'd need to be 99% new material, just for starters.

    Also if they can't actually do anything to alter the course of the books, so say... Strider can't meet Frodo, expose Saruman or any of that stuff, then they might as well set it on any other time period (Beren and Luthien? Fourth Age stuff?) or even just ditch the LotR angle and use original material. And I say this as a huge Middle Earth fan.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Good TV:

    @coin I'm not sure where they can go with a billion dollar Lord of the Rings show based on a young Aragorn's adventures. It's guaranteed to at least piss off the loyalists since it'd need to be 99% new material, just for starters.

    Also if they can't actually do anything to alter the course of the books, so say... Strider can't meet Frodo, expose Saruman or any of that stuff, then they might as well set it on any other time period (Beren and Luthien? Fourth Age stuff?) or even just ditch the LotR angle and use original material. And I say this as a huge Middle Earth fan.

    Honestly, the LotR one is one of the ones I just sort of went "meh" at. I am less interested in it than I am in some of the stuff I don't even know the source material for.

    I just started reading The Fifth Season though and Jemisin is fucking awesome.


  • Admin

    @coin said in Good TV:

    I just started reading The Fifth Season though and Jemisin is fucking awesome.

    I haven't read that but IIRC it's on my to-read list.

    Some material is also... I won't say unfilmable because that's a term people throw around a lot, but definitely harder to convey over a movie or TV show in a way that retains its original scope or focus. The visual stuff can be distracting and action sequences are so cinematic I can see why directors would allow them to take over.

    For instance one of the properties in the link is Foundation. Now, I grew up with Foundation, it fucking shaped me. Normally I'd be climbing up the walls about Dr. Asimov's masterpiece becoming more mainstream.

    But so much of those books is about esoteric stuff. It's about two adults sitting in a room theorizing about how something might work, tossing potential solutions to problems at each other and then shooting them down using logic; I really don't know if and how well that can be translated to a screen. More so, telepathic 'combat' in general was another thing Asimov didn't spend much time visualizing or even explaining in depth; to him it was about exploring the implications of free will, or examining your own actions and second-guessing your own motivations for traces of subtle outside influences.

    But the thing is you can't give a producer $50 million and then expect them to do these 'talking' scenes. In fact they may be right to say it's boring; audiences would nod off. I can read (and have) hundreds of pages about this stuff at the edge of my seat, but would I sit there while two characters resolve issues through logical discourse over half an episode about the Earth's location in the galaxy? Probably not.

    On the other hand... Wheel of Time? Gimme. That's cinematic as hell.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Good TV:

    Wheel of Time? Gimme. That's cinematic as hell.

    That is probably the one I am most excited about... but also the most pessimistic. I'm sure it will be better than the FXX thing, but I'm not counting by much


  • Politics

    @coin said in Good TV:

    Honestly, the LotR one is one of the ones I just sort of went "meh" at. I am less interested in it than I am in some of the stuff I don't even know the source material for.

    Just as a reminder, Netflix is still developing The Witcher.


  • Admin

    @wildbaboons said in Good TV:

    @arkandel said in Good TV:

    Wheel of Time? Gimme. That's cinematic as hell.

    That is probably the one I am most excited about... but also the most pessimistic. I'm sure it will be better than the FXX thing, but I'm not counting by much

    I think it will come down to the budget and buy-in from the talent involved. It's not even just about money, as you can pay for decent directors, casting directors and even actors but sometimes you get Game of Thrones... and sometimes you get Chronicles of Shannara.

    The Wheel of Time is going to be incredible if done right. It has everything - powerful visuals, an easy to understand and depict magic system, humanoid monsters (which are far easier to build fight sequences for on TV than tentacle monsters, dragons, etc, which are a bitch to do on a TV shooting schedule. But a Fade is a guy in a robe and a creepy mask, trollocs are basically orcs with weirder makeup, etc... solved problems for Hollywood makeup departments.


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede said in Good TV:

    @coin said in Good TV:

    Honestly, the LotR one is one of the ones I just sort of went "meh" at. I am less interested in it than I am in some of the stuff I don't even know the source material for.

    Just as a reminder, Netflix is still developing The Witcher.

    I am aware!


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Good TV:

    @wildbaboons said in Good TV:

    @arkandel said in Good TV:

    Wheel of Time? Gimme. That's cinematic as hell.

    That is probably the one I am most excited about... but also the most pessimistic. I'm sure it will be better than the FXX thing, but I'm not counting by much

    I think it will come down to the budget and buy-in from the talent involved. It's not even just about money, as you can pay for decent directors, casting directors and even actors but sometimes you get Game of Thrones... and sometimes you get Chronicles of Shannara.

    But the comparison doesn't really work, now does it?

    Game of Thrones at its cheapest costs about $9 mil for an episode; Shannara at its most expensive costs about $4 mil for the same.

    The first is on HBO. The latter started on MTV.

    It's not really a comparison you can make.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel
    You can give a producer (and writers. and directors.) $50 mil and expect them to do talking scenes and do them well because that is their job. You can also expect the writers to find analogous ways to tell the story that are visually interesting IN ADDITION to embracing episodes or moments that are smaller; that is their job.

    Arrival was one of the weirdest scripts I've ever read. "How are they going to make this" was lobbed around a LOT. And the answer is: find a director who gets it. That's always the answer. I don't think anything is inherently unfilmable or unwatchable, you just have to find a key that fits that lock.


  • Admin

    @wahoo said in Good TV:

    You can give a producer (and writers. and directors.) $50 mil and expect them to do talking scenes and do them well because that is their job.

    Sure, and yet I doubt a producer is going to front $50 mil for a TV show and see talking scenes they could have shot for a tenth of that. It's just now how things are done, even these days with Netflix and Amazon being extra generous with their budgets.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in Good TV:

    @wahoo said in Good TV:

    You can give a producer (and writers. and directors.) $50 mil and expect them to do talking scenes and do them well because that is their job.

    Sure, and yet I doubt a producer is going to front $50 mil for a TV show and see talking scenes they could have shot for a tenth of that. It's just now how things are done, even these days with Netflix and Amazon being extra generous with their budgets.

    It's not that hard, man. All those talky scenes are very much the same kind of talky shit they do on Westworld, where they pair the talking and the monologues with actual breathtaking scenes. It's not easy, but it's not some insurmountable obstacle.



  • I think we kind of forget how much financial risk mitigation was going on in Game of Thrones' first season. Even on HBO money, the talky scenes and offscreen battles kept costs contained in case it didn't work out. It very well could've been something like Rome or Deadwood which, while not failures, became prohibitively expensive relative to their success level at a certain point. I think HBO thought it was a good bet for a number of reasons, but doing fantasy at its scale and quality level was a not-insubstantial creative risk.

    It's funny that it's the thing everybody's chasing now (probably with the expectation that it'll be an out-of-the-box blockbuster hit, whereas GoT took awhile to build). I'm morbidly curious which of these series in development will be the biggest boondoggle. Not that I want them to fail but it seems inevitable.


  • Pitcrew

    Facebook has TV now? I don't understand. There is a thing called Facebook Watch.

    The weirdest part is that Sorry For Your Loss is, like. So good? Wtf.


  • Pitcrew

    crawls out of her hidey-hole just for this

    I feel like I'm committing some kind of gamer nerd sacrilege here, but @insomniac7809 and I recently decided to sit down and go through all of Buffy because neither one of us have ever seen the whole series. I mean, I think I watched Seasons 1-2 when they came out, got lost somewhere along the way for "paramilitary organization run by rando college boy" season, and popped back in at some point along the "Willow is a lesbian witch and Xander's girlfriend is a demon but a good demon now or something" arc.

    We're only about five episodes in and ohmigod you guys, this is so, so, so hilariously 90s. And wonderfully, deliciously campy levels of bad. It's amazing, in a totally different way than I think people decided it was amazing 20+ years ago.

    (However, please note: Xander is gonna squick you the fuck out. Especially now that he can be viewed as Joss Whedon's pervy self-insert. You've been warned.)


  • Pitcrew

    @aria said in Good TV:

    crawls out of her hidey-hole just for this

    I feel like I'm committing some kind of gamer nerd sacrilege here, but @insomniac7809 and I recently decided to sit down and go through all of Buffy because neither one of us have ever seen the whole series. I mean, I think I watched Seasons 1-2 when they came out, got lost somewhere along the way for "paramilitary organization run by rando college boy" season, and popped back in at some point along the "Willow is a lesbian witch and Xander's girlfriend is a demon but a good demon now or something" arc.

    We're only about five episodes in and ohmigod you guys, this is so, so, so hilariously 90s. And wonderfully, deliciously campy levels of bad. It's amazing, in a totally different way than I think people decided it was amazing 20+ years ago.

    (However, please note: Xander is gonna squick you the fuck out. Especially now that he can be viewed as Joss Whedon's pervy self-insert. You've been warned.)

    I don't think it was bad. It was definitely campy, though.

    As for Xander... yeah.


  • Politics

    Ugly Delicious is a food show you don't want to miss. Rotten too. All on Netflix.

    I like Cooked, but it's a bit preachy and slow for me.


  • Pitcrew

    @coin I just watched a teenage girl use a sewer vampire as a bloodhound to track down a sexy cannibal child molester bug lady. I'll be the judge of bad, thank you.


  • Pitcrew

    @aria said in Good TV:

    @coin I just watched a teenage girl use a sewer vampire as a bloodhound to track down a sexy cannibal child molester bug lady. I'll be the judge of bad, thank you.

    I've watched Buffy many times already, so I can judge as much as you.

    It's almost like this stuff is subjective!



  • I mean the first Season of Buffy I think is legit bad TV in places. There are reasons for this. Whedon had never run a show before and as I understand it wasn't doing the level of writing that became the norm later, the budgetary limitations weren't managed as well (not that they ever got GREAT but I think they learned to work better within the limitations), it was a shortened season, etc. I think it's an example of a show figuring itself out in interesting ways but those first eps are pretty rough.

    ETA: also yeah I just kind of CANNOT EVEN with Xander on rewatch, though 'The Zeppo' all by itself justifies his existence.


  • Pitcrew

    Don't get me wrong -- I am legit loving it. Like, every single minute (save the Xander gross outs) is just complete and utter gold. But.... in the same way that I love Killer Klowns from Outer Space and not in the whole "this has a place of high honor in the canon of nerd culture" way.

    I am also regularly looking at this and going "Yeaaaah, there is some major 'WB in the 90s' overlap with Xena here." The nostalgia factor alone is amazing.

    This may change as the seasons go on, but for now I'm going to revel in the butterfly hair clips, body glitter, and angsty teenage brooding.

    (ETA, I got to say "That's, like, the Chekhov's gun of vampire-slaying" last night. That alone made that hour of my life worth it.)