The Z Man has a very good post up about Hollywood (but mostly TV).
He discusses the waning audience for broadcast tv and questions the reason for this. He discusses a couple of theories. I’ll leave you to read it yourself but I’ll state that I think he’s right that the anti-traditionalist agenda has finally combined with the cord cutting phenomenon to kill broadcast tv. Halleluiah! What took them so long?
One line that caught my attention was a question. What was the last show that captured the imagination of the country so that everybody would be talking about it the next day. His answer, Seinfeld. That show has been off the air for almost twenty years. I think that says it all. Now, maybe it was 9-11 that killed off the fun or maybe the Democrats trying to poison the Bush presidency. Either way we stopped being one people about twenty years ago. The death of television is just a symptom of the great divorce.
Cowboy Bebop – A Sci-Fi TV Review – Part 1
So I’ve watched two and a half of the discs. Interestingly Netflix says there is “Unknown Availability” for Discs 3 and 6. How’s that for the customer is always right? I’m liking the show. The episodes vary. Some are back story. Some introduce new characters. There’s usually at least a little bounty hunting involved. The ratio of comedy to drama is high. The visuals are a mixture of standard cartoon and high-end graphics. Some of the space scenes are especially well done and interesting.
I’ve been trying to think of what I can compare the viewing experience to. As I said in my last post, there is a decidedly close resemblance to the look and atmosphere of Firefly. But because it’s animated it’s obviously not identical. And in a related sense it is reminiscent of Westerns.
Not being a recent consumer of Japanese cartoons, I guess another thing it reminds me of are the Japanese cartoons that were on when I was a kid back in the sixties. One that has a little relevance was “Eighth Man.” The story was completely unrelated. But just something about the pacing makes it seem akin in my mind.
With respect to back story, the protagonist, Spike, has a history involved with a crime family. There is an evil brother figure lurking in his past. Down the road there is sure to be a reckoning for past sins.
I still don’t know what the relevance of the welsh corgi will be. Maybe he’ll turn out to be super intelligent. Right now he’s just sort of annoying. They’ve also added a young girl who is also (of course) a world class hacker to the crew. I’m guessing she’s the River Tam of the crew.
So, just to update, not sure where it’s going, still liking it.
What do most of the Twilight Zone episodes, the third season of Star Trek and Transformers VI (or whatever number they’re up to this year) have in common? They were no good, nobody wanted to see them and they were written by hacks. Sure, there were a few good Zone episodes and also a few of the Trek episodes were fun or interesting. What I think you’ll notice with these is that the episode was written by somebody creative. The rest of the dreck in these categories was ground out by talentless hacks who couldn’t even spell the word plot let alone write one. And that brings us back to Transformers XX or whatever it is. Great Caesar’s Ghost!
Is the business really that bad? Is there no other way to fund and produce movies than to pile sequel onto sequel? How many times can Sylvester Stallone climb into the ring or jump out of a crashing helicopter? How many times can that stupid alien ravage human colonies before somebody gets around to inventing industrial strength Raid for aliens and drop it on their ugly butts?
As even Deadpool himself said (before his upcoming sequel of course), and I paraphrase, how many times can Liam Neeson let his daughter be Taken before we assume he’s just a not a very good father. Wasn’t Godfather III enough to prove that even the best stories can’t be endlessly resuscitated without being turned into crap?
But you notice, TV is able to make some pretty good stuff. I’ve just finished Justified and I’d put that up against anything I’ve seen in the theater in the last five years. Why the disparity? First of all, Justified was adapted from the works of Elmore Leonard whose stories have time and again translated well into movies. Whereas with these endless sequel franchises, I assume they are assembled from some formula that is somehow supposed to capture the original flavor of the first episode but without the high price of the original screenwriter. Apparently, they’ll pay tens of millions to get Bruce Willis or Jamie Foxx and millions more to CGI the explosions but they’ll settle for the story line to be written by the corporate lawyers who put the financial deal together for the studios.
I think I read that because of the cable fees TV is actually able to monetize their quality shows pretty successfully whereas on the big screen only a giant blockbuster success is lucrative enough to even attract sufficient funding to get made. And that means Terminator 30 gets made before something well written and entertaining like possibly a faithful version of one of Heinlein’s juveniles. I imagine that Citizen of the Galaxy or Farmer in the Sky in the hands of a good screenwriter and director would be very entertaining and very commercial.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Focus Photog, focus. What’s your point? Bring this back around to the title. Bring it home.”
Fine, I will. Hollywood is dead. Long live TV. Except for some extraordinary slam dunks like “The Lord of the Rings” or “Harry Potter” Hollywood is too paralyzed by the fear of losing gobs of money to try and put a quality product together from quality components. And that’s why I don’t feel deprived when I skip whole decades at the theater. There’s nothing there. Even the occasional stand out ends up being barely acceptable. I remember hearing raves about Gravity. When I finally rented it, I was puzzled what all the fuss was about. Okay would be a generous appraisal. The same with “The Martian.” Adequate would cover it.
And it couldn’t happen to a nicer set of people. If DiCaprio and Depp start only making seven figures instead of eight I certainly won’t cry. When they’re replaced by AI – CGI maybe the stories won’t be as insulting to the dirt people. What a concept!