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This is a general rant spurned by my disappointment in the calibre of certain shows as of late. I really wish some shows delivered more on their potential.

1. Don't take risks, they might alienate viewers - nevermind that the risky plotlines might be interesting, and even endear you to fans and other discerning viewers. Keep it simple and safe, ultimately harmless and boring. Executives will love you for it, until the ratings drop, but then you can do some "extreme" stunt to pick them up, like a partially nude scene or gay kiss that will never be mentioned again - that's the only time you really want to take a good risk.

2. If you deal with controversial topics, make sure to miss the point and stay shallow. Let the viewers draw their own conclusions at the sacrifice of good characterisation - characters don't need to have a strong opinion on the matter.

3. Despite not wanting to take risks, always consider killing off a character or dropping their plotlines down a little, to keep people on their toes you understand. It creates a sense of drama to randomly change someone's status, just remember not to mention it too much afterwards, incase it's a sensitive subject - you don't want to trigger the floods of grief so better to pretend they never existed and nobody really cares past the end of that episode.

4. Focus on the main characters, and by that we mean the main two or three. Even if the regular cast goes beyond that number you'll want to go with developing the key people first - the rest will come later, when you have time. Oh my, the world of TV is very busy, you say? Ah well...

5. If people start to notice the lack of development for any characters, just cram as much as possible into one episode. That'll make up for last few seasons without. Don't worry if you go over stuff you've already covered - it's still about them so it's all good. Failing that, kill them - it's the surefire way to stir up a passion for them. ;)

6. Use recurring characters, the more the better, even if they never actually do much recurring, nor any speaking. Simply having them on screen once is good enough to create that diversity people like so much, it ups the realism you know. But make sure you refresh the recurrings every season to keep it feeling up to date, you don't want the show to get stale!


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2007 06:29 pm (UTC)
I agree with all of that, assuming this was about a certain Sci-Fi show...

Especially #3...bastards.
Feb. 4th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
Okay...tell us what you *really* think! ^_-

You certainly hit the nail on the head; this sums it up marvelously. It's so vexing. You're making me worry about the second half of this year's SG shows. They'd disappointed me so much with the second season of SGA that anything was an improvement, and I was actually beginning to like this season. Ah, well.

Hope you're having fun at the con.
Feb. 7th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
Well, I have been thinking a lot about the faults recently - want to try and avoid them once I start writing my scripts.

I do love SGA and enjoy SG-1, but no longer adore either because quite honestly they could do better and it feels like they're slacking writing wise. I'd still say S3 is better than S2 and that the end half of S3 is pretty good comparivitely, has had some wonderful episodes, but it's missing the mark overall.
Feb. 7th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Would Introduce a love interest. Nevermind if the LI is for someone who already has a clear and romantic interest in another established character. After all, viewers like new faces, and the LI is taller and more muscular fall under Category One of your list? :)

All very good points that you raise. If only Fireworks or (um, who has 4400?) would read this...then they'd see the light!
Feb. 7th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
I think for 4400 it's just USA Network who pile on the pressure to do bad things - thinking about how Being Tom Baldwin ws originally planned and how it turned out after they were pushed for more action, less S2 character stories.

I think your LI one would probably be a new rule, number 7!
Feb. 28th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, how do you know Being Tom Baldwin was supposed to be better? So much of the plot depended on characters doing stupid things--letting Diana go to Tom's solo, letting Tom get dressed in private, not suspecting the kid in the alley behind the gallery, shooting in a public park (with no reaction from the people nearby)--I don't see how they could have made it work well. When a smart character screws up, that's one thing, but when they do something stupid just so the plot can happen...? I can't abide dumbing down characters for the sake of plot convenience. **Write better plots, instead, people!** But I suppose that's asking too much.
Feb. 28th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
Because all those seem to be tied to the plot of him being a fugitive, which according to the writers blog on the official site was not at all what they had in mind or wrote for the first draft. There was a much more character focused script for it, without the terrorist element and Boyd just wanting to be Tom for a day (sounded heartwarming with the ending they described). It's possible the original idea still had characters acting stupid but I reckon those things were included when the concept was reworked to be more action, I can't seem half of them being needed for the original idea they pitched.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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