Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heads Travelling Through Time

Here’s a few insights to the world of writing:

1. Friend Scott sent this link to Sci Fi Weekly – with an article addressing the Spec script.

And more specifically the Spec script for television.

And more specifically the Sci Fi Spec script for television.

2. Speaking of Sci Fi, here’s a thought on SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES.

For those watching the show, we’ve been faced with inconsistency in rules (excuse me, but the metal head can NOT travel alone through time, duh). But the biggest inconsistency is character.

River… oh, uh, I mean Cameron (the machine played by Summer Glau) first appears in Ep 1 masquerading as a hot high-schooler, and fools everyone.

By episode 2, the robot seems to have lost all her blending programming; and now much of the show and character development is her acting all roboticky and trying hard (unsuccessfully) to fit into the same situations she so easily mastered in episode one.

So, what’s going on here?

Did the writers’ brains got messed up when their own heads traveled through time?

Is Cameron faking not being able to fake in order to fake out John so she can foist leadership skills by forcing him to teach the faking Cameron to fake?

My theory (no insider knowledge, just a theory): the business of Hollywood got in the way.

Here’s the deal: the first episode was the pilot – written and produced before knowing whether there would ever be an episode two.

Often the studios will want changes between the pilot and the rest of the series. Plot clarifications, actor adjustments, character tweaks – or complete character changes.

Nurse Hathaway famously died in the ER pilot – until her character pre-tested well enough to require a rewrite.

The Bionic Woman had a deaf sister in the pilot, until the big brass decided that such a sibling would make the show interesting, and they were intent on the show being incredibly dull.

In my two examples, rewrites (and reshoots) happened before the airing. Most times, if the changes aren’t considered significant, the pilot airs as is, and the changes are implemented in episode two.

Not a big stretch to imagine a producer thinking, “What I loved about Arnold was how he had to learn to be human. Let’s put that back in there!”

And away we go.

Just my thoughts,


ps Not sure that I disagree – a robot learning humanity adds an element to the show that has some advantages. What do you think?

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