Friday, March 15, 2013

TV killed the Movie Character

There is a flurry of TV shows based off movies, their universes, and key characters headed our way.  This year we have A&E's Bates Motel, bringing the world of Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO, to the modern age, and the small screen next week.  This is the second time televisions will be graced with a show called Bates Motel, the first being a made for TV movie. To continue that big bad theme, NBC has HANNIBAL bringing the finest (and hungriest) villain, Hannibal Lecter to prime-time this April, in what looks like a procedural horror series.  My word I hope it is better than the film, by the same name, because while Silence of the Lambs, and Red Dragon are great films, Hannibal eat it, big time).  Then we have SHIELD being filmed this year, (the pilot just recently wrapped)  this is a Marvel Film Universe based show that will follow the adventures of the soon to be resurrected Agent Coulson (As mentioned by Mr. Whedon at SXSW, because Comics!) in the post Avengers movie timeline. The biggest question is how much super powered hi-jinks will be taking place, and if we can expect any other Marvel heroes to pop by to help save the world.  I will be honest this sounds a little to familiar, like there has been a show about HEROES, and a bad-ass super-powerless character, who kicks lots of ass (tortoise rims anyone?).
The use of film material, to inspire television shows is nothing terribly new. Shows like Clueless, Casablanca, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, being very awful examples of this sad trend, and likely created to milk their names for every cent. All three of those films, shouldn't be thought of as IPs in the first place, and it cheapens their original glory, at least no one but me remembers those atrocities.  I throw a lot of humbug at most crossing IPs into different mediums, because there is something unique in the way that a certain medium tells a story, and if you are going to change how that story is being told, attention must be payed to the qualities that don't work in the new fashion retelling.  The reason that there are no excellent video-game based films, is due to the simple fact that games are an interactive form of entertainment, and films are not, you can't tell those stories the same way.  The same thing goes for lots of other story forms.  Many people were pissed about the changes to Watchmen when it became a film, but let me say a giant squid monster fits in fine with inky comic pages, but would not have played well on the big screen.  In my mind it was a fine choice that allowed it to be publicly successful, as a big budget film.  Let me get back to the topic at hand; all of these new TV properties may end up being good, or great, but the thing I wonder about is whether more original creations are being passed over to take advantage of an easier project to green-light and make buck on.
Of these shows, I have high hopes for SHIELD, on account of the simple similarity between the way comics, and episodic television tell stories. Though I am not going to expect to much from the other two shows, they just seem to loose in concept to provide strong series, but hey I could be wrong.

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