A while back, I talked about how much I likedBloodline but had no intention of watching any season beyond the first. The show suffered from what many shows do: The slow burn. Broadcast shows have a formula. I don’t know the details, but I think 30-miunute shows are about 20 minutes of content, and 60-minute shows are about 40 minutes of content. The rest of the time is for commercials placed at specific points in the story. There are good reasons for that, but it creates an artistic problem. While episodes may be part of a larger story, each episode must be self-contained in the sense that a particular segment of the story must be told over the course of that episode. The result is that the writers sometimes must fill shorter story segments with meaningless filler.
With content that was created for streaming, the reasons for those traditional episode lengths and commercial placements aren’t strictly required. They make sense if you want to someday sell the material to a broadcast network, but if they aren’t required, then they should be ignored for the sake of the art. How valuable is syndication of you can’t get people to watch even the first season? I grow tired of it even though I’m an old guy and am used to it.
Look at the result where the artists don’t care about these restrictions. The Mandalorian does a lot of things right, so it’d probably be a success anyway, but creativity takes precedence. Any given episode needs a particular subplot told and action sequence shown. It does so, and then the credits roll. If that means the episode is appropriately 20 minutes long, that’s how long it goes. If that means the episode is appropriately 40 minutes long, that’s how long it goes. No one gets bored because there isn’t any useless filler added. Everything you see matters.
I hope that originally streamed content takes this same approach. If so, I expect the quality of the writing would inevitably improve. Of course, some writers are better than others, so this is just one factor in keeping my attention, but there’s a logic to this one.
I’m not an industry insider. I merely know what I like.
I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas, even if you don’t celebrate it, but it’s time to move on. We need to focus on getting rid of this horrible, COVID-19-infested year. That can be tough to do, so we’ll need some help. Fortunately, he’s already here, and he’s inevitable.
I know that moving past Christmas can be hard for some, but take down those Christmas lights, or you’ll be next. Now is no time for Christmas. In fact, now is no time at all.
This is a nerdy blog, so even Christmas must be nerdy here. I’m stealing this from a Facebook friend, SMK. In Christmas of 1977, when I was 9, I received this as a gift:
As with most gifts I received, it was really a gift for my brother, but I managed to have a lot of fun with it until he felt it was too nerdy for him. At that point, I was ridiculed for playing it until the Satanic Panic kicked in. Then I was forbidden from playing it, and it was destroyed. No worries, though. I have a close, personal relationship with my lord and savior, eBay.
I played from 1977 to 1981. Other than my sporadic flirtation with the FASA Star Trek RPG in the mid to late 80s (I had no way to connect with gamers back then), there was no RPG gaming until 2005, which is when I started playing Living Greyhawk with the D&D 3.5 crowd. That’s how I met almost all of you, and for better or worse, that’s how most of you got (had?) to meet me. I recently stopped playing, but you represent an extension of the Christmas gift that kept on giving, even if it took a long hiatis.
Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today it’s a meme shared on Facebook, and it isn’t silly. It’s a serious commentary as far as I’m concerned.
A while back, I threw out some wild speculation about the lawsuit filed by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman against Wizards of the Coast. Yesterday, I learned that they withdrew their suit. This could mean two things (generally): 1) Weis & Hickman never had a legitimate shot at winning in the first place; or 2) Weis & Hickman won behind the scenes. My suspicion, based in no small part on the arrogance of WotC’s legal department, has always been that the suit was likely solid, so I would assume the latter is much more likely. Adding to the strength of my assumption is the following tweet by Margaret:
Assumptions are always reckless when dealing with lawsuits, so we’ll just have to see how this plays. I hope that happens sooner rather than later.
For reasons I explained in that last post, I really wish WotC would just give back Dragonlance to Weis and Hickman. A man can dream.
Replica is yet another movie addressing the nature of the human mind, and whether we could transplant human consciousness from one mind to another. There are a lot of problems with this movie. Disconnected writing, terrible special effects, and cheesy dialogue plague it. To make matters worse, the story needs to cover far more ground than it can in 1 hour and 45 minutes. As a result, characters accept without question revelations that should be mind-shattering. There’s no time for them to come to terms with this information.
All that said, I’ve learned to focus on the ideas that these movies raise rather than how they address them. Who cares if the movie doesn’t handle an issue thoroughly (or even correctly)? My brain does a pretty good job of considering those issues, at least to the extent of my own knowledge base. That works for me.
So, I guess that means I liked it. Replicas is streaming on HBO Max. As always, YMMV.