help me think - shows written into a corner

Current or vintage, broadcast, internet, cable, or satellite

help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:14 am

I was trying to think of examples where shows (movie also if you must) have written themselves into corners that caused problems. I'll include times when the writers weren't solely to blame (cast members quitting, executives getting in the way etc..)

Dallas- is perhaps the prototype example. They wrote off Bobby Ewing for his personal reasons and had to undo an entire season to bring him back. I'm told this had implications on it's sister show because they were unable to pull off a reboot and thus broke the connection.

Dynasty - researching this someone said Dynasty had a "cannibal scene" clear out the old cast. I can't find a video or even plot synopsis of it. Can anyone enligthen me?

House- I think this show has written themselves into a corner as well. I was with them through the many changes of House but I lost interest with the last few episodes. Crashing his car into Cuddy's house was just too much. They'll need to make some serious changes to recapture glory, if they can.

Benson- I don't see any positive outcome from the cliffhanger ending. Governor wins, then Benson loses his job or accepts defeat and humiliation. Benson wins and we lose one of the best characters on the show. It was leaked that Benson was to become a Senator and the dynamic would change but that wouldn't work either. The show needed to keep Benson and Gatling together.

Any other examples? Any Dynasty fans to fill me in on the cannibal scene.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mavrach » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:21 am

I thought Battlestar Gallactica got a little crazy towards the end. The problem was that the overall story was the mystery of what the Cylons' plans were and who the 12 hidden cylons were. But instead of having a cohesive story from the start, the wrote the story on the fly as the show was going on. By the end it got quite wacky.

In their defense, I think any sort of a planned arc would've gotten leaked to the internet very early.
+1. this is very interesting.
User avatar
mavrach
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1728
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 11:41 am
Location: North Jersey, at the end of a one-way dead-end road.

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:59 pm

I'd say the quintessential example of this would be "Gilligan's Island". I mean, as many others have commented, how many times can Gilligan foul up chances for the Castaways to get rescued before they finally just kill him? At least they finally got home (if only briefly) in the revival movie.
-30-
Kenneth Morgan
City Prosecutor
 
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:38 am
Location: Piscataway, NJ

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:01 pm

To me the new BG would have worked better if they hadn't gone in so many directions also. The Cylon collaboration could have worked if they hadn't landed on the planet for a year, gone into a great rebellion, had the second in command flip flop more times than a catfish on a moonwalker, hated computers yet had technology that obviously depended on them, etc.. The writers were either lazy or out of touch with the laws of good writing, I'm not exactly sure which. I mean seriously, did they ever explain what the heck Starbuck was? What about the Cylon model that was destroyed? There were no pictures, they couldn't make a new one, fix the genetic code? When they found out the earth they wanted was in ruins why go to a new planet? Why not just rebuild the one in ruins? why not use both?

Molly has mentioned Castle being almost in a corner. another thread is about the "Moonlighting effect" (which actually was done in Remington Steele first but I digress.) Castle has that going on and if it isn't done carefully it could create problems. I think those writers are steering just clear of it however.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby stypee » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:28 am

In my own opinion, I thought about this last night.. not that its relevant to the topic..

Pretty much every other sitcom, especially in the 80's and sometimes in the 90's always had the infamous last episode. That last episode inevitably had the characters move out of their house or apartment.

You could list dozens of examples.

For me, that's just being lazy, giving up and writing a show into the corner.. Even if it did last many, many seasons.
It's not as though I really need you, if you were here I'd only bleed you..
-jonathen michael stipe


Image
User avatar
stypee
City Prosecutor
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 7:54 pm
Location: North Carolina

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:39 pm

Netflix asked me to watch Eli Stone and I think that show repeatedly wrote itself into corners. Either that or it was just bad decisions. The show is mostly great but then it kept stepping into woeful predictions or Eli otherwise being sad and lonely. they then had to spend a great deal of time making Eli less lonely only to lonlify him again.

I also think the new Speilberg show is either faulty or in a corner to start with. If they go back in time then we know they all die horribly. How do we know, well there are not chapters in our history books about us being descended from ourselves and no strange artifacts from a suddenly advanced culture. However I must admit I haven't seen the show. Perhaps they can explain this stuff away.

Wasn't there a movie based on time travel in a similar way? I seem to recall them taking bodies from soon to crash airplanes or something like that.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby molly1216 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:22 am

the obvious answer to me is Moonlighting...several years of intense flirtation culminating in a boink is one thing
but they certainly could have just ramped up the relationship banter while having a relationship
but the faux pregnancy thing was out of left field.
i think they wrote themselves into a corner because they never PLANNED a story arc (granted this is the days before story arcs)
so once they got there they were stuck.

obviously there was no Xfiles without Mulder. once mulder was leaving they should have drawn a line under the whole thing.
it was his paranoia that drove the entire concept. where's mulder got old very fast..

regarding House and other wrinkly shows...
my personal opinion that american's can't handle shows after season 5.
ONCE in a great while you will have a show with growth..like DS9.
but as a rule of thumb it's all down hill after that..heavily formatted shows may coast...like ER or Law and Orders, CSI,
but i think more shows start circling the drain than don't
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams
User avatar
molly1216
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 3501
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:43 pm
Location: methuen, ma

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:04 am

Is it the American viewer, or the writers however? I suspect the latter. Studios don't like for shows to continue too far beyond the 100 episode count because of the way syndication works. If you have too many episodes you have to discount them more to sell the entire bunch than if you have the magic 100 - 150 count.

Recently Sci-fi channel has also said it becomes too expensive to make shows. That doesn't really make sense to me. The sets are already mostly paid for so the only thing that goes up is actor salary. Can't they control that?
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby Mach6 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:31 pm

How many times did 24 writes itself into a corner by using the Old White Man Cabal to be the final baddies? When I first watched 24, I thought there was some long-term planning &/or story arc for each season. I was shocked when I listened to the DVD commentaries stating that they only plan two to four episodes ahead. Sometimes they luck out in Season 5 when the charismatic Gregory Itzin leads the Cabal. Other times like in Seasons 2, 6, & (Especially) 7, the writers have ran out of bad guys & still have six-eight episodes to fill so they go back to the Cabal with their clichéd goal (as Judge Dave Johnson has pointed out) to help America by killing thousands of Americans(?!). It’s more frustrating because in Season 4 the writers proved they could have a story arc with one main bad guy for the entire season.
mkiker2089 wrote:Wasn't there a movie based on time travel in a similar way? I seem to recall them taking bodies from soon to crash airplanes or something like that.

The movie was Millennium. It also featured a future where the world was destroyed by pollution & the human race was facing extinction. I think they had the Children of Men problem too. They had to time travel to the past & snatch people before their airplanes crashed so it wouldn’t destroy the timeline. What a weird way to save humanity, huh?
Mach6
City Attorney
 
Posts: 292
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 5:12 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:14 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:I also think the new Speilberg show is either faulty or in a corner to start with. If they go back in time then we know they all die horribly. How do we know, well there are not chapters in our history books about us being descended from ourselves and no strange artifacts from a suddenly advanced culture. However I must admit I haven't seen the show. Perhaps they can explain this stuff away.


I haven't seen the show yet, either, but I understand that they explain it as the people getting zapped into an alternate timeline. Thus, they're sort-of absolved from fouling up the future because it's not their own future that's affected. The cruddy era they left is still there.

Now we've just got to watch for the inevitable fan fiction where the Doctor (I figure it'll be Ten) shows up and insists that they put it all back the way it was.
-30-
Kenneth Morgan
City Prosecutor
 
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:38 am
Location: Piscataway, NJ

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby molly1216 » Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:49 pm

Kenneth Morgan wrote:Now we've just got to watch for the inevitable fan fiction where the Doctor (I figure it'll be Ten) shows up and insists that they put it all back the way it was.

i despise shows that put everything back the way it was before the episode..it is such a cheat...i stopped watching ST Voyager the moment they started doing that nonsense.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams
User avatar
molly1216
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 3501
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:43 pm
Location: methuen, ma

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby Kenneth Morgan » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:52 pm

molly1216 wrote:
Kenneth Morgan wrote:Now we've just got to watch for the inevitable fan fiction where the Doctor (I figure it'll be Ten) shows up and insists that they put it all back the way it was.

i despise shows that put everything back the way it was before the episode..it is such a cheat...i stopped watching ST Voyager the moment they started doing that nonsense.


I said he'd insist that it all be put back, but I didn't say it actually would be. Odds are something would happen that would make things even worse than they were. And then, of course, the Daleks show up...
-30-
Kenneth Morgan
City Prosecutor
 
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2002 4:38 am
Location: Piscataway, NJ

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby Burson_Fouch » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:27 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:Dynasty - researching this someone said Dynasty had a "cannibal scene" clear out the old cast. I can't find a video or even plot synopsis of it. Can anyone enligthen me?

Any other examples? Any Dynasty fans to fill me in on the cannibal scene.


Do a google search on "Moldavian Massacre".

The Dynasty Series 6 cliff-hanger involved terrorists invading a wedding and spraying the chapel, which happens to contain all the characters in the show, with automatic weapons. This had nothing to do with cannibals, except for maybe the show cannibilizing itself the next season when audiences found the cliff-hander was really just a tease and that only two very minor characters had actually died.
We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems
W.S. Burroughs
User avatar
Burson_Fouch
City Attorney
 
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2002 12:11 pm
Location: Skid Row

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby Dunnyman » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:56 pm

Burson_Fouch wrote:
mkiker2089 wrote:Dynasty - researching this someone said Dynasty had a "cannibal scene" clear out the old cast. I can't find a video or even plot synopsis of it. Can anyone enligthen me?

Any other examples? Any Dynasty fans to fill me in on the cannibal scene.


Do a google search on "Moldavian Massacre".

The Dynasty Series 6 cliff-hanger involved terrorists invading a wedding and spraying the chapel, which happens to contain all the characters in the show, with automatic weapons. This had nothing to do with cannibals, except for maybe the show cannibilizing itself the next season when audiences found the cliff-hander was really just a tease and that only two very minor characters had actually died.

I honestly think they expected to be cancelled and the writers just said "what the hell, let's do something really crazy".
"I ain't a boy, no I'm a man, and I believe in the Promised Land"
-Coming to the USA on January 20, 2009!
User avatar
Dunnyman
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1777
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:37 am
Location: Seattle

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:27 pm

I know of the Moldavian Massacre but it ended with everyone coming back didn't it. I seem to recall a major cast change at some point with an actual massacre. I might be getting things confused however. I know a teacher in school used to tell us that a massacre is the writers way out of stagnation and can be substituted with a plague if needed.

House is actually doing pretty good at getting out of the corner it was written into. Maybe they had a plan all along, but probably not.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby molly1216 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:18 pm

Lost. funny they had the entire realm of science fiction and 5 years to find a suitable solution to what's down the hatch...and they couldn't. they just kept circling the metaphysical drain.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams
User avatar
molly1216
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 3501
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:43 pm
Location: methuen, ma

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:00 pm

molly1216 wrote:Lost. funny they had the entire realm of science fiction and 5 years to find a suitable solution to what's down the hatch...and they couldn't. they just kept circling the metaphysical drain.


Agreed fully. That show is one of those I kept watching for a while thinking it had to finally get going but kept feeling empty inside. It's as if they had no idea how far they needed to go. I'm rusty on the story since I've tried to blot it from my memory but I recall the village of scientists. That was OK, odd but OK. Then they started time travel without explaining if the body moved or if it was mental only, flashbacks, something. Then the time travel started changing the history of the island itself. Somewhere around there I tuned out. Were they afraid the reveal would end the show, were they unable to think of a good conclusion? What happened?

ST: Voyager was brought up before. They wrote themselves into a few holes.
-One I recall was Seven dying because borg implants are not capable of allowing human emotion. They got out of that one by pretty much ignoring it.
-There were some throwaway episodes also but I don't know if they count.
-I think in season 1 the Tom Paris personality issues seemed to be writting the character out of the story. I don't know if it was a plan (with the about face) or not but again they got out of that one by pretty much ignoring it. He was an ass to everyone and then said "sorry, I was a spy" and all is forgotten.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby molly1216 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:24 am

mkiker2089 wrote:
molly1216 wrote:Lost. funny they had the entire realm of science fiction and 5 years to find a suitable solution to what's down the hatch...and they couldn't. they just kept circling the metaphysical drain.


Agreed fully. That show is one of those I kept watching for a while thinking it had to finally get going but kept feeling empty inside. It's as if they had no idea how far they needed to go. I'm rusty on the story since I've tried to blot it from my memory but I recall the village of scientists. That was OK, odd but OK. Then they started time travel without explaining if the body moved or if it was mental only, flashbacks, something. Then the time travel started changing the history of the island itself. Somewhere around there I tuned out. Were they afraid the reveal would end the show, were they unable to think of a good conclusion? What happened?
.

everytime they introduced another speculative fiction trope i kept thinking "ah! here they are going to do something good with this." the good and bad brothers reminded me of both the sheep dog/coyote of warner cartoons and thus the characters from Good Omens....and the island jumping smacked of 1977s' shortlived series Fantastic Journey of a time jumping island in the bermuda triangle and so forth...basically everything they introduced was stolen from somewhere else but they didn't PUT IT ALL TOGETHER and bake something delicious...at the end...it was bob newhart /bobby in the shower. "oops...it was all a dream and we never really knew what the hell was going on with the island" what a tragedy,
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams
User avatar
molly1216
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 3501
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:43 pm
Location: methuen, ma

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby mkiker2089 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:44 pm

Now that you remind me of it Molly, it was just poor writing wasn't it. They stole ideas but had no way of making them work since it would have taken a new idea to thread it all together.
-Marshall-
Nun sacciu, nun vidi, nun ceru e si ceru durmiv.
I know nothing, I see nothing, I wasn't there,
and if I was there, I was asleep.
User avatar
mkiker2089
County Attorney
 
Posts: 1372
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 am
Location: Utopia

Re: help me think - shows written into a corner

Postby molly1216 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:23 pm

mkiker2089 wrote:Now that you remind me of it Molly, it was just poor writing wasn't it. They stole ideas but had no way of making them work since it would have taken a new idea to thread it all together.

all the while i kept thinking of Neil Gaiman, tim powers or Tom holt or one of a dozen genre novelists who also have a magpie writing style but they START with that new idea that threads appropriate things together. you can't just crazy quilt it all together. but then J J Abrams has made a career out of putting a shiny finish on other people's ideas.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams
User avatar
molly1216
County Prosecutor
 
Posts: 3501
Joined: Fri Jul 16, 2004 2:43 pm
Location: methuen, ma


Return to Television

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

cron