Thursday, 30 September 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #604: Even More Drippings From My Brain Pan

Welcome to the show folks....


Gallery Books have decided to waste some money publishing a novel being "written" by reality TV skank star/fake tan aficionado Snooki from the
Jersey Shore.

How can I sum up this story in a way that even Snooki can understand?

A novel by someone who can't write
Marketed at people who don't read
By a publisher who doesn't care

Let's look at the facts behind this story that show it's
even sadder than just being a sign of the end of western civilization.

1. The advance Ms. Snooki got probably could have
paid several authors to produce real books for real readers. Instead it's being pissed away on the vain hope that a trashy minor TV celebrity will somehow be a magic pill for a best-seller.

2. The money is being wasted because:

A. Snooki's target audience are people who like to look down on her in order to feel better about themselves, and low-level white trash who look up to her. One wouldn't buy her book because they don't really think she has any value beyond being a punchline, and the others, those who aspire to Snookiness, don't read books.

B. More of these "celebrity" books fail than succeed, it's a simple fact. Readers will shell out their hard earned shekels only if they think the book will be entertaining. They want something that will make them laugh, or give them some dirt to dish, or a story of triumph over tragedy, but they don't want a book that makes them wince with discomfort because it has a plot that can summarized by the words: "Tan, drink, screw."

Anyway, at least when civilization collapses I now have a planet to go hide on in the faster-than-light spaceship I've been building in my backyard. It'll be complete as soon as I can bend the laws of time and space without unleashing unnatural horrors upon the planet. Because I really hate cleaning up after them.



British commercial broadcaster ITV is currently sniffing around for American partners for a lavish miniseries about the sinking of the cruise ship Titanic for broadcast on the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.

Oy...I myself don't think this is a very good idea. Why?

1. It's been done, really hugely, by James Cameron in 1997. You might remember the movie, it did very well in theaters. Plus the film is being re-released in 3D for the same anniversary in Hollywood's never-ending quest to suck every penny from anything they can.

2. Everyone knows how the story ends. Ship sinks, people die.


There's a debate going on at the venerable BBC over whether they will keep their limited-run series format, or whether they will go to a more American production style.

If you don't already know, British networks like the BBC produce their shows very differently from American networks. American networks produce 22-25 episodes a season, for an open ended multi-season run, and they are written by a large team of writers overseen by an executive producer who acts as the "show-runner" trying to maintain a sense of coherence, continuity, and consistency.

British shows do not have open ended runs divided into seasons. Instead, they create a "series" consisting of 6 episodes on average, and many of these are not traditional episodic narratives composed of smaller stories wrapped up in 1 hour chunks. Instead they opt for a single narrative arc over all the episodes with a clear beginning, middle, and an end. If the show is a success, another "series" can be ordered, but only if the scripts are available, because these shows aren't created by large conference rooms full of writers, but have either single authors, or a very small team working very closely together under the guidance of the show's creator.

While British shows sell well overseas, but they have to compete in the rerun market at a disadvantage with American shows in terms of both budgets and sheer numbers of episodes.

Personally, I don't think Britain's small TV producing community is actually capable of producing in the big American style. In fact, I don't think many American shows should have been made in that style either. NBC's
Heroes should have been done and dusted in the first season instead of trying to go on and on, with no plan or idea of what the hell they were going to do.

So I think both sides should aim for a middle ground. The USA should bring back the miniseries, and possibly Richard Chamberlain, while the Brits can figure out where they can go longer than normal without losing the sort of quality found in shows like Stephen Moffat's Sherlock.


A little goodbye song for Jeff Zucker courtesy of the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

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