Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1101: Call The Bomb Squad

Today I'm putting on my psychic hat, which is an oversized sombrero, and tapping beyond the realms of the five normal senses to peer through the mists of time and see into the future.

I'm am looking through time and space and I see… TWO BOMBS!

Whoa, that was scary… I guess I better tell you what I saw.

The first thing I saw was plans by Warner Brothers to reboot Gilligan's Island as a feature film starring vehicle for comic actor Josh Gad who is best known to New Yorkers and tourists for being in Broadway's Book of Mormon, and to the rest of the country as "that guy" from numerous movie comedies and as the "idiot son" from the flopped sitcom 1600 Penn.

Now I'm not talking about Vince Gilligan's Island, a magical place inhabited by aliens, conspiracies and meth-cooking science teachers, I'm talking the other Gilligan's Island.

The other Gilligan's Island was a bit of 1960s nonsense that succeeded thanks to the extreme stupidity of children and the severe limitations on entertainment choices that existed well into the 1990s.

If you don't remember it was a sitcom about a group of people who left Hawaii on a three hour tour with a mysteriously inordinate amount of luggage, get caught in a storm and end up stranded on a uninhabited island. Each episode had basically the same plot, the castaways would encounter someone, or something that might get them off the island. After some hijinks their chance to return to civilization and avoid their inevitable fate of cannibalism and murder would be ruined by Gilligan, the tour boat's fumbling, bumbling first mate.

The show lasted for three seasons, getting solid ratings, mostly with young audiences, but was canceled to make room for Gunsmoke's expanded run time.

The show enjoyed an after-life in syndication in the 1970s and 1980s where it was run in after school time-slots, and most kids only had three channels to choose from. This success led to some pretty horrible reunion specials, but eventually it faded into obscurity, buried by the rise in choice and quality in the television market, only a faint memory in the minds of late-baby-boomers.

So why is Warner Brothers doing a movie based on a show that has come to represent the low standards we used to suffer through because we didn't know any better?

Because they're scared.

Original concepts scare them, because a flop based on an original idea can get you fired. However, if you green-light a flop from something the company already owns, that was associated with success at sometime in the past, then you can claim that you did your due diligence and hedged your bets, so you can keep your bloated expense account.

Let's look at the other bomb I saw coming our way…

The Sundance Channel's announced that they're developing Cold Dead Hands, a drama series about a fictional head of the National Rifle Association.

For those who don't know the National Rifle Association or NRA was founded in 1871 by Civil War veterans out to promote marksmanship and gun safety.

From the 1870s to the 1960s the role changed, first into a front for pro-Union and African-American rights organisations to meet in hostile southern states without getting attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, to a powerful gun-rights lobby group and font of all evil for the political left.

Which brings me to the show.

The Sundance Channel, much like the Sundance Festival that spawned it, is seen by Mr. & Mrs. Average American viewer as basically something created by Hollywood to make Hollywood feel better about itself. This show reeks of the exact same thing, and will mostly likely fall into the trap of the OFFEND/BORE MATRIX.

You see, something as politically charged as a channel founded by Robert Redford producing a show about the NRA, can only fail. This is because those who don't think the NRA is the font of all evil will feel insulted and offended, and those who do think the NRA is the font of all evil will be bored, because it'll just be a regurgitation of everything they read about the NRA in the New Republic.

Why bother watching it?
So why did it get the green-light for at least a pilot?

The cynical version is that those who run the Sundance Channel must feel a need to give their street cred a boost with a noble failure, and get supportive pats on the back from their peers at the next political fundraiser at George Clooney's beach house.

The rose-coloured glasses version is that the people running the channel really think this will turn the American people completely for gun control. But no one in Hollywood is that rosy.

That's what I think, what do you think?


  1. Personally, I think the NRA should fund a movie about wealthy aging baby boomer radicals who live in a bubble of their own making and who are compensating for the realization that they will die soon - thereby losing all that great food, sex and the adulation of 15 year old virgins - by obsessing about politics.

    Alternately, I think someone from the NRA should sneak into one of the Sundance screenings, light off a pack of firecrackers in the back row and scream "Tea Party Shooter!!". A youtube video of the result would be a heck of a lot more artistic and entertaining.

  2. The Offend Bore Matrix is most definitely applicable in this case. It's a perfect example.