Friday, November 07, 2008

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

As the world continues to bask in the end of the election, and the Republicans dish the dirt on the loose cannon that was Sarah Palin, I am happy to finally get back to talking about TV. Because not only is the election over, but as of yesterday, I'm finished writing the Lost book! (You can preorder in Canada and the US using the buttons on the left side, plug plug.) My PVR is overloaded, and I'm going to be gunning through some programs. Many people have been emailing me or leaving comments asking about why I'm not writing about Heroes or Fringe, and it's simply because I haven't watched them. I watched the 2-hour premiere of Heroes, and the first two episodes of Fringe. That's it. When you work full time and have two young 'uns, you have to use every spare moment you can to fit in writing time. (Well, that and Mad Men, which I'm totally obsessed with right now, midway through the second season.)

So look for longish (like I do short, ha!) posts coming soon on Heroes and Fringe -- the story so far. And my beloved Pushing Daisies, which is sitting there like a luscious cheese-topped pie begging me to come and watch it.

But first, DOLLHOUSE. Y'all might have seen the trailer for it, premiering in February, but since FOX is doing its utmost to keep the trailer away from prying eyes outside the U.S. borders, here it is for the rest of you.

WICKED. And now... the bad news. Insiders are saying that FOX has halted production AGAIN on this show, and the series' super-awesome time slot has just been announced: Friday nights at 9pm.

Um... can you say FIREFLY?? Cripes almighty, Joss, I TOLD you this would happen. This trailer just has me tingling with excitement, and this article that talks about all the problems has me cringing in fear. FOX has one problem after another with the scripts, and keeps forcing Joss to go back for rewrites. According to one insider, he's barely on the set anymore because he's spending all day, every day, rewriting.

Come on NBC and ABC: step up next time the Master is looking for a network that will accept his brilliance, and sign him up. ABC: you've given Damon and Carlton the keys to the network; take a look at Joss next time. Sigh...

I'm sad.

In other news (old news now), Jeph Loeb and Jesse Alexander have been fired from Heroes. My initial reaction (and, since I haven't read much about it since, still my reaction) is that these two were the naysayers who were sitting in the meetings saying, "Um... this storyline kind of, uh... sucks?" Apparently when Entertainment Weekly was conducting interviews for their recent cover story on the series, they did it under the auspices of a big feature saying Heroes is back (I don't know if that's true, but that's what reports from NBC are saying) and it shocked everyone when the big cover story came out, basically calling Heroes a colossal FAIL, and NBC sent down the message from on high that heads must ROLL for this one. So, two heads rolled, and they were the two heads I thought were two of the most sensible ones in there. Alexander is from Alias and Lost, and Jeph Loeb is, well, a legend in comic books. The thing that bugs me about Heroes is that while it actually used comic books heavily in the first season as a selling point, Kring happily admitted he knew nothing about them, but that was why Loeb was on board. Well, quick thing about comic books: while the stories are short and there's satisfaction to be had at the end of each issue, comic books typically hold back certain things and drop them as crazy twists so you keep coming back. It's sort of like, oh, I don't know... LOST, where there are lots of questions and we keep coming back dying to hear the answers. Kring's way of doing things was, "Oh, you want the answers? Here ya go." If he'd written the Star Wars trilogy, it would have opened with a different crawl:

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships (Leia is their princess; don't worry, you'll see her soon), striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire (which includes Darth Vader, who ironically, is Leia's father! In fact, we'll soon be seeing Luke Skywalker on Tatooine, and HE is Leia's sister and Darth Vader's son! But it's still worth watching for his unwitting incestuous feelings toward his sister and his Oedipal reaction to his father). ANYWAY... During the battle, rebel spies managed to steal...

I find it hard to believe that the current state of Heroes has everything to do with Loeb and Alexander and not the team of writers with less of a comic background.

Now, as you all know if you've actually read everything I've written in this post, I haven't actually SEEN Heroes, and I'm sad that it has the potential to be disappointing (I thought the premiere held promise) so I'm simply basing my comments on what I know from the season 1 finale and what followed in season 2. I'm still going to watch the episodes with an open mind -- who knows, maybe the show is much better when you watch the episodes back to back! :)

Of the shows I HAVE been watching, The Office, 30 Rock (last week's episode was a brilliant return -- "She was wearing Dora the Explorer underwear, which I'm pretty sure was made for an obese child"), Dexter (I love this season, and the idea that Jimmy Smits is pretty much taking the place of Dex's father), Gossip Girl ("You just hooked yourself a Bass." Have I mentioned I've decided I'm in love with Chuck Bass? AND Rufus? So much love in that show), The Amazing Race (I'm two weeks behind, though, so I don't know who's been kicked out, but I'm really hoping those frat boys go soon), The Daily Show (when I watched the clip last night of Dick Cheney giving his endorsement to McCain -- yeah, it was an old episode -- and he had to clear his throat, and it cut back to Jon Stewart clearing his throat like a cat with a furball, I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe and tears were running down my face... seriously, I haven't laughed that hard since summer 2007, when I was watching Eddie Izzard in Dress to Kill), Entourage (I'm mad that Ari didn't take that studio position; it would have been an interesting and new direction for the show; otherwise I love it), The Life and Times of Tim (if you haven't watched this, watch it; I should do a longer post on it). So yeah, it's not like I haven't been watching TV (like, come ON) but I'm watching TV that I could have on in the background while washing dishes or cleaning up or something. With the exception of Dexter, which I watch while seated on the couch taking a break from writing.


Brian Douglas said...

Nikki, not sure where you're getting your info, but the typical comic book story today runs 4-6 issues.

Also, Jeph Loeb is an overrated hack who was carried by Tim Sale. Hulk, Ultimates 3, and Ultimatum are perhaps the worst three comics put out by Marvel in 2008.

Nikki Stafford said...

I'm confused... are you disagreeing with me or agreeing? I said comic book storylines tend to run long, as in it'll take months to come to a resolution and they keep you coming back for more. You're saying no, they only run 4-6 issues, but since a lot of them have one issue a month, that's 6 months. (Even if they run one issue a week, that's 6 weeks.) How is that fast?

Anonymous said...

Jeph is not a hack. I'm not an Ultimates fan no matter who writes it, but he's done excellent episodes of Lost and Smallville. He's done some fine work with Sale, that's true, and I wonder if Tim leaves Heroes because of Jeph, who is going to draw for the series, since a common superpower among many of the characters is the ability to paint like Tim Sale.


Brian Douglas said...

Nikki: I must of misread what you wrote. I thought you were saying they were done-in-one issues like in the old days. My bad.

Anonymous: His recent comic work is absolutely terrible though. That last issue of a Hulk scored a 3.8 on, Ultimates 3 4.6, and Ultimatum 4.6. That's out of 10, btw. His other recent work, such as Fallen Son, Supergirl, and Superman/Batman weren't any better.
He hasn't written anything that's gotten good reviews since Batman: Hush in 2003.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I'm sorry to hear that Loeb's work has (reportedly) suffered. I haven't read anything he's written since "Hush", but if it's true then I'm sad for the loss of a great talent. His follow-up stories to Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One" ("The Long Halloween" and "Dark Victory", for the uninitiated) are worthy of being grouped with that masterpiece, unlike Miller's own "All Star" title. My favourite Loeb stories, though, are "Hush" (no one does Batman's rogue's gallery like Loeb) and "Superman for All Seasons". (Who else likes Lana better than Lois? Or is it just me?)

Nikki, I've tried to stay positive about Dollhouse, but it appears our fears are becoming reality. A second shutdown? The Fiday night death slot? Okay, NOW I'm as pessimistic about the show's future as you are. Are you happy now! (sobs)

Michelle said...

Eddie Izzard represent!!

I am so behind on my DVR it's not even funny.

2 Fringes
3 Pushing Daisies
4 Houses
4 Boston Legals
all the Dexters
all the Californications
all the Weeds
and a couple random Daily Shows and Colbert Reports here and there.

le sigh

Austin Gorton said...

Yeah, sadly, when I heard that Loeb was fired from Heroes, my assumption was that things would get better (though I've been enjoying this season, for the most part). I've never assumed that Loeb was the guy on the writing staff responsible for bringing the comic book to the show; due to his association with Smallville, I've always, most likely unfairly, blamed him for most of Heroes plot-hammering, character-inconsistent moments.

Loeb's comic book work has suffered greatly of late-I certainly agree with Brian that Hush was his last well-received work (5 years ago) and some of the "comic book literati" go even further back before finding something they like.

That said, I hope your fears that Loeb was helping to "comic book" things up for Kring and that with him gone, that element will go too are unfounded; I definitely would like Heroes to be a bit more like Lost and comic books.