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May 08 2006

What does Adam Baldwin have to do with Law and Order? What if Law and Order were set in space and starred Adam Baldwin? Check out this article if not purely for the awesome graphic at the beginning... Actually, you should read that whole thing, it's pretty interesting.

I fully support this idea!


[ edited by JCapra on 2006-05-09 01:04 ]
Welcome, JCapra, and I agree! This is a great article! Oh, if only it was this easy to get TV execs. to make quality television. So. Sick. Of. Cop. Shows.
For the past 10 years or so, the cop show has kinked to conventions and then franchised them out like Ronald McDonald on a bender.

lol! My biggest complaint about cops shows, even more than the "L&O: Version 10.9" and "CSI: Bakersfield" franchising part, is the "kink," in a different sense than the quote above. There are so many shows that just get so obsessive about the corpse (I'm lookin' at you, CSIs!). Yuck. Or else they just go so very far to show people being so perversely mean and torture-y to each other (I'm lookin' at you, The Inside, although I continue to love Tim Minear in a very "I hate myself for lovin' you" way!). Numb3rs was good when it focused more strongly on the math in the first season, because that was really new and different, but now it's all about the good-looking FBI drones who do the legwork in a pretty way.

My all-time favorite was Homicide, because it was all about the personal problems of the investigators and about their relationship with each other and with the city. The crimes were almost secondary, and they were just regular crimes -- guy got shot, guy got stabbed -- that uncovered the ugly underbelly of things -- this guy was a dirty cop, this guy ironically died just as he was trying to change his life. There's a lot of that personal angst/history-with-this-town/here's-that-underbelly feeling in Veronica Mars, my current favorite. (And I'll join the writer's friend Kath in hunting down TPTB if it gets cancelled, lol. [But not really! Just kidding! Please don't put me on a "watch list"!])

Great link, Jenni Powell! Made me smile a lot. :-)
Nice, although the latest word from Vancouver is that not only is Stargate not ending any time soon, it's branching out to both movie and third show. Because apparently causing me pain has become hobby for the execs (and after all I've done for them)!

Ahem. I digress.

I do actually think she hit on why BSG has become so popular - that feeling of something bigger than yourself, more desperate. And I wonder if that translates over into why Firefly didn't do as well? (I know, heresy, but bear with me.) Firefly wasn't about bigger than scenarios, it was about what happened after someone was involved in the bigger than, and they lost. How do you pick up and move on? It was intimate, it was about a small group of people, and maybe their own redemption, but nothing more.

Interesting to think about, anyhow. Please don't lynch or otherwise hurt me. ;)
I guess it hasn't really been done before. We've had Bandits in Space (Firefly), Military in Space (BSG), the Swiss Family Robinson in Space (Lost in Space), Explorers in Space (Star Trek), hell even Pigs in Space (and that really should be read as it sounds - PIGS. IN. SPPAAAAACCCCE.). Why not Cops in Space? It could even be called "Cops in Space" (think Snakes on a Plane) so as we can really target the demographics.

And hell, if it starred Adam Baldwin and Victor Garber I'd be all over that.
Star Cops on the BBC did it a decade and change ago, but it only lasted a single BBC-length series. More recently and in the US, there was Century City - Lawyers In The Future! (albeit not In Space) - which tanked in weeks.
billz, My all-time favorite was Homicide...

My big problem with that show was Benzali...cos I can do his schtick...the breathy, almost silent diction...found it...cheesy...
Dude, we need to get Brian Henson to make a TV show. Adam Baldwin as the muscle. Jennfier Garner as the love interest (or Kristen Bell, or Morena Baccarin, she's got nothing to do since Justice League Unlimited got cancelled...don't mention the OC). Miss Piggy as ... I dunno, dinner? Pigs in Space, 2.0. They could bring on other guest starts, like Gonzo (he's an alien anyway), or Nathan Fillion. Tell me you wouldn't watch that. Whedon alums and Muppets; my present and past combined.

So hi everyone! I'm Boltrider, and I just joined! At last, a thread I can speak on. My problems with the cop dramas are fourfold:
1) The market is flooded, with only enough differences to please executives (for instance, cold case is "wasted-tax money cop show" and close to home is "hypothyroid chick lawayer and christian kane wishing angel hadn't gotten cancelled show").
2) The plots are predictable, with lots of questions about morality and few conclusions that come near the moral complexities of some of the crimes discussed.
3) All the shows make you feel dirty (seriously, who hear can watch L&O: SVU and then look at a woman or a kid for even a second without feeling like you should be in jail or castrated or something).
4) When character backstory is inserted, it's inserted only for the purposes of advancing one or two plots, and then it's left up to us simply to remember it (again, SVU is especially guilty of this; not one character's story, once revealed, changes the way we look at the characters, it just advances the specifc episode).

It's this last problem that makes me hesitant for a space cop show. What makes Whedon shows and BSG so good is their ability to create people, not characters. You empathize with them, you commisserate with them, and you are emotionally affected when they are (seriously, I'll admit it, BSG brought me close to tears a couple of times in seasons 5 and 6). I think as long as you're location committed and crime committed, the two main facets of cop shows according to this article, real characterization will always be a problem.

On the other side, sci-fi can too readily degenerate into techno-jargon (star trek was incredibly guilty of this, and to an exten BtVS was too), making up convenient, deus ex machina objects that exist just in time to solve a problem. When a ship's anti-matter is flooding (can't relate to that) gets fixed by using a deflector dish or something (don't know what that is), the entire plot is a washout, because we can't relate to either the problem the crew is experiencing or learn from the way they fix it. So again, the plots would have to stay away from crimes that seem too far alien (for instance, I don't want CSI: Alpha Centauri talking about how when a certain alien's urine mixes with another's adrenal excretions, the process creates a little known gaseous poison). The problems would have to stay human, and then this show sounds a lot like Firefly (which is not a bad thing, just not necessarily an original idea).

All that said (and thanks for reading it, I'm really looking forward to being a part of this community), the right writers (come on Joss, Tim, Drew, Marty, you know you want to, especially that thing about Pigs in Space 2.0) and the right cast (I'm all for the return of Adam Baldwin, maybe Alexis Denisof as the cynical medical examiner), and show can be a hit. Personally, I'm still waiting on the next new idea (or at least the next really creative take on an old idea...maybe there aren't any new ideas left in fiction) to come along in television, not another tv executive approved spin on old hat. Let's hope Joss is involved. Later!

ps. Let's hope Fox is NOT involved, because they're the devil.
My big problem with that show was Benzali...

Uh, Daniel Benzali was in "Murder One" NOT "Homicide". Homicide was excellent while Murder One wasted its great premise by not actually pre-planning anything.
Welcome to the fold, BoltRider! I like your points, especially your mention of the alien urine - who knew? ;-)

Kidding aside, I think you're quite right when you say

...and then this show sounds a lot like Firefly
and I was thinking the same thing too when I first read this article. In fact, it got me a bit angry to think that, while fully accepting the writer's tongue-in-cheek style and humourous argument that she may not intend to be taken seriously, we've already had a somewhat similar show in Firefly, on a major US network no less, that "failed" and was quickly, unceremoniously cancelled.

Sure, that was three and a half years ago but has much changed since then? Do the major networks and studios now perceive there to be a great demand, more than a 'mere' cult following, for such a show? My guess is that the answer is unfortunately still "no."

And I wonder if that translates over into why Firefly didn't do as well?

Loiosh, this isn't a lynching, but I firmly believe BSG is more successful and is still on the air b/c it was on a cable network rather than a full-fledged network. Firefly did actual better ratings than BSG, but was considered a failure b/c the expectations were so much higher. Heck, in numbers of viewers (FF averaged 3-4 million viewers per ep; BSG hovers at 2 million), DVD sets sold, fervid online fans, I bet Firefly has BSG beat.

And when BSG aired a 2-hour block last summer on NBC, which was highly publicized on the network, it did cellar-door ratings, worse than re-runs of Cold Case and America's Funniest Home Videos. Cable provides niche programming that lets good shows with dedicated followings to survive and even flourish.
Morena Baccarin, she's got nothing to do since Justice League Unlimited got cancelled...don't mention the OC)
Perhaps it hasn't been posted here yet, but Morena is the new bad guy on SG-1.

Dottikin - not assumed as lynching at all. I just didn't want a bunch of, ya know, heretic!!1! sort of things. ;)
Billz, 'CSI:Bakersfield' would just cause people to remember the old Bakersfield P.D. sitcom. Didn't last long, but since the killings in this town usually consist of the cops pluggin a man 14 times for holding a squirt gun, it'd be hard to come up with good storylines even with a hellmouth under the Buck Owens Crystal Palace.
I can almost see his point. If you are going to put in all the effor to make a bullet riddled corpse, why not make that corpse an alien lifeform.
Speaking of cops and aliens and stuff, I still miss the TV version of "Alien Nation", and was really ticked that it got cancelled right at a cliffhanger. (not that I can exactly remember what was happening at the time anymore). I especially enjoyed the interplay between the two main characters, Sikes and Francisco.

billz, right there with ya on the "Homicide:" love.
Well, Alien Nation did have follow-up TV movies so that at least helped after its cancellation.
Wow - "Bakersfield P.D." I haven't thought of that show in years, but you know what? I loved it when it was on. Wonderful comes-at-you-sideways humor, shot on film without a laugh track. Loved the police sketch artist who only drew celebrity portraits, regardless of what the witness described....
GimpyD, I had no idea there was so much happening in Bakersfield. Maybe there should be a CSI or L&O there after all! (Or, maybe instead of those franchises, maybe a show I'd enjoy -- zing!) ;-)

m'cookies, I already have a "we-have-the-same-taste-in-TV-and-movies" twin on this board (the very tasteful UnpluggedCrazy), but I'm starting to wonder if we might have to consider tripletting soon (or at least having a cousin) if you keep declaring the same cancelled-program love as me (not just Homicide, but Alien Nation, too). What'cha think, Unplugged, dude? Could it be we have a long-lost relative here? (Maybe someone who followed us home from that reunion where I told all those same boring stories again for the hundredth time.) ;-)

Edited for too many uses of the word "think." I wasn't thinking. ;-)

[ edited by billz on 2006-05-11 09:00 ]
Totally OT

Loiosh: welcome Brust fan from a laptop named Athyra
If anyone does come back to this post, I had a great idea. Instead of a sci-fi cop drama, what about a sci-fi reality show like "Cops" or "Most dangerous car chases" (or whatever it's called)? Now, with CGI this could be made to look legit. But I think the comedic value lies in making it as campy as possible. Several really funny scenes come to mind:
1) Some cop chasing a guy in a really cheesy alien costume through a crowded space station (like "I can see the zipper in back!" cheesy).
2) Some chase seen with the cop constantly relaying info to dispatch, followed by the bad guy ship hitting a meteor and promptly exploding.
3) A space suit chase scene. Instead of exploding, the ship crashes, and so the bad guy has to dawn a space suit, climb out of the ship, and try to escape "on foot." This then would be followed by the space cop ALSO dawning a space suit and trying to catch him. With really dramatic music in the background, this could be really funny, with these two guys kind of floating after each other.
Come on, tell me this wouldn't kick ass!

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