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June 07 2006

For the love of Firefly and Wonderfalls. A PopMatters columnist ponders on why it seems "like every interesting, innovative series that you adore and worship gets yanked before its time".

I've watched Wonderfalls on the strength of the Minear name alone. I then loved it, got it and rewatched it many times over. Same goes for The Inside. Like Joss, Tim certainly has a reputation for creating deeply involving TV.

I still find it incredible that these shows could not have become mega-hits if given the right exposure. I mean, I've tried watching Prison Break on the strength of its hit status just to see what other people like watching and why.

I find that unlike any of Tim's or Joss's creations that reward viewers who follow the story closely, Prison Break does the opposite. It absolutely insults viewers who pay attention with stuff like:
  • characters that have no other purpose than to serve as a static plot device. Eg. the prison guard with serious self esteem issues.
  • inconsistent and illogical plot developments. Witness the mid-season flashback episode that contradicts key elements of the 1st half of the season.

Despite these failings, Prison Break does have a bit more of a commitment behind it than say Renegade, a show which probably is the very definition of 1D TV. So although Prison Break is watchable, it's not a place you'd want to visit more than once.
I can't express how much I love Wonderfalls.

Another show that also deserves to be mentioned along with these two, that seems to get forgotten is Miracles, which David Greenwalt was the executive producer for. I actually rewatched the first two episodes earlier tonight and they really are both pure brilliance. Haunting, emotional, well acted, written and directed. It's a damn shame that the show's creator Richard Hatem is now peddling his wares on the far inferior Supernatural...
Excuse my dorkism, StaffOSimon, but Tim didn't create Wonderfalls, just exec. produced. The guys behind it were Todd Holland (former Malcolm in the Middle exec.) and Bryan Fuller (also created Dead Like Me). And yes, it was a grand show.

And now back into my hole where I live with Comic Book Guy.
I didn't watch Wonderfalls until Minnear got online and essentially begged and then it was over. At that point I was tired of watching new shows just to have them cancelled so I just didn't watch new shows anymore.

But I bought Wonderfalls and my daughter and I just started watching it this week. We are up to episode 5 and we love it. What a funny, funny interesting show.

But at 12 episodes, at least I know the heartbreak is coming.

But the shows that are hits, Deseperate Housewives, Lost, Prison Break, I tried watching them and just couldn't get into them. Bored after the first half hour, stopped watching.
Excuse my dorkism, StaffOSimon, but Tim didn't create Wonderfalls, just exec. produced.

To be fair, Tim 'show ran' (which means pretty much did everything important series development wise) from episode 4 on wards.
Yes, Gossi, but it wasn't his own concept.

I recently loaned my Wonderfalls DVDs out to a couple who don't really watch TV. He loved Firefly when I loaned it to him, but she doesn't like shows that have long story arcs. Well, we watched the first two episodes of Wonderfalls together and they adored it! He kept saying he couldn't believe this show was on TV. They thought it was the funniest thing ever.

Now, if I could just get them into Buffy.
Though creators often are show runners, there is an important distinction in the day to day. For example, Marti Noxon was the show runner on Buffy for the last two seasons, but, judging from the name of this site, we all understand that Joss was involved in the show development to the very end. At any rate, I was just trying to give credit where due. Tim is the man and did, obviously, have a lot to do creatively with the greatness of Wonderfalls.

This subject of show runner vs. creator is especially interesting these days as Amy Sherman Palladino has left her post over at Gilmore Girls. She is out of the day to day now, which creates an interesting conundrum regarding chicken, egg, and show quality.

Oops. I digress. Forgive me!
Me? I live smack dab in the middle of Hollywood, which I assure you, is a lot more squalid than it appears in MGM musicals. If I want to see a crime scene I can simply leave my house.


A neighbor! Um, the TV humping thing must be all her own, not geographical. Great taste in shows, though.
Good point Mosie. Wouldn't be an interesting academic discussion then if Tim were to show run Prison Break? Or even Renegade? I bet you he could make strawberry jam out of the crappiest show concepts.

Then again what makes a show legendary in our minds are ones which have been shaped from the start by the best in the business. Not merely rescued.

I hope Joss get's his first US$300M gross movie in WW and Tim scores a Lost like hit in Drive. Their influence and rewards deserve to be bigger.
Sharin' the Wonderfalls love (on DVD -- never caught it on Fox). It was what Joan of Arcadia could only dream of being. ;-)

ETA: BTW,
It collected a motley crew of thieves, fugitives, dorks, a high-class hooker, and a priest to assist them all in a smuggling enterprise.

Does that make Wash the dork? Awww, poor Wash! :-(

[ edited by billz on 2006-06-08 00:33 ]
I rented Wonderfalls on the basis of what was said about it here on Whedonesque. And then I bought two copies, one for me, one for the boyfriend, and am seriously considering another set for the friend who is a Congregationalist Minister and was a fan of Joan of Arcadia. She has taste and a sense of humor, so I think she'll be able to appreciate this. I share the article writer's effusiveness toward 'falls, if not necessarily her means of expression (my tv is high enough off the floor to make any such activity difficult and possibly dangerous).

One of the neat things about the show is that it starts strong, and then the episodes just get better and better. I would never have guessed how much emotionally deeper for everyone the last few episodes are. Xane if you're only on episode 5, buckle those seat belts because you ain't seen anything yet! That is one show I would love to see brought back.

fryrish, I will now check out Miracles because if it is in the same league as these it should be worth seeing. Thanks for the tip.
Firefly and Wonderfalls were indeed awesome.

And I really miss Carnivale.
Wonderfalls was on Fox? and Firefly was on Fox? AND Arrested Development was on Fox? Interesting...

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