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Old Dec 6 2008, 04:44 PM   #81
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

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I get really tired of the tendency of so many to "put a new spin" on somebody else's work. (Yes, I know I did that in the Exhibit Hall but that was just a little fun, not meant to be taken "seriously.") I would prefer to see someone come up with something original and new rather than butcher the creations someone else has already worked hard to produce.
I will second and third that, Sandi!
Especially since some of the ideas are so far off cannon, it gets rediculous.
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Old Dec 6 2008, 09:51 PM   #82
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You can never fault an author for a world of her own making as (s)he is the CREATOR of it and thus makes the rules
Well, yes, actually, you can. Just as I can say Stephanie Meyer's take on vampires is not only wrong, it's flat-out stupid. Sure, "Twilight" is her book. She created it. That does not mean her worldbuilding can't be profoundly dumb and flawed.

In this case...I'm still really curious to see the non-cliffs-notes version and get an idea where they might have been going. I think my biggest concern would ultimately not have been the script but production quality. I admit I'm spoiled by the miniseries and limited series that I love from HBO ("Band of Brothers", "From the Earth to the Moon", "Rome", etc) where the production quality is basically cinematic, but I've seen very, very few TV shows in the SF/F genre that have that degree of quality. And I had the misfortune of running across "The Legend of the Seeker" on TV the other day--apparently an adaptation of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth books. Suffice to say I was not impressed. So maybe I'm extra-jaded. But I'm kind of dreading what it would have LOOKED like more than the plot.

Regarding Fax's name change--necessity at this point. (Don't change it and you might as well name his son "Textmessage" or some such.) But I also think it really would need a much more concrete human antagonist, simply because Thread's a bad villain. It's not very cinematic, and it has no personality or any method to it. Even in "faceless alien invasion" movies there are usually human bad guys as well, because otherwise it's all rather flat.
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Old Dec 6 2008, 11:22 PM   #83
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

I understand the point you are making but I think the "mindless enemy" that was Thread was a major intent when Anne created Pern. She didn't want to write just another swords and daggers adventure tale. She wanted her people to be working essentially together against a common danger. Yes, there were personality conflicts. There was greed and lust and all that stuff which seems to be woven into the DNA of humanity. But Pern works best when its people work together. I think that turning Pern into a warped version of Eragon or, (worse yet) Xena would be a huge disservice to Anne and to her fans who actually like the world and creatures she created.
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Old Dec 6 2008, 11:58 PM   #84
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

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While I'm sure her abilities there helped, chances are pretty good that in her ten years as a drudge, she'd bump into at least one potential guard/rapist where leaning wouldn't work.

Remember, her "leaning" ability suffers from the same limitations "leaning" does in Talentverse -- which would figure, as they are the same ability. For one thing, particularly strong personalities tend to instinctively fight off the compulsion (F'lar, those Lords she tries to manipulate into tolerating Ruth) -- which makes leaning on them pretty much useless. Secondly: perceptive individuals can not only instinctively fight off the compulsion, but tend to be consciously aware of the intrusion (F'lar, anyone?) -- which would really suck for Lessa, as her rapist would probably get pissed off.

And pissing off a rapist isn't exactly a good idea unless what ever you try actually works.
While it's certainly a possibility that one of them could have fought against it enough to overcome it, it's obvious that they didn't. She was a virgin until she came to the Weyr, and the explanation was that her "leaning" was completely successful in fending off anyone who would harm her.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 12:50 AM   #85
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

Sandi...that was exactly what I was trying to say above...why butcher it...keep it the way it was written...just change what you have to, to make it into a proper movie script.

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Cavatica...But you can't keep EVERYTHING, and not everything will be screen-friendly. Not just because it's gratuitous, like sex or violence, but because it might be irrelevant or boring or even unfilmable.
Cavatica...I didn't say keep everything...Lord anyone who's watched a movie taken from a book knows, that just isn't possible. But why does it mean that they have to loose all the heart of the marvelous things that Anne put in it...just to turn it into something that it never was..and never meant to be.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 03:28 AM   #86
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

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I understand the point you are making but I think the "mindless enemy" that was Thread was a major intent when Anne created Pern. She didn't want to write just another swords and daggers adventure tale. She wanted her people to be working essentially together against a common danger. Yes, there were personality conflicts. There was greed and lust and all that stuff which seems to be woven into the DNA of humanity. But Pern works best when its people work together. I think that turning Pern into a warped version of Eragon or, (worse yet) Xena would be a huge disservice to Anne and to her fans who actually like the world and creatures she created.
Ignorning the fundamentally flawed concept of a situation where any population can ultimately work together sucessfully on anything, rather than one small group doing what has to be done whether it's appreciated or not, unfortunately faceless enemies make for lousy TV. It might work for a one-shot movie (a la Independence Day, where the nature of the menace is ultimately irrelevant) but Threadfighting as a weekly plot element would be incredibly boring. If you're going to be on screen 42 minutes/week, you have to have something with a human face going on. ("Human" being a general term--you can have vampires, monsters, aliens, people, whatever--but something with a personality that viewers can identify with and against.)

One thing I think the Pern novels do overlook is that fighting an unstoppable, relentless enemy in a way that ultimately only mitigates the damage is a pretty soul-killing situation. You might at some point get a F'lar, who wants to actually stop it forever (and if the author likes him gets a deus ex machina who lets him do it) but even in Dragonflight the primary motivation isn't to defeat Thread, it's to stay alive and keep the people on the ground alive. Spending decades doing that, as dragonriders do--just going up and keeping Thread from wiping out a narrow habitable swath of the planet and minimizing human deaths, knowing that ultimately no matter what you do Thread will keep coming back over and over, if not now then two hundred years from now, and all the fighting and risking one's life and watching people get maimed and killed is ultimately meaningless in the face of an implacable, unstoppable enemy that doesn't even have a PURPOSE in what it does? There really should be a lot more suicides on Pern. Or alcoholism.

I also have to wonder how AIVAS would translate to TV--"Hey, look, we found a computer that tells us exactly how to do what we have to do, plus it's going to give us all this new technology and knowledge so we can skip centuries of cultural development! Yay!" I mean, frankly, if Anne weren't an established author I doubt they'd have let her get away with it in a book, let alone a visual medium like TV. "Here's all the answers in a box!" Though at least it generates some serious interpersonal conflict.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 09:41 AM   #87
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I also have to wonder how AIVAS would translate to TV--"Hey, look, we found a computer that tells us exactly how to do what we have to do, plus it's going to give us all this new technology and knowledge so we can skip centuries of cultural development! Yay!" I mean, frankly, if Anne weren't an established author I doubt they'd have let her get away with it in a book, let alone a visual medium like TV. "Here's all the answers in a box!" Though at least it generates some serious interpersonal conflict.
_
Well, in most films,television shows such a creation winds up evil and taking over the world...(Landru in Star Trek, the computer in I, Robot (with Will Smith) etc...so the Abominators would have a field day...They could be the "human evil" once the plot got to that point...Or the Oldtimers could be the "evil" . Fax could be eliminated ...hmm, sounds like the books to me.._________________
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Old Dec 7 2008, 03:11 PM   #88
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_
Well, in most films,television shows such a creation winds up evil and taking over the world...(Landru in Star Trek, the computer in I, Robot (with Will Smith) etc...so the Abominators would have a field day...They could be the "human evil" once the plot got to that point...Or the Oldtimers could be the "evil" . Fax could be eliminated ...hmm, sounds like the books to me.._________________
Of course Aivas could have been discovered as the cliffhanger to the next to last season. with last season being elimination of thread. bringing about a grand series finale. This could have been the nearly unique series of the millenium. Moot point now, since the networks did what they always do, take someone else's idea, and push their mindless drivel down the creator's throat to change it into something they approve of.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 03:39 PM   #89
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Ignorning the fundamentally flawed concept of a situation where any population can ultimately work together sucessfully on anything, rather than one small group doing what has to be done whether it's appreciated or not, unfortunately faceless enemies make for lousy TV. It might work for a one-shot movie (a la Independence Day, where the nature of the menace is ultimately irrelevant) but Threadfighting as a weekly plot element would be incredibly boring. If you're going to be on screen 42 minutes/week, you have to have something with a human face going on. ("Human" being a general term--you can have vampires, monsters, aliens, people, whatever--but something with a personality that viewers can identify with and against.)

One thing I think the Pern novels do overlook is that fighting an unstoppable, relentless enemy in a way that ultimately only mitigates the damage is a pretty soul-killing situation. You might at some point get a F'lar, who wants to actually stop it forever (and if the author likes him gets a deus ex machina who lets him do it) but even in Dragonflight the primary motivation isn't to defeat Thread, it's to stay alive and keep the people on the ground alive. Spending decades doing that, as dragonriders do--just going up and keeping Thread from wiping out a narrow habitable swath of the planet and minimizing human deaths, knowing that ultimately no matter what you do Thread will keep coming back over and over, if not now then two hundred years from now, and all the fighting and risking one's life and watching people get maimed and killed is ultimately meaningless in the face of an implacable, unstoppable enemy that doesn't even have a PURPOSE in what it does? There really should be a lot more suicides on Pern. Or alcoholism.

Well, I guess this explains why police shows are so popular. I don't see why television and movies must always be based on the same things, though. I wish we could at last find "time for something completely different."
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Old Dec 7 2008, 05:10 PM   #90
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unfortunately that time will have to wait until all movies and TV shows released return less money than they cost to make them. studio directors have shifted to the "sure thing" heading regarding television. Movies... turnout for a movie depends on the hype. Though my feeling is that there have been a larger percentage of "based on the story by", TV-movie, and Movie remakes in recent years than in all previous decades. Studios relying on another sure thing, a previously prepared fan base, guaranteeing X number of people will flock to see it.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 05:22 PM   #91
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Yes, token gay characters are popping up. But not whole segments of populations, as the blue and green riders are. I'd bet that they'd be too afraid to include them as such.
As far as I can recall, AMC only depicted on homosexual relationship in all of the Pern books, and that was in Moretta.

It is obviously hinted at that green and blue riders are gay, but it is not actually depicted in the DF/DQ/TWD/AtWoP series.

I think that as long as the director did what AMC did, he could get away with it on American TV.

And doesn't having female riders at the beginning of DF negate the plot development of Mirrim impressing.

And you're right, a nameless, faceless enemy, like Sauron, or something falling from the skies like a meteor or comet, or something on the planet spewing lava would never work.

And like I've said, if you make Meron, Fax's son, and put more focus on his and Kylara's plot to take over Pern, then that does give a face to those who oppose dragonriders.

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Old Dec 7 2008, 10:11 PM   #92
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That script was perfectly and utterly hideous.

Nothing but deadglows in Hollyweird.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 10:21 PM   #93
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Ye GODS! It's a lot worse even than what they did to Starship Troopers, and THAT was BAD!

Now I realise once again why I so rarely go the movies or watch television.
What they did to Starship Troopers was inexcusable. When I become Evil Overlord, everyone involved in that abortion will be put to death by being forced to watch it interminably, with their heads in vices and their eyelids held open with toothpicks.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 10:49 PM   #94
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I think it's always possible to do an adaptation well. Issue is that TV and movies are such a *group* effort that lots of people are wanting to "play it safe" and follow in the footsteps of previous series...Star Trek, Hercules, Xena. And Pern doesn't lend itself well to that; telepathic dragons is a concept that's way too easy to abuse when groupthink is involved.

I think it'd be possible to adapt Pern to TV, but you'd probably want to do something sort of like how they handled the new Battlestar Galactica...do a mini-series to get Dragonflight out of the way without these weird compromises, then start the TV series on Dragonquest and run that for two seasons or something, do another TV miniseries that's a combo of The White Dragon and Dragonsinger/Dragonsong, and start up the TV series again for seasons 3 and 4 with Renegades/All The Weyrs of Pern-inspired stuff.

Edit: Ok, I just say there's a lot of groupthink involved mimicking earlier series...and here I am, doing the same thing. Hahaha. In my defense...I think Battlestar Galactica is the ONLY SF TV series that is on par quality-wise with the best of the SF literary genre.
I concur.

Battlestar Galactica is the only thing going currently, but a defunct series that would serve as a good production model for Pern--and served as the model for the rebooted BSG--would be Babylon 5.

What Babylon 5 introduced was the intentional multi-season and/or series spanning story arc. To do Pern as a TV series, you would have to script it out in such a way.

Season 1: The events of Dragonflight
Season 2: The events of Dragonquest
Season 3: The events of White Dragon
Season 4: The events of All the Weyrs of Pern
Season 5: The events of Skies of Pern

Interwoven into, and filling out the seasons, would be flashbacks and/or prior events of Masterharper of Pern (Season 1), and the contemporaneous events of the Harperhall Trilogy (Seasons 2 and 3), The Smallest Dragonboy and Runner of Pern (Season 4), Renegades of Pern (Seasons 4 and 5), and Dolphins of Pern (Seasons 4 and 5). The seasons can span differing amounts of time, and the interval between explained with some decent narration (Calling Ms. Blanchett's agent!).

To maintain interest betwen seasons, you release movie events (Having experienced Roots, I refuse to refer to a paltry four-hour, two-part production as a "mini-series"!), like B5 did with "In the Beginning" and BSG with "Razor."

Movie #1: Dragonsdawn (to include flashbacks to Survey: P.E.R.N. and track forward through The Dolphins' Bell, the Ford of Red Hanrahan and The Second Weyr).
Movie #2: The Fall and Rise of Ruatha (the events of Moreta and Nerilka).
Movie #3: Dragon's Eye (possibly including the events of Ever The Twain?).
Movie #4: After the Fall.

If it all proves great and profitable, you come back and do a more limited series of two or three seasons covering Dragon's Kin, Dragonsblood, Dragon's Fire, Dragon Harper, and Dragonheart.

This is all assuming that one wishes to reproduce "historical" Pern. Nothing prevents creating an entirely new story arc within the Pern framework set in say...Fourth Pass, Fifth Pass or Seventh Pass.

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Old Dec 7 2008, 11:19 PM   #95
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But the show would have been quite a re-imagining of Pern, and completely disatisfying to fans of the book -- similar to many fans of the original BSG show.
The fact is that Pern does not require re-imagining. A touch of clean-up on what some refer to as "Anne-consistencies" and professionals call continuity errors, yes, but wholesale reworking--no.

BSG on the other hand definitely benefited from re-imagining. Too much of the original was just flat-out "hokey." The overt Egyptian motif even to the point of functionally useless helmets; excessive stress on the universe-specific units of measurement to the point that they sounded ridiculous; the blatant recycling of stories like The Guns of Navarone and others from outside the BSG-verse; the kiddification, complete with robot dog; and the downright comical 'bots from the neon-headed IL-series down to the trundling Centurions were quaint at best and laughable at worst.

Did the BSG re-imagining go exactly the direction I would have taken it? No, however it has gone in some creative directions that I consider superior. The skin-jobs, especially No.6's various avatars are a "head-trip" to say the least and their ultimate objectives remain obscure. Olmos's Adama is fantastic, and Colonel Tigh is a joy-ride on the psychotic side whereas their predecessors were staid and two-dimensional. Bumbling, scrambling, half-mad, half-crazy-like-a-fox Baltar is superior to stock-villain John Colicos played (although he admittedly did so with relish). As much as I loved the old Commander Cain, Admiral Cain was a sociopathic delight, and Razor was a kick-ass story.

Other things work less well. Starbuck is a whiny basket-case for whom I can develop no sympathy, no respect and no concern. The charming, devil-may-care, happy-go-lucky Starbuck of the old series was better than the out-of-control, insubordinate danger to herself and others that any military officer of Adama's competence would have cashiered long ago regardless of personal feelings. And Apollo is barely better. The old series' loyal and competent son that you could see taking up the old man's mantle (once he got a hair cut and a real job) has been replaced by a whiny, indulgently rebellious, immature ingrate who needs a good slapping upside the head by a competent senior NCO.

The original BSG, however much fun it was, always left you with the feeling that "it could have been done better" in the writing department. That the first successor series was such a catastrophic failure only reinforced that impression. The second attempt has been a more than worthy successor and has rescued the franchise from nostalgia and mockery to the ranks of the best in the genre.
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Old Dec 7 2008, 11:44 PM   #96
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A chance remark by Cheryl about the homosexuality of green en blue riders made me realise that such a thing would almost certainly be changed for an American TV series while a European one might (might!) just capatalize on it
Watched much American TV lately, Hans? You can't shake a script without hitting a character that is sexually different. You've got two openly lesbian talk-show personalities. You've got an openly bisexual female on Bones. Series after series throws both sexes into blatantly homosexual comic situations, even in dramas. One long-running comedy (Will & Grace) had two openly homosexual male characters, and an omni-sexual female character whose antics went so far over the top that many viewers tuned-out because all the show wound up being about was the homosexuality and the rest of the premise got lost.

We've had sexual ambiguity from the Trill characters of the later Star Trek derivatives for well over a decade. Serials and procedurals all contain episodes with homosexual-focused plots and/or twists, and the most popular current procedural (CSI) has a dominatrix as a recurring character.

Cross the line from broadcast to cable and you get into the territory of things like Sex & The City, and Californication, not to mention the Mormon plural marriage of "Big Love". "Gay" and "kinky" are chic, and being pushed so hard it's annoying. (Okay, Hollyweird, we get it: some people are homosexuals. That's nice. We already knew that. It's nice to know you know. Now could we actually have some plot, please?)

Hell, homosexuals among the ranks of blue and green riders would be downright tame and understated by comparison, especially if handled as the author has done so: it is. And that is all. Nothing to write home about; nothing to fuss about; it's just there...just like the heterosexuality. This is another place I'd follow the tack of Babylon 5, which handled the bisexuality of Ivanova very matter-of-factly.

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Old Dec 7 2008, 11:52 PM   #97
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Yes, token gay characters are popping up. But not whole segments of populations, as the blue and green riders are. I'd bet that they'd be too afraid to include them as such.
Shove it up front in everyone's face and no, it won't fly. Treat it as matter-of-fact and avoid sticking a camera between the sleeping furs and no one will blink who isn't predisposed to be upset in the first place.

--

P.S.: You have my utmost sympathies for having had to suffer the horror of reading and summarizing the script discussed on this thread. It is my sincerest hope that your health plan provides for appropriate psychiatric and optical trauma care...
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:03 AM   #98
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I get really tired of the tendency of so many to "put a new spin" on somebody else's work. (Yes, I know I did that in the Exhibit Hall but that was just a little fun, not meant to be taken "seriously.") I would prefer to see someone come up with something original and new rather than butcher the creations someone else has already worked hard to produce.
Sometimes new spins work; sometimes they don't. Certain stories have been updated for ages. Don't look now, but some recent entertainments would have Homer suing for copyright infringement.

Any new spin must be undertaken with due respect for the original material. ST-TNG, ST-DS9 and ST-V worked because they had due regard for the original Star Trek. Star Trek: Enterprise failed because the people in charge felt no compulsion to respect the original, even in spirit.

The new Battlestar Galactica succeeded in spite of being a truly massive revision because the original was never thoroughly fleshed out.

Some remakes stink (The Jackal) while others can stand alongside the originals (Sabrina).

The last couple of decades, however, have seen a dam-burst of wholesale remakes and sequel production that betray the severe lack of originality in Hollyweird. If you're basing your observation off that tripe, it is understandable.

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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:09 AM   #99
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

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While it's certainly a possibility that one of them could have fought against it enough to overcome it, it's obvious that they didn't. She was a virgin until she came to the Weyr, and the explanation was that her "leaning" was completely successful in fending off anyone who would harm her.
And I'm pointing out that it's obvious that the given explanation stretches the bounds of plausibility well past the breaking point -- it's fluff: unoriginal, blatant filler -- a la LOTR Adaption's "evil halfbreed army digging pointless tunnel-to-nowhere #37567987698769"
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:12 AM   #100
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But I also think it really would need a much more concrete human antagonist, simply because Thread's a bad villain. It's not very cinematic, and it has no personality or any method to it. Even in "faceless alien invasion" movies there are usually human bad guys as well, because otherwise it's all rather flat.
There are plenty of human villains in the Pern stories. Thread is not the villain. It's a backdrop, albeit a dangerous one. It's like personal conflict in a war movie. Take Enemy at the Gates, for example. The artillery fire kills indiscriminately, but the real story is the conflict between the two snipers. Thread is like the artillery. Individual conflicts (F'lar-Fax, F'lar-R'gul, F'lar-T'ron, Meron/Kylara-F'lar/Lessa, Lessa-Fax, Kylara-Brekke, Menolly-Yanis, etc...) are like the sniper duel.

This is another place to look to the writing on Babylon 5. At first the Minbari were the bad-guys that beat up Earth, then the Centauri were the bad-guys, then the Psi-Corps, then Earth itself, then the Shadows, then the Vorlons, and then the Shadows' successors. The "villain" shifted as the plot evolved, and the same thing occurs in Pern.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:15 AM   #101
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E-Dragon, when you become Evil Overlord, let me know so I can hop the next spaceship to. . . (Pern)Mars. Oh, and best of luck with your new puppy!

Cheryl, is there any more of that horrific script? It's so bad it's good!! For some reason, I kind of want to find out how Canth/F'nor's flight to the Red Star goes. They'll probably get to skip it and take a Lucy-in-the-Diamonds, far out, groovy acid trip instead, right?

I have actually never seen a single episode of Battlestar Galactica (but I'm a little scared to admit that, for fear of being run out of town on the rAil.)
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:15 AM   #102
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I also have to wonder how AIVAS would translate to TV--"Hey, look, we found a computer that tells us exactly how to do what we have to do, plus it's going to give us all this new technology and knowledge so we can skip centuries of cultural development! Yay!" I mean, frankly, if Anne weren't an established author I doubt they'd have let her get away with it in a book, let alone a visual medium like TV. "Here's all the answers in a box!" Though at least it generates some serious interpersonal conflict.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:18 AM   #103
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The original BSG was "hokey" indeed. It was done that way on purpose and it was one of the reasons the fans of that show loved it. It was made during a time when people were struggling with a lot of troubles and a "hokey" show was a pleasant diversion from the harshness outside the front door. Buck Rogers was the same. And there was Wonder Woman, Batman and a whole host of other shows before and after that one. I realise a lot of people like the grim and dark sort of TV shows but not everybody does. I would have found it easier to accept if they had made the show some sort of "sons of" continuation with different names for the characters. It's been done successfully before. Imagine the folks reviving Star Trek. Instead of a sexy farm boy from Iowa lets make the Captain a short bald guy that speaks Shakespearian English! But they realized the fans would never accept a short bald Captain Kirk. So a new generation was born.

I know I've gone off topic but the basic principles are the same. If they want to make a TV show about Anne's Pern they should make it about Anne's Pern. If not, they should invent their own world and culture and creatures.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:28 AM   #104
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E-Dragon, when you become Evil Overlord, let me know so I can hop the next spaceship to. . . (Pern)Mars. Oh, and best of luck with your new puppy!
I'll miss you, I truly will. I had such plans for you. Still, someone does have to make that first one-way trip... Do keep your microphone open, and remember: this is for posterity. Count Rugen will be recording all the details...

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The puppy is great, but house-breaking him is cutting into my plotting to become an Evil Overlord.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:54 AM   #105
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The original BSG was "hokey" indeed. It was done that way on purpose and it was one of the reasons the fans of that show loved it. It was made during a time when people were struggling with a lot of troubles and a "hokey" show was a pleasant diversion from the harshness outside the front door. Buck Rogers was the same. And there was Wonder Woman, Batman and a whole host of other shows before and after that one. I realise a lot of people like the grim and dark sort of TV shows but not everybody does. I would have found it easier to accept if they had made the show some sort of "sons of" continuation with different names for the characters. It's been done successfully before. Imagine the folks reviving Star Trek. Instead of a sexy farm boy from Iowa lets make the Captain a short bald guy that speaks Shakespearian English! But they realized the fans would never accept a short bald Captain Kirk. So a new generation was born.

I know I've gone off topic but the basic principles are the same. If they want to make a TV show about Anne's Pern they should make it about Anne's Pern. If not, they should invent their own world and culture and creatures.
Sometimes a revision needs to be a significant departure to be interesting.

I don't think the success of the new BSG has to do with the audience liking something that is more grim, or living in times that are any less troubled. The "Good Old Days", the "Golden Age" and the "Halcyon Day of Youth" are all myths. The difference between the +/- 5 years around the release of the original BSG and the +/- 5 years around the release of the new one are cosmetic. The times are always bad for someone and good for someone else.

I think the success of the new BSG has to do with realism. The audience has grown more sophisticated in its understanding of technology over the last 30 years, so "hokey" falls flat. Glossily papering over the technology doesn't hold up because the audience knows more than it once did. We expect a degree of verisimilitude at the same time we consume the same message of survival against overwhelming odds, of preserving our traditions, of preserving our culture, of discovering a higher meaning in our old scriptures. None of these elements have changed, they're just packaged differently. We now know enough as an audience that spaceships that maneuver entirely like airplanes don't cut the mustard, so now they maneuver in truly three dimensional ways. We now know that drinking and smoking to excess are dumb and potentially fatal lifestyle choices, so we don't deal with them as casually.

Being "hokey" explains the failure of a lot of recent offerings, like the ghastly movie Starship Troopers. The audience has grown too sophisticated to accept such pap.

Now you've brought up Star Trek as an example. Star Trek is due for a reboot that is significantly different from the original (not the least because technology has changed). It could stand more realism. This doesn't mean it can't be as good or better than the original, or that the original characters can't be revisited. If Star Trek were simply redone as it was, why would anyone watch it? People will watch the new Star Trek to see if it improves/updates the original and is interesting. If it is, it will reboot the franchise. If not, oh well, we always have the original.

Actually, you can see evolution with regard to realism within Star Trek just by noting certain marked differences between Seasons 2 and 3 of The Next Generation. What happened to change the show from a shaky remake that was looking questionable into a powerhouse that ran five more seasons and spawned successful movies was that stars Patrick Stewart and Michael Dorn toured the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Eisenhower during their hiatus and saw how a real ship works. They took that knowledge back to the set and said essentially, "Hey guys, we look like buffoons and we don't have to." And in the third season you start to see such things appearing on the show as watch-standing by sections, restrictions on all of the key personnel leaving the ship, qualification requirements for watch-standing, the executive officer performing personnel management duties, the appearance of enlisted personnel, etc... The stories didn't change, but the setting provided more verisimilitude and the audience was more willing to accept it. It became Star Trek done better, instead of Star Trek done the same and was worth continuing to watch.

I liked the original series of Star Trek. I hated the first two seasons of TNG, but I liked the next five. I enjoyed DS9 and I despised Voyager. Enterprise was okay. I'll take the new Star Trek for what it is. Maybe I'll throw it in the junk hopper with Voyager and odd-numbered Star Trek movies. Maybe it will be the next season three of TNG. I doubt it will hold a candle to my personal favorite: the animated series.

I'm the same way about BSG. I enjoyed the original. I like the new version better. Those responsible for Galactica 1980 may require attention similar to those responsible for the recent Starship Troopers film when I become an Evil Overlord...

The difference between all of this and Pern is that Pern hasn't been done yet, not for the screen. Ergo, it doesn't require a reboot or a re-imagining. It just needs some minor continuity clean-up (mostly revolving around MHoP). Now, 20 years down the road, after all the Pern that has been written has been done once already, then maybe it will be time for a re-imagining. Maybe it will be time for Pern not with Lessa, but with someone new in the 7th Pass, or maybe it will be time for Pern revolving around a fuller telling of Moreta's time.

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Old Dec 8 2008, 01:53 AM   #106
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So many possibilities, so little time! Okay-doke seeing as we all make great directors, LIGHTS....CAMERA....ACTION.....anyone!
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Old Dec 8 2008, 12:57 PM   #107
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So I'm about a third of the way through the script, and I have to say...

...oh, God, I can't believe I'm saying this, but...

...I think I get where he's going with this. I think I might even like it.

(I like this exchange:

JAXOM
You know... you could be chosen.

LESSA
Doesn't interest me.

JAXOM
You'd be a better rider than Kylara.

LESSA
I'll tell her you said that.)

The bits about the reins and "klagh" and soldiers and the screwed up timeline and stuff are, of course, totally wrong. But the Kylara/Lessa antagonism, their total ignorance about how Search and Impression work, the Thrax/Goran thing, Lytol as antagonist, etc... the major plot points, the way he's reworked it, make a lot of sense in terms of using characters familiar to the reader as introductions to a new audience. It's less of an adaptation and more of an homage. But in Ron Moore's crazy way, it works.

But I'll keep reading.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 03:44 PM   #108
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I have to agree with Cavatica and say it's not all that bad. It plays fast and loose with several things from canon, but having looked at the script, I can see why.

Reins...in the scene where reins are introduced, F'lar is also introduced for the first time. The storyteller here has the choice of having F'lar telepathically direct his dragon, but if this was done at this point in the story, the audience would know more about the dragons then Lessa, who is the real POV character here. It's pretty clear RDM doesn't want to give the audience too much info yet. And, telepathically speaking to dragons also immediately catapults you into the issue I mentioned earlier...telepathic dragons are so easy to abuse, that showing them this early could be a mistake. It will certainly ruin some of the setups later in the script. So that possibility is scratched out. On the other hand, this is our first view of F'lar. He's a leader, he's in control...giving him reins so he can obviously *do* something would do more for his characterization at this point than adhering to the no-reins thing...a shot of him riding in doing nothing at all is a bit boring. So, I can see why reins were used. A bit of balancing between the needs of the story, and book-canon is being done here. RDM obviously chooses to forward F'lar's characterization instead of adhering to a detail of book-canon.

Technology at Benden Weyr - RDM is milking Pern's technically Sci-Fi heritage early on. Likely he is doing this to prevent Pern from being another middle-ages fantasy knockoff, which is a real fear with the series (heck, even true-blue fans are guilty of this one!). Benden in this script has technology that only Fort, if any Weyr, would have this early in canon (and we know Fort does not), but that tech, and F'lar's explanation to Lessa (and the audience) about Pern's and the dragon's origins is pretty obviously an early move to distinguish Pern as a failed SF colony. I like this move; I've always felt it's part of what makes Pern unique, its sci-fi origins. And with the history of the world shortened by several Passes, it makes sense that they may still retain some vestiges of their original technology, and it makes sense that history may have been better preserved so the Weyrs actually know that dragons were created to fight thread pre-Landing-rediscovery.

Although I do have to laugh at Lessa's Comyn-red hair. She sort of sounds like she's from Darkover, not Pern! Although that said, didn't the original founders of Ruatha have red hair? That might be part of the reasoning behind the switch.

All in all, it's actually not that bad. A lot of the final, on-tv product would obviously depend on A) the actors, and B) the costuming and scenery people. RDM is giving them pointers in the script, though. And the Fax-replacement actually has a sympathetic cause better than "because he's evil" to hate the dragonriders. He feels as if RDM took various things from the more hidebound and grumpier Lords in the series, and rolled them into one. This guy is fairly intelligent. Between him and evil-Lytol, you have a nice set of antagonists.

So yeah. It's not that bad at all. Yes it plays fast and loose with some things from canon, but it actually adheres to the "feel" of Dragonflight much better than, say, Masterharper of Pern. (How ironic!) Had this been produced with RDM remaining in control of it, I think this would have been a pretty good series.

I approve of RDM's writing skills.

* * * *

Edit...more random snippits of thought...F'nor has obviously been possessed by the spirit of his father F'lon. There's none of F'nor's original personality there, although his dragon doesn't seem far off from canon. F'nor's impulsive, mischievous, etc. in the script. I can see why; better foil to play against the extremely-canon brooding F'lar.

The green-riding dragonrider Kylara flirts with is a flub, though. I don't see any reason why RDM chose to put him on a green. Unless maybe he's going to fall in love with some bluerider later on and leave Kylara out in the cold. That might be amusing.

Ok...I guess I can think of one reason...RDM is maybe using it to stress that bronzes and browns are much rarer than greens and blues, judging by the makeup of the clutch currently on the sands. Still.

Second edit: I wonder if Lytol's dragon would have been green or brown in this TV series? Maybe the green-riding girl-liking rider is a homage to that inconsistency!
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Old Dec 8 2008, 04:44 PM   #109
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Agreeing with Domani and Cavatica -- it's not the Pern we know, but it's still Pern.
An idea: if it helps, try to think of the script as coming from an AU Pern, as per the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. So it's Pern, only different.

From what I've heard, LoTS (Legend of the Seeker) is adhering less to cannon than this would have -- although WB must have really, really wanted to screw with the storyline for the scriptwriter to put his foot down and pretty much tell them that it'd be a cold week in Hell before they perverted his work and passed it off as ... his work.

As Domani could confirm, the Sword of Truth fanboard we both post to is for the most part being rather philosophical about LoTS.

Reminds me of that show (can't think of the name) where a small group of people is basically stuck gating from alternate reality to alternate reality. Anyways, in one episode, the major difference was that biologically, gender roles were literally switched -- men got pregnant and women were often the principal breadwinners.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 04:56 PM   #110
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The green-riding dragonrider Kylara flirts with is a flub, though. I don't see any reason why RDM chose to put him on a green. Unless maybe he's going to fall in love with some bluerider later on and leave Kylara out in the cold. That might be amusing.
Just to make a quick note here -- this is TOTALLY the kind of thing RDM would do. Which is something to keep in mind when reading this script. Not all is as it appears to be, in a given RDMverse. I mean, hell, in RDM's Pern, what's to say candidates aren't so rare, a green dragonet will Impress to just about ANYTHING, including heterosexual or bisexual men?

But, yeah. RDM is one twisted, twisted individual. Which is why I like him so damn much. ;>
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Old Dec 8 2008, 06:17 PM   #111
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Finished reading.

...yeah, I think I like it. There are major problems, but in spite of them, I think this is a script that could have had some real potential.

Damn.
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Old Dec 8 2008, 09:10 PM   #112
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Just to make a quick note here -- this is TOTALLY the kind of thing RDM would do. Which is something to keep in mind when reading this script. Not all is as it appears to be, in a given RDMverse. I mean, hell, in RDM's Pern, what's to say candidates aren't so rare, a green dragonet will Impress to just about ANYTHING, including heterosexual or bisexual men?

But, yeah. RDM is one twisted, twisted individual. Which is why I like him so damn much. ;>
On second thought...you might be right in saying my random not-serious musing was right...Kylara does remind me a lot of Saul Tigh's wife. With that in mind, yes I suddenly could see Kylara being dumped for a man as being something RDM was setting things up for. We don't really see a good male greenrider POV in the books, so who's not to say that a guy Impresses a green, and dates women for turns and turns, until suddenly he meets "the right guy" and dumps the women suddenly? Sexuality isn't as cut-and-dried as we assume it is even for people who identify as totally straight, or totally gay.

I do like the script, the more I think about it. The canon details are different left and right, but RDM's setting up a lot of nice characterization and conflicts in it.

Perhaps someday...
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Old Dec 9 2008, 01:12 AM   #113
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The difference between this and B5 is that B5 was concieved with a tight plot arc from day 1 (and only went off the rails a bit when season 4 got compressed and then, oops, season 5 was go after all and NOW what do we do?) Pern, as Anne herself admits, was a short story one-off that stretched WAY past what she ever intended. It is not written in a cinematic format. At all. To make DF movie friendly would require compression. To make it episodic-TV friendly would require serious rewrites.

It makes much more sense to have a recurring one or two human villains introduced immediately than to either drag out Weyr Search beyond the limits of tolerance to keep Fax there more than one or two episodes, or to wait, have Kylara introduced as the minor background fluff she is in DF only to have her suddenly oops, EVIL PSYCHO BITCH! in Dragonquest. Consistency may be the hobgobblin of small minds, but it's pretty much necessary if a TV show wants to be taken as anything besides more genre junk for the late-night time slot. Also in terms of characters--babies aren't. They're plot devices and props. Baby Jaxom is boring. Jumps in plot-time of seven or eight years for no reason other than "the author just picked it up later" are annoying. Simple solution: Jaxom's already well on his way to adulthood when we open. Lytol--minor character has emotional issues. Not intersting in a visual medium nor do we get enough interaction to care. While I don't like the idea of making him a straight-up bad guy having him be someone a la Londo Molari of B5 (starts out as a corrupt jerk at best, eventually is almost a hero if not quite) gives a badly-needed gray character.

Honestly, this isn't nearly as bad as it could be. So far, if this is in fact a real script (I would love to know the provenance of the item) if the production values weren't complete crap, it would be watchable.

However I would really love to see my favorite network get hold of Pern. Pern on HBO (a la Deadwood, Rome, From the Earth to the Moon....) I would totally buy that DVD. Not to mention as a general rule they just get bigger budgets. They also get axed faster because of said bigger budgets, but what does get made is very, very pretty compared to basic-cable crap. (No, I don't watch much network TV today. HBO ruined me. It's all complete shite and the production values are garbage. Even "Doctor Who", of which I'm fond, looks hopelessly cheap, though being a fan of the original that's part of its charm. That's the only reason I ever turn on the Sci-Fi channel any more, and the only fiction I really watch on BBCA. I watch nonfiction and wait for the pay-cable stuff to hit DVD. Though I did see some "House" when I was in the hotel and my choices were limited and it was amusing. Hugh Laurie's always brilliant.)
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Old Dec 9 2008, 11:05 AM   #114
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Finished reading.

...yeah, I think I like it. There are major problems, but in spite of them, I think this is a script that could have had some real potential.

Damn.
Leaving aside the canon issues with the script, because we could debate these forever, I have to say that I agree with Cavatica and D. M. Domini. Moore is writing for (a) the network who's going to finance the project, which wants (b) large audiences who will watch it and thus cause (c) advertisers to pay big money for slots during the ad breaks. Fans (d) aren't really on the radar, other than they know we'll be part of (b). Whether we love what we see or hate it, that won't really matter to the networks. They just want to see audience figures that will dictate whether the series gets continued or not. (Firefly, anyone?)

Having said that, I'm glad that this version didn't get made - but then, it's a first draft so the end product would probably have looked very different as it would have been through numerous revisions before making it to the screen.

There were parts that I did enjoy - like the foreshadowing of the Red Star, F'lar explaining the background of Threadfall to Lessa (and the wider audience of non-Pern fans) and the ending, setting up the rest of the series. There were also internal consistency issues, though - F'nor explains that if he holds Lessa's hand, Canth will be able to 'see' her potential worth as a rider, but how is dragonless Lytol supposed to perform the same trick? Hopefully these would have been picked up in future rewrites! (And I'm not getting into a discussion of the way this replaces Search dragons!)

If I knew nothing about Pern and watched this, as Anareth says, with suitable production values, then I would probably have enjoyed it. But given the constraints on production companies, as discussed in this and other threads, I don't know if it's possible to produce a Pern TV programme or movie that satisfies absolutely everyone, from networks to fans alike.
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Old Dec 9 2008, 11:33 AM   #115
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Well, for those content to think within the box constructed in Hollywood umpteen years ago this would probably fill the definition of what works. They can make it if they want to, but I don't have to watch it.
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Old Dec 9 2008, 12:04 PM   #116
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And I'm pointing out that it's obvious that the given explanation stretches the bounds of plausibility well past the breaking point -- it's fluff: unoriginal, blatant filler -- a la LOTR Adaption's "evil halfbreed army digging pointless tunnel-to-nowhere #37567987698769"
How else do you explain it? She WAS a virgin until she came to the Weyr. You would think that someone would have taken it before then, but they didn't. What explanation would you give?
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Old Dec 9 2008, 12:27 PM   #117
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Well, for those content to think within the box constructed in Hollywood umpteen years ago this would probably fill the definition of what works. They can make it if they want to, but I don't have to watch it.
That's a pretty simplistic way of looking at it.
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Old Dec 9 2008, 03:45 PM   #118
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How else do you explain it? She WAS a virgin until she came to the Weyr. You would think that someone would have taken it before then, but they didn't. What explanation would you give?
Well she was making herself look pretty plain and old.

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Old Dec 9 2008, 05:02 PM   #119
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Well, for those content to think within the box constructed in Hollywood umpteen years ago this would probably fill the definition of what works
That could be construed as insulting. Although I find it amusing that in these sorts of things, everyone is in a box, or on a side, and doesn't seem to realize it. There's always the "original must be preserved!" fandom box. Which is the box I consider myself to be thinking outside of. Of course, my pragmatism and my tendency to read these things from a writing and story-crafting point-of-view lands me in that Hollywood box of yours, I guess.

No win situation here?

Novel writing and scriptwriting are two different mediums. A novel writer has no limitations on scenery, or special effects, or much of anything. No matter what they write, it requires their brain, time, and something to write with, be it a pen and paper, or a computer, or typewriter, or whatever. Same real-world cost, no matter if they are writing something indie with a character cast of two, or a generation-spanning space saga with a cast of 300.

Scripts, however, are going to be *produced*. In the script-writing world, two characters locked in a room for the duration of the movie will cost less to produce than the generation-spanning space saga. Two characters in a room will cost the paychecks of two actors, and the one set (and other stuff I am not aware of, never having worked in theater). The generation-spanning space saga will cost the paychecks of many actors, will require the building of many sets, and will have CGI special-effects to boot. So while the same story in novel form cost the authors relatively the same real-world amount of resources, the tv or movie versions will consume highly different amounts of resources.

A scriptwriter who doesn't look at these sorts of things is a fired scriptwriter. It's like the teenage kid begging for a ferrari, and not understanding that their $7 an hour paycheck isn't going to cover those car payments, no matter how much they insist they'll pay for the car out of their own money. Real-world limitations apply to screenwriters. That doesn't make them hacks.

What *does* make them hacks is when they are not creative enough to overcome real-world limitations, or, in the case of adaptations, they either are not close enough to the series so they are unable to finger the heart of what makes the series tick (which they really do need to be able to identify in an adaptation, because you only adapt something if it has some really cool and successful quality already), or they are *too* close and are unable to make adjustments that good storytelling *requires* when a story is switching mediums and audiences.

Looking at the script, I see several things that make me look at it positively...I see RDM setting up strong characters, and also situations that will provide later conflict. Conflict is not one of AMC's strengths, so I approve of what RDM is doing here, because conflict and characters ARE two of his strengths.

I also see RDM avoiding what I see as two of the easiest-to-abuse facets of Pern...telepathic dragons that luuuuuv their riders forever and ever, and the middle-ages scenery and costuming and props hole. The dragons are still obviously bonded to their riders, but he's careful to build up the world and characters before introducing that. He's careful to NOT use that as The Gimmick. I approve of that! He is also careful to specify that this is a failed sci-fi colony, not "a fantasy world somewhere unknown". With the help of the costuming and prop people, he avoids the pitfall of the "generic medieval fantasy" setting...or in other words, he shakes up his audience's expectations, and orchestrates things so that while the details are different, the audience that is new to Pern still gets some of the major things that AMC gives us in the books. He changes the detail, but preserves the "feel", which is no mean stunt as a writer.

There are things that hit me as wrong...Ruatha's desert scenery, F'lar's speech about the "supple" spot his dragon touches (I have the urge to take a red editor's pen to that bit of dialogue...cut, cut, cut! What was he thinking, using "touch" and "supple" in the same sentence?). Thrax is a bit of a throw-away character. And the finished product won't be quite the same as the books. But if the books are a tasty cake, I suspect the tv series would have been a tasty pie. And I won't turn my nose down at tasty pie, just because it's not cake.

If that makes sense.

So. I know I re-said things I said earlier in the thread. But I am not mindlessly following some hollywood trope, and I resent that a bit. I also know I'm not the best writer in the world. But I am seeing some serious writing skill in the script, despite the canon changes. And due to that, I think this script wouldn't necessarily have been a failure if it had been produced. It also helps that RDM walked away from the project when some weenie tried some stunt unspecified to us (unless RDM mentioned it in his BSG blog...I think he may have in 2005 or something. Maybe I'll go find that.), and the fact that I've watched both BSG and Carnivale and both were very high quality productions. Knowing those things makes me suspect that the canon changes we see all have a reason. And if there's one thing I've noticed among the good writers...the best usually have *reasons* for a lot of things they do in a story, whereas the midlist writers put things in, but don't have any discernible reason for why they chose this or that, and don't bother to think about the ramifications of those things.
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Old Dec 9 2008, 06:11 PM   #120
Ryuu
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Default Re: Defunct script for Pern TV

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectricDragon View Post
What Babylon 5 introduced was the intentional multi-season and/or series spanning story arc. To do Pern as a TV series, you would have to script it out in such a way.

Season 1: The events of Dragonflight
Season 2: The events of Dragonquest
Season 3: The events of White Dragon
Season 4: The events of All the Weyrs of Pern
Season 5: The events of Skies of Pern

Interwoven into, and filling out the seasons, would be flashbacks and/or prior events of Masterharper of Pern (Season 1), and the contemporaneous events of the Harperhall Trilogy (Seasons 2 and 3), The Smallest Dragonboy and Runner of Pern (Season 4), Renegades of Pern (Seasons 4 and 5), and Dolphins of Pern (Seasons 4 and 5). The seasons can span differing amounts of time, and the interval between explained with some decent narration (Calling Ms. Blanchett's agent!).

Movie #1: Dragonsdawn (to include flashbacks to Survey: P.E.R.N. and track forward through The Dolphins' Bell, the Ford of Red Hanrahan and The Second Weyr).
Movie #2: The Fall and Rise of Ruatha (the events of Moreta and Nerilka).
Movie #3: Dragon's Eye (possibly including the events of Ever The Twain?).
Movie #4: After the Fall.
Still doing on this thread, but I could see potential in what you said here, ED. I like that idea, but rather than telling the events of MHoP as flashbacks, I could see actually starting the series at the point just before Fax's killing F'lon and invasion of Ruatha--to give the audience a sense of what motivates F'lar & Lessa--run that for the first half of the season. Then do a mid-season fast forward 11 Turns to the beginnings of DF to include the parallel events of Renegades with appropriate cast changes and makeup to account for the age changes.

Renegades actually has several events and other POVs going back to DF and running through the rest of the DRoP trilogy until it finally concludes between TWD & AtWoP. Since series TV often has an A-plot and a B-plot storyline in most episodes to break up the action, Renegades (along with the Harper trilogy for DQ and a few weeks for TWD) is almost a ready-made B-plot story for the original DRoP trilogy
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