Red Right Hand: 09.2006
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

ONE PAGE 2006

A year ago (more or less exactly), I put a challenge to the screenwriters out on the intertron netulator. Many of them picked up the challenge and ran with it. A few said they would, but didn't (you know who you are).

Guess what? It's time again. Put up one page of original material and that includes you spec TV writers. Give us a page from your House or Without A Trace. To that end, I've gone with a page from a spec for The Unit. Preferably post something you've written in the last 365 days, but really...how are we gonna know?

Let us see what it is you write. One page, no set-up or explanations. It doesn't necessarily even have to make sense out of context. One page won't hurt you. No one's gonna be able to steal your work from one page. Do it (then leave a comment here so we know you did it).

And you pros out there, I understand there are issues with you posting a page of stuff, but maybe you could give us a page of an old spec that got you a staff job (I'm looking at you, Jane) or some screenplay that went nowhere and you've shoved it away never to be seen again.

Feel free to do more than a page if you like.



I'm using a .jpg screenshot right out of my word processor, but John August has a CSS template for this same purpose if you'd care to go that route.
©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan
 

WITH HER MOTORMOUTH, SHE'D BE A MASSIVE SECURITY RISK

From Gilmore Girls: "We've Got Magic To Do" Season six, episode five.

PARIS
Tell them I speak Chinese...and Farsi.

I expect that, this season, the CIA will turn up at Yale to recruit a certain neurotic blonde senior and compulsive overacheiver. Or, y'know, not.
©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan
 

REALLY SHORT PILOT REVIEW: SMITH

Rawked. \^^/

Critics have complained of Smith's lack of likeable characters. I like Smith for that very reason. Screw characters being likable. Just make them interesting. Simon Baker's Jeff is a functional psychopath. I fear what he might do next. After a string of crappy heist-based TV shows that try to make us root for them by making us understand them, Smith (pilot on innertube at CBS.com) just lets them be as they are. You don't get this much, and even less on prime-time American TV. We may come to understand them and identify with them, but not today.

Herc at Ain't It Cool News called this a "stupid attempt to do Tarantino TV without Tarantino." I think this is a gross generalization. Herc is apparently crediting QT with the entire idea of following the bad guy at all. This is nothing like Tarantino (nor should it be). In fact, I see more of Michael Mann in the style of this show. If this is Herc's rationale for his dislike of the show, then I think he came into it tainted and his off-base comparison discounts the entirety of his opinion.

I just hope it doesn't go all pear-shaped in the very next episode.

Unrelated: My Heroes (P)review at comicbookresources.com
©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan
 

ADDENDUM TO 25 FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS

This shall be known as...

A RANDOM NUMBER OF FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS THAT
VIOLATE THE RULES OF THE 25 FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS LIST

In no particular order.
  • Ainsley Hayes - The West Wing (the idealized Republican...and ideal in sooo many ways)
  • The Master - Doctor Who (the Anthony Ainley version; just classic evil)
  • Vinnie VanLowe - Veronica Mars (they should change the theme song to Vinnie singing Hall & Oates' Private Eyes; want him to do the right thing...buy him off, he's cheap)
  • Sideshow Bob - The Simpsons (driven mad by the fools surrounding him...much like I feel a lot of the time...and the Gilbert & Sullivan (also the only one on the list to violate more than one rule)
  • Peter Watts - Millennium (all business, bad ass, dark secrets, and used the word sangfroid in a sentence)
  • Faith - Buffy The Vampire Slayer ( I don't have to explain myself to you! Sounds like something she'd say. Hmm.)
  • Al Bean - From The Earth To The Moon (Dave Foley in one of the most regular guy portrayals of a regular guy (who got to go to the moon) that there is)
  • Garak - Deep Space Nine (he knows everything about you, you know nothing about him; simple tailor, my ass)
  • Miles Drentell - thirtysomething (no, wait, he's a classic evil)
  • Homer Simpson - The Simpsons (yeah, right, like he's not gonna be on your list too; I say [annoyed grunt] way too often not to put him here)
  • Saffron - Firefly (mmm...con woman; as Inara said...she's good)
  • Colonel Saul Tigh - Battlestar Galactica (why isn't he a regular!? Once again, I dig the broken man, he's only standing because Adama's holding him up)
  • Adena Watson - Homicide: Life on the Street (she's basically got less than a minute of screen time in seven seasons, but she's in every episode, you know?; damn, when Gee sees her at the end of the wrap-up TV-movie...damn)
  • C.G.B. Spender a.k.a Cigarette Smoking Man - The X-Files (because he really believes he's the good guy)
  • Sam Donovan - Sports Night (something about characters who are 100% right about stuff and really snotty about it that I like)
And in violation of the one-sitting pseudo-rule, I shall add to these as I see fit over the next few days. Until my next post...which will be something familiar to certain readers of Red Right Hand.

©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan
 

TONIGHT ON NBC - STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP

10e/9c, check your local listings and like that.



You don't watch it, then you just don't like TV, so get lost.
©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan
 

25 FAVORITE TV CHARACTERS

Following the lead set by screenwriter and director James Gunn (direct link here) and followed upon by Joss Whedon.

The RULES

  • No puppets or cartoons (which keeps Homer off the list).
  • No reality show people (which keeps Dilana off the list (she wouldn't really be on it)).
  • All characters must be regulars on the show (which keeps Faith off the list)
  • No mini-series (keeps off Dave Foley as Al Bean in From The Earth to the Moon, though Al Bean's a real guy).
  • Not really a rule, but suggested in the original - Write the whole thing in one sitting of about half an hour (thus, this post will be linkless, I could go back, but I'm not gonna)
Start the clock. In no particular order...
  • Toby Ziegler - The West Wing (he lives in his own world and all he wants is to get other people to live there because it's better (and it is))
  • Veronica Mars - Veronica Mars (she's smarter than you)
  • Det. Frank Pembleton - Homicide: Life on the Street (being a badass without ever touching anyone; pure decimatory brain power and charisma)
  • Special Agent Dana Scully - The X-Files (smart is hawt)
  • Assistant D.A. David McNorris - Boomtown (second brokenest guy on the list)
  • Lorelei Gilmore - Gilmore Girls (dream girl who I can't even match up to in my dreams)
  • David Addison - Moonlighting (quintessential smart alec)
  • Captain James Tiberius Kirk - Star Trek (if you don't get it, you never will)
  • Wesley Wyndham-Price - Angel (an amazing and plausible transformation, and another brain-powered bad-ass, after all he fucked one villain while he had another one chained up in the closet)
  • D-Ops. Neil Burnside - The Sandbaggers - (self-destruction in the name of national security)
  • The Doctor - Doctor Who (I'm largely going off of Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant, but a nod to Tom Baker and Sylvester McCoy is called for)
  • Jack Bauer - 24 (all I know is that torture is okay when he does it)
  • Remington Steele - Remington Steele (elegant and clumsy at once)
  • #92S110 Vern Schillinger - Oz (one of the best villains ever, and he's just a locked-up racist; J.K. Simmons is the awesome)
  • Captain Benjamin Sisko - Deep Space Nine (Star Fleet can shove it, he's gonna do what needs to be done; he's comin' back for that baseball, asshole)
  • Tommy Gavin - Rescue Me (the brokenest guy on the list)
  • President Josiah Bartlet - The West Wing (as they put it on the show, "smart is not a vice" )
  • Frank Black - Millennium (I can't explain this one, I just like him)
  • Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce - M*A*S*H (he's burned into my psyche though years and years of watching reruns)
  • Omar Little - The Wire (you better run when you hear him whistlin')
  • Wash - Firefly (funny, unique, weird, and still got the hot amazon to marry him)
  • Jeremy Goodwin - Sports Night (he knows all the cards in everyone's hand but he still falls before the power of the cute girl in the white men's shirt; he's pure nerdpower)
  • Dr. Perry Cox - Scrubs (I hate most people, but I wish I had the pure misanthropic might of this guy)
  • Admiral Bill Adama - Battlestar Galactica (democracy-schmocracy, he's in charge, it's an Adamocracy whether he realizes it or not)
  • Det. Dutch Wagenbach - The Shield (no matter how much dog shit gets put in his desk, no matter how stupid he acts, he's still the one that closes the cases and he knows it and he's not afraid to explore that he's not put together exactly right)
Clock off. 32 minutes.

Now, the part where complaints are lodged about the lack of Swearingen, Locke, Buffy, Picard, Lex, Tony Soprano, Vic Mackey, Christian Troy, Frasier Crane, Greg House, whomever. Also not a rule, but suggested in the original.

So what does this tell me. Joss's list revealed a predeliction toward cops, though to be fair, there are so many cops shows.

I like uber-smart characters that can kill you with their minds. They should all form a super-team with secret signal devices and travel the world, turning terrorists and murderers and generally unfriendly types into quivering piles of stupid. Get Pembleton in The Box with Ahmadinejad and he'll come out with a complete rundown of their nuclear program and a confession to the murders of JonBenet Ramsey and Jimmy Hoffa to boot.

I'm also drawn toward self-destructive characters. Man falls down.
©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan
 

LIMITED EDITION?

Once in a while, I delve into the subject of comics. This is one of those times.

Mark Millar, a damned fine writer of the funnybooks, recently opined openly on the cyclical nature of the comics market. Specifically, he had an idea (that had been had before) about what would cause the next bust to the comics market and that it may well be the tactical strike that would nuke it into the day after tomorrow.

That editorial is here. "Booms and Busts"

To quote Tommy Lee (and that's a first) "That's sauteed in wrong sauce." It is so completely wrong, it makes you think that Leonard Nimoy should have won a Grammy for "If I Had A Hammer." That Goatse should hang in the Louvre. That Rumsfeld isn't a fascist. Okay, I got a little carried away with hyperbole, but it was fun.

The gist of it is that Hollywood will steal all the talent from comics. Just that. That all the hot names that write and draw our funnybooks will be lured away to big bucks and glory in Hollywood to the point where they cannot afford to make comics anymore. Fine. Maybe that could happen, but for there to be an impact, you'd have to snag them all at once. Would it kill comics? Not in the fucking least. It might cycle down some, but hardly a deathblow.

Let's not forget that there is a massive pile of comic geeks in Hollywood beating down the doors of Marvel and DC to get in and play with some corporate icons and what-not. And to hear the likes of Quesada, Alonso, Didio, and any number of other editors tell it, they turn a lot of them away, supposedly for not quite getting it right. I'm sorry, but comics fans taste, though discriminating, aren't that discriminating and with a little editorial assist, they'd do just fine. And you get instant name power. Probably more so with some than the "outsider writers" that enter into comics now having built up considerable name power in novels or television but don't have so much that they're selling on the basis of that name. Nobody's reading Meltzer because he's a NYT bestselling novelist. They're reading him because he writes fun comics (arserapes not withstanding). If anything, comics are driving people to his pictureless books, not vice versa.

Let's also not forget the scores of comics wannabes. Look at the lines for portfolio reviews at a con. For each one of them, there are probably three (minimum) writers. Comics is the hardest industry to get into on the professional level (for a writer, anyway). And sometimes, the ones we think are professionals are still working a day job. In TV and film a writer can beat down the doors of agents, submit to prodco's, get attention from competitions, etc. In comics, a writer is frequently told that if they want to get read by an editor, they have to go out, recruit an artist, letterer, maybe a colorist and sink some cash into publishing their own comic first (or be successful in some other field like film, TV, books). I have been told this and I have friends that have been told this by names mentioned in this post and others that are not. There are ways around it (and I have friends that have found those ways), but they are few and far between.

Millar's scenario does not take into account that there is talent out there and if need be, floodgates can be opened and all the comics publishers need to do is hire a few temp editorial assistants to act as life preservers...or as the film industry calls them, readers. I'm sure they'll hire some to save the industry, though they don't have such a beast currently.

Nor does he take into account that Hollywood may not want all the talent. They'll buy their concepts and stuff, but they've got plenty of writers already. Just as the editors say that some outside writers don't understand how to write for comics, there are surely some comics writers that don't understand the nuances of the screenplay.

Comics fans want to read comics. They have their favorite characters and they will read Wolverine no matter who is writing him. As long as Batman doesn't suck out loud, he'll sell. They'll get used to the new people writing these characters and follow them to other books. We like it when we find a new guy and we evangelize on their behalf, like I did when a little known writer took over The Authority with #13.

So bring it on. Let Hollywood grab everyone. Nature and comics abhor a vacuum.

I, for one, would love to see a movie written by Mark Millar. That would seriously kick some ass in a manner as such that one would look to the heavens and say "What is that pair of buttocks doing in orbit?"
©2020 Michael Patrick Sullivan