Red Right Hand: START THE CLOCK
*He is not a secret agent. Not at all.

 

START THE CLOCK

So I had a random commentary fest while I spent my Resurrection Bunny Day writing a Pushing Daisies spec, a CBR piece and intermittently pwning in WarCraft.

Bionic Woman, Life on Mars, Revolver (Guy Ritchie's metaphysical crime flick...not so much a return to form) and a Battlestar. Specifically "The Woman King." The Helo episode. Not because it was a favorite, just because it was the first ep on the disc.

In it, Ron Moore mentions that at one point it was scripted to begin at the end. You've seen this trick. A chunk of the end, lacking context, basically used as the teaser. The episode becomes about the journey. While explaining that it's usually done in the editing stage rather than being written that way (to spice up an ep), he calls it a "perfectly valid" tool.

It is. Yeah.

Sounded a little like there should be a "but" in there.

I frakking hate that perfectly valid tool. To me, it signals that something was wrong -- is wrong -- with the story (and you can spot these right away without having to get to the end and recognize it). To me, it says the teaser or beginning of the first act is weak in some way. Maybe it's got a relaxed tone (which is not always a problem for me) and they thought they need to...ummm spice it up.

It also says to me that maybe there wasn't enough story to fill up the 42 minutes.

Occasionally they'll try to do something with it. Something like, when you get to that scene, they show you a different POV of it. Admirable, sure. There was an Alias ("Authorized Personnel Only", though, where this was not done very well and bordered on tedium.

Despite my misgivings about this perfectly valid tool, I can't simply write it off. Several of my favorite X-Files use the next to last scene to double as a teaser. No tricks. Just cut and paste. And the chances of several of my favorite X-Files doing this are pretty high. Starting about midway though the run, they started leaning on this a lot. Off the top of my head, "Unrequited," a personal fave did this with a not-entirely short scene. Still, when I watch it, I do tend to let my mind wander as to what teaser I might have written instead.

All this is by way of saying, though I have been tempted to, I will never use it.

Start the clock.
©2016 Michael Patrick Sullivan