Recently I’ve gotten into the show Alphas thanks to the recommendation of a friend. It’s been interesting watching new shows/movies lately since I’ve been hyper-focused on story because I pick up on story flaws a lot faster than before. Unfortunately Alphas is riddled with them.
For the first several episodes the cast’s performances seem very stilted, dialogue feels forced, as do relationships. It’s an odd sensation when you realize the writers are trying to force you to accept a romantic interest or a friendship they haven’t actually laid the groundwork for. Most readers/viewers would skip over this if they have enough vested interest in one of the main characters.
The only reason I keep watching is for Ryan Cartwright‘s character Gary. He’s an autistic man with the ability to see signals and frequencies and tap into them. They often touch on the subject of autism, hinting at the case that perhaps we don’t understand it as well as we should, all the while promoting that autistic or any sort of ‘disabled’ individual has value too. I haven’t seen that so often in media, so that in addition to Gary kept me plowing through to the end of the first season. But without Gary, I’d have quit less than 20 minutes in to episode one.
Anyway, since this is Meeting Notes, during a meeting I drew this. These are the characters I found the most interesting, the most starting at the right going to the left:
hidden from the world,
thoughts clear and minds quite brilliant,
little do we know.
What about you?
Have you watched or read anything lately where you noticed the writers were trying to force you to feel a certain way? Or that they hoped you would feel a certain way or accept a plot twist without laying the proper groundwork?
4 thoughts on “Meeting Notes 07”
I pick things apart all the time. I just can’t help myself. Does that mean we’re growing as writers, or a bit crazy? The show I love to hate is The Walking Dead.
I think the writers only have so much to work with when they write for television. If the series is in trouble they may have to rewrite whole episodes to spice things up. I don’t envy them one bit. Forget about artisitc expression too. They need to put butts in front of the tv. Imagine if you only have thirty minutes to make the audience believe in a love triangle? Oh, and you also have to throw in whatever the bad guy is doing and have the good people save the day somehow. Not to mention the network has to approve everything first. Good luck with that. Kind of makes you feel for those poor writers.
Looking at characters from shows or movies has helped me see the need for a sense of urgency in my writing. Like I mentioned above, you may only have a certain amount of time to establish a character. The sooner the audience can define and/or relate to them, the better. If people turn the channel or close the book, it’s game over. I guess the lesson is to make the most of the time you have.
I feel bad for their conditions, but not always their poor performance. There are shows with the same amount of pressures that have really, really clever writers. Sure there’s the occasional hoaky episode, but over all the series is really great. Then there are other shows you want to tear all your hair out it’s so poorly written. Sometimes I think producers forget the writers are the heart of any show/film. They may be able to cover up poor hearts with explosions and special effects for a time, but in the end the heart will show itself and its condition.
Take Heroes for example. The first season was phenomenal. Why? Because Bryan Fuller, quite the creative genius, was on the team. Then he left to do Pushing Daisies, and Heroes floundered. I heard he rejoined for the 4th season, but I haven’t seen if he brought it back up to watchable. I made it through a couple episodes of season 3 before I gave up completely. I just pretend season 1 was the only thing that happened…
But my point being what we’re doing right now, strengthening our writing skills and story telling skills, is exactly what we should be doing and our readers will thank us for it later. We need to be the Bryan Fullers that make everything gel. Besides, once we’re officially published, I think we’ll be under the pressure gun too from there on out.
And to your first point, I think it’s both. Crazy that we would choose this path in life, but better writers all the same. 😉
I couldn’t get into Alphas, there was no chemistry between the actors. I had no reason to care about them as characters. I did like the character with autism, the premise seemed interesting.
The worst show that the writer’s screwed up on was Lost. So many promises made, so few of them followed through on. The confusion kept people watching.
How I Met Your Mother has gone down a horrible path as well. The first two season were hilarious and then after the great strike of 2007, the magic was gone. I feel like the actors have even given up a little bit.
I haven’t delved into Lost yet. I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of people. Maybe someday…
Yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the lack of anything between the actors. When I asked my friend if it got better after the first episode, stating basically what you’d said, he responded in a bewildered sort of, “Huh? It’s not that bad.” Must be something we writers notice.