It’s amazing how things can turn on a dime in this business.  One day, you’re considering casting choices for your upcoming all-but-green-lit project and the next, you’re shifting hopes and focus to that pilot script you finished last week.  Sure, it’s disappointing and incredibly frustrating, but what makes it so infinitely galling is how quickly things can go south.  And, more often than not, for completely inane reasons. Shit. The network just cancelled a show featuring a protagonist with curly hair.  Curly haired protagonist shows are out!  Sorry.  Wait. What? Why don’t we just change our curly-haired protagonist to a protagonist with straight to moderately wavy hair?  Okay, but another network just cancelled a show in which one of the characters wears sandals.  Nobody wants to watch sandal-wearing characters anymore! Hang on.  Maybe these shows were cancelled for reasons other than hair and sandals – say something a little more egregious like, oh, the fact that they simply weren’t very good?

Maybe.  And then again, maybe not.  I had a conversation with someone who has worked in the industry for many years.  According to her, the common denominator for many of today’s successful shows is their ability to be followed without actually being watched.  In other words, consider them radio plays of sorts that can be haphazardly monitored and enjoyed while you’re doing something else like, presumably, chores, surfing the internet, or dissolving that corpse in a mixture of sodium hydroxide and water.  I find it hard to argue otherwise because, as I mentioned in a previous entry, I’m a fickle t.v. viewer.  I tend to prefer those handful of shows that require your undivided attention, shows like Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, The Shield, Rome, Arrested Development.

The way I see it, I have one of three choices.  1. I can keep fighting the good fight – which, quite frankly, doesn’t really hold the allure it once did.  2.  I can give up and consider another profession.  MMA fighter maybe?  3.  Or, I can accept the reality and shift focus to creating something a little more in line with what seems to be working out there.  Yes, perhaps it’s time to revisit Detective Vampire M.D., Attorney At Law.  And I’m going to need YOUR help to do it!

For the next couple of days, this blog’s comments section will be transformed into our own private writer’s room.  Together, we will create the perfect series, an amalgamation of every trendy element on television today, a programmer’s sublime Frankenstein monster.  So far, we know that our protagonist is a doctor who uses his medical knowledge to solve crimes and then prosecutes the guilty parties.  But, here’s the twist: he’s also a vampire!  BUT he doesn’t know it so he leads a double-life.  During the day, he’s just your typical doctor/detective/lawyer but, at night, he prowls the city’s rooftops, feeding on the criminals who escape the justice meted out by his alter-ego.  And he’s aided by his sidekick, a lovable wizard zombie.  Oh, and the show is a semi-musical.

That’s all I got so far so I’ll need you to fill in the rest.  Who are our supporting characters?  The sassy best friend?  The kooky coroner? The sassy kid?  The cranky father/neighbor/police commissioner?  The sassy mother/neighbor/computer genius?  The telepathic dog?  Please consider making him sassy.  What happens in the pilot?  Remember rule #1 of pilot script writing = It is imperative that the audience not be confused at any point or be left with any questions.  This would be quite alarming for them, so make sure the script leaves no narrative stone unturned in letting us know absolutely everything about our characters, what the show is about, and where it’s going to go.   Explain absolutely everything.  Which brings us to rule #2 of pilot script writing = Avoid heavy exposition.  Finally, what’s the plan for the first season?  And who do you see playing the part of our anti-hero? His chiropractor?  The mouthy elevator boy?

Just post your thoughts right here.  Don’t be shy.  Whether you’re an accountant, a sherpa, or an elephant sperm collector – it doesn’t matter.  You too can be a writer because all that’s really required is a willingness to sit around all day, making shit up.  And a willingness to have your script fixed by accountants, sherpas, and elephant sperm collectors.

And no self-censoring!  Remember, there are no bad ideas.

Apparently.

78 thoughts on “March 12, 2013: Ah, screw it! Let’s create our own show!

  1. isn’t there a way of making a stargate reunion movie from your garage? even david hewlett has some sets from sgu i think, so there’s your set for all the action!

    just make sure the actors are willing to work for free, and just make sure the movie is online-streaming-only. (you can make your money back by selling drugs or something)

    there, i’ve solved the problem! 😉 😛

  2. Elephant sperm collectors? Looking for a new dinner option, Joey? 😉

    Anyhoo…I feel for ya, buddy. I’m not in a terribly creative mood right now, but with several pale characters popping up in various shows (Morgue in Freakshow, the alien race in the upcoming sci fi series, Defiance, Ted Danson on CSI…) I insist that the protagonist have albinism. This will fit in perfectly with his whole life-sucking Wraith vampire alter ego. Now, this part is REALLY important – he must also have long hair. During the day he keeps it restrained in a ponytail, but at night when he’s hunting it’s loose and wild. This way no one will ever suspect the two are the same man.

    Also, he must have a supermodel-esque girlfriend who, though supposedly a successful professional herself, will never, ever find true fulfillment until she presses the sheets with our Dr. Blood, esquire. This should make for a good two, maybe three, seasons full of doe eyes and lingering, longing stares, a la Twilight, or The Bachelor.

    Okay…gotta go (throat tickle, etc…plus I MUST get back to Hamish Macbeth). I will think more on this when I have a clearer head. 🙂

    das

  3. Make sure that there is a dog in this show and that the dog narrates his thoughts throughout the show. Also, when the protagonist turns into his alter-ego vampire, make sure he uses a deep growling voice. I hear everyone loves that.

  4. And thus you’ve precisely nailed the problem with American television. This is why most of the shows I watch these days are on BBC America. I’m sure they have their fare share of rubbish too, but at least some of the productions assume the audience is capable of firing a neuron or two.

    As for your Detective Vampire, you have to make sure he only has one name and make it esoteric enough that it can be either his first or last name and cryptic enough that no one knows which it is. In fact, make it Crypt….

    Nyah. No one would ever get it….

  5. Oh boy. You’ve asked for it…

    Okay! Okay! I got it! The kid, father, mother, genius, dog, etc, is played by the same actor. It is like a 15 -16 year old living in a house all by himself. (A Ferris Buehler type) He impersonates his entire family fooling the neighbors, school, police, in order to keep living in a nice big house alone. He pays the bills by writting books = the dad. (He is a #1 Best Seller) He buys groceries by dressing up as mom. He has a sister! He goes on a few dates dressed as the sister just to make everything look normal. And he attends high school as himself. He has to keep everyone at arms length so he is not detected. His real family is dead, or living in Hawaii. As the series goes on, one by one, people find out but help him keep his secret or they never know and he fools everyone. This show would be sad, poignant, funny, scary, uplifting, and sometimes the viewer will cry for the kid.

    Also, you could do a show about a family who is doing a reality show and what is really going on when the cameras are not rolling.

  6. Oh…and as a hobby he could participate in a robot combat league just for kicks. I smell a tie-in episode…!

  7. S/he needs to have a pet T-Rex cuz who doesn’t love dinosaurs. Also make a half brother who doesn’t know he is a werewolf.

    I’d rather rewatch Stargate/Doctor Who/Firefly (and a small collection of movies) on repeat than the crap that is on tv right now. I used to watch 20 or more hours of new tv a week and now it’s maybe 5 or 6 hours. There is nothing that interests me now. When I move I won’t be getting cable and will just buy the shows I like on iTunes. It’ll save me a lot of money and still support the shows that I like. Maybe one day all the “reality” crap will go away and we can once again have quality enertainment. Until them I’m off to watch Doctor Who. For the fifth time.

  8. This show sounds great! Especially because, and you knew it was coming, the elusive criminal mastermind that is woven throughout the series’ 10 seasons is actually…himself! Since he doesn’t know he has that double life, he doesn’t realize until the very end that the Big Bad Guy he’s been trying to find & prosecute is none other than his very own self. And then of course the dilemma is what does he do? Does he arrest himself? Do we see witty banter back and forth during a moment when his proximity to a Transylvanian Frankenstein-Rosen Bridge allows both of his personalities to co-exist, simultaneously, on either side of a mirror? Does he shoot / stake / bite himself? All of the above? None of the above? Yes, I think so.

    That’s all I have for now…I have to go account for all of this Sherpa sperm…

  9. I suggest a crotchety but strangely lovable vampire mentor. Perhaps he was an early Christian priest turned around the first millennium. He immediately succumbed to his blood lust but after a thousand years or so he realized the error of his ways and refound his morality. He will be a fount of sage advice that the protagonist immediately ignores but learns the hard way was correct (always around the 38 minute mark).

    Oh and the bad guy must always be a tangential character who shows up at the 10-12 minute mark that seems to serve no purpose but is secretly harboring a murderous grudge.

    Should Blood Law get 2+ seasons there must definitely be a Mary Sue/ MacGuffin escalation situation where he becomes the extra most awesomest vampire by the season finale only to wind up tripping upon a bigger “Bad” that forces the Dr Blood to gain new, previously thought to be mythical vampire powers.

    Also I admit I’m guilty of the TV that you don’t watch. The only shows I watch the day they air are those I’m not really watching. I hoard the TV shows that require my attention for the weekend when I actually can pay attention.

  10. Forgot to add. I watch fewer shows from the US all the time. The BBC has taken over my life with Doctor Who, Merlin and Sherlock. I have also been enjoying The Almighty Johnsons from New Zealand. And Continuum is a Canadian show I’ve been enjoying. Not sure where to put Arrow as its made in Canada. The few shows I watch from the states have gone down in quality. Not sure how long I’ll continue watching.

  11. Don’t forget the action can’t take place in a current decade. It must either be vaguely far enough into the future that CGI can cover any plot device you need OR it must take place pre-cell/smart phone. As any veteran soap opera watcher knows, simply calling someone would have ruined many, many dramatic moments. An email sent to “all” just doesn’t have the same impact as a lost or stolen letter. Just sayin’

  12. I think his pet should be Grumpy Cat. In his down time your VampDoc can create internet memes with him. Oh, and he should also turn into a woman. With a British accent.

  13. We can do the same actor playing all parts thing, but it has to be in flashbacks so we can have a kid actor and an adult actor playing them all in at least two parts of the timeline.

    Also, since there are already two shows with male police commissioners of NYC, our show needs to have the first female police commissioner in some town. Fargo, maybe.

    Now, where do the gay couple and the lesbian couple fit in?

  14. Joe write a TV script about a pack of dogs living in an old apartment in the city. One is a hoarder and keeps lots of crap in his room. One is a chef and keeps them all fed by making great meals out of food from the garbage can outside a resturant. One is always out looking for a better place for them to live. One is hooked on sniffing everything in sight so the others stage an intervention. One loves to dance, another loves to sing. And as you wish, one could be a vampire, one could be an alien, one is a coroner, and one is a zombie who has been dead for a while. They kicked the lawyer out. It could be a cartoon or real dogs that talk. Well?

  15. *Raises hand to take the foul*. Guilty–I eat, crochet, fold clothes, read email & blogs, play computer games, etc. while watching TV. I’m a mid-Baby Boomer, so I grew up with TV in the house. TV with crocheting, eating, and folding started decades ago.

    The musical part of the series can be DV, MD, Esq. & WZ taking on drivers who set their car stereos on “window rattle” when driving through residential neighborhoods.

  16. Make sure both the lead and the sidekick zombie are hot e.g., for some reason they aren’t deathly pale, nor are body parts sloughing off. Then make sure there is homoerotic subtext between them. (Have you watched the new Hawaii 5-0? Like that.) Done and done!

    Oh, don’t forget the diminutive yet sassy female mentor, older so she doesn’t threaten the bromance.

  17. Man, I just read about some more pilots on the Hollywood Reporter feed. Some of these shows just seem so odd — a drama about the rise of the personal computer industry in Texas in the 80’s, really? James Spader is going to be the lead of a spy drama, really? Maybe 20 years and a few kilos ago, no offense James! Oh, there’s way more, and they all look really dumb. I’m afraid someone already stole an aspect your idea though:

    Gothica*
    Logline: A sexy gothic soap set in the present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein (Tom Ellis) and Dorian Gray (Chris Egan), among others.

    I guess there’s always room for one more vampire.

  18. in a surprise twist, the telepathic dog is really a cat (obviously sassy) in disguise who is hiding from the russian mob! he owes them money from when he bet on the 49ers to win the superbowl this year. it’s later revealed that he threatened/intimidated some rats to chew on the power cables at the super-dome to cause that black out.

  19. Don’t forget to include ethnic and gender stereotypes!
    Sorry about the bad news but this was a kick-ass rant Mallozzi!

  20. As a TV watcher, I feel your pain – in that I wish more shows had more substance. I am perfectly capable of doing my chores and watching complicated TV shows if need be…but I do tend to enjoy simply sitting down and NOT wanting to be distracted with 50 other things because the show is just that good.

    Otherwise, I like @archersangel’s idea of someone (animal) being involved with the mob. The mob is apparently very in right now. Oh, also, communism is back so maybe our vampire doctor’s dad secretly worked for the KGB and moved to America on assignment.

  21. I can see the protagonist clearly – a tall pale fellow who, besides his other attributes, spouts poetry from time to time. He has one name – Todd. His sassy best friend is not exactly his best friend, but a guy who helps out when it suits him, then goes about his own crime fighting when it doesn’t. The best friend also plays a mean game of poker against top mob figures in Vegas and moonlights as an American Airforce pilot on the weekend. He’s a handsome, rakish devil named Sheppard.

  22. So, no matter what, IT *has* to be in Hawaii! But, on the BIG ISLAND. So you can cut to bubbling volcanoes and such! LAVA is always good. Just as cool as explosions. – Seriously, WHO doesn’t love Hawaii..? Sun, surf, sand… [okay. Except for DANNO. But hey, that’s just another show..], Babes… – Just think, your Vampire guy can surf at night, to avoid the beach crowds… And, he can moonlight as a biochemist trying to perfect the Ultimate SUNSCREEN!!

    [oh, and I like @ENSREDSHIRT’s “Cardinal” idea… He can be one of the Loser’s from the current “Voting”..?]

    And his Sidekick could be some ex-Ninja-Yakuza-short-order-sushi-chef who now works as a professional Buyer for Time-Share-Condo-Designers…

    BTW, Their “common” Interest — the Colour *RED*…

  23. What about having a werewolf as the best mate but they only friends during the night but are enemies in the day…And there is a fetish for red in his wardrobe

  24. Joe – so sorry to hear things have gone south once again. That sucks, but keep up the good fight.

    Otherwise, I think all you guys are way to high concept for today’s audiences. My first thought is just to have a camera and sound guy (even better if they’re the same guy!) follow around a bunch of redneck catfish noodlers and record their antics. Done and done!

    Seriously, I’ll have to give this some more thought.

  25. Together, we will create the perfect series, an amalgamation of every trendy element on television today, a programmer’s sublime Frankenstein monster.

    I would have gone with a series around a network or studio executive’s assistant. Each episode would be a miniature war between the exec-prod of a series at that studio that wants to make a good show versus a network exec that wants to make money, with the assistant stuck in the middle.

    The pilot is a reality show featuring hot young women in bikinis on a desert island in a cook-off that goes horribly wrong. The follow up features hot young women in bikinis stranded in a nearby galaxy — call it Gregasus — on a mission of exploration that goes horribly wrong. (I smell spin-off potential here!!!) In the season finale, the studio is besieged by a bikini-laden zombie apocalypse that is somehow solved by killing Hitler again.

    It would hit all of the key target demos every single week with unlimited opportunities for product placement and a cast and writing staff that could be fired at a moments notice with no creative consequences. It’s simultaneously a network’s wet dream and the most creatively depraved idea in history.

    Airing Friday nights at 10pm on NBC, with repeats airing in a four-hour block every Monday night on SyFy. Imagine Greater. All rights reserved. Brought to you by Apple.

  26. You forgot the two golden words “reboot” and “remake”! If it’s been made before and people even vaguely liked it, then they will love it even more when it has more CGI and less complexity! There’s a brand here we can use, people! I think the industry should abandon all pretense of making new stuff and just remake EVERY FILM AND TV SHOW EVER, starting at the beginning with the Lumiere Brothers’ Arrival of a Train at at La Ciodat – only this time we’ll use the Tokyo Bullet Train in 3D so the train really WILL come out of the screen and hit you!

    I also hear that Frankenstein is in right now and there are at least two or three Frankenstein shows on the way, so you need a Frankenstein’s Monster in there somewhere. Maybe the lead is a vampire AND a monster. And a dog.

  27. Well this took some thought…not really I already had these written out. LOL! I like police/detective shows. The mentalist, Pysch, Law and Order, Bones, Numbers etc.

    Confined to a wheelchair, on a rooftop high above the city street, he sits for hours.Portraits of criminals taped inside a notebook rest on the ledge.
    With binoculars and a watchful eye, he searches the street below.
    He failed at many things.As a spotter for the police department he succeeds.
    or
    He wore khaki pants and a tactical vest. Armed with a camera, he fought corruption in the local city government. He spent weeks observing and gathering information. Sitting on the hood of his car, from a quarter mile away, he watched and took aim.

  28. Make sure that at the end of every episode the protagonist finds a new way to accidentally go back in time, step on something important (butterfly effect style) and return to a new, different and increasingly boring present. The only thing that should stay constant are the characters, but their names should change each time.

  29. Maybe AU or takes place on another planet, where a few people are telepathic and sassy, and have x-ray vision, no not Krypton as the planet. hero/bad guy can see into the future and time travel (love time travel). And Jessica Fletcher and/or Monk can be around to help solve crimes our hero can’t figure out. Has a housekeeper/gourmet chef to keep him/her tidy and fed. Obviously I need to keep thinking.. but its a start… Damn I don’t envy you your job, but I am glad you take on the task, some mighty fine work has blasted out of those fingers, oh wait, our hero can shoot powers from his fingers… ok, work in progress…Have a better day!

  30. Didn’t we just have have show about a doctor living a Jekyll and Hyde existence with becoming another person when the sun set? I started to watch that one too.

    It was cancelled…

  31. You also need your random timetraveling character who is constantly trying not to tell him how things are going to turn out only to do something himself that shattters his timeline trapping him in the past making his character completely uselss to anything or anyone after that point. Until later on you learn that he is actually the main characters best friend from highschool and is the reason he became a vampire in the first place. He should also have a clever catchphrase. something along the lines of ‘Oh Frazzles.’

  32. Great rant Joe. And I am in total agreement about the current state of television.

    As for “our” script, I’m going to recommend the sassy best friend. Let’s call her…Xim. Xim Carwashian. (Just think of all the lame jokes we can make from that last name!)

    She should be a sassy gal who is famous for nothing, commands large sums of money to host parties, and has had far too much plastic surgery. Yet has a heart of gold. (!)

    In the mid-season finale, we learn that Xim actually comes from a long line of vampire hunters, and she has been in fact, working into the good graces of our hero in order to stop him. But has come to have feelings for him, and is now conflicted. What. Will. She. Do? (After Twitting and tanning of course.)

  33. I hope your vampire protagonist uses his blood drinking to check people for blood diseases or disorders. “Hmm. She tastes anemic. Check her levels.”

  34. I rest my case…. these network execs don’t know what they are doing. If a show succeeds, it’s because for whatever reason “someone” decided they liked that particular show, again for whatever inane reason and it was allowed to continue and developed a following after a slow start.

    Here’s a thought… Why not bring back and continue some good shows that were cancelled?

    The 3 Stargates (especially SG1) could have gone on and become America’s answer to Dr. Who from Britain. There were many-many-many more stories to tell.

    Star Trek N.G and Voyager could come back and repair/continue some story lines… People died in those shows you say…pish-posh!! that was in another reality… carry on…

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    To Execs, Networks and Sponsors
    – Need more maturity, continuity and imagination from TV execs. networks and sponsors.
    – A lot less flightyness, petulance and brownnosing…!
    – NEVER, NEVER, NEVER end a quality show (despite what YOU might think of it) in the middle of a story line. Allow the writers to continue and end things properly. Here’s an idea, if you decide to end a show even after less than a year, but done properly, like a novel, you can put it on DVD and sell it as a 5,10 or however many shows there were before cancellation,TV novelette – why hasn’t anyone thought of that? Create a sub-genre, what a concept!
    – Why does it have to be all lawyer shows one year, medical shows the next with vampires following? Why do you have to eliminate them all and replace them with “over-acted, canned-laughter” shows? Where are the space shows and why are they gone and not replaced? Why can’t you have variety?
    GROW UP AND DO A BETTER JOB FOR THE AUDIENCE – THINK OUITSIDE THE BOX INSTEAD OF “HOW YOU’VE ALWAYS DONE THINGS”
    – Isn’t there ANYONE with some vision out there who is a leader and not a copycat artist or follower?

    (voice crying in space, echoing back……….) 🙁

    I guess I’m having a cranky week…

  35. I like the idea of stalking the stalker. Someone is after our intrepid sassy doctor detective lawyer vampire hero, leaving ominous yet oddly romantic threatening love notes. Is it the ER nurse who is only after his body, or something/someone far more sinister? Oh oh oh…and the stalker is after the daytime personality. Since he doesn’t know about the nighttime personality, the nightime alter ego has to save his daytime persona. He has to prevent his own murder/seduction. But wait, this may be getting too complicated for our distracted driver (I mean TV watcher) so maybe save it for season 3, when the storyworld is more established (and the plot pickings are getting thin).

  36. Oh, and I like @Bailey’s idea of using Grumpy Cat as the sassy (in this case sarcastically sassy) pet. Then again, given his celebrity status, I’m not sure we can afford him.

  37. Sorry to hear things aren’t going well for ya Joe. That can be very discouraging. One of my favorite quotes is from Harriet Beecher Stowe “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you till it seems you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. ” Things can go south fast, BUT they can also do a 180 just as fast in a positive direction.

  38. You need a by the books cop to partner with your vamp and say things like “You’re breaking all the rules!” and “The sarge won’t be happy about this” and “Wait; we don’t have a warrant to kick down that door!” This cop should also be completely oblivious to the fact that his partner is a vampire, despite the vamp guzzling from a thermos of blood. If you can have the cop get shot and die in the vamp’s arms in the pilot that would be terrific, so long as the cop only had a week left before retiring.

    You also need an adorable goth CSI whiz with a roomful of cool
    machines who find any clue and hack any computer.

  39. I recently sent a pilot for a sci-fi action drama to the contest where they critique your work and give notes. The notes were positive for the most part, but one of the note was, “It sounds more like you’re making a case for the pilot.” Making a case for the pilot, isn’t that the point of a pilot. Also I submitting it twice and the first time they said I didn’t have enough description and the second time they said I had too much description. It’s a wonder they get anything on the air at all.

  40. Hmm. Not sure what “popular trends” are now today. But i’d go for a show that starts off in a medieval setting. The main character is a monk who is unusually observant and intelligent but suffers from neurosis that make it almost impossible for him to function in the real world. His superiors, driven mad by his eccentricities, ship him off on missions throughout the world. Along the way, he gathers a small band of comrades. A square jawed,classic hero type. Maybe a squire whose knight died before knighting the squire. And the squire is afraid of horses… a pagan viking woman, who actually wears the correct amount of clothing and armor instead of the usual brass bras. A wandering samurai, so we can do cross cultural jokes and get the “alien” viewpoint of things. Finally, a thief on the model of “Ladyhawke”, male or female. This person is the one that ultimately keeps the other characters from starving, and provides a means for them to escape when they inevitably find themselves imprisoned.
    The best aspect of this series is that whenever the writers get tired, you just arrange a nice battle scene. Lots of fights = lots of viewers, especially in those demographics that advertisers seem to lust after.
    Mind, I like many of the other ideas I see here too. Maybe we are thinking too small. Not a tv show, a tv network, with ALL of these shows airing. At least airing when we are not showing Stargate reruns….

  41. Don’t forget to arrange perfect product placement! Besides blood, what is our protagonist going to drink? What shall he drive? Is he a Brooks Brothers kind of guy or more Abercrombie? A good show must have at least 25 minutes worth of subliminal advertising in the form of product placement.

  42. I didn’t quite follow your premise, not for lack of clarity on your part, I’m sure. I’m just a little distracted.

    I need stronger “something’s about to happen” cues. I need you to flash the frame purple three times so I know to make that browser window bigger and read the subtitles if I want to follow. For a more organic alternative, characters could perform some full-frame, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo ass-hattery to get my attention first. Then, someone pulls a gun so all exposition can be delivered under conjured suspense.

    The rest of the time, show the popular creeping about, angry sex, and general mocking of anything dignified about the human condition. Something to entertain between purple flashes.

    Once Upon a Time is ridiculously easy to follow. It’s full of fairy tales we already know. Then, they zoom in on a character when someone says a name. What? That’s Cora? Oh, it’s all tied together now.

    See? The zoom in. A visual cue information’s about to happen so I can zone out the rest of the time.

    I’m all for innovation and adapting, but not letting viewers have any questions in their heads is basically saying stories are passe. Even reality show contestants get their sob stories out there so we can be pissed off, I mean, in suspense when the judges hold their breaths before finishing a sentence.

    Can you do that? Write a narrative that’s not a story? I think I’ve read something like that before. It was written by high-schoolers. Maybe there’s something in your storage space that would work. It should read like a multi-player first person shooter game alternating with party scenes and have no purpose or resolution but who survives.

    Hey! You could even introduce the half hour live action show since you’re no longer constrained by the needs of story structure. That’ll fit between reality show time slots much better. See? Innovation.

  43. Joe, this idea is great so far. But I am not sure about the doctor, lawyer or vampire aspect to the lead character. You need to dig deeper. Establish the stakes. Overall, the idea lacks jeapordy. Can the ticking clock be introduced earlier? Maybe in the tease. Not sure the series engine has been properly set up either. I like that he kills people every week but can we add voice over to make sure the audience knows he’s not such a bad guy. How about some flashbacks to how he became a vampire? You’re almost there! Solve these minor issues and I’m sure you’ll have a hit! That does well on DVR! and gets canceled despite the download numbers. Best of luck. Maybe it’ll be a movie one day.

  44. Ouch! Sorry Mr. M. that your projects aren’t going well. It sounds like the TV exes think we (public) are all ADD. It would be nice to have an original plot. It seems like everything is vampires, werewolves or some kind of reality show now. It’s always gone in groups though. Remember when all the shows were clones of Bonanza or Bewitched? Those were the good ole days without Duck Dynasty clones.

    Give the pups a hug from me and do yourself a favor…take a day off. Go somewhere fun to eat, take the pups to the park (bring band-aids for Akemi) and catch a nap.

  45. I think we left out the inappropriate humor guy. Someone with phobias, who bakes cupcakes, runs a failing pawnshop frequented by hoarders, all of whom provide the leads in murder investigations, or are the subjects of medical mysteries which lead to drug busts and murder investigations. Which lead to convoluted court cases.

    Be sure to have 80s sitcom stars return in offbeat cameos.

  46. Are you following along with the Kickstarter campaign for the Veronica Mars movie?
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project
    There is a paradigm shift going on in the world of entertainment. Just as musicians no longer need terrestrial radio to succeed (yeah! Internet!), perhaps television and movie viewers can find ways to have GOOD entertainment, without the need for studio backing. I know this is a long shot, and still very ‘out of the box’, but at least _someone, somewhere_ is trying to make something happen. i know that Stargate is owned by MGM, but still…there are starting to be ways to get projects off the ground, and find an audience-without studio, corporate backing. As a zero budget filmmaker, I’m excited about these new possibilities.

  47. I think @Baskingshark‘s onto something. Remakes and reboots mean we already know what’s going on so we can watch without all that diligence of following it.

    Zombie stories tend to gloss over the plot hole of how zombies could take us over when we can best them ten to one in a fight. I like that you’ve established a minority zombie population. It opens up some exploration of their rights with the easily understood stakes of not letting the zombie apocalypse happen.

  48. I mean the whole bunch of us being a tad cynical where TV shows are concerned.. We’re only one blog, can you imagine how cynical the population is?

  49. Scripted shows are sooooo yesterday. Reality shows are where the big money is…

    Just grab a bunch of religious zealots and a bunch of devil worshipers and toss them into a cramped apartment loaded with bibles and weapons. With cameras in every room recording everything you’ll only need to hire a couple of editors and have a little cash left over for the last remaining survivor.

    Who wouldn’t watch that?!

  50. How about turning your blog into a TV show…

    Dinner with Joe (Restaurant review show–free food, excellent company every week)
    The Pug Whisperer? (pet tips and tricks)
    The Writer’s Room (reality show about writers writing their own show)
    Super Movie Review Show (starring Cookie Monster–could be a licensing issue here)
    I think I’m Turning Japanese (travel show about Japan, sites, vocab, etc.)

  51. as Joan001 mentioned above, you need to include the characters and plot lines from the cult shows of the past to capitalize on existing fanbases.

    with this in mind, let me outline a series pilot for you:

    pursuing a psychotic serial killer, our m.d. vampire protagonist goes to Baltimore where he walks into a bar and meets a good-hearted gangster (played by Michael K. Williams) who’s enjoying a cold beer after robbing some drug dealers. suddenly a blue telephone booth appears out of thin air and it’s pilot (played by Christopher Eccleston) comes out. he is currently saving the universe from total destruction by the evil scientist in a parallel universe (John Noble) and totally needs help!

    good-hearted gangster and our protagonist step inside to join the good fight. however, they need to figure what exactly the evil scientist is up to. to do this, they recruit a brilliant secret agent (played by David Duchovny). then our team figures they need someone to infiltrate the enemy force and gather intel. there is only one person in the world who can do this, and he’s long since retired, but our heroes manage to find him and convince to join the team as a spy (played by a hologram of a young Don Adams).

    the hero team is finally assembled and gets into the blue phone booth to jump to whatever their destination is. however, an unpredicted neutrino storm disrupts the jump and our team ends up on board the ancient ship launched millions of years ago to solve the greatest mystery of the universe. for the past five years it was manned by the crew of two — a cute furry alien from planet Melmac, and a humanoid alien who above else praises logic (obviously played by Leonard Nimoy). turns out, this crew managed to accomplish the mission( the answer was 42), and is now working on turning the ship into a time machine, so they can jump to 2020 and see if Lindsey Lohan finally went to rehab (so they can win an old bet).

    but not so fast! the ship is under attack from evil humanoid robots led by sexy female robot (Tricia Helfer). as we learn this, the pilots ends with a fade out.

    sometime during the first season they will pick up the college student who works as a baby sitter (Scott Baio), a lifeguard (Pamela Anderson) and a sexy female warrior princess (Lucy Lawless) with a sidekick who is the son of a omnipotent being (Kevin Sorbo). and maybe someone from Gilligan’s Island.

    some TV exec will tell you that this sounds ridiculous and expensive, but you can easily convince them to pick the show up. because, well, anyone who ever saw tv in the last 50 years will find their favorite plot or character in this show, which brings the rough audience to 5 billion people.

    as i mentioned above, this is a rough outline of a series pilot. feel free to share any suggestions or plot ideas for season 1.

  52. Dear Joe,

    Your problem is you are trying develop characters. This is where you are amiss. Go check out any of the procedurals – they are all the same people doing the same thing. You need a strong, mostly silent, difficult to know white male (Gibbs, Callan, Holmes, Finch, DB) with an interchangeable supporting cast (one token female, please). Add in snarky dialogue, some exciting gunfire exchanges in which no one gets seriously hurt, and the occasional explosion. No need for plot or character development. Most important, wrap up the story in 42 minutes.

    A serial show never work. Just ask the creators of The Sopranos or Lost or Justified or Homeland. Oh, wait…

  53. How about making it like a ‘monster’ version of ‘Soap’? No?

    Okay…then as supporting characters first of all I would have the obligatory girlfriend. Of course she doesn’t know his secret, although she is wondering why he has such an expensive dry-cleaning bill.

    Next, I would have the nice uncle who’d brought him up. He is well aware what he is because he was the one who turned him – after he’d killed his mother and father. Uncle’s been out the country for the last few years, but now his charge is in danger of getting caught, he’s ready to tell him part of the story.

    Finally, there is the female cop. (let’s make her dark haired, as all the tv heroines at the mo have dark hair!)She knows him through the justice system and has always fancied him. At first she kids him on about his resemblance to the mysterious stranger who’s been seen fleeing from the crime scenes, until at the next murder she finds a familiar looking cuff link. Her heart skips a beat…her mouth goes dry. These were the bespoke cuff links she’d given him as a secret santa gift the previous Christmas…

  54. LivingForCreativity beat me to posting the link to the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign. It will be interesting to see where it goes. Star Trek, now this, maybe there is a chance for StarGate.

    On another note, could Kickstarter be used for some of the ideas that studios aren’t picking up (should you want to pursue them anyway)? Or does that run into rights issues as well?

  55. Joe,
    1) Sorry
    2) The TV business is sounding more and more like the music business… “we want something new and fresh… but only if it follows the fomula of last year’s series that made money….”

    3) Don’t limit “our” new show to one pilot…. make 20, 1 hour pilots. All with the same cast. Episodes could start as a pitch to an exec, or a brainsorming session…. then crossfade to the “new” show. 20 episodes of pilot season caricatures, and stereo types. Use everything. maybe even two or three episodes that are identical – except for names/places/time period. For episodes 9 and 10, we could show “3” episodes of a new show with an intense series-long arc, only to hear that the network cancelled it….. I know – this wouldn’t happen in “real” life…..

  56. Re the sassy telepathic dog: played by 2 dogs, he is a shapeshifter of sorts, going from a small French Bulldog to a Mastiff in an emergency (like reaching the box of treats on the cupboard). And the dog is this way because of a spell-misfire by the Zombie Wizard (the only thing on him decaying is his memory).

    The Zombie Wizard is an IT man by day, sending virus-annihilating magic thru hardline connections and bemoaning the expanding use of satellite connections.

    The main character and the ZW met at Uni during a summer theatre course which had them performing My Fair Lady and the Wizard of Oz ; ZW had cast a spell that helped them memorize the productions but now they can’t forget, thrus propelling them into random singing and dancing. And the spell seems to be feeding itself off of other, newer stage musicals as well.

    The antagonist also attended that summer course. He feels (among other things) that Vamp & Wiz ruined his chances for fame & fortune because Vamp got all the leads and Wiz temporarily removed him from this plane of existence with a tornado conjure gone wrong for the Oz production. Now returned from F Space (just past the E Space where the Daleks hang out), he has vowed to replace Vamp in ALL his jobs and then order Wiz to exile himself to G Space (which probably has a Room with a Moose).

    Because of their random singing & dancing, they’ve been kicked out of just about every reasonable place to live and have now found themselves living a housing complex built from an old factory. The other tenants are different, like them – mostly former carny and circus folk but, here and there, are real monsters/demons/aliens. The landlord of the complex is a guy who cannot speak without doing it as imitating someone else (Nicholson, John Wayne, etc)

    Behind all of it is what’s driving Vamp: he’s researching a way to change Wiz back from his zombification because of how he (thinks he maybe really does?) feels about him. But he won’t make a move until he’s back to ‘normal’ because the whole brain-might-be-melting thing could compromise Wiz’s response.

  57. You know what Joe? Give it a couple of months and present your script again. With all the material bouncing along their way, they’ll probably forget they saw it before and will find something spectacular about it. Or maybe, brush your hair in another direction and do three pirouettes before you walk through the door… As you say, sometimes it all rests on something inane and I’m thinking, according to whichever side of the bed they got up from. No common sense and no more than that.

    You love what you do and you are very good at what you do, ya gotta keep pluggin away at it but don’t throw away what you have already done because new eyes might love it.

  58. I am dying laughing at Rob’s comment, but it does have a sting of truth to it. He may be evil, Das, but more like evil genius!

    I actually don’t have much to add, and I find these blog comments very hard to follow while I’m busy folding my laundry. I will say that if you make the dog telekinetic as well as telepathic, I will be happy.

    Not to discourage everyone, but there’s this:
    http://www.deadline.com/2013/03/sony-pictures-scott-rudin-plot-feature-ilm-adaptation-of-70s-tv-series-good-times/

  59. I don’t suppose you could just re-“imagine” Stargate? You could avoid all the MGM problems/legal problems if you just named it…I don’t know…Wormhole Extreme or something. And as “in” as vampires are right now, what about a Furling who moonlights as PI/attorney?

    More seriously, read up on the process known as “Queen for a Day” and tell me you can’t do something with that. Use a defense lawyer instead of a prosecutor. I’m a defense attorney in “real life” and there’s much more room for character development complications if the character doesn’t have to constantly try to put away “bad guys.” Then add a tiny hit of sci-fi/genre to it, and if nothing else, you have a superior version of Continuum.

  60. I love Bruce Campbell so I want to give him credit. Without a doubt, the absolute most original movie I ever saw was a disgustingly funny, fearless little gem called Bubba Hotep. Makes me giggle just thinking about it

  61. How about a scripted drama show where in the pilot one of the main characters dies in a huge emotional scene.

    However, at the start of the next episode they’re back (with no explanation as to why) and at the end of that episode another main character dies.

    And, then they’re back… etc.

    Each episode starts with the full cast and ends with one (or more) death.

  62. Excellent rant, Joe. But I’m really sorry that things are so sucky on the TV front.

    I got nothin’. But I’ve enjoyed reading everyone else’s plot and character suggestions!

  63. Wait. Semi-musical?…I’m starting to have doubts. I need a pep talk.

    And with the last comment I can see approved at 2:30pm, das is still holding out on us. Make with the ideas, Lady.

  64. the humorless, by the book, straight-laced partner/sidekick has to be played by pee-wee herman (or possibly ozzie osborne, or maybe weird al yankovic – hey, we’re nothing if not flexible, right?). and the dog is really a time-travelling alien farmer who got bitten by a radioactive space cow and was transported to earth. the love interest is a drug dealing androgynous serial killer den mother/soccer mom who always has time to help her sweetie solve cases & find blood doners.

  65. I love this idea…. Well… Given the popularity of Arrow, might I suggest a good looking well built male lead who only wears a shirt 50% of the time… It worked for the original star trek though I am still unsure of why… But needs to be written with plenty of angst with lots of romantic triangles… And maybe a cool hacker or deep feeling martial artist like leverage… And McKay …. Maybe a whole show with David Hewlett….? Again… Probably a lot of shirtless scenes – probably not David Hewlett… And pretty girls who are smart AND sassy…. And Amanda Tapping if possible…. Hmmm okay yeah this sounds hard… Good luck joe, I love anything you are involved with.

  66. The double life thing won’t fly. NBC cancelled Do No Harm after 2 episodes; also tried in Awake and My Own Worst Enemy.

    @laura. Dinosaurs won’t work either. I give you Terra Nova and most recently Primeval New World

    The Following is the new hit series, so we need to make this MD/JD also a part of a serial killer cult-like mix. They will bring out the top 10 victims (because the best shows these days only have 10-12 episodes a season) who will have to sing or dance for their lives–literally. The winner (or loser) in this case would get a rose and killed in various cult-like dinner events, where they are made to feast on the flesh of the victim (because shows are also looking for things not yet on TV like canabalism). The star of the show also owns a golden retriever because let’s face it–how many Buddies movies have they made now? Set this all in a fantasy kingdom where there are feuding families from different lands. Think about it? A serial killer doctor who can keep reviving the victims–taking them to w brink of death and making them suffer horrendously for e sheer enjoyment of a sick viewing public who feeds on this like the vampire needs blood. Then, knowing the law so well, he knows how to get around it. The story also has to have a great love story.

    Then on Monday Mornings if a killing went bad, they would get paged to a 311 so they can be taken down a notch on how they blotch the last killing. Have a sister companion show called The Killing (oh wait, that name is taken) where a flawed woman with a wretched past joins forced with an ex-druggie cop. Patrick Gilmore could guest-star and made to wear that speedo again because we never get tired of seeing that. This show sets out to try to nail the other show in a writer’s showdown that would result the firing of a writer if they get worse ratings than the sister show. Have a way to have the public vote which episode was better, offering prizes to the group of individuals who tirelessly campaigned on social media to get votes for one or the other show. The ultimate Klout winner gets a tour of the set of said show and perhaps lunch with a ice chianti?

    Since Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy are busy at the moment, I suggest Skeet Ulrich from the original Scream who also played a creepy serial killer in CSI:NY (look for 2009 episodes). He was also a detective in Law and Order. And played an ex-priest in the creepy show Miracles that got cancelled because of bad timing (like the Iraq war).

    There would have to be an end-game though? Let’s say a pending doomsday that this cult believes to be true. This misinterpret Nostradamus instead of Edgar Allan Poe to justify their plan. They are doing God’s work. Tie it up with the catholic church. Right now there is a Jesuit priest trying to kill the 36 righteous people in the world, not of course understanding that in the Talmud if one of the 36 suddenly isn’t part of the club anymore, God will provide a new player. So it’s funny to me that a Jesuit priest was named our new Pope.

    Wow I’m exhausted. How do you do this for a living?

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