The Taste of It All

So I missed Heroes on TV last night but caught it online today. It's funny how nitpicky we are with our television viewing. I only watch certain shows and then I hate watching them because I feel they could be doing it better. I won't spoil it for any of you fans out there, don't worry. I'm a fan of the show in that I watch it regularly and I debate it with comic nerds. That's about where it stops. Heroes didn't grip me the way Lost did. It hasn't put up shop in my heart and soul the way Battlestar: Galactica has. It's a good show, but there's something about a super hero show on network TV that you just know will be about 80% drama, 10% action and 10% dumbing down to the average viewer.

An example would be this most recent episode. The LA cop who can read minds stops and asks the nuclear guy what an EMP is.

Really? An EMP? A 12 year old boy knows what an EMP is. Anyone who's seen any movie in the past 30 years involving James Bond, nuclear warheads, super heroes or asteroids knows what an EMP is. Why the writers have decided they need to make a completely functional character into a drooling baboon is beyond me. Do they honestly think we don't know what that is?

The writers on this show are not great, I'll have to freely admit. They've set up their own world and then not played by the rules. One minute a kid can tell his mom's different when she changes personality, the next he can't tell some shape shifter is pretending to be his mom. (Crap, spoiler, sorry.) The good guys are able to finally knock the bad guy out, he's laying on the floor unconscious and yet they don't use the gun THAT'S IN THE ROOM to finally rid the world of the evil. No, they take a cab ride up to the west side.

As with any show of this ensemble largess, you need to understand that we're not following an entire story, we're following bits and pieces that make up the story. That may seem obvious, but what happens is the plot then has to be drug along by omissions and dramatic edits instead of decent writing. A good writer would have remember the bit about Micah and her mom. A good writer wouldn't have made a cop (a cop, someone who presumably can read and understands weapons, may have been in the military at one point) ask "What the hell is an EMP?" A good writer wouldn't have painted themselves into a corner in the first place and need these dodges to get the show back on track. Either the story is strong and can sustain itself or it's not and it should be let go. Anyone with half a brain can smell a hack job a mile away. Have you ever seen anyone yell at their TV during a non-sports related broadcast? It's because they know what's going on and you've let them down first of all by writing so pedestrian that the flaws are spotted and second by not following through and being bold with your pen.

I don't pretend to be a screenwriter or author of any chops, but I know a weak story when I see/read it. Is it because I'm older now than before? Perhaps. Maybe some people just have a gift of insight and can sense bullshit better than others. Maybe some people can tell when they're being handled and manipulated. I want to be carried along with the story just like everyone else. I want to escape. I want to be entertained. What I don't want is to get that sudden snap realization that the writers are involved. I don't want to feel while I'm watching the show that someone is trying to tell me something. I want that feeling to come after. I get the same feeling watching crappy writing as I do when I see video that's purposely going in reverse so as to meet some lighting or movement requirement that apparently forward moving shots couldn't provide. Mrs. A can't see it and she thinks I'm crazy, but there are bits of film, TV, commercials, that have edits in them of backwards moving video and it drives me crazy. It's the same feeling as being in a movie theater, totally engrossed, and then having the sudden sense that you're in a movie theater. The suspension is totally lost.

If you're watching a show and your suspension is lost, the writing team hasn't done their job. All shows can't be winners, but when EACH shows leaves you saying things like, "Man, I want to like this show, but they can't seem to play by their own rules," then you haven't done your job as a writer.


I had a realization today that the coffee I get from Starbucks is good but not because I like the flavor of coffee and hazlenut, but because I apparently I like hazlenut coffee flavored whip cream. After the whip cream has melted and I've lost the taste, I almost don't want the coffee. I think I'll start asking for that instead. Just a giant cup of whip cream with room for a dash of coffee.

Carry on.

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