Unless you're a geek who has been living under a particularly large rock, you'll likely have heard the reports over the last few years of the impending doom-er...live action Star Wars television show. Well it's now official and casting is underway.
I honestly don't know where I stand on this. I mean, there are parts of the Star Wars universe I like and parts I don't. It's natural with something as awesome in scope as Star Wars that there are going to be times when you just don't like what's produced. To some extent Star Trek is the same way. And it's not specific episodes or films I like more or less, it's aspects of the whole. The analogy would be that you enjoy the taste of tomatoes and cheese but you don't like club sandwiches.
I like space battles, not gonna lie. Way back when the PC game X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter was out, I was cultivating a sincere love of vehicles flying around in space shooting at each other. The bigger variety of ships, the wider the range of sizes and capabilities the better. I LOVE Star Wars spacecraft. I love it. A Twitter account was recently set up to ask a daily question and yesterday posed, "What did you want to be when you grew up?" I answered a test/fighter pilot, but only because I wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles. Han was cool and all and the ladies loved him, but I knew I wasn't that cool. I wanted to be the starfighter pilot with an enviable and nuanced command of a laser blasting bird of prey.
And thus comes my problem with a live action Star Wars show. I'm trying to think of a franchise that started as a movie and then became a TV show. And I don't mean a TV movie or mini series, I mean a full blown Hollywood film. At first I had a hard time thinking of a good example, so using my wiki-fu I was able to find a decent list of movies that had been made into serial TV shows. I was surprised how much I'd forgotten. I also noticed Smallville isn't on that list and that was the one example I was going to use. I guess the Superman story was first a comic, then a TV show, THEN a couple movies, then a few more TV shows.
So if you look at that list, it's not a great track record. There are some exceptions where the show was as good as the movie; M*A*S*H, The Odd Couple, maybe Highlander, but for the most part the TV shows were either animated adaptations or hollow money grabs to further the property. And in even rarer instances (Buffy) the show was better than the movie.
How does this impact a live action Star Wars show? We've seen that sci-fi/fantasy can be done on the small screen with varying success (Doctor Who, Battlestar: Galactica, Hercules/Xena, Smallville, Stargate SG-1, Lost, Supernatural) but where the show ends up being broadcast may determine its success. Genre shows on broadcast networks, with a couple mega-exceptions, don't do well. Critically they are panned and they tend to be short lived and usually run out of money. They do better on smaller channels and cable, however, because their ratings don't have to compete with hyper-reality TV. Even better, if they lived on a subscription channel, they could have total control and tell the story they want. So where would Star Wars live? Knowing Lucas, he'd make his own channel, but I'm going to guess if it doesn't go on Sci-Fi, then it's going to ABC.
Why ABC? Well, ABC is tied to Disney and Lucas has kids. He's going to make a show that's for young adults, by young adults, starring young adults. It's going to be The Rebel Alliance 90210. If the slapstick antics of Episode 1, the horrible love story in Episode II and the hormone filled rage of Episode III are any indication, don't expect there to be any Jedi, droids, starship fights, lightsaber battles or much political intrigue. A live action Star Wars is going to be about Princess Leia fighting with her adopted dad, Bail Organa, and how he doesn't understand her. She doesn't want to be a Senator. She loves Gareth, the starship mechanic from the wrong side of Aldera and their love will end this war Daddy!
So no, I don't have any faith that a new show will be any better than the Clone Wars animated show (which isn't bad, but not great), any of the prequel movies or, and I shudder to even type it, the Holiday Special. But it's Lucas, so whatever channel he picks, whatever time slot, you can be guaranteed that it will run as long as he wants it to.
at 9:36 AM