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A thread on storytelling...


#241

(The one in the third one was what motivated Warners Bros. to make another Superman movie. By popular demand.)


#242

Well that was bad idea too.


#243

Yeah, in science fiction, often, it’s the ideas that are the story. The protagonists often are tour guides for those ideas and the world is designed to deliver the ideas more than to tell the story. Just as in romance novels, the world is designed to encourage the love affair of the characters or in detective novels to lead to the surprising solution of the murder.

The Sequels could have used something much more specific to Neo to do that like the Darth Vader reveal. Considering the central conceit of the story, the variety of artificial worlds could lead to some quite dramatic turn to lead Neo to wonder if he’s really The One or just suffering a delusion. Rather than being stuck in a train station, he could’ve been stuck in a reality where he was the Agent and Smith was Morpheus and Trinity was The One he was trying to stop.


#244

Arrrr… I meant on the Matrix Revolution. It’s just so limitless, like ultimate fight between good & evil, it’s so epic.

I always viewed as “believe” story wise in that Neo showed he is a bit incredulous about being The One thing hence his first trip to the Oracle, where the latter told him she isn’t. Like if someone approaches you “hey, you are the chosen, you are the only one who can save the world” and you go “what?”


#245

I would say that The Matrix didn’t need a shocking reveal but should have played up a little bit more of Neo being the savior and Smith being the Antichrist figure


#246

With TV it gets tricky like I said in the original post about stretching a storyline like in the Fugitive if the cop is so good why hasn’t he caught him yet? Same thing with Riker in Star Trek TNG if he was such a great officer why did he constantly turn down the chance of being captain of his own ship?
You can only stretch things so far.


#247

The sequels did try to do something interesting in that they sorta revealed that Neo was a program as much as the Oracle and Agent Smith were. That he actually wasn’t really human. However, that was very muddied and needed more definition to make it dramatic.


#248

Yeah that wasn’t obvious enough. I missed it because Neo didn’t have a halo and Smith didn’t have horns.


#249

Ha ha ha

Then there is storytelling as an allegory like in Dr. Who where the Daleks are patterned after the Nazis and then there is this map of fantasy worlds Including GoT

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#250

Sometimes with TV storytelling the audience is to blame with the pressure to deliver. The Sopranos was really about Tony’s psychoanalysis, family drama, mob intrigue yet the viewers relegated the whole thing to who gets whacked this season which missed the point.

You get that in comics and movies where you want Superman to hit something and show off yet the director saves the fighting for the end like Superman 2
Or Miracleman where Alan Moore saves the fighting for one issue.

On another note some story tellers take a small character and make them big and dangerous like what is being done with Aquaman in the movies now. The reimagining can work. I would like to see others like Blue Beetle get the same treatment.


#251

That’s why I prefer limited series and miniseries rather than on-going shows. Anthologies like Fargo and True Detective tell a story with a beginning, middle and end in each season; and while the series returns with another season, they tell a different story with a different cast.

The Sopranos is a prime example of how the creator’s initial intent gets co-opted by the desire to crank out additional seasons for greater profit. As you point out, Tony’s anxiety and his need to meet secretly with Doctor Melfi for help was the unique element that set the series apart from other organized crime dramas; but as each season progressed we saw less and less of her character, and the series became just another violent gangster show.

Lost is another show where, I think, the creators (or the network) upped the ante on weirdness for its own sake, not to move the story to the intended resolution, but to keep viewers tuning in to see if any of the mysteries get solved this week. Of course, that lack of resolution and stringing viewers along mercilessly ended up backfiring on them.


#252

Re: LOST, I attempted a rewatch of the series last year and for the first 3-4 seasons I was completely hooked. Not on the mysteries but on the characters. Their interplay, their dynamics, growth, and reactions were what made everything so engaging. Around Season 4 though - the mysteries just sorta took over the show. It became the driving force of the show, rather then the actual people we had been following. And it became dreadfully boring and I gave up.

I think that maybe if the show had kept on that level, rather than “anteing up” like you put it - people would have been more accepting of their post-finale motto of “it was about the characters”. Because it had been, and I wouldn’t have minded not having any answers if that had been kept. But it wasn’t for years by the time it was over.


#253

That’s my take as well.

The first movie was very good, a fun and smart action movie.

The sequels were just a mash-up of big empty action set pieces and corny pop philosophy. I think the biggest misstep they made with the sequels was that the filmmakers started believing the philosophical bullshit that sprung up around the first movie. It was the early days of the internet and everyone with a liberal arts education was dissecting that thing like frogs in a junior high biology class.


#254

On the other hand, that was apparently what the audience wanted. Game of Thrones is similar in that it really relies on shock value and killing characters to keep people engaged, and it is apparently one of the most popular shows in history in a very competitive market.

This is an important point though. If you’re working on a story that isn’t in production, purchased or green lit, then you can spend time on it to make it what you want. However, in a professional setting, most often you have to obey the rule of the third best. This was coined by the guy who invented radar in England in WW2. “Go with your third best. Second best will come too late and the best will never arrive.”

When you have dozens to hundreds of people waiting for what you write to produce anything - especially something like a television show - you won’t be able to let “perfect” get in the way of “good.” If you have something that people want to spend money to see or spend time to watch, you’ll have to keep giving them what they want even if years down the line, people point out the flaws.


#255

Personally, I wanted more of the Bada Bing Club :wink:


#256

Howard Hawkes gave an interview to Gerald Mast that was published in 1982, I believe, where he mentioned an idea for a comedy about a mob boss who couldn’t stop crying. So he goes to a shrink but plans to kill the doctor after he’s cured. Hawkes never could get a studio to go for it in the 60’s but I think it inspired ANALYZE THIS! and THE SOPRANOS.


#257

I think that’s definitely right. I did keep up with the show until the end, back then, but was quite annoyed with the last episode.

The thing is, the only reason I stuck with the show was that the characters were great, and their little stories in the episodes were always so extremely well-written and well-acted. I enjoyed the show immensely for that, even when it had become clear that all the great mystery stuff was bollocks.


#258

I find Prison Break perhaps the only series that raises tension episode after episode so much that I wondered how much creators have fuel left. The whole show is truly an achievement in storytelling.


#259

I have to say that some comic storytelling should really get to the root to do justice.

What exactly is Kal-el doing on Earth? What is his purpose? Is he a refugee, a survivor of sorts, an orphan? So many different angles to approach Superman more than just having him fight these overpowered wretched monstrosities every other issue, yet the readers want him to punch something and show off his powers all the time.

Batman is imho childhood trauma first and foremost, then the costume, the gadgets, the villians etc.

The Xmen are social outcasts in a school trying to make it in society. The Avengers are really knights of a roundtable as the JLA are a pantheon.


#260

I like some of the reimagining in comic storytelling like In the old Ultimate line, the Hulk was from super soldier serum, Nick Fury was based on Samuel Jackson etc. I can remember Frank Miller taking Bullseye and Kingpin and making them dangerous in a whole new way in DD, Claremont making Mastermind dangerous in the old XMen.

Now they are trying something with Aquaman. Morrison had a scene in the old JLA of him using his marine telepathy and that was good.

Anyway…