Friday, February 03, 2006

Eleventh Hour's downward spiral, Masters of Horror, and Curfew news

Eleventh Hour is starting to fall apart. I enjoyed the virus episode last week, but the show's getting scuppered by unrealistic silliness. I can accept that a scientist would try and cover up his mistakes if it resulted in accidental deaths caused by a virus, sure, no problem. But there is no way that people who might be infected would all be shoved in a warehouse together - if one of them has it, then they'll all get it. Unless that is the official containment policy in the event of a virus outbreak. Is it? If so, I'm buying a fucking hazard suit just in case. As for the coughing, pox-ridden guy rushing to his family, to get them away from the outbreak? Dude, you're bringing the outbreak RIGHT TO THEM! I realise that was the dramatic point of that scene, and I loved the speech Patrick Stewart gives him, but I just couldn't see the character being that stupid. Still though, it was reasonably good fun.

As for last night's episode (the global warming one) - fuck me sideways. Utter, utter bollocks. It was the messiest, sloppiest, most inconsistent hour or so of telly I've seen for a long time. It made very little sense, the science was nonsense, and the whole central sequence of a scientist going missing turned out to be completely pointless. It relied on several people behaving out of character and doing ridiculous things - if they'd behaved normally, then the story would have been over in 5 minutes, sure, but you can't just say "right, they do this because I need them to do so for the plot". You have to make it work, make sense of it, sit the fuck down and think it through. If I'd handed in anything that lazy to my agent, or to anyone I've made contact with in this business, they'd laugh in my face. I don't know what's happened to it. Maybe there was some ITV fiddling, or some dodgy rewriting, or just too many sticky fingers in the pie. It's just quite shocking to see the wheels coming off so spectacularly. A shame too, I take no pleasure in slagging off something like this. Come on - you've got Patrick fucking Stewart in your show! Step up your fucking game! There are FOUR LIGHTS!

From what I've read about the show, the intention was to do a proper, serious, science-based thriller, which is all well and good, but it's getting infected by ITV-ness. And as yet there's no cure for that.

Which brings me on to Masters of Horror. A bunch of legendary horror directors, frustrated at their inability to get things made and shown, decide to create their own TV series of one hour one-offs. Anything goes; no limits, no restrictions, if the TV station gets cold feet, fuck it, it's coming out on DVD anyway. Week 1: A fun, but fairly generic supernatural slasher/monster thing, with a twist visible from quite some distance. Week 2: Horrendous goth-wank wish fulfilment bollocks, with barely any story, barely any horror, and barely any acting. Week 3: Nice tits, shame about EVERYTHING FUCKING ELSE IN THE EPISODE. Tonight is week 4, directed by Stuart Gordon, the madman behind Re-Animator. Stuart, please don't let me down. Again, I take no pleasure in this, I was dying to see this series. But think about it: legendary directors... no limits... do anything you want... Yeah, bit of a let down so far, eh? Looking forward to the John Carpenter and Joe Dante ones, they're supposed to be cool. And obviously, dying to see the Takashi Miike one, but that'll have to wait for the DVD - he's taken the "do what you want" thing to a whole new level, apparently, which is why it won't be shown on TV...

Thankfully, Life On Mars keeps getting better and better. It is my one safe place on the telly right now.

Anyway. The Curfew outline: Initial feedback from the Big People is very, very good. Me and the script editor had a meeting with one of the bigwigs yesterday, and it all went very well. They're all really positive about it, love the outline, and are really excited about how it's come together. They'd like me to do one more version of the outline, just to tidy up and "bury the gun" in a few places (hide some obvious twists, throw in some more complications, etc), then hopefully I can start the script. I'm meeting the script editor again next week, we'll chat about the changes that are needed, and I'll go off and do them. I wasn't nervous about this meeting at all, because of the amount of work we both put into the outline - we hammered the shit out of that storyline, pulled it apart and put it back together, making sure every single strand hung together, that there were no plotholes, that every set up was paid off, that it all made sense. So I knew it was really solid, and was quite happy sending it off, didn't even consider that they might not like it. I can't wait to get started on the script. They're keen to keep things moving too, so it looks like things are kicking off fairly quickly. More news as it happens.

10 comments:

Lucy said...

Someone I know on the "inside" warned me about this week of 11th Hr, apparently it's better next week. On this basis then I watched Hotel Babylon again which was mildly amusing but STILL no sex! The Hotel with no reservations?! My arse.

Curfew sounds really exciting! I'll be looking forward to reading more news about it. Nice one!

k said...

"But there is no way that people who might be infected would all be shoved in a warehouse together - if one of them has it, then they'll all get it. Unless that is the official containment policy in the event of a virus outbreak. Is it?"

Uh, sorry mate... actually in certain situations that is exactly the official containment policy in the event of a virus outbreak. There just aren't enough high security isolation units for all those who might be infected and at the end of the day it's a case of 'for the greater good'...

James Moran said...

Blimey, that sucks. Even if someone gets exposed later on, would they be taken to the same place and chucked in? Okay, then I'm buying a hazard suit *and* a bigass gun.

It was odd though, it was quite vague about whether that was official policy or not, plus Stewart was arguing with the guy about it. The guy was supposed to be making these irrational, rushed decisions, so if that was actually the right one, it should have been clearer. Either way: hazard suit. Bigass gun.

Lucy said...

Ah then - an example of "moral parsimony" - in other words, doing the most "simple" and "effective" thing according to what's best for the majority over the minority... If you're in the minority, that DOES suck (though according to my philosophy students the other day, they would "understand"...I bloody wouldn't! What it is to be 16). A great quiz on these sort of decisions is available online on a game called "morality play" on www.philosophersnet.com. I have a moral parsimony score of 92% which apparently could mean I understand how situations might change according to a number of variables, or I'm a big fat hypocrite.

Lee said...

Sad to hear about Eleventh Hour. I sort of enjoyed most of the second episode, but found myself down the pub this Thursday. I was expecting it to go tits-up after ep 2, though.

Infected by ITV-ness is exactly right.

Piers said...

I bailed after episode one.

Exciting premise, PATRICK STEWART... and it was filmed like an English Country House mystery.

Call me spoiled by USTV, but I felt the pace needed picking up.

james henry said...

Life on Mars all the only television thing I watch now.

FACT

James Moran said...

Taping Eleventh Hour tonight, watching it tomorrow - if it still sucks, then that's the end of it, and I won't watch it again.

Masters of Horror was a good one though, thankfully. And Earl continues to rock my world.

soulmining said...

Good news on Curfew, it sounds like 2006 is going to be an exciting year for you!

Hope my colleagues have remembered to tape Life On Mars for me while I'm away...

James Moran said...

If they haven't, get yourself to the nearest bittorrent site, and start downloading. I mean, don't do that, because it's illegal, and I couldn't condone anything like that. I certainly couldn't send you a link to the site, either. If there was such a site.