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-   -   Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure? (http://www.b5tv.com/showthread.php?t=11587)

squish May 19th 09 16:06

Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I hope this doesn't sound pluggy, I'm honestly just trying to start an interesting discussion topic... but I'm an aspiring novelist and one of my most inspiring writers is JMS--in particular for his brilliant execution of the idea of an entire saga with a story arc rather than episode to episode or year to year or book to book--and I wanted to know what other people thought of how unique his style was compared to everything else and how it could be improved. B5 is the only TV series I can think of that ever even attempted a solid, structured, pre-planned, beginning-middle-end, overall story arc. Just about every other series ever written goes week to week or year to year (and that goes for most book sagas too!). Tons have some kind of vague plot structure duct-taping along haphazard story lines depending on where the writers decided the plot should head while sipping coffee over lunch break (cough, battlestar, cough), but I can't think of even one off the top of my head that said "THIS IS AN 5-YEAR 110-EPISODE STORY AND IT ENDS LIKE THIS AND IF YOU WANT MORE AFTER THAT TOO DAMN BAD BECAUSE IT'S ALL OVER NOW CUZ THAT'S WHAT 'PLOT' MEANS."

The tragedy of having to wrap up so much of the structured B5 plot a year early then doing "Life after B5" for the fifth year to me demonstrated how good the idea could have been if it was given full faith instead of only 4/5ths achieved (or less if you consider JMS could hae done much better if someone had supported the project from the beginning with a normal budget). I can't even think of another instance on TV in which such a concept was achieved to that extent. Even in sci-fi/fantasy novels this isn't done much... Here's a young prodigy who saves the galaxy, END. Oh wait, my book sold! Okay... now heee's... on a remote planet 537 years in the future! Okay, noowww they gotta build a time warp tardis and find some other stuff to do cuz there's nothin' goin' on anymore because I only prepared for one book and now you want four...

Pratchett wrote in the forward to the first Discworld book: "Since this is a reprint by popular demand--gosh--of the first book in a series that will, eventually, contain at least ten [(there are 36 now)], there's a very good chance that you already know what happens after this book, which is more than I did when I wrote it. / Discworld is not a coherent fantasy world. Its geography is fuzzy, its chronology is unreliable...." Imagine if Pratchett had planned for 36 books. I'm trying to do something like that, to apply an overall structure to prose (particular comedic prose like Discworld / Hitchhikers) in the way that JMS did to TV, and I'm wondering if anyone feels there are any comparable examples in any fiction or tv or movies or books anywhere out there that attempted or achieved something similar to the brilliant overall structure of B5....?

vacantlook May 19th 09 16:39

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
It's animated, so it's easy to be dismissed, but Avatar The Last Airbender was written with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. There are events foreshadowed in season one, including one particularly subtly that I didn't even realize until I read someone online point it out complete with a screencap, that don't occur until season two and three. The characters were designed to have definitive growth arcs to occur over the course of the story -- which is why the show's creators/exec producers wanted an actual kid to do the voice of the main character so that as they produced the show over the several years it would take to make it, the actor would grow up and his increasingly older voice would audiably mirror the character's growth as a person (though not mirror growth in terms of age itself). And the story was designed to go on for no more than three seasons; there was a specific culminating event that the show ended with that all the episodes of the three seasons were heading toward. There were some more stand-alone-ish episodes, especially in season one as the show was introducing the world and characters, but even a lot of them introduced little pieces of the story world and characters here and there that could initially seem less significant than they ended up being once those characters and locations show up again later in the show.

I don't know if it was intentional or just coincidental, but there's a bit of dialogue in late season two that makes me wonder if there might have been any B5 fans involved with the show: "It’s time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself the big questions: Who are you* and what do you want*?"

darth_librarian May 19th 09 16:40

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Plenty of book sagas are there, or are getting there. A good fantasy equivalent is the Song of Fire and Ice cycle by George RR Martin, and is talked about elsewhere here a fair bit.

Not sure of any TV series in the sci-fi / fantasy fields. Or elsewhere for that matter. Possibly the Wire.

Sindatur May 19th 09 16:41

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by squish (Post 343257)
I hope this doesn't sound pluggy, I'm honestly just trying to start an interesting discussion topic... but I'm an aspiring novelist and one of my most inspiring writers is JMS--in particular for his brilliant execution of the idea of an entire saga with a story arc rather than episode to episode or year to year or book to book--and I wanted to know what other people thought of how unique his style was compared to everything else and how it could be improved. B5 is the only TV series I can think of that ever even attempted a solid, structured, pre-planned, beginning-middle-end, overall story arc. Just about every other series ever written goes week to week or year to year (and that goes for most book sagas too!). Tons have some kind of vague plot structure duct-taping along haphazard story lines depending on where the writers decided the plot should head while sipping coffee over lunch break (cough, battlestar, cough), but I can't think of even one off the top of my head that said "THIS IS AN 5-YEAR 110-EPISODE STORY AND IT ENDS LIKE THIS AND IF YOU WANT MORE AFTER THAT TOO DAMN BAD BECAUSE IT'S ALL OVER NOW CUZ THAT'S WHAT 'PLOT' MEANS."

The tragedy of having to wrap up so much of the structured B5 plot a year early then doing "Life after B5" for the fifth year to me demonstrated how good the idea could have been if it was given full faith instead of only 4/5ths achieved (or less if you consider JMS could hae done much better if someone had supported the project from the beginning with a normal budget). I can't even think of another instance on TV in which such a concept was achieved to that extent. Even in sci-fi/fantasy novels this isn't done much... Here's a young prodigy who saves the galaxy, END. Oh wait, my book sold! Okay... now heee's... on a remote planet 537 years in the future! Okay, noowww they gotta build a time warp tardis and find some other stuff to do cuz there's nothin' goin' on anymore because I only prepared for one book and now you want four...

Pratchett wrote in the forward to the first Discworld book: "Since this is a reprint by popular demand--gosh--of the first book in a series that will, eventually, contain at least ten [(there are 36 now)], there's a very good chance that you already know what happens after this book, which is more than I did when I wrote it. / Discworld is not a coherent fantasy world. Its geography is fuzzy, its chronology is unreliable...." Imagine if Pratchett had planned for 36 books. I'm trying to do something like that, to apply an overall structure to prose (particular comedic prose like Discworld / Hitchhikers) in the way that JMS did to TV, and I'm wondering if anyone feels there are any comparable examples in any fiction or tv or movies or books anywhere out there that attempted or achieved something similar to the brilliant overall structure of B5....?

TV, not so much. LOST, started out with a premise, and by second half of the first season, they had a vague idea where they were going, just not how long they were going to take to get there. They've done a pretty good job of recovering from their early lack of foresight though, and they have paid off very well some things that were set up early, though some things do show it wasn't completely thought out ahead of time.

Books, Harry Potter author JK Rowling has always maintained she knew exactly where she was going, and upon a second read, you can see that she did plan many things later in the series that she set up in Book 1.

Stephen R. Donaldson writes with a very good idea of where he's going, how he's getting there, and how long it will take, especially with Thomas Covenant series and the GAP Series. On Thomas Covenant he took a 20+ year break between the 2nd trilogy and the current quadrilogy, but, he always intended to write the final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, he just needed to get out of the world for a while.

Can't think of any movie series (that weren't based off of books), at the moment, but, I'm sure there's something out there

GKarsEye May 19th 09 18:42

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
The very nature of the TV and movie business makes it near-impossible to craft such a novel-like story, that's why B5 is such an exception.

Looks like the norm now is season-long arcs, because that's really the only amount of time you're ever guaranteed to actually stay on the air, either at all or at least with most of the actors and writers you'd need.

Sometimes when a show is really successful they'll be guaranteed something longer. Lost was granted two more season last year, so they plotted out the end of the series then, but even a show as complicated as Lost isn't plotted out in large scope from the beginning like B5.

Was the Dominion War and Sisko's big ending plotted from the beginning for DS9? That show might come close to what we're talking about here.

Sindatur May 19th 09 19:00

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 343269)
The very nature of the TV and movie business makes it near-impossible to craft such a novel-like story, that's why B5 is such an exception.

Looks like the norm now is season-long arcs, because that's really the only amount of time you're ever guaranteed to actually stay on the air, either at all or at least with most of the actors and writers you'd need.

Sometimes when a show is really successful they'll be guaranteed something longer. Lost was granted two more season last year, so they plotted out the end of the series then, but even a show as complicated as Lost isn't plotted out in large scope from the beginning like B5.

Was the Dominion War and Sisko's big ending plotted from the beginning for DS9? That show might come close to what we're talking about here.

On LOST, it was actually during S3 that fans were becoming frustrated that it was being stretched, and S3 was where the deal was reached for an end date. So, after S3, a 3 season deal was made, but, as you mention multi-season deals are extremely rare (and Farscape S5 is an example that even those can't always be counted on), and certainly they are never greenlighted for multi-season from Day 1, many don't even amke it half a season.

DS9, I believe the Special Features on the DVD tell us the plotting was done 1-2 seasons in advance for the first half of the series and 2-3 seasons in advance towards the end, so, while changing gears, they did aim for a specific direction, but, still flying by the seat of their pants to a greater degree than B5.

GKarsEye May 19th 09 19:39

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I actually there's too MUCH "arc" and plotting on TV now. Yes, on B5 it was awesome, but again, that's an exception. Now we get a bunch of series that are just... canceled. It's like the entertainment equivalent of blue balls.

Sindatur May 19th 09 20:29

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 343283)
I actually there's too MUCH "arc" and plotting on TV now. Yes, on B5 it was awesome, but again, that's an exception. Now we get a bunch of series that are just... canceled. It's like the entertainment equivalent of blue balls.

Yes, Arc'd sseries cancelled before their story is done, is extremely frustrating

Jade Jaguar May 20th 09 02:46

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Twin Peaks definitely had a story arc, and things coming out later, that were foreshadowed much earlier. But, it only lasted two years, and was losing its edge well before it ended.

GKarsEye May 20th 09 03:32

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
But Twin Peaks wasn't planned out from the beginning, I'm pretty sure it was mostly made up as it went along. I even don't think they decided who murdered Laura Palmer in the beginning. I mean sure they knew it was "bob" but who he inhabited and the details were probably not decided.

I remember reading the Lynch didn't even want to reveal the murderer until the end of the series.

Jade Jaguar May 20th 09 04:16

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Yes, I realize Lynch didn't have things planned out nearly as clearly as JMS, but I think he had some of the gist of it, as you admit, Bob being an example. Understand, I'm not claiming TP rivals B5 in arc-iness, but apart from daytime soaps, it was about as close a forerunner as there was. Well, okay, there was Rocky and Bullwinkle, and they had some many episode stories, and of course, the serials of the 30s - 50s, so all these could be considered in some sense forerunners, but none are equals.

KoshFan May 20th 09 05:12

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I think probably the most coherent narrative ever was Tolkien, and that by accident -- he wrote LotR as one book. Even he had to retcon bits of the Hobbit (and then alter that work when he republished it -- yes, folks, he changed the book 20 years later!) to make it match.

The good TV series that do this go season by season now -- Whedon's shows and the aforementioned Wire -- because there's too much risk of getting canceled and aborting the whole plot. That said, the better ones are so good at continuity that it seems like it was all planned out from the start.

squish May 20th 09 17:48

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 343338)
I think probably the most coherent narrative ever was Tolkien, and that by accident

Omg I always thought of Tolkein as the worst example, given what one of my college english professors told me about him... He said he just wrote bit by bit. He got up to the introduction of Aragorn and had absolutely no idea where the story was going--no plan whatsoever--and a friend writer had told him that when you have nowhere to go, you just throw in a dark brooding character and go from there, so that's what he did! Tolkein actually said of Lord of the Rings "It's only a story" or "It's just a story" or something, about the people who would write theses analyzing its involved structure and depth and themes, he was amused that people got that much out of it since he didn't put all that into it.

squish May 20th 09 18:21

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Thank you SO MUCH for your replies guys... I'm gonna check out some of your examples, but then again, I'd kinda have to watch/read the entire things to get the feel of a story arc so mabye not... I'll definitely wikipedia them, though =)

Quote:

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 343269)
The very nature of the TV and movie business makes it near-impossible to craft such a novel-like story, that's why B5 is such an exception.

That's what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to do something exceptional. It's a lot easier with prose because I can just sit and home and plan things out so I have a better chance, except I'm also ADD and a webmaster, so I feel the instinct to just throw up whatever crap I have on the internet whenever I'm done with a chapter, so now it's becoming like an online novel I guess. My idea is not only to be structured, but to be nonlinear, Books that you can read in many multiple orders (even any order) or even chapters you can re-arrange, to make different alternate story lines and different approaches to the over all world. I'm trying for seven books that cover one cycle of the known universe (imagine a septagon where you can start with any book and go around the circle, or just follow a path randomly through the books, and it creates a full story any way you go), with enough of a structure even beyond that planned that if my series turns into 800 books like discworld, they'll be extremely structured (if not fully planned) given the over all template and fit together like puzzle pieces. I want to just write all seven before publishing anything but I'm the last person on Earth with that kind of patience. I think I have Douglas Adams ADHD brain... I've put it online at http://frangles.com if you want to see what I've done so far.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sindatur (Post 343271)
DS9, I believe the Special Features on the DVD tell us the plotting was done 1-2 seasons in advance for the first half of the series and 2-3 seasons in advance towards the end, so, while changing gears, they did aim for a specific direction, but, still flying by the seat of their pants to a greater degree than B5.

Yah my dad was like "oh look, they're trying to squeeze a little smigen of structure into DS9's last dying hours as a tribute to B5 where they stole the idea from... isn't that cute!" Incidentally, did anyone think the final climax was the biggest let down in sci-fi history? (spoiler alert). The final act of the greatest starfleet bajoran prophet of the galaxy was to essentially push the bad guy off a cliff. Something no one else alive could have done... Oh, oops, sorry, didn't see that pit of convenient deus ex machina fire there, maybe you should have been minding the gap.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sindatur (Post 343289)
Yes, Arc'd sseries cancelled before their story is done, is extremely frustrating

That's the benefit of prose=). It's also the benefit of my nonlinear idea, because if you read three books, you get a semi-conclusive story because any one is deisgned to be the ending book. I was even thinking having this arranged where you could click around in lots of complex ways online and read stuff you could never print in a book because the permutations would take up millions of pages...

Again thanks so much for your references I'll check them out...

KoshFan May 20th 09 18:34

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by squish (Post 343388)
Omg I always thought of Tolkein as the worst example, given what one of my college english professors told me about him... He said he just wrote bit by bit. He got up to the introduction of Aragorn and had absolutely no idea where the story was going--no plan whatsoever--and a friend writer had told him that when you have nowhere to go, you just throw in a dark brooding character and go from there, so that's what he did! Tolkein actually said of Lord of the Rings "It's only a story" or "It's just a story" or something, about the people who would write theses analyzing its involved structure and depth and themes, he was amused that people got that much out of it since he didn't put all that into it.

Read Tom Shippey's book "Tolkien, Author of the Century," and you'll find that you're both wrong and right about this...

Elipsis May 21st 09 19:29

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
First off B5 wasn't stretched a full season so much as half of a season due to the possible cancellation after S4.

We would have had Intersections in Real Time as the cliffhanger with an early S5 resolution to the civil war.

This would have given us less telepath arc but still left "the good stuff" at the end of S5 involving Centari Prime - which was planned out all long to take place after the main arc IIRC.



As far as Twin Peaks, after watching this entire series I'm pretty sure David Lynch just put shit in his show just because... and I get the distinct impression that he was just building on past crap in an attempt to give the illusion of a coherent thought process.



Trying to think of plans for shows that truly had a master plan the way B5 did... I can't seem to find anything that planned more than a season or so in advance. I'm trying to find information about how The Shield was written and how much planning went into the overall arc of that show... but I can't seem to find much.

Sindatur May 21st 09 19:34

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Elipsis (Post 343477)
First off B5 wasn't stretched a full season so much as half of a season due to the possible cancellation after S4.

We would have had Intersections in Real Time as the cliffhanger with an early S5 resolution to the civil war.

This would have given us less telepath arc but still left "the good stuff" at the end of S5 involving Centari Prime - which was planned out all long to take place after the main arc IIRC.

I'm not so sure about a shorter telepath arc, from what I understand everything still would've been there (except the one episode that ended up as the S4 ender, Deconstruction of Falling Stars), but, as you say the Civil war would've spilled over into S5, but, in addition to that, I believe the Telepath arc, wouldn't have been shortened, it merely would've started early ( with arrivals starting at the end of S4), so there was a smoother transition between the seasons

jnk5y May 21st 09 21:43

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
An anime series called Fullmetal Alchemist is one long story over 4 seasons. It's similar narrative structure to babylon 5 and the way it makes you feel for it's characters is what drew me to the show. It's the only anime and/or japanese show I have ever seen and I loved it.

The Dune books and Asimov's Robot, Empire and Foundation books are distantly similar as they are multi book stories but they deal with a large amount of time and cover many stories of a similar theme from many perspectives.

FaceOfGkar May 22nd 09 15:57

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Plenty of books do - perhaps not in the same scope, but definitely in spirit. I don't really think any other TV series quite does it the same - I wouldn't count Star Trek DS9 because it's kind of a b5 rip off.

Movies are on a very different scale, so it's very difficult to create detailed and longer stories in said medium.

babylonfan May 22nd 09 18:53

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Would "Jericho" count as pre-planned? The writers sure seemed to know where they where going. Had it not been aborted I think Firefly would count as well, after seeing Serenity I do get the impression of long term planning.

squish May 22nd 09 19:02

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by babylonfan (Post 343519)
Would "Jericho" count as pre-planned? The writers sure seemed to know where they where going. Had it not been aborted I think Firefly would count as well, after seeing Serenity I do get the impression of long term planning.

what was Jericho about again? I heard the name once I've never seen it

babylonfan May 23rd 09 09:01

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by squish (Post 343520)
what was Jericho about again? I heard the name once I've never seen it

The mayor cities of the USA are hit by two dozen or so nuclear explosions. USA falls into chaos while the town of Jericho is trying to make ends meet.

Alluveal May 25th 09 21:06

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by babylonfan (Post 343519)
Would "Jericho" count as pre-planned? The writers sure seemed to know where they where going. Had it not been aborted I think Firefly would count as well, after seeing Serenity I do get the impression of long term planning.

I think a lot of shows were offed before they were able to reach their full potential (shows that had planning.) Firefly comes to mind, as does Carnivale.

I've heard good things from friends (who love B5) about Avatar. I'm just wary because I loathe anime and find most of it so incredibly dumbed-down and horribly acted. Could be wrong about this one.

KoshFan May 26th 09 00:07

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Although, in the case of Carnivale, I was glad that it got axed when it did.

Firefly... ah, Firefly would have flown high indeed, had it lived.

vacantlook May 26th 09 06:37

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alluveal (Post 343709)
I've heard good things from friends (who love B5) about Avatar. I'm just wary because I loathe anime and find most of it so incredibly dumbed-down and horribly acted. Could be wrong about this one.

As someone who super-totally loves Avatar The Last Airbender, I have to say if you think it's like anime, you're wrong. :)

First, Avatar is not anime. It's an American (Nickelodeon) produced cartoon that's only visually inspired by anime. I agree with you: I've tried watching various anime, but the plots are unbelievably boring. I guess maybe it's just something different culturally between Japan and America or something. The plot of Avatar is for American audiences; the show's co-creators/co-executive producers are American themselves, and, while like jms or Joss Whedon, they didn't write every word of the show, they were definitely the ones in control.

The voice acting for Avatar is really good too. I'll admit it: there were several moments in the show that got me to tear up some. Over the past year or so, I've gotten my best friend into watching Avatar. She's told me that she thinks it's so good that she forgets that it's animated and not real people when she watches it.

The plot is definitely not dumbed down. Avatar won a Peabody this year for how realistic, yet still kid-friendly, it depicts the complexities and struggles of war. Over the course of the show, they tackle things like war, the impact of death of one's parents, having an abusive father, trust, betrayal, redemption, forgiveness, and conflict between idealism and realism (i.e. can one remain a non-violent pacifist when the whole world is desperately looking to you to kill a tyrant to end a war; and the way they resolve that moral conflict is very satisfying, in my opinion).

Jade Jaguar May 27th 09 03:41

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by KoshFan (Post 343720)
Although, in the case of Carnivale, I was glad that it got axed when it did.

I can't agree with you there. Carnivale was great, and showing no signs of fading. If it had had another couple of years, it might have matched B5 for long-arc drama.

KoshFan May 27th 09 04:20

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Carnivale was indeed great, which is why I'm happy it ended the way it did; I heard rumors about what they were going to do in Season 3, and if they'd gone through with it, it would have ruined it for me. Or at least I would have been much less impressed.

ALeafOnTheWind May 28th 09 03:31

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Jeremiah was pretty good in this regard. Alas, another show not given a chance to have a full run.

B5_Obsessed May 31st 09 15:54

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GKarsEye (Post 343326)
But Twin Peaks wasn't planned out from the beginning, I'm pretty sure it was mostly made up as it went along. I even don't think they decided who murdered Laura Palmer in the beginning. I mean sure they knew it was "bob" but who he inhabited and the details were probably not decided.

I remember reading the Lynch didn't even want to reveal the murderer until the end of the series.

From Wikipedia: (I sort of knew the story, but why write what you can copy?)

The impetus for the series Twin Peaks was the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer. When production began on the pilot, series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost had decided that the murderer would be revealed as Leland Palmer, Laura's father. During the filming of a scene in the pilot taking place in Laura's room, Frank Silva, a set dresser, accidentally trapped himself in the room prior to filming by inadvertently moving a dresser in front of the door. Lynch had an image of Silva stuck in the room and thought that it could fit into the series somewhere, and told Silva that he would like for him to be in the series. Lynch had Silva crouch at the foot of Laura's bed and look through the bars of the footboard, as if he were "trapped" behind them, and filmed it, then had Silva leave the room and filmed the empty room; after reviewing the footage, Lynch liked the presence that Silva brought to the scene and decided that he would put him somewhere in the series.

Later that day, a scene was being filmed in which Laura Palmer's mother experiences a vision which frightens her; at the time, the script did not indicate what Mrs Palmer had seen to frighten her. Lynch was pleased with how the scene turned out, but a crew member informed him that it would have to be re-shot, because a mirror in the scene had inadvertently picked up someone's reflection. When Lynch asked who it was, the crew member replied that it had been Silva. Lynch considered this a "happy accident," and decided at that point that the unnamed character to be played by Silva would be revealed as Laura Palmer's true killer

B5_Obsessed May 31st 09 15:58

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
For older fans of anime, lets not forget Starblazers aka Space Battleship Yamato.

Produced in Japan from 1974-1980, it was first broadcast in the United States in 1979. Significantly, it was the first popular English-translated anime that had an over-arching plot and storyline that required the episodes to be shown in order. Even while being toned down a bit by editing, it also dealt with much more mature themes than any other productions being aimed at the same target audience at the time. As a result, it paved the way for the introduction and popularity of future arc-based, plot-driven anime translations.

B5_Obsessed May 31st 09 16:03

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by squish (Post 343388)
Omg I always thought of Tolkein as the worst example, given what one of my college english professors told me about him... He said he just wrote bit by bit. He got up to the introduction of Aragorn and had absolutely no idea where the story was going--no plan whatsoever--and a friend writer had told him that when you have nowhere to go, you just throw in a dark brooding character and go from there, so that's what he did! Tolkein actually said of Lord of the Rings "It's only a story" or "It's just a story" or something, about the people who would write theses analyzing its involved structure and depth and themes, he was amused that people got that much out of it since he didn't put all that into it.

I think that's true of anything, though. You rarely know where a character is going when you start writing, but you figure it out along the way. The timing of the death of Kosh surprised JMS himself, and Marcus, who had been brought in for Season 3 to give us a swashbuckling "face" of the Rangers, conveniently fell into place as the one most likely to use the alien healing device that had been sitting in storage since Season 1.

Writing is synchronicity, serendipity, and just plain luck.

ryuu June 4th 09 23:29

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
i watch lots of anime, and those who say it's badly acted/dull, need to stop watching dubs, expecially those done by for kids. most animes have a well thought out/planned story as they come from manga which isn't in danger of being canceled every year, as it's cheap to produce. the bleach anime is over 200 episodes long, and while it has the odd filler episodes/serieses that is merely to account for the diferences in speed of action against comic (it takes 2 or 3 chapters of manga to fill one 30 minuite anime episode, and their both relesed weekly).
please don't dis anime if you've only seen the dubbed versions

GKarsEye June 6th 09 04:48

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I tried to watch Akira and... well I forgot what the other famous anime thing was, ghost something.... they were dubbed but that's not what made me lose interest. Because let's be honest- reading subtitles can be a pain in the ass.

Some genres are just not gonna connect with people...

hypatia June 6th 09 05:23

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I actually liked "Ghost in the Shell" somewhat. Anime is awfully violent for me, and a bit predictable sometimes. I likely haven't seen the best of it, I admit. But I"ll take "The Seven Samauri" or most any Kurosawa movie any day.

Just my opinion, of course. But the anime I've seen look a lot like video games to me.

ryuu June 6th 09 13:24

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
anime can look like computer games, but that's cause most modern anime is CG and anything that isn't live action will look like a computer game

hypatia June 6th 09 14:14

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Actually, I wouldn't tend to agree with you there. Disney's "Snow White" or even "Shrek" doesn't look like a video game to me. And I was speaking about the action, actually. Nothing wrong with it, it just was not much to my taste. It did, however, bring up a topic or two that were interesting which is why I didn't say I didn't like it at all.

I admit, that the cop team science fiction story base is one that I think has been terrily overused in sci-fi.

Lyta's Shadow June 13th 09 13:48

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I think an example of a show axed before it had a chance to achieve what it wanted is Dark Skies. That was to have a five year structure and had ambitious plans. The future glimpse in Ancient Future always reminded me of the similar visions that cropped up in B5 every now and then. The series bible for DS was recently published online, but was taken down quickly. It seems there was a structure outlined for the whole show. A great shame it was never produced because it's one of my all time favourites.

Republibot 3.0 November 20th 09 00:22

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I'd say, arguably, that there are several shows that do. Most obviously, and popularly, is "Lost," which had a conceptual beginning, middle, and end when they started out, and although they are guilty of winging it quite a bit when actors decide to leave or when the network told 'em to stretch it out in the 2nd season, I do think it's comparable to B5. I don't think it's as good, but I think it's in the ballpark.

Others have pointed it out, but I think "Avatar: The Last Airbender" is every bit as epic, heroic, sprawling and noble as B5, and beautifully animated. I love that it's aimed at kids, but doesn't really talk down to 'em. I'd also say the first two seasons of "Justice League Unlimited" were nearly as good. Of course that brings up the point of the DCAU as a whole, which, if we assume it to be one series (Which it isn't) and internally consistent (Which it mostly is) ends up being....well, I dont' want to say it's better because it's nowhere near as focused, but it almost became like one series in its final iteration, you know, where they aggressively incorperated the history of all the shows in to one.

I'd probably mention Stargate SG1, which did it accidentally and simply by virtue of a very long run. It's nowhere near as noble nor as smart, nor as good, but by the end its plot structure was labrynthine.

Dangerousapple November 23rd 09 11:53

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
I too love B5 for its commitment to one planned out arc – it allowed for one of the most epic and ambitious stories on television. But I’d also like to add a criticism to that praise. Because of its pre-planned nature, upon re-watching the series there are points where you feel that events aren’t happening organicly, but because the structure of the story needed them to.

The most obvious moments are when a actor left the show and a new character had to be created. Instead of being their own unique person, that charcter inherits the narrative burden of the previous character. For instance, it’s obvious Cahterine Sakai was set up to have the same fate as Sheridan’s wife. As it stands, were are left with foreshadowing in Sakai’s arc to events that eventually DID expire, but with the replacement character instead.

Again, this is only noticeble a second time around, but it is distracting and in some ways a disadvantage of creating a planned out arc: it can feel constructed instead of organic.

Galahad November 23rd 09 12:35

Re: Does any tv series / book saga / movie saga achieve B5's plot structure?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dangerousapple (Post 352762)
I too love B5 for its commitment to one planned out arc it allowed for one of the most epic and ambitious stories on television. But Id also like to add a criticism to that praise. Because of its pre-planned nature, upon re-watching the series there are points where you feel that events arent happening organicly, but because the structure of the story needed them to.

Ironically I think life itself sometimes works out that way. ;)


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