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  1. #16
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    I understand that there are people who don't like Marc Guggenheim. I also understand that there are people behind the scenes who are controlling where the story goes each episode who don't always write every episode. But within every script assignment, there is leeway as to how to present the material you've been asked to write. Versus Zoom was written by Joe Peracchio & David Kob (with the "&" indicating that they worked together, not that one re-wrote the other). They were probably handed a checklist of stuff they needed to accomplish in the episode, but THEY wrote it. If we're going to be upset about something stupid in a specific episode, I think we should at least be upset at the people who did the actual writing.

    And I doubt that they came up with a bad episode because they felt as if we'd swallow anything they threw at us. If it's bad writing, it's more likely either because they failed to accomplish what they set out to accomplish or possibly because they're workers not totally invested in the characters and more just doing this as a job.

    I just get frustrated when people assume that bad writing is the result of people who don't care. There are other reasons for bad writing. I went to school for screenwriting and graduated at the top of my class. Even the stuff I wrote that I'd rather burn in a fire than show to anyone was stuff I tried very hard to get right.
    Last edited by Backward Galaxy; 05-02-2016 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #17
    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    I've written stuff for other people myself, and it wasn't fan fiction (although I've written that too). so I do understand where you're coming from about how hard it is for writers sometimes when they have to write with limitations imposed on them, or when they're not emotionally invested in the source material that was given to them by the creators or directors.

    I was once recruited to write the screenplay for an indie 30-mintue movie that was going to premiere at the indie festival in San Francisco, also known as "SF indiefest". And guess what, I wasn't really buying the creator's vision of his story and how he wanted it to go. I couldn't really give it my best. I had to give the project to somebody else who could really do the screenplay justice... so that it could be written the way the story creator wanted it to be.

    But on the other hand, I've also met people who does have this mindset where if they're super-popular then it doesn't matter if they didn't put any effort into their work once in a while because the fans will just eat that up anyway.

    For instance... here's a cliche high school setting as an analogy for the kind of person that I'm describing. Think of the hard-working writers as the nerds who always put the best effort into their homework. They did the research, etc. They worked hard to get all the "A"s, but it wasn't always easy... sometimes they do get a "B" or even a "F" occasionally. And yes, sometimes they do get burnt out creatively but they keep on writing anyway.

    And then there's the popular jocks. They tend to be popular because they were good at football but they're not really that good at everything. They're like the idols of the entire school... and all the teachers tends to pass them no matter how terrible their writing really was. So as result, the jocks think that there's nothing to writing, and that you don't need to put effort into the writing as long as you're popular. Because if you're popular then the fans will always love everything you do no matter how bad the writing is.

    Some people are good at acting but terrible at writing. Some people are actually really good directors but terrible at writing. Some people are good at special effects but **** at writing. So on forth... you get the idea. To use the high school analogy again, some people are good football players but sometimes that's all they can be.

    Nowadays, in media we're seeing more and more of those "multi-talent" guys where they're the camera-man/director/writer/actor all combined, and sometimes I feel like they take on way too many roles than what's good for them. They're trying too hard to be popular and relevant. They're like the Jocks in my high school scenario.

    You may not agree with me on this, but this is just my opinion anyway.
    Last edited by Aurora Moon; 05-02-2016 at 06:32 AM.

  3. #18
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aurora Moon View Post
    And then there's the popular jocks. They tend to be popular because they were good at football but they're not really that good at everything. They're like the idols of the entire school... and all the teachers tends to pass them no matter how terrible their writing really was. So as result, the jocks think that there's nothing to writing, and that you don't need to put effort into the writing as long as you're popular. Because if you're popular then the fans will always love everything you do no matter how bad the writing is.
    I don't know any teachers who are impressed by cool high school kids. Most of the teachers I know have gone to college and lived enough of adult life to understand that being cool in high school means nothing and that what makes you cool in high school is usually kind of pathetic. If they're being given a free pass, it's probably because of ridiculous no child left behind standards.

    The jocks you're describing also often wind up assistant managers at the local Stop N Shop. Studio execs don't hand those guys three hour-long slots of primetime television. The kid that gets that is usually head of the drama club.

    Some people are good at acting but terrible at writing. Some people are actually really good directors but terrible at writing. Some people are good at special effects but **** at writing. So on forth... you get the idea. To use the high school analogy again, some people are good football players but sometimes that's all they can be.
    If that's all they can be, then their writing will be bad because they suck at it, not because they aren't trying. Also, do any of us really think that Marc Guggenheim was the cool kid?

    Nowadays, in media we're seeing more and more of those "multi-talent" guys where they're the camera-man/director/writer/actor all combined, and sometimes I feel like they take on way too many roles than what's good for them. They're trying too hard to be popular and relevant. They're like the Jocks in my high school scenario.
    I disagree. The picture you've painted is more like the class president who is also trying to make valedictorian and have fifty extra-curricular activities to get into Yale. They get burned out. They spread themselves too thin. They can't put all of their effort into any one thing and some of their effort goes into stuff they're doing because they think they have to rather than because they want to. All of these things are, again, different than not caring.

    I believe, at the level we're talking about, when you stop caring, you get replaced. There are too many other talented and hungry people nipping at your heels. I think Marc Guggenheim, Greg Berlanti, Joe Peracchio, David Kob, etc... all care a great deal about their work. They're just putting out an inconsistent product right now.

  4. #19
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backward Galaxy View Post
    I understand that there are people who don't like Marc Guggenheim. I also understand that there are people behind the scenes who are controlling where the story goes each episode who don't always write every episode.
    For me it had nothing to do with Guggenheim the man. I didn't even know the man. I barely care for the crew of any production at all. I only care about the actors only a tiny bit more (which is why I didn't care when Charlie Sheen snorted tiger blood through his anus as long as Two and a Half Men was funny). What interests me are the story and the characters.

    By the end of season 3 of Arrow I was just done with the show, it just wasn't something that could bind me to the TV like the first two seasons did.

    There's just too much good TV out there (I'm currently watching Daredevil and plan to continue with Jessica Jones next) to waste my free time on a lousy product.

    I was almost done with Smallville for good during season 7 but the first few episodes of season 8 pulled me back in again. I was almost done again at the end of that season. I stayed to the end though because I still cared about Clark, Chloe and Lois too much even when they were put through so many horrible plotholes and retcons and "plot twists".

    If you read my old blog posts you'll see what I felt back then:
    Smallville is getting nowhere
    Doomsday for Smallville
    Smallville Redemption
    Smallville: The End of the Beginning

    With Arrow, I just haven't invested as much and feel much freer to cut the ties and not limb on to the end.

    The name Marc Guggenheim became only familiar to me once threads here started to carry his name.
    Last edited by DJ Doena; 05-02-2016 at 07:52 AM.

  5. #20
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Doena View Post
    For me it had nothing to do with Guggenheim the man. I didn't even know the man. I barely care for the crew of any production at all. I only care about the actors only a tiny bit more (which is why I didn't care when Charlie Sheen snorted tiger blood through his anus as long as Two and a Half Men was funny). What interests me are the story and the characters.
    I care about the production because I've been part of it. I've had my work performed on a NYC stage. I know what goes into it. So, that's why it matters to me. It also helps me to know where to go for more material that might interest me. For example, if you take all of the episodes of a series that you really like, you might notice a pattern as to who on the writing team was responsible for those episodes. It might not be the showrunner. It might be someone who was just brought in to be part of the team. That person might then wind up on the writing team for a totally different show and that might be a reason to watch that show where you might not ordinarily have one.

    Another example: When Brannon Braga left Star Trek, I knew not to follow and that's why I never watched Flashforward or Threshold. When Ronald Moore left Star Trek, I knew to follow and that's why I watched all of Battlestar Galactica. They both worked on Star Trek that I ended up loving, but I also understood the contributions each made enough to distinguish between who I wanted to follow to other stuff.

    In the case of showrunners, it's also been easier to anticipate what's going to happen on Flash knowing that the same people were responsible for Arrow. They follow a similar formula. It's one of the reasons I am not particularly looking forward to seasons 3 and 4 of Flash, despite being a fan of the show. I'm worried that the ideas of theirs that I actually like have already been copied, and now they're going to start copying the ones I don't like. I don't want Jesse Quick to be a new Felicity.
    Last edited by Backward Galaxy; 05-02-2016 at 08:07 AM.

  6. #21
    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    I guess you would understand why I choose the cliche high school analogy better if you ever went to a school that was completely obsessed with football. A school which has all of its' funding come from school football, so the school depends on football like it's their lifeblood.

    Those kind of schools will literally overlook how badly the jocks do in school, as long as they win football games. Look to the Stuenville School as a literal, horrific example. The school principal and coach knew that some of the football players were serial rapists and that they had formed a rape crew. but they covered it up because those were star football players and they were helping the school rake in cash. They only got caught in the first place when an hacker went though emails and records, as well as a video of one of the football players bragging about how they had raped this one girl.

    I think that kind of mentality is very common in Hollywood. They don't care how ****** the person is, or how bad they are at other things... as long as they're a famous star that makes them tons of money. Whenever it be a star actor, a famous writer, etc. The more famous and popular the person is, then any project they're in is going to make a lot of money. no matter how ****** it really is. That's the Hollywood mentality. Look at the flop "Gods of Egypt" as an example. They shoved many famous stars that they could get for the movie into it, thinking that the sheer number of stars would nullify how ****** the movie was. They honestly thought this would make them a lot of money because they had all those popular people in one movie.
    Last edited by Aurora Moon; 05-02-2016 at 08:34 AM.

  7. #22
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've experienced multiple high schools from moving and from having many, many teacher friends and family and none of them are like that. Maybe it's a regional thing.

    And I don't agree about your interpretation of Gods of Egypt. The biggest star in that is Gerard Butler. That film was not about star power, and I'd wager all of them would tell you that they did the best they could with what they had to work with.

  8. #23
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    To put it another way, when we as fans say a story point is dumb, we are insulting the product. When we say the artist wasn't trying or didn't care, we are insulting a human being, and one none of us know in real life. That, to me, is wrong.

  9. #24
    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    I suppose you do have a point in that it's bad to make assumptions like this when it's likely that none of us can even ask in person what the writer/artist/etc were thinking when they created this product.

    But I also don't think that it was impossible that the artist didn't care or wasn't trying at the time for various reasons. To me this is an possibility I also have to consider, because it just seems too amazing that somebody could had screwed this up so badly, even if they were burnt out/sick/etc. Especially if the same writer was shown to have the ability to produce decent results.
    I know it's kind of unrealistic and maybe even unfair to expect this same writer to constantly produce the same quality writing 24/7 without burning out. But I do have to wonder how the same person can produce such brilliant gems and a steaming pile of bull-manure in the same week. It's this weird inconsistency thing that I just don't get....???

  10. #25
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    I think at least part of that has to do with the fact that episodes have different writers. So while there might be one larger vision, episode quality can vary based on assignments. I think it's also very possible that a series can go on for longer than the original idea supports. See Heroes as an example.

  11. #26
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backward Galaxy View Post
    I care about the production because I've been part of it. I've had my work performed on a NYC stage. I know what goes into it. So, that's why it matters to me.
    I just tried to point out that I'm not one of those "it's all XYZ's fault that the show is crap now". I either like a show or I don't. I never blamed Kristin Kreuk for the awful material she had to work with (which was basically only one plot repeated ad nauseam).
    Last edited by DJ Doena; 05-03-2016 at 12:55 AM.

  12. #27
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backward Galaxy View Post
    So while there might be one larger vision
    But that's what I'm missing on a lot of arc-driven shows. When you look at the season as a whole you often have to wonder "That's where they wanted to go that particular year?" I can understand that there are real-world monkey wrenchs like executive meddling, actors wanting to leave and other stuff that can offroad any particular story. But when it happens every year then I have to wonder how much forethought actually went into the planning of said season.


    Take Smallville's 9th season for example with Alia and her powers and the Kandorian arc in general. It just feels haphazard especially when you consider that Kandor aired before the half-season break which supposedly explains how she had powers and what she meant by "destroy our world". Season 8 proved worse when they showed that they had no idea how to wrap up the Davis/Doomsday storyline and desperately tried to tie it in with the ridiculous Veritas arc of the previous season.

    When you look at Arrow you have to wonder how they laid out the story when they pitched the show and it went into production. Of course with TV your show can be cancelled at any time but I would hope that they at least had some idea what happened in the past five years when they decided to throw in flashbacks every season that intertwine with the current season. But already in season two it felt weird. First season we had this "shoot down the plane" plot. And when we return some undisclosed time seemed to have passed and suddenly Dr. Ivo comes totally out of the blue with his Mirakuru obsession. And no one ever seemed to have noticed that big Japanese sub just laying there in the bay.

    That's why I still admire Babylon 5 so much. It also had to navigate around a number of monkey wrenches (season 4 cancellation threat, actors leaving or not working out) but JMS managed to keep his original idea and plot flowing which is why rewatches are so much fun when you discover all the small hints hidden throughout the early seasons that made little to no sense during first watch but when you know the story you are suddenly like "Wait whut? They already hinted at THAT?"

    Which brings us back to the topic at hand. In the first season we already knew from the pilot on that something was off with Wells. We didn't know what but something was going on. But with Zoom this season? The reveal came totally out of the blue and made as much/little sense as any other explanation. It wasn't like "Of course, that explains everything". No they even had to throw in a time remnant they pulled out of their collective derrières to make the story work at all which then opened up a hole of other issues like the Caitlin-Zoom connection that never was. This feels again like a "let's introduce a cool villain this season and we'll figure out who he is once Christmas is over" writer's room plotline.

  13. #28
    Posting Pro Aurora Moon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backward Galaxy View Post
    I think at least part of that has to do with the fact that episodes have different writers. So while there might be one larger vision, episode quality can vary based on assignments. I think it's also very possible that a series can go on for longer than the original idea supports. See Heroes as an example.
    A lot of times I like to look up which writer did a certain episode. And well, when I look at all the episodes put together that they worked on some writers have this weird inconsistency going on when they did one brilliant ep but the next one they worked on was godawful.

    Take Smallville for example-- “Fierce" and "Hidden" was both written and directed by somebody called Whitney Ransick, yet the two episodes feel like they were written by two completely different people.

    I'm willing to give him a pass and say he had to deal with executive meddling, because he did create some of the best episodes of Smallville to make up for the few "stink bombs" that he created.

    But I think my main beef with any shows is similar to the reasons that DJ stated... how they didn't plan ahead and seemed to be making up things on the spot. That kind of behavior is bound to create logistical problems for the show.

    And I also agree with DJ that Babylon 5 was one of the best well-written shows around. I'm in awe how they were able to plan ahead for any possible pitfalls, like something happening to one of the actors that caused them to leave the show. If anything happened to one of the ambassadors in the TV show, the Aides were there to take up the Ambassador's place. It was a brilliant piece of logical writing that easily explained away random disappearances and the like while keeping the "backups" in public view.
    Last edited by Aurora Moon; 05-02-2016 at 08:27 PM.

  14. #29
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    actually i would love to see the drama of Barry struggling to learn how to be normal again don't u?? could be a few very interesting episodes

  15. #30
    Pirate King Backward Galaxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Doena View Post
    Take Smallville's 9th season for example with Alia and her powers and the Kandorian arc in general. It just feels haphazard especially when you consider that Kandor aired before the half-season break which supposedly explains how she had powers and what she meant by "destroy our world". Season 8 proved worse when they showed that they had no idea how to wrap up the Davis/Doomsday storyline and desperately tried to tie it in with the ridiculous Veritas arc of the previous season.
    Smallville went on for too long. The initial idea didn't support as many season as it had. I can't speak to the specifics of individual seasons later on, because I only watched them once and didn't like them enough to re-visit.

    When you look at Arrow you have to wonder how they laid out the story when they pitched the show and it went into production. Of course with TV your show can be cancelled at any time but I would hope that they at least had some idea what happened in the past five years when they decided to throw in flashbacks every season that intertwine with the current season. But already in season two it felt weird. First season we had this "shoot down the plane" plot. And when we return some undisclosed time seemed to have passed and suddenly Dr. Ivo comes totally out of the blue with his Mirakuru obsession. And no one ever seemed to have noticed that big Japanese sub just laying there in the bay.
    Season 1 probably got the full treatment before they ever knew they would get a season 2. My guess is that they planned one season at a time and the story points conceived of for season 1 were thought up without the context of much of what would come in later seasons. In other words, it's probable that they backed themselves into a bit of a corner and just had to push their way out.

    That's why I still admire Babylon 5 so much. It also had to navigate around a number of monkey wrenches (season 4 cancellation threat, actors leaving or not working out) but JMS managed to keep his original idea and plot flowing which is why rewatches are so much fun when you discover all the small hints hidden throughout the early seasons that made little to no sense during first watch but when you know the story you are suddenly like "Wait whut? They already hinted at THAT?"
    Without knowing JMS's process, I would guess that he had mapped out well in advance of realizing he'd be able to make those later shows. He probably just had more mapped out than Arrow's showrunners, for example. Some people can work that way. Others prefer to focus all of their energy on what they're working on in the moment. For example, Christopher Nolan only worked on one Batman film at a time while making his trilogy. He didn't know what the third one was about while making the first one or the second one. All he knew was that he wanted to bring Joker back, and the only reason he knew that was because he considers it a mistake that Tim Burton killed off Jack's Joker when he made his Batman movies.

    Which brings us back to the topic at hand. In the first season we already knew from the pilot on that something was off with Wells. We didn't know what but something was going on. But with Zoom this season? The reveal came totally out of the blue and made as much/little sense as any other explanation. It wasn't like "Of course, that explains everything". No they even had to throw in a time remnant they pulled out of their collective derrières to make the story work at all which then opened up a hole of other issues like the Caitlin-Zoom connection that never was. This feels again like a "let's introduce a cool villain this season and we'll figure out who he is once Christmas is over" writer's room plotline.
    I think the fact that the Zoom reveal so closely resembles the Eobard reveal from last season indicates that this was the plan all along. It may not have worked as well, but many shows fall into the trap of simply copying what has been successful for them in the past. For example, season 1 of Flash copied season 1 of Arrow.

    On the other hand, Ronald Moore admitted that when they conceived of the final secret cylons on BSG, he had no idea who they would be and absolutely did make it up when he was finally ready to tell that story. It's no surprise the quality of the show went downhill around that time.

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