Friday, 12 December 2008

My Two Most Hated People in TV

I love television. I think that is a fair assessment. In this industry, there are a huge number of incredibly talented people making some wonderful shows, people who I wish all the best for and cannot wait to see what they do next. Sadly, not everyone in the industry is like this. Some of them are complete assholes, ruining once great, or potentially great shows. Two, especially, stick out in my mind. I hate them.

Tim Kring.

This man is an utter imbecile. The first season of Heroes was genius. It took superhero conventions,and established them in a world of normality. It was show of people struggling to find out who they truly are, as we all are, but with superpowers thrown in as a bonus. It mixed the trials of life with the extraordinary to be both relatable and exciting. It was an incredible show.

But Kring had a principle, of “writing based on the idea of what happens next, and not knowing where you’re going, intrigued by the idea of writing kind of blindly towards an ending." In some cases this is not the wrong approach. The majority of shows start production before scripts are completed. However, generally the writers and producers have some idea of what is going to happen. This way they create story arcs and can use subtle prolepsis to create a universe for their show. Kring does not do this. He stumbles around.

Kring has no respect for the audience. When he is not actively insulting them, he is making absurd statments about how the new medium of TV on demand has killed serialised dramas, a suggesting which just makes no sense. He spends long periods introducing plot lines or characters before dropping them unceremoiously, with no sense of conclusion. Heroes now has no flow, each episode mangles what went before, strangling the canon, and making, quite simply, absolutly no sense as a narrative arc. We have gone from the achingly slow season two and arrived at a rocket paced mess that makes no sense. There is no continuity. Characters are, for the third time, repeatring their stories from season one, or are being forced into uncharacteristic directions for no good reason. He has now decided that a high tempo will replace good writing.

Kring has killed Heroes. He took one of the greatest shows I have ever seen, and solidly and consistently destroyed it, hacking away at everything that was once great. For this I despise the man. I hate him.

Salvation?

Kring originally designed the cast of Heroes to be constantly changing. He intended for a completely new cast to come around frequently, introducing new stories and new threads. Instead, the Network Executives at NBC forced Kring to keep the same cast, writing stories for characters that were never intended to have multiple story arcs, and so repetition ensued. The Writers strike did not help, lobotomising everything he was building towards with season two. But, nonetheless, he has taken one of the greatest television series I have ever seen, on a constant downward spiral. I hate you Tim Kring. You have ruined Heroes.

Russell T. Davies.

This man cannot write a decent script to save his life. Every episode of Doctor Who that he has been in charge of has been gripped by his horiffic inability to write tension, plot or dialog. After seeing the public pandering to this berk, this man has an OBE, I am sickened. Every stupid cliche imaginable, with no purpose or direction. Horribly repetitive and annoying characters, in a show devoid of internal logic.

But the reason I hate him is not because Doctor Who is so often utter drivel. That could be expected. I hate him because, every now and again, Doctor Who is amazing. Talented writers such as Paul Cornell or Steven Moffat come in and produce incredible episodes, that are genuinly interesting and tense, and then we go back to more of the horrendous crap shoved at us by Russell T.

This turgid mess, advertised for months, was best exemplified in last years christmas special. That was, without a doubt, one of the worst things I have ever seen on Doctor Who. Closely followed by every Russel T. Davies penned season opener or finale. And now this man is gone, replaced, and we will just have to see, in a few years time, if someone else can do better with this show. I just wish people would stop building it up into something it isn't. It is a horrible show, with occasional grand episodes.

Salvation?

Russell is, at heart, a publicist. He was able to resurrect a TV show that had an unpopular public image, and create a huge buzz. He returned a TV icon to screen successfully, using some incredibly clever marketing. He used teased shots of re-imagined villains to create interest, and re-invented the nature of Saturday afternoon television. Mimicry is the highest form of flattery, and with shows like Merlin, Robin Hood and Primeval making the rounds, it is clear that Davies had been hugely successful at what he set out to do. And I have been spoiled. A few good episodes, and suddenly, I am expecting gold from a mildly distracting show written as kitsch nonsense for children at Saturday teatime. Maybe he should be forgiven. But he isn't.

1 comment:

JM said...

I think Tim Kring has the beginnings of George Lucas syndrome. I have a lot of things to say on this subject, but maybe they deserve a blog post of their own.