Posts Tagged ‘Battlestar Galactica’

The History and Origins of the Webisode

Pond LifeNew forms of media are always going to be hard to deal with. Back in the 90’s, and all the time before, a TV viewer got what came on the screen, at a specific time, and nothing more. Did they have to cut a scene for time? You’ll never know, cause you’ll never see it. That started to change when DVDs with bonus features emerged, but it took a while for studios to figure out that adding extra material to the discs could be a real selling point. Deleted scenes, blooper reels, commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes featurettes, even concept art–all these things and more are what helped DVDs become the new default home media experience over VHS. Well, that and ridiculously improved picture quality.

But just as it took time to work out what benefits a DVD offered, so, too, is the usefulness of the Internet being worked out. It’s been known for a long time that the internet offered a very unique point of leverage with a show’s fanbase. Look around Memory Alpha and you’ll see that AOL web chats with the producers (Often Ronald D. Moore, specifically) were common among Star Trek fan circles in the late 90’s. It gave fans some insight into the production of the show, how certain plot points were decided upon (“Whatever happened to Thomas Riker?” being a popular one), and allowed the writers to have some back and forth with the fans, to get a feel for where the show was succeeding and where it was failing to resonate with them. Of course, you always have to be careful when taking advice from the fandom; we often don’t know what we really want, and there have been no small number of shows that have died from catering too much to a picky fanbase. Read more

4 Shows That Wasted Their Premises – Friday Four

Kennex expresses the way most viewers seemed to feel.

Kennex expresses the way most viewers seemed to feel.

Pilot season is always an interesting time for me. There’s a huge amount of new shows every year, and so few of them will actually end up being aired, and of those even fewer will get to finish out their season, much less get renewed for a second. Reading over the press releases, each show has its little elevator pitch-like description beneath it, designed to hook you on the premise as quickly as possible. And often times, it’s easy to see how that pitch could convince someone to produce the show. For example, here’s Defiance‘s press description:

Set in the near future, Defiance introduces an exotically transformed planet Earth, its landscapes permanently altered following the sudden – and tumultuous – arrival of seven unique alien races. In this somewhat unknown and unpredictable landscape, the richly diverse, newly-formed civilization of humans and aliens must learn to co-exist peacefully. Each week, viewers will follow an immersive character drama set in the boom-town of Defiance, which sits atop the ruins of St. Louis, MO, while in the game, players will adventure in the new frontier of the San Francisco Bay area. The dramatic tapestry of the series and the intense action of the game will exist in a single universe where their respective narratives will inform one another and evolve together into one overall story.

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? I remember being very excited when it was announced because I honestly hadn’t seen a sci-fi show like that before. And Defiance has, more or less, lived up to its premise, even if the focus can be a little narrow sometimes. Not every show is so fortunate, however; the television landscape is strewn with the husks of sci-fi shows that failed to live up to their high concept promises. And it’s always a real shame, too, to look back on these wasted premises and imagine the amazing shows that could have come out of them. With that in mind, here are a few shows that fizzled out early on, leaving behind a premise unfulfilled.

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