Friday, May 26, 2006

Decided to stay home from work today, and I’m glad I did; I didn’t even feel like doing anything at home, much less work. So I lazed around the house, watching MST3K and Radar Men From The Moon.

I’m increasingly attracted to the old serial format, of a larger story told in small, exciting pieces. It required a certain focus on movement; you couldn’t have long pointer scenes or drawn-out exchanges of existentialist dialogue. Thugs with guns would burst through the door before too long.

Interesting that the serial format has revived in modern SF. What was Babylon 5 but a revival of the serial format, just in a much longer form? Now all recent SF shows are expected to have a big overarching plot.

But even the original release format strikes me as a brilliant concept. I mean, okay, the movie theaters today are complaining that they’re having trouble making money. Okay:

Let’s say you go to the movies, and when you get into the theater ten minutes early, instead of watching previews for summer movies that you know you’re not going to see, you’re dropped into a roller coaster plot of aliens taking over the world. The heroes are tossed into a really tough spot, things are looking hopeless—we cut to black! And a title card comes up: “To see what happens next, come back to this theater next week.” And the trailers begin.

Imagine: A little story that you find at least entertaining, and that you can only find out more about by watching another movie. How can this not bring in people? Sure, you wouldn’t draw a lot of people to the movies alone…but there are few people who don’t want to go to the movies. Give them that incentive. “You know, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see this flick, but…I could catch the next bit of that show….”

And it’d be sure to create less anger than the current twenty minutes of ads before every movie.


Animom I love it! Serials are wonderful.
Stephen I like the commercials at the start of a movie.

Also, unless these serials were self contained (like episodes of Samurai Jack) then they’d be annoying to watch. Which movie gets the next episode? If you delay the serials by time, does that mean you have to watch the same episode if you watch more than one movie in a one month (or whatever) period?

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