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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Ender TV or why I hate movies made out of books.

   
Author Topic: Ender TV or why I hate movies made out of books.
ReddwarfVII
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OSC, allow me to submit for your consideration. Ender the TV series. Smartly written, well funded and produced as a series for the Scifi channel or some other excellent network.

My premise you ask? Each book is one season and each chapter an episode. Every episode adapted as faithfully as can be done in the visual media, yet every wonderful detail, character development and subplot given the breathing room it deserves. All them done in chronological order.

Season 1: Ender's Game/Ender's Shadow
Season 2: Shadow of the Hedgemon
Season 3: Shadow Puppets
Season 4: Shadow of the Giant
Webisodes: First Meetings (sans Ender's Game) and other short stories from the Enderverse.
Season 6: Ender/Bean's Son Novel
Season 5: Speaker for the Dead
Season 6: Xenocide
Season 7: Children of the Mind
Season 8: New Ender Novel

Look at that. An entire eight seasons of high quality television right there, just ready to go!

No snip and chop to try and fit a wonderfully rich and complex story into a foolishly short 2 1/2 to 3 hours or even 8 hours. What do I call this? Damn good TV.

The British have been doing this for years. Why don't we do the same? Heroes is also doing the book with chapters thing, except they don't really know where they are going and what the endgame is going to be. So who knows when and if they will jump the shark. Not a problem here. No shark jumping allowed, just stick to the story.

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Itsame
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I think that I just cried a little.
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pooka
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Actually, given that Card recently hailed television as the home of the best entertainment writing, it's not that far out there. I've mentioned miniseries before, but there's no reason a TV series has to be worse than a Hollywood movie. We just have this idea that having a book made into a movie is the golden ticket to cultural saturation.
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LargeTuna
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I just want it made into SOMETHING. anyone remember that old Hobbit cartoon movie, they could do something like that, but better!
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Tara
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
I think that I just cried a little.

Come on, it's not THAT bad of an idea. I don't know if necessarily all those books would make good TV though.
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DDDaysh
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"..... but it's already a book"
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I Am The War Chief
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Tears Of Joy?
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Itsame
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Yes, tears of joy at the beauty of the idea.
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ReddwarfVII
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Okay, I am sure that some thought it dumb that I posted this on both sides of the forum. However, I wanted to stimulate the concept in two directions. Discussion of the concept in general on one and discussion about the Ender books specifically on this one. The other has died and I guess that I can accomplish this on just the one side.

Anyways, moving on. My question is why not? To me visual interpretation of books is a forum that Television is ideal for. I like the concept of a full series where every episode is a chapter and every season is a full novel. I think that with the digital revolution, alot of the drawbacks for series like this have been removed.

My thought is that with the length of a full season, the makers of the show have the time they need to let all of the details of the story breathe. The nuances that make a book worth reading in the first and all the little details that are so sorely missed in an adapted version for the big screen.

Think of Harry Potter, some of the more moving moments or thrilling little bits of character development get dropped because there just isn't enough time.

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Synesthesia
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True, but then there are ratings to consider.
Shame they don't have a Nerd Station based on stuff we like instead of ratings. It's amazing that they'll ax a show in about two episodes considering ho wmany times they'll show the same program these days, sometimes the same episode! It's quite annoying.
it would be cool if Sci Fi or BBC wanted to do something like that.

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Tara
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Aren't ratings based on what we like?
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Synesthesia
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No, they are based on what Typical Americans like and they usually like stuff that I hate.
Like Yes, Dear or According to Jim.
I hate those shows.

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Itsame
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Indeed, I think that all television should be based on my tastes.
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hugh57
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quote:
Originally posted by LargeTuna:
I just want it made into SOMETHING.

This is the mindset I don't understand. Why can't a book just be accepted for what it is, a book? Why does it always have to be made into something else? Is there something inherently wrong with books that you just can't fully appreciate the story in book form?
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lynn johnson
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Some television is horrible. I never watched more than a minute or two or Friends. Canned laugh tracks in response to lame lines! I would change immediately.

Other is good. Heros is a fascinating SF drama but I suspect it is getting ready to jump the shark.

The Unit is wonderful, and hasn't shown any evidence of even getting on water skis, let alone jump the shark.

Hugh57, The great advantages of doing a tv series of Ender include (1) it cannot jump any sharks because there is no shark in space, (2) it cannot jump a shark because the endings are already known so we are in it for the drama, not the ending, and (3) introducing Card to a larger audience.

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ReddwarfVII
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Hugh57, I completely appreciate what you are saying. However, the idea that I am putting forth is that if you are going to adapt a book into something, I would rather see less than perfect effects on the small screen than a slash/hack job that you would see on the big screen.

IF you are going to adapt why not use a medium that allows the time needed to tell a decent story? As I mentioned before, the British have done this already somewhat with their miniseries that come from some of the classics of English lit. However, I think the stories of the Enderverse offer TV viewer something unique in the form of a truely engaging story that won't fizzle out after a couple of seasons. I think that with the success of Heroes, the time is right for a network to give this type of adaptation a shot.

Quite frankly, I hope that in a decade or so, that the BBC grows the cahones to do the same thing for Harry Potter.

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ReddwarfVII
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I guess that this is on my mind right now because I am currently working my way through the books for like the 6th time or so.
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scifibum
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The problem is going to be with packaging the story into 30 or 60 minute episodes.

Other science fiction series have nicely episodic subject matter. Quantum Leap dealt with one "leap" per episode (mostly). Firefly usually had one crisis or mission to deal with per episode (IMO this was Firefly's greatest weakness as a series - the neatly packaged episodes. I felt not enough time was spent on longer, more complex storylines.) The Star Treks have followed the same formula.

What can you do with Ender's game? One battle per episode? (In this case the Stilson fight and the Bonzo fight would count.) Hmm...maybe it could work but I'm hesitant. I think it'll be hard to chop it up neatly into episodes that each have a crisis and resolution without becoming monotonous or neglecting the overall story. I don't want Ender's game the TV Series to be a glorified version of televised Dodgeball. Perhaps you could work in a couple of episodes around the fantasy game. (Actually now that I think about it the fantasy game is going to translate to the screen fanstastically...you can have semi-cheesy CGI and it'll still work because it's a game!!! OK, just got a little excited there...)

Do you think TV viewers, and of more immediate importance, TV executives, can be convinced to treat a sci-fi series as something other than a purely episodic vehicle? To have the patience for crises to build slowly across weeks instead of arising and being put to rest in a single hour? I can't think of a science fiction series where this has been done successfully - admittedly I don't watch all the sci-fi on TV so I could just be out of the loop.

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bedir than average
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Alias had some scifi elements and was both episodic and arcing storylines at the same time.
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Sweet William
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Babylon 5 had an overall story arc that would have tied together nicely, had it been allowed its full five seasons.

Angel did some good arc stuff; the luchador #5 thing was kind of clever, and Gun's tragic introduction of the sarcophagus that killed Fred was, well, tragic.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Babylon 5 had an overall story arc that would have tied together nicely, had it been allowed its full five seasons.
It was allowed the full five seasons. Too bad they didn't know that while making season 4, though.
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Sweet William
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Too bad, indeed. The whole thing ended up kind of weirdly for me. [Confused]
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soccer-head
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
"..... but it's already a book"

DDDaysh, you are my hero. [Hail]

[Hail] [Hail] [Hail] [Hail]

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String
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That's why I keep saying that an anime series would work. No ratings, and anyone who new of enders game would buy it, and anyone who was an anime fan might buy it. The most wonderful thing about this Idea is that a movie or live-action series could still be made. Might even be more likely to get made.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by ReddwarfVII:
Okay, I am sure that some thought it dumb that I posted this on both sides of the forum. However, I wanted to stimulate the concept in two directions. Discussion of the concept in general on one and discussion about the Ender books specifically on this one. The other has died and I guess that I can accomplish this on just the one side.

The other side of the forum is like a little child that walks into a theater and expects to be told what's going on.

Actually this side is like that too.

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String
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[/qb][/QUOTE]The other side of the forum is like a little child that walks into a theater and expects to be told what's going on.

Actually this side is like that too. [/QB][/QUOTE]


This is a very active forum, it's hard to jump in. Some of the regulars are very accommodating, others...

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SupaShaD
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This isn't a bad idea, but scifibum has a point. The fact is most TV shows have some immediate gratification inherent when you watch them. Some drama or conflict that arises and is (typically) settled in the end of that same episode. Particularly in the Science Fiction Genre. Ender's Game and it's following series however, are all drawn out and based on larger ethical dilemmas present throughout the storyline. Only occasionally do we see a smaller (but no less poignant) event arise that's settled within a relatively short time.

In order to adapt this for TV you'd have to do the same hacking and slashing that you'd get on a movie. For instance, you can't have one season be Ender's Game and the next be Ender's Shadow. It would appear to the audience as the same as last season, even if there are apparent differences otherwise, the story is the same. You'd have to cut both Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow Together. Or you'd see an introduction of events that didn't actually occur in the primary storyline in order to satisfy audiences of two things: first, a desire to see an end to a dramatic or important event, and secondly, in order to stimulate them into wanting to watch the next episode. In order to tell the Ender's series in TV faithfully you'd have to slap "To Be Continued.." on the end of all the programs until the last one of the season. And most likely, if it's cut up per chapter, much to the chagrin of the audience, since many of the chapters change during suspenseful events.

Don't get me wrong though, I also desire to see this fantastic series adapted to the screen. Not because I didn't enjoy the books enough (quite the contrary) but because on a visual medium it would reach a far larger audience. The other problem with adapting though is the powerful writing, you'd have to find actors capable of emulating such writing, writing that must look appropriate to the person speaking it. You can't just pick any kid and have them be Andrew Wiggin or Bean or Dink, or what have you. You have to find kids that are capable of emulating those children and their actions faithfully as well as looking similar to how they're described. Which, is no doubt, quite an undertaking. Not to mention working with kids (which you'd have to do in this case), is quite an undertaking in itself. They have different demands and the laws are different as well, regarding how they can work and when.

It's a good idea, for idea's sakes, but it's not well fleshed out enough to be sold to any network executive. Let alone to an audience that must be able to grasp the incredible storyline. The books are a much better medium for capturing your attention and drawing you into the story because they allow you to play the movie out in your head. You see the characters as you would want them to be, and there's no disappointment in their acting jobs, no "To Be Continued..".

In any event, whatever road the Ender's series takes to visual media, let's all be hopeful that Mr. Card has the foresight and the stalwart attitude required to keep the people creating it in line with his original vision of the story.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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This isn't a bad idea, but there are two major problems that make me feel like a movie isn't as bad an idea if it's done right:

1. Stupid commercial breaks.
2. I don't have cable! WAAAAAAAAA!

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