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Author Topic: Idea: Speaker for the Dead TV series
The Rabbit
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It just occurred to me that one could put together a terrific SF TV series based on the concept of Speaker for the Dead. The way I envision this, we would have Andrew and Valentine Wiggin (or possibly some other speaker for the dead) traveling the galaxy responding to requests for some one to speak for the dead.

The speaker for the dead would arrive on the planet and begin exploring the persons life and the relationships of the people around him and then final speak for the dead. Stories could take a single episode or possibly several. The speaker would have to deal with new cultures and technology, conflicts with people who oppose speaking in general, xenophobes, specific conflicts with the friends, family and enemies of the deceased. And each story would be a kind of mystery as the speaker uncovers how the person lived and died.

What do you think, does it have potential?

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natural_mystic
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I like it. It might good not to have Andrew or Valentine as the Speaker so that the speaker's backstory is also in play.
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scifibum
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I think it's a great idea. As with any series concept, whether it'd be good depends on execution.

I wonder whether it'd work better as a TV series, and be more financially feasible to boot, if there wasn't much planet/habitat/system hopping. Do you think the viewer could be acclimated to a new milieu with each speaking, without detracting from the humanism that is really the point? One thing I've noticed about "traveling the galaxy" science fiction (including most space opera) is that it tends to sacrifice human stories for impressive sights and events. [And the Enderverse erred the other way: neglecting extrapolation of technological progress far too much, IMO.]

Star Trek series have done an OK job of it, I guess, but they had FTL travel and other magic technology, plus aliens, to distract us.

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Sala
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I think it is a terrific concept! I'd love to watch just such a show. [Smile]
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Lostinspace
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I think it is a great concept! Would love to see a good quality series like this!
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I wonder whether it'd work better as a TV series, and be more financially feasible to boot, if there wasn't much planet/habitat/system hopping. Do you think the viewer could be acclimated to a new milieu with each speaking, without detracting from the humanism that is really the point? One thing I've noticed about "traveling the galaxy" science fiction (including most space opera) is that it tends to sacrifice human stories for impressive sights and events..]

From my point of view as a SF fan the planet hopping would be one of the attraction and open up the possibility for more diverse and varied stories, but I see your concern. That was why I was thinking it might be good to have a speaking or a particular story arc take place over 3 or 4 episodes. That would allow time for some exploration of a strange new world and its culture and still leave time to develop the human side of the equation.
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Traceria
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Sounds really cool. And it wouldn't just be a changing culture, it would be a changing time as well. [Smile]
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BlueWizard
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It sounds like a combination of the Twilight Zone, Ghost Whisperer, Lost, and Star Trek.

But for me, it would all come down to the writing and the quality and integrity of the stories. The best concept can be ruined by unimaginative writing.

Also, for this to play true, assuming Ender and Valentine, we would need two young looking lead characters in their very late teens or early 20's. Freddie Highmore without the accent comes to mind.

Ender and Val are cheating time, in 3,000 earth years, they only age roughly 15 years, from age 15 to roughly age 30. (Give or take a few years.)

This does open many diverse story lines.

-There is the time they are traveling at near light speed.

- There are the planets they arrive at by random chance such as Sorelledolce in 'First Meetings - Investment Councelor'.

- Then there are the planets the go to with a specific purpose, such as when Ender was invited to speak at the death of the founder of the 'Children of the Mind of Christ' (forgot his name, too lazy to look it up).

- Then assuming the back story was established, there would be his conversations with the Hive Queen as he carries her in larval form across the galaxies.

They could probably create from a half season to a full season just establishing the story line. Who Ender is, what he means to the universe, and why we should care about him.

In some cases, arriving to a 'speaking' could be incidental to the story. The real central story line could be about Ender being caught up in local politics, or crime, or other local mysteries. (A little hint of Dr. Who there.)

Though, just as easily, the central story line could be about political and social intrigue with in the deceases family or among his business partners.

If death by crime, the story could be about how Ender or Val solve that crime in the process of investigating the life of the dead person. (A bit of Sherlock Holmes.)

There could be cases where Ender is drawn or driven into the country side by circumstances, and is forced to face aspects of the local wild life. Don't forget the gigantic lizards on Sorelledolce.

I think there is plenty of room for a variety of stories within this theme. It is just a question of finding writers imaginative enough to keep us interested.

I see the story starting perhaps with Ender on Eros, with a gradual explanation of why he is there, what has happened, what Ender did, Val joining him. Then quickly off on their journey and the power struggles with Admiral Morgan aboard the ship. Then Ender arriving at Shakespeare colony, and his finding the Hive Queen. These episodes would have to move fast and would certainly lack the details of the books. But the idea is to get Ender on his way to Virlomi and Achilles Jr.

Once that background is laid and the foundation of the story set. Then Ender could move on to Sorelledolce where he encounters a corrupt tax collector, where Jame enters the story line, and Ender's calling as Speaker begins. From then on, the story line is wide open.

Steve/bluewizard

[ April 24, 2009, 01:43 PM: Message edited by: BlueWizard ]

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The Rabbit
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The more I think about it, the more I agree with with natural_mystic that it would be best if the speaker was not Andrew Wiggin. This would both open up the (perhaps mysterious) speaker's back story as an overarching story line for the series as well as free the series up from the need to be consistent with the stories Card has written about Ender/Andrew and Valentine.

Of course it goes almost without saying that good execution (good scripts, good acting, good production) would be more important than the concept but still I think it's a concept that would open up the possibility for lots of intriguing stories. I envision it as sort of a blend of Firefly, Dr. Who, and Quantum Leap with a touch of mystery theater and Profiler.

I think the hardest episode to put together for such a show would be the pilot. It would have to clearly introduce the concept of the speaker and a lot of the background for the Enderverse for people who hadn't read Card and still have a sufficiently interesting plot to capture peoples imagination and bring them back for more.

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Samprimary
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I would watch it, like, every day, but you have to keep in mind that this is not an easily digestible or well-known subject and nobody would greenlight a pilot for a show about a sci-fi book series' premise that boils down to: people who travel from planet to planet to basically act as history-prying funeral speakers.

It is also not well-suited to tv. The crux of the plot revolves around being able to talk about a dead dude, and 'talking about a dead dude' isn't as cool or instantly 'resolving' of a plot matter in a cinematic fashion as, say, solving the crime and cuffing the suspect, or watching the lead dude win a fistfight, etc. You cannot cycle a show around a long, spoken story about a dead person.

When thinking about the practical viability of these shows you have to take a step back from your own demographic, which for most people here (myself included) includes "fans of the ender books with intimate knowledge of the series." I could immediately tell you what the result would be from focus group testing: this is not a show that would generate interest enough for a pilot clearance.

I may think it is a very cool idea. It does not have potential as a tv show in its present form, however.

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rivka
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"It's like Quantum Leap in space! Only he doesn't leap into anyone. He just talks about them after they're dead."
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BlueWizard
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So, it wouldn't be "THE Speaker for the Dead", it would be "A Speaker for the Dead"? Or, could it possibly be about multiple Speakers for the Dead? Does the hero have to be the same person in every story?

I can see that, though it appeals to me less. In a sense, they could probably get into the story of A Speaker much more quickly than they could layout even an outline of the complex Ender back story.

Still, Ender lived an interesting life during those roughly 10 to 15 years before he went to Lusitania; traveling from planet to planet, speaking for the famous and infamous.

I believe somewhere in the off page story of Ender, it was said that he managed to learn Korean of all languages. That's got to be an interesting story, and one does not learn Korean overnight.

And, I can see a wide range of storyline possible for both methods of telling the story. They don't all have to be literally about the 'Speaking'. They can be about traveling to a speaking, and a mystery that needs resolving on the trip. They can be stories that are incidental to the 'Speaking'. Or they can be stories directly related to the 'Speaking'.

It really might be an idea with potential, but as we all seem to agree, the whole thing hinges on the writers, as well as actor and directors. If they can't come up with compelling stories to wrap around the concept, then it stands little chance of success.

Steve/bluewizard

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
"It's like Quantum Leap in space! Only he doesn't leap into anyone. He just talks about them after they're dead."

Remind me not to have you pitch the show to the networks.

To get this thing started we will need

1. To get OSC on board, at least enough on board to lease the copyright.

2. Write a great script for the pilot and an detailed outline for the first story ark.

3. Sell the idea to a production company.

Which of those steps would be the hardest?

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scifibum
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Building the ark.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Building the ark.

Nah, The detailed plans for that are readily available and with modern tools -- not a problem.
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CreoleBeanFan
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
[QUOTE]To get this thing started we will need

1. To get OSC on board, at least enough on board to lease the copyright.

2. Write a great script for the pilot and an detailed outline for the first story ark.

3. Sell the idea to a production company.

Which of those steps would be the hardest?

I think getting OSC onboard would be the most difficult. And that would actually be a good thing. Because OSC is more concerned with maintaining the integrity of his stories ... if you've ever listened to his commentaries at the end of the audio versions of Enders Game and Enders Shadow about his wrangling with Hollywood to turn Enders Game into a movie, you'll understand his perspective.

Which, I think, is a good one.

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CreoleBeanFan
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quote:
Originally posted by BlueWizard:
I see the story starting perhaps with Ender on Eros, with a gradual explanation of why he is there, what has happened, what Ender did, Val joining him. Then quickly off on their journey and the power struggles with Admiral Morgan aboard the ship. Then Ender arriving at Shakespeare colony, and his finding the Hive Queen. These episodes would have to move fast and would certainly lack the details of the books. But the idea is to get Ender on his way to Virlomi and Achilles Jr.

Once that background is laid and the foundation of the story set. Then Ender could move on to Sorelledolce where he encounters a corrupt tax collector, where Jame enters the story line, and Ender's calling as Speaker begins. From then on, the story line is wide open.

Steve/bluewizard

Sounds like a good idea for a pilot/mini-series. I think you could cover all of that in 2-3 hours ... although you'd have to start the story pretty much where Valentine and Ender are reuinited ... you couldn't devote too much time to the backstory of the Formic Wars.

Has anyone watched Sci-Fi Channel lately? With the rare and notable exception of BSG, the stuff that comes on that channel is garbage. Something like an SFTD series could probably do very well there.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I think getting OSC onboard would be the most difficult. And that would actually be a good thing. Because OSC is more concerned with maintaining the integrity of his stories.
That's one of the reasons I am leaning toward having the series feature a Speaker for Dead other than Andrew Wiggin. This would place the series in the Enderverse which would still require OSCs official permission and hopefully collaboration, but since it wouldn't feature any of Card's characters or stories explicitly, I think he would be more willing to relinquish control to other writers. I think this would be essential since TV series are never written by a single writer anymore. Card seems to have difficulty collaborating with other writers on scripts which is one of the reasons the Ender's Game movie may never get made.

I'm also thinking that if Ender is the central figure in the show, it pretty much precludes any mystery regarding his background or his long term future.

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DDDaysh
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I agree that this is a great idea for a TV show - but I too think that Ender wouldn't be the right "speaker" for the show. If you don't want to to go totally away from the series, you could try using Sifte. Still, I think it would be better to just use some other generic Seeker.

I think the main problem you'd have with getting a "real network" to consider the show would be the sci-fi element. While the "jumping from planet to planet" thing might be nifty and draw a certain kind of crowd, I think alot of execs would find it just too weird. It might be easier to have it just be a person who travels around the modern day globe into different kinds of cultures.

Either way, this is one of the best ideas I've heard of for a TV show in a while. Then again, I did really like the old Quantum Leap... I also liked "The Pretender" which had similar story lines. I don't think this is exactly like either show, but it has enough similarities to both of those that there is a good chance it will also be successful.

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scifibum
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I'll tell you one way this could easily get a green light: propose it as an erotic series to air on Cinemax!

A couple of the details of Speaking would require adjustment, but you could TOTALLY keep the world hopping.

hyuk hyuk

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The Rabbit
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quote:
I'll tell you one way this could easily get a green light: propose it as an erotic series to air on Cinemax!
That surely wouldn't get you a green light from OSC, and like I said that would be required for copyright reasons.
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scifibum
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Way ahead of you. They get away with it all the time. [Smile] For example, "Raiders of the Lost [fill in the blank]", and "Remember the Titans" with one extra punctuation mark. It's normal industry practice.

But I'll readily admit I'd rather see the version you had in mind. (Those Cinemax things are all the same. No real reason to make any more of them.)

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Samprimary
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I would really, really like to understand how, in a screenplay sense, you would think to adapt the concept of speakers to a television series.

Give me an example of a typical climax to resolution phase of a self-contained episode that you would fit the speaker role into.

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BlueWizard
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I would really, really like to understand how, in a screenplay sense, you would think to adapt the concept of speakers to a television series.

Give me an example of a typical climax to resolution phase of a self-contained episode that you would fit the speaker role into.

Well, there are several concepts for similar stories. Quantum Leap has been mentioned, only instead of randomly jumping through time, we have time dilation as a result of near lightspeed travel. But also consider "Dr. Who" and Sherlock Holms, or Kwai Chang Caine in 'Kung Fu', as well as many of the 'Mystery Theater' detective stories. These series all have an excuse for a person to travel, but the 'excuse' for travel is only incidental to the story.

In the 'Speakers' case, the 'Speaking' could only be the excuse to be at a place where other events that make up the real story take place.

The story could be related to the Speaking, or it could just as easily be to the local social and political scene.

I realize I'm not answering your question, but you seem to imply that every story is going to simply be about a Speaking, and seem to be wondering how you can turn that into a story. But the Speaking isn't necessarily the story, merely the excuse for the characters to come together and for the story to take place.

Though certainly the story could be directly related to a Speaking, but it could just as easily be related to the journey to the next Speaking, where the whole story plays out in a space ship - corrupt captain, criminal on-board, murder mystery, kidnapping, jewel heist, etc....

Perhaps I've misunderstood your question, but again, the Speaking is merely the excuse for an assortment of characters to come together and for a mystery to play out and be solved.

As I and others have said before, it is all down to the writers, actors, and directors as to whether they can turn this concept into something worth watching. If they can create compelling captivating stories, then they certainly have a hit.

Steve/bluewizard

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Give me an example of a typical climax to resolution phase of a self-contained episode that you would fit the speaker role into.
Speaking is a detective story and a speaker's job is to unravel the mystery of a persons life. I'm thinking about Marcao's speaking in Speaker for the Dead. That story is about uncovering the mystery of why Novinha married Marcao, why he beat her and why she stayed with him even though he abused her and that story is revealed in a climax scene at the speaking. To understand how you could work that into a screenplay, you need only look at the other mystery series for ideas on how it could be done effectively. I'm thinking of the old Columbo mysteries. In the show's climax scene, Columbo always corners the murderer and explains the solution to the mystery in a long monologue. Those scenes were virtually the speaking of the murder, I can easily see that style adapted to speaking about life mysteries other than murder. Or for a more modern approach, you could use flashbacks inside the speaking like they do in CSI.


As bluewizard indicates, the speaking would not necessarily always be the real story. Speaking would set up events that could lead to a wide range of stories that are incidental to the speaking.

But I I think for the series to really work the speaking would have to at least sometimes be the central story. Marcao's story is a compelling and tragic human story with its own mystery. My idea is for a SciFi series that would weave this kind of compelling human tale into a SciFi landscape.

I should also add, that I think the series would work best if it had clusters of 3 or 4 episodes dealing with each speaking rather individual self contained episodes. The would give time to deal with new cultures and situations, time to develop a complex plot line and time to actually get to care about the people involved in the story. Several linked episodes worked well in old Dr. Who shows and continuing stories seem to have become the norm in TV drama these days.

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scifibum
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Personally I think you could do an entire season for one Speaking. It'd give you time to set up a climax like Marcao's speaking by really developing the questions about his life. You could satisfy the audience with some minor crisis/resolution per episode, maybe.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
Personally I think you could do an entire season for one Speaking. It'd give you time to set up a climax like Marcao's speaking by really developing the questions about his life. You could satisfy the audience with some minor crisis/resolution per episode, maybe.

That's definitely a possibility, but if you take an entire season for one story, you've severely limited the number of stories that you can tell. For me, part of the interest in such a series is getting lots of good stories. I think having stories that stretch of say 3 -6 episodes strikes a balance between depth and having more stories.
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Orincoro
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"Several linked episodes worked well in old Dr. Who shows and continuing stories seem to have become the norm in TV drama these days."

This can be to the detriment of the story as well of course. I am thinking specifically of perhaps the 3rd season of Lost or the second season or end of the first season of Prison Break, where the amount of actual story was seriously deficient to warrant 24 episodes, and would have been infinitely better served with perhaps 6-10. HBO usually got it right, with series having season arcs of as little as 8 episodes, and only ever as long as a 12-14. This helped to preserve the quality of story telling immensely in my opinion.

I am of the opinion that such a show as this would NEVER work as a 24 episode network juggernaut. First of all, the kitchy music and mandatory beautiful people would make the whole thing laughable and impossible to take seriously, and second, the network would kill it by trying to juice it for too many episodes. Get HBO and BBC on board with an idea like this, and I think it would fly.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
This can be to the detriment of the story as well of course. I am thinking specifically of perhaps the 3rd season of Lost or the second season or end of the first season of Prison Break, where the amount of actual story was seriously deficient to warrant 24 episodes, and would have been infinitely better served with perhaps 6-10.
Yeah, that's why I was thinking something more like an average of 4 episodes per story like in the old days of Dr. Who rather than season long stories. One could perhaps add in some threads that stretch between the individual stories dealing with the speaker.

I agree that it would be hard to get this to work with the big American Networks but not for same reasons. I think the big networks are shy of anything that smells like scifi and shy of anything that seems too complicated and this has a bit of both. Furthermore, the networks seem to have difficulty keeping consistently good writers on a show and sticking to a set of rules. If there is one thing that ruins scifi and fantasy it is failure to set up clear rules about how things work and then stick with them. Add to that the fact that the networks are fickle, they cancel or ruin every show I like and fill the spots with reality TV.

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scifibum
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I find that network shows are much less successful at integrating adult themes into their work. They certainly don't try to avoid it - they want to have violence and sex and horror. It's just the way they do it. Since they have "broadcast standards" they deliberately pile on the content that just meets those standards.

You end up with a lot of distracting implied nudity and sex (and I think the mandatory beautiful people that Orincoro mentioned are partly there to contribute 'hotness' as a substitute for realistic point of view).

CSI shows what happens when you do the same thing with gore (pile on as much as you can get away with, within an arbitrary standard).

I think it often ends up hurting the quality of the product while not really being any more suitable for viewing by wide audiences. There can be a way to use coyness to good effect, but when it takes the reader out of the story to note "oh, what a fortuitous place for those saucers!" it's not being done right [unless that's the intended effect]. Meanwhile I think the autonomic response is the same as if those saucers were absent, so you lose realism and any standard you meet thereby is orthogonal to the presumed purpose for it.

Above, I jokingly mentioned some of the shows that are deliberately pornographic, but that's not the alternative I want to point out here. HBO puts out serious shows that include sex and nudity and violence and gore that exceeds what you can see on broadcast TV, but it's much easier to integrate this into the show without reminding the viewer of either of the following:
- Somebody had to figure out how much was OK to show; this is the result of that decision
- Uh oh, this is something naughty

The very limits they put on broadcast content serve as red flags that highlight the adult content, standing on dams that cause that content to pile up.

I'd like to see a version of this series that gave honest treatment to the stories, even the 'adult' parts.

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The Rabbit
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Scifibum, I haven't really noticed that trend on TV but this is probably because I've rarely had access to HBO. I have made similar observations about PG13 and R rated movies. In my experience the difference between R rated movies and PG13 movies is that R rated movies are directed at adult audiences and often deal with subtle and difficult human questions. In the R rated movies I've seen, any nudity, sex, violence or profanity is an important part of telling the story and is integrated in such a way that the focus is the story not the naughty stuff. But PG13 movies are directed at teenage and young adult audiences. They don't deal with any deep human questions so when they show nudity -- its about being naughty, and when have sex scenes, its about being naughty, and when they show violence and gore, its about the blood and gore not some more important point.

In my opinion, PG13 movies are generally the worst of anything that's not straight out porn.

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scifibum
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That's very much what I have noticed with some TV, Rabbit, though I was crediting it to a desire to make things as "adult" as possible within certain standards rather than the intended audience.

Your point about the audience is a good one and I think probably explains a lot of it. (There are still shows, like 'Nip/Tuck', that are definitely intended for adults but have the problems I mentioned with jarring the viewer out of the story with their attempts to push to the limit of basic cable standards. And the worse problem of sucking.)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Give me an example of a typical climax to resolution phase of a self-contained episode that you would fit the speaker role into.
Speaking is a detective story and a speaker's job is to unravel the mystery of a persons life. I'm thinking about Marcao's speaking in Speaker for the Dead. That story is about uncovering the mystery of why Novinha married Marcao, why he beat her and why she stayed with him even though he abused her and that story is revealed in a climax scene at the speaking. To understand how you could work that into a screenplay, you need only look at the other mystery series for ideas on how it could be done effectively. I'm thinking of the old Columbo mysteries. In the show's climax scene, Columbo always corners the murderer and explains the solution to the mystery in a long monologue. Those scenes were virtually the speaking of the murder, I can easily see that style adapted to speaking about life mysteries other than murder. Or for a more modern approach, you could use flashbacks inside the speaking like they do in CSI.
The Columbo-style narrated exposition is probably the most valid means by which to transmit the form to a cinema-valid offering, but I can almost guarantee you that the concerns I brought up before about the show's legitimate possibilities are still valid and are likely (if not certainly) insurmountable.
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scifibum
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I think you can make the show a lot more episodic and engaging by ensuring the Speaker character is sort of an interpersonal catalyst like Ender (though let's not indulge in a ta'veren) who precipitates and mediates all kinds of drama, which would not just be about the dead guy.

The show Medium might be a slightly useful example in its use of flashbacks and related-to-the-dead-guy-but-not-eulogistic drama. (But hold the vacant skulled actress and officious buffoon foil supporting characters please.)

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T:man
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I think, if this was a TV show, that every episode should start with Ender and Val getting off a ship on a new planet and end with Ender and Val getting on a ship going away from the planet. Every episode shouldn't center around them though, sometimes it should be about some other resident from the planet trying to speak for the dead.
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DDDaysh
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Samprimary, I think you're not being open minded enough about this. There are many ways of working it. Think about Law and Order, for instance. They do alot of this discovery/big climax thing.

As for the TV/PG-13 thing, I don't know that I've noticed that at all. I don't really watch much TV, but largely because Networks tend to cancel shows I like out from under me. Most recently I have liked Criminal Minds and Medium, but with school I don't get to watch much. Still, I don't really know that you'd want this "Speaker" show to go to a network that was interested in portraying adult content.

What about a speaking would have need of any explicit sex? Surely a couple of backs in the sheets ought to be enough for any sex a storyline might require. As for violence, I can't imagine that there is actually ANY limit for that on network TV.

It would be interesting to see a script for an episode of this. I'm sure we all have just TONS of free time lying around, but if someone is bored and gets motivated... it would be interesting to read anyway.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
Samprimary, I think you're not being open minded enough about this. There are many ways of working it. Think about Law and Order, for instance. They do alot of this discovery/big climax thing.

Small problem of Law and Order sucking- IMO. The success of the show is hugely dependent on its portability. That particular franchise makes more money in syndication than in first run on the networks- a serial drama doesn't as easily lend itself to syndication, which is part of the reason the networks are flocking to serials to keep viewers tuning in to the new episodes. My parents don't even know when the new Episodes of Law and Order come out- they watch everything in syndication on their A&E and TNT.
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scifibum
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I don't specifically want to see nekkid sex in the series, actually. My experience is just that IF there's going to be any adult content, it gets handled better in shows that aren't concerned about broadcast standards.
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The Rabbit
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One the one hand, since this show would be at least in part about uncovering secrets the deceased has kept, sex is going to come up since its one of the most common things people keep secret in their lives. It would seem very artificial if sex some how never got covered in the show.

But on the other hand, the show would get old real fast if peoples sex lives ended up being the key mystery in peoples lives too often. It's going to take creative writers to come up with compelling mysteries in peoples lives that are believable but don't follow too simple a pattern of discovering people were adulterers or fugitive of justice.

When I think about it, I think it would be important that the writers have a strong motivation to mostly avoid sexual themes or the show could in fact easily degenerate into something more appropriate for the porn channel. I really don't know if that is more or less likely to happen with strict broadcast standards.

In fact, this might just be the death nell for the idea because it doesn't matter whether or not its broadcast TV or HBO, sex does tend to draw viewers (or at least execs think it does) so there would likely be pressure to drive the show in that direction. While I don't think I'm particularly prudish about sex, I quite honestly wouldn't find a show that ended up being about uncovering peoples secret sex lives nearly as compelling as one that dealt with the broader scope of their relationships with the people closest.

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scifibum
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Well, you have "In Treatment" which is a very adult show that deals with sexual topics but hasn't been pornographic in the least, as far as I've seen. (I watched the first season but only about 10 minutes of the newer episodes)
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Grinwell
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If the show was done as a one-time or short-term miniseries with OSC's direct involvement, using Ender and Val would be fantastic and could fill in unexplored gaps in their timeline. For an open-ended series that could go for ? seasons, I think OSC would take more of a backseat role. So I like the idea of using A speaker for the dead who can transcend the Ender timeline. The backstory of Speaking would still include Ender to acknowledge fans, but the writers would have maximum creative freedom.

I'm finishing up a re-read of Children of the Mind and it mentions that beyond aliens, killers and saints, Ender once spoke the deaths of an entire city that was swallowed up by a volcanic cataclysm. A disaster like this would be a great episode or multi-episode arc. The Speaker could be part of the first off-planet team to arrive and unravel the mystery.

The series idea reminds me of the beloved Western plot of a traveling hero who in "passing through" an area gets involved in the lives of the locals and helps them before moving on again. Also, like the Wild West, the fringes of space require a resourceful Speaker who can defend himself from a multitude of dangers.

Anyways, great thread!

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Grinwell
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Another idea is the Speaker could spend an entire Season on one planet. Five main sequences spread over many episodes:

I. Arrival (exploring the current state of the character, his reasons for going there, his companions and any space travel drama)
II. Adapting to the New World (introducing the main conflict, meeting allies and enemies).
III. Rising Complications (the Speaker gets more involved in the drama and passes the dramatic point of no return)
IV. Climax (the emotional climax could be a Speaking, the action climax could be something entirely different).
V. Resolution (the Speaker accomplishes his mission, but also receives a new "call to adventure". He blasts off to a new world.)

Each planet has a unique geography, culture and challenges so each season would be dramatically different while retaining the emotional arc of the Speaker's quest.

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