Friday, July 24, 2009

Stepping outside the box...into Jello?

I was thinking last night as I wasn't writing like I should have been (head down in shame), that the latest TV shows coming out are having to sport a completely different edge. The competition has gotten so brutal for staying power, that the days of Law and Order, CSI (all 20 of them), ER or any of its copies, NYPD Blue or any of its copies...are over. They are just too ordinary for our constantly hungry brains. Drama screenwriters have to be magicians with sometimes whacked imaginations now to hold our attention. More extremes. More testosterone. More riding the edge.


Instead of the old police dramas...
- Flashpoint. SWAT type group solving crimes
- Burn Notice. Ex spy working with ex SEAL and crazy ex bomb-loving girlfriend
- NUMB3RS. Group of computer geniuses solving crime scenes with 101010101's
- Leverage. Group of criminals using their talents to help people (Robin Hoodish)
- Castle. Novelist helping police solve crimes because he's written similar things.

Instead of the old hospital/doctor dramas...
- House. Obnoxious genius doctor and student staff.
- Mental. Like House, but in a mental institution.

And then there's
- Ghost Whisperer. Talking to ghosts and resolving their issues. Enough said.
- Dollhouse. Organization that wipes people's brains and then hires them out reprogrammed to fulfill whatever the buyer wants.

Dollhouse...I'd love to meet the writer that came up with that one. That's a trip!

Writing books is just as competitive. Maybe even more so, because we don't have to pay to see each show, but we are asking readers to buy our books. And asking agents to take a leap of faith with us, who are then asking editors to take a leap of faith with them. So we're having to continually create new ideas that step outside the norm just to get noticed. Something that maybe 15000 other aspiring authors haven't already pitched. Something like that can be scary, like closing your eyes and putting one toe out and stepping into jello. Feels gross, but hey, jello can be good. Right?

Too bad Dollhouse is already done... LOL. Can you think of others?

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