Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by jason88cubs, Jul 10, 2018.
Four cameras?? Isn't it usually 3? That fourth seems excessive. How common is that?
I agree on the Homer thing, less sure about it getting more topical/political. It was always pretty topical, at least - it's not like the show shied away from current celebs/story points...
The tone of The Simpsons changed with the technology of filming it. I'm no cartoon film expert, but it seems that through time the earlier seasons were more painstakingly detailed, by hand, as opposed to later, when it seems, computers where being used more.
Again, I'm not expert, but, it seems to me that, when Homer got more bizarrely animated is when he turned dumber.
Actually, Lost In Space and every Irwin Allen TV show started pretty straight sci-fi in the first season and went goofball soon thereafter. I've read the reason for that was Allen blew out all the script writing budgets on the first episodes -- hiring top writers -- and the money was soon gone and things went down the tubes. Just look at the character of Dr. Smith in Lost In Space. He starts off as a spy set on sabotaging the mission and killing the family, and is soon re-written into a screaming, ridiculous coward. Seems like all of Allen's shows went that way.
I can see your point on that one. I've watches seasons 1-6 and still have 7 to go. It does get darker and darker.
Oh - the pain.
Same goes for Parks & Rec
Weeds changed several times over its run. It started as a story about a widowed soccer-mom selling pot to make ends meet while raising a normal suburban family to all kinds of weirdness.
Yeah, what a fun show it was! The first season anyhow. Really vanished without a trace though, it only lasted two seasons I believe and I never saw it again in syndication. I've never even seen a DVD of it either. For the life of me I don't remember a single episode but I do know I was a regular viewer at first. I was a big fan of the fat deputy who was always eating in his car and getting into accidents and so forth, very "Smokey and the Bandit" kind of goofy stuff. This show was great and a lot of the kids in my class watched it, too bad they ruined it.
To hear Jonathan Harris tell it, he recognized that Dr. Smith as straight villain was an inevitable dead-end, and he reweote his parts to steer the character in the direction that it became. It worked, and the focus of the show soon landed gravitated to the trio of Smith, Will and the robot — no doubt a different scenario than what Guy Williams had signed on for.
I guess any show that has a surprise breakout character tends to shift from its original premise and tone. What was that sitcom that became the Urkel show?
Yep. Unfortunately, I think it is very rare for a comedy show (especially long running ones) not to fall prey to these same problems: they get louder, more shrill and the characters fall victim to "Flanderization." This is a trope outlined by TV Tropes that I think is spot on. Named after Ned Flanders, it occurs when once minor traits of a character are exaggerated more and more as time passes until they completely consume the character to the point of outlandishness. Everyone becomes a zany cartoon character, whereas at the beginning of the show they seemed pretty normal.
Here's the article on TV Tropes with many examples listed: Flanderization - TV Tropes
Some examples: Joey's stupidity on Friends, Tobias' closeted homosexuality on Arrested Development, Blanche's sluttiness on Golden Girls, Ted's pretentiousness on How I Met Your Mother, etc. Things start out as just a joke every now and then but eventually that is all there is to the character and everything is insanely over-the-top.
Yeah, the first episodes of that show with Dr. Smith as a treacherous traitor were considerably more bleak and somber than how the show turned out to be later in the season. Once they started regularly visiting alien planets, much of the action centered around Smith, Will and the robot, and sometimes Penny. I recall there was even (at least) one episode when it became a color series that had only Smith, Will and the robot - the rest of the family had gone off exploring and Dr. Smith apparently rented out the Jupiter 2 as a hotel for visiting aliens or something to that effect. The last season got extremely campy.
I think you could also count Happy Days as a show that like you described has a "breakout character" that shifts the premise of the show. Originally, Fonzie was an adjunct character and much of the action centered around the interactions of the Cunningham family. The character soon proved so popular that it kind of shifted much of the focus to Fonzie's relationship with the Cunninghams and dealt with mostly issues involving him, such as fixing his motorcycle, working with the restaurant guy, holding a car demolition derby, his love life, jumping over a shark, etc.
The reverse can also be true. See M*A*S*H. Characters start out funny, then hugging and learning.
I agree with the OP here. Diane also brought a fish out of water element of someone who didn't fit in. She allowed the bar to define itself by being at odds with it. Like Northern Exposure. Or many shows with one sane person surrounded by crazies.
Rebecca did not fill that role and just wound up doing a bunch of goofy things. The show became about a bunch of characters with quirks and their extended relations. The aspect of the bar itself having character was lost, because the contrast was gone.
As Fringe shifted its' focus from X-Files lite to "this side vs. the other side, the "atmosphere" not only changed, but, an entirely new world, complete with its' own separate-but-equal continuity of storylines, was grafted onto the show. Actors were given twice the characters to play, and characters began to react to the doppelganger characters' motivations... how much "change of atmosphere" can one show take...!
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spent this years entire season both living in the future, then re-setting the show with the danger of committing the offenses that would eventually cause that future...also causing a new opening segment: new font laid over a graphic of a destroyed Earth.
Similar changes happened to the tail-end of Star Trek: Enterprise, as characters battled to keep their timeline intact, and the blessedly-inspired excise of the "power-ballad" opening gave way to something much darker in tone.
getting weird? yea a 30ish man living above his parents garage his only employment was a paper route...that was normal...HAHAHAHA
This happened more explicitly with The Avengers. It started off as a relatively straightforward crime/espionage drama, but starting around the second season with Diana Rigg the Swinging London era started, the show transitioned to colour, and it started playing like a satire of what it had been.
It's been 4 cameras since about 1981-1982 or so. Every sitcom I've ever done since 1984 has always had 4 cameras, and sometimes 5. And I've done hundreds and hundreds. For film-style shows, it's A-B-C & X cam; they call the 4th camera "X" so as not to confuse "D" with "B".
In traditional TV shoots, the cameras are numbered, 1-2-3-4. But for Hollywood film crews -- even those shooting on digital -- it's a letter, like "A Cam" and "B Cam."
Film was (and is) cheap, but getting extra angles and editorial coverage for cutting is very, very important.
Although Cheers went six more seasons with the new character and made a billion dollars for Paramount, and stayed in syndication for more than 20 years. So there is that.
The producers did the best they could in fashioning a post-Diane show. I won't even disagree that the will they-won't they angle was played out. But Diane was pretty much irreplaceable in terms of emotional impact. Cheers became a very well constructed rim-shot comedy show.
You should read noted comedy writer Ken Levine's take on Cheers and why it lasted so long, and why changes in the various characters were necessary for the stories to grow over time. He has some fascinating stories about the writing process and why things developed as they did on that series.
By Ken Levine: Search results for cheers
South Park has also turned Randy into a Homer clone.
South Park also morphed from general fart-jokes and gross-out humour into a running commentary on news issues, and adding multi-episode stories & season arcs into the mix as well.
The first 7 seasons were set there and based around his 'barn' and getting his friends [and Lex] out of scrapes.
From season 8 it became a lot darker in tone, not only was he watching Metropolis at night from the tops of buildings, the villians [Zod, Doomesday, Darksied] became more menacing.
What about O-R ABC MacGyver w/Richard Dean Anderson, where MacGyver started to have more stories dealing with then-current topics, like teen drinking for one?
The first season of LIS was also shown in black and white, which made it more atmospheric, even foreboding.
As for Star Trek, I agree with what was said about the first season being the best (with a few exceptions in later seasons). But has anyone else noticed the LIGHTING in the first season, especially the earlier episodes? That show was lit the way von Sternberg lit Dietrich. Genius.
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