Saturday, 24 October 2015

How to Make a Modern Action Show (or "Why From Dusk Till Dawn is Better Than The Player")

When I heard from IGN that NBC reduced the episode order for The Player, I knew it was time I had this chat with you. The Player is one of the most disappointing shows I've seen a while. I'm sorry if I sound like a tool, since I really hate being that guy, but I have got to be honest. If I sound like I haven't done my research on this show, or even watched it, that's because I can barely remember what has happened in the show so far. If I can't do that the first time around, its not worth watching a second time.

From what I read from an interview on IGN, The Player was supposed to be influenced by 80s action Shows. But, from the episodes I've watched, this show is little more than a genre-lite drama: a typical drama but with more gunfights and explosions. A template action show is, from my perspective, an kids show rewritten for adults. Instead of character development or plot, the shows focus is on the good guys fighting the bad guys. Think Power Rangers if it was written for adults. In fact, character is everything because, ultimately, action shows aren't about the plot, but about how its cast deals with it. I mean, do you honestly believe Dragon Ball Z was remembered for the plot? You want an actual story? Then go watch a drama, because this why I love action shows and movies.

Characters are defined not by their backstory or motivations, but by their ACTIONS. Its why the Mr. T's and James Bond's of the world are remembered as such. We didn't care about who they were, but we remembered what they did and how they went about it. I didn't give a shit about the titular "Player", but I learned he used to enjoy his old profession. Again, as I'm writing this, I can't remember what that was, but it sounded messy. I would have loved to see that guy as the main main, instead of this FPS protagonist I can find in any Call of Duty knockoff.

Compare this to From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, an real action show. The series is about a group of disparate people who are after some macguffin by the big bad for various reasons. Each of these characters are defined and remembered by their actions. As a bonus, the tone and genre of the series can change depending on them. The story of our leads, the Gecko Brothers, is treated as crime fiction; The Fuller Family, a drama; and Ranger Gonzales, an action-horror flick.

As an action-drama, The Player instead follows the same template as Gotham, The Flash, and Arrow. But those shows had characters that would still be memorable even if they weren't based those from a comic book. Case-and-point: Fish Mooney. Being dramas at their core, it also helps that their ongoing story arcs are intriguing. However, The Player's plight - a man trying to find his wife - is just cliche. It wouldn't surprise me if it turned out the wife was working for the bad guy the whole time.

I would have love to see a break in the traditional prime-time crap I watch, as well as the influx of superheroes dramas, but The Player isn't it sadly. I'm not surprised that NBC is wavering on it, nor will I be when it gets cancelled. Outside of 80s action shows, I don't know what the gold standard for a primetime action show on broadcast television is, but The Player (along with Taxi Brooklyn, by-the-by) are good examples of how not to go about it.

'Should have just renewed Constantine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.