I know I bag on Warren Leight and the current crop of LO:CI writers pretty savagely and constantly lament the departure of Rene Balcer and his writing staff from LO:CI as a major turning point in the quality of my beloved show.
But I’ve got to hand it to Warren for really respecting the picket line and the WGA strike (even though it looks like once we hit the 11th episode of LO:CI this season a whole bunch of us are going to be jonesing for new Goren or Logan episodes).
As an intellectual property attorney who has seen the evil a ‘current or future media’ clause can visit upon an artist (this overreaching clause came from the music divisions of entertainment conglomerates and I saw more than a few artists suffer from not grasping its implications to their bottom lines), I say to the writers at LO:CI for goodness sake, strike hard against perpetual indentured servitude the MegaMediaCorporations(TM) Inc. want to imprison you in and all y’all deserve some revenue from the Internet downloading, the cell phone downloading as well as more than a pathetic four cents per DVD.
For the fans who are going to be going into withdrawal well may I remind them that back in 2001 the first season of LO:CI was delayed due to 9/11 and then all through the winter of 2002 we had to wait many many weeks to see new LO:CI episodes because of the nuisance of preemption by the 2002 Winter Olympics? Thanks to FOX syndication reruns, Bravo reruns, the first 3 seasons of LO:CI on DVD, Amazon downloads, plus whatever marathons USA Network chooses to run etc, well you won’t have to suffer as much as we dinosaur days fans did. You’ll live…trust me. Just take the hiatus one day at a time
Oh and huge kudos are going out to the LA Times for their WGA strike coverage and this article.
“Grappling with his dual roles”
— Matea Gold LA Times Blog
“Warren Leight, executive producer and showrunner of USA’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” was wrestling with an issue facing many of his fellow showrunners on the picket line: how to juggle his competing duties as a writer and producer.
Last night, he finished one last tweak on the 10th episode of “Criminal Intent” and faxed it in right before the strike deadline. The script for Episode 11 is also done and will probably go into production before Thanksgiving. Though Leight won’t write another word until the strike is over, he may get called on for his input on editing and other responsibilities he has as a showrunner.
“I’m trying to figure it out,” said Leight, who says he won’t cross the picket line. “I think that’s a hugely complicated issue. I have to play every situation by ear. A lot of showrunners are grappling with that.”
Leight feels strongly that the writers were forced to strike. “They made us an offer we had to refuse,” he said of the studios. “My sense is they wanted it to come to this.
“In a sense, they managed to do the impossible: They brought writers together,” he added. “Look, it’s an ornery group. But we know what the stakes are. There’s remarkable unity between the guilds on both coasts, which has never been the case, and across different echelons of the guild. It’s unfortunate it’s come to this, but they’ve managed to create more unity in the writers guild than we’ve been able to do on our own in 30 years.”
Unlike the 1988 strike, this stoppage comes down to one clear issue for most writers, Leight said: “They know if they don’t stand up now out here, there will be no residuals in five to 10 years. It’s a one-issue strike.” ”
I don’t know how else I can support the striking writers except to say so right here on The Vault’s homepage and to maybe go rewatch VDO’s rants as the writer David Kahane in ‘The Player’ for inspiration (and ignoring the conclusion of the film). In real life the weasels of MegaMediaCorporations(TM) Inc. don’t always have to win.
If somebody wants to hook me up with a WGA T-shirt or a strike sign I’d happily accept them :)
Music ‘When The Day Goes Down’ Acoustic Version By The Eurythmics (from the promotional only ‘Acoustic Eurythmics’ CD Sampler released in 1989)
Law & Order Criminal Intent has just finished a horrible season, an ‘annus horribilis’ or maybe more accurately a ‘tempestas horribilis’ and has moved from NBC to the USA Network. In order to make the move go more successfully and to make sure as many viewers as possible watch all future LO:CI episodes, USA just completed a marathon broadcasting of all of the episodes of the sixth season (stretched out over two weekends). So while this gesture of support made by the new network was appreciated, there are old issues pertaining to the sixth season that I feel compelled to address
I call this completed sixth season a horribly rough season because it involved a lot of changes in the creative team, which dictated a lot of changes in the creative decisions that went into making the shows and which affected both the characters and the fans relationships with them.
I won’t sugarcoat the fact that as a fan of LO:CI who was willing to watch the show from Day 1 Year 1 that the show I fell in love with was the Rene Balcer helmed version of LO:CI and that there were too many changes packed into too short a period of time with Season 6 to keep me as ecstatically happy as I was with Seasons 1-5. The characters suffered, the stories suffered and as a loyal fan I suffered along with it. But with the move to a new network and the start of a new seventh season, I have some advice for the creative powers behind the show and although it may be presumptuous on my part, I am acting as an advocate for a certain segment of loyal LO:CI viewers, viewers who may not be as clearly heard as they ought to be.
With much soul searching I have come to the conclusion that those who were responsible for LO:CI’s fall from grace (a ‘sixth year itch’ if you will) are a combination of the network, the production company and the writers. I am certain that NBC which is a floundering broadcast network stuck for the most part in last place in the ratings (which matter far more to advertisers and the shareholders of media companies than to your typical viewer) put the most detrimental pressure on the show to change. Broadcast networks have a long history of doing this fiddling with programming that works reasonably well creatively and artistically in an effort to capture *every* *last* viewer. This kind of narrow-minded thinking has decimated both the news and entertainment divisions of the broadcast networks, making them sacrifice serious, intelligent, steadfast viewers for viewers who are nothing like their core audience and probably never really will be won over as loyal viewers. The core audience however once it perceives it has been abandoned inevitably moves on…in the case of news to the Internet or in the case of entertainment programming to cable networks (and presumably in the future to Internet broadcasting). This is not an amicable parting of the ways as smart loyal viewers once burned generally don’t ever come back.
Getting LO:CI free of NBC, a network that is now helmed by a very immature programming executive who is hailed for his connections to crap celebrity culture that the vast majority of Americans don’t really think or care about and has dubious creative ideas (bringing back ‘Knight Rider’ but changing the car to be Transformer-like is his latest aspiration) was a crucial step for LO:CI’s survival. But it is going to be up to LO:CI’s writers to keep creeping network pinheadism in the name of higher ratings from further alienating LO:CI’s core audience to the point of no return.
To its credit, USA has an excellent track record with how it promotes its shows (heavily if not always accurately or cleverly) and to my knowledge has not imposed too many idiotic demands on its shows creators (one I am aware of is relocating ‘Burn Notice’ from Newark (as conceived by the show’s author) to Miami, presumably so that scantily clad young women and men could be used in a ploy to get ratings from young people…the show’s creative team very shrewdly minimized that sort of footage and didn’t dwell on it, choosing instead to make Miami into a kind of sight gag). But the ratings monster will demand to be fed no matter which network a show lives on and if the writers don’t hold the line, what makes LO:CI LO:CI will be lost.
One other area that concerns longtime LO:CI fans is what Wolf Studios may do. Dick Wolf is in the enviable position of not being dependent on any one of his brand of crime dramas for the majority of his income. Currently SVU pulls the best ratings and has the most recent award winners, while L&O is Wolf’s favored first born series and Wolf is more interested in capturing a longevity record for most consecutive L&O broadcasts rather than capturing the long term respect of viewers to come. The cast of LO:CI, no less deserving of accolades and raises didn’t get them this year and the below the line unsung heros — the LO:CI crew — in many cases took pay *cuts* to keep LO:CI going. As LO:CI is running third in the competition for Wolf’s affection, interest and resources, the writers need to be ready to stand up to potentially detrimental demands from Wolf Studios. I am certain that if the issues are mostly economic, there is some degree of cost containment that can be done and in fact this could improve the creative direction of LO:CI if necessity forces everyone to be more inventive. So I am less worried about how Wolf will influence LO:CI’s creative direction.
Now I come to the difficult area…the fans. Old school fans like myself have to some degree been placed at odds with newer fans, largely by the networks insatiable ratings growth demands and to a lesser degree to satisfying Wolf’s quest for increasing profitability of his shows. While we can accept that things change over the course of the production of a series — actors leave, writers seek to advance their salaries by taking on more roles than just writing, and networks and production companies want more money and ratings first, then some awards, and all for a decreasing investment — we longtimers have endured a lot of changes in a very short period of time.
To give you a fair analogy of this old timers overall evaluation of LO:CI Season 6 stands, think if you will for a moment about the brilliantly funny 1984 mockumentary movie ‘This Is Spinal Tap’. There is a scene in which the band’s lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (played by Christopher Guest) shows off his collection of guitars and stage equipment to the film’s director Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) that goes something like this:
“Nigel Tufnel: [pointing to a customized Marshall amplifier head unit] This is a top, to, uh, you know, what we use on stage, but it’s very, very special, because, if you can see…
Marty DiBergi: Yeah…
Nigel Tufnel: [pointing to the control dials] …the numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board: eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven…
Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?
Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.
Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it’s louder? Is that any louder?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most… most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up… you’re on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?
Marty DiBergi: I don’t know…
Nigel Tufnel: …nowhere! Exactly! What we do is if we need that extra… push over the cliff, you know what we do?
Marty DiBergi: Put it up to eleven.
Nigel Tufnel: …Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
Marty DiBergi: Why don’t you just make ten louder, and make ten be the top… number, and make that a little louder?
Nigel Tufnel: [pause, blank look and snapping chewing gum] These go to eleven.”
While it is one thing for a band to “put it up to eleven” for the occasional solo or the big finale of the concert, it probably isn’t the brightest idea to set the amplifier and the volume as high as it will go and leave it there. It’s hard on the equipment, it’s hard on the musicians who can wind up with hearing loss and tinnitus and frankly it’s exhausting for the audience too and loses its desired impact if the maximum is sought for any significant length of time (probably more than five minutes in the context of music). And note that this scene doesn’t go on forever…nor is this joke repeatedly referred to…the concept is played for it’s optimal level of humor and then the story moves on rather than killing off the joke through overkill.
And now I’ll summarize LO:CI’s biggest problem in Season 6: certain elements of the show got permanently turned up to and stuck on eleven.
Before the change in creative direction, there were slower gentler less intense main character development arcs, a mostly indiscernable series evolution arc and well paced but interesting individual episode arcs. It is fair to say that Seasons 1-5 were somewhat formulaic, but the cases in each episode were more varied and the main characters were developed cautiously, thoughtfully and subtly. The cases investigated drove the character development and the crimes explored gave the guest characters interesting lives of their own. Also no one episode spent its entire 44-45 minutes at the absolute dramatic apex such that it foolishly squandered the energies of the guest characters, the series regulars or the audiences.
This all changed in Season 6. I can’t give a reason for certain as to why but my guess is that the ratings monster drove a lot of the radical creative departures.
Take the season opener for Goren and Eames “Blind Spot”: Goren reunites with his profiling mentor (and apparently his sole reliable father figure), sees his partner Eames kidnapped and tormented, is himself anguished by the prospect that not only has he outgrown his mentor, but that the man is really a bad father, that Goren should have somehow foreseen that the profiler’s daughter would become a serial killer, and that his new boss Ross hates and distrusts him. We also see that Ross is uneasy in his new role as the commander of the Major Case Squad, doesn’t understand that as a commander his job is management and not direct investigation, and is pushing Eames to ‘control’ her partner, the ‘overthinker’. Of course Eames is captive to this illogical Ross versus Goren conflict (and not to mention to the whims of a serial killer).
You can get away with running *all* of your characters on eleven for the entire length of *one* 45 minute episode, and to some extent trivilize the crime and investigative procedure that viewers expect from a show billed as a ‘crime drama’ or a ‘police procedural’ but you can’t make a habit of it.
So what happens to this investigative team in their second episode ‘Siren Call’? How about more irrational conflict between the boss and his detectives, the need for Eames to seek psychological counseling thanks to the previous case’s kidnapping, the revelation that Goren’s mother is dying of cancer and so his time and energy are spread thin amongst his investigative duties and his fillial piety, and oh yeah, we end with a seemingly preventable and gratuitous cop’s suicide witnessed by Goren, Eames, the cop’s remaining daughter (his other troubled stepdaughter was his very own homicide victim) and his terminal cancer stricken wife.
Stuck on eleven, I tell you. And for Goren and Eames and Ross we stay this way all the way to their season finale “Endgame”
Under the old regime logically, Goren and Eames would have been put on leave or desk duty and permitted to step away from the emotional brink, to have some catharsis (and through them some vicarious catharsis for the viewers). But this is not where the writers went (presumably because ‘high drama’ equals ‘high ratings’…a classic network pinheadism that needs to be shown up for what it is: a fallacy).
I find it utter unbelievable and reprehensible that most every case that came up for Goren and Eames to investigate generally had somewhere in the background a clueless, oblivious and/or delusional male who inflicted injury either deliberately or grossly negligantly on his spouse and/or his children. But ‘Blind Spot’, ‘Siren Call’, ‘Bedfellows’, ‘Masquerade’, ‘The War At Home’, ‘Privilege’, ‘Albatross’, ‘Brothers Keeper’, and ‘Rocketman’ all fit that pattern, a pattern that does a heck of a job angsting Goren indirectly and by association Eames and Ross and the viewers. As much as I disliked ‘Endgame’, at least the suffering was openly and directly inflicted upon Goren by the perpetrator, and frankly ‘Silencer’ becomes the exceptional episode where the source of familial distress leading to the motivation behind a crime is a female sibling who abandons her brother. Of course the case in ‘Silencer’ could also remind Goren of how he has been abandoned by his brother as their mother lies dying, but at least it’s a different kind of case with different emotional implications for Goren Eames and Ross. Still the writers beat the ‘bad family stuff’-as-criminal-motivation horse into oblivion. For ratings and new viewers. At the expense of old viewers, rational thought, good storytelling and giving the actors the chance to play more broadly and creatively with the scripts.
So what about LO:CI’s other investigative team Wheeler & Logan? Well here things are less a case of ‘Law & Order: Detective Angst’, but there is a case pattern into which the writters fell that frankly was also lazy and overdone. From their season opening case ‘Tru Love’ it was clear that Logan was going to be stuck playing the now ‘old guy’ detective who is utterly befuddled by modern culture and people under a certain age and needs his youthful partner Wheeler to explain it to him (as if poor Logan had suddenly and inexplicably lost his ability to think like a young person). While this could have been a rather pointed clever and amusing play on how as the young Detective Logan used to give his mothership partners Greevey, Ceretta and Briscoe grief and now had to take a bit of what he used to dish out, frankly it insults the intelligence, wisdom and intuitiveness that are rightfully Logan’s now that he is decidely ‘middle aged’. Whether it’s adult women stuck in adolescence (‘Tru Love’, ‘Bombshell’), the music business and rap/hip-hop culture (‘Country Crossover’, ‘Flipped’, ‘Players’), other youth media (‘Blasters’ Weeping Willow’ ‘Bombshell’) or the clash of the rise of homosexuality (‘Maltese Cross’), or multiculturalism and freer female heterosexuality (‘World’s Fair) against more traditional sexual and ethnic mores, Logan was often made to look unnecessarily dumb or helpless against young hip and improbably ‘always in the know’ Wheeler. The two exceptional cases ’30’ and ‘Renewal’ angsted Logan with the loss of a friendly career ally in the former and a potential romantic partner in the latter. And of course we had Ross interfering with the Logan and Wheeler led investigations as well, angsting Logan with his assertions that Logan is still in Ross’s eyes an ‘overreactor’ or a hothead while championing the unproven Wheeler. Talk about an unnecessary age war.
So here we long time fans are as befuddled and exhausted as our heroes. Now we surely are familiar with all of their inner conflicts and emotional issues but that came at the expense of the crimes and the cases. Some of them were too easy for us to solve and some of them we just didn’t really care who did it (although upon reflection we missed getting glimpses of criminality in all its myriad forms and with a variety of motivations that the ‘Criminal Intent’ name implies). It was something of a minor victory to still be watching a sixth season LO:CI episode at its conclusion, but it wasn’t a lot of fun or something that made you think much because you were overwhelmed by the emotional heroin of full metal melodrama.
So with the new network and the new season here is this fans small plea to the writers: dial back the emotionalism already. Pretty please, just simply give us all a break.
We have graciously let you into our most intimate and vulnerable spaces; our living rooms, bedrooms, media rooms…wherever there is a television, your characters have been given our permission to be eagerly welcomed guests in our homes. For six seasons we have largely enjoyed your company, chosen it over the company of other shows and other activities (most notably such as spending time with our families and friends). We are well invested in both what happens to the characters personally and what happens to them professionally and care about both the process *and* the outcome of each of the episode, series and character arcs. Our homes for the most part are supposed to be havens from a world that increasingly seems ‘stuck on eleven’ thanks to complex and difficult economic and political issues our country faces, the ever-increasing presence and dependence upon technology we as a society are confronting, and increasing change in just about everything you can imagine. Forgive us for sometimes wanting to take things a little slower and experience them less intensely but remember that we want you to entertain us with your stories, not exhaust us with drama kings and queens the way most other forms of media want us to. Intense feelings in characters are not unappreciated but not if to experience them we have to sacrifice the logic and quality of storytelling.
Running at eleven is simply not sustainable, certainly not for us old timers and most likely the new viewers will eventually burn out from the excess of spectacle and angst chosen over storytelling and progressive judicious familiarity with characters of depth rather than volume of feeling. We long time viewers have few ways to communicate this exhaustion directly to those in charge other than online or in old fashioned letters to production companies and more indirectly by changing the channel and not buying the products and services your artistic endeavors are meant to promote. As it is your typical viewer old or new is running all kinds of debts: too little time, constrained financial resources, being pulled in many directions by friends, family, community. We are willing to give something of ourselves to you in terms of time to work out these intense emotional phases for our main characters but not if you keep exceeding the limits of believability or the bounds of emotional restraint.
Let me give you one other piece of advice (and this goes for everyone on the creative team, not just the writers). Always remember that you are the professionals and we are the amateurs. If we all wanted to as fans, we all could write fan fiction which I can tell you from personal experience usually involves pushing characters’s emotions to eleven and often loses sight of context and good storytelling until you learn to do better. It is hard to restrain one’s self as an amateur writer, to learn about the dramatic arc of storytelling and follow the conventions set out by a genre and adhere to it rather than to indulge in flights of fancy and amuse one’s self to the exclusion of everyone else’s enjoyment. Whether you choose to read fan fiction or monitor online fan discussions of how the shows are progressing is your decision, but please don’t let yourselves be seduced into exchanging your visions of where the characters, crimes and series should go for ours. Not all of our ideas are good ones and you shouldn’t chase ratings or universal public love and approval or professional accolades through us. While your characters speak for victims living and dead, and their friends, families and loved ones, you ultimately speak for your characters, or more accurately, your characters speak through you to us. We don’t expect you to be perfect, but we do expect you to be the characters’ advocates, their champions. You don’t have to do everything we say we’d like you to do, just do the things that make sense for the characters and the stories. In the same way you would reject bizarre or inappropriate ideas from those above you like the network or the purse-string holders in production (or get creative when forced to labor under an idiotic edict), be strong and reject our silly and stupid notions and be true to your own artistic judgment. Even us stuck in the mud old timers can be brought around on many of your new ideas (not all of them as you have made mistakes too…welcome to the human race), but it is up to you to woo us back.
We are looking forward to being surprised and delighted…what a welcome change that would be from the larger world we live in. May you rise to the challenge, tackle it with aplomb and deliver television destined to become timeless entertainment.
…it will have to do for today while I regroup and work on kind of a broad sweeping blog post. Thanks to Ethan Hawke and whomever had the brilliant idea of giving him a camera to mess around with while he was shooting ‘The Newton Boys’
Given how I have felt more than a little like this (overwhelmed and eager to hide) lately:
What is it with everyone on the web wanting everything and wanting it right this minute just like that awful little bratty Veruca Salt character in “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory”?!?!
You might say I’m crazy to feel this way, but this morning while I was taking a break from organizing a big blog post and uploading a couple of new photo sets to Flickr, I happened to watch AMC’s ‘Sunday Morning Shootout’ and the industry guest of the two Peters (Bart and Guber) was none other than Variety’s Anne Thompson who is now writing a blog at Variety’s website called ‘Thompson On Hollywood’.
Thompson was making the point that for professional journalists they find themselves having to rush even faster to get stories out first. In her case, sometimes that means she blogs something before a fellow journalist who is also set to do in-depth coverage on the same event finishes their story and files it.
To Thompson, it also means “live blogging” which strikes me as the same sort of thing that happens on the TV news with a “breaking story”. On TV this means you get to watch a bunch of people from the news division basically interrupt everything scheduled to say things like “we think there’s something going on, we’ll tell you what little we know whether or not it’s true and no we haven’t wasted precious time checking it out, and then we’ll just keep on babbling like idiots so that you don’t change the channel and so that later some other channel can claim that they were ‘first’ to report the story, so pretty please don’t touch that remote, okay?”
I want someone to please tell me how this is going to work in what is mostly a type-written medium?!?!
Are we going to see pages on web sites and blog posts full of typos, bad writing, etc or are these people just going to put something like little YouTube videos that say the same useless things the TV news talking heads and pundits say all over the Internet?
When did legitimate journalists stop caring about being the ‘best’ (ie telling a complete, factually accurate and useful story) and start caring about being ‘first’? And why are people who get their information online letting this sort of crap journalism take over here? If I want to watch a shitty excuse for a news story I can always go turn on my TV, thanks.
Do we really need to sacrifice usefulness for speed?
Oh well rant over. The photos I added at Flickr today are primarily photos of books that have been adapted into various movies with VDO in them. I am happy to say that I have taken the time out to actually read almost all of them (I need to read Malcolm X’s autobiography)
Music from the pre Web overload era (to remind me and everyone to slow down and enjoy the speed of life a little):
Music with a coded message: ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ by The Police
Bonus message/track: ‘Your Latest Trick’ by Dire Straits
…you can color me a little surprised but these days I guess any paycheck is better than no paycheck, and (maybe?) mediocre scripts are better than no scripts even (especially?) in an industry as arbitrary as the entertainment industry
Here’s hoping they clean house on the show runner/writing/ creative side of things at LO:CI to *improve* the downward spiral that was Season 6
I seriously doubt that will happen (because chances are to do that *properly* also costs money) but one can always hope and dream, can’t one?
“‘CI’ stars returning without raises
By Nellie Andreeva
June 9, 2007
Good intentions have prevailed in the salary dispute between the stars and producers on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
Sources said Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Noth and Kathryn Erbe all agreed Friday to return to the series next season without a raise. Wolf Films and NBC Universal TV Studio had set a Friday 5 p.m. deadline for them to accept the offer. (HR 6/8)
The actors are said to be disappointed because leads on returning series get at least 5% salary increase every year. In the end, it came down to wanting to come back to the show and understanding the financial strain posed by the series’ move from NBC to USA Network next season, sources said. (Repeats of the show will air on NBC.)
It’s belt-tightening time on the “Law & Order” franchise. Sources indicated that below-the-line crews members are taking 5% to 10% pay cuts next season.
Reps for Wolf Films and NBC Uni TV declined comment Friday.”
The Vine: No raise offer irks ‘CI’ stars
By Nellie Andreeva
June 8, 2007
“Law & Order: Criminal Intent” producers’ intent to bring back the cast of the series with no raises next season is not sitting well with the show’s stars, sources said. It is understood that Wolf Films and NBC Universal TV Studio have set a deadline of 5 p.m. today for stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Noth and Kathryn Erbe to accept the offer. Series cast members normally receive a 5% salary bump every year, which could be higher for stars on established shows. Studios have been pushing to make that standard raise tied to the show’s license fee increase, which generally is lower. In the case of “CI,” producers face new economic realities of producing a high-production-value drama with marquee stars on a cable budget because the series has been moved from NBC — where it aired for six seasons — to USA Network, with a second window on NBC. (The repeats on NBC should alleviate some of the financial strain.) Reps for Wolf Films and NBC Uni TV declined comment on any actor negotiations.”
Well in today’s mail I received what I presumed might be a mythical object. Luckily this object is actually 100% real and I now have a copy in my hands (which will be joining others of its kind very soon).
Behold the CD soundtrack to ‘The Winner’ as Director Alex Cox intended it to be:
The story behind my “relentless” search for this CD is that many months ago I learned from Alex Cox, the director of ‘The Winner’ via an answer to an email of mine, that the way ‘The Winner’ was released in most every region is a butchered up, badly edited and incorrectly scored film. In fact if you look at Alex Cox’s website entry for ‘The Winner’:
you will see that Alex Cox doesn’t really count it as a film he directed because of just how bad a job the film’s producers did in reediting ‘The Winner’ and changing it’s score behind Cox’s back.
Luckily the Japanese had the good sense to let Cox try to reedit the film and put back Dan Wool, Pray For Rain and Zander Schloss’s soundtrack and gave the film a special theatrical run as the Japanese flyer (chirashi) here shows:
Anyway after much searching and following a cryptic clue on Pray For Rain’s website (where unfortunately Dan Wool and Pray For Rain do not have any mp3 files from ‘The Winner’ available for listening), I finally located what I presumed was something that didn’t exist, a commercially available release of the correct music for ‘The Winner’
The full soundtrack (Toho/Coeur Records CR-0011 if you feel inclined to order a copy for yourself from Japan) is available for your listening enjoyment is here
This CD explains why the trailer actually has good music (Cox’s intended humorous good music was used) and the film’s music is just awful (the producers put in a cheap crappy substitute soundtrack).
Oh and if I were Cox I’d disassociate myself from what was released everywhere but in Japan…the soundtrack to ‘The Winner’ as the rest of the world has experienced it is only outdone in awfulness by the soundtrack for ‘It Don’t Pay To Be An Honest Citizen’. Frankly a lot of ‘It Don’t Pay’s’ problem is that the sound mix is bad; the soundtrack drowns out a lot of important dialogue which I presume is a problem of the film having such an extremely low budget that the director couldn’t afford to fix the sound problems in post-production. With ‘The Winner’ the problem is apparently artistically challenged interfering producers with zero sense of irony or humor.
I am working on a blog post that goes into a lot of depth on what exactly the ‘renewals’ of the mothership (which is staying on NBC) and CI (which will be first airing on USA and later airing in repurposed or ‘bounce’ repeats on NBC) really mean…first to post is not always best and frankly there is a lot still unanswered (especially since the actual upfronts have not occurred yet).
But here is the hotter news…NBC’s schedule courtesy of Variety with minimal commenting
Appropriate music ‘Prime Time’ by The Alan Parsons Project’
“NBC announces schedule, shows
‘Heroes’ gets second series
By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER
While the focus this spring centered on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy”spin-off, NBC was quietly developing one of their own – and announced this morning that “Heroes” has spawned a second series of its own.
“Heroes: Origins” will air in “Heroes'” Monday night time slot when that smash hit takes a hiatus. The net has ordered six segs of “Origins,” which, combined with “Heroes,” makes for 30 hours altogether.
“Heroes: Origins” will center on characters not yet seen on the original show. Peacock has also added an interactive element to the show: Viewers will be asked to pick their favorite character from “Origins,” who will then join the cast of the full-blown “Heroes” skein the following year.
The initiative to keep the “Heroes” franchise in originals for as long as possible harkens back to the golden age of TV, when series aired 39 weeks worth of originals, then took a break.
With repeats dipping to record lows on all five nets, those reruns are fast becoming a thing of the past. Besides the 30-seg “Heroes” and “Heroes: Origins” stretch, Peacock is also picking up 30 eps of “The Office” – including five hour-longs (Daily Variety, May 14) – and 25 segs of “My Name is Earl.”
NBC is also waiting until January to launch the 18th season of “Law & Order,” as well as the return of “Medium” – both of which will bow on Sunday nights after “Sunday Night Football” completes its run (allowing the two skeins to remain in originals for the full stretch).
Meanwhile, the net announced that it has also pacted with Peacock alum Jerry Seinfeld and DreamWorks to air 20 “minisodes” featuring the comedian recounting his experience voicing the upcoming ani feature “Bee Movie.” The shorts will air as interstitials on the network.
Peacock’s new 2007-08 season so far includes five new dramas, one new laffer, a new game show and one new reality competish.
“Last year we promised a return to the NBC legacy of quality, and in terms of awards, buzz and critical acclaim, that’s just what we delivered,” NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said. “We’ve got the class and next season we’re ready to add some mass, with new shows that build on the creative accomplishments of last season and are as broad as they are good. Combine the energy of these new programs with the bulked-up strength of our existing NBC hits and you’ve got a lineup that’s poised to take us to the next level.”
Despite speculation that “Heroes” and Thursday staple “ER” might move, net opted for stability and kept those shows in their regular homes. Also, as anticipated, critical fave (and narrowly renewed) drama “Friday Night Lights” will move to high school football night – and Peacock marketers can breathe a sigh of relief (“‘Friday Night Lights,’ finally on Friday,” the blurbmeisters are probably already prepping).
Also, as expected, “The Office” will move into the key Thursday 9 p.m. tentpole slot, with “30 Rock” behind “My Name is Earl” and “Scrubs” behind “The Office.” Because “The Office” will expand to an hour on five ocassions, the Peacock had only ordered 18 segs of “Scrubs.”
Meanwhile, net stayed true to its word, and stuck with mostly reality and unscripted in the 8 p.m. slot, other than Thursday.
Toughest night for the Peacock? Wednesday, where the net will attempt two new shows “Bionic Woman” and “Life.” NBC clearly believes there’s an opening on the night, now that ABC has said that “Lost” won’t return until January.
On Fridays, the net is promoting a “Game Night” at 8 p.m., with “1 vs. 100” airing for six weeks, followed by new gamer “The Singing Bee.”
New shows include the dramas “Journeyman,” “Chuck,” “Bionic Woman” and “Life,” with “Lipstick Jungle” prepped for midseason. Comedy “The IT Crowd” is also on the bench for midseason. New unscripted entires include “The Spelling Bee” and is “World Moves.” Talent competish comes from “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson and follows dance teams competing for a touring contract.”
The surprises here (besides a Heroes spinoff) are
1) The mothership gets the very early 8pm Sunday night time slot (and in the past Wolf always lobbied for 10pm time slots for all 3 L&Os) and
2) CI *specifically* is not listed on the schedule, instead is a 2 hour block from 9-10pm on Saturday scheduled for “drama repeats”. Hopefully, when it is aired by NBC, CI will get the preferred later 10pm slot but I doubt that.
So Dick Wolf gave up some stuff here to get the mothership renewed…interesting. And if you don’t get cable, you can bank on your ‘new episode’ CI fix getting a lot trickier