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Old December 14th, 2006, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default Why do things have to be "realistic" ...

...to today's audience?


I'm curious. I've heard so much about how much more intelligence the viewing audience of today possesses, that I want to try figuring out how and why.

Below are just a few questions for which I'd like to get answers. Add questions of your own, if you like.




I've heard the terminology bandied about that today's audience is "more sophisticated". How so?


Since many of us, in today's 'sophisticated' audience were around during the "heathen days" of the 70's and 80's, what happened to make us so sophisticated?


Why does so much of television 'drama' seem to be a simple re-hash of the evening news?


In our ascendancy to sophistication, have we forgotten how to imagine?


Has the apparent popularity of reality shows cost us our imagination?
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Old December 14th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #2
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Pete -

I have to wonder the same thing. Given the poplularity of shows like Heroes and a few others, it appears that there is still and audience for the fantastic.

I remebmer a few discussions with friends regarding remaking Space:1999. Folks kept dwelling on how to make the moon leaving Earth's orbit more plausible. The one thing about that is that the event of the moon being blown out of orbit was only a plot device to put mankind in outer space in circumstances where the residents of Moonbase Alpha would be unprepared for it and the consequences stemming from it.

Why folks get bogged down in the details these days is beyond me. If folks want realistic, why do they go to movies like Superman Returns, Spiderman, X-Men, Harry Potter, or the upcoming Tranformers?

I've no problem suspending my disbelief when it honestly serves the story to do so. When it comes to characterization, that's a whole other thing. I want the characters to be beleivable at the very least.

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Old December 15th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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Personally I think it has less to do with sophistication than Hollywood. To put it simply most no longer know how to create something and make it good.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #4
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To many, sophisticated means basically eye candy. XF driven stuff, regardless of content. The folks who scream for "reality" stuff fall basically into two catagories. Those who have some sort of "agenda" they want to push, and use entertainment to do it, and those who have no imagination, and so fall back on blood, sex, and thinly-veiled preachiness.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 07:49 AM   #5
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Personally, I can't stand the gritty realism. We can see that everyday, give me good old fashioned fantasy any day!!!! I don't need to actually see the bathroom on the Millenium Falcon!!!!!
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Old December 18th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #6
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I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that we now either have the technology dreamed about 20 years ago or that information is so readily available that we (joe public) simply know more of what is fact. Because we have such a grip on what is plausable with technology, it makes it harder to stretch our imagination. This means a greater challenge for writers.

Personally, I like to put reality aside and dream.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 03:41 PM   #7
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I pre-fare to use my imagination.. most time's when I see to much Grit . I switch Channel or if I cannot do that I leave the room ..... mostly I listen to the Radio now .... old show have more appeal
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Old December 18th, 2006, 04:59 PM   #8
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Reality sucks.

Give me believability instead. Solid characters, good science (even if it's a stretch, make it plausible if it's not possible). Firefly did it. Star Trek did it (most of the time, in the earlier series). Babylon 5 did it.

As KA said, it takes decent writing by someone who knows what they're doing to make the audience want to suspend disbelief. Whedon does it, JMS does it, Roddenberry knew how to do it.

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Old December 18th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #9
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Don't know. Don't care anymore. If it entertains me, that's all that fracking matters to me.

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Old December 22nd, 2006, 01:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BST
Why do things have to be so realistic ...to today's audience?

I'm curious. I've heard so much about how much more intelligence the viewing audience of today possesses, that I want to try figuring out how and why.
Things realistic? Intelligence? This is a joke, correct?

But seriously, while I would argue that people are as intelligent as they always were in the inherent sense of their humaness, their ignorance today as a group set is far greater than say twenty years ago. I will explain what I mean.

Let's try to answer your question set by analyzing the actual mind state of the viewers.
Quote:
Below are just a few questions for which I'd like to get answers. Add questions of your own, if you like.

The best question set is usually framed in the simplest format. If you minimize variant parameters by focusing your questions to a specific conditional, you minimize the not relevant outtopic data. So far you seem to be batting 1.0000 with your formulation.

Quote:
I've heard the terminology bandied about that today's audience is "more sophisticated". How so?
It isn't. From a technological point of view, or scientific point of view, moral point of view, or historical point of view, the average viewer today is shockingly ignorant of the background knowledge he should have as part of his mental tool kit. What is worse is that he or she doesn't care that he or she is ignorant. You can see this condition developed in the population decay of such basic skills as organized critical thinking to such simple skills as problem solving.

Quote:
Since many of us, in today's 'sophisticated' audience were around during the "heathen days" of the 70's and 80's, what happened to make us so sophisticated?
In our own case among the older mature people? Loss of faith in anything including especially ourselves. We don't stand for principle as we used to stand.
Quote:
Why does so much of television 'drama' seem to be a simple re-hash of the evening news?
Loss of visual imagination skills in the practicioners [if you can call many of the clowns who claim to be practicioners] of the art; plus the decay of basic organizational thinking skills. A television writer in order to write a good show has to run the camera in his head and then turn what he sees into a story. If you cannot "see" the story, how can you write it? So the hack falls back on what he knows. The most recent thing he "saw" is what he knows. Never mind the fact that he has no sense of how to organize story structure, or lacks the skill to character sketch peoiple so that we see them as people.

Example; How many episodes did it take you to understand the interaction of Miss Kitty and Matt Dillon, a couple, on "Gunsmoke"? Same question posited with the character of Commander Adama and Apollo on CBSG, a relationship of father and son. One episode usually did it for you. Clear crisp writing did that. Did you ever get a character read on Captain Lameway on Voyager? Or of 7 of 9? Do you even remember anything about Seinfeld, the character, except that he stood for NOTHING? Did you care if Seinfeld bought the big one, or if the "heroes" of Voyager ever got home? I didn't. I don't connect with cardboard. Sorry.
Quote:
In our ascendancy to sophistication, have we forgotten how to imagine?
Exactly.
Quote:
Has the apparent popularity of reality shows cost us our imagination?
We've generally become mind-numbed and lazy thinking because it is too hard or so we are told by the intellectuals to think for ourselves. If we had the originality of thought to see through the garbage presented[but we do or else why does this forum exist?] that the least common denominator hacks who supposedly entertain us produce nothing but recycled detritus-we would reject their offerings.

I speak for myself here now. I tend to watch very little TV and almost never go to the movies anymore. Why? Because I refuse to watch or entertain myself with GARBAGE.

I allow myself one hour of pure garbage a week for which I write reviews to keep my critical analysis writing skills sharp. Besides I made a promise to write the reviews, and I keep my promises insofar as I am able.

What other little TV I watch comes down to science and technology shows and a little history. But even here I tear it apart when the science or the history is WRONG.

It all comes down to what you as a person are willing to accept.

I won't accept tripe-ever.

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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:10 AM   #11
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For may entertainment now I listen to the radio .. not music . But audio Plays .. and listening to some of the oldest sci-fiction around .... "Journey into Space" is one .. done by the BBC .. 20 weeks for 30 minutes on a Saturday .... no realistic undertones any where ..... also Doctor Who has a 4 part story ..

The only TV I watch is discovery or history Channel . that the only realism I like ..

When I watch a show now ..usually from my younger days .. the made entertainment only ... the science did not matter .... we believed and enjoyed it ..

a Viper travelling true space at full turbo .. a smoke trail, or an exotic plasma trail
fuelled by TYLIUM ... but hey it looked good..

but there is realism and realism .. to much blood-shed in a"shoot the up scene" .. I won't continue to watch .. so perhaps modern film maker lack imagination ?? instead
of finding new way to tell a tail they make it more gory. bloody. sexy .
keeping some of glued to tv ..

I find I don't want to watch TV or films been produced now as they have no appeal to me ... modern "STARS" also lack appeal.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 01:16 PM   #12
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Damocles,

I think we're on the same page with this....I wasn't asking the questions on the initial post out of naivete....more along the lines of being facetious.



I'm also with you about watching television....much of what's offered does not appeal to me. However, when I do watch television, I'm more interested in seeing an author weave a good story than I am in his/her ability to withstand scientific scrutiny. Sadly, the ability to imagine does appear to have taken a holiday. I hope it returns but, given the crop of "talent" penning television shows and the recent penchant for cheap reality shows, I'm not too optimistic.

Perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of the end of television.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 01:20 PM   #13
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I have often thought so myself ....... While working today I asked a kid (who was playing his PlayStation) which does he prefare .... can you guess the answer I was not surprised at all .....
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 01:37 PM   #14
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Yep, I can just about guess his answer.

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Old December 22nd, 2006, 01:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BST
Damocles,

I think we're on the same page with this....I wasn't asking the questions on the initial post out of naivete....more along the lines of being facetious.



I'm also with you about watching television....much of what's offered does not appeal to me. However, when I do watch television, I'm more interested in seeing an author weave a good story than I am in his/her ability to withstand scientific scrutiny^1. Sadly, the ability to imagine does appear to have taken a holiday. I hope it returns but, given the crop of "talent" penning television shows and the recent penchant for cheap reality shows, I'm not too optimistic.

Perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of the end of television.
Quite possible.

I am somewhat surprised that people continue to believe that science, or those who try to practice it, lacks imagination. If there is one thing I've learned, thinking empirically requires enormous amounts of imagination.

It is why I admire The Lord of the Rings trilogy but have a lot of trouble with the Harry Potter movies.

^1 Try practicing science or engineering WITHOUT imagination. The FANTASTIC is a part and participle of everything I do and see.

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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:01 PM   #16
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Einstein said something about the importance of Imagination ...cannot quite remember the quote .. it come back soon
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 04:48 PM   #17
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Lets not kid ourselves. Both Richard Hatch's and Bryan Singer and Tom DeSanto's Galactica revivals would have been far more darker in tone and gritter than the classic series. But i doubt a more up to date series needs to be more realistic in order to be taken seriously though?

Today you have shows like C.S.I., 24, Alias, Bones, Prison Break and The Sopranos. But realistic are they really when most of their themes in the series are overblown elements from the real world, i.e. the police in the crime labs solving more crimes than LT Columbo ever did, counter terrorism agents who are more like James Bond saving the world, superspies with attitude, morgue cops who solve crimes within the episode's 50 minute run time, prisoners smarter than an entire state full of law enforcement trying to recapture them and of course gangsters who have killed so many people you wonder why the police haven't thrown out the book and arrested them all anyhow.

While today's shows come across as more realistic due to their settings and have a more grounded approach to them. They are basically TV shows with the usual mundane elements of a series thats just exaggerated and given huge storyarcs made for you to tune in again the following week. They aren't any more realistic than say show of their kind from two decades ago. The dramatic acting and styles have improved from previous generations and so has the way a show is developed and produced etc.

Its the way society has changed thats made television develop along side it in order to adapt to our current present standards of excellence. You're more awares of whats makes good television, acting and drama etc. And to be honest, every genre needs an update with a new approach sooner or later. Sci-fi gave us Star Trek and Lost In Space, shows that dealt with exploration in deep space, years later people wanted deeper stuff with more drama thus we got Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9 set on a space stations and they were certainly more "soap opera" driven with the usual sci-fi trappings etc which only furthered the concepts that came before as an all round production. Shows after B5 were all storyarc 5 year sci-fi TV shows that had set storylines (Earth Final Conflict, Odyssey 5, Final Wave, Andromeda) and have all since then become less episodic television shows and everything is "season based" around particular storyarcs etc. Shows like Firefly and Farscape came along later with more attention thrown on the characters and characterizations rather than the show's whacky sci-fi concepts and action sequences.

See the patterns?

Times and people change along with their society and they way we all develop, and how television as a market changes and develops as well. Films these days are more sequel and remake driven, perhaps cos hollywood's truly run out of ideas. But sooner or later that'll change too.

When this so-called grounded, realistic, gritty and darker TV concepts run dry of ideas and TV concepts for a show on cable and whatnot. The map will change again to suit whatever comes along next. And perhaps we will all see a return to the more fantasy driven and imaginative exploration of lighter and moe optimistic television shows of the previous generations.

Perhaps writers of today feel less imaginative thus everything they write is more grounded. But that doesn't mean a more grittier approach is better 100% of the time. Its certainly refreshing though, cos we're now seeing thing happen on TV and cable/satellite that we didn't see long ago (Think "HBO" televison) thats give you a fresh perspective on situations from real life events that TV producers are trying to capture on their shows. But even these so-called realistic shows have fantasy elements cos television is based in drama and dramatic peformances. And drama isn't 100% realistic no matter which way you slice it, things are hyped up, changed and altered to exaggerate things from real life for entertainment purposes.

And in that, even the realistic gritty shows of today have there failings.

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Old December 22nd, 2006, 05:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Kingjason
Lets not kid ourselves. Both Richard Hatch's and Bryan Singer and Tom DeSanto's Galactica revivals would have been far more darker in tone and gritter than the classic series. But i doubt a more up to date series needs to be more realistic in order to be taken seriously though?

Today you have shows like C.S.I., 24, Alias, Bones, Prison Break and The Sopranos. But realistic are they really when most of their themes in the series are overblown elements from the real world, i.e. the police in the crime labs solving more crimes than LT Columbo ever did, counter terrorism agents who are more like James Bond saving the world, superspies with attitude, morgue cops who solve crimes within the episode's 50 minute run time, prisoners smarter than an entire state full of law enforcement trying to recapture them and of course gangsters who have killed so many people you wonder why the police haven't thrown out the book and arrested them all anyhow.

While today's shows come across as more realistic due to their settings and have a more grounded approach to them. They are basically TV shows with the usual mundane elements of a series thats just exaggerated and given huge storyarcs made for you to tune in again the following week. They aren't any more realistic than say show of their kind from two decades ago. The dramatic acting and styles have improved from previous generations and so has the way a show is developed and produced etc.

Its the way society has changed thats made television develop along side it in order to adapt to our current present standards of excellence. You're more awares of whats makes good television, acting and drama etc. And to be honest, every genre needs an update with a new approach sooner or later. Sci-fi gave us Star Trek and Lost In Space, shows that dealt with exploration in deep space, years later people wanted deeper stuff with more drama thus we got Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9 set on a space stations and they were certainly more "soap opera" driven with the usual sci-fi trappings etc which only furthered the concepts that came before as an all round production. Shows after B5 were all storyarc 5 year sci-fi TV shows that had set storylines (Earth Final Conflict, Odyssey 5, Final Wave, Andromeda) and have all since then become less episodic television shows and everything is "season based" around particular storyarcs etc. Shows like Firefly and Farscape came along later with more attention thrown on the characters and characterizations rather than the show's whacky sci-fi concepts and action sequences.

See the patterns?

Times and people change along with their society and they way we all develop, and how television as a market changes and develops as well. Films these days are more sequel and remake driven, perhaps cos hollywood's truly run out of ideas. But sooner or later that'll change too.

When this so-called grounded, realistic, gritty and darker TV concepts run dry of ideas and TV concepts for a show on cable and whatnot. The map will change again to suit whatever comes along next. And perhaps we will all see a return to the more fantasy driven and imaginative exploration of lighter and moe optimistic television shows of the previous generations.

Perhaps writers of today feel less imaginative thus everything they write is more grounded. But that doesn't mean a more grittier approach is better 100% of the time. Its certainly refreshing though, cos we're now seeing thing happen on TV and cable/satellite that we didn't see long ago (Think "HBO" televison) thats give you a fresh perspective on situations from real life events that TV producers are trying to capture on their shows. But even these so-called realistic shows have fantasy elements cos television is based in drama and dramatic peformances. And drama isn't 100% realistic no matter which way you slice it, things are hyped up, changed and altered to exaggerate things from real life for entertainment purposes.

And in that, even the realistic gritty shows of today have there failings.

KJ

In short, it's what I've said all along..... e aho laula.. wider is better... er... well... let's put it another way:


Larger than life is better, and many times realism will almost always give way to dramatic purpose.



Respectfully,
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Old December 23rd, 2006, 12:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martok2112
In short, it's what I've said all along..... e aho laula.. wider is better... er... well... let's put it another way:


Larger than life is better, and many times realism will almost always give way to dramatic purpose.



Respectfully,
Martok2112
I'm watching the documentary series "Victory at Sea". There is an example of story telling and "realism".

Watch it sometimes, especially the writing, narration, and the film cut edits of the episode "Rings Around Rabaul". Then marvel at the complete lack of storytelling skill that modern TV storytellers demonstrate by comparison.

"Victory at Sea" was a shoe string budget rush collaboration between NBC, the USN, and concerned private citizens during the era of the "Admirals Revolt", when the Air Force was lobbying Congress to take over the Navy's share of the defense budget. It was the purest propaganda you can imagine, but it was also a rousing video naval epic told in sum to educate the American people through popular entertainment to explain to them what their Navy had just done and why they had done it.

Fifty four years later you can see how it among other storytelling film making examples of the time inspired Lucass(TM) and others to revive the movie epic as an art form.

And that particular effort was nothing but a good writer, a film editor, a director, a hoarse-throated narrator, Richard Rodgers and the NBC Orchestra and hundreds of thousands of feet of combat footage rushed into post production to tell a rousing good story.

Point? "Realism" is an illusionary production style subjective thing storytellers employ that they choose with the presentation purpose of the story they tell, and why/how they tell it. IT DOESN'T EXIST as a "story" at all.

"CBSG" is a story told in a bardic "style". "Victory at Sea" is a story told in an operatic heroic "style"[pay attention to the way that music drives the story]. Don't confuse "realism" with the "story". And don't confuse the "story" with the "style" of story telling.

Those who suggest that modern production "realism" is "story telling" don't understand the difference. If the production "style" is crap and the "story" isn't worth telling, then the "realism" [Quote: I'm shooting it in a documentary style to bring a feel of "realism" to it. : unquote.] is just a producer's desperate excuse to cover his complete lack of talent he exhibits in choosing a production "style" that makes story sense or presenting his "story" about which anyone should care.

At least Berman never made THAT feeble attempt to justify his own garbage.

And Lucass(TM) can excuse himself by saying he's "improving" his "vision" by remastering it.

"Reimagining"......................

"Realism" as a story telling style is a crockful.

Show me "realism".

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