Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Write Idea

I admit, I'll have more than a passing interest than just my usual fanboy stuff with tonight's "Smallville." (CW, 8 p.m.)

A couple of years ago, I wrote a "Smallville" teleplay that I was able to submit to the show's producers through an acquaintance I had on the Warner Brothers lot.

I loved the "Elseworlds" titles in the DC Comics universe, when one of their heroes would have their origin re-written through a different time or place or set of circumstances - what if Bruce Wayne had gotten a Green Lantern ring the night he decided to become Batman, for example. Or if Superman had landed on Earth during the American Revolution.

I incorporated the Elseworlds concept — I even called the episode "Elseworlds" — into the script. Through a complicated set of circumstances, I had the baby Kal-El arriving on Earth and being found by the evil Lionel Luthor, who recognized that having a super-powered son would have certain advantages. The baby's older brother, Lex, would likely be very jealous and fearful of the baby. Lex would have ended up gathering his own private army of meteor-empowered freaks to destroy his brother, including Bart Allen, the future Flash.

I don't if the execution of the script was any good or not, but I'm guessing the "Smallville" producers didn't think so, what with me still working for The Telegraph and all in the years since then.

But it is interesting to see some of the concepts being borne out, both in last week's episode "Justice" (Oliver Queen puts together a nascent Justice League) and this week's installment, "Labyrinth," in which Clark loses his memory and wakes up in a world where he has no powers but is in the loony bin for thinking he has (very reminiscent of a "Buffy" episode from some years ago). This is not me accusing the "Smallville" guys of something underhanded, either - my script was very different than theirs, and the Elseworlds-concept isn't exactly original in the DC universe.

As both a fan and a writer, I'm curious to see the final product and learn a little more about the writing process. Maybe I'll figure out that winning "Smallville" concept yet.

RATINGS UPDATE: Since I've written so much about the Nielsen numbers this week, I should note that "Heroes" ended up just beating "24" in the overall numbers in their first head-to-head battle, and doing better in the coveted 18-49 viewer slot.

THURSDAY'S BEST BETS: "Smallville's" neighbor, "Supernatural" (CW, 9 p.m.) also has a new installment tonight. The producers of that show also announced "Battlestar Galactica" Cylon-babe Tricia Helfer will guest star later in the season.

I've been thoroughly impressed at "Ugly Betty's" (ABC, 8 p.m.) consistency, and how the show - which started out great - continues to hit its stride every week. It's followed by "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 9 p.m.), where the soap opera off the screen is as interesting as it is on it, and "Men in Trees" (ABC, 10 p.m.), a show I've never seen.

CBS' lone new episode of the night is "CSI" at 9 p.m., while NBC offers a night full of its sitcom re-runs, including three installments of "The Office" at 8:30 p.m. and from 10-11 p.m. And I shouldn't neglect Fox, which offers new installments of "Til Death," "The War at Home" and "The O.C." On second thought, I probably should neglect Fox.


Zodin2008 said...

I am in the midst of watching "Smallville" right now and it's first thought before even reading your column right now was the "Buffy" episode a few years back and before that, the great Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Frame of Mind".

Really good one and I do love the concepts. Your script sounds great.

Phillip Ramati said...

I was also pleasently surprised by Smallville, especially with the appearance of Phil Morris as a beloved DC character.

As for my script, eh, who knows?

Zodin2008 said...

Morris was great and I love the Manhunter character a lot on the "Justice League" series. In fact,they could have considered having Carl Lumbly play the live action version because Lumbly's voice is so good and so synonymous with the Manhunter.

(Lumbly was also fantastic for 5 years as Marcus ixson on "Alias").