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Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?

18 Aug 2017 14:28 #55870 by brantley
Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea? was created by brantley
Marvel's Defenders is nothing new in concept; DC's Legion of Superheroes goes back a long, long way, But this review today points up the basic difficulties in throwing previously unrelated characters into one story.

www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/arts/televisi...tflix-tv-review.html

It's why I've never been attracted to any of the previous efforts, except for those that create the group and the world in which it operates from the start -- sf writer George R.R. Martin, better known for the Game of Thrones novels that spawned a TV series, also created Wild Cards, an homage of sorts to X-Men. But I'd much rather see the iconic Wonder Woman in another movie of her own, rather than thrown in arbitrarily with other Marvel characters again in the Justice League.

What say others?

--Brantley

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18 Aug 2017 15:42 - 18 Aug 2017 15:44 #55871 by kikass2014
Replied by kikass2014 on topic Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?
Build up certainly helps when doing group stuff.

I haven't seen Defenders yet (so avoiding all spoilers for it), but I can understand the logic of what you are saying. If, for example, Jessica Jones has NEVER met Luke Cage, or Daredevil, and they are thrown into a group film/series together, yeah it can be a little jarring. A better approach would be to either have Jessica feature in an episode or two of Daredevil, or vice versa.

This builds up history BETWEEN the characters, rather then OF the characters (if that makes sense). Thus, when they are in an ensemble piece, they can have much better chemistry and also the story has more pathos to it (not sure if thats i the right word tbh, but cant think of another).

Sure, having each of the characters in their own series allows you to eliminate the need for introductions in the ensemble piece. But if the characters don't know one and other, isn't it just a new show then?

I guess with Defenders there is the comic book canon to draw on, and fans won't mind as much as they have that knowledge. It would be interesting to see what fans of the respective shows, and who arent comic book readers, think of it.

In conclusion, I don't think they are a bad idea at all. Provided you do the ground work, it can be wonderful. I once heard someone describe film (and this can apply to all narratives in a sense) as a series of "setups and payoffs". Like the MCU, you have the solo films as the setup, and the ensemble pieces as the payoff. Defenders, I would imagine, can very easily feel like a payoff without any setup (strictly speaking).

Just my 2 cents.

Peace.

/K
Last edit: 18 Aug 2017 15:44 by kikass2014.

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18 Aug 2017 15:45 #55872 by lojack
Replied by lojack on topic Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?
The problem with groups, as Bruce Timm noted was that you can really only focus attention on a handful of characters, so some are always in the background/eft out in each episode because of story. It can work, you just have to rotate the characters frequently and keep any long arcs confined to the main players.

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18 Aug 2017 16:30 #55874 by castor
Replied by castor on topic Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?
Hmmmm its a trick obviously but certainly possible. A lot of TV shows have been done about groups-Lawyers, Doctors, police, Advertising men. You also see shows like Star Trek which feature a strong ensamble group on a mission. Typically how they work is that they form small groups who each have a subplot or something, with one usuaually being in focus. d it works out well using the nature of TVs abiliy to cut back and forth-and tell intresting short stories quickl. O bviously these shows very much in quality, but its there. TNG is a good example of this: While there was obviously a lot of space adventure, its suprising how often the" oh no theres a space phenomea thats going to destroy us all-was in effect the subplot to what was happening with the characters".. All in 48 minutes

Legends of Tommorow is a good example of this done-okay in a superhero focus. And While that show has problem its more successful then not.

The problem i sometimes have with the kind of netflix show model is- its not 48 minutes. its like 10 hours. doing one long episode. Yes there sometimes written by people, and they often do seek to tell somewhat contained stories in it-but theres a villian of the series not the week, which is way to long for a superhero story. To compare it to the CW models-those shows move. Sometiems a little to fas to kind of paper over budget, but they do move. The Netflix shows kind of stand there-and while they sometimes have good villians-Purple man was a great great example- they can show em to much.

Adding a group to that could help some of the problems, by creating more to do(and one of the big problems of Avengers 2 is that it attempts to give the entire group a subplot)...but it just could also create problems. Haven't seen Defenders yet, and while the cast is good-yeah, a little worried about it.

But Wild Cards-honestly think that could work-becuse it never really is a group book for most of it-it is much much more a series of self containish novels about a few or sometimes one protaginist that have repeating characters- the adventures and stories do work well-even as if often there not classic good bad guy superhero stories. i could see them pretty easily doing the game of thrones bit of cutting between stories that in the books themslves are actually a fair bit longer and stay in one place, or do one episode per novel. Both techniques could work and create more of a sence of dynamic story like the best of the modern miniseries TV does-well it could work.

in theroy- a lot depends on execution obviously but well could work.

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18 Aug 2017 16:57 - 18 Aug 2017 17:05 #55875 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?
There is some history in Defenders. Jessica and Luke broke some beds together during wild sex in Jessica Jones. That ended after Luke learned that it was Jessica who killed the love of Luke's life with her bare hands back when she was being controlled.

That's some pretty heavy history, assuming they bring that into Defenders.

Otherwise, as others have said, there is nothing intrinsically bad about ensemble shows, but they require a particular style of story creation and subplot management to work. Hopefully, Defenders will do it right.

And the show hits Netflix today...

Shadar
Last edit: 18 Aug 2017 17:05 by shadar.
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18 Aug 2017 23:18 #55879 by brantley
Replied by brantley on topic Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?
Just as a point of information, here's the site for Wild Cards:

www.wildcardsonline.com/

As you'll see, it creates an alternate history beginning in 1946 -- and that's all because of the mutants. Not sure if DC or Marvel have gone quite that far.

--Brantley

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19 Aug 2017 03:12 #55881 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Group Superhero Series: A Bad Idea?

brantley wrote: Just as a point of information, here's the site for Wild Cards:

www.wildcardsonline.com/

As you'll see, it creates an alternate history beginning in 1946 -- and that's all because of the mutants. Not sure if DC or Marvel have gone quite that far.

--Brantley


Kind of cool that George RR Martin invented an RP game to augment one that folks in Albuquerque were already playing when he moved there. Over time, everyone shifted to George's game, called Superworld, inventing their characters, etc.

In the end, the game was taking so much time that he wasn't able to write anything to make any money. So he turned the game into the series Wild Cards, taking advantage of all the work the local players had put into their characters, etc.

Kind of cool, if you're an RP type..

Shadar
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