Genre: Period Drama
Premise: Set in the 1700s, Knifeman chronicles the birth of modern surgery.
About: Knifeman is one of the lucky pilots that survived AMC’s in-house contest where only the best pilots, as voted for by the employees, make it to air. Knifeman is written by Rolin Jones, who created another AMC series, Low Winter Sun, which didn’t make it past the first season. Rolin has also written for Friday Night Lights, Weeds, and the United States of Tara.
Writer: Rolin Jones (created by Ron Fitzgerald and Rolin Jones) (Inspired by the book, “The Knife Man: Blood, Body-snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery” by Wendy Moore)
Details: 50 pages (AMC CUT #3, 12-16-13 draft)

the-knife-man-book-cover

We’re reaching a new era in television that I suppose was inevitable. So many damn channels are getting into original programming that the supply is usurping the demand. Shows are paying more and more to advertise their arrival but their premiers come and go without a whisper. Someone told me The Strain debuted a few weeks ago. I had no idea. “Salem?” A pilot I reviewed a while back. I guess that’s had an entire season already? You could’ve fooled me.

It seems like there are 5 “buzz-worthy” shows on TV at any one time and if you’re not one of those shows, nobody cares about you. Those shows, at the moment, appear to be Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black, Scandal, and The Good Wife.

As for why I picked Knifeman today, it’s because AMC cares more about its scripts than any other network besides HBO. So even though I don’t have much interest in 18th century surgery, I knew the script was going to at least be interesting. And it was.

It’s the 18th century and a bad time to be a human being. You get a head cold on Wednesday, you could be picking out your burial plot by Saturday. But you know, doctors are still doing their thing. They’re selling patients on the equivalent of frog blood, but the patients don’t know any better, so everyone goes along with it.

In this medical mediocrity, we follow two doctors. One is Julian Tattersal. He’s an esteemed doctor/surgeon at St. Stephen’s Hospital. Then there’s his brother, John Tattersal. John is technically a barber. But in his spare time, he jacks recently deceased bodies from the local cemetery, cuts them open, and explores the human anatomy, looking for new ways to perform surgery and save people.

John is desperate to get in on this whole St. Stephen’s gig, but for some reason, his brother Julian looks down on him, and refuses to help him get a job. Ya see? Nepotism doesn’t always pay off.

Eventually, the two find themselves fighting for the same client, a man who’s accumulated a nasty blood clot on the back of his leg. Julian says the only way to help him is to amputate the leg. John disagrees. He says he can get in there, tie off the artery, and the circulation will move around the problem spot. No amputation needed.

Even though John is very unofficial, the man chooses him because he wants to save his leg. The finale is the big operation, and – spoiler alert – everything seems to go well until John is finished, when the artery is tied up and the man drops dead. The end.

I’m far from understanding TV pilots as well as I do features, but I know enough to say that Knifeman does not deliver on the pilot front. First of all, the show feels way too small. If you look at a previous AMC pilot, Turn, there’s a bigger overarching storyline about the United States trying to gain independence. It added stakes and urgency to the more personal storylines that the characters were engaged in.

There’s none of that here. This literally has only two storylines. Julian doing work at the hospital and John doing work in his apartment. It’s way too simple and way too general.

You also need a series of hooks in a TV show, whether those hooks are teasing the segment after the commercial break, teasing the next episode, or teasing the entire series. Give us a giant monster walking through the trees (Lost). Give us a potentially deadly cancer diagnosis (Breaking Bad). Give us a sister who was supposedly abducted by aliens (The X-Files). There weren’t any hooks teasing anything here, so I rarely found myself interested in what was going to happen next.

For example, the end of the pilot (spoilers) has John killing this guy during surgery. And that’s it. Where’s the reason to watch the next episode if the question’s already been answered (he’s dead – oops)? We certainly don’t get the sense that killing this man is going to put John in danger. He made it clear to the man (a servant) and the man’s owner that he could die during the surgery.

And that was another thing about this that made it small. There were no stakes! I mean why is John working on a servant? Someone whose life doesn’t mean anything?? If he dies, so what? Why couldn’t it have been someone of importance in the town? Now there’s some real shit on the line. If John fails, his career is over before it starts. If he succeeds, he’ll be a superstar. But no, it’s just a nobody who nobody cares about. And that seemed to be the theme throughout. If there was a choice between making something big and important or small and insignificant, the latter was chosen.

What I was hoping for was that, as both John and Julian worked their way through the surgeries, they’d start noticing some spooky unknown disease inside the bodies, perhaps the start of a plague. And they realized they weren’t equipped to deal with this problem if it spread. That’s the kind of long-standing “problem” or “hook” I was seeking from this episode but never got it.

Honestly, I don’t know where this show goes from here. I don’t know what the episodes are going to be about. A pilot’s supposed to bring up a lot of questions that we want answered. But the only real question seems to be whether John will become an official doctor at the hospital. I’m not sure I care enough about that to keep watching.

The only time the script really came alive was during the surgeries, when the gooey bits of human flesh oozing and pumping inside the bodies were bandied about. I started to wonder – is the only reason they made this show so they could show gross surgeries? They wouldn’t make an entire show just to show that, would they? And yet blood and guts were the big star here.

With all that said, I do see the potential of this world. There’s something weird and unsettling about the imagery in Knifeman. A hack of a barber doing stolen cadaver surgery in his dark apartment, surrounded by jars of brains and hearts and livers – that’s something you can build a show off of.

They just haven’t created a story yet. You need more than incisions to keep people tuning in every week. If they figure that out, Knifeman is going to be a nice offbeat alternative to the bigger shows on television. If not, it’s going to end up like a botched surgery on E.R.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: It’s risky if the only thing going on in your TV show is the immediate on-screen stuff.  It’s better if there’s a bigger overarching storyline or problem to give the show some gravitas.  The big mistake here was that Knifeman was only about these two surgeons and nothing more.  It needed something with some scope that hinted at a bigger story.  If we feel a show is too small in scope, we have a hard time seeing it last.

  • martin_basrawy

    Good review Carson. I see what you’re saying about stakes. The recent Soderbergh-directed show the Knick is also about a hospital in days-gone-by and it had a lot of things going for it. The lead is a heroin addict. The hospital is under money constraints. There’s a new black doctor that the lead is worried will drive away patients (what with racism and all) (this also creates a larger social context for the show, and provides lots of conflict). There are new tools being created to perform better surgeries.
    Carson you should check it out. It stars Clive Owen and Soderbergh directed the entire season.

  • Randy Williams

    I think the “hook” in this show is better left as the ability to sell high end product commercial time aimed at that nice little demographic called “doctors”.

    Like a good surgeon, get in and get out.

  • jw

    I would second Martin’s suggestion of checking out The Knick as it has a nuance that only Soderbergh can pull off. I would also like to see an exploration of how we as an audience feel about a “new” show that is so eerily reminiscent of another, HOUSE. Brilliant doctor with a drug addiction clashes with those around him, including an African American doctor trying to get respect and a high-intensity female hospital operator forcing him to do things he doesn’t want to. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think to myself, this is HOUSE in 1900. Which then begs the question, how will it differentiate itself, outside of the fact it’s on a premium channel and can get away with a few more lurid details than Fox.

    • martin_basrawy

      I guess in this case the Knick falls under “same but different”…? Plus Soderbergh’s pedigree and oh-look-a-movie-star-in-a-TV-show with Owen.

  • Scott Crawford

    Just so the comments can continue here on this post:

    R.I.P Robin Williams

    • jw

      An actor, a comedian, but more importantly a humanitarian. There is a level of humanity in Robin Williams’ roles on-screen (and off) that is likely never to be seen again. Go back and watch the “what will your verse be” scene from Dead Poets Society. It’s just him at his best.

      • Casper Chris

        Indeed. I wonder if all those senseless acts of violence in the Middle East is what pushed him over the edge. It’s certainly affected me lately. The sheer depravity of it. The contempt of human life on such a massive scale. And I’m not half the humanitarian Robin was.

        • Ange Neale

          Vale, Robin. What a pleasure to have known you just a little from your body of work.
          For the rest of us, it underscores that it really doesn’t matter how much innate talent one has, how much one seems happy on the outside or how much money one makes, when what Winston Churchill called his black dog (depression) leeches all the joy from one’s heart, it’s tough to keep finding reasons to go on.

          As for the Middle East, Casper – I couldn’t agree more. To borrow from Aaron Sorkin in an ep of ‘The West Wing’ where he has a high-ranking officer say to Chief of Staff, Leo, ‘All wars are crimes.’

          Saddam’s not looking nearly so bad now. When you sow the wind, gotta be prepared to reap the whirlwind. Thanks to Dick C, Donald R, Paul W, and all you other lying bastard Vulcan neo-con clowns who goaded George W. in to ‘finishing’ the job George H.W. started. You’re getting off easy, shitheads.

    • Scott Strybos

      Conan O’Brien breaks the news to his audience

    • Randy Williams

      A conversation in heaven.

      Christopher Reeve: Easy, Robin, I’ve got you.
      Robin Williams: You- you’ve got me? Who’s got you?

      • Mike.H

        They’re more likely playing a silent game of chess with very few dialogue exchange. In heaven, verbal comm aren’t necessary.

        And they drink milk in heaven. Whole milk.

    • Midnight Luck

      “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” – RW
      (in case the image disappears, like they do sometimes)

      One of my favorite quotes from him.
      Now it takes on another feeling.
      Maybe this was at the core of his depression.
      Fame can make you feel even lonelier.

      • Midnight Luck

        “bleep” disqus

      • cjob3

        I saw this get posted a lot on my facebook feed and, not to split hairs, it’s not a Robin Williams quote. It’s something his character says in World’s Greatest Dad. It’s a quote by the screenwriter, if anything, not Robin Williams. WGD is a great movie and one of Robin’s best performances but here of all places, I’d like to see the screenwriter get credit.
        Anyway, run don’t walk if you haven’t seen it.

        • Midnight Luck

          Really? Crap.
          Now I feel like an idiot.
          I thought that was his quote. Wow, it has been misquoted so many times then.

          It sounds like something he might say.
          Well, thanks for clearing it up.

          That was the Bobcat Goldthwait movie he wrote and directed.
          Ok, that sounds like something he might say as well.

          You are right, there it is on the IMDB page:

          “Lance Clayton: I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

          • cjob3

            The movie is really relevant in light of Williams death. And currently streaming on Netflix. Just watched it again last night in his honor. And because I was too lazy to go to the gym.

  • Scott Strybos

    I was disappointed when I read that the doctors last names weren’t Knifeman–their names should be John and Julian Knifeman.

  • ElectricDreamer

    “Someone told me The Strain debuted a few weeks ago. I had no idea.”

    Also, the other origin show about modern surgery debuted last Friday.
    THE KNICK, Steven Soderbergh’s new series starring Clive Owen, debuted on Cinemax.
    I didn’t know it was starting so fast. This is usually such a dead time for new TV.

    • charliesb

      The Strain blows, don’t bother.

      • Hadley’s Hope

        Blows? Wouldn’t the term ‘sucks’ be more appropriate?

    • cjob3

      And its being shown on HBO. What?

      • Bluedust

        It’s on FX.

        • cjob3

          We’re talking about the Knick? Because I definitely watched that on HBO GO last night. Just odd it’s on both HBO and Cinemax.

          • ElectricDreamer

            The Knick airs on Cinemax.

          • cjob3

            Yes, but the first episode (at least) is on HBO as well for some reason. HBO is even advertising that it’s on Cinemax. Seems to be some kinda weird partnership they’re doing.

  • UrbaneGhoul

    AMC has become the period piece network, aside from Walking Dead. I guess the hook is “old-timey surgery, get it!”

    • Hadley’s Hope

      Has future surgery ever been done as a doctor show? Maybe with a twist being that so much of the hospitals are automated and surgery is done via AI doctors and robots. Perhaps our seemingly benevolent robot overlords are letting lots of people die during surgery. This would be a solution to overpopulation. The bots are only doing what they think is right, as riots and resource shortages throw the world into a state of chaos. Keeping the population at its current number or lower is the only way to keep things from blowing up worse.

      So this brings in a detective/procedural angle. Some intrepid young journalist or medical malpractice investigator is attempting to uncover the conspiracy. Better yet, the cool and calm investigator teams up with the fiery young journo to pool their efforts. It’s a doctor and detective show all in one!

  • klmn

    And now a little knife music…

  • Sebastian Cornet

    Far as TV pilots go, I have yet to see one that hooked me so much as HBO’s Oz, and that was over 15 years ago. Talk about establishing Everest-high stakes and ending on a powerful note.

  • Midnight Luck

    The Knick? (on Skinamax, are they still around?)

    looks like everyone wants to do period pieces now on TV. TURN, KNICK, and KNIFEMAN?

    Knick is like HOUSE mixed with ER only older and bloodier. Druggy, bare handed surgery, and? Same thing, small plot, surgeries witnessed in the round, horse and buggies.

    • Mike.H

      I wonder as ideas are being exhausted, what’s in store for future television? NBC’s war room probably not a serene place. I’d like to be a fly in the wall and listen as chairs fly and windows break. :)

      • Midnight Luck

        I can’t think of a single television show on regular TV that has any interest (except The Goldberg’s, that has some funny stuff). Gone are the days of Seinfeld and such. The NBC’s of the world must be fighting big time.

      • Hadley’s Hope

        How about a show set in a war room? Gov. types, military generals, and fancy pants consultants. Set it during the near future so there can be all manner of epic world ending issues they need to deal with (robot rampages, plagues, high tech terrorism, cyberwarfare, alien invaders, competing against the Chinese and Russians for space supremacy*).

        A more serious version of Dr. Strangelove meets The West Wing.

        Or set it during the Cold War so it would be like Mad Men meets WarGames.

        * Supremacy might not be a bad title eh?

  • ripleyy

    Cinemax is underrated. Banshee is a gem of a show. I’ve never had as much fun watching a show as that one.

    • jw

      I agree about Banshee! First season was fairly kick-ass in terms of action and originality in plot. What I find to be the challenge, and I guess this goes for many shows, is season 2. For whatever reason, season 2 of a series rolls around and it feels like rehash of the first. As though maybe there aren’t actually enough layers to really carry it forward. The repetition at this point starts to kick in and maybe you watch to see if anything is going to happen, but in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “this can’t go on for much longer.” I think this is evident, no more so, than in a series like HOMELAND. This realistically could have (should have) been a series that lasted 10 seasons and by the middle of season 2, shit was hitting the ceiling so bad that you could literally feel the steam in the air just evaporate. Maybe it would be a good article to “examine” season 2 of a series, and how not to hit that dreaded wall?

      • ripleyy

        I don’t find it repetitive at all, which is weird. It’s just so original, and cliche choices are put on their head. I haven’t watched the whole second season yet, but from what I’ve seen so far (up to episode 5), it’s still pretty good.

        And Homeland, wow… that show is just something else. I’ll still watch the fourth season, but I think it should have just ended at season 2. It, for me, didn’t have ENOUGH content, so it’s funny to see how people have different perspectives on it.

        But yeah, Homeland really blew up in our faces during season 2, and season 3 was a breathless struggle. Season 4 is going to be interesting.

    • charliesb

      Banshee is great entertainment. Not always the best writing or plotting but always entertaining. I also really enjoy Strike Back because again, the show is mostly concerned with being fun. These show aren’t going to win any emmy’s for craft but they follow the first rule of story telling which is always be entertaining.

  • Marija ZombiGirl

    Should I feel bad about being the kind of “sick and degenerate-minded” person who likes this kind of perverted “TV crap”, then ?? Seriously, that is one ignorant judgement about a guy who possesses an inimitable personal style that may or may not appeal to everyone but so what ? Turn off your TV.

    • charliesb

      I don’t think it’s the product of a sick degenerate mind, but I do find it poorly made. I really really wanted to like it, but 5 episodes in, and the story telling is very weak with a messy structure and unbelievable characters. I’m sticking with it for a couple more, because I’m hoping it gets better (and watching Walter Frey decapitate vampires is great fun) but I am very disappointed in what i’ve seen so far.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        I’ve only seen three episodes myself. I didn’t think it was great, just ok. I’m sticking around for a few more.
        My comment above was in response to the unnecessary and ignorant post by Carlos.

  • fragglewriter

    The script seems a little short (50-pages) for an hour show, but maybe they are relying on suspense and the surgery scenes to fill it out. I think one of the reasons for the lack of an overarching storyline might be left for future episodes. I think if you have intriguing characters, this can be overlooked, but from the summary, it seems the writers want to write an ucoventional storyline.

    • Magga

      An AMC hour is 45 minutes due to commercials

      • Brainiac138

        This is true. Most hour-long tv scripts that actually break the show down into acts for the sake of commercials run in between 49-56 pages. Sure you will find examples, especially pilots, that are longer but not everything makes it into the show.

  • Magga

    Sorry, can’t let his go. True Detective, Mad Men, Masters of Sex, Louie. Since GOT is not currently in a season I expect you mean shows that are not yet over, and there are different levels of ratings and so on, but those shows have juice for people who love TV. Also, if you cram in too much mystery and overarching plot stuff you end up with Halt and Catch Fire. TV moves at a different speed than movies

    • Midnight Luck

      I like all these shows (minus GOT), really top notch stuff. And yeah, not all episodes of a show need to end with a cliffhanger the likes of Breaking Bad. Though, I do agree with Carson that for the Pilot, there should be some real meat to it, and ending on a big note might be of high importance. Though, how this show finishes with the patient dying, might work. The Knick did it differently, and I am not sure theirs worked either. How it ended I am not that intrigued or inspired to watch the coming episode.

      And so far I love Halt and Catch Fire, it works great for me; sounds like it doesn’t much for you though.

      • Magga

        First episode was OK, then it went into a tailspin, then recovered for episode eight and nine, then ended in a mess. I was almost screaming at the writers “if that character does that thing I think he’s going to do right now I’m out!” and then they did everything I worried they’d do and then went even worse. But it was interesting enough that I watched all of it. My point was more that all the mystery and backstory established in the pilot made for some ridiculous scenes that the story really didn’t need, and felt like they were made up after the fact to fill in the blanks of story points the creators seemed less interested in than the business and computer stuff. To be vague enough to not spoil, I really hated the flashlight dance, the body in the rain, the stealing of the toy, the digging of the hole, the burning of the things, the crash, the police brutality, but mostly the main character giving meaningless revelations based on the “man of mystery”-trope. Mad Men season 1 had a character mystery too, but once it was revealed it was very dramatic, fed into the plot, created character clashes and choices, and worked as a genius metaphor for the advertising industry. HACF to me seemed like it was written from the following pitch: “What if Don Draper convinced Walter White and Lisbeth Salander to make a computer in the early eighties”, and as derivative as that is I think the pitch was better than the execution. And I think they retconned a lot of the story later as they discovered it didn’t work. Everything’s in place for a better second season, though

        • Midnight Luck

          I agree, some of it seemed out of place. I think as it went on it found itself more, and solidified what it was about. Many of those things you highlighted did seem unrelated to the story being told.

          I hope for an even better second season, however I have already heard it may be axed.

      • Hadley’s Hope

        H&CF stumbled a bit (hey, it’s common on first seasons), but holy moly did they pick it up in the final run of episodes. I hope it gets renewed. Breaking Bad wasn’t really amazing until season two, and then really refined its style and storytelling in seasons three and four. If H&CF gets a second season I think more people will start to get on board with it. I think season two could really kick in into gear.

        I’m tired of Thrones. It’s a good show, but I’m starting to crave slightly less expansive shows again. I’m loving both Orphan Black and Halt and Catch Fire. There’s still an overarching goal or mystery box yet more mini-goals and more focus on a smaller group of interesting characters. GoT has too many characters at this point. Ray Donovan is another, albeit a darker toned show.

        I guess with GoT, Westeros is the character now, not so much the individual people. The other shows I mention still feel big enough to be interesting, yet not too unwieldy.

        Oh, and shows like Orphan Black, H&CF, and Orange is the new Black all know how to cut loose a bit and have some fun.

        • Magga

          Not a huge fan of Thrones either, just mentioned it to underline that Carson didn’t mean series having seasons at this moment, but shows still going, thereby making the exclusion of Mad Men et all endlessly baffling. As much as I learn here, the TV stuff makes it seem as if Carson would single out Airport and The Towering Inferno if we were discussing movies in the seventies. It’s the lack of geek dominance that makes this a good TV era, and the appearance of Gotham, the success of Walking Dead etc that tell me we might go down the Marvel sized Hole in this medium soon as well. But I’m enjoying it like hell while we’re still here. And hell, the best show no one’s watching right now is about a comic book no less, but it has thoughts and style and surprises, is called Utopia and here is the opening scene:

          • Hadley’s Hope

            I’d heard of UTOPIA, although I haven’t seen it yet. Thanks for reminding me of it. As I mentioned in another comment, I’m enjoying ORPHAN BLACK which is another British show (technically British-Canadian and is broadcast on BBC America).

            To be honest, having discovered many excellent British shows via Netflix over the last two years, they’ve been doing it better over there than we have in the US. It’s only been the past several years that Hollywood has started to truly get into the groove of making all this excellent television.

            I think your notion of the geek/Comicon crowd taking over the TV renaissance is a valid concern. Marvel and that kind of thing is so huge now. Plus you’ve got Abrams who has always been in television. Now Michael Bay is into it with Black Sails and The Last Ship. I wager it is only another two or three years before Christopher Nolan gets into TV via his clout and his brother’s connection to the medium. Spielberg might get back into more TV. That’s just a few big name sci-fi/fantasy/genre/geek-friendly filmmakers listed off the cuff.

            I almost wonder if Carson’s advice to write spec pilots is going to be a sound choice for us unknown writers trying to break in.

          • Magga

            The most brilliant thing the Brits have done in the last few years in my opinion is Black Mirror. Standalone episodes, Twilight Zone style, each of them up there with the best movies of their year. As for comedies, Peep Show is awesome. I think the best TV comes from America these days, though, while the best movies come from other places.

          • Hadley’s Hope

            I want to watch Black Mirror. I don’t think its available over here yet.

          • Magga

            Oh, and I’m not american so what do I know about the industry there, but I’ve been going through TV development hell three times now with nothing to show for it, not even any real money. Learned a lot from the innumerable consultants and so on, but they always ended up producing more straighforward stuff

          • Malibo Jackk

            TV development hell…
            with your own spec material?
            or writing something for somebody else?

          • Magga

            Not in the U.S, though. Came up with it with a co-writer. Got a sit-com represented by a large production company that sent us to the wrong meeting. When we discovered this we had to quickly come up with a new idea, which the channel liked for their streaming services, got picked to do one of two pilots, then got our pilot picked (even though I found it terrible) and then the TV network decided they didn’t want to expand to streaming anyway and asked us if we had something else. After our producers failed to sell our sit-com we fired them, then went to the channel we had contacts in and was in development for a slot on saturday night, for which they developed seven different projects. After a few months we were out, but a different department on the same network wanted to make it. After months of just waiting, they couldn’t get the financing, and then we were brought back to pitch a drama series, which one guy went crazy for. A month later we had our second meeting and it was clear from the first moment that the second guy hated our story. One guy said it was a guaranteed smash, the other said no one would watch it. But this is Norway, population 4,5 million, so there aren’t many networks to choose from, and chances may be much bigger in the U.S. I’m just not sure TV is a very easy way to go for a newbie, especially since they expect you to keep the material at a high level for several seasons. Might be better to go the other way, write a spec script, use it to get on a writing staff and gather enough experience to be trusted with a show. They have to pay you for a movie script sale even if they rewrite it, right? Because all we got was “development money” which was basically a salary during the development, even though we had spent months writing the things allready. Wouldn’t be without the experiences though, and they do take meetings at our version of the BBC when we call them now, so there’s hope. Doing a movie script now, though, because at least if you have to abandon it you got to finish it, which is an underrated pleasure. Having said that, I know nothing of the American situation except what I read online, and maybe this is a new writing Klondyke

          • Hadley’s Hope

            You’re definitely touching on my concerns over focusing so much on TV specs. Not only does the writer need a freakin’ great spec pilot, but also the outline for the rest of the season (or should we have multiple season story arcs planned out?). Plus a thorough story bible. Might as well get concept art done. Do a teaser trailer or look reel to sell the idea further. How long does that take? Not just to do all that extra stuff, but do it at the top level without a microscopic error along the way. Two to three years I’m guessing. How many feature specs can one write in two or three years? At least two or three, maybe four.

            Not only that, but with TV you then gotta get the pilot greenlit. Then that gets produced. Then it has to be evaluated by the top brass at the studio and network. All that to likely be cancelled after season one ends. Gosh golly gee that sounds exhausting.

            The feature spec world might be in a tailspin now due to the IP wars, but at the same time I don’t know if going completely over the top for television makes much sense for some of us. Not unless one wants to solely get into TV as opposed to features.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Sounds just as crazy as in the US.

          • Casper Chris

            I believe you rounded the 5 million mark a few years ago.

          • charliesb

            No one’s heard of it (Utopia) because it’s getting remade in the states with David Fincher. As much as I like(d) the original his success with Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and House of Cards leads me to believe he’ll respect the source material.

            I don’t mind watching both, but if someone tries to remake Misfits Imma RIOT!!!.

          • Magga

            My guess is it’ll be quite different. Having not seen the original House of Cards I can only say his Tattoo movie was a huge imrpovement over the Swedish one

  • bluedenham

    It sounds exactly like The Knick, on Cinemax. Which is VERY good, BTW. Funny how these things run in cycles.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      Yes. I just caught the first episode of The Knick. I enjoyed what I saw so far and will definitely be watching the series. I also don’t feel like another show about the early era of modern surgery is needed now that we have a The Knick. It’s the same with that upcoming zombie series coming to SyFy. The Walking Dead is enough for me now. There’s also In The Flesh on BBC, which tackles zombies from a different perspective. Unless someone grows the balls to go all out on an epic World War Z miniseries that actually uses stuff from the book, don’t be hawking your undead wares to me Hollywood.

      It’s certainly fine to have two shows or movies sharing a very similar premise arriving on the scene at the same time. As long as there is enough to differentiate them from one another. Although it always seems that one of the two gets killed by low box office or low ratings while the other show/movie soars. I’d hate to finally get a spec produced or a pilot made, only to be killed by the dreaded “someone else did the same thing at the same time” phenomenon.

      This is a very good reason to write something truly unique so that you run less risk of getting scooped by another writer or production. Either that, or go low budget indie and make the film yourself.

  • Bifferspice

    “Who cares about surgery in general; why do these idiots think it’s is compelling.”
    haha! excellent

    • klmn

      I take it neither you nor More Give… has ever read SEGMENTAL ANATOMY?

      • Bifferspice

        i haven’t seen it, but i was laughing at the comment, not with it.

  • Bifferspice

    time and time again people want the stakes higher. it shouldn’t matter. not if the writing is compelling. not every show has to save the bloody world. i’m sick of shows that save the world. just give me a compelling character. one person doing something routine can be amazing if it’s done right. the plague… jesus, give me a break

    • Midnight Luck

      The Apocalypse!
      The Apocalypse!

      Duck and Cover!
      Ye be DOOMED!

      Enough already.

    • charliesb

      I don’t mind show’s about saving the world. But I’ll watch anything that has compelling characters.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      Agreed.

      Saving the world is fine, but it isn’t the only option.

      I really like the happy medium. Save the town or save the bus full of nuns or something like that.

      Or personalize the “saving the world” part. Bring it down to a more relatable level. In THE TERMINATOR it was about saving this one woman, a young waitress named Sarah Connor. Pretty but not a fantasy supermodel. She could be our friend, sister, neighbor, or girlfriend. She felt real.

      So we had this guy from the future sent to save her, just so she can later give birth to a future leader important in a dirty guerrilla war set in the future with laser guns and all that stuff. Even then, humanity already sort if lost. We got nuked to hell by the machines. So this great leader that John Connor will become, he just kept us from going completely extinct. It is a couple of degrees of separation from the typical save the world material we see all the time now. It feels more intimate in Terminator because it got boiled down to saving one person.

      It’s sad that such a film wouldn’t have a chance these days. Maybe something like it could be done now on a low budget like film was made in the 80s. I wager the producers and financiers would request the stakes be raised and the save the world bits beefed up.

  • NajlaAnn

    “Those shows, at the moment, appear to be…” and Starz’s OUTLANDER, which is really very good – so far.

  • Dan B

    Just read that this AMC passed on this series