Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The SemiDaily List: The Best Poems That Should Be Made Into TV Serieses.

Why a list? Read here -- and that's where you'll see what other lists I've created. Look for new lists on days which are divisible by 3!

Before I begin, what, exactly, is the plural of "series?" Sometimes, English is just dumb. How can I tell people, for example, that I like more than one television series without sounding stupid? I mean, other than saying "I like more than one television series." I should be able to say These are great television series-es without people thinking I'm stuttering. So that's what I'm going to do, and the plural for series is now serieses.

Also, I guess, in retrospect, it was dumb to type "Before I begin" at the start of this, because I was actually beginning right then and there. I should have said "To begin with" or something like that. Or I could have just begun.

Here's another thing that bugs me: When people say "I would think" instead of "I think." Like this: "I would think that you would just go ahead and start on your list, instead of going through all these preliminaries." Why say would think? Doesn't that imply something indefinite, or in the future, like there's a missing condition of some sort, that, if fulfilled, will make the person actually think that? It's like saying "I think I'm in love." Why not just bite the bullet and get rid of that hedge-your-bet word? Don't say "I would think," just go ahead and think. And don't think you're in love. Love is like any other emotion: If you think you're feeling it, you're feeling it. If you're the type of person who says "I think I'm in love," I hope you also say "I think I'm feeling scared," or "I think I'm feeling righteously indignant."

Anyway, on to today's SemiDaily List, which was prompted by an Entertainment Weekly article that said that the "Golden Age" of TV is dead, premising that argument, so far as I could tell, on the fact that nobody watches Heroes anymore. I like TV and want to do everything I can to encourage the development of TV shows that will (a) help replace Battlestar Galactica when that show finally comes back and finishes its storyline by (I assume) completely wrecking all the quality TV they've done before through not making Starbuck the 12th Cylon, and will (b) not be a "Law and Order" type police procedural, so I am throwing my two cents' worth in and proposing a few ideas which TV writers are free to adopt and make into new serieses, at which point I will then insist that they pay me for my ideas, and then I will retire to Hawaii and not have to shovel snow anymore.

So here are: The Best Poems That Should Be Made Into TV Serieses.

1. Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll. (Read it here.)

What the poem is about: A guy makes up some words and [POETIC SPOILER ALERT!] uses his vorpal sword to slay the Jabberwocky, leaving the frumious Bandersnatch, the JubJub bird, and the Slithy Toves for another day.

What the TV Series would be like: After slaying the Jabberwock and galumphing back to town, the Beamish Boy (Zac Efron) learns that his father was the one who unleashed the Jabberwock in the first place; it turns out the Old Man (John Lithgow) runs a genetic research company that has gone amuck, setting free the Frumious Bandersnatch and the JubJub and the rest, and in the process, has unsettled the natural balance of the world, causing other species to mutate faster and/or die out. It's up to Beamish to hunt down and capture or kill the Old Man's creations -- with the Old Man's grudging help and advice.

The pitch line: Think "X-Files Meets Dr. Seuss, Starring Xena."

2. I Made A Mistake, by Charles Bukowski. (Read it here.)

What the
poem is about: A man asks his wife/girlfriend if a pair of underwear in her closet is hers; she says no and leaves. He spends the rest of his life looking for her.

What the TV series would be like: The pilot would show the opening events of the poem, set up by a drunken night when the Mistaken Man (played b
y Will Arnett) brought home a girl from a bar while his girlfriend was out of town, and the devastating aftereffects of the girlfriend (a cameo appearance by Jennifer Aniston) leaving. Each episode thereafter has Will traveling around the country, trying to find the Girl With The Broken Heart, and pausing in his journeys to help those less fortunate than him as a way of making up for his mistake. In season 2, a bit of meta-storytelling creeps in when Will's journey is discovered by a reality show producer who films Will's adventures and puts them on TV.

The pitch line: "The Fugitive, if the Fugitive had been Touched by an Angel."

3. Maggie and Milly and Molly and May, by e e cummings. (Read it here.)

What the poem is about: Four sisters have a wonderful, and kind of f
rightening-but-memorable time at the beach as youngsters.

What the TV Show Would Be Like: Those four girls (Adrianne Curry, Christine Taylor, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rhona Mitra) reunite in their thirties to open up a bed-and-breakfast on the beach where they had that memorable vacation. They live their lives as innkeepers with fabulous clothes, dating townies an
d the occasional vacationer and shopping and generally do things that women do in those TV shows and movies that women love which have no real plot but which do make men look like jerks a lot. Also, one of the women hosts a local radio show.

The pitch line: "Sex and the City starring Thirtysomething with a touch of that one movie with Richard Gere and Diane Lane thrown in. No, not that one, the other one. With the horses. Yeah, that one."

4. In a Station of the Metro, by Ezra Pound (Read it here.)

What the poem is about: People
standing in a subway station, being compared to leaves.

What the TV Sh
ow Would Be Like: Ezra (French Stewart) is an old man who works as a ticket taker In a Station of the Metro (get it?). During his spare time, Ezra sits in his booth and cultivates his bonsai tree, and writes short stories about the people he sees passing through his station. Each episode highlights three of the stories that Ezra dreams up -- so when he sees a businessman hurrying through with his tie askew, Ezra pictures the man waking up late because his child was sick the night before, and we see that storyline, which intersects with the storyline of the doctor-still-in-scrubs getting off the train and heading up the stairs, and so on.

The pitch line: "The Love Boat," only with a little thought put into it.

5. Darwin's Finches, by Wendy Mnookin. (Read it here.)

What the poem is about: A women's lover takes her to the Galapagos Islands, but she just wants to be back home with him.

What the TV Show would be like: Set in Darwin's time, the series (a costume/period drama) would open on the day Darwin (Hamish Linklater) returns from his journey on the Beagle, and would chronicle in fictional form his lifelong efforts to put his controversial theories to paper -- while simultaneously wanting to avoid society's-- and the Church's-- wrath. Each episode would focus on the intricate ins and outs of Victorian society, Church investigators suspicious of Darwin's theories and trying to get him, the birth of science... and the hidden sexiness of those times, as Darwin engages in an affair with his attractive neighbor, Marie Curie (Elisabeth Shue.) (Some liberties taken with history in the interest
of storytelling.)

The Pitch Line: "The Tudors trying to find The Da Vinci Code."

6. Portrait of A Girl With A Comic Book, by Phyllis McGinley. (Read it here.)

What the poem is about: A girl is thirteen years old.

What the TV Series Would Be Like: The Girl With the Comic Book as an adult (Andie MacDowell) reflects back on her lifetime of drawing and writing a popular comic book about a young girl who dreamed of growing up to write and draw a popular comic book, telling the story in voice overs as we look back on her life at various stages -- when she was a teenager (played by Mandy Moore) and fell in love and considered giving up writing and drawing, when she was in her 20s and got married, when she was just 13 years old and her mother (Frances McDormand) told her to put the comic books down and get studying... all leading up to her life in the present.

The Pitch Line: "Like How I Met Your Mother only more girly and less Jason Segal-y."

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