Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Top 10 shows RUINED by the suits (management)

You could say that suits are the bad face of capitalism.  When I say suits, what I mean is poor management.  There is of course good management, but that is rare and not constant.  I've had a couple of career directions in my time and I've noticed a few things about management.  Elements of management can be taught, application of good managing principals must be practiced.  If you are not a good manager, you will probably be able to recite all the elements of management by rote, but will have a hard time showing your ability to apply them.  Poor managers believe that good management is all that's required to make a financial success and that everything can be improved.  Both of these ideas are completely false.  History is rife with things that have succeeded despite poor management and there are many things that have been improved beyond their optimum.

What does this have to do with Suits?  In the case of Suits, one would think that all they are focused on is money.  This is patently false.  Suits are only focused on themselves.  Their hubris is so great that they can not see that the decisions they make are obviously self serving and probably bad.  They are the clear cutters of the forest of creativity.  They try to shoehorn in processes that 'look good on paper' only to have them fail miserably and then accuse those under them of screwing it up.  Suits have ruined a lot of different things over time.  I will focus on TV/Movie entertainment.

10. Return to Gilligan's Island -  Ahh Gilligan, How I've missed you.  The show was so pure and innocent it was wonderful.  If you don't know the story, I won't waste my time explaining it to you.  I suggest you go to a proper fan website and see for yourself.  How did the suits ruin it?  This was in the golden era of TV and Movies before the Internet and before special effects.  The only way to make specials and have them be seen was to put them on network TV and usually sprinkle in some stars or athletes in for good measure.  How did the suits ruin it?  Well this is the first show I can remember that was Sequeled to DEATH.  Not an easy death, but a long drawn out hammy b-movie kind of death.  With a cracking 3 made for TV sequels not to mention a cartoon version called Gilligan's Planet (I'm sure you can guess the premise.  It got Lost in Space I'm afraid).  This was the first time I saw a show I loved get beaten to death as it was played over and over like a hit single until you can't stand the sound of it anymore.  Oh yeah, guess what, a feature movie is in the works...*sigh*

9. The Matrix Sequels-  The matrix was a groundbreaking movie on several fronts.  It propelled a couple of actors to super stardom that might otherwise have languished in obscurity (yes Keanu I'm talking about you.  I loved your role in Bill and Ted's, but were it not for the Matrix, you would have remained Ted Theodore Logan.)  The first matrix story was perfect right down to the end.  It was the only movie I've ever seen that started to spur Pseudo religions based on it's story.  The suits, smelling money and self aggrandizement managed to cobble together 2 more stories that made precious little sense but made several dollars because people were hoping to catch lightening in a bottle with a formula that couldn't be repeated.

8.  Highlander Movies - Duncan McCleod of the Clan McCleod.  This is one instance where a Movie was really not as good as the TV series it spawned.  But because the TV series was so popular the Suits decided that more movies would be good too.  They weren't.  The first movie was good, the sequel was confusing and by the end, they were just money grabs targeted at an all too eager fan base that wanted to see a GOOD Highlander movie again.  This one suffers from the writers constantly breaking the rules of the immortals.  They are very clear.  Immortals walk the earth with regular humans and the only way you can kill one is to cut off his/her head.  This leads to a lot of sword fights which are very cool.  Problem is, it also leaves you with one Immortal eventually.  Even the TV show was ruined by the main actor (Adrian Paul) starting to believe too much of his own press and thinking he can make it outside of a successful series.  He came back to reprise his role in one of the later crappy movies and the series has finally been buried.  There is a rumor of a reboot for this franchise, but I doubt it will materialize.

7. TMNT Movies - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The fan base for this comic series is pretty deep because it's just kitchy enough to be cool.  Once those movies came out you could see the merchandising greed come to the fore.  It was shameless.  The first movie did ok, but the sequels...oh my.  Vanilla Ice?  Ice Ice baby?!? Are you kidding?!  It was clear that the initial cool of the concept had stayed with the first movie.

6.  Spiderman -  Uggh!  Poor Spiderman.  One of the best comic book adaptations to movie ever and for the time it and it's even better sequel would not be topped until the Dark Knight would come later.  Both films still stand as excellent examples of how to translate a comic book to a movie.  The third film on the other hand was better off left unmade.  The suits had a field day with this one.  When executives are telling you what to put into your film because it 'tests well' or 'provides a positive merchandise avenue'  It's because they don't care about the story, they only care about the money.  The 3rd movie took elements of some of spiderman's best stories and ground them into a mealy pulp.  It took the good side/dark side story from superman 3 (a film the suits touched, but didn't quite ruin) instead of bringing any number of good stories already pre written from comic books.  Bah!  Stupid suits.  And now they are re-making spiderman again.  This one smells of suits too, but I'm crossing my fingers.

5.  Dead Like Me - This quirky TV show makes my list thanks to Netflix (for showing it) and Showtime (for kiling it).  If you have a chance to see it, give it a shot.  The language is coarse at times and the subject matter is always death, but the suits at Showtime decided that instead of continue on with this series that was really good and quite unique, they would try something totally different because they wanted to be more like the Sopranos.  So drop a good show with a terrific ensemble cast and replace it with who knows what.  They then scraped together a sequel movie that not only broke the major rules of the TV series but did a milk-toast job of it.  The characters were written in such a cold fashion it was as though the only thought was to grab a couple more dollars and finish the series once and for all.  There were disagreements between the director and the production company.  When this happens, the creative one usually looses.  Perhaps he was difficult to deal with, or maybe the suits just didn't like him.  Problem was he made a great story and made it fun to watch.  Suits can't deal with ego that isn't their own.  Bottom line, watch both seasons of the show.  DO NOT under ANY circumstances watch the movie.  I don't care if it's on netflix. I don't care if someone has it on.  Just say NO.

4.  Heros - This show had SUCH promise.  It really did.  This was more about suits that didn't know how to deal with the writers strike.  That's a hard thing for a show to overcome.  Especially a show with a difficult plot line and a hard series of rules to expose.  It started out really good and then the show slowly lost more and more cohesion until they just decided to stop it all together.  I liked it a lot right to the end, but I think my views are not in the majority.  Bottom line.  Suits should have been better to the writers in the first place and maybe they would have avoided the problem that killed this cool show.

3.  Firefly -  Such a fine show beginning to end.  1 season.  Yes one.  Sometimes suits really lose touch with the public and can't see the appeal of a show that is so good that they just drop it into obscure time slots and let it die.  Only to be picked up by another studio and sat upon to make sure of it's demise.  Let's put it this way.  If it's not a cartoon, Fox probably didn't understand it.  The director has done some fine short work since this tragedy.  Give it a look. A little adult content, but no more than pg-13 I think.

2.  Superman Quest for Money - Christopher Reeves was an Iconic actor in this role.  He was so good that many say he couldn't get work anywhere else as a result.  But who would want to get away from being the man in blue?  Well after Superman IV Quest for peace, I'm sure Chris did.  I'm not sure who wrote the movie or if it was even written at all.  But That movie was definately someone pitching a wad of money at some actors in order to get the super fans of Supes to pony up money they could probably ill afford to part with.

1.  Star Wars -  The mark of a great movie franchise is how long it lives beyond it's actual expiration.  The concept was epic.  The Story was mythical.  It was so much bigger than it started out that nobody could have known.  The problem with Star Wars is that the creative genius turned into the suit.  In coolhand Luke, a famous line was uttered:  'A man's gotta know his limitations'  This couldn't have been more true for George Lucas that appeared to try very hard to kick over his own sand castle.  One of the big errors was Making Han Solo shoot second.  Lets face it, if Han really shot second, he would be dead and the story would be about how Greedo collected on a big bounty and the Empire succeeded for many millenia.  Tree-bound teddy bears (ewok's) and Jar Jar Binks began to pepper the bloodline of Starwars turning it into a bit more contrived than it should be and a bit more tragic than it had intended.  Had George gotten out of the way in the story line in order to let some talented people write some scenes that were willing to say 'George, You are great at snappy action, but you really suck at love stories' to his face, the movies could have been beyond incredible.

This list is FAR from comprehensive, and really just a few examples that I could come up with.  If the suits could just realize that many times good management comes from NOT doing something.  A lot of things would be a lot better.

Thanks for reading!  See you in a fortnight.

P.S. Special thanks to my wife Stephanie for correcting a few glaring errors in this blog that I really should have recognized.  teks.

1 comment:

swampthings said...

So true, so true. I had such hopes for Star Wars and the Matrices, but they ended up ruining movies for me for a while.

I always like it when you incorporate management advice/observation into your blogs.