Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Snow Week, "Surface" and Seeding a Story

Who knew that a snow day would quickly turn into a snow week?

Again, Portland has no snow removal equipment so when the roads are icy and it stays below freezing, everything just shuts down. We've been out of school since Monday and it snowed another few inches today so I doubt anything is happening scholastically through the next weekend. My guess is they'll just take Christmas break early.

Ironically the roads are crowded with bored housewives and high schoolers without a clue of how to drive in the slightly difficult conditions. The truth is I'm more afraid of the other drivers than the snow and ice.

Yesterday was frittered away watching movies on Netflix. We watched "Father of the Bride" which was filmed in San Marino, the town I grew up in. According to the producers it is middle class which still has me dumb-founded. Then we watched "Top Hat" and "Singing in the Rain". At that point the kids said enough with the oldies and we watched the entire season of "Surface."

For those who haven't watched it, "Surface" is a teenage soap opera about a new species of electrical sea monster that affects a teenager, a marine biologist and a redneck. Their lives eventually intersect as they try to save the world but in the end are too late.

With the last episode the coastal cities are flooded and the sea monsters seem to be taking over, but the teenager has special abilities that connect him to the creatures, the marine biologist's best friend is one of the scientists that genetically engineered the creatures and the redneck is in the middle of a divorce (but the reality is no one cares about the redneck- he's just annoying.)

The point is that the writers did an incredible job of creating subplots to build another season on. They seeded the scripts with these little branches of story while staying true to the major plotline and completing it. They also did an admirable job of creating a viable cliffhanger at the end of each episode in the season. The sad thing is that the show got cancelled because "Deal or No Deal" was getting good ratings and cost much less to produce.

I think sometimes the same is true of books. A book can be fabulous, but may be rejected due to financial considerations. A book of poorer quality but a sure bet by a famous author will often supersede really good manuscripts, case in point- Glen Beck fiction. It's too bad because in a perfect world the best stuff would always win out.

Oh, well. My children said that we would just have to make up the ending ourselves and of course it all ends happily ever after. (Maybe the governments could set off nuclear devices above the atmosphere creating an electromagnetic pulse that would knock out all the electricity, killing the creatures in an instant. Oh, I think that was already used somewhere.)

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