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©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 6:15 a.m. PST

to write the pilot for an SF series what would the plot be, and why?

Mine would go something like this.

It would be a typical Star Trek plotline (though not Trek) with the main characters the crew of a starship, who had adventures from week to week.

However, humans would not be the top dogs.

It would gradually become apparent that humans were a kind of slave-janissary race, long ago conquered by other aliens. The culture would be brutal and militaristic, kind of like "Mirror, Mirror" with a lot of "pacification" missions against "rebellious" worlds. The crew is pretty much indoctrinated by endless propaganda into believing that they are doing the right thing. They would range from a Political Officer who was pretty much dyed in the wool evil (though, again, he would not appear so at first) to another character (maybe a midshipman?) who begins as very starry-eyed regarding the "empire's manifest destiny" but quickly grows to question it.

However, all of this would only gradually become apparent. The pilot episode would contain one or two moments that would make the viewer say "Huh? These people do THAT?" but only one or two.

Eventually, the crew would be called on to commit more and more brutal acts until they were forced to choose against the empire. Even the Political Officer would ultimately choose this option, but only after he saw which way the wind was blowing, and only for selfish reasons.

That's as far as I get at the moment.

Please share your "pilots." Tell us what elements you would include, and why, and any staples of SF that you would definitely not include.

Note: Please be aware that "whether or not it would sell to the network execs" is NOT a criterion here. Just let your imagination go. If the story you come up with is not at all PC, so be it!

LOVE YA

Goldwyrm Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 6:45 a.m. PST

Tell us what elements you would include, and why, and any staples of SF that you would definitely not include.

Sorry, it's a job, so first thing I'd sell out..

and go for cliches like attractive women, tight clothing and non-enclosed helmets, pyrotechnics, cheesy villains, unresolved plots and the obligatory sexual tension between the main characters. :-)

If I was doing something for fun I'd take the above and add elements of rampant paranoia, distrust, and betrayal as the main characters scheme to achieve their various goals within an over structured but obviously flawed future society. Something like Fahrenheit 451 meets Blade Runner in feel. Most of the characters would be intelligent resourceful passive aggressive sociopaths but I'd try to avoid it resembling reality TV.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 6:50 a.m. PST

Goldwyrm "Most of the characters would be intelligent resourceful passive aggressive sociopaths but I'd try to avoid it resembling reality TV."

And its a good thing you would too, as I already have Tammy Faye Baker and Vanilla Ice under contract to do MY pilot. "evil grin"

Goldwyrm Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:03 a.m. PST

I'd make Tammy your political officer.

Plynkes Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:05 a.m. PST

A genetically engineered bikini-clad super-soldier from the future (played by Beyoncé) has to go back in time to follow some mad twit from her time who's giving those pesky Nazis future technology.

She would infiltrate Nazi Germany dressed in Afika Korps uniform (I think it would suit her), but unsatisfied with the fit she would get her mum to alter it to make it more figure-hugging (especially the shorts).


We also need a bit where Beyoncé sings in a stylish Berlin club before Kung-fuing all the top Nazis that are gathered there to hear her.

There would obviously need to be a big fight in a huge underground Alpine James Bond base against lots of Nazi minions and a Nazi Supersolider (played by Arnie or someone).


At some point she would also have to Kung Fu a bunch of V2s (and other random "Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe-type stuff) heading for London, Moscow and Washington (and carrying Neutron bombs or kind of Sci-Fi Doomsday device). Either she has the power of flight or she would chase after them in an ME262 and then jump out on to the wing to make with the Kung Fu.

I imagine that sooner or later she'd need to seduce some top Nazi secret agent to get some important intelligence from him, too (I can play him, if you like).

I think she'd probably get killed saving the future, just for shock value (coz we can always pseudo-science her back to life if we get a second series).

Hundvig Fezian Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:13 a.m. PST

Not sure on the exact plotline, but I think I'd set it in the Space Fleet Omega universe the guys at Majestic 12 jokingly came up with a while back:

link

jpattern223 Oct 2006 7:14 a.m. PST

Poly, at what point in the show does she get to fire a Broomstick Mauser?

Plynkes Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:17 a.m. PST

All the time. But I think like in The A-Team, there would be millions of bullets flying about but none actually hitting anybody.

When she seriously needed to take down baddies she would make with the Kung Fu.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:24 a.m. PST

@ Polynikes

That's a bit too intellectual for me. Couldn't you do something lighter?

tnjrp23 Oct 2006 7:31 a.m. PST

I second that! Beyoncé's character has a MUM? That smacks of character moments (shudder!).

Goldwyrm Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:35 a.m. PST

I call dibs on the following cast: Denise Richards, Neve Campbell, Ed Norton, Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, Gary Busey and Marilyn Manson. Two of them are working for the government, one is secretly a robot, and the rest are trying to avoid detection for their illegal activities.

@Polynikes- Beyonce should have a talking rhesus monkey sidekick that wears a beret and makes elitist social commentary during the fight scenes. Incorporate that and you'll win me over.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:41 a.m. PST

Well, in that case, in addition to Tammy and Ice Ice Baby To Go, I call dibs on Bruce Campbell.

There. Now I KNOW I've got a winner!

nvdoyle23 Oct 2006 7:44 a.m. PST

The monkey must smoke. Beret + cigs = French monkey.

But to avoid stereotyping, he can't surrender.

And there's your spinoff series: 'The Fighting Capuchins of Marseilles'.

But seriously, if I was hired to write an SF series, I'd choose from stuff that's already good. 'Moon is a Harsh Mistress'. 'Mote in God's Eye'. The 'Chtorr' series. I could get years and years out of that one!

Goldwyrm Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:56 a.m. PST

You know I was thinking about the monkey smoking right after I posted :-)

HBIAJ, Gosh, how could I have forgotten Bruce. He'd be too likeable for my dark setting. I'd definitely need Jim Carrey playing a Cable Guy type character.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:58 a.m. PST

@ nvdoyle:

Thanks for at least a half-serious post. Any of those would be entertaining SF. evil grin

LOVE YA!

Plynkes Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 8:21 a.m. PST

Who says I wasn't serious?

If Broomhandle Time-Travel Kung-Fu Beyoncé was commissioned I would watch it. I don't think I can say the same about having to face another turgid, moribund space-opera*.

*That isn't meant as a dig at anyone else's suggestions. Just want to make that clear.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 8:27 a.m. PST

I'd watch it too. Preferably with a full bottle of something VERY alcoholic at hand.

nvdoyle23 Oct 2006 8:31 a.m. PST

You're welcome. grin

Another idea: Starfleet Marines.

It's a Trek series, yes, but there's none of this 'Captain' business. The Captain of the ship is a distant, powerful figure, with whom you do NOT want to interact if you can help it; because when you do, it's most often because you messed up.

This series would be about the grunts of the Federation, out near the edge where things aren't as nice and shiny and easy and clean. The worlds where the Federation isn't exactly welcome. Since Starfleet is all-volunteer, these are the people who *want* to be soldiers, not ship officers. It's the 'dumping ground' for those a bit too aggressive for life in the 24th C., but not so broken that it's Betazed-mental surgery time.

Set on a patrol ship, the incidental plots range from the boredom of nothing going on, to customs inspections, to traffic interdiction ops, to peacekeeping, to full-blown shooting wars. There could be investigations, the 'fun' of multi-juridictional criminal justice activities (they'd have a legal officer, of course). As an overarching plot, there's the possibility of Cardassians/Romulans stirring things up, making trouble on the frontier. But one of the main themes is that the Federation isn't always what people want.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 8:35 a.m. PST

Neat idea. I seem to remember a DS9 episode or two that featured combat with Federation ground troops. A little darker than the starship actions. I found it to be good TV though.

WeeSparky23 Oct 2006 8:48 a.m. PST

Space Pirates starring Bruce Campbell, R. Lee Ermey, Traci Lords, and a full crew of supporting stereotypes. I would also try to get a different dead actor to star each week via cgi/creative editing as the special guest.

Pontifex23 Oct 2006 8:59 a.m. PST

Despite (or because of…) being a longtime 40K gamer, I'm getting sick of Gothic/Dark/Horrific future settings and transparently poor excuses why future soldiers seem poorly equipped. 38,000 years and still using weapons barely better than 20th century rifles and artillery? Consider Battletech, too – the ho-hum "we have hi tech but it's scarce and we can't make any more" excuse that grits my teeth. Also, I'm no longer keen on the Blade Runner/Dune/Asimov/Matrix "Robots are going to take us over" business.

My setting would be one in which technology and conveniences have reached the point that planetary utopias are possible but become difficult to maintain because humans do have natural aggression, competitive and selfishness that drugs and suppressive therapies dare not erase completely lest development and technology become too stagnant (no BRAVE NEW WORLD scenario, here…). Populations and natural tensions become high enough that people seek excitement in combat situations. The hook is that one planetary ruler in particular has become charismatic enough to inspire fanatical loyalty in his people, and so sheer boredom is harnessed into a conquering force. The other part of the hook is that there is a lot of military technology available, especially modular equipment, but that there are only so many trained soldiers to use it, and your average, comfortable person might be able to use a battlesuit, but can he use it effectively?

Steve Hazuka Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 9:32 a.m. PST

Lets see Emmanulle in Outer Space has been done already….

Steve Flanagan Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 10:01 a.m. PST

The only problem with Broomhandle Time-Travel Kung-Fu Beyoncé (apart from fitting the title on the screen) is that you'd have to hire Jay-Z too. Though Mr Z would only sit in a chair and mumble for a couple of minutes, he would demand a fee as large as Bouncy's, and the accountants say that the budget won't stretch that far.

Goldwyrm Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 10:13 a.m. PST

Though Mr Z would only sit in a chair and mumble for a couple of minutes, he would demand a fee as large as Bouncy's, and the accountants say that the budget won't stretch that far.

Problem solved. Enter the cigarette smoking, Rhesus monkey wearing a beret with an attitude. He'll work cheap because the alternative is eating bad figs or playing a pirate's mascot.

Dragon Gunner23 Oct 2006 10:31 a.m. PST

Hammers Slammers

I would have character turn over, injury and death occur just like it does in real life.

Any women in the unit would look and act the part, no Paris Hilton types.

I would have military consultants on hand to keep the director grounded in reality.

I would have lots of missions, contracts, plots and alien environments.

Plynkes Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 10:57 a.m. PST

I don't think Jay-Z is in Goldmember or Dream Girls so it must be possible to get rid of him somehow. A trail of bling (or Charlie, you know these Showbiz types) that leads him off into the woods where he gets lost?

Broomhandle Time-Travel Kung-Fu Beyoncé is just a working title, obviously.

The real title will be much longer.

Terrik Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 11:15 a.m. PST

Charlie's Angels…

circa 3010…

what clothes?

blackscribe Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 12:12 p.m. PST

I'd do a hidden invasion plotline where the protagonists go around no-questions-asked killing aliens and anyone else who gets in the way. They are pursued by the aliens, the government, snoopy reporters, etc. Also, they're vampires. They're stomping on the invasion to protect their food supply.

rmaker23 Oct 2006 12:38 p.m. PST

I don't know, but it would need deep space battles featuring "ravening beams of corusicating force".

Hundvig Fezian Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 1:07 p.m. PST

"Space Pirates starring Bruce Campbell, R. Lee Ermey, Traci Lords, and a full crew of supporting stereotypes. I would also try to get a different dead actor to star each week via cgi/creative editing as the special guest."

WIN!

Although there's no reason you couldn't also include some ravening beams of corruscating energy while you're at it. :)

Rich

nvdoyle23 Oct 2006 3:06 p.m. PST

I'm signing on to Dragon Gunner's project – with a rider that we consider Joel Rosenberg's scifi, too. grin

alien BLOODY HELL surfer Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 3:30 p.m. PST

Working on and off on a comedy version at the moment – not quite Red Dwarf, but loosely based on people I know / stereotypes from the IT world in a sci-fi setting.

Aside from that one, I'd not have one where humanity is all nicey nice. I think I'd go for Earth being involved in some war with an alien faction, or a slightly near future one where an advanced race invades Earth and the remnants of our armed forces fight a desperate battle to hold onto what territory we have left and try to eventually beat the aliens. Top scientists working in underground labs to come up with new technology. Or maybe a second alien race asked Earth for help in a war.

lugal hdan23 Oct 2006 5:40 p.m. PST

I'd do a series featuring scantily clad women blowing stuff up. Preferably shapeshifting robots, maybe with an eco-terrorist bent. They'd be living in an underground "post-apocalypse" setting, but I'd keep it a mystery as to WHY they were living down there. To help the audience relate, I'd add a 20th century character (probably another well-endowed babe) mysteriously awakened from cryo-sleep.

I'd write hour long episodes, then delete every scene that didn't involve something getting blown up or looking sexy. That way, the story would feel like it had depth, but the audience would never be burdened with exposition.

Oh wait….

lugal hdan23 Oct 2006 5:41 p.m. PST

Argh, and I forgot to mention that the bad guy would definitely be an evil clown. With mutant friends.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Oct 2006 6:20 p.m. PST

"NOVA TEAM!"

Interplanetary Paranormal Investigators:

The Main Cast would be:
1: Julie Newmar (as "The Director") She merely gives them their missions "purrrrrrrrfectly"…
2: Ernest Borgnine as the Tech Happy Guy that also loves Big Band Music and High Explosives…
3: Selma Hayek…just because…
4: David Bowie as "The Psychic"…who occassionally transforms into Joanna Pacula…
5: Tom Selleck…Action Guy and Ship Pilot…good with a gun…and he votes Republican…
6: Leonard Nimoy…Just because…
7: Angelica Huston…because every paranormal team could use a gothy chick…
8: Martha Stewart…because she's hot….


Murph

Coelacanth23 Oct 2006 6:23 p.m. PST

Flash Gordon vs the Zombies!

Yes, the exclamation point is part of the title.

Sumatran Rat Monkey Inactive Member23 Oct 2006 7:24 p.m. PST

Personally, I'd do a sort of space noir bit, Danny Trejo as a ex-military bounty hunter, long hair, tattoos, and ultraviolence included, hired by the wealthiest man in the galaxy, from his deathbed, to hunt down and kill a list of names of people who the rich geezer feels have wronged him in the past.

Of course, said geezer then dies (I don't believe in immortality, even in sci-fi), and Trejo discovers two opposing facts-

1) He doesn't get an advance, and doesn't get paid until the job is finished.
2) His "payday" is the man's entire estate, which is being held in trust until such time as the death or disappearance of the last target has been made known.

The catch would be that this list of targets are thinly veiled parodies of all the annoying sci-fi series characters I've hated in the past- Kirk, Luke Skywalker, Disco Vader, Riker, Bruce Boxleitner from B5, and so on, who Trejo would gun down in grand (and bloody) Peckinpah style.

- Monk

Steve Flanagan Inactive Member24 Oct 2006 12:17 a.m. PST

@ lugal hdan – All you have to do is send your idea backwards in time, get someone to date it c1990, and you can sue the producers of Cleopatra 2525 for plagiarism.

Zyphyr24 Oct 2006 12:28 a.m. PST

[quote]Also, I'm no longer keen on the Blade Runner/Dune/Asimov/Matrix "Robots are going to take us over" business.
[/quote]

I take it you never actually read any Asimov. Robots taking us over is not something he ever wrote.

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member24 Oct 2006 6:38 a.m. PST

Dragon Gunner "Hammers Slammers… …women in the unit would look and act the part, no Paris Hilton types."

That works! Who was the chick who played Vasquez in Aliens?

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member24 Oct 2006 6:40 a.m. PST

lugal hdan "Argh, and I forgot to mention that the bad guy would definitely be an evil clown. With mutant friends."

Knock it back to half an hour and double slot it with a Bruce Campbell sitcom set in the 19th century where the villain is a midget and I think you might just have something.

blackscribe Inactive Member24 Oct 2006 7:58 a.m. PST

lugal hdan: Except the evil clown turns out to be the good guy in the last episode.

Hundvig Fezian Inactive Member24 Oct 2006 10:47 a.m. PST

I've been assuming everyone's main villain was an evil clown. Kind of goes without saying, really.

jizbrand Inactive Member25 Oct 2006 5:08 a.m. PST

Hmmm. I think I'd do a high-tech world -- lots of gadgets, instant communication, and such like. Everyone has the stuff and uses it, or aspires to acquire it, because there would be a large underclass as well. But very few would know how to make it or operate the really high-dollar stuff like nuclear powerplants.

The main undercurrent would be that the "middle class" and even, to some extent, the underclass, are pleasure-seeking hedonists and inclined to be violent when they don't get what they want. There would be very few who were motivated enough to pursue an education and learn how to tame technology, and these would be a virtual priesthood.

Because of the tension between the underclass and the middle class, there would be plenty of episodes where the government steps in to resolve those conflicts. And because the operations and products of the elite "priesthood" are not understood by either of the other two classes, there would be an opportunity for a lot of comedic moments revolving around things that shouldn't even need an explanation. There could even be a tie-in to the Law & Order crowd so that some of these situations could be brought to litigation.

And since no one, not even the "priesthood" understands how science and technology really work, when something goes wrong, the government-mandated solution to the problems will be to ban the use of that technology rather than train people to use it.

Wait a minute! That sounds an awful lot like Foundation and Empire, which sounds like Kornbluth's The Marching Morons, which sounds a lot like . . . OMG!!! We don't need another reality show!

alien BLOODY HELL surfer Inactive Member25 Oct 2006 5:21 a.m. PST

There would be very few who were motivated enough to pursue an education and learn how to tame technology, and these would be a virtual priesthood.
There would be very few who were motivated enough to pursue an education and learn how to tame technology, and these would be a virtual priesthood.


umm, sounds like WH40K to me! :-)

DS6151 Inactive Member25 Oct 2006 9:31 a.m. PST

A Faction of space Pirates fighting against a faction of Space Ninjas.
Mad roving bands of Space Zombies fight everyone.
Goth chicks in commanding positions on all sides.

blackscribe Inactive Member25 Oct 2006 11:47 a.m. PST

I'd watch Sumatran Rat Monkey's show. I'd prefer it if the targets each week were greenpeace types, vegetarians, etc. It'd be less campy and make more sense.

wminsing Inactive Member25 Oct 2006 1:01 p.m. PST

@Mussolinis Brain in a Jar (can we call you MBiaJ?)- I actually like the sound of your series a lot.

As for my own series, I'd do a series based on the idea that the Soviets and US went totally space crazy (much more so then in our history) in the 20th century so that by the early 21st we really have colonized the rest of the solar system. Problems include unrest on the colonies, the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union, minor space powers shooting it out over valuable rocks, and so on. The series would have a mostly hard science approach (one possible concession to 'drama' would be limiting detection technology so ships can actually sneark around). The characters would be in command of an old US interplanetary spacecraft (not even fusion powered, just fission) that was dragooned into UN service as a roving troubleshooter. The core crew are active military, with diplomats and disaster relief workers thrown in (so we have inter-crew tension and character development). The pilot episode would involve the crew tryng to talk down two tin-can cities (ie, orbital habitats) from getting into a shooting war (and the crew attempting to discover the real reasons behind the tensions).

For a more 'typical' sci-fi setting I'd throw in aliens on Mars and under the ice on Europa as well. I'd go out of way to make them really alien (ie, not at all humanoid, can't speak any human language, culture that is completely unitelligable). The Martians aren't as technology adept as the Earthlings, and aren't particullary numerous either, so Mars is split between human colonists and Martian reservations/puppet states. The Europeans on the other hand are quite technologically adept and would be the main antagionists in the later part of the series.

-Will

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Oct 2006 5:04 a.m. PST

<<The monkey must smoke. Beret + cigs = French monkey.

But to avoid stereotyping, he can't surrender.

And there's your spinoff series: 'The Fighting Capuchins of Marseilles'.>>

Arrgh! LOL!! Hmmm…you're giving me some ideas for a series of new figures…>;D

And I'd do STARSHIP TROOPERS as the *author* would have intended, faithful to the book in as much detail as possible, warts and all and without Voerhoven's anti-military fascistic parody interpretation. And yes, the actor playing Juan Rico would have to be ethnically accurate (ie., Phillipino!), dammit! >;D

Otherwise its Keith Laumer's classic RETIEF series with all of the bells and whistles, mayhem and humour of the original stories. So watch out for the "five-eyed little sticky fingers" bearing gifts…>;D

Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

hitlers brain in a jar Inactive Member26 Oct 2006 3:42 p.m. PST

wminsing:

Sounds pretty neat.

everybody:

So who DID play Vasquez in Aliens?

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