LB: Untold Tales of the Animated SILVER SURFER TV Series Ep. 21

by Larry Brody

Over the past several weeks I’ve posted the scripts for Season 2 Episodes 1 through 7 of the FoxKids Network The Silver Surfer animated series I ran back in 1998 for those who wondered what all of us involved in the show had prepared for the world to see – if we hadn’t been cancelled.

Today it’s the turn of Season 2 Episode 8, Down to Earth: Part Three.  This one never got beyond “First Draft,” status because FoxKids and Saban had all but pulled the plug. They weren’t about to pay for any further development of the show and all of us were being moved to other projects or sent home.

This draft is dated May 29, 1998 and is the last work of any kind ever done for the series. The day I emailed this one to the company was a very unhappy one for me. Here’s hoping that the day you read The Silver Surfer, Down to Earth: Part Three is a much more joyful one for you.

Or, as Stan Lee said when I told him we were finished: “Lo, there has come an ending!”

Or something like that.

PREVIOUS SEASON TWO EPISODES:

THE END OF ETERNITY: PART TWO

SOUL HUNTER: PART ONE

SOUL HUNTER: PART TWO

REBIRTH

THE HUNGER

DOWN TO EARTH: PART ONE

DOWN TO EARTH: PART TWO


NOTE: If you’re new to TVWriter™ and/or to the original animated SS series, you have some backstory to catch up on. Fortunately, TVWriter™ just happens to have a section dedicated to The Silver Surfer. To reach it, CLICK HERE!

And now it’s time for:

THE SILVER SURFER

DOWN TO EARTH: PART THREE

(Formerly: “The Cosmic Way”)

(#2147-21)

WRITTEN BY

LARRY BRODY

FIRST DRAFT
MAY 29, 1998

TEASER

FADE IN:

EXT. SPACE OVER THE PLANET EARTH – (BEGIN RECAP – ALL NEW
ANIMATION OF SEQUENCES IN EPISODES 2147-19 AND 2147-20.)

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
Behold the planet known as Earth!
Here, on this otherwise
insignificant world, a cosmic
drama continues to unfold…

As THE WATCHER speaks, we SEE the SILVER SURFER and NOVA
reach the planet.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
(continuing)
The players taking their cues from
the Silver Surfer and his
companion Nova, who came to Earth
seeking rest…

EXT. EARTH – HIGH IN THE SKY – NIGHT

The FANTASTIC FOUR fly in to attack Nova and Surfer!

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
But found only conflict. First
were they attacked by the cosmic-
powered “Fantastic Four”…

EXT. LOS ANGELES – MELROSE AVENUE – NIGHT

While the Surfer and Nova are interviewed before a crowd by
SIDNEY YOUNG, the police arrive and a riot begins!

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
And then were they misunderstood
by the authorities as well…

ANOTHER ANGLE

The Surfer uses his power cosmic to create an ENERGY BUBBLE
that separates the factions, and a HEALING BEAM to heal those
who have fallen.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
Some on the planet saw the Silver
Surfer as a savior…

The crowd — and some police as well — CALLS OUT its praise!

BRODY SILVER SURFER 2147-21 FIRST DRAFT 05/29/98
2.

EXT. NEW YORK CITY – UNITED NATIONS BUILDING – DAY

The Surfer addresses the crowd here, with Young nearby.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
A role he assumed wholeheartedly,
hoping he could be the leader to
rescue Earth from itself…

Suddenly, the Enervator fires a BLACK BEAM, hitting the
Surfer and knocking him off his board.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
(continuing)
But when the Fantastic Four
refused to act against the Silver
Surfer this time, secret weaponry
was unleashed…

EXT. MONUMENT VALLEY – DAY

As TERRAX appears.

THE WATCHER (V.O.)
And while the Silver Surfer lay
neutralized, Terrax, new herald of
dread Galactus, arrived, seeking
redress.

READ THE ENTIRE SCRIPT HERE

Larry Brody is writing away on his – OMG! – Chromebook?

by Larry Brody

LB’S NOTE: No, this is not a paid product review. It’s not even my attempt to see if I can match the style many writers use in the samples they send when asking if they can write for TVWriter™. (I almost always say no.) What this really is, is me trying to make myself give my full attention to what I’m writing and only what I’m writing, while I’m writing it, something all these years of blogging and editing and semi-retirement have enabled me to for the most part avoid.


There comes a time in every writer’s life when he/she/it/they sit down at their Windows-loaded PC, boot that baby up – and either it taunts you with the blue screen of death or, worse, tells them in much less positive terms that it’s time to go get a cup of coffee, or a beer, or have some tequila because another update that no one asked for has decided that right now is the best time to load, configure, and drive everyone mad.

The only writers I know who haven’t had this experience, with a great line of dialog left just hanging in their brain with no place to go are, of course, those who don’t use Windows. Like members of the Cult of Mac. Or Linux geeks.

Or, since only a couple of years ago, men, women, and others who have dared to go where very few have gone before and are gazing at the screen of their Chromebooks.

A couple of months ago, fed up by the latest removal of my favorite program from Windows at the most recent update, I joined the Chrome crew. Here’s what I found out:

PROS:

  • Superfast boot time. Made even faster because Chrome doesn’t want you to have to boot up and recommends keeping it on all day.
  • The Chrome folks even suggest that you leave it plugged in all day because, they say, it’s better for battery health.
  • If you’re an unplugged kinda person you’ll enjoy the 12+ hour battery time. I sure do because I love being able to change position, as in stand, walk around, wrestle with my dog, whatever instead of sitting all day while I write.
  • Opening new tabs, saving things, et al is as superfast as the boot time because Chrome O.S. uses so little memory.
  • No noticeable lag between hitting the keys and the words appearing on the screen.
  • So far I’ve found a Chrome app(or Android because, yes, Chromebooks can now use Android apps) that does everything my Windows programs do, including extending the clipboard and creating keyboard shortcuts for often-used words, phrases, even pages of text.
  • I’ve even been using an excellent TV and screenwriting app that’s both free and compatible with Final Draft. It’s called WriterDuet and you can find it HERE. I found out about it in an excellently thought-out and written review that’s available HERE. And, yes, the name of the writer of that review is Rachel Lynn Brody, and, yes, again, I have a daughter who is a writer, another who is named Jennifer Lynn, and another named Amber Rachel, but Rachel Lynn Brody is no relation whatsoever. So you can, you know, trust her. I sure did.
  • Are you a solitaire player? (Don’t worry. I don’t expect you to ‘fess up. No one ever does.) My favorite solitaire game for Windows is called Pretty Good Solitaire. On the Chromebook I play a very small footprint online solitaire game called Net Solitaire that falls short of it by barely a smidge.
  • Total fucking security, gang. Everything on the Chromebook is encrypted, and you can’t log into your account without a password. Well, guests can, but they can access only the basic functions – there’s really just one basic function, i.e., the browser – and can’t see anything from the main user’s account nor leave any traces of what they’ve done when they shut down.
  • You can also create as many visiting user profiles as you have hard drive space for. Those settings remain after each use, but each profile can only be accessed by the profile owner.
  • Speaking of security, Private Internet Access, my favorite PVN (that’s private virtual network) has an easy to install Chrome extension that connects quickly and works smoothly and keeps you pretty safe while you do whatever it you do that you need that much privacy for. (Like breathe, right?)
  • No nagging. No distracting notifications of any kind from the o.s.!
  • My particular Chromebook has excellent bluetooth.
  • It also has full 1920 by 1080 HD resolution, a touchscreen, and folds so that it can be set up like a tablet on your stomach.
  • Linux geeks can install Linux on most Chromebooks. (Mack cultists can’t.)
  • No viruses or malware.
  • 64GB SSD hard drive.

CONS:

  • Even though boot time is almost instantaneous, it can take a couple of minutes for wifi to connect properly. (Keeping it on most of the time, plugged in or not, does solve that problem.)
  • The wifi connection does tend to vanish when you you wake up your Chromebook after you’ve put it in sleep mode…even if wifi is set to stay on during sleep.
  • The touchpad substitutes various two finger movements for right clicks. I’m still trying to master all the moves.
  • My Chromebook has only one USB connector, so if I want to use a remote keyboard and an actual mouse at the same time (which I want to do because I’m uncomfortable using the chiclet style keyboards on this and so many other laptops these days and I prefer a backlighted keyboard which my Chromebook doesn’t have) you need to either use a multiple USB hub or bluetooth.
  • Hard drives are usually 16GB, 32GB, or occasionally 64GB. That means that after awhile, if you use this all the time, end up with files that have to be stored in the cloud or on an exterior drive with the accompanying built-in security risk. There’s a built-in launcher for saving things in the right place, but it took awhile for me to master it.
  • Getting full HD on my particular model Chromebook was a waste. On a 13″ screen LB’s tired ole eyes can’t read anything or see image details unless I use the touchscreen to enlarge everything as I surf, so I’ve ended up keeping my machine resolution at 1200 by 675 and having to scroll, baby, scroll too much of the time.

BOTTOM LINE:

My Chromebook is a beautiful, polished aluminum Acer Chromebook R 13. It cost $450 plus the price of both a USB hub and a bluetooth mouse. That’s about a third of what a good Windows laptop can cost and expensive for a Chromebook. I’ve seen highly rated ones for less than half what I paid. But I love the speed, the touchscreen, the feeling of privacy, the way the picture looks when I connect to a TV, the chance to try a new script program, and the fact that it’s lighter than my dog Emmy’s puppies at the moment each one of them (eleven, for God’s sake!) were born.


ANOTHER NOTE FROM LB: New toys always make writing more fun, and I need that fun. Hmm, just realized I haven’t tried writing poetry on the Chromebook yet. Could be fun. So, screenplay? Poetry? Let’s see…

LYMI, LB

LB: 2 TV Shows I’m Binge-Watching Right Now

by Larry Brody

I’ve been getting emails asking what I’m binge-watching on TV these days.

Interestingly, no one’s asking for recommendations as such, as in “I’ve got some time on my hands. What should I be binging on my big screen, iPad, Galaxy S8, et al.?”

Which is just as well because I feel awkward recommending any series to anyone these days, especially since the most recent PEOPLE’S PILOT, during the judging of which I learned that no matter how intelligent, talented, and perceptive any two people (or in the case of the judges, any 10 people) are, you can never be sure any of them will agree on what the simple phrase “good TV show” means.

So, with that in mind. I’m going to answer the question as asked. I’ve done more than my fair share of binging in recent years, so a lot of my favorites are no longer in use, you might say, and now that I’ve finished Supernatural (meh), New Tricks (fantastic for all but the last couple of years of its run), and Game of Thrones (sorry, but I couldn’t make it past the first season), here are the two series I’m binge-watching as we “speak.”

ENDEAVOUR
Created by Russell Lewis

This UK series on ITV is a prequel to the long-running (and mostly riveting so I recommend it as well) albeit now defunct police procedural/mystery series INSPECTOR MORSE shows how the Morse character, originally played by the touchingly irascible John Thaw, became the brilliant, cynical, lonely, and depressed crime solving genius he was in a series that lasted 13 years.

(SPOILER: He started out even more brilliant, cynical, lonely, and depressed, but younger and trimmer and better looking as played by Shaun Evans. So it goes.)

Currently, my binging coincides with where the series is right now – halfway through ENDEAVOUR’s 6th year on the air. Throughout the run, I’ve enjoyed the well-told and intelligently presented stories and characters, the great music (well, it’s basically the same music as on INSPECTOR MORSE, but greatness doesn’t wear out, you know?)

I’ve also enjoyed sense of time and place the show has had as it’s moved through the recreated 1960s, and the way the political turmoil of the day is presented with the multiple perspectives of past and present. Yesterday’s “radical” youth looks so innocent, and the entrenched establishment reacts with such shock over what today wouldn’t make anyone but John Pence even blink that I’m actually thinking of what I’m seeing as being part of the good old days…even though the crimes and the reactions are as serious as anything happening in the world now.

The best part of Endeavour though, is in the dynamics of the relationships between the characters, which are not merely understated but actually function entirely as subtext, via a look here, a twitch of the mouth there, showing a faith in the actors seldom seen on U.S. TV. Is Endeavor Morse in love with his boss’ daughter? Is that unrequited feeling the key to his later personality on the earlier Inspector Morse? Or, OMG!, am I just overreacting and completely wrong about the whole thing?

Will I ever know?

One more big positive about this series. And an admission:

The Anglophile in me is absolutely head over heels in love with the spelling of Endeavour’s name.

DEATH IN PARADISE
Created by Robert Thorogood

In many ways I find Endeavor sublime, and in just as many ways the most popular series on UK TV, BBC’s Death In Paradise, is its totally mundane opposite. Story-driven and having absolutely no intention of making any kind of statement about anything other than “Wow, we’re on a tropical island. Beautiful, yeah?” the series is insipid, banal, and loaded with clichés.

How loaded? Let me put it this way. Death in Paradise uses the “How the heck (and I mean ‘heck’ because the current protagonist would never even think of giving us a good ‘hell’) was this guy murdered when he was all alone in a room locked from the inside?” trope two out of every three times it’s on…and it just finished its seventh year.

It’s also structured so that in the last ten minutes of each episode the detective gathers all the subjects in a room and explains, with flashbacks that highlight every detail, exactly how he figured everything out, even though we just spent 40 minutes watching him do it.

As a binger, I’m only at the beginning of year 7 now, but I’ve already watched three different stars play the lead.

The first leader of the team on the mythical Caribbean paradise of Saint-Marie was played by Ben Miller as a transplanted London detective so uptight that he sweated his way through three seasons in a suit and tie before dying on the job. The second boss man, another London detective played by Kris Marshall, was a lot looser, a kind of party boy trapped in an unending Spring break for two and a half seasons, after which he left because, hey, he found a really hot babe back in the UK.

Everything about the show up to this point was so insipid that it fitted right into the “so bad it’s good” mold. I watched and watched and wondered and wondered, “How the hell – not heck – has this been such a hit?” Was it the all-pervasive ’70s telly feeling? The cultural insensitivity that either ignored the native population or relegated its members to comedy sidekick roles? The interchangeable gorgeous French-accented detective sergeants who nodded at the leads’ brilliant deductions while their eyes seemed to say, “Hold on, cheri, I’ll be in my bikini in a second,” but always remained fully dressed?

I never figured it out. But it stopped mattering last week because – wonder of wonders! – the third and current UK detective “stuck” on Saint-Marie is played by the most lovable actor since Peter Falk. His name is Ardal O’Hanlon, and UK TV aficionados may remember him as the perplexed priest star of Father Ted or the equally perplexed alien superhero star of My Hero. This time around, O’Hanlon does in fact play Peter Falk, and although he keeps his trademark perplexed attitude, it’s clear that he’s every bit as much in control as Columbo was.

Along with O’Hanlon came another couple of pluses. This year the writers are giving us a more grounded view of island life, exploring the supporting characters’ personal lives, giving them their own crime-solving moments, and the current beautiful French-accented sergeant actually looks and acts intelligently. She still isn’t a real person, but she’s almost a real TV cop, with no bikini-teasing in sight.

As for the Everyone Gathered in the Room So the Hero Can Screw with Them scene, it’s still a big part of the show. But thanks to O’Hanlon it’s now genuinely fun.

Because it’s absolutely clear that regardless of our hero’s befuddled facade he really is screwing with everyone, and, even better, enjoying every second of it.

I’m enjoying too, but I can’t help wondering. Will making the show better mean its ratings go down?

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 Feedback is Finished

by Larry Brody

Time for a brief but important announcement:

I have finished and emailed all of “Larry Brody’s Personal Feedback” to all PEOPLE’S PILOT 2017 entrants!

The Feedback aspect of the PEOPLE’S PILOT is, I believe, one of its most important benefits. Where else are y’all going to see the accumulated reactions of Industry pros to your work before you join the ranks of said pros?

So if you haven’t received yours, check all the usual places (like your spam file or other email folders where your filters automatically send things without needing your click of approval), and if you still can’t find it, give me a holler HERE and I’ll, you know, see what I did wrong and do my best to set it right.

Fair enough?

LYMI
LB

LB’s Writing Credo

Ah, but is it???

by Larry Brody

We all see and hear, all the time. I’m talking the dreaded BAD WRITING, self-indulgent, uncommunicative stories, poems, TV shows, films, web series, YouTube videos.

I’m not saying everything being presented to us is bad. Most of it isn’t. But there’s enough of the let’s-call-it-“disappointing” stuff to make even the most open-minded pop culture fan cry.

(Pop culture? Where did that expression come from? Oh yeah, the 1960s, before everyone living in the world today but a few old rock stars and obsolete movie stars were born.)

Anyway, after a week spent not finishing the latest books I bought for my Kindle and removing at least half a dozen critically acclaimed series from my various streaming watchlists, I thought about my reaction – and realized that for most of my career I’ve been accused of the very self-indulgence I mentioned in the first paragraph above.

This, of course, gave me pause. And it was a long, self-deflating pause at that. I thought about what I’ve tried to accomplish with my own writing. Then I started going through buried files, where I found examples of where my head was at in terms of what my responsibilities as a writer were at various stages of my career.

And discovered that, whoa, I had been pretty damn guilty as charged. But then something happened, and my outlook changed.

Because I became a producer.

Not a writer with a producer title, but a working, getting-up-early-and-being-on-the-set-worrying-about-the-budget-reading-all-the-actors-supervising-all-the-writers-sitting-with-the-editors-to-pare-down-the-final-cut and all the rest of that stuff producer.

Not only did the 12 hour a day, 7 days a week work schedule give me absolutely no time to regard my work as “my work” alone, because I’d worked so closely with so many others who knew way more than I did about most TV and filmy things, so did the fact that I was accountable to cast, crew, studio, and the network for the success (or failure) of each show I was on.

And “success” meant being accessible to the largest, most devoted audience we could get.

During that time, I wrote a kind of “Credo” for myself to go by. It was intended as a way to keep my perspective on what my job was all about. Years later, first while writing a column for a now defunct film magazine called Screentalk, then while doing a column for the Final Draft website, I shared that credo.

And now that I’ve rediscovered it, I’m putting what I wrote out there again.

Here we go:

TO THE AUDIENCE

I want to express my inner truth, my vision of life in this universe – not only for myself but for YOU. My goal is to share, to communicate so others can learn and feel and taste and appreciate and be moved in the most positive way my experience as a human being out in the world trying to do the best I can for that world and everyone and everything on it before I’m gone.

To do this I can’t write merely to please myself. Talk about preaching to the converted! Instead I must express my truth in a way that will get to you, the audience. A way that will stab you right in the heart and go to your soul.

I have to write using all the tricks I know that will help you be entertained and enlightened.

If I don’t have some effect on you, don’t lift one or two of your burdens, make you feel better about being alive, or just plain move you in some way for even one small moment, then I will have failed. My purpose, won’t have been fulfilled. There will have been no sharing, no joint experience, no art or salvation.

So here we go again, with me giving it all I’ve got, hoping like hell it works.

Audience, this one’s for YOU.


Larry Brody is the founder and boss of TVWriter™. Learn more about him HERE