For some time now, my younger brother has been urging me and the rest of my family to check out the original shows on Netflix.
One such show he convinced me to watch is called The 100.
The series is exciting, seductive and mysterious with action and drama all rolled into one show. If you are a fan of the Hunger Games, the former NBC Series Revolution or the classic novel Lord of the Flies this should be something you should check out now.
The basic synopsis is that 100 juvenile offenders are sent to Earth from a space station that generations of humans had been surviving in after the planet was made inhabitable by nuclear warfare. The space station is running out of oxygen and the 100 are being used as guinea pigs to determine whether or not the Earth is now survivable. They are quite possibly humanity’s only hope for survival.
The show is so good I’ve actually joined the ranks of those who binge watch their favorite programs.
To date, since the 1989 “Batman” film starring Michael Keaton and the legendary Jack Nicholson, there can be said to have been seven follow-ups including the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises.”
While many may argue that the Dark Knight Trilogy if you will, can be considered a separate series of films than its several predecessors, for this purpose I’m going to classify them in the same grouping.
Clearly the aforementioned 1989 film set the standard. The 1992 sequel “Batman Returns” was a decent follow-up but as is typical, sequels rarely live up to the original.
Then we get into what I personally consider the disposable Batman films, 1995’s “Batman Forever” and 1997’s “Batman and Robin.” Both featured a notable lineup of Hollywood big names but as we all know, that’s no guarantee of a quality film. To the contrary, these movies seemed to feature second-rate acting, less structured plots and somewhat laughable villains. Val Kilmer was OK in the lead role but as has been typical of his film career, George Clooney bombed.
At that point, it looked like the franchise had sunk into a death spiral from which there would be no return. That was until Christopher Nolan decided to resurrect the series with the film “Batman Begins” in 2005. The new lead actor Christian Bale restored the series to its original glory and possibly even more. And Heath Ledger’s amazing portrayal of the Joker in 2007’s “The Dark Knight,” kept the top-notch productions going.
So here we are, just days away from the release of “The Dark Knight Rises,” partially filmed in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. While of course I haven’t seen it yet, I have to presume it will keep with the trend of the Nolan versions and be another masterpiece. But of course, only time will tell.
While it would be nearly impossible to say any one factor is the be all and end all of writing great fiction, there are surely some aspects of quality writing that are quite simply a must. And there is one place that is pretty much an essential starting point.
No matter if you are planning on writing poetry books, sci-fi novels, dramas to be developed into material for stage or film or really anything else, you have to have a topic. And it has been said that there are no original ideas just original spins on old ones. When taking into consideration all of the centuries of storytelling across countless cultures covering the globe, I would venture to guess that this statement is just about as close to the truth as it gets.
So, what do we as writers have to do about it? Just what the aforementioned statement says – create an original spin.
A few examples of old concepts done in original ways:
(These just happen to all be movie references.)
1. Man versus machine
Examples – “The Terminator” and “The Matrix”
2. Underdogs overcoming the odds
Examples – “Rocky” and “Dodgeball”
3. The poor uprising against the rich
Examples – “Robin Hood” and “In Time”