June 19, 2011

Live-action Noir remake

I suppose I have to say something about this.

One of the things that makes anime different from virtually all of American TV is the way that so much of it tells independent, encapsulated, complete stories. That's not invariant, of course, but it's certainly the majority. Anime is, for the most part, what in America is known as a "mini-series".

The most distinctive feature of Noir, was that the story being told was particularly well conceived and well paced. There are no filler episodes. Every single episode contributed to the overall series story, which came to its conclusion in the last episode. There are few series as well handled.

But if that kind of thing is the rule for anime, it's by far the exception for American TV, for a simple reason. I think the big nightmare for an American TV producer is to create a show, write it so that it comes to an identifiable end, and then have the damned thing be a big hit, with huge ratings. Because he's preemptively prevented the possibility of any sequels or additional seasons.

That's why conspiracy-theory shows don't work in America. X-files was the classic of that genre, and what ultimately happened was that they couldn't allow themselves to resolve the conspiracy because it would have ended the series. So there came a point where even the writers didn't know what was going on. They just kept stacking up mysterious things, because that was what the show was about, but there wasn't any rhyme or reason to it.

And then the ratings started failing, and the show was cancelled, and the audience never did find out what the truth was that was "out there" -- because not even the writers knew what it was.

That's what I expect to have happen here. Assuming it really does go into production -- and that's by no means certain; a lot of shows get this kind of nod without ever reaching production; this is definitely the preliminaary stage of it all. But if it does go into production, it will be written in such a way that if, luckily, it's a hit, they can come back and make more episodes of it.

They won't tell the story we saw, because the story we saw came to an end, and that would shut down the gravy train. The conspiracy will never be resolved. And it will gut the show, by cutting out the things that made Noir so good.

In the end the truth was revealed, and it all made sense. Everything that happened in the series made sense. That won't be the case for any American remake, which will end up being exactly the kind of incoherent mess that X-files became.

The only real question is whether it'll be a short-lived incoherent mess, or a long and popular one. Either way, include me out.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:43 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 483 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I agree that the American version of Noir probably won't be good.  However, the American TV networks occasionally make decent programs, though I suspect that's mostly due to the network execs not being quick enough in some cases to mess things up before filming is done. 

Any chance that the license to the live-action production company is for one season only, with no renewal option?  That might give the executives incentive to wrap things up, instead of dragging it out...

Posted by: Siergen at June 19, 2011 06:29 PM (PvrXx)

2 they should just make 3 seasons of Noir, 10 episodes each.

Posted by: johnmarzan at June 19, 2011 07:04 PM (9gJdT)


Any chance that the license to the live-action production company is for one season only, with no renewal option?

There's no benefit to anyone to include that kind of clause in the contract. If the show is popular, then making more is to the benefit of the producer, the actors, and the network too.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 19, 2011 07:27 PM (+rSRq)

4 There's a benefit to the original Japanese company, who can then yank up the price for "rights to produce further seasons" by a lot. These options don't typically sell for much up front, as rare as it is for them to end up in a production...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at June 19, 2011 08:12 PM (mRjOr)

5 Babylon 5 was one of the few shows to have a planned, overall arc, and even then, they had to flex it a bit as the network played games with their commitments.  And that made hash of the planned continuity.

Posted by: Mauser at June 19, 2011 08:16 PM (cZPoz)

6 I'll be in when it airs, if I can figure out how to watch it when it happens.  I fear it'll be awful, but considering that NOIR is one of my four favorite series of all time, the completest in me demands it.

Posted by: Wonderduck at June 19, 2011 08:27 PM (n0k6M)


The one promising thing about this is that it's a pay station on cable, not a normal network.   While some of those have been known to ramble on for seasons with no discernible purpose, it's not uncommon for a series to tell one complete story in a season.  I guess you could still call them 10-13 episode mini-series, but it's far more common to see them on cable pay channels than regular network TV.  Even shows that go for multiple seasons tend to have a satisfying conclusion for each season - the operative example being The Wire.  Then again, I just watched the last episode of Game of Thrones, and nothing is resolved (though that's based on a very long series of books...)  Several shows are based on book series, and each season seems to roughly correspond to each book - Dexter, True Blood, etc...

The problem is that it's Starz, which is trying to play catch up to HBO and Showtime.  This could go either way, but I wouldn't be surprised if they made it self contained (especially if Raimi is behind it - Spiderman 3 aside, I don't see him as the kind of guy who would try to draw this out) or at least finished off the first season like the original series.

Posted by: Mark at June 19, 2011 08:42 PM (i24Ag)

8 Re:  Game of Thrones, ending without a conclusion is just it being true to the book.

( the real problem is, what happens if HBO outpaces Martin. . . )

Posted by: metaphysician at June 20, 2011 05:16 AM (hD30M)

9 re: metaphysician

Martin has 4 more years to get his act together and finish The Winds of Winter.  That's if they decided to do both A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons at the same time, with 2 seasons.

Posted by: BigFire at June 21, 2011 06:29 AM (jSRcl)

10 That still leaves one or two more books, though.

Posted by: metaphysician at June 21, 2011 08:22 AM (hD30M)


Folks, this thread is supposed to be about Noir, not about Game of Thrones.

Closed because of topic drift.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 21, 2011 09:51 AM (+rSRq)

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