There have been a few bitchy comments by the BBC over an American adaptation of Sherlock Holmes for television, which the Beeb feel resembles their UK version. In a stroke of genius though the US network have cast a women, Lucy Lui, in the role of Dr. Watson.
I’m a huge Sherlock addict, the original stories, and of course for me Basil Rathbone IS Holmes, in much the same way that Pierce Brosnan is Bond, but it is all down to individual taste. I do like Robert Downey but not Jude Law as Watson.
Adapting a classic work must be hard, you are setting yourself up straight away for the ardent fans to criticise every word you write, every scene you direct.
The BBC do specialise in period drama, yet another one, White Heat, being trailered at the moment. This is simply because they can sell them abroad, especially the States, but you do have to wonder why the BBC didn’t just agree to sell their Sherlock to the US network, who for their production have now based Holmes in New York (which has actually been done before, plus someone else used San Francisco as the location for a Holmes film).
An adaptation that works for me is Friday Night Lights, yes another US drama, but one that is based on a non-fiction book of the same name. An excellent film, starring Billy Bob Thornton and also Tim McGraw, was made and then it in turn was adapted into a television series, and it works, works very well.
It centres around a Texan small town’s high school football team, The Panthers, and was originally written by Buzz Bissinger, who did indeed coach a team called The Panthers in 1988. It was apparently originally planned almost as a journalistic book.
I freely admit to being an easy sell with anything small town, I love the whole ethos of small town America (which is why I was drawn to Hartsville) but the writing for this series is outstanding. The handheld camera filming, which I am a big fan of and intend to use myself in Trick, adds to the feeling that you are ‘there’, intruding almost on private moments. The directors also allowed the cast to ad-lib scenes and also block scenes themselves, adding again to a very ‘real’ production.
High school football is a major thing in the States. Scouts from major league teams hunt and shift through schools for possibly stars of tomorrow, quarterbacks being the key find. For a young player, a gifted player, it can mean scholarship, college and then major league where they can earn millions.
Mount Juliet, losing to Gallatin
Our local high school in Tennessee, Mount Juliet, is featured every week on television as their games are covered live. It’s a whole entertainment thing, with the cheerleaders and the commentators, and the attendance is also very impressive, the whole school and community come out to cheer the team on.
The series of Friday Night Lights ran for five years, about 100 episodes. They have just started showing them from the very beginning on Sky Living on Tuesday and Sunday nights and do try and catch one.
Even as I write this I come across a problem with English and American English; do I put a Z instead of S, or not put an O in say colour, or color – even as I typed that the auto correct corrected me!
The dilemma at the moment is what to call the fourth and final book in the series of short stories – We’ve had Winter, the Spring Trilogy is actually out tomorrow and then Summer’s is out in July but what do we call the last one, Fall or Autumn? Fall is actually one of my favourite American words and is the one that we will probably end up going for. A story, Fall into Autumn, will be one of the stories so that will hopefully set the balance.
So the Spring trilogy is out tomorrow, but today is February 29, leap year, the day women propose to men?!?
Today I’m finished proofreading, which I hate – the adrenalin is in the initial creative spark of an idea, and then building that into a story as the characters come to life, but proofreading is a discipline and I’m not a disciplined person, for from it.
Here is a great song which was actually played on last night’s episode of Friday Night Lights. It’s by Pearl Jam, Come Back – http://youtu.be/nqeVohIEDK0
And finally here’s a great trailer for the film of Friday Night Lights – http://youtu.be/Qzyp4qOW0F0