In the big bad world of film and TV production a lot of things don’t get made. Scripts are unused, series cancelled or not picked up and ideas wasted, films not produced. With this blog I intend to explore these roads not taken, these films and shows that never were.
What do I mean by SF or Speculative Fiction. The non-mimetic branches of fiction, mostly identified with Science Fiction and Fantasy but all the sub-genres, side-genres and crossover genres that fit my view of those things; so shows with supernatural elements, or super heroes or horror, or… well, we’ll see what happens.
In the first sentence I said there were “a lot of things that don’t get made” that’s true of all film and television, but even limiting it to Speculative Fiction leave a lot of material to cover. So to cut back further, I’m making a few rules, rules that I’m bound to break and that can’t cover all possibilities.
- Spec Scripts – scripts completed and sent to producers in hopes of becoming something. A lot of these exist in the world, far too many to cover even a small percentage of them. I won’t be covering spec scripts unless something comes of them or they become something else (a rejected Star Trek episode that becomes a series of novels, or something).
- The Development Process – Changes happen during any production. I’m going to avoid this sort of thing unless the changes are very major or are well documented for a major show. This one will be a hard rule to follow. Many of the books about unmade film and television get mired in details of the development of a film or series. One thing I will try to do when covering this sort of thing is try to avoid some of the mythology that grows up around these things (“It was going to start Arnie as a gay astronaut” when Arnie left the production long before Arnie left the film, etc).
- Unproduced episodes – Most series had many, many unproduced episodes, ideas are thrown around, directions change. Exceptions will be made for scrapped ideas for significant episodes, episodes that would have changed the show, or episodes planed for after the show was cancelled.
- Hyping unmade material – It’s all too easy to think an unmade project would be better than things that end up being made. A lot relies on execution. Ideas that seem great be ruined. Bad ideas can make great films. I’m exploring ideas that didn’t get made, good, bad or indifferent. Who can really say how good something would have been?
- All these rules will quickly and regularly be broken.