Ask 411 Movies for 10.14.13: Happy Bartoleme Day!
Posted by Chad Webb on 10.14.2013
Will we see more limited-episode series like Community had last season? Is 1492: Conquest of Paradise the best film about Christopher Columbus? All this and more covered this week in Ask 411 Movies!
An "Ask 411 Movies" column would be nothing without questions, so please toss them my way. Why should you ask me instead of using Google? Well, perhaps I'll tell you something you can't find there, or maybe you just like my conversation and soothing words. You can post any questions or thoughts below in the comments section, email me at email@example.com, or send me a tweet using the links below:
I was definitely slacking on the theatrical releases this week. I didn't get a chance to see Runner Runner, Insidious Chapter 2, and a few of the others. I do plan on seeing Captain Phillips and Enough Said at the very least this week. I did get a lot of TV watching done though, catching up on Sons of Anarchy, Person of Interest, and so forth, not to mention enjoying the season premiere of Arrow and UFC Fight Night.
I had a packed weekend, but it started off awesomely as I went to the New York Comic-Con on Friday. I have been to movie conventions, but never a comic convention. This event was on a much bigger scale obviously. It was chaotic and crowded, bur run rather well I think and I saw a lot of stuff for only being there one day. There were lines, but they moved along quickly. Then again, it might have be ten times worse on Saturday and Sunday when more celebs are around. The only panel I couldn't get into was the Robot Chicken one, but I did see the Comic Book Men and Oldboy panels, which were fun. The former was basically a shorter Evening with Kevin Smith Q & A. I had a budget on spending, which I did go over, but not too much. I got some cool stuff, including a Batman Beyond shirt, the JLA/Avengers comic, and a cool picture of Jack Nicholson's Joker standing over Heath Ledger's Joker sitting in a chair. I met Matthew Inman, the guy who runs The Oatmeal comic. He was a nice dude. As for the other celebrities, I tend to walk by them rather than pay for a autographed picture for each. That gets pricey.
If you want to know more about my movie tastes, check out my page on Letterboxd by clicking right here. Also, make sure to look at all the great articles and writers at 411, particularly in the Movie-zone because that's where I predominantly am, but all of the zones.
This may or may not be an easy question for you, but why can I not find Harry's Law anywhere on dvd? I own all the seasons of Boston Legal (which was a brilliant show imo) and when I heard that David E Kelly was doing a new law show I eagerly looked forward to it. It's now been over a year since they played the final episode, and yet it can't be found anywhere. Ebay, Best Buy, places like that. Amazon has a listing, but I'm doubtful. Any idea why?
Harry's Law is an American legal comedy-drama television series created by David E. Kelley, which ran from January 17, 2011 to May 27, 2012. On May 12, 2011, NBC renewed the show for a second season, which premiered Wednesday September 21, 2011. NBC ordered six additional scripts for the second season on October 11, 2011. Later NBC ordered a full season with 22 episodes. On May 11, 2012, NBC announced the series would not be picked up for a third season.
The Plot: Harry's Law revolves around Harriet Korn, a recently fired patent lawyer, and her group of associates as they come together to form a unique law firm in a rundown shoe store in Cincinnati. In the second season, the practice is moved upstairs to a larger office with the help of prestigious lawyer and friend Thomas "Tommy" Jefferson.
Ok, unfortunately there are currently no new updates on a future DVD release for this show. Back when it was cancelled, NBC chair Bob Greenblatt's was quoted by deadline.com as saying, "Its audience skewed very old and it is hard to monetize that." Knowing that, it might be difficult for them to release this on DVD in a "Complete Series" set because the show had 42-minute long episodes and 34 of them in total. That would be a big set and expensive. This is just speculation, but they are likely worried that generating such a DVD set might not garner the money they want.
The fact is, making DVD sets for TV shows is not cheap and studios/networks are always worried about whether or not it will turn a profit. This is why you see so many older shows with crappily produced DVD sets that have the episodes and nothing else, or why many shows don't emerge on DVD until years later and much complaining from followers. They don't want to over-extent themselves if they don't have to. I love Perfect Strangers, but only the first two seasons have been released on DVD and I don't see the rest coming anytime soon. This is probably because of poor sales. If Warner Bros Home Video, who owns the rights to Harry's Law releases the first season and it doesn't turn a profit, they will feel as if they wasted time & money and will not release the second season.
On the bright side, because the audience for Harry's Law was generally older, and because women and older consumers are more likely to purchase TV on DVD, it could get a set down the road, or at least is has a better chance. However, you might want to give it some time. Warner Bros. might want to let some time pass, see how many fans show an interest, etc. The best way to get a DVD of your favorite show is to sign a petition. If you want information on signing a petition or any updates on the series, check out TV Shows on DVD. That's the site I use. If you are really desperate, keep an eye out for bootlegs online. iOffer.com sells them every now and again.
1) With the recent success of House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Major Crimes, Rizzoli and isles, Under the Dome, etc., do you think there will be more limited seasons (13 episodes or less per season) in the future?
2) Why doesn't CBS/NBC/Fox/ABC do more limited run shows? It worked well for Community last year and Under the Dome this summer. There are no wasted episodes; every episode is a must see; and every episode is full of scenes that are important to the overall story. I can easily miss an episode of NCIS or Blue Bloods (especially in the non-sweeps months), but you can't miss an episode of Breaking Bad or Mad Men. Even shows like Major Crimes get high ratings partially because there are so few of them. If they had to do 22 of them, it would get dull very fast.
There is no concrete answer to this question, but I'll do my best. Every network differs. Some cable networks launch series with even shorter season arcs than 13 episodes, and some will launch series with episode orders of 26 or more. It depends on how much the episodes cost, not to mention the overall budget for a particular series.
Certainly timeslots need to be filled, as one commenter pointed out, but again if it is a show with a relatively low budget, it is easier to produce more episodes that get a consistently high number of viewers. The various shows that focus on lawyers, doctors, investigators, etc are reliable fit with budget/cost issue. A new series typically has 10-13 episodes to gauge audience interest. Depending on what those numbers are, it could be picked up for a full seasons, whose number has changed over the decades, but now it usually 22 at the very least.
As far as premium/pay channels go, keep in mind that they usually have 10+ minutes to work with per episode due to not having commercials. That makes a huge difference, which is one reason as to why they have shorter season loads. You can also factor in how much the network charges per advertisement, which again varies according to what network we're talking about.
Of course the relationship between the showrunner and the network can also come into play. A network like AMC generally seems to care more about what they put on and over-saturation so shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men just have all the puzzle pieces fitting together perfectly. You're left wanting more. But again, those two shows have had one consistent showrunner and they likely have sufficient control as to how their product is conveyed to the audience.
As to whether or not more shows with limited runs will air, who can say? I would guess that with the success of certain shows, networks are more likely to focus on content, but not all of them will be like that. This business is about money after all. With detective shows, most people do not tune in for the same story structure/outline that they do for say Breaking Bad. The plots will primarily deal with a case that is solved at the end and that routine gives people dependability. And add on the reasons we talked about above and you have large seasons. I do prefer the sort of shows that take their time and concentrate on quality as much as everything else, but I also watch some stuff gives me the sort of episodes that have an established pattern. Nothing wrong with either. My guess is that whether you are dealing with basic cable channels or premium channels, I don't see the networks drastically changing the way they run things anytime soon. I see most of them operating with the same principles. If this is the Second Golden Age of Television, I hope it continues.
For more detailed explanations on how television programs are handled, click here.
Randomness - Columbus Day Movies
This issue of Ask 411 Movies might be a bit on the short side. Not only have I had a super busy weekend, but I'm not sure how many of you will have off and be doing your own stuff on Columbus Day. On that note, I thought I'd give you a quick rundown on some of the movies made about Christopher Columbus. On a side note, I visited Columbus' birthplace in Genoa, Italy a few years ago. He's a big selling point in that area.
Before you start, you should ABSOLUTELY check out this comic by The Oatmeal, which explains what type of person Columbus was, among other things. To read that, CLICK HERE!!
I actually reviewed two of the popular titles about Columbus for my Nether Regions column. I'll start with those. You will see a rough summary/history of the movie, followed by an excerpt from my article for the first two:
*1492: Conquest of Paradise is an epic 1992 European adventure/drama film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Roselyne Bosch, which tells the story of the discovery of the New World by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (Gérard Depardieu) and the effect this had on the pueblos originarios. The film was released by Paramount to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage.
From Nether Regions: "The consequences of tackling a person like Columbus, whose motivations and inspirations are somewhat fuzzy, is that the filmmaker either has to confidently assume a side (hero/villain?) or attempt to find some comfortable middle ground. Roselyne Bosch's screenplay was adeptly researched, steadily paced, and possessed sharp dialogue, but by the conclusion, we're still not sure what she or Ridley Scott thinks of Columbus. It's a double-edged sword sometimes. 1492: Conquest of Paradise is a competently crafted epic, one I would watch again, but is too sanitized to be regarded as a classic."
*Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, a 1992 historical film directed by James Bond alumnus John Glen. It was the last project developed by the father and son production team of Alexander and Ilya Salkind (best known for the Superman films), and follows the events after the fall of Islamic Spain which led up to and including the voyage of Columbus to the New World in 1492. Its behind-the-scenes history involved an elaborate series of financial mishaps, which later brought about an emotional falling-out between both Alexander and Ilya; indeed, as a frustrated Alexander would later lament, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, "I know, after this, that I'll never make movies again." The film was released for the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage.
From Nether Regions: "Christopher Columbus: The Discovery is a severely misguided effort. To make matters worse, Glen inserts shark attack sequences for no reason whatsoever. When Columbus finally does reach the New World, the camera is set permanently on the exceptional chest of the Indian Chief's daughter. This is certainly at the bottom of the historical epic/biopic pile. The acting is wooden from everyone, John Glen's direction has no firm methodology, and the audience learns absolutely nothing. Columbus got the funds, he sailed, he reached land, he returned to Spain. That's about it. Oh you can toss in a whiny and pedantic crew in there somewhere."
*Christopher Columbus is a 1949 British biographical film starring Fredric March as Christopher Columbus and Florence Eldridge as Queen Isabella. It was loosely based on the novel Christopher Columbus by Rafael Sabatini with much of the screenplay rewritten by Sydney and Muriel Box.
This begins the titles I have not seen, but if you're a Columbus enthusiast, now you can try to track them down.
*Christopher Columbus was a television mini-series broadcast in Italy and the United States in 1985. In six hours, the series told the story of the life of Christopher Columbus with Gabriel Byrne starring as the eponymous character.
*Carry On Columbus (1992) is the 31st and final (to date) film in the series of Carry On films to be made; it was a belated entry to the series, following 1978's Carry On Emmannuelle. It was produced to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas (two other more serious films on the subject, 1492: Conquest of Paradise and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery came out the same year).
*And finally you can check out this short from 1934 starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Chris Columbus Jr.
Thanks for reading! Until next week…
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--From the movie Recount