The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Another Way to Write Badly

| 14 Comments

I just finished watching season 3 of Boardwalk Empire.  I rather liked the first two seasons.  It’s an era that interests me, I’ve always liked Steve Buscemi, and the writing seemed fairly intelligent.

I don’t know what happened this season.  All of a sudden, you start having an absurd body count.  And not just in the number of bodies, but they keep pulling the trick where character A appears to decide not to kill character B, then suddenly does.  You can only get away with that a couple of times before the viewer starts rolling his eyes and going, “Do the writers expect me to fall for that again?”  And you can only produce so many bodies before you get “The Dark Knight” effect of, “Oh, a fight.  Am I supposed to care what happens?”

Perhaps its Scorsese’s influence, I don’t know.  But, whatever, it was disappointing.  Violence needs to matter.  When there’s too much of it, it stops mattering.  When it stops mattering, it’s worse than morally questionable, it’s boring.

 

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

14 Comments

  1. “Violence needs to matter. When there’s too much of it, it stops mattering.”

    Yup. This is much of the problem with Jackson’s Hobbit.

  2. Totes agree. The first two seasons built on each other and did this wierd thing, I think it’s called character development. Then S3 just obliterated that. It’s like the writers all got together and said “ok, now we know this shit, let’s just phone it in”. True Blood is another example.

  3. skzb

    Oh, good point about Jackson’s Hobbit! Yeah, that was certainly one of the things that bothered me, though I hadn’t quite put a finger on it. I like True Blood, but, I don’t know, it’s just getting weird now (in a not good way).

  4. BilgeRat – You can’t entirely blame the writers of the TrueBlood tv show for any and all flaws. The source material *really* drifted all by itself.

  5. Did did the second series have less viewers than the first? It could be simply studio exec interference in the writing. I’m guessing its cheaper to write “person X gets the back of his head blown off” than some high-brow story arc character development based on multi person dialouge and non violent deeds.

    If they are going to rachet up the violence up to an 11 they should go all out and bring in Michael Bay and Quenton Tarintino. At least you would get what you expect with them.

    And this is not a popular thing to say neither here or where I am, but I liked Jackson’s Hobbit. Is there something wrong with me in saying that the violence in the film did not bother me? The rabbit driven sleigh did, though!

  6. I liked the Hobbit too…I had a few minor quibbles, but I felt that what Jackson is doing with the story, so far, seems good. It’s not as epic and big as LOTR felt, but then the story isn’t as epic either…..and at least he didn’t do anything as bad as what he did to Faramir in LOTR…..dear god, that irritated me no end.

    But I digress….I liked it, and had no major problems with it…though I will admit the white orc thing would not have been my choice….

  7. I’m guessing the expansion of Azog’s character was Guillermo del Toro’s writing (he’s still down as a screen writer).

  8. skzb

    Regarding The Hobbit, it isn’t that there was too much violence, as much as it seemed meaningless and impersonal. I’d say there was a strong element of that in Jackson’s LoTR as well, though none at all in the books.

  9. There was a lot of LoTR in the film but to me that made sense. The Hobbit was written as a children’s book many years prior to the LoTR books. As the LoTR was already filmed, it would be nuts to not include some of those elements in the Hobbit film. It wouldn’t make sense to the audience (Gandalf, for example is a different beast in the Hobbit book).

    I had the feeling that Thorin seemed to be the main protaginst. In that respect, the title should of been “The Dwarf”

  10. I guess I should say that it’s not my place either to dam you or praise you Steven Brust but I have to talk about your last few books. But first the praise I have always liked your books but the ones I like best are the ones written in first person Vlad Taltos. I think Vlad must feel like a red headed stepchild at this point lost and forgotten.I’m sure you have already thought of these ideals for him. But I will write them anyways : Vlad should be made into a Elf walking the path of the dead (after all he has a elf’s soul) , He should do what he does best and kill the Jenoine instead of elfs for a change , He should get back together with his wife and child ,and He should take on the gods ! I would really like to see a 100 new novels so less poker and more writing please . Thank you for reading the ravings of a lunatic and Have a Great Day

  11. “I would really like to see a 100 new novels so less poker and more writing please”

    Steven Karl Zoltán Brust is not your bitch.

  12. Yes I know Steven Brust is not my Bitch I’m just hooked on the series like a crack head and please give me some credit if I wanted a bitch I would choice one with less facial hair and without a penis …………

  13. Yes, that’s all fine. Just, y’know, if you read article I linked to and contemplate it carefully, you’ll probably come to agree that there are better ways to express your enthusiastic appreciation for somebody’s work than blithely demanding that they sacrifice their enjoyment and well-being in life so you can get more of it.

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