New TV?

I realise that television is rarely a fount of originality. I'm not saying the new shows coming out in the US in the autumn will be bad - I'll be quite interested to see how they go, and at least one of them is around one of my favourite characters. But they are derivative in the extreme.

Revolution is set in a world 15 years after all the electricity goes out, and features a pretty girl with a crossbow, along with some other medieval weaponry, guns, and the breakup of the US into micro-states. You're thinking of The Hunger Games, and you're not wrong. It looks interesting, and they've done some nice-looking things with the visuals in the same line as The World Without Us, but man, that is a pretty blatant rip-off of Suzanne Collins.

Elementary is a rip-off of Sherlock. It features a female Watson, and it's set in the USA. The lead even acts like Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes. Is Sherlock Holmes sf? It seems to have been adopted, anyway.

Beauty and the Beast seems to be yet another retelling of the Barbot de Villeneuve story, with a good strong Twilight element in there. Incidentally starring Kristin Kreuk, last seen as Lana Lang in Smallville, and looking exactly as she did there.

And speaking of Smallville, the last offender in the derivative parade is Arrow - all about Green Arrow, the side character from Smallville and DC Comics before that. Played by a different actor, more's the pity, and almost certainly in a different continuity.

Why couldn't they do Blue Beetle? Too obscure? There was a version of him in Smallville!

The io9 article I pulled these from lists a few more, some of which are possibly more original. But the number of even those described as "It's like show X with element Y changed, by the guy who did show Z" is impressive.

Obviously, none of these shows are taking chances. They're taking something that clearly worked well, and copying the elements they think appealed. The idea that originality might have its own appeal seems to be lost.

Maybe I'm just getting grumpy, but games and books seem to have some more originality.

Posted by Drew Shiel at May 21, 2012 4:14 PM

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