Monday, May 16, 2016

Buckaroo Banzai versus the Television Executives

The big news today in the geek-o-sphere are the reports that Kevin Smith is in the process of creating an Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai television series.

I meet this news with no small amount of trepidation.  I am a very old school fan of Buckaroo Banzai.  I was a fan of Buckaroo Banzai before the movie came out.  Not many people remember that Earl Mac Rauch's novelization of his script actually hit the bookstores about six months before the film did.  And I got a copy and read it several times before the film debuted.  Needless to say, it helped make sense of the movie too.

So the thought of a BB television series fills me with both dread and excitement.  On one hand it looks like it's going to be written and produced by Kevin Smith and he is the ubergeek's ubergeek.  If anyone will treat the original material in a way that fans will appreciate it is him.  On the other hand a lot of it is going to depend on which network or cable channel pics it up.  Heaven forfend the Fox Network gets their dirty little paws on it.  The subject matter is so bizarre they will no doubt treat it in such a manner that Firefly winds up looking like Gunsmoke.  And while things have been improving over at SyFy, I still don't trust them to treat original material well  I guess time will tell.

I do like Smith's idea of essentially remaking the film so that it is the story arc of the first season.  When you read the book there are a lot of ideas and subplots that didn't make it into the film that could easily fill out a whole season.  Though I am sad for whoever they cast as Rawhide.  Talk about doomed by canon.  Also the fact that Smith himself wants to play John Bigboot√© (Bigboot-TAY!) is a bit worrisome.

And I really like his idea of doing the non-existent Against The World Crime League sequel for season two, if they get that far.  Again Rauch's novelization goes into a fair amount of detail about the WCL and it's leader Hanoi Xan that were not necessary for the film but are a great source of ideas for television episodes.

I think in the end I am cautiously optimistic.  Kevin Smith is a fan and he knows how to appeal to fans.  Buckaroo Banzai is a franchise with an already built in fan base.  The TV series could probably be made on a relatively constrained budget for genre TV since the original film was done on a shoe string and the fans won't expect the most cutting edge special effects.  In fact the cheesiness is part of the charm.

So I'm going to keep my fingers crossed and wait for an explanation of why that watermelon is there.

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