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Fan fiction for a show that doesn't exist.
March 30, 2008 8:40 PM   Subscribe

It's the best show not on TV. Complete with a soundtrack, DVD extras (and hidden Easter eggs), supplemental sites, and a growing fanbase (which, in turn, has been creating it's own fan art and fan fic.) The fourth episode just "aired".

It is the brainchild of author Emma Bull and is being co-created with Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Will Shetterly, and Amanda Downum.

As Bull writes, "It would share DNA with Criminal Minds, with The X-Files and Millennium, with Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the old paramedic show Emergency, with The Avengers and a British paranormal series I barely remember called The Champions and a short-lived U.S. series called The Sixth Sense."
posted by kayjay (22 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting...when I was writing serial fiction on the internets, I was never able to resolve for myself the tension between writing a novel in chunks and writing a TV show in prose form; it wouldn't have occurred to me to just declare it a show, in the absence of, you know...a show.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:49 PM on March 30, 2008


So... it's not even not on tv. It's not even. It's scripts or stories, am I understanding correctly or am I missing something?
posted by dobbs at 8:54 PM on March 30, 2008


As the site says, it's READER supported, so calling it a show is a stretch. The music is not that great, but the writing seems fine. I'll read it with the music turned off.
posted by Huck500 at 9:17 PM on March 30, 2008


As Bull writes, "It would share DNA with Criminal Minds, with The X-Files and Millennium, with Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the old paramedic show Emergency, with The Avengers and a British paranormal series I barely remember called The Champions and a short-lived U.S. series called The Sixth Sense."

Read: we don't really know what it's about, just what we think you might like that it's about.

So... I understand the basic idea of the pitch "It's like The X-Files meets My So Called Life" is how Joss Whedon pitched Buffy. But listing a whole lot of things that are already connected by type of genre - kind of lazy.
posted by crossoverman at 9:18 PM on March 30, 2008


What is this? You say it is a show but it appears to be just some scripts for an (as yet) imaginary show?
posted by LarryC at 9:39 PM on March 30, 2008


What does this have to do with TV? Isn't it serial fiction? I think calling it "a show" is a bit misleading.
posted by MythMaker at 9:45 PM on March 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


You just have to download and install the right Codec.
posted by sourwookie at 10:16 PM on March 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


sourwookie - I assume that was a joke. I went and double checked the embedded files on the episode pages and they're just .mp3 files. And the same one at that!

It's cool and all, but it's not a show.
posted by MythMaker at 10:54 PM on March 30, 2008


This show is awesome! It's currently playing on the TV channel... IN MY HEAD.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:58 PM on March 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


See, this is the problem with television. All you people with no imagination freaking out about something slightly different than what you expected.
posted by Caduceus at 12:15 AM on March 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's a great idea, but the comedy gold is surely in the comments here, with so many people not getting it!
posted by benzo8 at 3:29 AM on March 31, 2008


H'mm...a few months ago I start adding musical overtures to my serialized Web fiction, now everyone's doing it.

Where's a heartless patent lawyer with a time machine when you need one?
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 3:40 AM on March 31, 2008


You imaginary tv show sucks.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:46 AM on March 31, 2008


Is this something I would need a TV to not know about?
posted by Eideteker at 5:31 AM on March 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've read all the 'episodes' so far, and I'm finding it to be interesting but not entirely successful. Keeping track of eight characters when you can't see them on screen is proving difficult, and I'm not sure I see the benefit of structuring each novella like a TV episode in five acts when the freedom of writing . It's clearly a bunch of authors having fun and deciding they'd rather invent their own sandbox than play with fanfic in someone else's, which is fine but I also get a sense that like a lot of fanfic authors they really really like a couple of the characters, who are coming across as way more interesting than everyone else, and when you're writing the actual canon it's not so desirable.

I don't keep up with all the supplementary livejournals and easter eggs and fanfiction, because livejournal is enough of a time-sink without starting to read the journals of fictional characters as well.
posted by penguinliz at 6:09 AM on March 31, 2008


I plan on taking this idea to the next logical place. Not only will I have a show that has never actually been filmed... Mine won't ever even be written! It will exist solely in my fertile imagination; the characters will be urbane and witty, and the stories will be full of unbelievingly clever twists and interconnections. One episode will be nothing but homages to other television programs that I love, but it will be so subtle, that most people won't realize it without several viewings. Which they won't ever be able to do.

I like to describe it as: Kind of like the X-files or Supernatural, but with more car-chases, and really good dialog, and chicks in bikinis, and a dog, but not just any dog, a smart dog, and it's got awesome guest stars every week, and in one there is a ghost that turns out to be Vincent Price, it will blow your mind...

This is exactly the kind of thing that I should win an Emmy for.
posted by quin at 9:20 AM on March 31, 2008 [3 favorites]


Actually, as I look over this, I'm totally reminded to Delta Green.
posted by quin at 9:23 AM on March 31, 2008


If Dickens' serials are a kind of precursor to serial television, perhaps this is serial television in reverse, working its way toward quin's head. En route, I imagine it's Lost, complete with explanatory-plot-recapitulation text boxes at the bottom of our cereal bowls.
posted by xod at 12:26 PM on March 31, 2008


I plan on taking this idea to the next logical place. Not only will I have a show that has never actually been filmed... Mine won't ever even be written! It will exist solely in my fertile imagination; the characters will be urbane and witty, and the stories will be full of unbelievingly clever twists and interconnections. One episode will be nothing but homages to other television programs that I love, but it will be so subtle, that most people won't realize it without several viewings.

I like it. Except you have to write criticism and reactions to your imaginary shows. Then you'd be the J.L. Borges of televsion.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:50 PM on March 31, 2008


quin: I thought of Delta Green as well, except the short stories on the Delta Green site seem much better to me, and DG is a lot bleaker and scarier.

Shadow Unit seems to have a relatively simple mythology behind it, which works for getting things running without too much explanation, but I think it might come back to bite them later, since it's hard to not get repetitive. They're doing the "individual team members backstories" phase now, which is fine, although they might have done better to wait and spread those episodes out between other ones, because they're going to run out soon, and it might turn into a monster of the week show. I'm interested in seeing where it's going, though, the writing isn't bad, it's probably a show I could watch if it was on TV.

It's kind of weird to read this stuff, though. It's paced like a TV show, but it's not written in script form, nor particularly in a way that's intended for TV (lots of tell instead of show, people's thoughts written down as such, etc.), it's a weird hybrid, but it's not disagreeable to read.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:46 PM on March 31, 2008


benzo8 -

It's not that we don't get it.

We get it, and think it's pointless.
posted by MythMaker at 11:20 AM on April 1, 2008


Will Shetterly posted on his blog about the donations they're actually getting for Shadow Unit:

"In February, we got $1,142.71 and had expenses of $34.18. In March, $602.62—no expenses. The largest donation was $100; the smallest were $1, the most amusing were two for $6.66. Most of our support comes from donations of $10, $15, or $20."
posted by penguinliz at 2:44 PM on April 4, 2008


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