Last night Shane surprises me because he’s bought Season 1 of Heroes. And so, of course, instead of working on my novel like I’ve planned all day, I decide that watching the show would be more fun.
After a little while, I definitely felt like I was watching way too much T.V. but I discovered something cool on the extras: the unaired pilot. We watched the actual pilot and then we watched the unaired pilot.
In the unaired pilot, the original radioactive man (remember Ted?) is a Middle Eastern character. That’s probably the biggest change. And Parkman’s whole beginning is rearranged around this Middle Eastern plot, not Sylar. Watching this, the flaws are obvious…not to mention a little too close to home and a little to ‘current events’ to make for a more universally appealing show. There were some parts I really liked–like the fact that radioactive dude was not a Unibomber rip off. I wish they could have kept the Middle Eastern flavor without the terrorist element–that would have made it more believable for me.
As a writer though, it was interesting to watch the edits going on.
I love Heroes and I think the creators made a fantastic, entertaining product. And they did that by editting. By looking at what worked/what didn’t and deciding which way to go…in the end demanding more work from some of the actors (double-time for the guy playing Parkman) and completely scratching other characters. Big plot changes. Terrorists=gone. Serial killer Sylar=in. That involved budget makeovers, physical rewriting, and re-acting for the actors.
So, if T.V. shows can do all that, effecting so many people, why are so many writers scared to re-work their work? It doesn’t involve firing people if you make a mistake…it requires the delete button on you computer. Just you and your work. Next time you’re in a critique group, or you get your work back from someone you’ve asked to read it and they make suggestions that are fairly large. Don’t freak out, please. Consider what they said. Try it out.
You may be brought back for a second season.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.