Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Tale of Bryan Fuller

You may not know him, but he knows you.

No, I'm totally lying. Bryan Fuller has no idea who you are. And if for some crazy reason he does, you and I should hang out. 

Bryan Fuller has created some of my favorite television series. Sadly, all of them (so far) have been short lived. Very short lived. You think Joss had it bad? Let's compare. 

Joss Whedon                                Bryan Fuller
Buffy - 145 episodes                     Dead Like Me - 29 episodes         
Angel - 111 episodes                     Wonderfalls - 14 episodes
Firefly - 14 episodes                     Pushing Daisies - 22 episodes
Dollhouse - 27 episodes               Mockingbird Lane - 1 episode
S.H.I.E.L.D - TBD                       Hannibal - TBD

Bryan makes Joss look like the most desirable writer in television. Granted, he probably is now, but pre-Marvel Movie Boss Joss (totally just came up with that right now - I like it), that was not the case. 

Point being, Bryan Fuller has had some painfully terrible luck. Which makes no sense to me. He has his own unique style that he has mastered and it's a perfect blend of wit, charm, and whimsy. 

Let's take a look at Bryan's shows, since the only format I know is lists, apparently. 

Dead Like Me, 2003-2004, Showtime

George (aka Georgia) dies. She gets hit by a toilet seat from space. We then get to follow her on her morbidly whimsical adventures as a grim reaper. For George and her coworkers, it's a job and they each have an unknown quota to fill before they can cross over or move on or whatever terminology they use. 

This had two short seasons and a terrible move that Fuller had pretty much nothing to do with. I don't love this show as much as his other creations, but it's still fantastic and one that I recommend. 

I should warn you, this is Showtime so if you don't like strong language, don't watch this show. Or the following clip, for that matter. 

Quick backstory, everyone at this table is a reaper. 

Wonderfalls, 2004, Fox

I can safely say that this is my favorite Bryan Fuller show. I identify just so much with Jaye. I'm over-educated and under-employed, I hate people, and I totally want to live in her camper. One of the many fun things about this show is inanimate objects talk to Jaye and tell her to do things in very cryptic ways. 

This one only lasted 14 episodes and I think only 9 of those aired. It did wrap up, but this show wasn't meant to be a 14 episode show. 

Pushing Daisies, 2007-2009, ABC

This is probably the most popular of Fuller's creations. I miss The Pie Maker and his ability to touch a dead thing to bring it back to life (only to kill it forever once touched a second time) with occasional musical numbers by Kristin Chenoweth and Jim Dale narration. 

The sad thing is I think this show would have had a good run if it weren't for the writers' strike of 2007-2008. The show was gaining momentum, but lost it during the hiatus. I don't blame the writers, it was just a very inopportune time. The show did wrap up some things (not the thing we all wanted fixed), but it did so in about 30 seconds in the very last episode and left a pie sized chasm in my soul. 

Fun fact: Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies exist in the same universe. We just ignore the fact that Lee Pace plays two different characters. 

Kristin Chenoweth's first musical number (I can't inbed this one, but it's well worth a watch):

Then there's this: 

Mockingbird Lane, 2012, NBC

This one makes me the saddest, in a way. They filmed the pilot (a crazy expensive one, apparently) but the show was never picked up. The pilot was aired as a TV special in October of 2012 so NBC could make back some of its money. I was thrilled that they were finally going to air it, but it might have been worse this way because it was just so freaking good. It's a remake of The Munsters for those of you who don't know, and it would have been fantastic.

There isn't much of this to be had on YouTube, so here's the trailer.

It doesn't do it justice. I also found this clip.

You should just watch the entire thing on Hulu. You won't regret it (unless you end up loving it so much that it makes you sad because that's all you're ever going to see of it - EVER!). 

Hannibal, 2013-?, NBC

Oh, NBC. You screwed up Mockingbird Lane. Don't do it again, m'kay? Don't screw up Hannibal.

The first episode aired last week. When I heard Bryan Fuller was doing a Hannibal series, I was at a loss. Hannibal Lecter and the creator of The Pie Maker. It made no sense. However, I still had faith in Bryan Fuller so I allowed myself to be cautiously optimistic.

I was not disappointed. A friend of mine texted me before I had a chance to watch the pilot and said it was "Fuller through and through." First thing I did when I got home from work that day was watch Hannibal. My friend was not wrong. Everything is different - the colors are more muted and akin to real life (save the blood) and the whimsy is replaced by an anxious and disturbing undertone. Still, it's Fuller through and through.

Please, go and watch this show. Do it for Fuller. Assuming you have the stomach for it, that is. I'm actually pretty surprised at how much network television is showing us. Then again, I really only watch comedies on network television. They could show all this and more on police procedurals for all I know. 

No comments:

Post a Comment