4 Celebrity Team Ups Too Awesome to Ever Happen
After more than a decade of reality TV and 24-hour news networks dominating the airwaves, things are starting to finally look good in TV land again. While shows like The Wire and The Sopranos were once flukes, one-offs, and how-did-this-get-mades, that level of quality has suddenly become the norm: shows like BoJack Horseman, Fargo, and True Detective aren't just getting made, they're making money and being renewed for new seasons.
Yes, it's a great time for creative television, and like every writer out there, I can't help but look at this smorgasbord of innovation and obnoxiously scream, "Me too!" Here are my ideas. Unfortunately, the only way I know how to come up with new ideas is by slamming celebrities I like together like two dolls having sex and then arrogantly demanding that the insane result is an idea.
Idea 1: This.
If Hollywood has half a brain, they'll make everything I've suggested here into a show.
Charlie Day and Ron Perlman Should Star in the New X-Files
You've watched The X-Files. If you were too young to watch it when it was on TV, then you went through a phase when you were 13 and trying to impress that mysterious, older, proto-goth in your geometry class. It's the show that created both the monster-of-the-week format and the series-long mystery, and -- tragically -- it never really got a worthy successor. Fringe is earnest but unwatchable, Supernatural is sorta unwatchable, and what the hell is Warehouse 13? See, no other show has captured a subtly beautiful relationship like the one between Mulder and Scully -- the believer-skeptic dichotomy, tempered by the raw heat of sexual tension.
And that, my friends, is where Pacific Rim comes in (I work that movie into all my columns). If you exclude all the scenes that involve elbow-rockets or cutting skyscraper-sized monsters in half lengthwise, then this is the best scene in the movie:
In case you can't watch that clip because you're at your job "contributing to society" or whatever, here's the rundown: Charlie Day is excitedly explaining some pseudo-science bullshit that he wants to do to a giant alien monster. Meanwhile, Ron Perlman is skeptical, confused, and essentially just Ron Perlman as hell about it. I mean, look at those goddamn sunglasses. Who else could pull that off? Nobody.
Not even Perlman, arguably.
But, amazingly, Perlman doesn't dominate this scene. Day, the weenie from It's Always Sunny, somehow manages to hold his own against this raw, Perlmanian onslaught. He takes lines that are utter nonsense ("We both know that the Kaiju are so large that they need two brains to move around, like a dinosaur!") and delivers them in a way that makes you not care. Because he is the Mulder of Kaiju.
Imagine it: every single episode they have a new mystery to investigate -- say, in a small town where a creepy old man says, "Something came in and destroyed our entire city." Immediately, Day is all, "I think it was a Kaiju!" And Perlman snaps back, "Day, there are no scientific studies to ever confirm that Kaiju attacks are real. I'm sure these cities were flattened by perfectly explainable scientific phenomena."
"Come on, Day, we don't have time for your crazy theories."
As the show goes on, it becomes more and more ridiculous that Perlman doesn't believe him until, finally, Day gets kidnapped by Kaiju and some other actor (let's say Burn Gorman) has to come in and take over as Perlman's partner, and he does his best but it's nowhere near as good. The show falls into decline and vanishes from prime-time television -- but not from our hearts. And in case you're not 100 percent convinced at this point, here's the goddamn poster:
Your move, America.
A Twin Peaks-Style Mystery Written by Quentin Tarantino and Directed by Christopher Nolan
I know this sounds crazy, but just stick with me, OK? When I first nightmared this idea into existence, I dismissed it as the dumbest thing I've ever thought (and boy oh boy is that quite a field to beat). But the more I imagined it, the more I wanted to get drunk and binge-watch the entire thing every Sunday of my life.
First, some background: Twin Peaks is one of the weirder and harder to watch surreal drama-comedies out there. It stars Kyle MacLachlan as an impossibly peppy, sorta-maybe clairvoyant FBI agent who has to solve a teenage girl's murder in a small town in northern Washington, but -- as the Netflix description promises -- things get weird. How weird? David Lynch weird.
Watching Twin Peaks is like watching a show written by a room full of eight different people who each had eight different ideas for a show, and none of them are allowed to leave or eat anything but coffee and donuts. It's pretty good, though. And this is where Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino come in.
While those two people may seem like polar-opposite filmmakers, they do have some big similarities: they both approach each movie with way more ideas than they could possibly fit into one three-hour stretch, and neither of them is willing to compromise his vision at all.
More importantly, their strengths complement each other: Nolan is an exceedingly precise visual filmmaker who creates vast, invigorating worlds but who can't write characters or dialogue for shit. Meanwhile, Tarantino writes intriguing, comedic, larger-than-life heroes, but his directorial bag of tricks seems to be stocked exclusively with ideas he nicked from other people's bags. Put them together and you have a beautiful, precisely shot melodrama built around a montage of weird cultural references and aggressively quirky subplots: Twin Fucking Peaks.
It would be a beautiful mess that somehow works, an insane mishmash of conflicting ideas and weird cultural references that would either be the greatest TV show ever made or the most beautiful travesty the American people have ever been subjected to. I want it either way. But still, I recognize that this is something of a stretch, which is why I made sure my next idea couldn't possibly fail ...
Let J.J. Abrams Start a Show, Then Let Joss Whedon Finish It
This statement going to be fairly controversial: Joss Whedon isn't particularly good at worldbuilding (the italics there denote emphasis that is important for what I'm trying to say). Sure, his movies and shows always take place in really rich, intricate, beautiful worlds (or universes, whatever), but he doesn't ever do a particularly good job of setting those worlds up. He just takes too damn long: Firefly may have been screwed over by Fox, but it was hard to meet it halfway when it introduces you to a billion characters right off the bat and gives mysterious backstories to roughly all of them. Dollhouse didn't get good until it went from being a self-congratulatory inversion of the monster-of-the-week formula to being a show about futuristic revolutionaries. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer didn't get good until they started calling it Angel. Whedon knows what to do with his tools; it just takes him way too long to decide how he wants them organized.
Smoldering sexy? Glowering sexy? Nathan Fillion sexy? There's so much to decide.
J.J. Abrams is the exact opposite: he's fantastic at starting shit, but once that momentum is built, he loses interest and stumbles off to invest himself in some other project. Lost has one of the best first episodes in TV history, but the follow-up to that brilliance is sorta Lost. His Star Trek soft reboot was fun and fast-paced and had a super satisfying ending in which the crew of the Enterprise come together -- but then when it came time to do the sequel, he had to come up with reasons to split them up again so he could have them come together at the end again, because that's the only thing he could think to do in that universe. Basically, Abrams is so good at getting you to the good part that you almost don't notice that he can't pull off the actual "good part." Except you do notice, because when's the last time you rewatched a J.J. Abrams movie? Never. No one has ever done that.
So, I say next time Abrams pitches a show, let him direct three episodes, and then shoot him in the neck with a dart full of Thorazine. Then put an explosive collar around Whedon's neck and tell him to finish what Abrams started -- or else. Or just, like, hire them, I guess, and ask them to make a show together. You can make it about whatever crazy cool shit you want, and I promise I'll watch it.
But I swear to god, if you let Damon Lindelof, Roberto Orci, or Alex Kurtzman anywhere near it, I will detonate the bomb strapped around Whedon's neck.
Put Keith David and David Keith in a Show Together, Please
I can't think of a good reason for this, but ... I made this Photoshop.
Like half your work is done, right? I don't know a lot about television.
For more from Sarge, check out 4 Surprisingly Simple Fixes for Famously Bad Movies. And then check out 21 Movie Sequels Too Awesome to Exist.