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Series: Painkiller Jane

About six months ago I was able to hunt up a copy of the ‘pilot’ for a potential series based on the Event Comics character Painkiller Jane. While it was billed as a ‘made for tv’ movie, the two hour long effort which stared Emmanuelle Vaugier (Saw 2, Two and a Half Men), was also quite obviously an attempt to set up a series – An effort that appears to have paid off as a series based on the character is currently in the works, however Emmanuelle Vaugier has been replaced in the lead by Terminator 3’s Kristanna Loken.

The pilot (should it actually end up counting as one) focused on Captain Jane Browning, a member of a Special Forces unit code named Painkiller which is fairly removed from the plot of the comic series: In the comic the primary character is Jane Vasko, a vigilante with the ability to recover from even the most horrific wounds (a trait shared with the character from the pilot), however the Jane from the comic started out as an undercover police officer.

To be honest, I’m really not that familiar with the comic series, but judging from what I do know, and from having see the pilot, it doesn’t appear that they are going to share too much in common, other than the abilities and first name of the main character.

Jimmy Palmiotti, who co-created the character along with Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics), will be working closely on the series, although he apparently wasn’t very involved with the pilot, which may explain some of the key variations from the original concept. At the recent ‘MegaCon’ in Orlando Palmiotti said that the series is going to be episodic, meaning that there wont be a dominate overbearing arc to the series. While I personally prefer long story arcs, this may actually help the Painkiller Jane series to ‘catch on’.

One of the biggest drawbacks for shows like LOST, HEROES and JERICHO is that if they don’t catch viewers attention from the beginning it can be extremely hard for them to pick up new fans. I’m not saying that Painkiller Jane is looking anywhere near as good as any of those shows (In actuality the pilot was quite weak, in my opinion), however the fact that you don’t need to be invested in it from the very start may mean that it picks up enough viewers to keep afloat for a little longer than shows like BLADE have (which featured an over arcing plot… and Jill Wagner). It also has the additional bonus of featuring a strong female lead character, something sorely missing from screens since the departure of shows like ALIAS and BUFFY. [source]

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2 Comments

    The beauty of having kids is that you treasure the quiet times. These times are also when the best viewing is on the idiot box. This means that I have better than the average chance of becoming embedded in whatever the latest series is on tv.
    Most shows have the long ‘arc’ you are talking about, which is the initial hook to the series or season, with a plethora of sub-plots to keep the punters entertained.
    This can be a bit of a double edged sword. Drawn out ‘arcs’ can lead to disillusioned viewers. We sat through the first season of ‘LOST’ waiting for the kicker. Nothing happened. Series two we watched part time and series three we will turn on and watch the last episode with no fear of missing anything important.
    Sub-plots can also be disillusioning. How many times can you stop the end of the world or break-up slash get-back-together with the love of your life?
    I suppose the trick is to find a balance between long distance and short distance plot lines, make them work together and finally, keep them interesting without repeating themselves.
    Macca.

  • Like I said in the post, I’m a big fan of the extended story arc, but I can’t help feeling that there should be an..erm… ‘adoption period?’ when a new series starts. What I mean is that where possible the first dozen episodes of a series should try to be as ‘stand alone’ as possible: Use them to introduce characters and create the mythology that future story-lines will be based on.

    Of course, this isn’t always possible, especially for shows like LOST or JERICHO which are based on hooking you in to the happenings after some kind of catalyst (plane crash, nuke blast, etc) – But if you look at a series like, say, Buffy the whole first season (Ok, it was only 15 eps or so) was spent letting the characters flesh out with a pretty minimal over arcing plot: Yes the plot turned out to be pretty important to the overall feel of the show, but primarily in the way it set up the mythology. That first series had plenty of stand alone episodes (mummy chick, teacher who was a huge bug, etc).

    Otherwise you end up with a situation where getting new viewers to adopt the show becomes a harder and harder proposition. Like I said, of course there are exceptions to this, but it’s much less of a gamble than just hoping that you hook everyone from the very first episode (IMO).