November 29, 2004

What's next for TV?

I find this a little surprising:
Fox brass are said to be particularly high on a project that one could dub "That '70s B.C. Show": It imagines Jesus as a slacker teen under pressure from his parents -- God and Mary -- to enter the family carpentry business.

UPDATE: Actually, I don't think this is such a bad idea. Referring to it as "That '70s B.C. Show" was an incredibly lame joke, but I think the show could be well done. Have you ever watched the beginning of the DVD of "The Last Temptation of Christ" with the director's commentary on? Jesus is just writhing on the ground, but Scorsese is saying that what interested him was the idea that Jesus would have gradually understood and had to face the reality of who he was and that this would have caused him a great deal of personal turmoil. With that approach to the subject matter, go back to an even earlier period, where Jesus is a teenager. We have no Biblical text describing this period of his life, so a leap of imagination is required. You have to invent a character. I'm sure that would offend some people, but "The Last Temptation of Christ" offended some people and so do many TV shows for one reason or another.

I think the show seems as though it might be like "Joan of Arcadia," which handles the subject of a teenager singled out by God and dealing with it in an American teenager way. "Joan" is a drama, and I think the Jesus TV show is a comedy, but conceivably it could be well-written.

I'd like to see more sitcoms set in historical time. There's "That 70s Show" and other shows in the "Happy Days" mold that use the recent American past, but not much else. If you're as old as I am, you might remember "It's About Time," which took place in the Stone Age (and included some time traveling astronauts, one of whom was played by one of the "Car 54, Where Are You?" actors -- not the one who became Herman Munster ... the other one). "It's About Time," like "Car 54," had a very memorable theme song.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A correction. The "Car 54" actor (Joe E. Ross) played one of the cavemen.

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