We're approaching the end of the "Palmtop" arc with "Stay Tuned." The palmtop will figure in a few more episodes but it will take us into more familiar "Nowhere Man" territory. I've followed with interest the comments on the mailing list and the newsgroup. Opinions are certainly divided -- not just about the arc itself, but about individual episodes within the arc.
Our responsibilities are fairly broad ranged. While we owe the audience the best show we know how to produce, we owe the network and the studio the best ratings that they believe we can produce. There's not always agreement on the way to accomplish that -- but we struggle together to find an answer. After all a good show that gets cancelled isn't nearly as much fun as a good show that attempts to reach a wider (or wider) audience. I feel that UPN's expectations are realistic. Once again, it's just the "how to get there." I'm not even sure that we disagree -- it's just that there are a lot of communications breakdowns in the midst of daily panics. Hopefully, we will come to conclusions that satisfy the widest audience.
It won't come as a shock to any of the more "experienced" viewers that "Stay Tuned" owes some of its heritage to "The General" ep of The Prisoner and something to the film, "Looker." (Ironically, the ep was conceived before the similarities were noted.) On the other hand, the topic of mind control is nothing new to Nowhere Man and the palmtop arc has shed some light on some of the "extracurricular activities" of "Them." A few other "clues" are peppered in for extra spice. In some ways, though, "Stay Tuned" is as much a look at the kind of world some people desire than it is a look at mind control. Do we really want everyone to be happy, jovial? Do we want our kids to be model citizens who repeat what adults tell them? Is the good natured slap on the back always the desired goal?
There are the more obvious slaps -- at the media -- at "Them" control (government, corporate, groupthink, etc.) but there's probably some tongue in cheek that make it worthwhile. Darby, New York, reminds me somewhat of the towns I watched on television as I was growing up. "Father Knows Best" families -- the Cleavers next door. It's a Norman Rockwell world that we're all supposed to desire -- and yet ---.
This also seems a good time to acknowledge (at least in general) the work that's gone into this show beyond the producer/writer department. The crew in Portland has been rained on, snowed on, flooded, bruised and beaten. They have had to produce what I think is one of the better-looking shows on television at a breakneck pace. From our director of photography, our production designer to the folks who keep them warm with coffee -- the cast and crew of Nowhere Man have been nothing short of miraculous. It's a true case of the "Right Stuff" and these folks have it in plenty.
Bruce has endured a schedule that would kill most people and he's done it with good nature and lots of talent. Our guest stars and the local Portland casts have done a solid job and beyond. The folks at Disney have been hard on us, but generous. They've endured some budgets that, in their opinion, were way out of line. But they perservered and -- mostly -- gave in.
All in all -- episodic television being the day-to-day war that it is -- Nowhere Man has had some real highlights. We will continue to push for more and try to get the most out of everyone. The fact that we get to share it all with our friends online helps to make it all the more worthwhile.
Until next time ---
vidiot at vidiot dot com