Here’s a secret.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Power Ranger.
And not just any Power Ranger, oh no, I was to be the new leader of the team, brought forth by a mysterious prophetic force that deemed me the all-powerful keeper of the purple power coin. My dinosaur: Diplodocus.
Laugh all you want, but I’d have wild fantasies about the PR gang integrating themselves into my seventh-grade existence, for a while I’d even pretend to talk into my watch because I thought I heard Zordon the Floating Head beckoning me.
Was I delusional? Maybe. But every good character on television has to possess the ability to make viewers crazy, whether it’s over their ocean-blue eyes, cheeky wit, or destructive path of action. We wouldn’t be engaged, if we weren’t a little crazy. And more importantly, writers wouldn’t be able to create these characters if they weren’t indulging in the same fictional fantasies we are prone to pampering ourselves to.
So is it the characters we should be fantasizing about weaving into our lives, or the wild and crazy minds that created them?
I often believed the answer to be the scribes. There are a lot of them, but good ones are a dying breed. They are often prone to sudden outbursts of creativity and rampant imaginative behaviour that is difficult to contain. Except of course when you use the ever-growing power of the Internet to bottle their thoughts into a blog for the people.
I recently came across the blog of one of my favourite writers Jane Espenson. For those of you not familiar with her work, she is the scribe specialist that is at least partially responsible for the success of serials like Ellen, Buffy, Angel, Gilmore Girls, Jake 2.0 and most recently Battlestar Galactica.
Here’s a woman who must have an unending flurry of inventive thoughts flowing through her brain at a million miles a second. You’d think the blog would be jam-packed with stories about the different worlds she works to create, stories of how she concocted them and just what made her go there in the first place.
Not so much.
What Jane usually doles out is a tidbit or two about improving your script-writing abilities, and a succinct description of what she munched on at lunch. What’s even more disturbing is the frequency with which she indulges in various forms of Tofu-ed food.
In this age of cyber-active TV viewing the writer blog seems like the next logical step to connect to fans. Now, more than ever before, we have audiences flocking to meet the authors behind the arcs that make television. The fans are arguably as fervently impassioned as they would be for an actor on the same show.
By reading Jane’s blog though, you would have never guessed it. She is, like I imagine many scribes are on their downtime, a simple kind of girl, with a simple kind of life. Jane the Plain, I like to call her. There are very few remnants of the fantastical worlds she creates for TV, only slight mentions of characters acting as descriptive asides to her Script Writing for Dummies tutorial.
Funny and informative? Yes. Fodder for far-out fantasy? Never.
I imagine this is the well thought out plan of an excellent storyteller who wants to keep her (copyrighted) musings to herself. The same way our innermost TV fantasies provide us fuel for comfort, hers provide her fuel for creation. Letting us in would be like a magician revealing her best-kept secrets.
But the great thing about imaginative TV is you don’t really need to know them.
It seems the characters, not the writers hold the clout, which is further catapulted by something we, the viewers possess. Something, I like to call–Purple Ranger Power.
That’s right fans, it is in fact, Morphin time.