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Episode 31 — Greatest 'What Ifs' in Pop Culture


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#1 July Diaz

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Posted 20 April 2014 - 10:50 PM

When you hear the phrase "squandered premise," a few things leap right into your mind -- 'The Walking Dead', 'True Blood', Jay-Z's god-awful mash-up albums and every 'Jaws' movie BUT 'Jaws'. On this podcast, Cracked editors Jack O'Brien, Dan O'Brien and Soren Bowie figure out how all these failures might have succeeded. Maybe 'The Dark Knight Rises' would have worked if Tom Hardy had been the Moriarty to Batman's Holmes, rather than another problem for Bruce Wayne to punch away. A 'Jaws' sequel could have been brilliant if they'd just stuck to the true story that inspired the movie: a man-eating shark hunting through the rivers of New Jersey.

#2 Sean G

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 12:48 AM

I think the reason a lot of these things never really could have been is because if the artists had had their vision realized, if integrity had been kept, then there would have been no commercial appeal. I agree that the vision of the third Nolan Batman movie did sound pretty awesome, and maybe that would have worked, but none of these companies want to take real chances. We do live in a world where chances are taken and integrity is true, it is the art that languishes undiscovered and mostly unappreciated.

While discussing this premise today, I realized occasionally a few true artists do break out, Miller's Crossing is an artistic vision realized, yet the Coen Brothers have managed some modest commercial success. I'm sure other mediums have such success stories, but they are likely far and few between. In my experience with photography, it's the "artist" who is best at selling their work and producing product that is popular who succeeds, while those of us who stick to what sings to us, and who remain modest of our talents, we don't even consider leaving our miserable day jobs.

Great podcast as always guys.

#3 Eddie_A

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 02:44 PM

what a bunch of nerds

#4 TheloniousJunk

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 01:00 PM

both equally cogent points guys. it was good to hear someone finally criticize walking dead as i tire of being told about how cool it is. scary zombies and no functioning holiday inns?! no thanks, gives me vertigo just imagining it. I did like breaking bad but its finale season was disappointing. It seems that shows that develop cult like followings suffer from sacrificing the integrity of the story in order to pander to an emotionally invested fanbase. vince gilligan shouldve grown a pair and ended things like a boss

#5 abelovesfun

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:14 AM

Most of the 'squandered premises' you mention (True Blood, Walking Dead, etc...) are adaptations from books/comics/other, it's a bit silly to think that the producers should have taken huge divergences from the source material with a show like true Blood when an obvious part of the deal is that much of the writing has already been done.

#6 Lando

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 10:29 AM

There is a brilliant movie series that follows a different character through each movie; the Danish Pusher trilogy (there is an English remake, but as usual stick to the original). These movies were made by Nicolas Winding Refin who is best known for Drive (and I didn't care for Drive, mostly because the dialog was very very awkward and flowed horribly).
  • Pusher follows a low level drug dealer who owes a mid-level dealer a bunch of money and gets some cocaine on loan to pay him back only to have to dump it to avoid the cops. It follows him as he tries to avoid the cops, the drug dealer and get the money to get them off his back.
  • Pusher II follows the friend of the 1st movie as he gets out of jail and tries to stay away from his previous life.
  • Pusher III follows the mid-level dealer from the 1st 2 movies as he tries to expand his territory and move up the drug dealing chain
I highly recommend all three movies whether or not you liked Drive.

#7 sharklasers

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 02:07 PM

In the context of The Walking Dead, there should've been at least an honorary mention of Battlestar Galactica since it utterly failed in similar ways (Cylons like Zombies never going away / the show never really addressing the truly interesting questions of how humans organize post-civilization life).