Did you feel that? That was a tremor in the Force. It was as if millions of movie nerds cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. It was the sound of George Lucas not making movies anymore. (Well, almost.)
Yup, George says movies are too risky and expensive in the choice-based, on-demand movie universe we’re now entering. (He should know — he made ‘em that way.) Says he’s getting into TV and TV movies. Quoth Grand Moff Lucas: “For that same $200 million I can make 50 to 60 two-hour movies.” So instead of one big, jaggedly plotted, weirdly paced, horrendously written Lucasfilm, we get dozens of little, jaggedly plotted, weirdly paced, horrendously written Lucasfilms. For those of us who doubt Lucas’ storytelling powers (even as we genuflect before his superior imagination), that’s kind of like asking which you’d rather face, the Death Star or an asteroid field.
It’s not as if George hasn’t dipped his midi-chlorians into TV before. Remember this classic? Of course you do. Granted, it’s been a while. (Look at these accompanying commercials,one for some otufit called “GM” which used to make something called“American cars.”) But George has revisited the small screen here andthere, and his understanding of the form has improved in directproportion with his willingness to let someone else ground-manage his projects.
One hopes he’s studying up on today’s best shows, intergalactic andotherwise. But that raises the question: What could George add to TV?His storylines (such as they are) do seem to sprawl — maybe TV’s theright medium for him after all. But what could George add to televisionsci-fi and adventure? Heroes has finally begun to crack the comic-book code for TV, and Battlestar Galactica has made space drama drop n’ pop in ways not seen since Picard went all Locutus on us.
But maybe George should bring his narrative gigantism down to earth. The Wire takes place in a universe every bit as vast and varied, unpredictable and violent as that of Star Wars —it lacks only lightsabers and a puerile good-evil duality. And I’m afirm believer that Studio 60 is just a couple of lava-planetamputations away from being a really good show.
Rise from your couches, my dead-eyed Jedi, and tell me what Lucascould bring to TV — is he better suited to small screen/long format? Riiiiiise!