Boy, howdy, I gotta couple of fine videos to share with you swinging’ Shadowsians, but either Apple or Comcast seem intent on preventing me from doing it. I’m still waiting to release the pre-launch video, and I’ve already filmed the wrap-up for day one.
I don’t want to go into too many details. But in case the videos don’t work, here’s the scoop….
As I work on Project One, I’m also absorbing the TV series. But I’m analyzing it in a new way. It’ll sound like a stunt, but it’s not. That pains me to write, because I love a good stunt. But I’m watching the show backwards. At least, disc-by-disc. So, the last ten as the first chunk and so on.
Absorbing a text backwards (not word by word, but rather line by line, in the case of a play) is a common technique of play analysis. The idea is that a story begins with infinite possibilities. As it goes on, we see that there is, within that infinite number, one inevitable path. In many ways, a story is our way of shaving away everything but that one inevitable path. We realize, at a story’s end, the truest core of a character… we’re as surprised as are they at what they had in them all along/what they learned.
Okay, so spin that around. Look at a character at the very end of a story. That’s the ultimate, tested proof of who that character is. Rick Blaine is the guy who’ll give up Ingrid Bergman. Michael Meyers is an eerily immortal, godlike being beyond anyone’s reach. PLANET OF THE APES is a story of simians in racist denial of their heritage… or one-time betters.
These views don’t change the stories; they clarify them. Today, I watched 1841 PT. Young interlopers and the shabbier relatives end up being more worthy of the name Collins than are the ones to the manor born. They understand the necessity of love and loyalty. They understand that other humans matter more than names and money and conformity. Conformity to tradition and the presumption of inevitable guilt are the true Sins of the Father. But the heroes defy that. In that process, now seen as an overture, we see what truly makes a Collins. Having seen that, the rest of the show exists in that context. (And I maintain that characters like Bramwell, Catherine, and Kendrick are just metaphors for the “prime universe” versions.)
I can already predict a few things. Who is Barnabas? The man who will lose everything he personally loves to protect others. Who is Angelique? Someone of humanity and conscience. That’s how they end. So, how strangely tragic and moving the series becomes when we see such noble creatures do so many horrible things.
And so that’s why I’m watching it backwards.