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Friday, May 16, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons: The TV Series

Geeky stuff has become pretty mainstream in the last 10 years. Marvel movies, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are about as big as it gets in our culture these days. I actually see all sorts of people walking around in public wearing shirts with retro comic covers on them. So I was sitting around thinking about how this is certainly the best time I can think of for a D&D movie to come out. People grew up on Harry Potter and many adore the Peter Jackson LOTR movies - there is an appetite for fantasy out there that has not been fully sated.

The more I thought about it, though, I realized that a D&D movie isn't as interesting as a D&D TV show could be. I don't mean a cartoon. I loved the 80's cartoon, but what I am talking about is a massive dramatic series full of action and effects. An HBO kind of show.

Draw attention to my farts at your peril, Shadow Demon
Which setting should be used? Or should they make up their own? I would guess that wizards would want it set in the Forgotten Realms, as that is their core world for the new edition and it is a very popular brand. I can see that, but I personally would not be a fan. I don't want to hear someone talk about a "tenday" on my TV. I sure don't want to see Elminster smoking a pipe and scoring with 20 year old women.

The Characters: We should go with a mix of iconic selections and different choices just to keep things from being too dull. I'd like to see a party of 3 males and 3 females, something like that. I'm hesitant to pick races like tieflings and dragonborn, as those would be difficult to pull off on a live TV show without looking like crap. I did not like the way that dwarves and hobbits looked in the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings/Hobbit movies. I just didn't buy that they were small - it didn't look right in many scenes. If there is a dwarf in this show, I think it should be Peter Dinklage real life-style. In fact, now that I think about it, I'd like the dwarf to be female. I don't think we get to see too many female dwarves out there. The gruff male dwarf is such a dull stereotype.

Yes those hobbits are clearly not CGI'd in there, no sir
We will need sex appeal, so we'll designate one male and one female as the token hotties.

Female Dwarf Fighter - She is a badass with an axe and shield
Male Elf Cleric - Our walking exposition dispenser. He knows about everything and he's aloof. Someone will need to die a shocking death in the first few seasons and this is the guy! We can have one of Lolth's shapeshifting handmaidens, a yochlol, strike him down in an epic twist of some sort. This will also build tension for the eventual showdown with Lolth.
Female Half-Elf Wizard - Booksmart lady who will start the show out as really weak with her one spell, but by the end she's firing off fireballs and lightning bolts every round.
Female Half-Elf Rogue - She's our token hottie. We can give her a troubled past and a bad attitude and, of course, tight leather armor
Male Human Bard - He's our other token hottie. He's quite the ladies man and his shirt is always open.
Male Human Fighter - Kick-butt Russel Crowe kind of guy
Hat hair strikes again
I am really amused at the idea of having the old iconics show up on the show in cameos, particularly the controversial weird elf, Mialee. Maybe we could get a Snails cameo too so he can die again (you do remember the Wayans who infiltrated the original D&D movie, right?).

Did you know that the 3rd edition staff hated Regdar, and tried to depict him getting killed in the artwork as often as possible?

Monte Cook explained it here:

"Regdar intruded his way into 3E, empowered by marketing and sales people. At the last minute, in a matter of just those few short weeks, the old TSR standard reared its ugly head. Not only was Regdar on the scene, he was in the spotlight. This was the character that would be on the cardboard standees and other promotional items, and would usually take center stage in the covers. I was caught entirely off-guard and was far too late to even comment on him. Now, to his credit, the initial Regdar artist, Todd Lockwood, made Regdar's ethnicity kind of vague. (Regdar had shown up in Todd's earlier 
It's German for "The Regdar, The."
sketches when he designed the look of 3E armor.) It's only in later artwork that Regdar seems to be pretty clearly the white male fighter we tried to avoid. And to the credit of a number of people--artists, art directors, designers and editors alike--our disdain for Regdar made its way into a lot of art. If you look closely, Regdar is getting thrashed on most of the early pieces he shows up in. (Look for his ignominious fate on the original DM's Screen, for example.)"

The Villains:

I am thinking that the show's main villain could be Lolth. She's one of the most iconic NPCs in D&D, and dark elves are very popular. She's very versatile - she can be a hot chick in a spider web bathing suit and she can also be a hideous spider-thing with a lady head. Throughout the series she can have her little plots, sending her minions to mess with our heroes.

I would like to see Greyhawk as the setting. The series could be based on many of the great adventures hat so many D&D players are familiar with.
I would LOVE to see a mind flayer on TV
Season 1: Castle Greyhawk

This is a great locale because it is THE dungeon, and yet it has never actually been published in its' true form. That gives the show lots of creative leeway. They can focus on establishing the characters and their relationships, and they can roll out all the classic dungeon tropes that we want to see like spiked pits, the "chained-up woman who is actually a succubus" and hey, maybe a dragon on a pile of treasure.

I would also assume that certain D&D monsters would be very expensive to depict. A goblin would be quite difficult, IMO. An orc, since it is man-sized, less so. With castle greyhawk, you could just use orcs and nobody will care because you have a lot of freedom.

Season 2: White Plume Mountain

I'm not sure if you can get a whole season out of this. I think you can if you expand on it, specifically the sword Blackrazor (which is a juicy storyline for a PC), the undead dragon Dragotha off in the distance, and the whole idea that the heroes are supposed to hand over the 3 artifacts to the guy who hired them. Has any PC ever handed these things over? I doubt it.

Season 3: Temple of Elemental Evil

The temple could almost be a whole series on its' own. There's tons of room for drama with the four elemental temple factions. I would cut out the village of Hommlet (I'm not a fan) but keep the scumbag village of Nulb.

Coolest dude ever
Season 4: The Tomb of Horrors

A hero should probably die in this one. Wow, I would love to see this in a TV show. Each excursion back in would be so intense.

Season 5: Against the Giants/Drow stuff

Not sure if giants would be too expensive? But if the series has gone on this long, it'd be a success so maybe this would be doable.

Season 6: Queen of the Demonweb Pits

The drow Series is capped off in the demonweb pits with the battle against Lolth on her spidership. The Demonweb has portals to all those other worlds, each with their own story. You could definitely get a season out of that.

As far as who the actors should be, you'd probably have to go with no-names along with one or two notable actors. I don't watch a lot of TV so something tells me you the reader could think of a number of actors who would fit this show nicely.

Now we got us a TV show!
If I had my picks, though, I would work in a favorite or two. I think Patrick Wilson is the coolest guy ever, so I'd get him in there. And I'd try and figure out some way to get Kat Dennings on the show, because.. well.. she's Kat Dennings. It feels like she deserves more than she gets. I never understood the way they used her in Thor. Don't hit me, but I'd have rather seen her in Natalie Portman's role. Or heck, they could have made her The Wasp or something. It felt like they wasted her. She would have made a great Scarlet Witch, even.

So there you go, we have mulled over something that will probably never happen. But it should! And I don't think there has ever been a time when the public would be more receptive to it than right now.

Please do not exit the blog until it has come to a complete stop. See you next time, my trusty chum.

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