Dune TV Series Approved

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Naib
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Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Naib » 11 Jun 2019 10:08

It seems Warner Media has approved the production of a Dune TV series based around the Bene Gesserit. Villeneuve is to direct the pilot episode.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/dune-sisterhood-tv-series-a-go-at-warnermedia-1217286

I fear it could become Bene Gesserit, 90210.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby georgiedenbro » 11 Jun 2019 10:52

I guess we'll know whether to cower or applaud for future content based on how the film turns out. Offhand I'm a bit nervous of anyone else writing Dune fan-fic, but then again as long as it's made clear that it's a spin-off and not based on "Frank's notes" then I guess it's not much different from Star Wars expanded universe stuff and the like.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Serkanner » 11 Jun 2019 11:16

Oh dear.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby WolfgangMercury » 11 Jun 2019 15:22

I honestly don't know how to feel about this. It seems kind of strange to do this before the movie is even out.
Villeneuve's involvement is a definite plus, given that he has vision and respects the source material, but he's only directing the pilot episode.
John Spaihts also doesn't seem like a promising choice as head writer, given that he's only produced scripts for "The Mummy," "Doctor Strange," "Prometheus", "Passengers" etc.
Why can't they just film Frank's books in the order they were written and leave it at that? I'm just worried that this will be a chance for the dynamic duo to actually have an influence on filmed works. It doesn't seem like they are having any input on Eric Roth and Villeneuve's script.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby georgiedenbro » 12 Jun 2019 09:59

WolfgangMercury wrote:John Spaihts also doesn't seem like a promising choice as head writer, given that he's only produced scripts for "The Mummy," "Doctor Strange," "Prometheus", "Passengers" etc.


I hadn't bothered to look this up but it's a disaster as far as I'm concerned. Dr. Strange but mostly boring to me, and Prometheus is one of the most brain-dead scripts I've ever encountered. Let's not talk even about The Mummy as a credential to write about a desert environment...
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby lotek » 13 Jun 2019 09:51

KJA as a co producer on what looks to be Shitterhood on the small screen.
Way to force his shit into the Duniverse...
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Naib » 14 Jun 2019 12:08

What's truly appalling is that if kids grow up seeing this they might think it reflects Frank's actual vision and give the Chronicles a wide berth. Chilling.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby WolfgangMercury » 14 Jun 2019 20:17

Naib wrote:What's truly appalling is that if kids grow up seeing this they might think it reflects Frank's actual vision and give the Chronicles a wide berth. Chilling.


That's honestly the biggest issue with the Abominations. The fact that so many of them exist and are presented as canon severely dilutes the original books.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby lotek » 28 Jun 2019 07:40

That man has no shame.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 02 Jul 2019 13:19

lotek wrote:KJA as a co producer on what looks to be Shitterhood on the small screen.
Way to force his shit into the Duniverse...

Honestly, some of you guys seem to lose your ability to think clearly the moment Brian or Kevin's names are mentioned.

It's way too soon to say whether or not this will be any good. They haven't even announced a showrunner, which is typically the most important role for a TV series. Villeneuve has a pretty good track record in film, and while I'm not terribly impressed by Spaiht's credits, I've heard that Prometheus and Passengers were changed significantly from his scripts, and no doubt Doctor Strange was written by committee. And take a look at the previous credits of the guy who created Chernobyl (with our dear Baron Harkonnen): some of the worst Scary Movie entries, the Hangover sequels, and f***ing The Huntsman: Winter's War. Who would have thought that guy had a prestige HBO docu-drama in him?

KJA's producer credit is most likely fairly meaningless: he's written Dune books, so unless you get him onboard you'd run the risk of a dispute over rights. (To compare, Fran and Kaz Kuzui got producer credits for Buffy the Vampire Slayer because they'd been involved in the movie, even though they had no active role in the show and Joss Whedon felt they'd screwed up his script.) He may offer notes, which they can then ignore. I mean, he's not a highly respected writer and much of Dune fandom hates him. You think they don't know that?

Does this mean it will necessarily be any good? Of course not. But it's way too soon to assume that it will suck. In my opinion, the Sisterhood pre-Muad'Dib is a pretty good setting for a Dune-based TV show. (The obvious thing to do would be to set it during the time when the Missionaria Protectiva is implanting its legends on Arrakis — that way you get to use the iconic setting.) There's political intrigue, sex, messianic prophecies, drugs, danger, and strong female characters in a period and environment not greatly explored in Frank Herbert's books. Warner is probably asking "give us something like Game of Thrones mixed with The Handmaid's Tale... in space!" And you know, that doesn't sound too bad to me.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Serkanner » 03 Jul 2019 15:44

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:
lotek wrote:KJA as a co producer on what looks to be Shitterhood on the small screen.
Way to force his shit into the Duniverse...

Honestly, some of you guys seem to lose your ability to think clearly the moment Brian or Kevin's names are mentioned.



:angry-screaming:
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby lotek » 04 Jul 2019 04:57

(edit below)
Last edited by lotek on 04 Jul 2019 05:02, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby lotek » 04 Jul 2019 05:01

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:
lotek wrote:KJA as a co producer on what looks to be Shitterhood on the small screen.
Way to force his shit into the Duniverse...

Honestly, some of you guys seem to lose your ability to think clearly the moment Brian or Kevin's names are mentioned.


Some?
And come on, it's not like the meltdown was coming from nowhere.

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:KJA's producer credit is most likely fairly meaningless: he's written Dune books, so unless you get him onboard you'd run the risk of a dispute over rights.


Don't you think that a tv series about the Sisterhood won't end up being covered in Shitterhood?


Cpt. Aramsham wrote:I mean, he's not a highly respected writer and much of Dune fandom hates him. You think they don't know that?


I want to hope that's true, but honestly I don't know.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 05 Jul 2019 06:15

lotek wrote:Some?

Most?

lotek wrote:And come on, it's not like the meltdown was coming from nowhere.

No? I guess I'm not familiar with the provocation.
(Though the recent news that Brian and Kevin are writing a comic book adaptation of the original Dune had me taking deep breaths and counting to ten.)

lotek wrote:Don't you think that a tv series about the Sisterhood won't end up being covered in Shitterhood?

If you mean do I think it will draw on material from the books by Brian and Kevin, I don't know. I hope it won't, and if it does I hope it only picks out a few select elements that are compatible with Frank's vision, or deeply reworks and transforms their material into something greater. I would be very surprised if it ends up being a close adaptation of Sisterhood of Dune, say. (And if it is, it'll make ignoring it an easy decision.)

lotek wrote:I want to hope that's true, but honestly I don't know.

Yeah, that's my point: We really don't know yet. So why not hold off until we do, rather than rush to judgment based on worst-case guesses?

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby lotek » 05 Jul 2019 06:49

Of course you're right to go the reasonable route, it's just that as I said I went into meltdown, I thought that I'd never have to relive the moment when I realized they sold Dune for its water so even the slightest possibility it would happen again sent me over the edge.
I would definitely be happy to watch any decent spin off, although as an Orthodox Herbertarian I'd rather they didn't.

I might have a bit of a zealot attitude to mcdune but it stems from years of practice.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Naib » 05 Jul 2019 10:17

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:
lotek wrote:I want to hope that's true, but honestly I don't know.

Yeah, that's my point: We really don't know yet. So why not hold off until we do, rather than rush to judgment based on worst-case guesses?


This was true during the first prequel books. Many of us, myself included, hoped they were going to get better and not shit all over Frank's work. I think we were less hopeful through the second set. I think by now we have a pretty fair gauge of Brian and Kevin's abilities so we can say with some degree of certainty if they have their say the new series won't be worth the ram it's stored in.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby georgiedenbro » 05 Jul 2019 10:41

In my view the lack of intelligent writing in Hollywood is so great that I find it hard to believe that any Dune product created right now will pass intellectual muster. I will be happy to be proved wrong. I also haven't seen any of Villeneuve's work so I can't make a prediction about the film, other than that I think this book is very hard to make into a single standalone picture. As for any show about the Sisterhood, how in the world will they convey how much the sisters are perceiving in such a way that the audience won't be left behind? It will seem far more logical to suppose that they will have to dumb down the sisters to meet the audience level, or else at least avoid dealing with their perceptive abilities and focus on some kind of badassery.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Naib » 05 Jul 2019 11:10

georgiedenbro wrote: As for any show about the Sisterhood, how in the world will they convey how much the sisters are perceiving in such a way that the audience won't be left behind? It will seem far more logical to suppose that they will have to dumb down the sisters to meet the audience level, or else at least avoid dealing with their perceptive abilities and focus on some kind of badassery.

Great. So instead of a subtle and invasive cabal guiding human affairs from behind for centuries they're going to give us The A-Team Sisterhood? :roll:

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 06 Jul 2019 03:17

Naib wrote:I think by now we have a pretty fair gauge of Brian and Kevin's abilities so we can say with some degree of certainty if they have their say the new series won't be worth the ram it's stored in.

We know Brian and Kevin are not good writers. And if they were writing the TV show that would be relevant.

georgiedenbro wrote:In my view the lack of intelligent writing in Hollywood is so great that I find it hard to believe that any Dune product created right now will pass intellectual muster.

OK, but I disagree with the premise. While the Golden Age of Premium TV may be past, there are still plenty of very good shows with high-quality, intelligent writing within the last few years. To name just a couple of favorites, Twin Peaks Season 3 and — going back a little further — Rectify are both fantastic, while shows like The Handmaid's Tale, Mr. Robot and The Leftovers show the wide range of intelligent sci-fi being made. Even comedies such as Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Good Place and American Vandal deal with serious issues (living with mental illness, ethics, and the personal and societal effects of social media).

georgiedenbro wrote:I also haven't seen any of Villeneuve's work so I can't make a prediction about the film, other than that I think this book is very hard to make into a single standalone picture.

Then it's good that it's being split into two movies.

georgiedenbro wrote:As for any show about the Sisterhood, how in the world will they convey how much the sisters are perceiving in such a way that the audience won't be left behind?

There are so many ways to do this. If, say, the show follows a young Sister on her first mission, there could be flashbacks in each episode to her lessons at the school, allowing us to spot the key things she perceives for ourselves — or at least accept that she is seeing something we are not that informs her actions. Easy. Edit: In fact, there are instances like this in Dune:

Jessica sat remembering a lecture from her Bene Gesserit school days. The subject had been espionage and counter-espionage. A plump, happy-faced Reverend Mother had been the lecturer, her jolly voice contrasting weirdly with the subject matter.
"A thing to note about any espionage and/or counter-espionage school is the similar basic reaction pattern of all its graduates. Any enclosed discipline sets its stamp, its pattern, upon its students. That pattern is susceptible to analysis and prediction.
"Now, motivational patterns are going to be similar among all espionage agents. That is to say: there will be certain types of motivation that are similar despite differing schools or opposed aims. You will study first how to separate this element for your analysis—in the beginning, through interrogation patterns that betray the inner orientation of the interrogators; secondly, by close observation of language-thought orientation of those under analysis. You will find it fairly simple to determine the root languages of your subjects, of course, both through voice inflection and speech pattern."
Now, sitting at table with her son and her Duke and their guests, hearing that Guild Bank representative, Jessica felt a chill of realization: the man was a Harkonnen agent.


Alternatively, she could be shown occasionally making reports to a superior, demonstrating how much more she notices and understands than what was immediately apparent — The Americans did something like this on occasion, with characters giving a summary of a scene we had seen, with details and insight that viewers would have missed. Or perhaps she could be explaining things to a non-adept sidekick (such as a lover or protege). Or if she's a Reverend Mother, she could have conversations with her Other Memory.

Or take Sherlock, which uses special "Sherlock-vision" and "mind palace" devices to portray the perceptiveness and thought processes of the master sleuth. (Sherlock as depicted in that series is basically a mentat.) Sharp Objects did it more subtly, embedding short blips of memory or woolgathering between cuts, and sticking imagined elements into the scenery (while driving, a billboard going by might show a word representing what the character is thinking of) to put us in the main character's head. Compare how Frank Herbert uses little fragments of thought for similar purposes.

And Legion goes full-on surreal, depicting mental processes through dream-like imagery, such as a mental battle visualized as a lethal dance-off. Something like this could be used to show e.g. a pre-born character struggling against Abomination.

And the thing is, you don't need to do this all the time. As long as you show us the work now and then, viewers will accept that a character can do these things and is doing them even when not explicitly shown.

georgiedenbro wrote:It will seem far more logical to suppose that they will have to dumb down the sisters to meet the audience level, or else at least avoid dealing with their perceptive abilities and focus on some kind of badassery.

Naib wrote:Great. So instead of a subtle and invasive cabal guiding human affairs from behind for centuries they're going to give us The A-Team Sisterhood? :roll:

The Bene Gesserit canonically are not exactly lacking in badassery, either: martial arts, seduction, poisons, deception, some crazy form of yoga, the Voice (which I am curious about how they'll portray; presumably the show will follow whatever the movie does), political intrigue... The A-Team may not be the best comparison (maybe Nikita?), but in lots of ways they are pretty much a kickass spy organization. You can stay true to Frank Herbert's version of them and still have plenty of TV-friendly material to work with.

And also... the Bene Gesserit as shown in Dune are kind of dumbasses. Their 80-generation plan is remarkably half-baked, they screw up at almost every turn, and their philosophy is kind of shitty in the first place. I mean, there's a whole appendix devoted to breaking down just a few of their many bad decisions. They are not as superior as they think.

Similarly, at least half the time Jessica's superior emotional and physical control is mentioned, it's in the context of it breaking down. ("Jessica's hand went to Paul's shoulder, tightened there. For a heartbeat, fear pulsed through her palm. Then she had herself under control." — or as Ellis Weiner parodied it, "Jazzica allowed herself to faint for five minutes.") You don't have to make them so subtle and self-possessed that viewers can't tell what's going on.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Freakzilla » 07 Jul 2019 21:57

Twin Peaks 3, really? Weird doesn't make it good. I don't understand...
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Freakzilla » 07 Jul 2019 22:02

Captain, you're right. Dune is about how the BG fucked up. Appendix III pretty much sums that up
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 08 Jul 2019 13:17

Freakzilla wrote:Twin Peaks 3, really? Weird doesn't make it good. I don't understand...

Enjoying Twin Peaks 3 is like enjoying semi-abstract art. You don't have to understand, you just have to experience.

But absolutely, it's not for everybody. I'd tell everyone to give it a shot, but if you're not on that wavelength, then you're not. (There are shows other people rave about that I respect, but that simply are not to my taste — Bojack Horseman would be an example. In a way I think it's great that people now have a chance to make great TV that doesn't have to appeal to everyone.)

Rectify, though — that should be required viewing!

My main point is that georgiedenbro is entitled to his opinion about the quality of Hollywood TV productions, but I disagree: I think there are smart, well-written and ambitious TV shows being made today, and if Sisterhood is made at that level of quality I think that will be very cool. That said, Sturgeon's Law still holds, so chances are that it won't actually be one of those great shows, just going by blind probability.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby georgiedenbro » 08 Jul 2019 14:38

Cpt. Aramsham wrote:My main point is that georgiedenbro is entitled to his opinion about the quality of Hollywood TV productions, but I disagree: I think there are smart, well-written and ambitious TV shows being made today


I wouldn't dispute that. I think Better Call Saul is extremely smart and well-written. But mainly Hollywood banks on perceived profitability *first*, not artistic integrity. Some content may magically end up having good staff anyhow, although this seems to rarely happen in feature films. I actually do agree that TV has a better landscape, although even then I find the 'highly rated' shows tend to be overrated.

The problem with Sisterhood isn't so much that it's impossible to find a good writer or showrunner, but the fact that it's an existing property where changing the style will probably change the story. Legion did a creative job showing a mental derangement, but they were free to pretty much do anything they wanted with that. Even a film like Thor: Ragnarok, which took a more stolid character and turned him and his film into a Tony-Stark-esque comedy, decided to invent an arc and a story that utilized this creative style to good effect. But with the Bene Gesserit the more you mess with weird writing or styling to more you'll end up with an inventive but also re-imagined sort of Sisterhood. It's a whole other ballgame to have to find a creative means of portraying an existing setting that also has a high level of specificity about how they do things and what their attitudes are. Thor can be funny and still work as a mighty god, but what if the show's hook is that the Sisters are full of zingers and kung fu? Or what if they break into dance numbers to abstractly show that they think on a different level? All of these things would really change who they are, not just how their story is told. What I'm saying is that this is going to be hard, and there is really no replacement for the characters simply being as smart as Frank made them.
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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby Cpt. Aramsham » 09 Jul 2019 03:36

georgiedenbro wrote:But with the Bene Gesserit the more you mess with weird writing or styling to more you'll end up with an inventive but also re-imagined sort of Sisterhood.

I guess I don't really have a big problem with that. I think you do have to reimagine it, but I think you can do that without going against Frank Herbert.

georgiedenbro wrote:It's a whole other ballgame to have to find a creative means of portraying an existing setting that also has a high level of specificity about how they do things and what their attitudes are.

Would you say that a show set in some other stuffy organization with rigorous training and dogma, like the Catholic church or the British Army a hundred years ago, couldn't therefore be both interesting and faithful to its setting?

And is it all that specific? The only in-depth view of the Bene Gesserit we get is from five thousand years later, after they have been profoundly changed in outlook and mission by the experience of Paul and Leto (and by Atreides genes). You can easily explain away any discrepancies with that version. We don't meet a lot of pre-KH Bene Gesserit, and who knows how representative they are? For example, Mohiam appears to be a fanatic about the Butlerian Jihad, while others are more relaxed, so clearly some attitudes differ within the Sisterhood.

There's a lot that's hinted at but never seen. Dune seems to suggest that the Sisterhood being so close to the throne is a recent development, part of the endgame of their Kwisatz Haderach plan. If you rewind a few hundred years, perhaps their political involvement took a completely different form. And we only really see the BG operate at the highest level of society (except Jessica with the Fremen), but we also know that they work directly to manipulate the populace. How does that work?

We know there are multiple Bene Gesserit schools — maybe they each have distinct cultures and philosophies? What are the internal politics of the Sisterhood like? Are they all in fact fully on board with the Kwisatz Haderach scheme, or is that the pet project of a particular faction?

How does the Missionaria Protectiva operate? They're described as the "Black Arm" of the Sisterhood; that sounds pretty sinister, who knows what rules apply to them? (I'm reminded of the Culture's Special Circumstances organization.) And what happens to novices who turn out to be duds (bigger duds than Irulan), or commit crimes against the Sisterhood (greater crimes than Jessica's disobedience)? Have other Sisters gone rogue or become corrupted like the Honored Matres?

We know how the BG (mis-)handled the Arrakis Affair, but how do they deal with other types of crises? How would they deal with the fallout if they actually killed the heir of a Great House in the gom jabbar test, for example?

I think there's a lot of room to be creative here.

georgiedenbro wrote:what if the show's hook is that the Sisters are full of zingers and kung fu? Or what if they break into dance numbers to abstractly show that they think on a different level? All of these things would really change who they are, not just how their story is told.

None of those things are really opposed to what the Bene Gesserit are, in my opinion. Of course, even if these elements are in there there should be a balance, not turn into Buffy the Reverend Mother. But if the show incorporated comedy in the way that for example Mad Men did, and hand-to-hand fighting the way The Americans did, and sumptuous, surreal and symbolic visuals the way Hannibal did, I don't think it would be a problem.

georgiedenbro wrote:there is really no replacement for the characters simply being as smart as Frank made them.

Yeah, writing smart characters is hard, no argument there. But it can be done, and doing so doesn't conflict with these other things, I think.

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Re: Dune TV Series Approved

Postby georgiedenbro » 09 Jul 2019 09:13

Hey man, you don't have to convince me that there's tons of stuff to explore about the BG. I'm just skeptical that anyone's up to it.
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