this trailer for their new cop show “Low Winter Sun.” I was flabbergasted that every single line was a cliché.
Who cut this
trailer? Didn’t they realize how
generic it all sounds? What’s supposed to be the brand of this
show? My sneaking suspicion is that they
were thinking, “Wow, it’s a dirty cop! —That’ll blow their minds!”
No, it won’t. When writing such a series, it’s
tempting to fight against some imaginary squeaky-clean cop show that only
exists in your mind. But you have
to pay attention to what’s actually out there right now. If you look at what’s actually on TV, where you’ll find over a dozen shows about cops who
are at least partially crooked.
This trailer doesn’t explode conventional notions of morality, it
regurgitates conventional notions of immorality.
This trailer is the exact opposite of
shocking. Now that the
subject has become familiar, it’s no longer enough to simply show that there’s
such as thing as corruption, you have to have something unique and original to
say about the how, what, and why of it.
You have to make the old clichés of corruption come alive again in new
ways by finding a lot of unique-but-universal details that we haven’t seen
I heard Diablo Cody and
Jason Reitman speak about the movie, and they made it clear that this movie was
supposed to blow the minds of everyone who was expecting a neat and tidy
redemption arc. But who
expects that these days?
the last drama with a neat-and-tidy redemption arc? Certainly not any of the recent indie dramas that played to
their audience, like The Wrestler,
Big Fan, Greenberg, Margot at the
Wedding or a dozen others. In
reality, Young Adult was just another
dime-a-dozen “people suck” movie, which has become a very over-exposed
“squeaky-clean cop show” and the “neat-and-tidy redemption arc” are classic
straw-men. Anyone can win an argument against an imaginary, disingenuous foe that you
propped up just so that it could take a fall. Instead of failing into this trap, acknowledge the current
reality of your genre and compete with the smartest stuff out there. Don’t go for mind-blowing, go for better.