Originality is a Ghost Town

And it's so hard to get to, And when you do, then people start to hate you,
Just scream what you believe out loud in a crowd,
People will hate you,
Cause repitition's just so safe,
And repetition's just like prison,
And I prefer to be out of place,
Cause I'm not really into prison.
-Relient K

The other night I watched the first episode in the original drama "Broadchurch". Okay, it's not super original: It's of the detective/crime genre and basically follows a lot of the conventions of a detective/crime drama. And it is really really good.

David Tennant (AKA Doctor Who number 10) is the flawed police Alec Hardy in the small community of Broadchurch, which has been shaken by the suspicious death of a young boy. This murder and the subequent investigation "threatens to tear the town apart". This show is good. This show is British.

Which brings me to my point. Gracepoint.

Gracepoint is a soon to be released American version of Broadchurch. When I say version I cannot stress how similar these two series look.

I'm not saying that Gracepoint won't be any good, it's just that Broadchurch was great and lets leave it at that.

While the ending is supposed to be different, the overall story seems the same. If you don't believe how similar the two are, watch this...

Where's the originality?

Which brings me to my point.

Is anything original anymore? Let's look at the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time and what they are based on.

  1. Avatar (?)
  2. Titanic (historical event)
  3. The Avengers (comic books)
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 (second half of a book)
  5. Frozen ("inspired by" a fairy tale)
  6. Iron Man 3 (comic books)
  7. Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon (sequel to two movies based on plastic toys)
  8. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (book)
  9. Skyfall (one of many movies based on Ian Fleming's James Bond)
  10. The Dark Knight Rises (comic books)

"Aha!" I here you cry.

"There is a question mark for the top grossing movie! Your argument is invalid," you say.

No it's not. You see, that "?" is there because, okay Avatar is arguably the most original of the films on that list, but its story follows the "sorry about colonialism" sub-genre that Kirby Ferguson defines as including such movies as "Dances With Wolves" and "Pocahontas".

So there. Even Avatar is uncreative.

Though to equate creativity with originality is probably not fair.

Kirby (more info on him later) argues that the basic elements of creativity are: copy, transform, combine.

His prime example is "Star Wars". George Lucas combined (some say stole) many different elements to create the space operas we know and love (and perhaps hate if your talking about the prequels).

An example outside of film that Kirby gives is Henry Ford, and I quote:

Henry Ford and The Ford Motor Company didn’t invent the assembly line, interchangeable parts or even the automobile itself. But they combined all these elements in 1908 to produce the the first mass market car, the Model T.

Which brings me to my point.

Back to the original thing. Broadchurch.

Is Broadchurch original? Creative? Well... yes. It uses the tried and tested formula for crime narrative, transforms this into a television series and combines characters like the flawed Alec with a small British town and the mysterious death of a young boy.

It's 'original'. It's creative. And it is very well worth watching.

What about the Gracepoint?

No. That's just silly.

JR


The Kirby guy that I've quoted has an awesome series called "Everything is a Remix". It is really worth a watch and is a great look at the history of remaking and creating.
If you want to have a look, follow this link: http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

Oh, and the lyrics at the start of the piece were from Relient K's song "Wit's all been done before". Check it out for some original lyrics.



Find out more about Proving Sunshine at:
http://www.provingsunshine.com/about/

Joel Gibson

Read more posts by this author.

Perth, Western Australia

Subscribe to PROVING SUNSHINE

Get the latest posts delivered right to your inbox.

or subscribe via RSS with Feedly!