Thursday, March 01, 2007

We Irish like a good fight

Can an Oscar winner get a break? Last year Paul Haggis had finally made folks forget he was the creator of Walker, Texas Ranger by becoming first person in the history of the Academy Awards to write screenplays to back-to-back Best Picture Winners, for Crash and Million Dollar Baby.

Now he's back in television (along with Crash co-writer Bobby Moresco) with the NBC mid-season replacement series The Black Donnellys, and after it's premiere, there's already talk that it's in trouble. You see NBC is pitting Haggis' TBD up against Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 for that time slot. It's a cage match and whoever wins the ratings war, gets the prize of following Heroes. TBD's one advantage is that it's less expensive to make, so all they have to do is anywhere near Studio 60's weak ratings and they're in and Sorkin's out.

Playlist: The Black Donnellys - Pilot (Ep 101) (tracklisting)

Meanwhile, Haggis has had the headache of having to deal with complications to the soundtrack for the series. He wrote and edited the ending of the pilot to go along with the Arcade Fire song "Rebellion (Lies)" just assuming that they'd be able to get the rights to it later - it even made it on to promotional DVD pilots that were mailed out and available via Netflix (see video.) Well, Arcade Fire said no. So Haggis reportedly then flew to Montreal to try to convince the band to give him permission, but they still could not be convinced by the multiple Oscar winner. (via Stereogum)

Reminds me a bit of his appearance (as himself) on Entourage last season when he says (trying to sway Vince into a role,) "If I let contracts rule my life, I'd still be doing The Facts of Life rather than hanging with my boys." His boys of course being his Oscar awards.

So instead, Haggis approached Snow Patrol about using the song "Open Your Eyes" and of course the Grey's Anatomy music bitches said yes. Watching both back to back, I find that the replacement actually works better - as you know I love Arcade Fire, but it didn't seem like as good a fit.

While the pilot, which gets an encore airing tonight on NBC, got mixed reviews, I'll reserve my judgement for a few episodes. It supposedly is a follow-up to the series he penned back in '96 called EZ Streets, which plot and style-wise forshadowed HBO's great The Wire, and for that alone I say give it a chance (even if it comes at the cost of Studio 60.)

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b. lynch black said...

Gah! This is one of the most horrible shows I've ever seen. (Full disclosure time: I *love* Studio 60 and am infuriated by it's shabby treatment). As a person of both Irish and Scottish descent, an artist, musician and actor who has been involved in celtic art, music and theatre for more than 20 years, this was one of the most insulting, sterotyped, moronic shows about the Irish ever. I hope it dies a quick and fiery death and everyone involved in it should have to do back bar work in a real Irish pub. I couldn't even figure out what the hell city they were supposed to be in -- and the music was trash! There are dozens, if not hundreds, or fine celtic musicians and bands all over this country, and they picked garbage to use as the sound track!

drake leLane said...

"one of the most horrible shows I've ever seen"

That's either a load of hubris you're shoveling, or you haven't watched much tv at all.

Like I said, I'm reserving judgement on the pilot... we'll see how it is four episodes in.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the pilot and it will be interesting to see what the next few episodes are like...

Thanks for posting the soundtrack to the pilot --I thought I recognized Imogen Heap towards the end!

I'm a bit confused though... You said that Rebellion (Lies) was "originally used, replaced prior to airing by 'Open Your Eyes'", but the version I saw had the Arcade Fire song! I thought it was an excellent fit, but hey, to each their own...

Is there anywhere (online) that I can see the other version with the Snow Patrol song during the final montage? Otherwise I guess I'll have to watch it in mute while listening to that song!

drake leLane said...

There's a clip of the ending (with Snow Patrol) on YouTube right now.

Also, NBC has a version of the pilot online, with an even different soundtrack then what was aired and what was in the previous version of the pilot (but it has the Snow Patrol ending.)

drake leLane said...

Updated tracklisting:

The Black Donnellys - Ep 101
1. Smooth - Santana
2. Hella Good - No Doubt
3. Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
4. Save Me From Tomorrow - Ashley MacIsaac
5. Celtic New Year - Van Morrison
6. Beautiful Things - Andain
7. How Could I Forget - The Faint
8. Sleepy Maggie - the Mad Maggies
9. Arianna - Paul Schwartz
10. The Moment I Said It - Imogen Heap
11. Open Your Eyes - Snow Patrol

bonnie-ann black said...

>>That's either a load of hubris you're shoveling, or you haven't watched much tv at all. <<

i didn't say it was the worst *television* ever -- just the worst one about the *irish* i've ever seen.

drake leLane said...

Seems silly to argue what you wrote, considering it's right there above us.

"This is one of the most horrible shows I've ever seen."

I'll give you it's full of unfortunate stereotypes, but you can say the same for The Sopranos. I certainly don't find it to be a 'top-notch' drama, but it at least has me intrigued (whereas Studio 60 was becoming increasingly tiresome - and this coming from a fan of Sorkin's work.)